Sunday, June 30, 2013

Como se dice "Lo siento"?

I was feeling really sad and hurt last night and this morning. Not only did I get bad news after not recovering from it, I did something (accidentally) stupid and I don't know if I will be forgiven for my mistake.  If one small mistake is all it takes... Maybe I'm wrong, but that doesn't stop the hurting that makes me feel like I have another failure to add to a lifetime collection. I never can understand, nor can I remember in time why I'm reluctant to take the risks that  are always strongly against me.  

I hope I'm wrong.  It's weighing heavily on my heart. It still hurts so much.

Distraction...

I've been trying to put together some modular bookshelves for a while and only figured out a few days ago how to set them up. Wooden crates.  They look good stacked on the side of the entertainment center, but I only have half of what I need.  It figures, huh?

JoAnn's put them on sale for $6.99 each yesterday, but only had one crate to sell.  Seemed like a joke.   As of today they've raised the price to $8.99 each. And they're sold out.  Of course.  It looks like I'll have to hope they get some more in this week or I won't be finishing that wall for a while.  

My nephew suggested painting them white, but I'm not sure about that yet.  I'm going to put a fabric or painted backer in each crate after my new sofa arrives.  I'll have to figure out curtains and paint color for the room.  I may leave the paint like it is. I really liked how my sponge painting job turned out years back, but moving all that furniture by myself is a daunting task.

I tried the demo of Zumba Fitness Rush on my XBox tonight, (more attempts at distraction) and after one meringue song, I was sweating.  With all the crying over the last 30 hours or so, the sweating made me feel dizzy again.  Could be there's still a lot of "Dutch courage" in my system.  Well, it was actually Polish, Swedish, and Russian, respectively.  It's not something I do much of, but I needed some numbness for a while.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Spice Rack


I needed a spice rack that I could hang on the wall but I haven't been able to find one that would hold enough spices.  The cabinet situation just became ridiculous for me.  I'm overrun with spice bottles.  

I had an idea for a wooden Coca Cola box that I saw at Big Lots -- I'd put shelves in it.  Then I got it home and realized shelves would require non-standard lumber cuts. All I have is a jigsaw and a hacksaw. :). Of course, those shelves wouldn't hold half of my spices anyway.

Then I became frustrated, and screwed the box to the side of the cabinets and stuck all the crowded bottles in lid first.  This tactic worked fine with my paint bottles, which are all the same size and shape, and sit in small stackable plastic crates.  

It would have worked if I didn't have such a varied assortment of bottom-heavy spice bottles, with the weight threatening a bottle avalanche.  And when I tried pulling one bottle out, of course, ten more fell out.  *sigh*

So I abandoned the project for the night and decided to inspire myself with craft supply organization on Pinterest.  I saw some paint bottles arranged on a wire grid that looked like chicken wire and I finally made the connection that I could build a grid for the inside of that box out of foamboard.  

I love making things out of foamboard.  It's like carpentry for wusses.  Me being the wuss, naturally.  I can't help it.  My father always told me that girls can't build things, and he wouldn't teach me any "man skills" because he said I'd have a husband to do all of that for me.  Well, I've been waiting on a handy man for 24 years, and having to be frustrated with my desires to build things around my house all the while. But foamboard is my friend. :D. 

I'll put it in terms you married men can understand: I'm single and I don't know anything about man stuff, except for the hilarious lesson in public bathroom urination posted on Facebook yesterday by the dean of the art department of my University.  Doug cracks me up.  I wish I'd been in one of his classes. (It's "piss angle" , if you want to know what to look up and you can get past my using the crude term.)

I've infiltrated the men-only realm by owning a retractible metal tape measure. Mwahaha! So I measured and tested the grid pieces and stayed puzzled for about five minutes worrying over the math for spacing the grid cuts.  If only foamboard was 1/4 inch thick, but it isn't.  It's 3/16 inch thick.  I thought I could get away with measuring and calculating in metrics, because foamboard is a handy 5 cm thick. Unfortunately, none of my thick acrylic rulers were metric in the least way!  

I finally just measured the biggest bottle, which was 2 inches, marked a 3/16" slice, and then moved the ruler so I could easily count another 2 inches, plus the grid slice.  :) It worked!  So back off man, I've got a cheap box cutter with a snap blade. Oh all right, I've also got a nice heavy-duty Kohler knife around here somewhere, but adjusting it is annoying.




So there's my handiwork that I stayed up until 4 am to complete.  I just had to finish, though my dog was deliberately trying to stop me for a couple of hours, just because he wanted me to go to bed.  I wanted to accomplish something. Yes, I hate the knotty pine.  It's about 60 years old and the varnish has turned it orange.  I've tried a couple of times to paint it.  Argh. My nephew wants me to paint it his favorite color, but a green kitchen just seems awful to me.  It's dark in there.  I'm wanting to go with something simple and bright, like white.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

More Than a Little Tired

Tonight at the gym I did 2.6 miles on the elliptical, and 1.8 miles on the treadmill for my cardio day.  I ran nonstop for fifteen minutes and then I ran a little more. 

I was stress-testing my heart and shins.  How high could I push my heart rate & would my shin splints come back with a vengeance? I admit I'm feeling a little self-destructive lately. And it would be a lie to say my gym sessions don't hurt me every single time, but I'm going to hurt even if I skip the gym, so I might as well try to get some useful results out of it.  If I can now toe-press 125 pounds, (After I do leg presses, I use the front of my feet and push just with my lower legs, which has sculpted them) shouldn't my shins be getting strong enough to run without shin splints? You would think so, right?  I burned over 820 calories, until my leg started twingeing with pain up the back into my hip.

And then I limped.  *Sigh*.  If it makes you change the way you walk, you have to stop.  

I couldn't get my shoes snug enough without pulling the laces too tight.  I wonder if I really do need wide shoes? Maybe I need normal shoes given how quickly I stretch them out and my feet roll around in the shoes. Maybe they need a snugger structure.  I suppose I could try some shoes out locally and order them from Zappos if they seem okay.  

The breathing aspect of running I've got down.  It's when the pain of an uneven gait crops up that I start having trouble.  Nothing like dragging a dead leg when you're already doing badly in a race. It's a spirit killer.  

Oh well.  At least I was able to maintain a 13:02 pace pretty well.  I was distracted by the pain in my feet, shins, leg, and both hips and just didn't want to keep running hard, although I had a better time deliberately increasing my cadence and trying to remember to push off with my feet.  I've often wondered what it would be like to run without having to think about every foot strike. I can't just abandon my thinking because I have to concentrate so hard on rehabilitating my poor broken feet.

They say that every runner has an occasional bad run.

I have an occasional almost half-decent run.  Running alone sucks every time.

I had my alarm set for 5 am Monday. I was going to try for a pre-dawn run in my neighborhood, but right after I got into bed Sunday night at nearly 1 am, my dog started freaking out barking, and I thought someone was breaking in.  It was my nephew, in a panicked search for his missing puppy.  I helped him comb the neighborhood for almost an hour, then he discovered that Milo was safe at home, avoiding the temptation of an open door and sleeping soundly. So I went to bed and not long after I got to sleep (sometime around 2 am), my eldest nephew called to ask why we were sending him urgent texts.  All this was okay, like I said, that's what I'm here for.  :). 

So I didn't get up at 5 to run.  I was zonked, and I stayed that way all day. 


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Green Ginger Ale

http://www.rebootwithjoe.com/green-ginger-ale-juice/

Today I'm trying a new recipe that's supposed to be great for nausea and cramps. 
It tastes pretty good.  :). A bit spicy on the first drink, but even my 17 year old nephew 
said it tastes pretty good.

I think I put in a bit too much ginger, but I like ginger, so it's still good even with the 
slight heat at the back of my tongue.

As for what it will do for cramps... Well, I'll have to decide on the beneficial effects 
in a few hours.  In any case, it has celery and cucumber, which are diuretics, and 
that probably wont hurt either.  Lol

It has a light refreshing taste like ginger ale soda, but without the sugariness. 

I don't know if it has to do with possibly having bought limes that were too old, but mine 
are very difficult to peel.  

Maybe I'm wrong to think that a lime is just a green lemon, so expecting them to peel as 
well as a fresh lemon is unreasonable.  

* * * 

It's been about an hour, and yes, my tummy feel better.  :). And I'm not thirsty anymore. 
Well worth the money I spent on produce!

Zombie Movies Always Make Me Remember...

... that I'm not comfortable with the state of my disaster prep kit!  

I saw World War Z yesterday and when the protagonist took his family on the run, I started thinking that I really need a good knife for my kit.  Oddly enough, after the movie my brother showed me his Ka-Bar camp knife.  Lol. Coincidence that we think on the same lines? I don't know, but I should tell you about our birthmarks some time.  

I'm still undecided about the water storage problem.  Supposedly water in plastic bottles left in a hot car leach cancer-causing parabens.  But I can't store glass bottles of water for an emergency.  What's the safe thing to do about keeping an emergency supply of water in the car?  And what about food? It needs a long shelf life but it should be lightweight for carrying in a backpack.

This isn't really about a fear of zombies.  I had a dream that really freaked me out about 21 years ago, about a massive disaster that put me on the run and I was not prepared.  Granted, I was running from werewolves, and it ran like the script of a horror movie.  But it was just a dream -- nothing to give me a permanent case of the heebie-jeebies.  

And then the earthquake and tornado worries set in, for real, in my waking world.  And then there were the ice storms.  People locally without food, shelter, heat, and water, and no preparation for it at all.  They just didn't see it coming, and I don't want to ever be completely helpless like that. 

Hey, I get aggravated when I can't get my hands on the right tools or materials for a project.  It would really drive me nuts to be without something simple, like a knife, in an emergency.  

It's true that I might be a tad over-prepared for most situations, but that's better than being caught with your proverbial pants down, isn't it?  

Even when I walk my dog at night, I'm armed.  A man was shot in the head, a couple of streets over from my house a couple of weeks ago.  I don't want to take any chances, and I have to walk my dog.  I'm just being prepared.



Monday, June 24, 2013

More Chores Yet

I also replaced my kitchen table with a cute little cafe table and two chairs.  Now I need to order two more chairs.  I keep forgetting.  It was a job finding a table small enough, but I found it here in town.  It has a really pretty routed design in the top which necessitates that I buy a piece of glass to protect it from typical mealtime spills.  Of course, it's never as easy as just going to a store to simply buy a table and chairs. Haha. There's also the old table and chairs to dispose of.  *sigh* I'm getting ready to take it to Goodwill if nobody wants to buy it cheap.

My date a few weeks ago insisted that I prune my tree because the branches were too low and kept slapping him in the face, so I complied. As it turns out, the tree needed pruning for more than just human convenience.  Too many branches were causing the limbs to droop, and when I started thinning things out a bit, the limbs started lifting into the air again.  I swear I heard the tree give a sigh of relief.  So I pruned the poor scalped-by-the-city pear tree as well, and now I realize I've got more trees in the back to prune too.  

I've got house plants to rehabilitate, a bed to create for more tomato plants, more weeds and brush to spray, and still more decluttering to do inside and outside as well.  I need to build a spice rack, or buy one, but no luck finding a half decent one yet.

All of this makes me feel profoundly fortunate that I actually have time to take care of these things right now, though it's hotter than Hades for working outside.  I'd love to be doing things that are a bit more social *ahem*, but it seems as though the lines of communication are down.  As always, I'm just waiting to hear and trying to keep myself busy so I don't think about why I'm not hearing anything.  Being patient ... is pretty painful sometimes.  It's a good thing that I won't run out of chores to distract me anytime soon.  

The Little Things (that need to be done)...

... which always turn into lots more work than they should...

I am officially one month into my unpaid vacation and I've decided to start tackling some of the little annoying tasks that I've been meaning to do for ages.  Meaning, in some cases, months, and in others, years. Niggling little chores that I might as well do, since I'm spending much more time in isolation at this time of year than when I'm working.

I've created half a set of bookshelves from wooden crates.  They aren't where I originally planned for them to be, but I really think that flanking the TV will be a more sensible location for them.  It will be easy to put books on them there, go figure.  I'm not sure whether they'll have a painted backing, fabric backing, or if I'll just paint all the crates, but I know that I'll need another six on the opposite side of the tv to balance things.  And let's face it, to house as many of my books as possible.  I've needed bookshelves for the 12 years I've lived here. I've never found any that would work for me for sale, or I would have gladly spent the money for them.  

I'll wait a few weeks and see if the crates I want go on sale at JoAnn's Fabrics. I bought the rest of them on sale, after all, and I'm not paying $12 each for them if I can get them for $5. :D I can't help it. I just love modular stuff for all the possibilities.  I guess it's the creative side of me that hasn't gotten to play in such a long time.  My creative space is a bit jammed up for now.  Again, never could find a workable furniture solution, so the room is a semi-functional hodgepodge... Except for my workbench. I built that myself and it absolutely rocks.  

The difficulty in finding things I actually want in my house has caused me to be rather slow in furnishing it comfortably.  It would probably be a lot easier to make me happy if someone else picked out something they figured I'd like and then just bought it.  Saved me the trouble of shopping.  It's never been an option yet.  *sigh*

I told my father about my ingenious setup, and now that I've found something that WILL work for me, he has offered to build me some bookshelves. *very big grin*  I appreciate the offer, but I HAVE been waiting 12 years for him to upgrade my power outlets and build me some new kitchen cabinets.  Yeah, he's a bit of a procrastinator.  Wonder where I got that trait from?  Haha.  In any case, my modular solution is less expensive and allows for this lady to change her mind.  Often.  I know I won't!  

If he makes me some bookshelves, awesome!  I'll just refit my studio with the crates. I may yet fix it up with crates.  I've said before that I'm not a carpenter, so I can't otherwise build what I need out of wood.  

I did shop for a new sofa which had to be tracked down, virtually with Sherlock Holmes, to see if a local furniture store cole get it for me.  I could have just bought it from Ashley Furniture, but they would still have to order it and then they would charge another 20%+ to deliver it, and I have heard nothing but complaints about their paid delivery service.  The local people can get the same Ashley products, and give me a bit of a discount, while delivering it to me here in town for free.  :) Still, there's the same two week wait on the order, but much better delivery conditions.  They were very accommodating about delivering and arranging my very large bedroom suite a few years back.  Yay. :)

After I get the sofa, I've got to make decisions about painting the living room, curtains, and all the rest of the stuff that I don't want to think about yet. I've repaired a miniblind in the kitchen (which meant buying an extender kit for my drill... Small chores always turn into a big pain in the butt), and now I see that I have to start repairing / replacing even more blinds. 

On the brighter side, the repair I did in the kitchen was due to some moron slamming a couple of nails into the window trim and then just balancing the blinds across them.  They fell on my dog, who promptly freaked out and hid under my bed for about 24 hours.  Oh, brighter side to all that?  Little old me just bought some mounting caps for miniblinds and installed them.  Now the blinds will stay and I can swap them out whenever I get ready.  Which will be...  Not really soon.  Ha ha ha. I've still got another set to install in the living room.  I hated doing the matching set, but if memory serves me, I did those with nothing more than a hammer, a nail, and a screwdriver.  I hated it.  Oh, but now I have a drill.  Hmm.... Could make quick work of it...?

As I said, I've been wrapping up some long-procrastinated little chores.  I painted my garbage can today.  It was a hated blue (the only one the stupid store had at the time, in the right size) and I painted it a lovely tan stone color with some Krylon Fusion pant today.  I'd been meaning to do it for a couple of years, and now the paint is on the plastic and one less spray paint can for me to store. It's not a perfect paint job, but it looks much better than it did.  Yay me.  

I also finished constructing a mitten chest last night.  (I get annoyed when winter comes and I can't find matching gloves to wear, so I stash extra pairs in my coat pockets.  Sometimes a glove falls out, and sometimes I have an extra pair to give to someone who needs them. I have running gloves, dressy gloves, fingerless gloves... I need somewhere to store them in an organized way.)  Now I need to cover the foamboard with paper so that it'll be paintable.  Another decision. What color?  

Anyway, the lesson I *should* learn from all this is to do these jobs when they arise.  Or soon after.  Okay, within six months and before they pile up.  *sigh*. My procrastination is embarrassing, but it's very satisfying to tie up some loose ends, finally.  I'll get to be very successful at this, because as I finish one task, two more pop up.  I'll never want for work.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Red Whine & Kale

I baked some kale chips tonight. They were pretty good, but they have a bitter aftertaste that was offset nicely by some Barefoot sweet red wine.  I don't know much about wine, but I know what I like.  I know what red wine does to me and more importantly, that it doesn't let me sleep well.  I suppose that would be handy for a romantic evening.    (I don't usually drink, but tonight, it was warranted.)

The point is that I ate an entire bunch of kale, which is full of really good stuff, including iron, that I just don't get from my typical food choices.  And my dog loved the kale.  Go figure.  He'll try just about anything that Mommy is eating.  He would have loved the seafood ravioli that I had for dinner, but it wasn't worth the $18 a serving I paid for it and there was only enough for one meal.  Just goes to show you that if you add the word "lobster" to the description, you can get away with doubling the price on mediocre food.

I suspect it was frozen, which is really lame because even *I* have a pasta press with a ravioli attachment. I really think I could make better.  Call me silly, but I bought it when I had hopes of someone to cook for a few years back. I'll be the first one to tell you that freshly made spaghetti noodles are a world apart from the dried stuff you buy in a store.   

Yes, I'm still on the juice fast, but once a week I do eat a normal meal and then regret it because it wasn't that good.  I had a very soupy "taco salad" on Father's Day that I regret.  

The past week, coincidentally the week I started back in the gym, I've gained a couple of pounds which I am VERY displeased about.  I think it's because of my weightlifting.  I also think I have a bizarre ability to pack on muscle weight without ever burning off fat in the process.  I just get heavier and I never can see a positive change when I look in the mirror.  (Don't tell me to see a doctor.  I saw two and they just threw Phentermine at me, which no longer works on me, except for the jittery amphetamine quality.)

Go back to the gym, start rapidly gain weight, develop sudden fear of the gym.  I know I wanted to have some muscle definition, but I think I'd better drop the weights and go heavy on the cardio instead.  Oh, just for a little while.  Maybe three years or so, since I've already spent that much time at the gym with nightmarish results.  It feels like everyone looks at me with that scornful thought, "For someone who spends so much time working out, you still look just awful."  

I think that my next move will have to be an hour of cardio daily, and only 3 days a week of easy weight training.  Strictly limited to three days, come hell or high water, and too bad if I fail to get some exercises in.  

I've been feeling really down lately.  I kill myself dieting and exercising properly, and get the opposite result from what I wanted.  Exercising makes me hurt slightly less than I do just sitting around the house by myself.  I feel lost and lonely, and I'm wasting a lot of valuable summer vacation days being by myself.  

Insomnia is rearing its ugly head again.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sawbones

I'm trying to work up my nerve to make an appointment with the bone and joint clinic in the next county.  I'm not hesitating because of what they might tell me is wrong.  I'm hesitating because of the possibility that they'll tell me nothing is wrong, or that I'm imagining the pain I'm feeling.

It has happened before, and I suspect that it is due to incompetence on the medical staff's part ("mystery virus" that locked all of my small joints painfully into curled positions with a swollen red rash from my neck to the soles of my feet) or even simple laziness ("it's all in your head" - what he called "malaise" turned out to be diabetes, thanks).  A couple of times it has been due to male chauvinism -- "women complain all the time anyway, so ignore their pain." (Raging kidney infection for which he wouldn't even do a simple urine test, and a case of strep for which he wouldn't even swab my throat.)  

These days I won't go to a doctor for pointless routine check ups (they wouldn't listen to me anyway and they don't know what they're doing) that are all about charging for office visits and adding ridiculous surcharges such as " new patient fees" when I've been that same doctor's patient for 20 years and he keeps telling me I've changed my name.  I've never been married.  My name has never changed.  If he can't keep me straight with my file there in his hand, how can he know what's going on with a complex human body?

This one told me the golf ball sized swelling under my jaw was nothing because he couldn't see it with his eyes, even after I made it prominent.  An endocrinologist told me it was a goiter, after an ultrasound showed that it wasn't near my thyroid.  Yet another doctor said that it was a suspicious swollen lymph node.  Well, when the ENT I went to biopsied, then surgically removed it, he verified that it was actually a large tumor about to impinge on blood flow to my brain, and he couldn't see how those other doctors could have misdiagnosed it, especially after an ultrasound.  

So, I'm scared that I'll be wasting my time and still not have my pain resolved.  It involves my lower back, both hips, one thigh, both shins, and both feet sides, tops, and bottoms.  I think the problem is with my hips, and fixing that might alleviate some of the other pain.  

Running? I'd love to be able to run, but right now walking is quite a challenge.  Sitting hurts, and getting up from sitting to walk is even worse. :)

What I've learned so far:

There are no good doctors in my town.  They're all very old, lack modern training, and have God complexes.  They're also very chauvinistic.  Women, in their eyes, are less than men and shouldn't be treated unless they're gushing blood and a possible malpractice suit waiting to happen.  Men get tests and every complaint remedied, so that they can keep having sex until they're 100.  (That's not even necessary!) Women? They'll let our reproductive organs rot and kill us.  They have pills for every minor male whine, but nothing analogous for females.  We're still in the dark ages up here with the "old boy" network of physicians.  

It hasn't escaped my notice that the doctors who have actually listened and then done something to treat me (tumor removal, injections and antibiotics for bronchial bacterial infection), have all been younger doctors.  Under 50, from what I can tell.  Nothing wrong with a 50s doctor either, but there is something wrong with a doctor in his 80s who can't even remember who the patient is with their file in his hand, and who neglected to note certain medical conditions in that file in the first place.  I'd like to see my file, and how incomplete it is.  Someday, some "forgotten" problem will rear its ugly head again.  

I'm afraid that if one more "doctor" tells me I'm "imagining things" because they're too incompetent to check it out, that I'm going to lose my temper with them.  I worry that what's wrong isn't fixable.  

I'm not afraid of having my legs twisted painfully until my femurs pop back into place.  I'm afraid of becoming unable to walk.  I'm afraid no one will listen to me.  


Saturday, June 15, 2013

Smothered by Tomatoes

I am afraid I'm going to be smothered by tomato plants.  I already had two, and Dad just called to say he has left me three more plants at my sister's house.  If you are not in on the reality of this situation, let me enlighten you.  

Every summer my dad grows 6 tomato plants, and every summer and fall, we all have plenty of tomatoes.  I like tomatoes, but I always get more than I can use.  I eat so many of them to make Dad happy that I get ulcers in my mouth and have to eat antacids like there is no tomorrow. If there is one thing I can't handle, it's the expectation that I eat several large tomatoes a day when I have such bad heartburn I'm always on the verge of throwing up.  

I can only eat so many.  I never really want more than one a day, and usually not that one.  Now I'll have as many as Dad always has before he shares them with us... all to myself.

I'm afraid. I'm nearly terrified.  I don't even have a place to put them once they start ripening, and I did NOT need a new set of pets to have to baby every day of the summer.  This is why I bought a soaker hose.  And thanks to the wonder of Miracle Gro soil, I have a flowerbed full of happily growing grass seed.  Forget the flowers. I had to have some place to plant the tomatoes fast or face the wrath of Dad.  

Now I have more than doubled the number of plants, against my will.  And he's already telling me everything I've done wrong, am doing wrong currently, and will do wrong in growing these tomatoes.  Maybe it's about feeling powerful and superior, I don't know.  

I do know that I'm going to have to learn to can spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato sauce.  Where I'll keep the jars, I have NO FREAKING IDEA!  Not only does my pathetic kitchen not have counter space to work on anything (unless you count doing EVERYTHING right on top of the stove burners), there's no place to store dozens of extra jars of tomato products.  I'm tempted to dry all the tomatoes and just eat them for snacks.  

I feel like I'm being bullied with damn tomatoes.

Disclaimer: I love my Dad very much and I'm glad he's sharing his tomatoes with me, but sometimes I'm prone to panic in the height of tomato season.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This is the Men's Room!

"Where's the Toilet?" - Casey 

Line from a favorite cheesy 80s movie of mine.  "My Chauffeur".  I watched it because it had Sam Jones in it, and I've drooled over him since I saw him in Flash Gordon in 4th grade.  He made me forget all about Superman's dark hair and intense eyes there for a little while, but I went back to my love of dark-haired men eventually. (It's currently on Netflix, if you want to see it.)

I got a similar response last night at the gym.  I'd done my tanning, done my cardio, and done the back and ab machines and the triceps extension machine.  Up to 65 pounds on that one, yay.  I still don't think that twisted crunch machine works on me but the torso rotation one feels like its a second away from twisting my back horribly every time I use it.  

So I thought I'd work on my biceps as well, and started looking for the dumbbells I knew I could handle.  The 15 pound ones.  Yes, I know.  But I'm a girl and I've already said I have no upper body strength.  

Couldn't find them on the very empty rack in the room where I was working, so I headed into the free weights section.  You could just about hear necks creaking and crickets chirping as I walked over.  One guy gave me a seriously surprised look and even turned around to see where I was going.  

Um, just to get some dumbbells, fella.  Nearly every one was over there.  Hey, full length mirrors too, so I could watch my form.  Yeah, that's helpful.  

See, I could use the bicep curl machine in the other room, but I can't keep my shoulders from moving, no matter how careful I am, and it seems like I put all of my energy into gripping the handles.  When I'm done, my shoulders are aching like ... They did all the work.  I know what you're thinking.  I DID get a trainer to show me the proper way to do it and she couldn't help me keep my shoulders still either.  I think it would take someone holding my shoulders still for me in order to do it right. 

And I just can't find any guys at the gym who seem willing to restrain me.  ;). Jk.

Anyway,  I was watching in the mirror for my sister to come back in, and I noticed that three men stared at me the whole time I was doing my curls.  They literally stopped what they were doing over in Sausage World and stared.  Maybe I was doing something wrong.  Maybe they considered it their turf. Maybe they were wondering why I could only handle 15 pounds. Lol. 

Maybe they noticed that my snug running capris have started getting a little baggy on me.  I did.  I've lost four inches so far this summer break.  It's probably the juice, and I'm okay with that. I'm thrilled with that, actually.  I've lost 8 pounds with no exercising, but I've hit a plateau.   (I'm trying to change a permanent metabolic "starvation mode" my body seems to be locked in. It's evil.  Basically, it's like this: you get sick with the flu, you lose ten pounds, like it or not.  I got the flu and became dehydrated and couldn't eat for three days.  I gained FIVE pounds.) I eat every now and then, but I'm not having a hard time staying with the juicing because some of that juice is really tasty.  And healthy.  I just don't want to EAT a lot of green stuff.  

So I guess it's means I've lost my power of invisibility if I head over to the grunting section.  I'll admit I made a few ugly faces on those last few reps because they hurt, but I didn't feel the need to grunt or groan.  Next time I'll use the stance my brother told me about and really freak 'em out when I steal one of their benches.

But no grunting. I'm pretty sure I'll pull a groin muscle if I do that, and lemme tell ya, that's no fun at all.  Been there, done that!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Back in My "Dream" House

This was actually a different house than I've dreamed myself in before.  Yet, it was all very familiar.  

So familiar that I wonder if it might not actually be a real place I've been in before, and I've forgotten that I've really been there.  However, I knew what I would find when I opened the closet (sheets I recognized but have never owned -- they had silvery metallic leaf patterns woven into them and there were clothes I'd forgotten I had) and went into the bathroom (broken, leaking plumbing that made me wonder how much my water bill was unnecessarily run up).  

When I say it was my dream house, I don't mean that it was a house I hope to live in someday.  It's just where my mind takes me sometimes, a familiar place in the weirdness of my mental landscape.  My own home battleground, perhaps.  

It wasn't destined to be a nightmare.  I was wandering through the house, into that back bedroom that I used to sleep in, but had closed off for a long time.  The room was bright and sunny, and had large windows that wrapped around the corner of the house.  The bedding was old fashioned and white, with tiny pink floral designs.  Flowing white curtains that fluttered in the breeze from the windows.  I could even hear birds chirping outside. Not specifically girly, just breezy and bright and refreshing. Someplace anyone would want to recharge their batteries in.

I couldn't remember why I had closed off that room.  It was so roomy and peaceful and happy in there, I could not recall why I didn't want that room to be mine.  I made the conscious decision to leave the 2nd bedroom and start sleeping in the 3rd bedroom again. Then I realized that I was going to have to fix the broken plumbing and I couldn't remember who owned the house. (Me, actually.)

A friend tells me that I am transparent -- that everything I'm feeling inside bleeds right through so that anyone can see it on the outside.  I suppose this dream is similar, if I can admit that I've kept certain feelings locked away in a lovely room that I wouldn't allow myself to go into for fear of being hurt again. And I'm there again regardless, so I'm not going to close that door  again.  

Sure enough, a dark element appeared.  Two men showed up in my house, I tried to be a good host (tough for me -- I haven't had much practice), and I overheard them saying that they intended to harm me.  I sat in my room for a little while, worrying, and then I called the police.  By the time the police showed up, I'd beaten both of them bloody.  I'm not a violent person, but I think that if I were backed into a corner, I'd defend myself.

 The birds I heard chirping? I probably really heard them outside and the sound was incorporated in my dream.  I believe the broken and leaky plumbing were two separate issues.  Half of it is a longtime worry of mine, and the other half was my body trying to wake me up so I could go to the bathroom! Oh, don'tcha love symbolism?  What's with all the white?  New beginning, reawakening, innocence, purity.  That one goes on and on forever.  I could be really cynical about all of this, but I choose not to be, because I know exactly what it means.  If you know me very well, you've probably figured it out.  :). I can't help it. 

Seeing the World

I was asked last week where I'm planning to travel to in the future.  Currently, I have no plans for this summer, though I'd like to go somewhere if possible.

Next summer, I'll go to Ireland, England, Wales, and France.  It's a packaged tour, and I wish I could convince some friends to go with me, some even more than others, of course.   It's a teacher/student/parent type of deal, and anyone else we know who wants to come along.  :) 

Why am I going? Well, other than the UK and France being ancestral homes (ooh, doesn't that sound grand?), I just enjoy seeing new and different places.  And as Eddie Izzard says, it's "where the history comes from!"  Haha. :)

Right now, for this summer, I'd be glad to go just about anywhere.  I'd still like to go to New Orleans, maybe to a beach, tent camping, or maybe even just to my family's lake house, which is only a couple of hours away from here.  I just don't want to go alone.  That's where things begin to be slightly out of my hands.  I can request all I like, and that's about all it's worth.

I was in the mountains a month ago and really enjoyed myself there, though as a chaperone I had no freedom outside of my own very comfy suite.  I wouldn't have minded sharing a room with the other chaperone -- she's a sweet lady -- but I suppose it's like getting your own room all to yourself for the first time when you've been used to sharing.  It's just a breath of fresh air, especially when you're staying in such a nice hotel. I felt like a giddy little girl when I had time to myself, alone in my room. Yep, like a fairy tale princess, just like my giant bedroom furniture makes me feel. :)

For many years, I heard various people say that they would travel when they retired.  And I thought about that....

What if I make it long enough to officially retire, and I'm physically unable to travel and see all of the places I've heard about all of my life?  

Right now, my hips are killing me... I took my dog for a walk a little while ago and didn't get down the street before the pain in my right hip made me limp.  I'm not sure if it's just a misalignment or if it's arthritis rearing up.  I've been hurting from this for about three years, so if it's going to be chronic, it'll hamper my desire to travel.

I'd rather not live with regrets of things I could have done but didn't.  I've already got too many regrets of things I missed out on.  Experiences that had a narrow window of opportunity that will never come again, and all I can do is block them out of my conscious mind.  Oh, but they still plague me in my dreams, thank you very much.  :)

Where do I want to go? Anywhere in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, South America, Australia, the Caribbean (again, sure!), Hawaii, Alaska.... Anywhere I've never been.  :). Some places I've already been, because I'm sure I didn't do them justice when I was there.  I suppose you could say I just don't want to sit home anymore, and I love all the little details of travel.

I love airports and the variety of shops they have to browse in, though I prefer to find an actual seat other than the floor when I have a wait ahead of me.  Airplanes fascinate me, especially the novelty of the compact bathroom, except for the fact that I know it's an unsanitary place and I only go there if I have to.  It's the gadgets. I get a kick out of gadgets.  I also like the challenge of packing very light and still having all the amenities I need on a typical day.  

However, I did leave behind my dryer and curling iron and took bobby pins instead.  Not a fabulous look for me, but I had less of a packing hassle and happily carried on both of my bags.  So when we landed in Milan and half our group's checked bags never arrived, while they were searching baggage carousels and asking for help, I washed my face, brushed my teeth, put on a little makeup, and generally refreshed myself.  :D

Even though the bathrooms were strange to me in Italy and I never wanted to use the bidet (it was the communal hand towel they provided which icked me out), they were still pretty interesting. Our Venice-area hotel had teak flooring and a wall-mounted heated towel rack.  (And a window which was very peek-able for everyone passing by on the sidewalk, LOL) The Florence hotel had a shower with a tiny little corner door opening.  And the Rome hotel had a toilet tank hanging near the ceiling while the shower was incredibly dark.  I was a bit wary that the tank was going to fall on my head.  What a situation to be found dead in, eh?  

Our hotels didn't use electronic key cards.  They had keys and massive key fobs that had to be turned in at the desk whenever we left.  Besides, who would want to carry around a pound of keyring when site seeing?

Still, I'd love to go back there someday. :). There were lots of things I didn't pay enough attention to, but I was overwhelmed and exhausted much of the time.  See, that's something I'd like to rectify.  I need to travel with lots of energy, and if I wait until I retire (70 1/2, if my life never changes for the better) I will be in no shape to walk hours each day.  




Saturday, June 8, 2013

This Is Going To Hurt

Warning: healthy-type talk ahead... 

I've got it in my head that today I'm going to work on my upper body at the gym.  

I hate working on my upper body.  It's weak.  Very weak.  Chest presses and shoulder presses hurt, and that's with an unimpressive weight.  Lol. Not that I'm out to lift impressive amounts of wight.  I'm very much NOT. I just want to lose fat and define my muscles a bit, and lifting heavy weights is what it will take.

And let's face it -- to me, a 20 pound dumbbell IS a heavy weight.  I can't curl one yet, though I was up to 15 pounds when things got frantic in May.  It's going to take time and supplementing my protein intake, because my juice probably doesn't provide enough.  So I occasionally snack on raw almonds.  :). 

I've been planning, since Spring Break, to set up a getter gym plan for myself. I just didn't have time to research it until now.  My gym seems to be nearly deserted at 2 in the afternoon, so that may be a great time for me to head there. I love not having to wait on the socializers to finish their conversations around the equipment I need.  

There aren't as many people to potentially stare at me while I drink my juice.  Nobody seemed to even notice it yesterday, though my brother said there might be a problem with my glass jar out on the floor.  I didn't take it on the floor -- just to a table where I sat and enjoyed the energy refill.  Lol. Surely they won't have a problem with me just sitting at a table to drink it. 

Am I a gym rat? Am I loving all the time I get to spend at the gym???  (Other than being fortunate to have all the time I need to spend at the gym... Maybe that's part of the divine plan for me, to have ample time to fix the problem without drugs.)

No.  Not really.  It's just the means to the end of getting me in shape, and it takes longer for results to show on me than other people.  Do I feel that's unfair? Well, heck yes!  But it is what it is, and being in better shape will make me less insulin resistant, though it's a major catch 22 that insulin resistance drops my rate of effectiveness to something like 10% of a normal person.  

Just have to put my head down and do it.

Just do it.  

Don't whine that its unfair, because that won't affect my metabolism anyway.  

Just do it.  Hey, I bet I could find that on a t-shirt someplace, but I really don't feel like its time for me to don shirts with in-your-face mottoes on them yet.  Not while my belly still needs to shrink.  (By the way, THANKS, estrogen, for that! /end sarcasm) Not while I keep getting injured.  I'm not brave enough to wear a tank top just yet.  *sigh*

I've been thinking about hiring a trainer for a little while, but to be honest, I want someone who can coach me in running too.  

PS - If you were wondering how I'm *feeling* physically, with all the juice I'm drinking instead of eating meals, I feel great! Once the headache went away (it was day 6 for me, though most people lose it on day three or four -- I'm migraine prone) I started feeling more healthy, but I was doing a lot of heavy manual labor around the house, so I used all my energy up. *shrug* Now that I've been able to turn the intensity down on THAT, I can feel that I've got more energy and I'm in a much better mood.  Maybe that's someone else's doing, though.  I've always enjoyed spending time with him.  :)

The Game is on Again

No, I'm not referring to my personal life, and yes, I stole that from ABBA.  Ha ha. (So sue me... I was listening to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack.).  My date last night made me very happy, and I laughed a lot more than I have in years. :). Details? No, I'm not giving any details except this one: 

I got hives!  Fortunately, not on my face this time, but it was bad enough that it happened at all.  I didn't realize I was nervous, but I suppose that with learning to control the outward expression of my emotions over the years, I somehow managed to internalize a mild case of jitters and get my immune system in on the joke.  *rolling eyes*. That's the game being played.  I think I'm calm, but on some hidden way, my body is messing with me, causing hives and hindering my fitness. 

The night was great, really! My subconscious is just very silly.  And childish.  

So, I went to the gym today to see if my leg had healed from being jammed so hard into my hip, and to see what kind of stamina I've got on my juice fast.  (Yes, I ate dinner on my date.  So what?  Lol. Like I of all people could lose weight fast on any special diet.  It just doesn't happen.  My metabolism isn't normal.). No problem with stamina on my cardio, but I also brought some carrot apple juice with me to keep my blood sugar stable if I overdid my workout.  What can I say -- it worked. 

I'm already 7 pounds down from the juicing alone.  Yay me!

I took 10-20 pounds off most of the weight machines I used, because I've been away from the gym for a few weeks. (Mainly because I hurt my leg shopping and I've limped for weeks, and partially because I was very busy with end of school year stuff and working on things around my house. ) I'll work back up to full strength soon enough.  I wasn't able to do three sets on the hamstring machine though.  :( I wonder if I hurt my hamstring rather than my glute or femoral head.  The second set became excruciating when I got to the 15th rep, so I stopped.  I still need to be able to walk.  Sitting hurts badly enough.

I'm not whining! But it does hurt a lot and the limp is embarrassing.  How do you explain that it's a shopping injury???  :)

I want to start running again, but all of my failures are stacking up and messing with my head. I need to run at dawn while it's still cool but I can't get up that early right now.  No motivation to skimp on sleep. Maybe soon I'll do it.  

And maybe soon I'll hit the gym late at night, after everyone else is gone, and try some new machines while no one is there to see me looking like an idiot, trying to get it right.  

I'll admit that it's a bit disheartening for me, now that I realize it will take me longer than the average woman to see real changes in my body, no matter how hard I work.  But I am seeing a few changes in my legs.  Not enough to please me, but at least my calves are slimming down to a look that's more toned than fat.  And my thighs are starting to shrink a bit.  I'm sure it will take a long time for my body to start burning fat in the chubbier places.  

I just wish that I had an idea just how long it will take.  Another two years? Another four? (Hey, by then, the gym will have a pool I can swim in!  ) 

Ah well, must keep plodding along, mustn't I?  :) Whatever. Lol


Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Melon Has Landed

And I'm not talking about the size of my head. Shout out to Pauly Shore.  Lol

I brought home a watermelon from my shopping trip tonight.  It's in my meal plan tomorrow to be juiced.  Oh yes, I'm back down from the pound of water weight I gained -- its usually more like ten pounds around this time, if you know what I mean.  ;) 

I just gained one pound this time, and now it seems to be gone again.  Thank goodness, because juicing can be expensive, but I seem to be shaking my chronic fatigue.  :). Feeling good is worth it. 

So... Fearing a roll off the kitchen table,  I put the watermelon on the floor over in a corner.  Quincy, my Yorkie, apparently thinks that it's a huge tasty ball.  Superball! He's been reverently sniffing the melon, then licking, then attempting to bite it, leaving a few tooth gouges in the rind.  

Does he think its a ball god, I wonder? It's the biggest ball he's ever seen, it smells good, and it tastes interesting....  

He became rather frantic trying to master this green ball, I'm afraid.  There were whimpers and panting, and for a minute I could have sworn he was humping the watermelon! Yeah, I know, it isn't unheard of, you sickos.  

I think he was trying to employ his usual method of backing a ball out from a tight corner -- pulling on it while leaned over the top.  Poor fella, he wasn't strong enough to manage it.

Fearing what might happen to the melon before I made my breakfast from it, I put it atop the table.  Knowing my Quincy, if I'd put it on the chair, he would have bumped that chair until the ball came down to him in a crushed but tasty heap on the floor.  I've seen him do it.  He bumped the baker's rack until he knocked off the bag of his favorite treats - Pupperoni.  Then he grabbed the top of the bag between his teeth, threw his head back, and hightailed it into another room with his prize!

I left the room and turned the lights off, but when I went back in for something, I found him sitting there, gazing reverently in the dark at the giant green orb.  He was sitting here beside me a minute ago, then his ears perked up as if he heard a green sloshy voice calling him to the kitchen.

I wonder how long he will sit, listening to the voice and gazing at his dream ball.... The dog is obsessed!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ain't Nobody Happy with Wet Feet

Nobody seems really happy today.  It's raining again.  It was raining yesterday.  It was raining last weekend.  My sister and I have been trying to have a yard sale for weeks, and it always rains on the Saturday of.  This is why I usually just give all of my stuff to Goodwill.  :) I don't get any money back for it and I usually don't bother with the tax credit, but I don't have to worry about everything just being thrown into the trash when it still has use for someone.  If my clothes are too raggedy or stained to donate, I turn them into cleaning rags for my house or classroom.  (Old flannel pjs are great for that.)

I bought a new kitchen table yesterday and managed to scratch the finish bringing it into the house.  *sigh* Yeah, that was all me. I take full responsibility for that. No, I wasn't the only one moving it, but I was really impatient about that situation.  I'm pretty sure I can get a touch up kit from Lowes and it won't be a problem although I do now have to go to the glass shop and have a round piece of glass cut to fit the table, because it has this nice crisscrossed groove pattern cut into the top and that will catch spills and crumbs like crazy.  It's just a little round cafe style table, but my kitchen is tiny and the big table was just collecting clutter.  

I still have a lot of thinking to do about a more efficient way of organizing things in here without countertops or adequate storage, since I now have some rather large and expensive small appliances added to the mix.  Juicer, blender, stand mixer.  And my tools.  Where do you put a toolbox and drill case when you don't have a dry place to keep them outside, and you don't have a utility room in your teeny tiny house? I stored some tools in the shed once, and they rusted into brokenness in a season.  

I'm buying a new sofa, but I've run into the problem of a store that does not stock anything for immediate sale.  I'll have to wait two weeks for them to order it.  Maybe I'm a little naive for thinking that buying furniture and going home with it that same day were possible?  *sigh* Unfortunately, I will not sit on the old loveseat because the dog has ruined it.  Peed all over it where it can't be cleaned. Why? Not so much training as anger at me.  He feels that he should get my attention every waking moment, and I just can't do that.  I'm thinking its time I got him a kennel.  And stop allowing him free access to the furniture.  Sorry, little buddy.  I know you like looking out the windows, but I like having a sofa to snuggle on and you've deprived me of that.

Speaking of the little fellow.  Day two of storms and day two of a scared dog with a gurgly tummy making a mess on the freshly cleaned carpet.  Argh.  That is just not how I want to start my day, you know?  And distressed cats outside that are freaked out by the standing water on the carport.  How will they ever eat if they have to get their paws damp? Perish the thought!  However, they're smart enough to hop around on top of stuff, so let them figure it out or have wet feet.  

I'm just a bit tired of dealing with neurotic animals. Me and family members included in that group.  ;)

On the other hand, YES my sister and I both got our tomatoes planted.  I planted mine with basil, but who knows if they will live, because I sprayed that flowerbed with brush killer last week and it says on the bottle not to plant there within four months of spraying.  Really? Four months?  In any case, my herbs and veggies are all getting a good watering now.  I hope they live.

Breaking the Curse

How do you break yourself out of the curse that you created--a trap you unwittingly laid for yourself?

"They say" that curses lose their power over you once you stop believing that they can hurt you.  Maybe this means that it's best just to turn your back and walk away from the problem that you stuck yourself with in a weak moment, years ago.  

Yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time, fun even, but your got yourself stuck in a disappointment that will not leave you alone so that you can take some steps forward in your life.

I'm not someone who enjoys getting involved in a fight, loud or quiet.  I don't enjoy arguing, and I don't particularly want to continue an argument where the other party gets to say every horrible thing that is on their mind, then go all old school -- well, elementary school -- on you and basically stick their fingers in their ears and start repeating, "I'm not listening to you!" when your turn comes to speak your mind.  

Sometimes it's 95% bullying nature that makes them behave in such a disrespectful way, but it is, without a doubt, a sign of 100% immaturity to refuse the opposition the opportunity of simple self-defense.

Because you can't engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person, most of the time, I just tune them out.  I'm sure they believe that my silence is a sign of capitulation and their win, but I'm really just disengaging myself completely.  Getting distance between us.  I never enjoyed shouting matches, and pleading for another person to consider your feelings isn't worth doing after they've shown you that they do not consider you worthy of emotional Importance. Once they see you as their underling, I don't think it's possible to change their view of you.

Sometimes that distance is measured in days.  The actual time I give them varies according to my need for peace, but at times I've given a person years away from me to become a person whose presence I can tolerate again.  I'm simply hoping that if I ever encounter them again, that they have grown enough as a person to stop being such a user.  I know I can't change anyone else, so if I can't stand their presence, I respectfully provide them with my absence.

Especially when they won't listen as you tell them to leave you alone, because you've been requesting just that for so many years while they've been pestering you.

Hey, maybe I'm the problem anyway.  

If I'm the cause of their being a self-serving ass whenever I'm around, I think it's probably a public service that I stop antagonizing them with my presence, so that they can become a better person in the presence of everyone else they know.  Maybe I'm the thorn in the lion's paw.  

Then again, maybe I'm the meek little mouse that simply pulls the thorn out and goes on my solitary way.  You know, if I were the lion, I'd do surgery on my own paw and remove the freaking thorn by myself.  Been there, done that, and the scars are very small.

Again, though, my absence doesn't mean that I am doing anything wrong.  It just means that I'm tired of putting up with their crap, and I'm conserving my energy by simply walking away for good.  My silence doesn't necessarily mean that I fear them either.  Sometimes I'm quietly contemplating just what a *fool they really are. 
 
* Insert expletive of your choice here.  I do.