31stAugust

Storm Chaser

Remnants of Isaac headed our way.  It was supposed to start raining late morning and they said we’d have thunderstorms today and tomorrow.  I headed out to the pool to do my laps this morning figuring I’d better do what I could while I was able.  Cranked out 160 laps today or 80 minutes, whichever you prefer.  The wind was gusting and leaves were falling into the pool faster than I could scoop them out.  DH was driving me absolutley nuts.  He wanted to go pick up my car and I wasn’t going anywhere until I finished my laps.  He came out every ten minutes or so and hounded me about how much longer I’d be.   I finished up and headed up to the patio to drip dry for a few minutes and felt the first big, fat drops.  Felt about a half dozen drops and then it stopped.  The sun came out and the breeze died down and it’s been hot, humid and stuffy all day.  I looked at the latest weather report and now they’re saying the storm will be here Sunday and Monday.  Go figure…

The scales show me up a pound today but I’m not worried about it.  I know I haven’t done anything to make it go up so it has to come back down sooner or later.

As I said, DH is driving me crazy.  I fixed baked french fries and cod loins for dinner last night.  Also had a salad with homegrown tomatoes from the garden.  I fully intended to broil the fish but DH nagged me until I gave in and dredged it in a breading mix and fried it in olive oil.  He went up to Kroger and bought some coleslaw and then added mayo and splenda to it to make it more palatable.  I had fish, salad with lite dressing, and a few baked french fries.  He had fried fish smothered in tartar sauce and ate two sandwiches on buns he grilled in butter.  He added coleslaw and a ton of ketchup to his fries and then topped the salad with chunky blue cheese dressing.  I didn’t say anything.  I’m tired of trying.  I told him I’m cooking healthy, tasty dinners and he can join me or do his own thing.  I’m not going to worry about his eating habits any more.

I’ve only eaten 700 calories today so I need to cram a few more things in before I go to bed.  I’ve been busy. I ate yogurt for breakfast, did my laps in the pool, picked up my car, went to Kroger, the produce market and then to the pet store to pick up food for the koi.  I got home and then worked on my book until dinner.  Dinner was a big salad with a grilled chicken breast and I was shocked to see that I’m only at 700 calories.  I can get caught up in writing and lose track of time.  Oh, wait!  I just remembered that I have a super sweet, super perfect watermelon.  I can eat that!

Did my pool laps.  I said I was going to get to 100 by the end of summer but then I decided that 120 takes a full sixty minutes so that would be my end goal.  But then I felt bad about being off my diet and exercise for a few days so I did 130 for penance.  And then I figured if I could do 130, I’d do 140 and I did that yesterday.  Today I figured 150 is a nice round number so I did 150 to make a full hour and 15 minutes of jogging in the pool.

 As I was doing my laps, I wasn’t thinking about doing 150.  I was planning to do 120 but then I thought I ought to continue up to at least where I was yesterday and then I thought I’d do another ten and the whole time I was thinking this is getting out of hand.  If I don’t pick a number and stick to it, I could wind up spending hours just jogging around in circles.  And then I realized…I CAN spend hours jogging around in circles if I want to.  I’m retired.  I don’t have to rush around trying to get everything done.  So I might just continue adding laps.  Maybe…

As I was contemplating filling this huge void that retirement has interjected into my days I realized I might want to write a book.  I’ve had a few pieces published in the past but I’ve never really had the time to do much with it. 

So that’s my latest idea.

I was supposed to go to Mom’s tomorrow when she finally gets to go home and help her out for a few days but I called little sister and she said my brother, who lives with Mom, is off for the next three days so I’m not going.  The rehab center has her to the point where they say she can be independent once again.  She can handle the bathroom by herself and dress herself and little brother should be able to address any other needs in the next couple of days.  In fact, by the time she needs me, she may realize she doesn’t need me.  As I said before, she likes to be pampered and she’s looking forward to me coming and taking care of her but I don’t want to open a can of worms where she begins to depend on me to do things she can do on her own.  The last thing I want to do is cause her to regress by counting on someone to do things for her that she’s perfectly capable of doing for herself.

My weight is continuing to drop.  I’m at 205. The extra laps are helping and I’ve been eating healthy.  I’m still not back to the low I had a week or so ago but I’m almost there.  Maybe by the end of the weekend I’ll be back where I was.

29thAugust

All Aboard!!!

Think I’m back on track.  I did my hour of jogging in the pool and then decided I should do at least another ten laps as penance.  I ate a huge salad for lunch and dinner and decided to go with salad shrimp as a protein.  I marinated them in a teeny bit of olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, splenda, salt, pepper and crushed red peppers but they still seemed to lacking.  I kept wishing I had a nice grilled chicken breast instead of shrimp but I ate it anyway.  My salad had lots of romaine, water chestnuts, red peppers, a few almond slivers, a bit of shredded asiago, mandarin orange slices, and a teeny bit of chow mein noodles to top it off.  I used Paul Newman’s lite ginger sesame dressing.  Even though it sounds pretty good, I found it to be somewhat lacking in the satisfaction category.

I weighed in this morning and I’m at 207.  Dammit.  Gained three pounds from my former low but it’ll come off.  Especially since I did an extra 20 laps today as continued penance.

Mom is supposed to finally go home this Friday and she’s counting on me to come and stay with her for a few days.  I don’t know what I’m going to do about exercising.  I can’t walk and I can’t jog without the pool.  She doesn’t have a treadmill or anything like that.  Maybe I can find a DVD to take.  Guess I could take my bicycle too.  I hate to lose my momentum again.

As far as cooking for mom, I’m a pretty decent cook and I’ll fix things that work for me.  She shouldn’t feel deprived.  I’ll make sure the meals I prepare are healthy and satisfying for her.

And now, I have to run.  DH has finally given up on fixing my car (something I’ve never seen him do before) and I have to meet him at the repair shop to drop off my car.  He’s been fooling with it for almost a month and it still isn’t running right.

Or…just hang on a couple of days and I’ll jump.  I was doing so well…using my little Mexican Train plan.  700 miles from home to New Orleans where we board the cruise ship for Mexico.  Everyday I give myself mileage for doing healthy things and now I’ve gotten derailed.

It started on Friday when DH wanted to go to the casino for the Steak and Crab Leg Buffet.  Okay…I’ll take a day off.  But then, we had problems with the RV and it was late so we just ordered pizza.  DH convinced me…”You were planning on taking the night off from dieting anyway…” so I ate pizza.  Next day, we DID go to the casino and I ate lots and lots and lots of crab legs and a couple of creme brulees.  The next morning, he wanted to do the breakfast buffet (we had a couple of free buffets coming) so we did that.  And then, yesterday, I got up and decided to check out my social security benefits. 

As can be expected, I called them to find out what I needed to bring and where I needed to go and they said I didn’t need an appointment.  Just come on in to the branch on the east side.  So I did.  And I waited and waited and waited until I was called up and told that the east end is not my branch and I needed to go to the downtown branch.

I hopped on the expressway and drove downtown.  Of course there isn’t a free parking lot so I drove around and finally found a pay lot just a block from the building.  I walked down to the courthouse and was told that, since they’re remodeling, the social security office has temporarily moved another block down the road. 

I got my number D18 and they were serving D2. There were lots of little categories depending on what you needed.  There was the A group, the B group, the C group and the D group.  Far as I could tell, there was only one desk dealing with the D group.   Got my book out and tried to read while I waited.  Finally, when I was just about to ask them if they’d forgotten about me, I got called back. 

The clerk said, “You can draw SS at 62 but you’ll get more if you wait until you’re 65″.  So I asked her to run both figures.  She looked at her screen for a little bit and called her supervisor.  The supervisor came over and they discussed it for a little bit…”Is that right?  Did I do something wrong?  It’s showing this for her at age 62 and this at 65 and this at 70…”

Finally she broke it to me, “You won’t be eligible for anything.  nothing…” and then she proceeded to explain to me that it’s all based on a formula.  How much you paid in, how many years since you paid in, how much you’re already getting from the teachers retirement system and I won’t be eligible for anything.  Even though I paid into the system for 25 years before I went into teaching.

I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to sound racist or prejudiced but I’m looking around at a room full of mothers talking on their cell phones, each with a half dozen kids running around them, and a group in the corner and none of them seem to be able to speak English and a couple of guys in the other corner who look like they’re winos who wandered in off the street and I’m being told that even though I paid into the system for 25 years, because I have a retirement that I also paid into for 20 years, I won’t be eligible for any benefits.

Teachers have their own retirement system and don’t pay social security.  That’s fine if you come out of college and spend your entire employment paying into our own system but it doesn’t seem fair to those of us who paid into SS for 25 years before even going into teaching.  I always knew they’d take a big chunk of my SS but I didn’t know I wouldn’t get anything….

So I was in a crummy mood and, when I went out with the girls last night, we all decided to order just about every appetizer on the menu and share in a feast of gluttony.

Now, here I am.  Four days of derailment from my Mexican Train.  I’ve gotta get back on board today and try to get my act back together. 

Guess I’ll go do some pool laps.

We were ready to leave yesterday.  And then DH started the RV and it was running terrible.  Sputtering and bogging down and doing all kinds of wicked stuff.  So he decided to give it a tune-up and go to the casino today instead of yesterday.

And now…we’re off to the casino and crab legs buffet.

24thAugust

Day of Debauchery

I guess it had to happen sooner or later.  I’m taking the day off.  DH wants to take the RV up to the casino and spend the night.  That means an all-you-can-eat Steak and Crab Legs Buffet.  I can do without the steak.  Nothing like a perfectly cooked, juicy steak but this is a buffet, after all, and they know how to ruin a steak.  But those crab legs….I can eat some crab legs.  And then, of course, I’m going to dip them in clarified butter. 

I don’t feel guilty.  I haven’t taken a day off from dieting and exercise for almost five weeks but I’ll have to make sure I jump right back on my Mexican Train as soon as we get home.  If I’m lucky, I’ll have time to do my pool laps before we leave and we’ll be back tomorrow so the damage should be minimal but I’m going to relax and eat what I want from the buffet.  I don’t use a lot of clarified butter and crab legs are not fattening at all but I’m going to go for one of those wicked Napoleans for dessert.

That’s what DS said to me yesterday evening.  When I was whining after he came home from work.  Well, he asked what was wrong so I told him.  I made homemade beef vegetable soup and ”take and bake” whole grain bread for dinner and DH didn’t eat.  And Andrew, DGS, passed on the warm, crusty bread.  And Steven, DGS, never eats anything healthy so he didn’t even try it.  So the entire loaf of bread just sat there and I was the only one who ate any of it.  And I wound up with a gallon of soup in the fridge.

And then I told DS that I rented a movie that I thought DH would enjoy but he didn’t want to watch it and went to bed.  And he didn’t even notice that I cleaned out the refrigerator and cleaned the oven.

And then DS looked at me and said, “Mom, you need a hobby.”

sigh…I’m not doing too well with this retirement thing.  I woke up this morning and I’m facing another day of … nothing.  I’ve got to get a grip.  It’s not so much having the day off.  It’s more about having every day off and looking at days and days and days of … nothing…

This is not the retirement I bargained for.  I never really thought about it but I kind of had this vision of DH and I traveling all over the country in the RV.  Staying in one exotic locale for a week or two and then moving on to the next place.  Free as birds.  Going wherever we wanted whenever we wanted.

I didn’t plan on retiring before him.  And, in my dreams, I never had to consider that the RV gets 8 miles to the gallon.

So I guess I need to get a hobby, or find some volunteer work, or do something.

I let it get me down yesterday.  I didn’t even post.  I just spent the day going through bills and cleaning the house and planning dinner.  I did do my laps and I did eat healthy.  I even began the day with a weight loss of another half pound.  And then the day wore on and on and I got bored.  I went out and rented a movie and planned on watching it with DH.  He got home from work late and passed up my soup and bread and I walked in the kitchen to find him making a grilled cheese sandwich and it hurt.  It really hurt my feelings.  So then I got kind of mopey and moody and just sulked and he was only home for an hour and a half or so before he went to bed.  And then I was lonely.  So I ate my soup and had a slice of bread with Brummel and Brown Yogurt Spread and I watched some TV and had another bowl of soup and another slice of bread.  And then I watched some more TV and had a bowl of Schwan’s Carb Comfort Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

I woke up this morning and I’m still in a funk.  Hobby?  I can’t think of anything I really want to do at the moment.

Uggghhh…I can’t stand myself.  I’m going to start organizing my yard sale stuff.

1:00 Update - We’ve got roofers.  Dammit!  I went out to do my pool laps and discovered that the neighbor directly behind us is getting a new roof.  I’m sorry, but no, I don’t want to get in the pool and run around it for an hour with a bunch of roofers looking right down on top of me.

So I went in the shed and cleaned it out a little bit.  DH’s territory but even he doesn’t go in it unless he has to.  It’s a disaster.  I don’t know how he can find anything.  Oh, wait, that’s right, he can’t find anything.  So I got a hammer and some nails and pounded a few nails into the beams and started organizing and hanging things up.  He has tons of room out there but it’s so disorganized.  His shed is 12′ X 12′ and he could easily fit all his tools and stuff but you can’t walk in the door.  So I cleared out one corner and then got too hot.  We’re finally getting some heat back.  The temperature is 90 degrees.

I came out of the shed and cleaned up the lean-to on the side of the house by the spa.  We use it to dry off and change but it also stores my bicycle and DH’s motorcycle.  I swept out a six inch carpet of leaves and used a 5 X 7 outdoor carpet to line the concrete.  I don’t like standing on wet concrete when I get out of the spa at night.  I always imagine worms and creepy crawlies.  The lean-to is covered on three sides but water runs into it from the patio when it rains and it seems like all the leaves blow in there and get trapped.  After that, I swept off the patio and raked a few leaves in the yard.  Filled up one big lawn bag.

I took my shower and now I’m ready to straighten up the house.  Weighed myself and I’m up a half pound from yesterday but that’s okay.  I usually weigh after I do my exercise and take a shower but I still haven’t done any exercise today.  Maybe the roofers will leave this afternoon and I can get my laps in.

Could be.  I was caught off guard this morning.  Stepped out of the shower and caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror and was kind of taken aback.  I can see that I’m losing weight.  Just a hint of an indentation where my waist used to be.  Might be actually making some progress here.

The scales don’t show it.  Up a pound from yesterday.  Of course, it’ll come off.  It’s just normal flucuations but I can’t help thinking that I’ve eaten a lot of carbs in the last two or three days.  Trying to satisfy DH.  We had spaghetti for lunch Sunday.  Leftover sauce with ground turkey.  He ate the pasta but opened a jar of Ragu and fried some ground beef for his.  No ground turkey for him!  I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t believe he was eating lunch.  I was careful not to eat too much pasta but pasta is pasta no matter how you look at it.  Last night, I made a thai noodle salad with chicken and used rice vermicelli as a base.  Maybe today should be a salad day.  Still, DH is doing better and I hate to mess with success.

DH has terrible eating habits.  He’s diabetic and should eat several small meals during the day.  After his recent hospitalization, he was told to eat no sugar, low-fat, low-carb and limit sodium.  Try working with that!  He’s 6′3″ and weighs 250.  He could stand to lose 50 pounds.  His lifelong eating habits consist of skipping breakfast and lunch, coming home from work to eat pretzels (or tortilla chips and salsa) while consuming beer or alcoholic beverages until around 6:00 when he wants to eat a big dinner.  Then he goes to bed around 7:00 and gets up at 3:30 to do it all over again.  He seems to take a kind of perverse pride in not eating all day.  It can be 3:00 in the afternoon and neither of us have eaten and I’ll say I’m hungry and he gives me this look…like “How can you be hungry?  It’s not even dinner time.”

So, imagine my surprise, the last couple of days, when he’s told me that this new medicine he’s on is making him hungry.  He told me he was starving yesterday and was driving me crazy from the time he got home at 4:00 until I had dinner ready at 5:30.  Said he got so hungry at work that he didn’t feel good.  I packed him a lunch last night and put it in the fridge.  A container of tomato juice (which he likes), 2 hard-boiled eggs, a slice of whole grain bread, a very small container of chicken salad, and a carton of lite lemon yogurt.  I left him a note telling him his lunch was in the fridge and I woke up to find that he’s taken it.  Wonder how much of it he’ll eat?

I did 120 laps in the pool yesterday.  Yay!  That was my goal.  120 laps = 1 hour of jogging in the pool.  That’s a nice round number so I won’t be adding laps anymore this year.  In fact, the pool is getting so cold I probably won’t be doing laps much longer.  I’ll have to switch to aerobics, bicycling or the treadmill.  Aerobics would probably be best.  Bicycling and the treadmill only work on my legs and general weight loss.  My upper body could certainly use some help.  Maybe I’ll see if I can get my old low-impact aerobic tape functioning today.  I think we have an old TV in the boys’ room that plays tapes.  They hook it up to one of their game systems and use it for that.  I have a couple of newer CDs that I could look at…

Enough.  Time for me to wash my coffee cup and get something accomplished around here.

12:30 Update - Did my laps and it wasn’t fun.  The temperature of the water is down to 69 degrees and the pool is in shade.  Felt pretty chilly.  This time of year, with the change in the sun’s path, the neighbor’s trees pretty much keep the entire pool shaded.  There was one tiny little area where the sun was shining and I got to go through that patch for about 8 seconds on each lap.  Wish the entire pool was in the sun.  That eight seconds felt good.  At any rate, I did my hour.

Came in to find that the Sistah’s sent out a thread of emails and have decided on dinner next week.  We try to meet at least once a month, a group of friends and colleagues that have been together for years, and I think it’s even more important that I meet with them now.  Since I’ve retired, we won’t be running into each other through work.   Looking at the emails, there’s been one suggestion after another until everyone has just given in and decided to go to Hammerheads.  I haven’t been there before but I certainly don’t like the looks of the menu.  Nothing low calorie here!  I guess I’ll wind up with a salad.  It’s a shame, some of the suggestions would have had plenty of yummy, heathy choices.  I mean, really, who the Hell wants a duck taco or elk burger?  There’s absolutely nothing I can eat here but a boring old salad.  I thought about making another suggestion but it’s been hashed and changed and negotiated while I was out in the pool and I don’t want to start the whole thing over again.  It’s not that I don’t think I should be entitled to take a night off now and then and eat whatever I want, it’s just that this menu doesn’t really seem to have anything I want bad enough to waste the calories.

20thAugust

Figuring It Out

It’s strange…This retirement thing.  I’m still trying to figure it out. 

It didn’t really matter much during the summer because I’m off anyway.  But school started back for teachers last Friday and they’re still at it today.  Tomorrow will be the first day back for students and I’m sure all the teachers are tied up in meetings and planning lessons, putting the finishing touches on bulletin boards and seating arrangements and printing out syllabi.

Me?  I got up and logged onto Facebook, drank my coffee and read the latest posts from friends and family.  I played my games for a while and then took my coffee out to the patio.  Filled the birdfeeders and fed the koi. I came back in and called little sister and chatted with her for a few minutes.  Tried to call Mom but she was in physical therapy.  She’s finally starting to work at getting better.  She kind of did an about face after I went to see her a week ago.  I got her out of bed and wheeled her out to the patio at the nursing home.  Prepared a couple of her favorite things for lunch and she tried to eat.  Little sister picked her up a couple of days after that and took her to her home for a couple of hours.  She did pretty well when she got home and I think it may have given her the motivation to get better so she could go home permanently.  She started doing her therapy and was transferred to a rehab center.  Their goal is to get her to function at home.  I’ll probably have to go stay with her for the first few days after she goes home but, at least, she’s now working at getting better and we’re all relieved.  For a while, she just plain gave up and wouldn’t do anything.

The house is sooooo quiet.  DH is at work and the twins are still asleep.  DS is at work.  I thought about dinner.  Maybe I’ll make Thai Noodle Salad.  I have some leftover chicken breast from last night’s dinner.

DS fixed the flat tire on my bicycle so I might take it out for a spin today.  I’ve thought about going ahead and getting my pool laps done.  I’m aiming for 120 laps today. I lost another half pound at this morning’s weigh in.

Is this what it is?  This retirement thing?  I’m not used to having so many choices.  I guess I’ll tackle another heavy-duty house cleaning task today.  Maybe try to organize some stuff for the yard sale.  I’m just kind of un-focused on the future.  All I want to do is eat right and work out.  Get to feeling better and looking better.  And I guess that’s enough…..for now.

19thAugust

Yummy Gummies!

I’m pitiful.  I know.  It’s true.

I just don’t like to take vitamins.  I don’t know what it is.  I actually don’t like to take my Crestor or Blood Pressure Pills either and skip them half the time.  I can be standing right in front of them and all I have to do is open the bottle, grab a sip of water and wash them down.  But I won’t.

Even though Mom is now 4′2″ tall and her back is curved like Quasimoto’s.  I go for my bone density scans and yet I don’t do anything about it.  Easy enough to take a calcium pill every day but I don’t.

So DH saw some Women’s Complete MultiVitamin Formula Gummy Vitamins for Bone and Metabolism Support and picked them up for me.  He brought them home and extracted a promise that I will ONLY get them after I take my blood pressure pill and Crestor.  And I do.  I take my meds and then reward myself with two yummy chewy gummy vitamins in assorted fruit flavors.  Only 15 calories and all the vitamins and minerals you could ask for.

Like I said…I’m pitiful.

So I’ve been taking my meds and vitamins for a couple of weeks now and think of my gummies as a reward.  And I look forward to them.  Just like a kid.

On the other hand, I’ve been really good about working out in the pool.  No one encourages me or pushes me to get it done but I do it anyway.  It feels like something I do just for me.  I did 105 laps yesterday and 110 today.  I’ve done this so many times I know exactly how long it takes for me to jog a lap around the pool.  It’s 30 seconds.  And I’ve checked the time over and over to make sure.  I’d like to get up to 120 laps which would be a full hour of jogging in the water.  I ought to just do it tomorrow.  I mean, really, it’s only another 5 minutes.  I’m already doing 55 so what’s another 5?

I lost a new half pound this morning.  Feels good.  That’s 13 pounds in the last month.  Yay!!

Or dieting and exercise.  That’ll do it, too.

I hit a new low this morning.  A half pound lower than the new low I hit the other day.  Yay!  I’ve noticed that my clothes are getting looser.  In fact, I’ve felt the comfy old pants I’ve been wearing around the house slipping over my hips several times lately.  A couple of times, I’ve had to grab them to keep them from sliding all the way down.

That’s good.  I like that.

I worked really hard yesterday.  Started cleaning the “guest” room that DS, David, has been living in for the past two years.  The more I cleaned, the madder I got.  He came home from work yesterday evening and I said, “I’ve only got one thing to say to you… Really!  I mean, REALLY…”  I know it’s my house but I don’t go in that room very often because I respect his privacy but lately I’ve noticed it looks pretty bad.  I’ve been doing a whole house cleaning since my retirement and I decided to tackle “his” room.

I swear, I don’t think those sheets had been changed in a month.  And the comforter smelled like a wet dog.  Probably compliments of his mutt who sleeps on the bed every night.  Under the bed looked like something I’d expect from a teenager instead of a 40 year old adult.  He had clothes all over the place and I opened the closet to an avalanche.  The entire room smelled like a dirty clothes hamper. The ceiling fan had dust an inch thick on it.   I scrubbed walls and windows and cleaned under the bed and wound up spending 5 hours cleaning in one room alone.

By 6:00 p.m. I was exhausted and told myself I would skip my pool laps.  I was just too tired.  But then, it kept nagging at me.  If I missed my laps, it would be the first day in over a month that I didn’t work out.  So, finally, I took the high ground, put on my suit and did my laps.  Promised myself I’d stop at 90 although I did 95 the day before.  But then, after 90, I decided to go ahead and do the complete 95.  And then…at 95, I thought, “This is ridiculous.  Go ahead and bring it up to 100″.  So I did.

For the first time this year, I did 100 laps jogging in the pool.  I don’t know how many more opportunities I’ll have.  I woke up this morning and took my coffee outside and then ran back inside to throw on a robe.  It was 60 degrees!  Crazy!  Come on…it’s still August!

Now I’m going to get DS up and make him face the payback for cleaning his room.  I want my bicycle tire fixed and I want my car washed and I want the RV cleaned out.

17thAugust

Soggy

It poured last night.  All night long; one storm after another.  We had a small branch come down and block the sidewalk out front.  Almost hit the picture window.

So it’s gray and overcast and very, very wet.  I don’t know if I’ll be getting in the pool today.  It might be time to look at finding some of my old aerobic tapes.  I used to do one of the low impact workouts as a warmup before my high intensity step aerobics.  Now, I’ll probably be lucky to make it through half of the low impact.  Still, I used to enjoy it.  The treadmill only works my legs and I need to begin working on my upper body.

Grandaughter, Holly, spent the night last night.  I wish I could get her moving but she’s so sedentary.  She spent hours (yes, HOURS) just sitting at the computer last night.  She brought a friend with her for a sleepover and they both just sat there and stared at computer screens all evening.  Her friend is huge.  She must be close to six feet tall and she’s only 15.  On top of that, she’s very obese.  I know she has to weigh at least 300 pounds.  I fixed dinner and I asked them if they wanted fried fish.  Her friend said, “I love fish!”  So, I breaded some cod loins and fried them in olive oil.  Served it with green beans and french fries.  I let them eat in the den and they wolfed it down while playing on computers.  Holly’s friend ranted about how good the fish was and asked for another piece.  I’d already given them two pieces each but I had made enough so I told her to help herself.  Later, when I collected their plates, I was shocked to see that she’d only picked off all the crust on four huge pieces and didn’t actually eat the fish at all.  She only ate the breading and french fries.  Didn’t touch her green beans, either.

I said, “I thought you said you loved fish?” and she responded with, “I do!” and I pointed out that she hadn’t even touched the fish.  She came back with, “I don’t like that part.  I just like the crust.”

Overall, the evening was a remarkable insight into why we have so many obese kids these days.  This morning, I told them they could not get on the computer so they turned on the TV and are watching TV while they talk on their cell phones.  Sad…

16thAugust

New Low

I love having a new low on the scales.  I feel like I need to weigh myself daily for the sake of accountability but that means I see the same old numbers over and over.  I’m not one of those who can eat healthy all week and then hop on the scales.  I’m afraid if I weighed on Saturday, I’d take Sunday off…and maybe Monday…because I wouldn’t be facing the numbers again for several days.  Just knowing myself…..that’s how I am.

Of course, the disadvantage of weighing daily is seeing the same numbers all the time.  210…211….210.5…210….212…210.5…yada, yada, yada.

So I always feel great when I see a fresh new low!  Yesterday, I showed a brand new loss of 1.5 pounds.  I felt really good about it because I’d been bouncing around with the same weight for several days.

Funny thing, though, even though I showed a new loss and actually felt like I’d lost some weight, I ate too much last night.  Kind of a mini-binge.  No, I didn’t go over my calories for the day but I just ate too much at one time.  We had veggie burgers, leftover sauteed vegetables and frozen french fries for dinner.  I know, frozen french fries????  I made them for the grandkids last week and was really surprised to see that, when they’re baked, they only have 120 calories for a pretty large serving.  I had a busy day and just decided to make something quick and easy and veggie burgers and fries fit the bill.

So why did I eat two of them and two helpings of fries?  Wouldn’t you think one would do it?  Still puzzling over that…it was just like I felt obligated or something.  There was an extra burger left and extra fries and I just had to eat them.

Of course, I’d had a rough day.  I went to school early in the morning and finally finished clearing out my old classroom.  Went through my files and filled three recycle bins.  All the old lesson plans, all the old PD sessions, folders, notebooks…all trashed.  I set out a ton of stuff, paste, glue, crayons and markers, poster board, staplers, scissors, activity books, a globe, student folders, index cards, a filing cabinet, a bar stool I bought for sitting at my projector, cups and posters and tons of other stuff.  I sent out an email to all staff telling them it was a free-for-all and they swept through my room like vultures.  Picked it clean.

In the end, I looked around my shiny, fresh room, the empty bulletin boards and bare walls.  The neat rows of desks and computers and felt a pretty strong tug at my heart strings.  Made that long walk down to the office and turned in my keys.  For the final time.  School starts Monday for students and I won’t be meeting 120 new kids and giving them my best “tough as nails” introduction.

So maybe that’s why I ate for two last night.  One for me and one to say goodbye to an old friend.  I hope I can say goodbye to those old pounds and see that new number again this morning.  Guess we’ll see when I take my shower and weigh myself.  But, before that, while my old colleagues are hard at work setting up their classrooms and getting ready for the onslaught, I think I’ll take my coffee and crossword out to the patio and watch the bird feeders for a while.

11:30 Update - I pushed myself to do 95 laps today.  The weather is getting cooler and I’d just like to be able to get to 100 laps before I have to quit for the season.  Of course, I could just suck it up and do 100 laps everyday but I’d like to work up to it just a little bit.

Took my shower and hopped on the scales.  It shows a 2 pound gain from my new low yesterday.  sigh… I know, that’s the way it works.  And I know I’ll see that new number again.  Maybe tomorrow.

Liar.  It’s friggin cold.  It took me a full lap to stop tip toeing and another lap to take my arms off my head and actually submerge them.

I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing laps in the pool.  This cool spell has really brought the temperature down and, although it’s not too bad after the first three or four laps, it’s still cold.  Anyway, I did my 90 laps and I’m proud of it!

13thAugust

The Sky is Falling

I woke up and did my Facebook thing while consuming vast quantities of black coffee.  Same as every morning.  I noticed the sky looked kind of overcast and looked up the weather.  The forecast called for rain and thunderstorms starting around noon so I decided to go ahead and get my pool laps done.

I always do two laps walking to warm up, empty the skimmer, and collect any leaves floating around on the surface of the pool.  This morning, the entire skimmer was full of leaves to such an extent that they had filled up the basket and were overflowing into the pool.  I cleaned it out and continued on my warm up walk, scooping up leaves as I went.

I decided to go for 90 laps today.  That doesn’t count the two warm up laps and the three cool down laps so I guess it’s technically 95.  At any rate, I started jogging around the pool and the leaves were coming down faster that I could keep up with them.  As I ran around I’d pick up a couple of them and throw them over the side, pick up a few more and toss them out.  They were falling like it was October instead of August. 

After about 30 laps, it started sprinkling.  Normally, that wouldn’t be too bad but the pool is getting cold and the outside temperature was only 67 so it was a little chilly.  Even though I was breathing hard and working at it, those raindrops felt pretty cold.  I kept going and the wind picked up a little and the rain picked up a little and I gave up trying to keep up with the leaves and just kept pushing it to get my laps done.  Around 60 laps, the sky opened up and it began to pour.  I could hear thunder but I didn’t see any lightning so I made up my mind that I would hang in there and make my goal of 90 laps. 

You’d think it wouldn’t matter.  I mean, getting rained on when you’re already in the pool but it was a downpour and I couldn’t keep my hair out of my eyes and it was cold.  I got it done, though.  Did 90 laps and then ran for cover.  Yay, me!

12thAugust

Eaten Alive

This will be quick.  It’s late and I have a lot to do.

Went to see Mom today.  We got her up and into a wheelchair.  Pushed her out to the patio of the nursing home and she ate one bite of a chicken salad sandwich, 2 slices of homegrown tomato and about half of a peach.  I think that’s better than she’s been doing.  We visited for 3 hours and it left her worn out.

Most of the day was consumed with getting ready, driving to Hodgensville, KY, visiting Mom and then driving home.  Oldest son went with us and wanted to go out to eat after we got home so we went to El Marlin because I enjoyed it the other night and wanted to introduce him to the place.  I ate two tostones with seviche and had the same grilled tilapia with Cilantro sauce and basil aioli with rice and sauteed vegetables.  Delicious!  I hadn’t eaten all day (I know, not good) so I washed it down with two Coronas.

I didn’t get home until a little while ago and hadn’t planned on doing my pool laps because it’s late and I just ate a big meal.  Still, my conscience was bothering me so I decided to go ahead and get my laps done.  I haven’t missed doing my exercise for three weeks and I don’t want to start making excuses.

I’m really proud of myself for getting it done because it was absolutely miserable.  We had a cold front move in yesterday and it was only 74 degrees outside.  The temperature of the pool dropped a couple of degrees and it was pretty cold.  It was difficult to get into the rhythm of running because of the heavy meal I’d just eaten.  And then, for some reason, the mosquitoes were voracious.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t usually have any problems with mosquitoes but they were everywhere.  Buzzing around my head and biting my neck and shoulders as I jogged in the pool.  It was awful.  The entire time, they were buzzing in my face and ears and I HATED it.  I wanted to quit so bad.  But I didn’t.  In fact, I didn’t stop at my usual 80 laps but made myself push on for another five laps.

Usually, I get out of the pool, grab a towel, and sit on the patio to finish dripping and dry off before I come in the house.  No way I could do it tonight.  I practically ran in the house, sopping wet, and locked the door behind me.  Miserable little bastards.

Now, I’ve changed clothes, gotten into my pajamas, and I’m counting bites.  One, two, three, four…..eleven, twelve……eighty seven, eighty eight…..

I’m working hard.  Pushed myself to do a few more laps today.  I was doing 75 but yesterday, I decided if I could do 75, I could do 80.  Today I decided if I could do 80, I could do 85.  So that’s what I did.  I lost another half pound today and I’m pleased.  I’m pushing myself to do more each day.

It’s a concept I’m trying to get across to Mom; when she answers the phone.  She’s going downhill fast and doesn’t seem to respond to anyone or anything.  She’s sad and depressed and won’t eat or do her therapy.  It seems like she slides a little further behind with each passing day.  I think she’s given up.  Everyone is being as supportive as we can but she just doesn’t seem willing to try.  Who knows?  At almost 87 years old, maybe she’s tired of trying.  Still, we all love her and want her to be able to come home so we keep trying to coax her, bribe her, bully her and push her to do what she needs to do.  It’s not working.

My sister and I are very strong.  We always have been.  Although, I admit, I kind of let myself get depressed and fall apart the last couple of years.  Still, I’m back at it.  I haven’t given up.  People think my sister and I take after my mother but they’re wrong.  My sister and I are strong because we’ve always refused to be like our mother.  Mom is very passive aggressive and has very little motivation or drive.  She’s always preferred to blame others for her position in life. 

My father knew it.  He wasn’t exactly known for his great empathy for others but even he saw it.  I remember one time when he was really sick and we knew he didn’t have much longer.  He said, “I worry about your mother.  She has the lowest self-esteem of anyone I’ve ever known.”  And I was surprised that he saw that.  He was strong and gruff but he was also very loving.  It seems like my mother spent her life controlling him through her passive aggressive tendencies.  She would say, “Why don’t we go for a drive?” and he would say, “Why don’t we go tomorrow?  I want to work in the yard today.”  She would say, “Just forget it.  It’s not important.” and he would follow with, “No, if you really want to go, we’ll go.  Let’s get the kids ready and we’ll drive up to the lake.”  But Mom wouldn’t have it.  She’d say, “Just forget it.  If you don’t want to go, we won’t.” and then it would become a battle with her.  She would dig in her heels and there’d be no way Daddy could make it right.   She’d tell us that we would have gone for a drive but daddy didn’t want to.  I can’t begin to say how many times she’s voiced her regrets about things she wanted to do but “Your daddy wouldn’t let me.”

“Your daddy wouldn’t let me.” doesn’t mean anything.  My father got mad occasionally but he was never physically abusive.  He never laid a hand on her. He loved my mother and he loved his children.  He wasn’t perfect by any means but he was a good man and he tried.   It was almost like she wanted him to get mad at her.  He’d get so exasperated he’d say, “Dammit, Jeanne! What do you want from me?” and then she’d tell us that Daddy cursed her.

Mom comes across as this sweet little lady and everyone loves her but her self-sacrifice comes at a price.  She prefers to be a martyr.  She thrives on being a martyr.  That way, she never has to be accountable for her life.

And now, she’s using her passive aggressive behavior to avoid getting better.  She tells her therapists, “I’m just not able to do my therapy.  I’m too tired.  I’m too weak.”  and she refuses to eat.  “I don’t want anything.  I’m not hungry.” and all the while, she’s getting weaker and weaker.

I called her this morning and talked to her for maybe three minutes.  Four at the most.  At that point, she told me she was too tired to talk anymore and I could call the nurses station if I needed to see how she was doing and then pass the word to all the siblings. Little sister went in to see her and discovered the phone was gone. She told the nurses to take it out of her room because she just doesn’t have the strength to talk anymore.  Told little sister to just call the nurses station from now on to see how she is and pass the word to the rest of us so she won’t have to take calls.

Tomorrow, I’m driving an hour and a half each way to see her.  I’m taking her lunch.  Making my chicken salad which she loves and taking sliced homegrown tomatoes and fresh peaches.  Some of her favorite things.  I’m telling her that I will move in with her and take care of her for at least a month if she’ll just make enough effort to get out of the nursing home.  All they want is for her to attempt her therapy and they’ll release her.  My brother lives with her and my sister is just down the street.  We’re all willing to pitch in and help however we can but she has to make some effort to help herself.  If not, she’s going to die.  It’s that simple.

Though nothing can bring back the hour

Of Splendor in the grass, of Glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, Rather find

Strength in what remains behind.

My favorite poem.  Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality.  He grieves for a lost youth and yearns to find wonder and awe in nature as he did when he was a child.

I always think of those “moments” as Splendor in the Grass.  Any particular incident or point of time when I feel the kind of joy and contentment in nature that brings back days of lightning bugs and wildflowers.

I had a Splendor in the Grass moment last night.  Woke up at midnight and, for some reason, I was wide awake.  I grabbed a Landshark Beer from the six-pack I bought last April (that’s number four) and went out to the spa.  It was dark and quiet and I sipped my beer and enjoyed a warm balmy breeze that stirred the leaves in the canopy of my big old oak tree.  I got the urge to get in the pool and floated on my back, looking at the stars and catching the faint fragrance of marijuana on the breeze.  Guess someone else was awake and enjoying the night.  It was one of those rare moments when everything seems right with the world.  DH was home and asleep.  The stars were bright and the night was soothing.  I don’t find Splendor in the Grass very often and treasure it when I do.

DH didn’t get released from the hospital on Tuesday as we had hoped.  He had to stay in until Wednesday afternoon.  I picked him up and fixed his favorite dinner.  It’s reassuring to have him home.  The doctor told him to take the rest of the week to get used to his new medication and he’ll return to work on Monday.

We went to school yesterday and I managed to sort through some more of my stuff.  This is trash, this is to go home, this is to pass out to other teachers, this is yard sale….  I think one more trip will probably finish it up.

I’ve been good.  Doing my laps in the pool and eating right.  My weight is fluctuating a little bit but I’m not discouraged.  I know I’m doing what I need to do and it’ll continue to come off even if I show a gain of a pound or two one day, I know it will show a loss in the next day or two.

I’m rethinking the calorie count of my pool workout..  All the sites I look at say I burn about 450 calories but I never put that down.  It just doesn’t feel like enough work for that.  I usually enter it as 250.  Still, the articles say that’s one of the good things about jogging in the pool, it doesn’t feel like work.  The water keeps you cool and cushions the impact on ankles and knees.  I was cognizant of my workout yesterday.  Noted that I was working hard and my breathing was the same as when I’m doing a really difficult aerobics activity like high impact or step aerobics.  I guess it just doesn’t seem as intense because I’m so cool.  I have to drink water when I work out in the pool so it must be more intense than it seems.  So, I’m going to give myself more credit and work in the pool as much as I can until it gets too cold.

5:00 Update - I did 80 laps today.  Added five for the coming week.  Hard to believe I started out with just 30 laps three weeks ago.

I haven’t eaten much today.  Ate a half cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch and a half cup of Silk Almond Soy Milk for breakfast along with 7 rainier cherries.  I’m saving my calories for dinner. 

I’m meeting a friend at a restaurant in an hour for dinner.  She picked the restaurant, I haven’t been there before and it’s supposed to be a Latin Seafood place.  I looked for an online menu so I could plan for healthy choices but they don’t have one.  Makes it difficult.  Still, I have 1500 calories left for today so I should be okay.  If we have drinks, I’ll go with a Corona instead of a fruity girlie drink.  Wish me luck!

8:00 p.m. Update - Dinner was fabulous!  I had a mixed ceviche appetizer with shrimp, tilapia, and calamari in a citrus juice and spicy seasoning.  It was served with tostones.  Wonderful (although I didn’t touch the calamari, not my thing)

For the entree, I chose a grilled pangasius filet (mild white fish similar to tilapia) with cilantro sauce, topped with fresh mango salsa and basil aioli.  It was served with rice and sauteed yellow squash, onions and zucchini.

I think these were pretty healthy choices and I loved every bite!

Cheese is cheese and there’s no substitute.  I bought fat-free swiss cheese.  I figured, “Hey, this stuff only has 30 calories and no fat and real swiss has 100 calories and is almost all fat.”  Problem is, it doesn’t taste like anything.  I used it a couple of times and had to lift up the slice of bread to make sure it was on there.  Nothing.  No taste at all.

I learned.  30 calories and no taste is not worth it.  I might as well add another 70 calories and have a slice of cheese on my sandwich.  So I went out and bought some of the good stuff and had a great roasted turkey breast sandwich on 15 grain bread.

Some things shouldn’t be fattening.  Cheese is one of them.  It’s a good, natural food so it should be good for you.  Same thing with olives, avocodos, corn, milk and nuts.  Why do you have to be tricky, God?  Apples, I can see.  Forbidden fruit.  I got it.  So how come they’re so healthy?  Eve didn’t tempt Adam with a slice of swiss cheese.

Mental ravings…I’m sitting here waiting to hear word on DH.  He thought he’d be coming home today and I was all happy and excited.  He said his doctor usually makes his rounds pretty early.  He called me and said another doctor came in today and seemed surprised that he thought he’d be going home.  He said they usually like to keep patients for a couple of days after starting this new heart regulating drug and he didn’t think DH would be leaving until tomorrow. He ended by adding, “Anyway, it’s up to your heart doctor.  He’ll be the one to make the decision.”  So where is the guy?

I got up early and got the house all spiffy.  Got dressed and I’m just waiting for the call.  Didn’t weigh myself this morning and I don’t want to now because it’s the wrong time of day and I’m fully dressed.

I need to get to school.  I still have a ton of stuff I need to clear out of my ex-classroom.  School starts back in just week and a half and I need to get my stuff sorted and taken care of.  I wasn’t putting it off.  It was more a case of Mom’s hospitalization and DH’s hospitalization that made me delay.  And now, my car isn’t running right and I don’t want to try to drive all the way to school.  I’m using DH’s little rat trap car and, if I were to take one of the grandkids to help me load stuff, there wouldn’t be any room left in the car.  I had planned on taking my car and towing a small trailer we use for the lawnmower.  That way, one trip and I can have it done.  I can’t load up a file cabinet, my desk chair, a binding machine, my refrigerator and microwave and all my books and stuff in DH’s car.

Enough stream of conciousness.  I’m going to do some laundry.

6thAugust

Normal?

I feel like I’ve spent the entire summer in hospitals and trying to take care of and entertain my mother and husband.

This morning, they shocked DH’s heart and it was restored to a normal rhythm.  Didn’t see any evidence of blood clots and he should be coming home tomorrow.  They took him off coumadin since they don’t think blood clots should be a problem and started him on medication to help regulate his heartbeat.  They said he needs to eat healthy, low sodium, low-fat, sugar-free (diabetes) and exercise.  I hope he listens but he’s stubborn as a mule.

I hope, hope, hope he gets to come home tomorrow and we can begin to settle back into a more normal routine.  I’ve had to be really strict about working out lately because running to and from hospitals has consumed a lot of my free time.

I weighed in this morning and found that I’ve lost another 1/2 pound.  Yeah!  Really happy about that but trying to bear in mind that this can’t continue.  I know I won’t keep showing a weight loss every single day but it’s been really encouraging to wake up each morning and see evidence that I’m losing weight.

I want to spend the day cleaning house so DH comes home to find everything shiny and sparkling.  Personally, I hate to come home and find things messed up.  It just feels good to walk into a pristine environment (pristine, HA!).  Enough, I’m getting to work.

12:22 Update - Workout was rough.  I did the treadmill at a 3% incline, 3mph for 45 minutes.  It was HOT upstairs.  I had a fan going but I was still drenched with sweat by the time I finished.  Doing laps in the pool is a whole lot cooler!