Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow day!

It is Snowpocalypse here in Chicagoland. And that is a perfect description of what is going on outside my window. I got up with the best intention of shoveling sidewalks and walkways surrounding our house but I gave up after clearing the porch, steps and front walkway. And of course, the dog area had to be cleared. The snow is belly deep and deeper which even my powerful pups can't plow through. I shoveled three times yesterday just to keep up. Unfortunately the street cleaning crew just pushes all the street snow over the devil strip and onto the sidewalk. I figured it was useless to shovel our sidewalk when the rest of the block was knee-deep. Besides, I am sore sore sore!

My office in Ohio is also having a snow day. They were closed yesterday also. This means I get a sewing day! Or a movie day. Or a reading day. It's a tough call. Especially since Netflix delivered "Let Me In" yesterday and I've been excited about seeing it. And I am reading The Books of Rachel by Joel Gross which is a very interesting read. A pot of hot tea and my Kindle is heaven!

And then there is the white on white quilt I am determined to finish this year.

White on White

I just love my workroom. The spools of thread on the wall are like jewels with all those colors. I limit my knickknacks because I hate to clean. There is a place for everything and everything in its place. The room is just to small otherwise!

It appears like sewing this morning will win out in the end. I have my Twilight Zone box set to listen to as I work and there are actually a few that I have never seen so reading and a movie will have to wait until later in the day. It started snowing and blowing again outside so shoveling would be a wasted effort right now. I just hope the boy doesn't go batty listening to me work. He couldn't even make it out of our garage and alley and is now working from home. My daytime turf has been invaded!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another exercise post...

I am on round two of my class at the gym. It's the graduate class which means it is 30 minutes shorter and no one checks my food journal. And no weekly weigh-ins. When my last class ended in December I had already decided I needed to take the graduate class. I'd lost a decent bit of weight which really made my gym visits more positive. The ladies in my class and I chose to meet up over the holiday break at the same time our class met so we could encourage each other and not lose momentum before the next class. I even kept with the food journal. Holiday food was definitely less of an issue than previous years.

There is this line from a blog post that has been in my mind a lot lately. "I've always thought I was fat. Even when I wasn't. Especially when I wasn't." I'm sure this is a common thought with women. I can remember being 103 lbs in high school and still seeing myself as heavy. I am 5 foot even and 103 lbs is pretty much my ideal healthy weight. My sister didn't weigh any less and probably not any more but she looked tiny. She wore a size smaller than I did and I was jealous. It didn't matter what size I wore and what numbers were on the scale. I thought I was huge. As the pounds came on the thoughts of being fat weren't quite as strong.

At no time in my 40 years of life had I ever dieted AND exercised. I'd done either at one time but never both. Until October 2010 when I started my class at the gym. And it's not that I am dieting so much as portion control. I haven't stopped eating certain foods, I just limit the portion size to what they should be and not what gets served to me in a restaurant. At home my food scale helps quite a bit. I'm not trying to obsess over what I eat, only get it back to a reasonable amount.

And here I am actually looking forward to going to the gym. It's easy to make myself work out now that I see the numbers on the scale drop every week. And I need new clothes. My resting heart rate dropped, my blood pressure dropped and my cholesterol dropped. And my weight. I am almost at 20 lbs lost. And all in a healthy way. No starving myself or popping pills. The last time I lost that much weight was 15 years ago and I was taking diet pills and not eating. It may take longer this time but as I once read, the weight didn't pile on fast and it won't come off fast.

By the time our Grand Canyon backpacking trip comes around I will be able to hike rim to rim without breaking a sweat!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Books I've read in 2010 *woohoo*

Because I can't quite sit down long enough to post anything of substance I am listing the books (and short'ish stories) I've read in 2010. I love reading. I would give up every modern convenience as long as I could keep my books. I bought a Kindle back in 2009 and fell in love with the gadget and I am not really into gadgets. I take my Kindle everywhere I go even though I may not have time to read. Out of 913 books on my toy, I've read 69 of them this year.

1. Under the Dome by Stephen King
2. Hunting Love by Dana Marie Bell
3. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
4. The Shunning by Beverly Lewis
5. The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan
6. Soul Identity by Dennis Batchelder
7. Soul Intent by Dennis Batchelder
8. Crime Scene at Cardwell Ranch by B J Daniels
9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
10. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

11. Already Dead by Charlie Huston
12. In the Warrior's Bed by Mary Wine
13. Neuromancer by William Gibson

14. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
15. Going Gray: What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters by Anne Kreamer
16. Anthem by Ayn Rand
17. The Dunwich Horror by H. P. Lovecraft
18. When Night Falls by Margaret Daley
19. Pretty When She Dies: A Vampire Novel by Rhiannon Frater
20. Cuts by Richard Laymon
21. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
22. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
23. The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood
24. A Gift of Grace: A Novel by Amy Clipston

25. As The World Dies: The First Days: A Zombie Trilogy by Rhiannon Frater
26. As The World Dies: Fighting to Survive: A Zombie Trilogy by Rhiannon Frater
27. As The World Dies: Siege: A Zombie Trilogy by Rhiannon Frater
28. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

29. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
30. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut
31. Watchers by Dean Koonz
32. The Family Bones by Kimberly Raiser
33. The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

34. The Immortal Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
35. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
36. Spell of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning
37. The Walk by Lee Goldberg
38. Sisters of Glass by D. W. St John
39. After Life by Jaron Lee Knuth
40. Dune by Frank Herbert

While I don't know how many so I can keep track, I've read probably dozens of short smutty stories that were available for free for the Kindle.
41. Soul Catcher by Leigh Bridger
42. Lakota Flower by Janelle Taylor

43. The Outsider: A Novel by Ann H. Gabhart
44. Feed by Mira Grant
45. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
46. Armageddon Summer by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville (the only dead tree book on the list, all others were ebooks)

47. Mozart's Blood by Louise Marley
48. The Book by M. Clifford
49. Marked (Eternal Guardians) by Elisabeth Naughton
50. The Companions by Sheri S. Tepper

51. 33 A.D. by David L. McAfee
52. Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

53. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel
54. The Valley of Horses by Jean Auel
55. The Mammoth Hunters by Jean Auel
56. The Plains of Passage by Jean Auel
57. The Shelters of Stone by Jean Auel

58. Memoirs of a Serial Killer by Tricia Benet
59. Midnight Girl by Will Shetterly
60. Tokyo Zero by Marc Horne
61. 3 by Moxie Meszal
62. The Death Trip by Marion Stein
63. DEAD(ish) by Naomi Kramer
64. The Son of Man: Two Elders of Zion by Charles Johnson
65. Containment by Christian Cantrell
66. The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman
67. Emmanuel (The Fulfilled Prophecies) by Raul Garcia Lamoutte
68. The Frank Diary of Anne by Daniel Dillard
69. Tooth and Nail by Craig DiLouie

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Time flies...

So it's been a while. It's been a strange past couple months. I managed to get my submission for Quilt National 2011 submitted by the due date thanks to FedEx. While I like the piece I knew right off it wouldn't be good enough for Quilt National. My goal with the piece was just to submit something for a juried show. That was my resolution for 2010 and I succeeded.

When I got the rejection email I wasn't surprised. What I was surprised about was that I still felt a little bit sad. I knew it was coming but it still stung a little bit. I put so much time and energy into the piece and even knowing the rejection was coming I still had a tiny little bit of hope.

The sad thing in a way is that I haven't worked on anything artistic since. I started working on holiday gifts and then it was the final training runs for the Chicago marathon on 10-10-10. That alone took up a lot of time. I finished that marathon which now puts my marathon/half marathon record at 4 marathons and 2 half marathons completed.

Right after the marathon I started a fitness class at my gym. It's kinda funny. I've always disliked working out. Growing up all I wanted to do was read. I dreaded gym class and stopped taking it when I had the choice. I didn't go on walks or runs or hikes or do any biking. I had no desire to get into any physical fitness. I only started doing marathons because my sister wanted to do the Disney marathon. I signed up also and made it 8 miles before getting pulled out because I was slow. That embarrassed me so I went home and signed up for the Chicago marathon to redeem myself (they allow slow people to finish on the sidewalk). I kept signing up for races for my health (not to mention I didn't gain weight while training).

This year I finally realized that training for full marathons took up too much of my time. I am so slow that when it came to long runs, they took up my entire day. That's a whole day just spent out on the bike path trying to get my miles in. It was so frustrating and I rarely looked forward to it. So I decided there would be no more full marathons. At least not until I could get faster and more in shape.

My first step was to sign up for a class at my gym. I love my gym. I've joined 4 different gyms, a different one each year, before I finally felt at home at one. My current gym is my 5th and final gym. I've been a member since 2007 and never once thought of quitting.

The class I am in is Move It to Lose It. There are 3 other women in the class with me and our trainer really pushes us. It's rough. It's really rough. Especially when she has us going up and down 5 flights of stairs. Illinois is very flat so training outside is pretty easy. There are no ups and downs to worry about. Running up and down 5 flights of stairs is HARD! And we all know not to complain because then we will do those stairs more often. *laugh*

The class is part fitness and part diet. Only not dieting, more like focusing on what we eat and how much. We keep a diet and fitness log book. That first week of writing down what I eat and then calculating calories was frightening. I knew my portions were too large but when I started to focus on portion control I found I actually started to lose weight. Just working out wasn't enough.

Yeah, everyone knows it takes both eating better and exercise but until you actually start writing down what you eat, you just don't realize how out of control portion sizes are. I even cut back on my beer intake which is where a lot of my calories were coming from. I still have a beer each night but between cutting back on that second or third bottle and being more aware of my portion sizes I have actually started to lose weight. To the point where I am now at a number I haven't seen on my scale in 5 years. I am finally getting back my health and figure by doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. And I am not giving up foods, it's all about portion control. It also helps that our trainer looks at our food diary and makes comments about how we are doing and we have a weekly weigh-in.

I'm not trying to be all preachy. But I do feel better about myself. I actually look forward to my class (although I do hate it while I am in the middle of it) because I know I am getting fit. I have to be more aware because I have the family genes where I could become rounder than I am tall and that scares me. This class has been incredible and I am actually sad it will be ending soon. I want to sign up again.

My next goal is to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim with the boy and I won't be able to complete it without becoming more fit and being a healthier weight.

Not that this has anything at all to do with sewing. *laugh* But I have been so lax about updating here and I haven't had anything interesting to post about on the sewing front.

Except for the new cover I whipped up for my pretty new Kindle, Graphite Gertie. I adore my Kindle. It is the greatest electronic invention of all time!

My Cover for Graphite Gertie

Saturday, August 07, 2010

August already?

I have been lax in updating my blog lately. I've been working hard on my submissions for some juried art quilt shows so I haven't wanted to upload photos of them until they are done and sent on their merry way.

July was a busy month. We traveled to Ohio to spend the 4th of July weekend with family. The boy turned 40 while out on his two week MegaJam (a yearly cross-country road trip on his motorcycle). I sewed about 60 hours a week. I cleaned the house until it sparkled. The pups and I went on many long walks and played in the backyard. I ordered too much fabric from Fabric.Com because they kept having sales (and at $2.96 a yard, I couldn't pass up adding to my stash). And then the first weekend I bought a new bike and the boy and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary! So here are random photos just to make the post more interesting.

The boy's bike all packed for Megajam 2010

This is the boy's bike all packed up and ready to ride! That is two week's of gear in the cases and dry sacks.

George is hot

George the 2 1/2 year old boxer who is too hot to play in our backyard. He's a rotten dog and I love him! He also hogs the bed at night.

Friday is hot

Friday the 5 year old boxer who is a lemon. Poor girl has very bad allergies and is on a daily dose of steroids and Benedryl.

Yummy fabric!

Lovely, lovely fabric! I have no idea what pattern I will use with these but when I saw the black and white prints I knew I wanted to add some bright Kona cotton solids with them. And the multicolored dot fabric was perfect for a binding. I more fabric than I can possibly use in one year!

My new bicycle

And lastly, my new bicycle (guess which car is mine *laugh*)! My old one was slow and heavy so the boy bought me a new, fast and very light bike for our anniversary (I bought him a painting by our college friend/guy who introduced us). We celebrated 18 years by riding down to the Lincoln Park Zoo for lunch and then to Navy Pier for some live music and a beer. 28 miles round trip but wow does my new bike make it easier to ride than my old one.

So, not quite a sewing post since I don't feel I can share my current projects until after their submitted. I really need to set aside at least one day a week to update here before I get too far behind. I have one more month to work on my juried show projects before photos and forms are due. It makes me very queasy but entering at least one show this year is my goal. I have seen the work that gets chosen and I can't quite accept that I may have a chance also. It's scary and intimidating.