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Service Project

Thursday, November 29, 2012

There's nothing like volunteering for a good cause to make you feel better. However, there may also be other effects, good and bad. Yesterday my son and I spent a couple of hours taping together boxes that will be used to package Christmas food donations. The bending over and lots of moving around were actually a decent amount of aerobic exercise. I was surprised to discover how very sweaty I was - and I'm quite sore today. That was good. I worked constantly, too, and didn't take a single rest. I was tired, very tired.

However, I also had quite a few struggles with the tape dispensers we had to use. They were the kind one holds by an ergonomic handle, and they are supposed to be easy to use...well, after trying to use two of them that simply refused to dispense the tape, no matter how hard I pulled on it, I got a third one that had the tape threaded in the wrong way. I decided to go ahead and use it, because I was at least able to get the tape out of it. Tearing the tape, though, required a little manual assistance - which left me with a clear pattern of cuts on my hand - cuts that look exactly like the cutting blade on the tape dispenser. My badge of honour, of sorts.

I feel good about having done it. There is nothing like doing something for others to make one feel better about life!

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TIMDEB 12/3/2012 7:09PM


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BLITZEN40 11/30/2012 12:49PM

    Don't you love it when you get a good workout out of doing daily tasks that you had planned to do anyway? And it's an extra bonus to get that great feeling from helping others. Sorry about the cuts, hope they're healed up soon! Neosporin and bandaids might help that along. Overall though, I'd say your day was a win! emoticon

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GARDEMON 11/29/2012 11:25PM

  Yep, volunteering can be a good calorie burning activity. I have experienced it also.

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Back to Real Life

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Well, my little Thanksgiving vacation is over and I'm sad. But life does go on. Monday I got up very early to drive to the airport, return the rental car, and catch an 8:15 flight. Only a few mishaps getting to the airport - like ending up driving on the wrong side of the road, going to a federal institution instead of the rental-car return facility - but that's fairly typical for me. I also forgot and put a bottle of Woolite in my carry-on bag, which of course got confiscated, but, for me, I didn't do all that badly.

Flew to Dallas, got picked up by my boys (the 22-year old wouldn't appreciate that term, but they'll always be my boys), got my car back, and drove home. As tired as I was, I felt fortunate that I didn't get sleepy on the road. We unloaded the car, grabbed a pickup dinner, and went to bed. This morning I stepped on the scale (mistake!) and discovered that I had gained almost four pounds. :-( My eating had been totally erratic and off schedule, and I had eaten out much more than was good for me (and much more than I wanted to, but that's another story). I am - I most devoutly hope - back on track again now. This is why I avoid the scale for the most part - just check it every so often.

I do worry about eating more over the holidays, but things may not be too bad, since I am not going anywhere, will not be invited to parties (I never am, unless they have to do with my kids' activities, and a Boy Scout party isn't likely to derail my weight-loss efforts), and I don't plan to do any significant baking...maybe one or, at most, two batches of cookies, some of which I will give away. I would be much more worried if I were going back to my Mom's.

It's all good, right?

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    Getting back on track in the main thing, so trust the process. I'm being urged by the wiser part of myself to ditch the scale except for once-a-month. We are in this for the long-haul after all.
My "boy" is 23. They'll understand one day.

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BLITZEN40 11/28/2012 12:36AM

    Don't beat yourself up over 4 pounds.. I think we're all pretty much in the same boat! It's the holidays, some fluctuation is to be expected right? You'll probably take it right back off now that you're back on track. Glad you made it home safely and enjoyed your Thanksgiving with your family. emoticon

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Days Five and Six

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Not so much to write about in these past two days, because it has mostly been peaceful and quiet. Mom pretty much just watches TV most of the time, and she gets herself a reasonably decent breakfast and lunch. She always remembers her morning pills, but only seems to remember the evening ones herself if she eats at home. And...she doesn't much like to eat at home. It's funny - growing up we essentially always ate at home, and she made us healthy, balanced meals. Now, she really doesn't want me to cook, even though I also cook healthy, balanced meals. She would rather eat out.

Growing up, I remember only ever eating out when we were on vacation. Otherwise, never, unless Mom and Dad were giving a party or going to a party, and then we had fast food. For birthdays, we kids got to pick our favourite meal for her to make for us. Now, all she really wants is to eat out, and she wants to eat out at restaurants that are so expensive that I am appalled just looking at the prices. She can afford it, and she really doesn't overeat. She is at a good weight for her height. I don't know why it bothers me so much that she spends so much money on 'out food.' It isn't that I am insulted - I would just as soon not have to cook and clean up if I don't have to.

Other than taking Mom out, I have wrapped the Christmas presents I brought to leave here, done a bit of laundry, read a bit, done some crossword puzzles, and some grocery shopping. Plus, most important of all, I have spent a lot of time with my daughter, which is a rare treat. Sadly, I can't really much enjoy the time with Mom because her hearing is so bad it is an exercise in frustration to try to have a conversation with her. She won't wear her hearing aids, and she needs to. Sigh.

Tomorrow Cecily and I are heading out. I will drop her off back at her college, and perhaps meet some of her friends. Then I will go to the home of some friends who are letting me crash on their couch before leaving at 0-dark-30 to catch an early plane on Monday.

It has mostly been a lovely break and I am sorry to be going back to real life. But...cheers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLITZEN40 11/27/2012 11:01AM

    Sounds like a peaceful visit. I'm with you on not going out to eat much, especially when trying to stay on track with weight loss. You can cook a home cooked meal that's much healthier for less than a third the cost of a restaurant purchased meal, and that's using top quality ingredients (which restaurants don't typically use). However, it sounds like your Mom is home for most of the day, and a lot of older people who are mostly home bound just need a change of scenery at least once a day to stay mentally healthy. And while I'm sure she appreciates and enjoys your cooking, she probably thinks it's nice to give you a break from it while you visit. So I am glad to hear you enjoyed it!

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DLDROST 11/24/2012 11:14PM


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Days Three and Four

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Yesterday and today have been much, much better days than days one and two. Yesterday was calm and quiet, with my daughter and my mother. Cecily and I went out grocery shopping. In a grocery store I don't normally shop in (because I don't live here), they had all kinds of products we don't see in grocery stores at home. So...we bought a lot of things just because we can't get them at home. But I got lots of great looking veggies, and I planned a meal for last night that would include them.

Naturally, my mom didn't like the idea. She asked why I was cooking acorn squash and beets. I said, "For dinner! And look what else I got," and I showed her some beautiful fresh asparagus. She said, "That's way too much food!"

Well, I didn't think so. Obviously, I had planned appropriate portions of each thing. Then I started looking for some lean chicken breast, which is one of my mom's favorite things for dinner, only to find that there isn't any meat in the house other than hot dogs and sausages of various kinds, some rather exotic and unusual, some just everyday varieties. And I hadn't bought a single meat at the store!

However, Mom didn't really want me to cook for her in the first place. She wanted to go out for dinner. Going out for dinner is one of the few pleasures she seems to have left. I should mention that she is not overweight, largely because she never eats more than small portions of anything. She has her three favourite restaurants locally. I don't generally mind going out for dinner, especially if someone else is paying, but I can't help but be a bit shocked by the prices at these places.

I simply don't have enough money to eat out regularly, and on the rare occasions when I do eat out, it is, if not fast food (which I try to avoid for other reasons), then at least inexpensive. I have found that Cracker Barrel is one of the most reasonably priced places - with good food - as long as one doesn't order a drink nor a dessert and gets one of the cheaper entrées. But I digress, as usual.

At all events, we did eat out. My entrée was one of the cheaper ones they had, at $14. I ate only half of it (risotto) and was pleased with my restraint. My healthful veggies got put in the fridge for a later occasion. :-( So did my leftover risotto.

Then when we got home, my brother-in-law arrived. It was great to see him. I hadn't seen him since my sister's wedding last summer, but we didn't get to talk then. Before that, the last time I had seen him to talk to was in the summer of 2010, and he and I can always talk the night away. And, indeed, he, my daughter, and I nearly did.

Today has been a quiet day, and we will go out for a Thanksgiving buffet in an hour or so. I am planning to try my best not to consume 4000+ calories! I am really enjoying the resting and relaxing I have been doing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UMBILICAL 11/22/2012 3:29PM

  On your way!

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Days One and Two...Mishaps Galore

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

So we left the house later than planned yesterday, mostly because I hadn't been feeling well on Sunday night, so nothing got done in advance. Still, leaving around 4-4:30 isn't too bad for me. We had to drive about five hours to meet my son Henry at his University.

Well....first there was the usual terrible traffic part way there, which I was expecting and knew was unavoidable. We lost a half hour there. Next was some road construction which meant one lane was closed. We lost 10-15 minutes there. But the crowning glory (if one considers disasters as being ranked according to disastrousness) was the 'MAJOR ACCIDENT AT MM 314. EXPECT LONG DELAYS.' I saw this sign about a hundred miles from MM 314, so I figured there was at least a decent chance that the whole thing would be cleared away before we got there, especially since we stopped to get dinner. Not!

We were probably at least ten miles from MM 314 when the traffic stopped DEAD. I mean, we were parked on the highway for several minutes. Eventually, we started moving again, but it was reeeeeeeally slow. I was averaging maybe 3 mph. This kind of stress puts knots in my stomach and makes me feel very ill. We inched along and inched along and inched along. We lost over an hour and a half. At about MM 313, after another (shorter) spell of being parked on the highway, the traffic started really moving. I never saw any sign at all of the accident, no flashing lights, no broken down cars, not even any bits of broken glass. Strange. After some more driving, and a short bathroom break, our ETA, as calculated by my GPS, was 11:40. When we had left the house, it had been 8:59.

I had to stop again to get something done on my computer, then managed to get turned around by not getting off at the exit the GPS had indicated. By the time we reached our destination, it was after 1 A.M.

After less than four hours sleep, I wasn't in the best mood this morning to catch my plane to Baltimore. I got groped by the TSA agent because the back scatter X-ray detected my double mastectomy (evidently) and showed something suspicious. The only thing that it could have seen is what isn't there. I was furious, but there isn't much one can do.

The only good thing about the flight was that I had signed up for some promotion or other, and I actually got to check two bags for free - with American. Wow. Can't say the day is totally bad when you save some real $$.

Got to BWI, and the baggage claim conveyor belt wasn't working right. It was that kind of day. Eventually I got my bags (see, free or not free, I probably shouldn't have checked them after all), made it to the rental car facility, and got my rental car. Then today's nightmare really began.

There are a lot of reasons why I never want to live in the DC area again. One of the big ones is the traffic. If there is any way to avoid it (I had none), do NOT attempt to drive west of DC on I-66 during rush hour. The experience reminded me forcibly of the situation yesterday, only this time there was no accident for an excuse - 66 is just always like this.

I had an even worse experience when I tried to pull off the highway just to get some fast food. I had had no lunch and was starving. BUT - the traffic was so heavy I wasn't able to change lanes to get to my turn, then wasn't able to turn around, again because of heavy traffic and no turn offs...ended up going miles and miles out of the way, finally getting back on the highway and finding a different exit (where I did eventually get a Subway sub) and losing around an hour and a half...pretty much for nothing. My daughter had turned the ringer off on her phone and didn't answer my calls, and I had to pound on her dorm door to get some kind young lady to let me in and beg the RA to find my errant daughter. She was apologetic, and I was stressed out to the max.

Instead of arriving at my mom's house at 7:30, which was the original plan, we pulled in at 10:30. Thankfully, Mom was up waiting for us, and very happy to see us whole. It is so good to be back where I grew up, that I still always think of as home. And it is always so good to see my mom. The rest of this vacation has to go well now...I won't be doing any driving in traffic for days. And I am already happy to be home again.


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