Decision by Decision, a House is Built

Long time readers will know that making decisions is not my strong suit. I knew going into this construction/renovation project that this would just be a part of it, and that I would indeed have a lot of decisions to make. Its been a good exercise for me. Its required a lot of looking and learning. Learning some stuff I didn’t really want to learn. Like what is a bullnose tile? Now I know. Like grout comes in many colors. Really? Is that REALLY necessary??? At first I refused to make that decision–“just get white” I told J. the contractor. And then I looked. And now I have “French vanilla” grout. I chose the kitchen floor tile, and four different kinds of tile for the bathroom (that doesn’t include the edge tiles or the bullnose tiles :) ) I have chosen light fixtures, paint colors, cabinet wood, cabinet style, oh, and then hardware for the cabinets. I have had adventures choosing the kitchen sink. The bathroom sink was a cinch.

Today I went and chose the granite for the countertops. gulp. That one made me a little nervous. I’ve been to the granite place three times. Its a huge warehouse, and of course they have the display pieces up, but then to choose the actual piece you want, you have to let them flip through the slabs of granite and peer at them sideways, and then run back and forth between stacks in the warehouse, and then finally say, “Okay, these two.” And the granite I settled on is called Delicata Cream. And I still wonder if I chose that one because I love Delicata squash?!

Who knew that shower doors were so expensive? For some reason, I thought they would cost about the same as the closet doors we buy at Lowes–$60. Hahahahahah. Well, I saved money on the kitchen sink and the bathroom tile. And today, unbelievably, the granite countertops were $2000 LESS than I had estimated. So I guess I can spend a few of my remaining dollars on a shower door.

I celebrated the granite decision with a lunch/dinner at Chevy’s.  At 3pm, I was just about the only one in the restaurant. The salad I got was so pretty, I had to take a picture of it.

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It tasted every bit as good as it looked. The waitress suggested using their salsa as a salad dressing. What a brilliant idea!

Tomorrow the sheet rock begins. And then I guess all the finishing stuff will be done in a week? To me, it doesn’t seem possible. But all the inside stuff (plumbing, electrical, etc. [etc. meaning stuff I don’t even know about]) has taken almost 2 months. So it doesn’t seem possible that the part that I am most interested in will take only one week.

Here’s what it still looks like tonight:

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Since the sheet rock work is irritatingly noisy, and it also involves my one bathroom being unavailable to me, I decided (with the encouragement of good friends,) to take a little trip. Now that I’ve decided to do that, I am excited about it. I am going to Lake Tahoe, and am considering it a spiritual/creative retreat. I’m all packed and ready to leave in the morning. Mr. Noah is already at his “camp,” and the little dogs are enjoying one last snooze in the house. Of course, its not a whole lot different in their “dog house,” what with their piles of doggie beds and a wall heater. They particularly like it when I buy them a new bed, which I do fairly frequently–they are such a bargain at Home Goods.

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Oh, and look what I got? Ever since I wrote on here about not being able to exercise enough, I’ve made a concerted effort to do my exercise more consistently. And I finally ordered a yoga mat so that I wouldn’t have to do my P.T. exercises on the hardwood floor.

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Well, I guess that is enough for tonight. I have a crockpot full of Lori’s Potato Chowder cooking. I had the idea of taking some with me on my little retreat. That way I won’t need to eat out quite as much.

The Feel Good Factor of Exercise

I’m back in the pool finally. It took a few days of 100plus temps to convince me it was hot enough to go for a swim. Right now I alternate between 40-50 minutes of non-stop swimming, or splitting my time–20 minutes on the stationary bike and 20 minutes of swimming.  Now that I’m swimming more, I’ve cut out my weights workout. Swimming for me is mostly an upper body workout.

But what I’ve been musing about for quite a while is that “feel good factor.” After any kind of exercise, I feel good. I feel stronger, younger, not so lame. And I always wonder, is is truly a physical feeling, or is it more of an emotional response to having worked out? Or do I feel emotionally well because I actually DO feel physically more fit? Do you know what I mean?

And I realized as I wrote this that the runners are saying “Doh.” They’ve known about the endorphin thing forever. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that feeling! I don’t think I workout hard enough to muster any endorphins.

But I really do like feeling that good after exercise, even if it is for a short period of time. Its a motivating factor the next time I face the drive to the gym.

Conversely, I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say that there are days when I feel really bad (every joint in my body hurts–all I can chock it up to is barometric changes.) And on those days, it is just about impossible to make myself do any exercise at all. Fortunately, those days are the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, just wanted to encourage some of you to keep on trying with the exercise. If its not enjoyable, or you feel really bad afterwards, change it up. Lighter weights, increased reps, a different machine… it took a long time for this “natural non-exerciser” to make exercise a regular and enjoyable part of her life.

The Garden…and Other Things I Haven’t Written About

This morning I spent about 3 hours working in the garden. And I thought about taking pictures, but it just seemed like the garden is in that in-between stage when there’s nothing particularly interesting to show. Hopefully, in a few weeks, my work will be rewarded with lots of pretty flowers to share with you.

But while I worked, I thought about all the things I HAVEN’T written about lately. And how, just like the garden, even though I haven’t written about those things, it doesn’t mean the work is not being done.

Just because I haven’t written much about weight loss/maintenance DOESN’T MEAN I AM FAT. GIVE ME A BREAK. Maybe I have already said everything I could possibly think to say about the subject. Maybe I am busy living my life, and going to the computer to repeat my thoughts about what is necessary to lose and maintain weight has been usurped by much more interesting creative impulses.

Every day of my life I work on maintaining my weight loss. Some days it seems absolutely effortless. And some days it seems like a full time job. When I mention to people that I used to weigh a lot more, and we’re discussing keeping the weight off, I almost always say the same thing–“Its hard work.”

Just because I am not writing about food or recipes or low-cal cooking DOESN’T mean I have gone off the rails. FAR FROM IT. I’ve tried some really excellent new recipes lately. They were other people’s recipes, and they were tasty and healthy and low calorie. I didn’t even have to adjust them. They’re all out there on the web. I just didn’t feel the need to share them. And sometimes food tastes better than it looks. That’s the case with my latest try.

Just because I haven’t mentioned the gym lately, doesn’t mean I sit for hours in my Lazy Boy in front of the boob tube. How many times and in how many different ways can I say “I went to the gym. I did my weights workouts. The same exercises at the same weights. I got on the exercise bike, and I rode for the same distance in the same amount of minutes.” And on the other days, “I took Noah for a walk, and I came home and did my PT exercises.” And in case anybody’s wondering–yes, I am in an exercise rut. Its a rut I like very much. Which means that I will keep exercising consistently. Which is one of the most important factors in weight loss maintenance.

Oh, and one more thing. Just because I do not post pictures of myself that often, it does not mean I have gained a ton of weight and am embarrassed by my appearance. I live alone. My arms are short. You do the math.

Maybe, just maybe, if I am ever really healed of the chronic condition of WEIGHT, there will be no more need to write ad nauseam about the daily vagaries of my LIFE WITH FOOD.

I love you guys and I love blogging. I love the comments and “conversations” we have on this blog and some of my other friends’ blogs.

But sometimes the drama and the judgmental attitudes expressed by other bloggers just gets to me. Their opinions are arrogant and mean-spirited, and they are saying those things about people they don’t even really know. If you want to write about your own shortcomings, that’s fine. But don’t drag all the rest of us in with your irresponsible blanket statements.

 

 

Exercise, Interrupted

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you will know that my normal orderly :) life has been disrupted for the past few months. Since the week before Christmas, construction and renovation have been going on steadily until about a week ago. Then in February, I went on a long trip. After I returned from that trip, I got a bad cold that knocked me out for a couple of weeks.

Anyway…the exercise. At first when the construction started, I went to the gym very regularly. It was a good reason to get out of the house for a few hours (haha, not that I spend a few hours EXERCISING.) You know what I mean. After a while, though, sometimes I skipped the gym. Watching all that construction wore me out :).

Of course, travel always interrupts my exercise. I do not really like going to hotel gyms. So I don’t. Pretty much regular exercise goes out the window when I travel. I was surprised that my brother, who loves to exercise, said that he does not work out when he is on vacation. That made me feel better about that.

And then, the cold. I was just plum worn out. I walked a little most days, but I couldn’t make myself drive down to the gym.

AND THEN, and this is the biggest interruption, my carpets got taken away, and hardwood floors were installed. What the what? What do hardwood floors have to do with exercising interruption? Well let me tell you. They are HARD. The exercise that got interrupted was my 3X/week P.T. exercises for my knees and back. They are mostly floor exercises. I would sit on the floor (on my carpet) and do them while I watched a tv show. I just stopped doing them. I am looking for a carpet for the living room, but so far have not found just the right one.

Finally, last week, I hauled in a smaller rug I had for the entry and re-started my PT exercises. I’ve been back at the gym for a couple of weeks. And walking continues as before. Interruption ended.

I guess all I want to say is that life happens. Injuries, family obligations, work–exercise gets interrupted. I think its pretty much the same as eating and food. If it’s a lifetime commitment to healthy living, the interruptions are just an unavoidable part of that. There’s no need to despair, or to quit and start all over. Just start right back as soon as you can, doing as much as life allows.

Sometimes you have to find something different to do (I wrote about that here.) But for sure you need to do something. For your best life, its a good thing. (haha, don’t tell Bob or Martha that I “borrowed” their words.)

Try Something New!

If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you are probably well aware of my fondness for things that stay the same. I like the familiar. I like routine. It feels safe and comfortable. Ha! You might be thinking that this building/remodeling project must be pretty uncomfortable for debby. You just might be right about that!

That might be one reason I have not strayed from something that IS the same and familiar to me–going to they gym for a workout on a regular basis. I love my gym routine–20 minutes on the bike, 20 minutes upstairs on the weights, and finishing with 20 minutes on the bike. Its familiar, and feels safe and comfortable.

One day last week there was a notice at the sign-in desk for a new class that was starting. Of course the “burn hundreds of calories” claim piqued my interest. But it also mentioned working with free weights, something I would like to do more of. The notice said the class was being led by a certified personal trainer. “Is that you?” I asked the young man at the desk. He is one of the nicest people working in that gym. We chatted a bit, and I said I’d come to the class on Friday.

Well, Friday rolled around and I was still having my “issues” with paint color. I was determined to get my “final” paint color samples mixed. I headed down to town to do that, and then planned to go to the new exercise class. But I was running a little late… maybe I will have to skip the class. It went pretty well at the first paint store. But I needed to go to the second paint store. I glanced at my watch–3:45. I could get to the new class right on time or I could justify skipping it. I NEEDED those paint colors. I turned in the direction of the gym.

I LOVED the new class. Small size (me and five other people,) GREAT instruction, and a HUGE challenge (but not so much that I couldn’t move the next day.) It made me feel good about myself all weekend.

Try something new. Its good for your body, and surprisingly good for your mind.

Garden Doings

I actually did a lot of planting in the garden this week, and MLG came and did one major job, but we had such a sudden hot spell that everything looks a little shell shocked right now, so I couldn’t get too many good pictures. But I’ll share a bit of what’s happened this weekend.

I bought quite a few plants. I worked for a couple of hours getting them all planted while MLG (master landscaping guy) worked on digging a huge hole through a major rock field. He got the sideways dogwood planted, and used all the rocks to make a nice surround for it. I think it is going to be just the perfect place for this tree, and I have high hopes that it will actually bloom next spring! (You can see it in the back, past the “sun bed.”)

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Some pretty columbine that are performing very well this year. They are still in pots because I read that columbine need to be replaced after a few years. Does anybody know if this is true?

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Noah checks out the front bed. So far so good with this one. Noah has not trampled one plant here, and the tomatoes are starting to take off. I felt like a kindergartener when my green beans actually started coming through the ground! So exciting!

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The thing I am currently most please about is ground cover! After my local nursery girl’s recommendation that I try elfin thyme, I am finally having success at getting ground cover to grow between my paver stones!

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And this is the most successful I’ve ever been with corsican mint. It is my favorite ground cover. I buy it every year, and every year I fail with it. I’ve tried it in all different types of locations, but ultimately it dies. So to see it actually covering ground–that’s exciting!

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And finally, the most exciting new addition to my garden is some TRANSCONTINENTAL plants! I was beyond excited when Lori offered to send me some lily of the valleys. They are the perfect addition to my shade bed. And how fun to know that they came from a friend on the other side of the country.

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Here’s a shot of Noah relaxing on his couch.

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Diet and exercise update:  It was so hot I actually didn’t want to go to the gym, even to swim. But yesterday evening I went for a swim after going to a party (an outside party, in 104 degrees–crazy Californians!) It was so enjoyable that I went again after church today. The pool was practically empty both times–crazy Californians! Oh, and also, I am trying to establish a new habit. I have never been able to make myself exercise consistently in the morning. But I thought, since I get up at 5 every morning, why not try to get a walk in before it heats up? I can still have a quiet time and enjoy my coffee before getting dressed to take a walk. So far, 6 days in a row. It takes 21 to establish a habit!

I am still doing very well with my dieting. Slow but sure. As of Saturday morning, all the vacation weight is back off. That makes a total of 20 pounds lost since the end of November. I’ll take it! I’ve been eating a LOT of salads since the weather heated up. And have had my new favorite veggie several times–rutabega fries! And I am still enjoying the protein smoothies. I made a new one that was most delicious yesterday: 1 cup of low fat plain yogurt, 1 cup of frozen strawberries, 1/4 cup of egg beaters, a handful of spinach, and sweetener of choice. I might have added just a little water to get the blender started. Yummy and thick and satisfying.

 

Springtime in the Garden

Daffodils are in full bloom now. Forgive the fences. SOMEONE thinks the pots are for him  to play “King of the Hill” on.

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Every day I go out and stand under the new cherry tree to see if it has bloomed. Will it be the cherry tree of my dreams? I do believe it is! At least it is close enough! And I just read a magazine article yesterday where the gardener said that the cherry trees had grown an amazing amount in just 2 or 3 years!

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This is an interesting little shrub. It doesn’t really look like much, and then all these funny little blooms pop out. It almost looks like confetti.

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The camellia that I have to practically stand on my head to get a picture of. This is one of the bushes I hope to get in the ground. I am pretty sure it will be a LOT happier out of its container.

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Pansies and violas are such a cheerful addition. A lot of pleasure for very little investment.

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This Japanese maple is covered in seed buds. It almost looks unreal to me.

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I bought myself a few new plants at the nursery yesterday. This is a flowering almond, one of my most favorite plants. I have one, but it has never done well. The girl at the nursery said it probably has a canker. I thought she was just making that term up, and then I read it in a magazine the very same day!

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Doesn’t it have the most beautiful, delicate blooms?

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All the maples are leafing out now, and each one has a different shade.

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There seems to be a pink theme going on here. I can’t help it. Its my favorite color.

Its been a good week. I got a lot more functional exercise. The second pile of wood is all stacked up. A lot of pots have been re-arranged. I’ve gotten in the pool twice, on the bike three times, kept up with my PT exercises, and I’m starting to do fast-walking sprints like Tabata intervals on my walks with Noah. Those are really a good workout. And that doesn’t even include all the aerobic quilting I’ve done :))