All’s Well That Ends Well

The scene last night:

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For hours! We were all very content to sit together like this all evening after I arrived home.

It was a great trip, full of rugs, rugs, and more rugs. And wool everywhere. My wool stash is starting to rival my quilting cotton stash!

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Here are my rugs as they were displayed:

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Long Beach is HUGE. Too big for this country girl! But the weather was gorgeous, and we did manage to get quite a bit of walking in. That’s the only exercise I did all week.

I ate too many desserts. Back to the straight and narrow today.

Stopped on the way home for my veggies and dairy. Its a tradition now! Costco has this salad mix that I am in love with. It has that broccoli slaw, kale, sliced brussel sprouts, and some other green stuff. Its like a very substantial salad. And I got some of the Fage yogurt so I don’t have to wait to make my own.

I picked Noah up today, and we got in a few short walks, and I did my PT exercises. Its good to be home.

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100

100!  ONE HUNDRED!!! One-zero-zero!!!! Its such a nice number, don’t you think? My favorite detective, Mr. Monk thinks its the perfect number.

This morning I am back to 100 pounds lost! I started at the end of last November, so its taken 10 months to lose 25 pounds. Who would’ve thunk? But I’m glad I stuck with it. The hardest part was it being that slow and me second-guessing myself. I haven’t been terribly hungry, and I do enjoy my food (as you all well know.)

I just reviewed my “Me Diet” post to see how closely I was sticking to that plan. For the most part, my diet has remained the same as I described. I did add in another mini-meal that is mostly vegetable based between my morning protein shake and my afternoon protein bar. Sometimes I have cottage cheese and fruit, or yogurt instead of the shake. And during the summer, I definitely had more fruit than I originally started out eating. Surprisingly, I have not gotten tired of the shakes or the bars. In fact, I have quite a repertoire of protein shakes now, thanks mostly to Cammy and Lori for their suggestions.

Special thanks to friend Shelley, whose decision to chronicle her weight loss journey from day one was the impetus for this last try. Shelley also encouraged me to try just a little longer when I got weary of my limited choices about a month in. THANKS, Shelley!!

And just so you know, there have been plenty of “off plan” days in there. As you know, I’ve traveled quite a bit this year. Its hard to stay on plan 100% when you travel, even when you try hard. And sometimes I didn’t try very hard. Conversely, there have been days where I decided to just stay home, because I knew that going to town would lead to some poor choices and overeating.

And just so you know, I DO want to go out and celebrate with food. I want a cupcake, or pizza, or frozen yogurt. It never goes away. But I will content myself with a “splurge” of popcorn and half a pack of M&M’s (why yes, I do split a pack of M&M’s. Doesn’t everybody?) I leave for Long Beach and the rug convention tomorrow. There will be plenty of off-plan eating then, I am sure.

Oh, and last night I put the very last stitch in the rug! Its been a very good 24 hours.

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I’ll see you all in a week. Behave yourselves, eat healthy food that tastes good, and move just a little now and then.

I’m Still Here

I’m still here. I haven’t gone anywhere. I haven’t changed how I’m eating healthy or exercising daily (some people are prone to say that if a blogger disappears they have fallen “off the wagon.”)

I’m just busy with a single project and a looming deadline. I have lots of interesting bloggie thoughts floating around in my brain, but evidently not enough brain power left to form them into a cohesive blog post. Hopefully they’ll still be around in a week or two.

The Biennial convention for rug hookers is being held in Long Beach this year. It is a big deal for rug hookers, and I am really excited to go to it. In addition, my one rug hooking friend is coming out from Indiana and going with me. Isn’t it fun to find new friends? I am not a very outgoing person, especially in a workshop situation, but Mary Lynn and I hit it off at Cambria one year, and we’ve developed a nice friendship over the past few years. Its fun to have someone to ‘talk shop’ with. You might not know it, but there’s not a glut of rug hookers in the area LOL.

Anyway, here’s the almost completed rug. I’ve been working on it non-stop for a week, including some 8 hour hook-a-thons (all hooking terms added for your amusement.) I’ll write a little more about it on my quilt blog, if you want to hear more. I’ll try to post a completed picture of it before I leave.

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And I’m just gonna do one of them random picture posts so I can talk about this ‘n’ that without thinking too much.

On aging gracefully and acceptance of that fact: sometimes I see my hands and I think “where did they come from?” And then I remember–I have my grandma’s hands. She was kind and loving, and she always had her handwork with her, even when she was in her 90’s.  She is who I aspire to be like .

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Garden shot:

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Finally! My first echinacea that Sophie did not eat:

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Still life:

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After the bath:

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An excellent low calorie dip idea! Mix greek yogurt, SF marmalade, and mustard or honey mustard. I LOVE it on my Sunday evening rutabaga fries!

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The pugs’ bedroom (my kitchen):

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My first big tomato!!

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I’ll be back in a week or so, hopefully with a brain intact and rug hooking out of my system for a while!

The Thinternet: Tool or Tormenter

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Ruh roh. I am getting ready to leave town for a few days, running around packing, watering plants, organizing, you know, all that last minute stuff, and it popped into my head–I should write a blog. And then I remembered, with an awful thud, that our AIM post was due out on Monday. So I apologize in advance for the brevity of this post.

I’ve written several times about how much I am influenced by both the written word, and by pictures. Heck, I’m so influenced by pictures that I can’t even touch a PICTURE of a worm or a caterpillar. I turn the page by gingerly flipping the corner. So you can imagine how much a foodie like me can be influenced by pictures on the internet. Food pictures have been a problem for me in the past. My favorite pet peeve from a few years ago was when I went to healthy living sites, and the super special M&M ads would be prominently featured in their sidebar. Come on, people, that’s not playing fair!

The written word is a whole ‘nother thing. I have read a LOT in the last eight years I’ve been on this journey. The internet allows me to read more widely (not deeply) about subjects I probably wouldn’t have ever heard about. This has sometimes caused me problems. Especially when people proclaim so confidently that THIS IS THE WAY. IT IS SO EASY. THE WEIGHT IS FALLING OFF OF ME. So I’ll get all confused. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m not eating enough fat/calories/protein. Maybe I’m eating too much dairy/grains/fruit. Maybe somehow, someday I will HAVE TO LEARN TO LIKE EATING EGGS. Maybe I am doomed to fail because I cannot live with the EASY RULES that these people are so confident about.

And then I take a breath. I take a step back. I look at the truth of my life. I look at the experience of my life. I use my best critical thinking and remember that not everything everybody says is true. (duh. why do I even have to say that out loud.) I remember Debra SY, who spent way more time than me studying all the scientific papers about obesity, causes and cures. And how she said often, it should be called OBESITIES, because there was more than one cause, and so of course, there would have to be more than one cure. (hope I’m quoting you right here, Debra.)

And then I take the best of all of these ideas I’ve read on the Thinternets, and try some of them. I realize that some of these ideas will work for me, and have been very helpful on my journey. The latest new old thing that I have tried is upping my protein intake to stave off hunger, and adding more vegetables to my daily intake.

And then I try to blow away the rest, and not obsess over their wrongness and shouting.

Overall, the “thinternet” has been a great bonus in this journey. I have met some people who “get me” and who have been a great support in the hard times. The accountability of it has given me that little nudge I needed when I was ready to just give in. And the recipes. Oh my. The recipes! Well, I could go on and on and on about that. I think I’ll save that for another post.

Final verdict: The thinternet has been a great tool in my weight loss, and especially my weight maintenance journey.

To read about how maintenance looks different in different lives, be sure to check out my AIM friends:

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Lori @ Finding Radiance

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

On Being an Artist

Why is it so hard to call myself an artist? I know I’m not alone. Is it because I came to this later in life–being serious about creating art, instead of just “having a hobby?” There is always that niggling thought in the back of your head “who does she think she is?”

And since needlework HAS been a hobby throughout my life, it has been a leisure activity for me. Its hard to give myself permission to spend large amounts of time doing something  that I always considered play.

And then there’s that whole BIG AREA–how do I fit normal life (you know, cleaning, cooking, etc.) into a life that has enough room to create art.

And of course, there’s the thought that if no one else likes it, is it really art?

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But at the end of the day, I am discovering that I am the only one who can decide if my work is “art.” I have to like it. Sure, I can get input from different people (and believe me, I do!) but it all comes down to me liking what I create enough to say–“that’s it! Its finished.” Or, “I think I’ll change that part of it.”

I like what Anne Lamott says in her wonderful book “Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life.” She is speaking to a group of young hopeful writers, some of whom   have unrealistic expectations, and some of whom she knows will never be “successful” in the world’s eyes.

I still think they should write with everything they have, daily if possible, and for the rest of their lives.

And she ends her talk with this:

You simply keep putting down one damn word after the other, as you hear them, as they come to you. You can either set brick as a labor, or as an artist. You can make the work a chore, or you can have a good time. You can do it the way you used to clear the dinner dishes when you were thirteen, or you can do it as a Japanese person would perform a tea ceremony, with a level of concentration and care in which you can lose yourself, and so in which you can find yourself….

The best thing about being an artist, instead of a madman or someone who writes letters to the editor, is that you get to engage in satisfying work.

Its still hard to call myself an artist. But I will keep working at my art every day. Someday maybe I will believe that because I am creating art, the only thing to call myself is an artist.

I wrote a post about “a day in the life” over on my quilt blog. It was a very good day. A day in the life of an artist. There’s lots of pictures–I think you’ll enjoy it.