Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How do you do it?

How do you change your ingrained habits to ones that are better for you?

For me, this question is about diet and exercise. For someone else it might be stopping smoking, drinking, impulse shopping, etc.
I am not a stupid woman. I know that the basic formula for my goal is eat less and exercise more. I also know that anything I say after this is an excuse, but let's face it, change is hard, especially when you don't want to make the change in the first place.

Once upon a time I didn't mind cooking. Sometimes I truly enjoyed it, other times it was just a daily task like making the bed and wasn't a big deal. For quite some time now, I've almost hated it. My husband and I aren't picky eater but there are some things we either A) don't care for, B) don't eat because it disagrees with us, C) are easier or better to order in a restaurant or D) has become very expensive.
Starting with A, neither of us cares for peppers or zucchini. Hubby prefers most canned or frozen vegetables to fresh. We like salads, but not every day.

As we get older, the list in B grows. Anything in the melon family which includes cucumbers, disagrees with me. I like garlic, but it stays with me forever. More than just a little isn't just unpleasantly aromatic on me, it causes indigestion. Avoiding fried foods isn't just health conscious, they also don't "sit well" if we eat them as we used to do, especially later in the day.

The list in C would include seafood and many fish entrees. Living in Michigan, we like lake perch which are small fillets. I like tilapia and farm raised catfish but hubby does not. He can't get the appearance of catfish out of his mind or stop thinking of them as bottom feeders despite them being raised in controlled conditions now. When I mention how odd looking crab and lobsters are, he can overlook them. My point is that I order these fish entrees in restaurants, he does not.
And the last category, D...doesn't everything fit into that category now? I bet most people in my age group remember when chicken was really inexpensive. Can you say that about any meat now? I just bought a pound and a quarter of ground round and paid $5 at Kroger.

I am giving up the All or Nothing mind set that I so often get when I decide that "this" is the week we are going to follow a better eating plan. When I tried to follow Weight Watchers in the recent past, I would do ok the first few weeks when my motivation was high and then fall apart when family would eat something I shouldn't have. Yes, I know that on WW you can have anything, you just need to plan for it and count the points. If it was the end of the day, the allotted points were already consumed and I gave in to temptation, that downslide was likely to continue into the next day or two.
I am going to try to avoid magazines and news that tell us one week to eat and drink {fill in the blank} for our hearts and the following week tells us that too much of this causes memory loss, toenail fungus and snarky blog entries. Photobucket Moderation will be my goal. I think if I am going to make changes that I can stick with long enough for them to become my new ingrained habits, it is going to have occur this way.

How have you successfully exchanged poor habits for better ones?

And one last question...do you think that donut graphic means
  • No donuts
  • Don't eat a donut with a bite out of it
  • Don't eat more than one bite of a donut
Donuts are not my weakness so it was safe to end with that question. Don't press me on ice cream though.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wet weather is good for something

I think it began raining around midnight and has almost stopped now, 14 hours later. More is predicted over the weekend. It would be a good weekend to cook if I felt like cooking. A better weekend to bake but heaven knows we don't need what I would bake. I guess I will just have to play with my new toy all weekend.
What did I unwrap? Hmmm, what did I ask you to talk me out of a month ago? No one did. In fact, most of you encouraged me to want this gift which my husband, sons and daughter-in-law gave me last night. Colton was in on it too, but I don't think he had much input.
Yes, I got an iPad 2!  I am so excited! I didn't know that having a Kindle and then an iPhone would lead to this addiction but there you have it...all since Mother's Day. The road to wireless electronic media nirvana addiction was short and sweet, and the pushers weren't even shady characters!

Almost 30 years ago I had my handwriting analyzed by a psychic who often appeared on a local TV program. The most surprising and unbelievable thing she told me all those years ago was that I would spend long hours working on a computer. At the time, home computers in middle American neighborhoods were as rare as private jets. A few years later Bill surprised me with a computer for Christmas. I didn't know what I was going to do with it, but I was intrigued. A few years later Bill began his own business and there I was...on the computer at work and at home for long hours at a time.

In retirement I am spending as much time per day as I did when we had the business, but now it 95% pleasure with just a little productive accounting thrown in. It is funny to think of that first computer with its limited memory, bulky monitor, those large floppy disks and no internet and see how that led to the lightweight, oh so portable devices I use today.
Does your computer time surprise you too?   Photobucket

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Zappy Do Do to Me, Zappy Do Do to Me....

No, I am not shamelessly looking for greetings, I'm just happy. Today is my birthday.
The inside of this card says "next year you'll need a bigger cake!" 

What is your favorite birthday dinner and dessert? Do you have a birthday ritual such as a place to go or something to do on that day? No ritual here and no favorite dinner, just anything that I don't have to cook. I'm sure there will be cake tonight but honestly, my favorite dessert is simple, provided you can find the right flavor:
Ice cream. Coffee ice cream!

But if you want to go fancy on me, this looks and sounds devine:
Coffee liquer ice cream pie!

I don't know how I reached 59 so quickly. I have very few regrets which makes me a pretty happy person. When I blow out the candle (just one tonight, we don't want to set off the smoke detector!) my wish will be the wish and prayer I send up daily. I will share part of that with you now.

May you all know the love I have known. May you recognize it when it shines on you and in you. May you learn to overlook the little things, including comments by others as well as dust on the shelf, while you focus on peace and love. May we all learn to celebrate our beliefs, heritages and interests without being fearful or combative with others. 

That last part is big one for one little candle, but the power of one is strong. Take care of yourself so you will have strength to care for others. Take care of your one household and then help one neighbor. When all the neighbors do the same, your street or town can look to help one more. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the only rivalries were good natured ones where the winning team tells their opponents "great game" and both sides walk off the field feeling good about their effort?

Take that to the Nth degree and we'd eliminate war, theft, cheating in all manners and even hurtful remarks would disappear. We are all made of the same components. We are all connected. We all matter. I know that isn't likely to occur in my lifetime, but I will continue to wish for it and hope that others find peace within their hearts and homes. 

Meanwhile, bring a fork and a spoon (be prepared for cake and/or ice cream!) and come over tonight to celebrate love, life and laughter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How do you feel about gray hair?

Is there a woman alive who hasn't loved her hair on a random Tuesday when it looked great and nothing special was scheduled for that day  but can't do a thing with it two days later when she needs to look just so? The most emotionally secure woman has probably had days where she had doubts about her hair. Haven't you wondered if your cut was out of style, if your color looked natural (assuming that you wanted it look that way), if it flattered your face, and the big one....does gray hair make you look old?

I think the women in the photos I've included today look great. If they look older than 40-something it is because they ARE older than 40 something! 

Before gray began moving in on my head, my hair was such a dark brown that my husband insisted it was black. Dyeing my hair that shade was way too harsh. How much of that is my perception of unnatural color (like purple hair which is fine if you're aim is fun and funky) and how much is the more subtle slide of coloring in complexion, eyebrows and even irises that no longer "work" with that dark color?
Emmylou Harris

I can do many things but I cannot color my own hair neatly. Even when it was short I'd rather bathe a long haired dog that sheds if that gives you any idea of how bad I was at self-color. For a few years I did have it dyed. It looked ok to good, but it never felt right to me. The color was too light to suit me.When my roots showed, 30% were light gray ones while the rest were much darker than the bottled color.
Jamie Lee Curtis

A new stylist suggested highlights to blend the naturally gray hairs when I told her I wanted to grow out the dyed hair without an obvious line of new growth. She turned me an awful shade of blond with brown streaks. She recognized my horror and promptly redid the color, this time with lowlights instead of highlights. I continued the lowlights until the last of the dye job grew out.
Sharon Gless

I am ok with my hair now. It is dark hair with a lot of gray in it. I shortened it a bit and had layers cut into it. Most days I wash it, let it air dry and enjoy soft waves and curls. There are certain styles I could never pull off because my hair isn't the right texture and I'm not interested in spending 30 minutes styling my hair daily. Been there, done that, don't plan on going back.
Roseanne Barr

I would never tell someone to stop coloring their hair or to change the style, so why do some people feel it is ok to ask others why they don't cover their gray? It hasn't happened to me, but I have witnessed this. Maybe my expression stopped them from asking me the same question.
Paula Deen

There is no right or wrong to the question of gray hair. It is all personal preference, just like Coke or Pepsi; coffee or tea;  and should the toilet paper hang with the paper over the top to the front of the hanging roll or along the backside of the roll. I am currently going to a new stylist much closer to home. I like the way he cuts my hair but if he asks me once more about coloring it, he may be history.
Here are two sites dedicated to gray hair: Love your grey hair and the blog Going gray

And by the way, gray hair or not is optional, but the other choices should definitely be Coke, coffee and over the top. Photobucket

Monday, September 19, 2011

The stock market fainted

If you know how I feel about media and overkill, you might have expected me to break into your regularly scheduled blog reading or writing and announce in grave tones that
The Stock Market Fainted!
but you can relax. The stock market has done, and may still do, many things, but it has never fainted and it has never worked a weekend. What? Did you just say that you have some relatives like that? Yeah, we all have some drama llamas in our family herd but that isn't what I'm talking about today.

So, what am I talking about? (I think I just heard Bill ask that very question...)
  • I went to a shoe store on Saturday and did not buy shoes.
  • I went to Walgreens and only bought the sinus/allergy medicine that I needed.
  • I went to an art fair yesterday and didn't buy a thing.
  • Later I went to the yarn store to meet with the knitting group and did not buy any yarn, not even yarn that was 50% off!
Oddly enough, the yarn store was the easiest temptation to resist. Not because there weren't lovely yarns because there were. As I said in my previous post though, I have three ongoing projects plus baskets of yarn sitting forlornly on a shelf.

Walgreens did tempt me with a magazine until I flipped through it a second time and noticed the ads far outnumbered anything I would read. I know that ads help pay for the magazine, but when a magazine rivals a paperback in price, it should have more than two articles that might interest me.

The shoe store wasn't one that carries styles that I like but they do have a good repair service which is what I was using. I will be spending $4 tomorrow when I pick up the "new" old shoes.

But the art fair not getting any money from me is a surprise, even to me. Some things just weren't appealing to me, but many were and I walked away anyway. I guess the downsizing bug has really taken hold of me.

Even though this was a fine art fair and not a craft fair (serious art rather than mixed skill levels with seasonal decorations prominent), there was a feeling of fall in the way some of the vendors decorated their booths. The air was crisp when my daughter-in-law, grandson and I started out in the morning, and the senior center was selling homemade apple pies near the exit gate.

I put a few autumnal decorations out at home but am waiting a few weeks before the Halloween theme makes an appearance. That feeling spread to this blog too, hence the new background and a few changes in the sidebar.

The stock market might feel woozy over my lack of spending this weekend, but the house is happy and I think my husband still has a big smile on his face. Or is he practicing a Jack O' Lantern grin?  Whatever. It's all good.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Knitting updates

To knit or knot? Knit, of course!
Knitters often have more than one project going at a time. Sometimes one project requires more focused attention and is better left for solitary knitting at home while simpler projects are fun to work on in social settings. Sometimes one project has a deadline while another is one you just couldn't wait to start even though another project's deadline looms. I don't usually have more than two projects going at once, but currently I have three. Four if you count something I haven't touched in a few years and recently re-discovered. Photobucket

One set of needles is creating a shawl from lace weight yarn that has been aging in my closet for a few years. Another set goes back and forth to the yarn store to knitting sessions with a sock in the works. Last week I began a mystery project at the store. No clue yet what I am making, but I suspect it is a shawlette, meaning something smaller than a shawl but not a long rectangle like a scarf.

I do have two finished projects to share, projects that have been done for a few weeks now but had not been photographed yet. Remember my sorry hat story? I found a pattern that fit my noggin and made myself a red hat. No one is here to photograph it on me right now, so a teddy bear is standing in as a model. The bear is also modeling Colton's newest sweater. I hope it fits him. He is growing like a weed on Miracle Gro!

The sweater pattern is from an English knitting magazine. The yarn is Sublime by Sirdar, 75% merino, 20% silk and 5% cashmere. Mmmmmmm, it is nice. The hat pattern is Super Slouch by Wendy Johnson available through Ravelry. I don't recall the yarn I used at the moment but can find the label if it is important to anyone.

 The knitting group meets in a little while this afternoon and I hope to look alert while there. Allergies and sinus issues are nagging me this weekend and after taking something to combat this, I have what a commercial once appropriately called Medicine Head. Today is definitely time for a simpler project that requires less focus. Maybe I'll just fondle some yarn and leave the needles alone. This abstract portrait of a knitter looks remarkably like what I see in the mirror today!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Want to know how to glow?

Some days when I go to yarn shop to meet the ladies in the knitting group, I pretend to wear blinders so that I don't notice new yarns and patterns that tempt and distract me from my current project. There are sooooo many pretty yarns to avoid! 
A month ago I did very well bypassing the yarn but noticed a basket of fibers for needlepointe by a Halloween display. The back wall in this photo is mostly needlepoint supplies.
I love Halloween so I had to look. There was a card of almost white fiber called Zoo Eyes by Rainbow Gallery. It is a polyester-viscose blend that glows in the dark. Boy howdy, I had to have some! It is recommended for needlepoint 13-18 count canvas or 7-11 count cross stitch. I bought waste canvas (cross stitchers will know what this is) with plans to make a ghost on a black sweatshirt for Colton.

Do you know what the hard part of this project was? Finding a plain black sweatshirt in size 3T. Every shirt I saw in the store had graphics or words already on it. I found a source online and ordered one.

Here is the waste canvas basted onto the shirt and with the cross stitch started. Sorry the photo is small. I must have sent it from my phone in an odd format. Enlarging it makes it blurry.
Still a work in progress, but here I've clipped some of the waste canvas threads around the "Boo!" and pulled them out to show you the process.
The fiber is much heavier than embroidery floss and created a somewhat textured surface, I think due to the viscose wrap that is probably what allows it glow in the dark.
And lastly, another less than stellar photo, but here it is glowing in the dark. I sat the shirt under a lamp while we had dinner, then turned off the light to attempt to photograph it. My camera wanted to use the flash which of course negated the special effect. I finally settled on this shot but the color is off. The ghost is more white than this with only a touch of greenish glow.
I hope Colton has a ghoulish or ghastly good time this Halloween. He is still pretty young, but his mommy and daddy, and of course this grandma, will feature the fun side of Halloween for him.

Here is the little charmer last year. Photobucket

Friday, September 16, 2011

September Birthdays

I refuse to write about being cold in September. It is still officially summer and I am hanging onto it with everything I have, even my toenails which I've been told are painted a summery color, not a fall one. Hello? Do you not see that we have another week of summer by the official calendar and when I rule the world, summer will last until December 1st, followed by 3 weeks of autumn, one of winter, three to four weeks of spring and then summer will return.
* Ahem *

September is my birthday month. I found some fun facts about September birthdays and am about to share them here. I plan to do this for following months through next August, so please check back when your birth month rolls around.

September's birthstone, the sapphire, was once thought to guard against evil and poisoning. It was believed that a venomous snake would die if placed in a vessel made of sapphire. Traditionally a favorite stone of priests and kings, the sapphire symbolizes purity and wisdom.

The birthstones we associate with certain months now are not necessarily the same ones as in ancient times. Once, color was the most important feature of a stone. Ancients did not distinguish between a ruby and a garnet, for example. The names used in history may not relate to the stone we think of with that name today. For example, a sapphire in the Bible was probably what we know today as lapis.

September's birth flower is the aster. Asters are mainly symbols of powerful love. The other September flower is the morning glory. Morning glories are simple symbols of affection. Asters were once burned to ward off serpents. The seeds of some morning glory varieties contain a hallucinogenic acid.

These facts could explain why I don't like snakes but do like to take trips (but not "acid" tripping flashbacks!)

If today, September 16th is your birthday, your tastes are simple but excellent. You are domestic and require only pleasant and harmonious surroundings and one to love and be loved by. Demonstrative, impulsive. and somewhat jealous, you are easy to please and should take care in choosing your mate.Your birthday is shared by producer Allen Funt (b. 1914), musician B. B. King (b.1925) and actor Ed Begley, Jr (b. 1949)

I won't tell you which date is my birthday, but this is what I found for my birthday fact: You are a dreamer, have a vivid imagination, and make elaborate plans, which you never carry out. Cultivate self-reliance, perseverance, and foresight. You are loving and lovable, gentle and attractive, a favorite among your friends, and popular with everyone. The first line is probably the most truthful and accounts for why I have so many unfinished projects. Good to know I can blame it on my birth date, right?

If you were born between August 23-September 22), your astrological sign is Virgo, The Virgin.
Ruling planet: Mercury.
Element: Earth.
Quality: Logical. Ability: To reason.
You are the organized thinkers of the zodiac. With a critical eye, you dissect and analyze all sorts of data. You seek perfection, and you are able to see instantly the flaw in any given situation. Loving information, you file and store it away for future retrieval. You understand computers intuitively, as your own brain functions in exactly the same manner. Incorporating a sense of humor into your personality keeps you from becoming overly serious. Dependable and responsible, you must guard against taking on the accountability of others. Once you have truly learned how to have fun, yours is an enviable life.

I do think that my brain functions much like a computer, especially when I have a virus or am slow to boot up. We won't discuss the issue of Trojans as this blog is rated PG.      Photobucket      Photobucket

Most of today's information was taken from the Old Farmers Almanac, but this last bit was not
Embrace what applies and disregard the rest. That might be good advice for everything in life!

P.S. As a Virgo, prone to critical review, I would like to point out that the left side of the above sign should read "you are" or "you're" instead of "your". Obviously this was not written by someone born between August 23rd and September 22nd!