Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 182 of 365

When I was in high school I used to watch General Hospital. Luke and Laura was big then, as was Rick Springfield. And who could forget Richard Simmons on the show?

Richard Simmons.

He used to be on the show, then he had a show of his own. I admit it, I watched. Didn't necessarily exercise with him, but I watched. Then, as a young mother trying to get baby weight off, I found a Richard Simmons album. It was basically an exercise video without the video. He'd cheer you on, telling you what move to do next, counting off, all while you looked at the pictures that came in the album.

With the advent (and finally our household purchase) of the VCR, I bought one of his Sweating to the Oldies tapes. I liked the music, and I knew he had a good track record of working with overweight folks. Over the years, I've worn out the tapes.

But last year while recovering from my first shoulder surgery, I found some Richard Simmons DVDs. I bought all of them. (I think there are like five or six.) My plan was to use them once my shoulder got better. But I wound up with shoulder surgery number two and those DVDs have been sitting on the shelf ever since.

Not for long. I have a plan.

On Day 167, after 120 consecutive days of exercising, I stopped. I started back in April and ended in August. And as of two days ago I still had not started back up.

I had worked so hard to keep the streak alive. I had worked my way up to 3-5 miles a day on the exercise bike on Level 4. (It only has 7 levels.) But once I started back to work, the fear I had about not being able to maintain it came true. My evenings had been long, we had just buried my mother-in-law and I was feeling worn down and weak.

I'm still trying to adjust to this new routine of trying to balance work and home. I've been thinking on an exercise plan, and now I have one I can live with.

Those days I don't have to go to work are going to be exercise video days. With my old pal Richard Simmons. Yes, it's dorky, but I have to admit, it's kinda fun.

The other part of my plan started yesterday.

Each Tuesday I have a meeting going into the evening. Since I get to leave the house a little bit later in the morning because of it, I had some extra time to walk up and down our block yesterday morning. (It's been several years since I've done that.) I enjoyed it so much I did it again today. Unfortunately I can't say getting myself dressed and outside walking by 7:00 AM is easy. And I can't say walking is a pain free exercise for me.

But I sure do get to see pretty things that early in the morning. Today's picture is from some sunflowers at the end of our block.

    Tuesday, August 30, 2011

    Decorated Fishbowl Sugar Cookies - Day 181 of 365, Tutorial Tuesday

    That one year during parent teacher conferences parents had no idea what the usually responsible teacher had hidden by a tote bag on the floor behind her desk.

    Every time parent teacher conferences come around, teachers make sure kids clean and organize their desks. Lots of times parents want to check out their child's desk, and many, many times those parents are surprised/shocked/excited at how clean and neat the desk is. (For most kids, the desk goes back to pig-pen status within a couple days.)

    Teachers also like for their classrooms to be nice and clean. Desks straightened, countertops wiped down, chairs neatly arranged around the tables. But I had a fish problem.

    It just so happened this particular year my daughter came home from spending time with grandma with a fish. A goldfish kind of fish.

    I've been traumatized by goldfish before. When I was a kid growing up my brother and I each had a goldfish. And I cleaned the tank. But cleaning the tank required getting a Cool Whip container for the fishies to swim in while the tank was being emptied. I wasn't exactly an expert fish wrangler. I could catch them in the little net, but to keep my hand covering the net while I carefully transferred them to the container? Not so much. More than once the little slimy creatures tried to make a run (or should I say leap?) for it. Leaped themselves onto the counter. Flopping all around. I had enough problems worrying about them touching my hands while they were in the net, so you can imagine the difficulty I had in grabbing them as they writhed around the counter. Downright frightening! Those fish didn't make it all too long.

    So when my daughter came home with that fish, the fish tank cleaning memories came back.

    We gave it a good go with that little fish. We cleaned the tank and we fed it regularly. But we had water problems. We lived in the country on a well with bad water. We eventually bought water at the store for fishy. Little daughter didn't take much responsibility with the fish, so I decided to take it to school where it could live in city water and be our class pet.

    The students were more than excited to clean the tank and feed it and watch it swim around, right there on the counter next to the drinking fountain.

    The town's water (and the school's old pipes) wound up being not so great for fishy and he started floundering in March of that year. He wasn't swimming as much, and although I brought in bottled gallons of water again, it was appearing to be a bit late for recovery.

    But I didn't expect that just a few minutes before parent teacher conferences were to start, Mr. Fishy would be barely moving in his bowl. Having a lethargic, appearing-to-be-dying fish on the counter for all to see would not be appropriate for parent teacher conferences. So I did probably what seemed appropriate at the time.

    Cover the bowl with a tote bag and hide him on the floor behind my desk. He stayed there all night.

    At the end of conferences, the custodian took pity on me and took a walk to the boys' bathroom with our pal. There will never be anymore goldfish in my lifetime again.

    Except for these. Don't forget to check out the video that goes along with them.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Day 180 of 365

    I don't know why I think I should have control over things in my life.

    I've had control issues before. I want to be in charge. But each time I think I should be in charge, making the decisions for my life, the universe thinks otherwise.

    Such as what happened today.

    I left the house this morning with a plan. A plan I was excited about. I had to do some not fun things, but the reward was going to be great. It was a plan that allowed me to go to the movies all by myself. (Oh, how I've been wanting to do that!)

    I had an morning eye doctor appointment which would be over in time for me to get to the next city and go out to lunch before my next appointment - an MRI on my back. I'd finish with the MRI in plenty of time to get to my 1:40 movie. Then I was planning on hitting Home Depot for a new drill (the kid we hired, then fired, this summer broke ours) and a tool for the sprinkler system. I'd have enough time for all those things, plus visiting my mom, plus picking my daughter up from work.

    But my day didn't turn out that way.

    The eye doctor was running late. I didn't leave my 10:00 eye doctor appointment until after 11:30. No time for lunch as my MRI was in a different city at noon. I made it to the MRI, on an empty stomach, with a few minutes to spare. But the MRI folks were running late. I didn't leave there until after 2:00. I missed my movie (and the next wasn't starting until 4:30ish). And after spending an hour lying flat on a hard surface without being able to move a muscle, my back was a mess. No energy or patience to tackle Home Depot, and no pain pills to ease the pain (I gave those up ages ago).

    I did go to lunch - not until close to 2:30. And to think I skipped breakfast so I could get popcorn at the movie I never did get to see.

    I guess today wasn't a good day for a movie. Maybe I'll try again another day. Or maybe just give up. The stars are just not aligning for me.

    Looking back on the day, the highlight really happened first thing this morning when I was in the rose garden.

    My wonderfully fragrant Double Delight rose, still wet with dew.

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    Day 179 of 365

    I sure miss posting on here in early afternoon.

    For most days before summer was out I had a routine. I would work on sewing in the morning, have some lunch while watching the news at noon, and then do a bit more sewing. In most cases I had my picture already snapped by 1:00. I'd type a bit on my blog, head downstairs and exercise, then come back up and finish the blog and post my picture. By 2:30 I felt like I had accomplished quite a bit. I had thinking time, planning time, and working time.

    But summer started and my husband was underfoot each and every day. My schedule wound up working around him and what he needed/wanted. Late breakfast, skip lunch, work in the gardens, exercise squeezed in where I could, writing my blog sometime in the evening. I even attempted to close up my sewing room twice so I could spend more time in the gardens (which did not work for me).

    Then I started back to work, and my schedule became even more discombobulated. It became early breakfast, pack a lunch, get home late. Do the blog sometime before dark. And the exercising stopped.

    Now I'm three (or is it four?) weeks back into work and I still can't get hold of a schedule that works for me. I sure miss the early blog posting and picture taking - it's like the important part of the day is done and I don't have the "pressure" to find something worthwhile to take a picture of.

    But finally, today, I felt I could breathe a little more.

    I again spent time this morning helping with the irrigation pump (that is still not working - grrr). But after some breakfast, my husband cleaned house to give me time to film my tutorial for Tuesday and work on getting a baby quilt finished.

    And here it is not yet 2:30 in the afternoon and my tutorial is done (fishbowl cookies, as voted on by you!) and I have a picture of my latest baby quilt. While it may look like the exact same picture as on Day 173, it is not - it's now quilted with an overall meandering stitch, ready to be sent away.

    I have four quilts going out the door this week, all to the Quilts for Kids organization. The one from Day 164, Day 176, the crumb quilt from Day 107 that I couldn't fit in the box last time, and today's.

    Saturday, August 27, 2011

    Day 178 of 365

    I went to the movies today.

    I had planned on going one of these last couple days - all by myself - by my husband got all pouty about it. He wanted to go, and it's best to let him have his way.

    If you've read my blog, you know my husband has cerebral palsey. To look at him, you'd think he had a stroke. He's unable to use his right side and walks with a limp. Living with someone who can't drive, can't tie his own tie (and he wears one almost every day), can't tie his own shoes (mostly slip-ons now, thank goodness), and can't cut his own steak can be a lot of work. He has great difficulty peeling potatoes, using a hammer, and cutting with scissors.

    Over the course of our marriage, every piece of furniture and equipment that has needed to be assembled has been assembled by me. China cabinets, headboard, TV stands, chairs, exercise bike, bookcases (and we have dozens of those). TV hung on the wall, patio blocks installed? Me.

    So those times I can get away by myself are rare, but so very precious.

    I so look forward to a Saturday where I get the day to myself. I so wanted to have another quilt finished, and so wanted it to be my picture of the day. But today was not an alone do-my-own thing day. It started out with me having to help him for quite some time on the irrigation pump at home, time at the movies, and eventually ended at the grocery store.

    I can't complain - I did get to go to the movie I wanted. And I found a gorgeous dessert (that I didn't buy) at the grocery store. I don't know what it was, but it looked so good!