We Got Rain!!

Has it been on the national news? Do you all know–California, at long last, is getting some significant rain! Except for it being a pain-in-the-butt to get delicate little doggies to do their business outside, I dare not complain!! Between rain today, I got a few pictures to provide photographic proof🙂

I love how the long-dormant moss comes to life with a bit of moisture.

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The moss is everywhere–even on the rocks!

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I look at this tree out my kitchen window every day.

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And I almost missed this bloom! The tropical hibiscus is even appreciating the rain!

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The Trouble with Dogs

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All the girls enjoy exploring the “jungle.” This is Bess.

The trouble with dogs is that they just don’t live long enough, right? If they weren’t so dang perfect and loving it wouldn’t be so hard.

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Sophie likes to walk the wooden rails.

 

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But mostly she just likes to sit next to me.

But I want to talk about the OTHER trouble with dogs, especially rescue dogs. Basically its a crap-shoot, trying to figure out what’s gone on in their former lives. Sometimes you know a little bit of information. Several of my dogs have been formerly owned by older people who could no longer care for them. I really like giving these little dogs a second chance. If they were owned by a “grandmother” sometimes they are very socialized, which is good, since once they get to my house there’s not much socialization opportunity. Other times, like Sophie, I don’t think they ever saw another person. She is still very shy when people come over. Sometimes, like Zoey, they weren’t very housebroken. She was a grandmother’s dog, and then the grandkids decided they didn’t want her any more. I know why:/  Luckily, I have a doggie door, and Zoey has embraced the concept of the doggie door fully🙂

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Zoey enjoying the sun.

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Now sometimes you don’t know a thing about the dog, like Bess, who along with a male Pug, was just dumped out in the country. But sometimes you get little hints that you don’t pick up on. When I was there to get Bess, the shelter people were explaining to the other couple that was interested in her that it would probably be best to separate her from the male pug, because she tended to “boss” him around a little. Well, I didn’t pick up on that. Bess is VERY bossy. And opinionated. She and Sophie sorted out their differences a while ago, and manage to co-exist peacefully. But then Bess decided that Chloe (young Pug’s) energy level was way too high. While I agree with Bess on the energy level, starting a fight is not how I would choose to address the problem. Chloe took her corrections for a while, and then she decided to start fighting back. We are still working on this problem. Honestly, the only thing that saves them is a typo Shelley made one day, writing “I didn’t know Pugs were so viscous!” Now I laugh about my viscous pugs. But it is tiring to always be breaking up fights. And being a “bully” breed, once they start, it is very hard for them to stop.

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Bess keeping track of Sophie and Chloe.

Oh, and now we come to the unknown in Chloe’s personality. If you recall (haha, I know you don’t) Chloe was listed on a shelter’s website, and then when I inquired about her, she wasn’t “ready” for adoption. Months later, I was contacted by the foster mother, and Chloe was now available for adoption. My theory is that this foster mother actually wanted to keep Chloe (she gave me a ton of toys and clothes when I picked up Chloe.) But Chloe was raised with NO LIMITS whatsoever, and I think it was just too much for this young mother. Chloe has a lot of energy, and she howls and barks to “direct” you to do what she wants. So we’re working on learning normal acceptable doggie behavior. Of course, taking her for walks helps with that excess energy.

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Chloe can be calm too🙂

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But buying a puppy can be just as much of a crap-shoot as the rescue dogs. Do you remember the story of my going to get Noah? He was the puppy they pictured in the newspaper ad because he was so pretty. Well, I got there, and the people were hosing the patio off. His sisters were milling about, but I didn’t see him, and I asked, “where is the white puppy?” Oh, he’s hiding–he’s afraid of the water. HINT!!!! Noah is a genetically anxious and fearful dog. He acts all brave, and barks at things, but I know that inside he is worried. He is seven years old now, and with a LOT of training and socialization, he is so improved. But I still hear the underlying panic in his voice sometimes.

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Noah keeps a close eye on the next door neighbors.

 

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And when he is satisfied that those neighbors are behaving, he goes and checks out the neighbors in the other direction🙂

Well, all this sounds like a lot of complaining, but really its not. I totally love having dogs. I love each of these little people, and enjoy their company. It was my dream as a child to have a lot of dogs, and I guess I’m living the dream. I just wanted to talk about these things–maybe it’ll help another person thinking about getting a dog.

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Sophie checking out the pink flowers. Although these have been plentiful all year, they don’t seem to meet her taste expectations.

Oh oh oh! Gotta add this blast from the past–ran across it in my archives yesterday–

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This is me at age 30, at my lowest weight ever, surrounded by all my dogs!

Fall in the Garden

Sunday I took a stroll around the garden. It was a lovely day, sunny and bright. And I noticed that there were still a few flowers worth sharing. The bees were extra busy, really working the blooms, and didn’t seem to be distracted by my standing close and trying to get some good shots. Sometimes the close-up lens on my camera gets fussy, so I sat down on the wood railing to try to get the pictures. And then I stayed there for quite a while, enjoying the sun and the dogs’ company.

This is where the bee started. I just couldn’t get my camera to focus before he flew off. dscn4631

Then I noticed this huge bumblebee on the marigold!

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And another bee here. This plant has not done well this summer. I am hoping it will winter over and be pretty in the spring.I have two of these blue ones, and a white one as well.

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A few plants seem to really be enjoying the cooler weather. This is a begonia.

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And the double impatiens, although leggy, are really putting out some pretty blooms.

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The abutilons seem especially happy with the cooler temperatures:

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Earlier in the week I did some work on my ground covers! I replaced some of the plants in my “patchwork path” with this fetus grass.

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And more elfin thyme to spread in the spaces between the stones.

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Most of the petunias are pretty ragged, but the red ones are going strong.

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And the camellia is blooming early. It usually doesn’t bloom until November!

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And that’s the garden report for now. I am still learning about gardening. Putting plants in the ground at the right time is a good thing. I have planted snapdragons, salvia, and of course pansies. And the ground covers, and then I got some delphiniums–very excited to see if fall planting will be more successful with those! I ordered some bulbs and a peony (squee!!!!) from John Scheepers (thanks, Lori!) and am so excited to see those in the spring. Tomorrow I’ll share my doggie time in the garden with you.

 

The Two Hour Mile

Yessiree! I ran a mile in two hours and 10 minutes. What? You’re not impressed? Well let me tell you about it.

After I hit my goal of swimming a mile a bit ago, I realized that I enjoyed the challenge of doing endurance type goals. So I thought, why not make it a goal to run a mile in the water? Most days I do 30-40 lengths of water running. I started doing some longer runs and Saturday was a beautiful day, so I decided that would be the day. The most I had done before then was 1/2 a mile (88 lengths.) I knew my water running was faster than my swimming, but I wasn’t sure if I would end up slowing down doing such a long distance. I was pleased that for the most part I was able to keep up my pace and came in at 2 hours 10 minutes. Since I am short, I run with the water shoulder deep, so there is more resistance than someone who is tall and is able to run in waist-deep water. I ran about 20 lengths, followed by two lengths fast-walking backwards, and one length of lunges.

It feels so good to run in the water. I feel like that picture you see of the perfect twenty year old running full out effortlessly. And then, as I said to my BF, I get out of the water, and I’m still a fat old lady. No matter. For me its a great form of exercise. Here’s a link to some of the benefits of running in the water (although its actually an advertisement to sell a water treadmill.) And here’s another article from Runner’s World.

I plan to keep getting in the pool for as long as I can stand it. But my next goal is to cycle (on the stationary bike) 40 miles. Right now I usually do 5 miles in 20-25 minutes. I’ll start doing some longer rides, and then one Saturday, I’ll just go for it.

A Little Garden News

I came home from my weekend trip last week to find this perfect rose waiting for me! This is the Everlasting Peace rose. It has a beautiful form and a wonderful fragrance. Plus, its my favorite color of pink🙂

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I bought quite a few pansies and a few other plants to fill some spots in the garden. Its supposed to be the best time to plant pansies and snapdragons for strong spring blooms. This corner bed was a mess. The creeping jenny and the never-ending violets had invaded, plus its mostly shady, plus Noah still loves to run down here and bark at cars going by. So I worked on it for quite a while, and planted the pansies, and a new heuchera in there. And then I made my little prison for it, hopefully to remind Noah that I really don’t want him in there.  After looking at this picture, I decided I need one more heuchera to round it out. Oh, and then couple of days after I did all this work, I came out to find that I had planted some of the pansies a little too close to the fence–the deer had come and completely uprooted a few of them😦

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This is one of the hydrangea. I didn’t prune it yet, and the flowers have turned a lovely shade of dusty pink. Nice!

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Okay. This next picture is proof that I have turned into an old lady. All week I was cleaning and prepping the house for a couple of ladies that I had invited to lunch. The last thing I did was go and pick a few little flowers for a table bouquet. When the agreed-upon arrival time came and went, I decided to give them a call. Sometimes people have a hard time finding my house. “Hello T., are you coming today?” “I thought we agreed on October 7.” oh…..yes, we did. I had even been looking at my calendar during the week to make sure I had everything right…. Well, I enjoyed my nice clean house and the bouquet anyways!

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The foxgloves that I have been diligently watering over the long hot summer so that I would have new blooms next spring decided to give me an early show! So excited to see the  pink shaded one!

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And, it took a LONG time, but look what finally bloomed the last week of September? The cleome that Lori sent me and that I started from seeds. One lone plant, but if Lori is right, it will re-seed itself, and maybe I’ll have a few more next year.

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I have more plants to get into the ground this week, and ummm, quite a few bulbs to find places for. Damn that Costco!🙂

Healthy Habits

I still struggle with guilt and anxiety over not being able to maintain the lowest weight I had achieved. One day an email arrived with a different questionnaire from the National Weight Control Registry. As I went through the myriad questions, I noticed that there were an awful lot of questions that I was able to answer positively “all the time.” Maybe you can identify with making many of these positive changes yourself, and feel better that, although not perfect, you have chosen a whole and healthy life for yourself!

HEALTHY HABITS

  • During the past month, I set a daily calorie goal for myself.
  • During the past month, I had several servings of fruits and/or vegetables each day.
  • During the past month, I kept a record of the type and amount of food I ate.
  • During the past month, I set exercise goals for myself.
  • During the past month, if I overate, I thought about what led up to my overeating.
  • During the past month, I kept high calorie, high fat foods (e.g., chips, cookies, cakes) out of sight so they would not tempt me.
  • During the past month, I avoided fried foods.
  • During the past month, I kept low-calorie foods (e.g., fruit, raw vegetables, unbuttered popcorn) accessible for a healthy snack.
  • During the past month, I engaged in moderate-intensity exercise like brisk walking or something similar to brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • During the past month, I weighed and/or measured the foods I ate.
  • During the past month, I limited my intake of regular soda.
  • During the past month, I kept a record of the calories and fat in the foods I ate.
  • During the past month, I kept a record of my minutes of exercise.
  • During the past month, I ate lower-fat meats.
  • During the past month, I scheduled exercise into my day.
  • During the past month, if I had negative thoughts about my weight loss progress, I tried to catch myself and stop that kind of thinking.
  • During the past month, I chose low-calorie and/or low-fat foods to eat instead of higher calorie options.
  • During the past month, I ate high-fiber foods (e.g., whole grain breads or cereals, fruit, vegetables).

Swam a Mile

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Did you wonder where the healthy lifestyle/weight loss/weight maintenance blogger went? The truth is, I think about it ALL THE TIME. I think about what I should write, about what I should tell you, about things that I’ve seen and heard, and have an opinion about. I’ve even taken notes on some podcasts, and was going to review them for you. This American Life did a Fat podcast that was excellent. I could relate to so much of what the women interviewed said. Oh, and this week I watched the beginning of a new television show “This is Us” on the recommendation of two of my blog buddies, and I couldn’t even believe how much of the inside stuff they got on the overweight character. I don’t know if I laughed or was just speechless when they showed her getting onto the scale, and then pausing to take her earrings off (I HAVE DONE THIS) and then she stepped on the scale so gingerly that she fell backwards off of it (I STILL DO THIS. well, not the falling off. at least most of the time.)

But when it comes down to it, I just don’t want to write about it anymore. The longer time goes on, the less I think I know about it, especially weight maintenance. Back in the beginning of this year, I had a little rebellion. I was just too tired of keeping track of everything I ate. What would happen if I just ate like a normal person? What would happen? I would gain weight. Yep. So then I decided that I would just track everything. I really like LoseIt, and its almost fun for me to write down my meals for the day. But I just couldn’t restrict any more. And by that, I mean, I couldn’t  restrict enough to lose weight. So I set LoseIt to 1650 calories (which they thought would allow me to lose 1/2 pound a week hahahaha.) Eating 1650 calories every day was a lot more than I’ve consciously allowed myself for a LOOOONG time. That’s been going pretty good. Occasionally I’ll think, oh, give it the old college try again–just cut back by 200 calories. And I can immediately feel the rebellion welling up inside of me. If I force the issue, I end up eating MORE than I should. I just tell you all this to say, you have to know yourself.

In the meantime, I have kept a vigorous exercise regimen going. I knew I didn’t dare cut back on that, even on the days I felt “too fat” to go to the gym. When I am home, I keep a regular routine (and you all know I love my routines) of walking the dogs early in the morning three days a week (20-30 minutes). On those days I also do my physical therapy exercises plus some core exercises (also 20-30 minutes.) And then three days a week I go to the gym. For the summer I’ve been splitting my time between the stationary bike and the pool. I like “jogging” in the pool. It feels like real exercise, and its so nice to work out hard and NOT have knee pain. Somewhere towards the middle of the summer, I started enjoying swimming more, and started swimming longer distances. I thought I might make a goal of swimming a mile again. A mile in an Olympic pool is 175 lengths, and that has taken me three hours in the past. I think its been a couple of years since I did that. Saturday morning I was talking with my brother, who was on the Swim Team in high school, and I asked him if he thought it would be better to try to swim the mile on a cooler day (73 degrees,) or wait for a warmer day. He thought it would be better on a cooler day. So that was it.

I did go ahead of time to a special bakery to get myself a treat for swimming a mile🙂 And here is how it always goes for me. The FIRST length, I think, Oh, I can’t do this. I’ll just do my 20 minutes and do some water jogging and be done with it. Then after maybe 15 minutes I think, well maybe I can make it for two hours. I’ll do the whole mile later. As two hours approached, I kept thinking about a lot of things–Shelley running her half marathons, Olympians training and training, Lori doing her 40 mile bike rides, my special treat waiting for me, AND the fact that if I stopped now I’d have to come back and swim this ridiculous amount of time AGAIN. So I just kept going.

Related to how I like counting my calories, I also like doing the math in my head–after 15 minutes, okay, one-twelfth done. Now, just five minutes later, one-nineth done. Thirty minutes in, about one-sixth done. Okay, I won’t bore you with any more of my math calculations🙂 I wear a little lap counter on my finger and keep track that way. This year it took me 3 hours and 10 minutes. I didn’t practice as much as I have in previous years. And, as my brother pointed out, I’m older. I’ll take it. I am going to be 62 years old in December. I’m still overweight, but I’m not the same person as I was twelve years ago. I have a lot of healthy habits, and I plan on keeping those.

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