Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm Discouraged

I had a very disappointing weigh-in at Weight Watchers last night - up almost 2 full pounds from last Tuesday night, according to their scale. It actually almost brought me to tears, since I thought I had done OK this week. So obviously it was an eye-opener and resulted in me re-thinking my weight loss strategy.

I had been using their Core Plan, which allows you to eat specific foods without tracking points or portion sizes (within reason). Since I am having only limited success (and now failure) on that plan and was not doing as well as I thought, I've now switched to the Flex Plan beginning today. The Flex Plan requires journaling all the food you eat and tracking the points values of everything.

Hopefully this will get me back on track for our weigh-in this Saturday morning. It worked for me in the past, it is just time-consuming. So I went through our pantry this morning, and began labeling the foods I eat with the point values on the boxes and cans, so I can just grab something when I'm hungry without having to stop and calculate the points every time. I also will take the Point Finder tool with me to the grocery store to calculate points before I buy something.

Here hoping for a better weigh-in on Saturday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Tax Forms

Thought for the day:

As income tax time approaches, did you ever notice:
When you put the two words "The" and "IRS" together...

it spells "THEIRS"?

Park City, Utah - Part 2

The boys made it home safe and sound from the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday. This is them - they took a break from networking to have a day of snowboarding. Now I can relax for a while before any of them go on another trip. I'm always nervous when someone in the family flies. I know it is irrational, since flying here in the US is safer than driving. But, I can't help it. I always monitor the flights the days they are flying. My son told his friends that I was checking their flights while they were in the air, and they wondered why. They will understand when they are parents. At their age, they are invincible.

Here is my favorite picture from their trip, below. They met Rex Lee, who plays Lloyd in Entourage (HBO). He is apparently funny as hell, the boys said, and graciously agreed to pose with them while wearing one of their Ventilation X t-shirts. Number One Son is on the far left. That would have been the highlight of the trip for me, since we really like the show.

A good time was had by all, and no one had to be bailed out of jail (that I am aware of).

Sunday, January 27, 2008

This Week's Weigh-In

Sorry I'm a day late, I took my mother out of town Friday and didn't get back until yesterday and was too busy to blog.

This week's weight is 200.0, up half a pound. The fact that I went up instead of down just gives me increased motivation for this week. I already got on the treadmill this morning.

I'm going to try a new tactic as far as exercise goes this week to see if it improves my efforts. I usually try to get a full workout on the treadmill for 30-45 minutes at a time, but am having a hard time fitting that much time in, at one time. So I have not been doing it often enough.

So this week, I am going to start doing 20 minutes in the morning when I get up, and then do 20 more minutes right around dinner time. I should be able to keep Little Grim occupied for 20 minutes with a movie or something so I can fit it in. It's a lot harder to keep her occupied for 45 minutes.

I should be able to get two miles a day in that way. So that's my plan for this week, and going forward. I also started a Food and Exercise Log spreadsheet, where I am tracking everything I eat and my activity. That will visually tell me how I am doing.

Good luck this week, everyone!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I've Become my Mother

Once again, I find myself saying the exact things that my parents used to say to us kids, at which I rolled my eyes and swore I wouldn't say to my own. Here is a list of those things, that I either have said or do say to my kids:

Close the door, I'm not heating the whole neighborhood.
Eat your dinner, there are kids starving in China. (Popular answer "Why don't we send them this, then?")
Money doesn't grow on trees, you know.
Don't make me pull over!
Do you want a spanking?
Who left the light on?
Go put on a sweater.
Who left the door unlocked?
If you don't pay the bill, don't touch the thermostat.
Clean your room.
Be careful crossing the street.
Don't pick your nose.
What is in that cup in your room? (The answer is usually something like "it was iced tea three weeks ago")
Get those dishes out of your room.
Did you do your homework? (The most popular answer to this one is always "I did it during study period")
Don't you need a coat (or gloves, or hat, etc)?
Wear your seatbelt!
You'd better behave.
The crusts are good for you.
You want to grow up to be big and strong, don't you?

And here is one that I use, that my parents never had to:

Pull up your pants, I can see your underwear (said to both genders).

Park City, Utah

It's that time of year again, friends - time for the second annual trek to the Sundance Film Festival by my Number One Son. He and his friends are into film- making and music production. They made a film about extreme sports that they submitted to the film festival this year. It was not accepted for showing, due to a glut of submissions in their category. But they go anyway to network and rub shoulders with folks in the industry.

Last year they went for 4 days, this year they are staying for a full week. Number One Son and three friends, away from home for a full week with little adult supervision? We cringe. As always, I reminded him he was a minor and that if he got arrested we would have to fly to Utah to bail him out of jail. He doesn't want that.

He just called to say they landed safely and had picked up their rental car and were on their way to the condo. Now I can relax for a few hours until I start thinking about what they will do once they get settled and head into town for God knows what. It will be a long week!

Weekly Weigh-In

Down to 199.5 this week. I weighed twice to double check the number.

Friday, January 18, 2008

New - Books Up for Grabs Section

I like to read, but one of my New Year's resolutions this year is to reduce clutter here at home. To that end, I have added a new feature to my sidebar called Books Up For Grabs.

These are all used paperbacks that I've read, that I cannot sell on Amazon, because of the volume of the title already posted there for sale. Normally I donate them to our local library, but thought I'd offer them up to bloggers who might like to read them. I'll continue to add to the list as I clean out our bookcases. It is a short list right now.

My hope is that someone else will enjoy the book. The library typically puts them in their Book Cellar for sale, and paperbacks only go for a quarter or 50 cents, so I don't feel too badly about not donating them. If you would like a book, just email me your information and I'll put it in the mail to you. I don't expect to get them back so when you are through with it, you may feel free to donate it or pass it on to someone else.

I'm always looking for something else to read as well, so if you think you have something I'd like to read, feel free to let me know. I usually like mysteries/suspense, or funny novels. If there is any gratuitous smut thrown in, so much the better (heh).

You Got it

I like Roy Orbison. This is just one of my faves.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let it Snow

We finally got a little snow here today, maybe two inches. Grimjack is in Phoenix, Arizona on business today and tomorrow so he missed it. It apparently is in the 50's there and the locals are complaining because it is 'cold'. He was heading out to dinner when we last spoke, to a restaurant that has rattlesnake on the menu. Hopefully he will try it. He thought he'd be OK with it if it tastes like chicken.

I took pictures of the dog and daughter checking out the snow and sent them to his phone. He was going to send back a picture of a cactus but thought better of it.

Perhaps he will come home with some turquoise jewelry for me.

He also needs to stop at a Starbucks to buy coffee and a Phoenix mug. Whenever we travel, we pick up the city's Starbuck's mugs - they do a series featuring landmarks/skylines from each city.
The rules are, we have to drink coffee there before we can buy the mug - just buying the mug is cheating. It's kind of like buying the concert shirt without going to see the band. Sort of. We've already got Philly, New York City, Detroit, Washington DC, London, and Minneapolis-St Paul.

We've had a lot going on this week. His father had surgery last week and is recovering, so Grimjack has been going over every night to walk the dog and run errands, etc. Then this trip came up with very little notice, so we'll be glad when the week is over.

Back to the snow. I'd like a lot, maybe a foot (the cats feel differently), so we can hunker down and catch up on DVDs, drink hot chocolate and play cards with Little Grim. I always loved snow days when the older kids were in school. In fact, Number One Son called around 7pm and asked me to let him know if I heard that they would have off from school tomorrow. He was out with friends and was delayed getting home because the roads got icy. He is almost 18, and the novelty of a snow day never wears off.

Monday, January 14, 2008

We need new phone service

I hate Verizon. All told this afternoon, I spent close to an hour and a half on hold, trying to reach someone who can make an account adjustment for me. The first time I called, it took 40 minutes to reach someone and then the rep reluctantly told me she had to refer me to Financial Services. All I want to do is change the checking account that our payment automatically comes out of each month. That's it - nothing complicated.

So I get to Financial Services and that rep indicates I have to do that online. I said I had been unable to locate the place to do that so she gave me a Web Support number, because she could not help me with that. Now, I am no idiot, and I must have spent an hour going through their website trying to find the place to make the change to no avail.

Of course, no one answers in Web Support so I wasted another half hour on hold there. I got disgusted and hung up, and thought perhaps I should check the web again. Still no luck. I made one other attempt to call and ended up on hold way too long again.

I am now switching our phone service. We are getting gouged by Verizon and for those high prices we get lousy service when we need it. We have to switch.

Has anyone had any experience with Vonage? Their rates are cheaper than Comcast, but I'd like some personal experience to base our decision on.

Today's Weather...

You can tell how wet a day it is here, by the amount of muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor after I let the dog back in from the yard. Anyone else hoping for snow?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We're so Proud....

The long anticipated birth of small fry from our pregnant Orange Platy has occurred. That's the happy Mama in the left of the photo. I've learned that Platys can have multiple births as the result of one encounter with the male. Apparently the female stores the sperm and can reproduce every 35 days or so for up to six months, so we'll have to keep an eye on her. They are fascinating.

Unfortunately, she had them last night when we weren't home, so Little Grim missed the miracle of birth. We had segregated the fish from the rest of the tank a week or so ago because we weren't sure when they would be born. I wanted to make sure we could keep at least a few, so they will stay in the separate breeding box until they are large enough to avoid being eaten. Now Little Grim can watch them grow.

We ended up with a tank after my daughter's wedding in November. She used live fish in bowls as her table centerpieces so we brought a bunch home with us. It's just a 10-gallon tank, for now. We would both like to get a larger one, but space is kind of an issue right now. But if our population increases too greatly, we'll have to upgrade.

Weekly Weigh-In

According to the scale this morning, I am down to 201.0 ! Woo-hoo! I am surprised, because I really didn't think I had done very well this week, due to other things we had going on.

Here are some of my food finds this week:

Wegman's Fat free Garden French Dressing
Serving Size - 2 Tablespoons, Calories 60, Fat calories 0, Sodium 410mg (17%), Total carbs 15g (5%)

This was probably the best fat-free dressing I've tried. I usually avoid them because I don't like the texture or after taste, but this one is very good.

My favorite low-fat dressing is Ken's Lite Country French.

Another thing I decided to do when starting this challenge, was broaden the spices we use. So I ordered some things from Penzey's Spices.

I thought we would do better using rubs instead of sauces. The Jerk seasoning was yummy, I did that on boneless chicken breasts. Then, Grimjack made chicken salad with the leftovers and that was good as well.

The seasoned salt is very good on popcorn.

I use the 'I can't believe it's not Butter' spray sparingly on the popcorn, and then sprinkle on the seasoned salt. Although the spray butter is fat- and calorie-free when used as indicated on the bottle, do not over-use it. Apparently the whole bottle is like 800 calories, according to some health expert on the Today show yesterday.

Good luck this week, everyone!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

This Week's Home Improvement

Besides stripping the wallpaper off the walls in our downstairs powder room, I decided to tackle some furniture refinishing. Grimjack's brother recently bought new tables, and wanted to unload two old end tables that have heavy marble tops. The tables apparently are about 50 years old, I find out now. The tops alone are worth something, so I said "Sure, I'll take them!

Of course, we had no where to put them and they weren't exactly our style (Ikea mixed with whatever we can get cheap). When I told Grimjack I took the tables, he said "you did what?".

Here is a before picture:

Since I loved the marble top, I was determined to update them and squeeze them in somewhere. So I removed and cleaned the top, and cleaned and lightly sanded the table. Then I lacquered it black, using a can and a half of spray paint. Then I changed the hardware on the drawer. So we spent about $10.

Here is the finished product:

When Grimjack saw the finished table, he said "I wish we had room for the other one". And his brother wants to know when I'm bringing the tables back.

Now I can't wait to go thrift store shopping for other 'buried' treasures.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Talk about Narcissism.....

A bride had her wedding cake made to look like a replica of herself !

I wonder what the groom was thinking when he stuck that knife in?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Weight Loss

I decided to not post a weight Saturday, since I just started this past Thursday. So my next official weigh-in will be next Saturday, the 12th.

My daughter and I are off to Wegman's this morning with a long list of healthy food to pick up. So we will be off to a good start later today that hopefully will carry me through the week. I had previously moved us all to brown rice, and whole wheat pasta, which Weight Watchers allows me to have on the Core Plan in unlimited quantities (within reason, of course). I try to buy whole grain foods and snacks when I see them in an effort to convert the family. Goldfish now come in a whole grain version.

Here are some other things I like to snack on:

When you are craving a dessert, try Jello Sugar Free - Fat-Free Instant Pudding, with skim milk. Once it is set, serve it with Fat-Free Reddi-Whip (the canned whipped cream). They have a Cheescake flavor that is pretty good, if you can find it. WW allows unlimited amounts of the pudding!

I like Triscuits, so I put some low-fat cheese, like Monteray Jack, on a few and microwave it until the cheese melts. Then I put a little salsa on each one. These are yummy but you need to eat them while they are warm to get a better taste.

I have a really good recipe for a Three Bean Salad that I will make a few times this week, because I can have all of that I want. Yes, I know, they are the musical fruit. But, they are full of protein and suppress your appetite for quite a while. Grimjack will not eat beans, so that is all mine. If anyone likes beans and wants the recipe, let me know. You could probably modify the recipe to use other veggies.

Good luck to everyone this week!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm in, too.

After some deliberation, I decided to also join the weight loss group originally started when Sssteve challenged Wyatt to a weight-off. So, with those two and RT, SoHoS, and Grimjack (These are the folks I know are participating, there are more linking to Sssteve), I'm in good company.

I decided to post my actual weight. I know I need to lose weight and maybe having the figures out there in public each week will be more motivating. We'll see. I may also look for the most unflattering picture of myself I can find and post that as motivation.

I'm using Weight Watcher's as my nutritional support. I joined back in December and go on Tuesday nights. I'm hoping that if folks have a good weight loss week during the challenge, they will post what is working for them so the rest of us can learn and benefit as well.

My starting weight this morning is 203.5. The scale actually said 'Error' when I got on it - I didn't think that was a good sign, but perhaps it just needs a new battery. According to WW for my height (5'11"), my target weight at the high end should be 173, so my goal is to lose 30.5 pounds. I'll weigh in again Saturday morning and go from there.

Here's to a healthy year for all of us. Good Luck, Everyone!