Saturday, November 24, 2012
This is what I saw in the grocery store today, right next to the peppers :
They look just like some sort of insect larvae don't they? Yum Yum!
I can't say I've ever seen insects for sale to the general public in a normal grocery setting. And while I've eaten crickets and ant eggs down in Mexico on more than one occasion the idea of frying up some grubs for breakfast just didn't do it for me today.
Fortunately my good opinion of the grocery store is restored. My SP friend STRIVER57 identified these little beauties as Chinese artichokes (also called Japanese artichokes) and apparently they are really root tubers and not larvae. They are to be cooked just like Jerusalem artichokes.
So I may get some next week if they are still there, just to try something different.
And to let my daughter think I am frying up grubs to go with her eggs in the morning
I still haven't gotten around to cooking the horse steak in the freezer. One day soon. But I AM expanding my horizons with...cheese.
Cheese, in my life so for, exists for just one reason. It goes on pizza. And that is my experience with cheese.
But here cheese is like a national passion. There is an entire refrigerated aisle devoted to nothing but cheeses. There is another complete section for cheese in the fruit & veggie section of the supermarket. And, even more amazing, people seem to know what all these cheeses are. They just walk right up and grab the one they want, and sometimes I could swear nothing on the packaging even identifies what kind of cheese it is.
So I bought some cheese this week to see if I can do this cheese thing when I have a meal with other people. I stuck to names I recognized...Camembert and Brie and something called Rondelé which looks like a spreadable cheese with raisin, figs & nuts (it looks like a whipped cream cheese and I don't know if Rondelé is the kind of cheese or the name of the package or whatever). And, after years of thinking cheese was icky I have decided I can do this cheese thing. Maybe. If they bring out something that smells like my daughter's gym socks I draw the line.
Unless it is accompanied by grubs and there is a dare involved
Sunday, November 18, 2012
a book by Peter Walsh, who is an expert on decluttering.
I wish I had read this book 2 years ago. As it was the book sat for more than a year in my "to be read" pile of...clutter. A bit ironic perhaps.
The premise is that the physical clutter in our homes is a manifestation of unmet emotional needs, and creates a vicious cycle. We turn to acquiring stuff because we are unhappy with some part of our life and the more stuff we get the unhappier we are which leads to more stuff and less happiness and so on.
And so too with our weight. Food becomes our drug of choice, creating that same vicious circle of unmet needs, unhappiness and excuses...excess weight is simply the embodiment of the physical clutter in our lives.
So his solution to starting down the path to weight loss and better health is to declutter one's space and by so doing eliminate many of the excuses and stresses that leave us to self-medicate with food.
This is a bit simplistic of an analysis but he makes many points which are spot on, and doesn't try to coddle one (oh sweetie, it's not your fault you're fat...it's your genes, it's your mother's fault, it's your doctor's fault, you're not really fat you're just curvy, look at how many other people are even bigger than you!).
I can so relate. Over a period of years I was unhappy with my life but hadn't consciously admitted it to myself...and I was a shopaholic as a result. My home was the Kingdom of Piles of Stuff. Which contributed to my unhappiness, although I didn't realize it at the time. Clutter creates stress, shopping for more stuff temporarily relieves the stress but creates more clutter and more stress and more shopping....and weight gain because eating temporarily relieves the stress but creates more unhappiness over the extra weight which causes more eating and more shopping which creates more stress...
A vicious circle.
None of this is news to the Spark Community. Before joining I had made half-hearted attempts to get organized and lose weight, neither of which ever lasted very long and I would wind up more cluttered and heavier than when I had started.
But one of the first things I did when I joined SP was the sleep challenge. One of the steps was to clean out my bedroom to create a nice, neat organized and restful place in which to sleep.
I felt emotionally lighter immediately...just from cleaning my room! Who knew!
I expanded to the bathroom...then the kitchen...then other rooms. I tried to stay on top of things, to not let the piles start to grow again. And as I decluttered my home I also had more focus on decluttering my body, which I truly think was possible in a large part because of getting rid of the physical stuff I had accumulated. Less clutter meant less stress meant less mindless eating meant being happier and more involved with my life and the consequences of the choices I made.
Eventually, though, the piles started reappearing. My bedroom was no longer a nice neat calm haven of rest. Counter tops again disappeared. And I gained weight again. Oh, not much, I stayed within 10 pounds of my goal weight, but this time I knew what was happening.
Moving in August was a good thing as it gave me the impetus for a big decluttering push. I had to completely empty the house and because I've downsized domiciles I knew I couldn't take everything. I wound up with 3 piles, roughly equal in size - take, store and donate/trash.
I ended up roughly 1/3 lighter in total possessions. Most of what is in storage are things like my power tools and pictures/memories and Christmas decorations, and kitchen stuff I will give to whichever of my children moves into his/her own place first. And my couch which was too big to bring (too big to fit in my house here anyway).
Everything I chose to bring with me is something I use. Or at least try to use, some of the small appliances work with the converter/adapter plugs and some don't. So some things being replaced with local items and the US versions going into an organized pile in the basement to await the move back to the US in 3 years, at which time I will again be able to use them. I will sell or donate the local items before I move.
And everything I got rid of was all the stuff I had been hanging on to forever because "I might use it one day". But one day never came and I had to force that realization in order to add things to the donate/trash piles. It was hard.
But I felt better afterwards. And I don't think it is just coincidence I'm back at goal weight again. I feel lighter physically & emotionally by having 2/3 fewer things here with me. Keeping the piles banished and counters cleared and an overall lack of clutter makes me happy...I can consciously feel there is less stress in my life and more energy to concentrate on other things.
This Peter Walsh guy is on to something.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Nope, not me. I retain a healthy core of laziness to balance out the Crazy One living inside my head.
My daughter's dog has turned into the Fitness Nut.
It took him 4 days to pick up on the pattern of morning walk; he still hasn't quite yet got it right after 16 days. He hasn't quite understood the purpose of an alarm clock and that he is not one.
He really can't be blamed too much. There are sound reasons I call him Stupid Dog. He tried to bite a wall once...2 seconds after I told my daughter that he's not as dumb as we think he is.
Yeah, sometimes I'm wrong.
His other nickname is Fat Dog. For most of the time we've had him (4.5 years now) he weighed 95 pounds. The family we got him from was an older couple in a tiny house (maybe 800 sq ft) with almost no yard, another lab mix even bigger than Stupid Dog, and a daughter and 2 toddlers moving back in. They would regularly feed him hard candy as treats and he didn't have much opportunity to run around. So he got fat. I think a healthy weight for a Labrador is around 60-65 pounds maybe?
He's so fat that when he walks his whole body sways side to side. You can get sea sick watching him.
Now though, as we were on the Morning Mile walk, I noticed that he doesn't seem to be swaying quite as much as before. Is it possible he's lost some weight? Could be, although I have no way to weigh him. He gets so excited to go on his morning walks, wiggling & doing his little Fat Dog hops all over the house until he gets leashed and we go outside. After the first day or two he doesn't even stop to much to read and leave his doggie messages.
This afternoon, as I was getting ready for my run, he started the whole hop/prance/wiggle routine again and I realized that he was expecting another walk because he saw me putting my shoes on. My daughter said after I left without him he just sat by the door for a while, then went and laid down and watched it the entire time I was gone, like he was hoping I'd come back and get him. Sadly (for him) I won't run with him; there's too much stopping & starting and change of pace and tangling of the leash.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Wednesday night I traveled to Lyon as I had an all day meeting scheduled with my colleagues there. The hotels in Lyon were pretty full so I was booked into this hotel in Perouges, which is nearby. Perouges is actually a medieval town, movies have been shot there (at least one of the 3 Musketeers movies, I don't remember the other ones listed).
I was only there overnight & checked out right after breakfast but it looked like a pretty interesting place. I would like to go back one day to do the tourist thing.
Except...it's a medieval town. Little lighting on the streets after dark. No sidewalks. Road is basically rounded stones of many sizes, sticking up to various heights. Walking is difficult and downright scary for someone like me who can break an ankle walking through her front door. The roads are narrow and twisty and echo so you can't tell if the car you hear is 2 streets over or about to run you down. And did I also mention the lack of lighting and the super scary road surface?
So Wednesday morning I packed my duffel bag with outdoor running clothes, my shoes & my Garmin. I had every intention in the world of doing my 30 minutes Wed. night and my Morning Mile Thursday morning. Every intention in the world...until I got out of the taxi and nearly snapped my ankle within the first 2 steps. I only escaped a face plant because I landed on the concrete flowerpot in front of the entrance.
I decided that running/walking in those conditions was suicidal and instead stayed in my room (remember, this is a medieval castle / town...no fitness rooms!).
My head says I made the right decision. But some niggling little voice in the back of my brain is calling me lazy for skipping out on my fitness commitments. I had my running shoes which would have been easier to walk in than my work shoes with heels. I had a head lamp. I could have walked instead of running to minimize the potential risk.
I also have a habit of a) getting lost (and I had no GPS) and b) tripping on anything, everything & nothing (and have only escaped recent injury through some out of the ordinary good luck).
The niggling little voice needs to be quiet and find someone else to niggle.
In other news, I got home about 10:30 Thursday night. Turtle greeted me with "FINALLY! I'm dying of thirst here, turn on the faucet!" yowls. Gandalf sat and looked at me to say "Have we met? Do I know you from somewhere?" Rocky cracked open a single eye from where she was sleeping to inform me "Meh. The food dish is almost empty. No one cleaned the box for 36 hours so I peed on the bathroom floor. Deal with it." And Stupid Dog, who barks his fool head off if a bird flies over the house across the street...never woke up. Until 5:59 this morning when he wanted his Morning Mile walk...one minute before my alarm went off. I hate waking up before the alarm.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Last week the Kittehs got their flea meds put on them. They were not happy, given that they view this activity as a "dog thing" which obviously does not apply to the more highly evolved felines.
Usually they find a way to exact revenge within a day. This time they waited, likely to plan something especially appropriate for the level of indignity they felt they suffered.
Because I, of course, found a way to make it worse.
I went grocery shopping on Saturday and picked up some more canned cat food. They eat dry on a daily basis but twice a week or so they also get canned food. I only looked at the brand and not the actual specifics of what was in the cans.
It was the pate style.
Oh, the horror!
The Kittehs do not care for pate. The Kittehs were not pleased.
For some background perspective this is what the Kittehs were like when they were just kittens :
Now you're all going "Aaawwww, how sweet!"
Appearances are deceiving. Turtle is a dainty Princess with a Diva complex, very demanding. She is small...but mighty. Rocky has the personality her name suggests; she grumbles & is feisty. Gandalf is very affectionate...until he decides not to be.
Their personalities shine through :
For their vengeance they decided that they would practice their hunting skills...while I was sleeping. Hair, toes, hands, fingers...basically everything was fair game. When I wasn't being attacked they chased each other up and over and under and around the bed.
Kicking them out doesn't work well since Gandalf knows how to open doors and there is no lock. And at 2 in the morning I wasn't up to moving furniture to block them out. Which wouldn't have helped anyway, nor would locking them in another room, because they would find other ways to exact vengeance (I know this from experience).
Eventually they decided to sleep...and the rest of their evil plan almost worked. I frequently wake throughout the night and every time I do and turn over I adjust for where they are at so I don't squash them. So last night they just kept migrating a little closer and a little closer...until I woke up to find myself on the edge, ready to fall off.
Sneaky little Kittehs.
I just hope that tonight they feel vindicated with no further need for revenge.
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