Progress Pics

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Girls night out and other news

Hi, Just thought I would get caught up again for the past week or so.

Last Wednesday, a friend of a friend contacted me about an event called GIRLS NIGHT OUT that was a fundraiser for a teen girl named Erica who is a member of 4-H and was accepted into the Youth Ambassador program.

With this program, they go to Europe for several weeks in the summer and stay with host families, visit local politicians and community leaders, etc. It is to promote global understanding and world peace.

I guess they raise their own money for the trip and it's about $6,000

So I was invited to vend the Lakota Crafts and all I had to do was supply an item for them to raffle.

Thing is, I am not yet set up for the pow wow season-- so I had NOTHING tagged or packed, did not have a cash drawer set to to make change, plus I don't have a car right now.

So I spent two days scrambling around and got my BFF & artist Jeanne, to accompany me, and I spent two days cramming to sort, tag, and pack crafts items, set up my cash drawer, get my literature together, etc.

In spite of the rain and wind storm we were having, there was a good turn out and a lot of raffle tickets were sold. I met nice people and earned about $80 for the Lakota kids. I donated $10 back to Erica, plus donated a really nice craft item for the next fundraiser.

There are some pics from the event below and here is the URL for Erica's web page about what she is doing.

This first pic is actually jewelry that my friend Jeanne made out of her art. Too bad there is glare on the art. She makes tiny prints of her own art and it gets adhered to these glass tiles with a special adhesive. She then adds it to a necklace with other charms and sells these for about $15

Her art is stunning and mostly has a native or earth honoring theme. I'm betting that during the pow wow season she will sell the hell out of these.

Just some random shots of the gathering

On other fronts, we had driving wind and rain for three days last weekend and our basement flooded BIG TIME. So we spent most of the weekend trying to stay ahead of the water. Thank God the sun finally came out.

Also, my dr's office called two days ago and said my recent tests show that I STILL have a vitamin D deficiency. So he prescribed a mega vitamin D capsule that I'm to take once a week while continuing with the daily supplements I've been using. I hope this does the trick!

Now that the sun is out, I DID force myself to get outside and I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday clearing flower beds, cleaning the stone paths and just generally poking around and getting ready for the gardening season.

I will be sure to take frequent photos and post them here as the season moves along, that way you garden lovers can enjoy the progress with me.

I made a commitment to a friend of mine to be on a committee for an annual event she has that raises money and supplies for shelter animals. The committee meeting is tonight but she is picking me up in a little while so we can hang together first and get caught up.

But I didn't want to let another day go by without posting lest you think I disappeared again. LOL

Have a good day everyone! And if it is nice outside where you are I hope that you get to enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog issue seems resolved

Ok, after having the month from hell I tried to post to my blog and realized that it was being redirected to another site.

After going through all sorts of crap trying to get rid of the problem, I found out that it was NOT a hijacking worm on my computer but something imbedded in a gadget that I had on here.

It was a timer counting down to the new haven road race. Those gadgets have stuff embedded in them that the ones distributing them can hijack whatever site the gadget is on, anytime they want. I got this RIGHT HERE in the gadget area, so beware!

Take my advice, remove any gadgets from third parties off your blog. THis was on there for MONTHS before anything happened.

Here's a web page that helped me figure this out. I was ready to scrap my blog!

Anyway, thank goodness I won't have to scrap my blog!

It is my mother-in-law's 92nd birthday today and I was swamped, I just wanted to let you all know that I FINALLY got this resolved and can resume posting now!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Issues with blog

I have been having a problem with my blog that I cannot resolve. "Someone" has done something to my blog that redirects me to a new page when I try to visit my own blog. If it does this to me it must be doing it when other people try to visit me as well.

Writing to google has done nothing. I may have to scrap this blog and start over.


Back -- (yeah, really!)

Ok, I am back for real this time.

I realized that I cannot get you caught up if I go into everything in detail so I am going over the main points briefly and bring you up to date. Here goes:

#1 -- DEATH OF ELDER, Lakota elder Jerome Yellow Dog was like a father to me for over 30 years. Right around the time of my birthday in early February, his niece called from Nebraska to tell me that he passed away.

To make a long story short, our finances are a mess right now and there was NO WAY that I could fly out there for the funeral. I felt just terrible about this and my guilt over not being able to be there for the family was just as strong as my sadness over his passing.

I never had a father. This man is the closest thing to a father I ever had. That I couldn’t be there to pay my respects just tore me up.

#2 -- Teen Suicide- Within a week after Jerome passed, a teen I’ve been working with on the rez committed suicide. She was an artist and a friend of one of the other teens whom I sell crafts for. I was going to both have note cards made from her art and also sell her original acrylic pieces. The samples of her work were gorgeous!

I sent her a box of art supplies and spoke with her on the phone several times. All of a sudden, I get a call that she committed suicide. The teen suicide rate on the rez is high-- three times the national average. I have been touched by many deaths there over the years because of the health issues and the suicide rate.

For whatever reason, I was profoundly affected by this girl’s death even though I hadn’t met her in person. This is not something I can explain. Maybe I don’t need to…….

But I felt a terrible sense of futility about trying to help the kids and about everything that I do for and with the Lakota. This was awful. I almost gave up. But the enthusiasm of some of the other kids about their craft projects brought me back and I threw myself into listing stuff on ebay and I even started creating an etsy store-- which I am still working on.

#3 -- medical stuff - When I last posted, I’d had a colonoscopy that was inconclusive because the one-day prep was not enough. And I was concerned about the results of all of my (then) pending medical tests because of early deaths of two siblings from cancer.

I did a four day prep for a second colonoscopy which I had last week. Let me be brief with this and say they removed four more polyps and will call me when biopsies come back.

I had my first pap smear in 15 years two weeks ago and got a letter Saturday telling me that was normal! YEAH!!!

Also, I had my mammography several weeks ago and that was normal too!

The vitamin D and calcium supplements that I’ve been taking worked, as my Dr tested my levels at my last check-up two weeks ago and I am no longer deficient.

I am having a bone density screening tomorrow and that will be an end to all of these extra tests. I go back to my primary care Doc in three months for a blood pressure and thyroid check.

So I’ll just keep taking my medications and supplements and all should be well in the short-term. I was extremely preoccupied and stressed out over all of these pending medical tests and procedures, so I am glad this no longer needs to be an area of focus.

#4 -- Finances: We’ve had one disaster after another this winter --- dog emergencies resulting in huge vet bills, appliances dying, vehicle repairs and you-name-it. The end result is that with two kids in college and the other strains on the budget, we are now going on two months behind on our mortgage and we are barely able to keep our utilities on.

We have never, NEVER been in this situation before. We have always paid our mortgage on time our entire married life-- even if that meant we had to live on rice and beans and go without “extras.”

But the disasters were one after another all winter and we got deeper in the hole each week. My husband is terribly depressed and upset.

We’re hoping to have enough of an income tax refund to get us back on track. He dropped all of our papers off at the accountant a few days ago and everything should be ready to file next week. We should have enough of a federal return that we can get caught up.

I am so worn down by everything that has happened that I am afraid to comfort myself. Until we have the money in hand and are paying the mortgage, I can’t be satisfied.

I can’t deal with stress as well as I could when I was younger so I will be glad when we get past this. It is killing me.

On other fronts, I told you in the past about our wildlife garden and had given you a tour of the property which you can view in this post. Well, this past weekend was gorgeous out so Jeff and I spent both Saturday and Sunday outdoors raking and bagging leaves, trimming the trees and bushes, and cleaning up all of the flower beds.

We must have filled 30 of those brown landscaping bags. With everything cleared away, you can see the tops of the daffodils and tulips emerging. The crocus are already up-- it gave us a boost to be out there.

Anyway, when I went for my check up two weeks ago I could not believe that I lost 3 pounds as I have NOT been counting calories and I was SURE that I was going to show a gain. I guess I was eating just under what I needed to maintain.

That’s pretty much what I am still doing.

As this post is already so long, I’ll end for now. It is good to be back and I will be going around to check on all of you and see how you’re doing.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It lives!

Jeff and I ran away to become professional dancers but that didn't work out, so I am back. Check out this link for a quick video of us in action.

Seriously, I am ok and i am back and will post more tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who kept track of me!



Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Colonoscopy disaster

Ok-- before I launch into explaining this disaster, let me say that I am a believer in biochemical individuality (or whatever you want to call it) because I KNOW there are many ways that my body is different from other people's. In some ways this is positive and helpful and in others ways it is not.

One "good" way that I am different is that my body MOST of the time resists any illness based on "germs" that get passed around. I have only had the flu twice in my whole life. I get maybe one cold a year, at most.

You can count on one hand how many times in my life I have vomited. When vomiting/diarrhea things are going around I may get an upset stomach for a day and some "loose stools" and that's about it. I always end up taking care of everyone else who is sick and I somehow don't catch it 90% of the time.

Now, when I went to my initial appointment with the gastroenterologist (to schedule a colonoscopy) I warned him about two things: One, drugs that knock other people out don't work on me and, two, constipation is my natural state and always has been. It has been a source of jokes between me and my husband for years.

When they gave me the solution I was supposed to drink to clean out my system before the procedure, I told him, (seriously) that it might not be enough to work on me. And I also told him that I doubted whatever he gave other people to knock them out would work on me. I guess he thought I was joking.

Ok, so Sunday I fasted all day and at 4:30 in the afternoon I mixed the Nulytely they gave me and started drinking it. I consumed the whole gallon within two hours. I got so full and bloated and I felt like puking...........yet the hours ticked by and I did not go to the bathroom.

To spare you the literally "crappy" details, suffice it to say that I did not "go" for the first time until after 9pm, almost FIVE HOURS after drinking the stuff. (It is supposed to start working within an hour). I was up half the night going but I could tell when we arrived at the hospital the next day at NOON that some of that stuff was still in my system. I was STILL visiting the restroom and what was coming out was not "clear" as it should have been.

Ok, fast forward to the procedure, I'm in the procedure room and they give a shot into the IV of whatever the hell they give you to put you to sleep. I continued to talk with a nurse about my diet and weight loss. I felt buzzed, like I had too much to drink, but I was still very awake.

The doc told the nurse to give me another shot. Then I fell asleep but woke up several times. At one point, I heard the doc tell the nurse that they could not give me any more of the drug they were using to try to make me sleep. I heard him tell her to give me a shot of benadryl to help keep me out for a few minutes and he was going to wrap things up.

Later, he told me that the prep was not good and that I have to do it again with a different prep that lasts for two days. He also said he wants me to have general anesthesia so that I stay asleep. He said that every time I woke up I tried to sit up and that is not good with what they are trying to do.

In spite of the "bad prep" he found two polyps and removed them. They have been sent for biopsy. One really WEIRD thing is that he told my husband while I was in the recovery room that he couldn't see certain areas and there seemed to be something like corn blocking his view. I DON'T EAT CORN often and haven't had any for months. Corn? I have to wonder what the f*ck was he seeing.

I don't have a medical background so have no idea what he could have seen that looked like corn. Yikes. Something about it is creepy to me.

So I called this morning to reschedule and I am waiting for the nurse to call me back with the date for my next procedure and instructions for the prep. They also said that our insurance company is not going to want to pay for the second procedure nor for the general anesthesia, so he is writing them a letter explaining why. Even so, at the end I may end up having to pay for all or part of this. YIKES!

Today, I feel sort of "detached," probably some residual affect of all of the drugs they had to give me to try and keep me down. But I got up early and kept my appointment for my mammography. That is done! They said they will mail me the results.

When I was leaving the building, I noticed another medical building next door that was an OB/GYN. Since I haven't had a pap smear in 15 years and my doc is bugging out about it, I thought I'd get that over with too. So I walked right over and made an appointment before I chickened out.

So I have an appointment there for the end of the month. My doc will be thrilled!

I'm having an intense and totally irrational craving for TACOS, of all things. Ortega makes whole grain taco shells that are about 55 calories each and have a lot of fiber. Although I don't do well with a lot of grains, I am going to indulge myself and make tacos for dinner tonight.

I stopped at the market on the way home from the mammography to get the ingredients then I came home and got everything ready for tonight. I cut up some lettuce, onion, tomato, avocado and black olives to have on the tacos, and I am going to use fat-free greek yogurt for the sour cream. I arranged everything all pretty-like on a platter. I also put a salad together. YUMMY! Everything is pre-prepared so it will be a breeze getting dinner on the table tonight.

Anyway, I am not really "with it" so I'm going to go lay down for awhile. Have a great day everyone! And I appreciate everyone who checked up on me. Online friends are real friends-- so many have proven it to me again and again! You guys are the best!

ADDED LATER: Forgot to say that when they took my "vital signs" at the hospital, my body temp was only 96.6, probably because of the thyroid issues.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Progress Report & Prep for colonoscopy (Yikes!)

weight los inspiration pics

Greetings friends. This has been a strange and sometimes stressful week for me, but, more on that later........

I entered a women's fitness challenge over at the JP fitness forum. Many of the women are doing the NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN program, but you can do any program.

The challenge is for 6 months and you must post your stats and progress pics monthly at the first of every month. If you've been following my blog, you know that I haven't weighed myself a lot during my weight loss, but got weighed only when I went to the doctor. This is because of compulsiveness with regard to the scale.

Anyway, I thought a 6-month challenge would be good for me, so here I am. Here's some progress pics, one from August 2009 and one taken earlier today.



My weight today is 270 pounds, representing a loss of 15 pounds this month and a total weight loss of 160 pounds since last March. I wanted to mention that I started taking thyroid meds at the start of this challenge, as I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at that time.

I am positive that most of my weight loss for the month is fluid as I did nothing but pee when I first started taking the pills, and lost 10 pounds in ten days. I've been checking my weight once or twice a week and it fluctuates wildly. Just a few days ago, I weighed 265.

I also lost 5 1/2 inches this month, with the biggest loss coming off the waist (FINALLY).

At the start of the challenge, I recorded my initial stats and my goals for the challenge. Here they are, followed by my stats for today:

Body Stats (as of January 5, 2010)
age: 51
height: 6'3"
weight: 285
neck: 16”
chest: 46.5"
waist: 49”
hips: 55
thighs: 25
upper arms: 15.5
calves: 16.5

Health Stats (as of 12/28/09)
Blood Pressure 142/74
Cholesterol - 170
HDL- 45
Triglycerides -113
Fasting Blood Sugar -96
Resting heart rate - 62 BPM

Goals for the 2010 Challenge
1. Lose 60 or more pounds (I CAN do it)
2. Lift weights 3 Xs week based on NROL4W
3. Begin couch to 5k program in spring (to prepare for ½ marathon in Sept)
4. Eat adequate protein, continue to eat clean
5) Get blood pressure down more & improve other health stats
6) When gardening season starts, grow as many of my own veggies as possible
7) Buy a nice cocktail dress to wear out on my anniversary in July

February Body Stats (as of January 31, 2010)
age: 51
height: 6'3"
weight: 270
neck: 16”
chest: 46"
waist: 47”
hips: 54
thighs: 24
upper arms: 15.5
calves: 16.5

I feel REALLY strong from the weight lifting and clearly have put on muscle, but still have enough body fat covering everything that you can't see it in the pics. Not yet anyway.

Ok......... on other fronts, I have been VERY anxious for the past two weeks and I KNOW it has to do with the colonoscopy tomorrow. Not the procedure, but what they might find during the procedure, as cancer runs on my dad's side and he had cancer of the colon.

So I have been "off" with my food and exercise, often eating too much and skimping on the cardio. I admit it, there's a little voice saying "Why exercise and eat less if you're gonna die of cancer anyway."

So, I have not been buying potato chips or ice cream....... but rather eating a bit too much at dinner and sometimes going heavier on the carbs than I know I should.

By this time tomorrow, I will likely know whether or not there is anything to worry about up there, and if there isn't, I can go back to normal and refocus on my fitness efforts, and if there is, well, I'll just have to deal with now, won't I?

I also have my mammography on Tuesday.

Greta asked me if I feel better yet from the thyroid meds. Yes I do, Greta. Thank you for asking. My feet are less cold, my skin less dry, I am sleeping better and have more energy and focus during the day. I think the vitamins I started taking are helping too.

Greta asked how many kids we have. Between the two of us, we have seven. Jeff has a daughter, Sarah born in 1979 and a son Andrew born in 1986, plus my son Thomas, whom he adopted as I described in my last post. Thom was born in 1984.

For kids I gave birth to, I had the triplets in 1975 (Michael, William and Kevin), one son born before, Robert, born in 1975; and as I already said, Thomas was born in 84.

Anyway, Tom had the opportunity when he was 12 or 13 to go to Florida and meet his natural father. I did not try to influence him in any way. At first he said he wanted to go, then when it came time, he said he didn't need to do that.

He thinks of Jeff as his dad, not as a step-dad or adoptive dad. He calls his natural father "the sperm donor." LOL

When he decided not to meet his natural father, he said that Jeff had always been there for him and provided for him from when he was small, and that his natural father had never done jack for him and was showing up late in the game and trying to have "fun" with him.

His natural father never once paid a dime of child support and Tom knew this. It is why the judge wanted Jeff to adopt Tom instead of just changing the name. Jeff was supporting him and being his father unofficially.

I occasionally offer to contact the other side of the blood family for Tom and he always declines. This is his choice. We explained that curiosity about it would be normal and that Jeff would not feel hurt or jealous if Tom wanted to pursue relationships with his natural father and his family. He doesn't though. At least not so far.

Anyway, thought I'd leave you with a few links. There's a gal over on the JP fitness forum who also has a GREAT blog where she posts all kinds of studies related to health and fitness. There are side bars on BOTH sides of the blog!

Some of my favorite entries from her blog include:

Three strength training sessions a week keep bones strong without medication

Trained body burns more fat with gentle endurance exercise

Weight Loss Faster With Vitamin D

Also, another of the gals in the challenge will be competing in this year's WARRIOR DASH in her area. So I am wondering if I am up for that?

Check it out

I will try to post tomorrow after the colonoscopy!

Hope you're having a great weekend!


Friday, January 29, 2010

Perfect Ten Update #4

It's time for my fourth Perfect Ten update!


1) Begin the NROL4W program (THE NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN - LIFT LIKE A MAN, LOOK LIKE A GODDESS). Awesome program! Starting it is the best thing I ever did!

2) Begin Training for the New Haven Road Race: I only ran twice this week but as my goal race is 8 months away I am not concerned.

3) Lose 20 pounds by the end of the challenge. I may be very close to this already. We'll see when I post my monthly progress report over the weekend.

4) Improve sleep habits: Not bad this week! (knock on wood)

Now, for something that you probably don't know about me.

I actually had to adopt my own youngest son.

"WTF?," you may be saying.

Yeah, actually, none of my boys belong to Jeff biologically. When we got married, my youngest son assumed that his name would change when mine did. He started writing " Thomas Locke" on his school papers and we had to go into the school for a little chat.

From there, we went to see the probate court judge in our town about legally changing Tom's name. To make a long story short, the judge thought it would serve Tom's interests better if Jeff simply adopted him-- and believe it or not, the cost was about the same.

Something about the law, Jeff and I BOTH had to adopt Tom even though I was his natural mother. So I actually went through the adoption process for my own son. Weird, huh?

Interestingly enough, Tom never liked his middle name, so I allowed him to pick his own middle name when he was adopted and he changed it to "James."

People always say that Tom looks like Jeff and we laugh, as they aren't actually blood related.

That's my update for this week.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Check out my legs!

Well, I needed a dress for the funeral today and I DID find one at the Coldwater Creek outlet. I LOVE their clothes. This is an $80 dress marked down to $20 --- I could not believe my luck.

Also, (and this is hard to believe, but it's true) this is a standard size XL and it fits-- not well, but it fits. I wore a black blazer over it to hide the remaining lumps, bumps and arm flab. It is probably sized BIG and made to fit a normal woman loosely- but still, your amazon walking out of a store with a standard size at a discount is a NEVER. It was a huge moment for me.

Last year I was a size 5X and special ordered all my clothes. I literally almost cried when I put this on and it fit. It SO makes me look forward to a whole new wardrobe when I get to my goal weight. Anyway. DH hasn't seen me in pantyhose for years and had me pose for the leg shots.

So today was the funeral for Michelle's uncle. DH took the morning off from work and we went to the mass and the funeral -- it was snowing and somehow the beauty and purity of it seemed to match the day

When we came out of the church, the snow collecting on the trees looked so beautiful that I had tears in my eyes. I snapped this pic for you but it didn't really capture its full splendor.

Michelle's uncle was a widower who had no children, and he was estranged from everyone else in the family except for Michelle-- so there was no family gathering after the funeral. So sad.

Jeff went back to work and I offered to take Tom and Michelle out to lunch. Your amazon splurged big time! I hosed down a 12oz steak, baked potato, huge salad and then split a piece of cheesecake with my son. I also drank two glasses of white wine and OMG-- was that ever yummy! I seldom eat meat or drink, so today was unusual.

Normally, today would be a work-out day (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) but I am feeling kinda "spent" so I am going to do it either later tonight or tomorrow.

On the way home from lunch, my son needed to stop at his house-- so I got to pet his room mate's dog, Tank. That's a pic of Tank and Michelle above. Tank is a pit bull and Rotty mix and has he sweetest disposition you can imagine.

He's 130 pounds though, so when he's playing and gets enthusiastic, he bowls you right over.

Anyway, I'll post my Perfect Ten update tomorrow. I just wanted to share my new dress with my homies! I'll be posting my progress pics and stats over the weekend so look for that as well.

Have a good day everyone!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday's Workout, Bear Friend's question, and some news

Hey kids! I hope you're all doing well. Today was one of those days when I did NOT want to work out. I tried reasoning with myself and when that failed, I had to b*tch-slap myself and drag myself, kicking and screaming, to the work out area!

Once I got going, I was glad of it. Today was "workout A" and last time I did this, which was last Friday, I had upped the squat and bent-over row to 90# and barely pulled off two sets of each of those. In fact, I almost couldn't complete my last squat and then could not rack the bar and had to drop it onto my sectional sofa.

Today, I did three sets of squats and bent over rows with that weight and was fine with it. It is amazing to me that one can have strength gains like that from one week to the next.

Anyway, here's today's work out:

Warm up - Yoga poses


Push-up (30 degree)

bent over row



Side bends with 25# plate

So, I am glad that I forced myself!

The other day, Bear Friend asked in the comments why the reps and sets change. Well, body building means that you are constantly, well, er um, building!

To build your muscles, you need to constantly challenge them, feed them well, and give them adequate rest. I must always ask my muscles for a little bit more than what they want to give, this break-in phase that I am doing is getting my body used to that.

I started with 2 sets of 15 reps for each exercise. First, the number of reps decreased every other workout, while the weights INCREASED. After a month of this, the number of sets got bumped up to three.

At the end of the break-in phase there will be 6 more phases and each will get more difficult-- I'll be doing crazy-ass shit like one-legged deadlifts and squats, leaping into the air while pressing weight over head, etc.

During the six months, you NEVER let your body rest on its laurels. The weights, sets and movements change frequently and you keep yourself steadily progressing. It is not an easy thing to make the commitment that for 6-months you will live outside your comfort zone and ask a lot of yourself. That is one of the main reasons I am doing this-- aside from the physical results that I hope to achieve.

My son's girlfriend has been caring for an elderly uncle for the past few years. He had a stroke a few days ago and passed away last night. He was blind, incontinent and god-know-what else. Michelle has been living with him and caring for him while putting herself through school. We REALLY like her and her values and hope our son has the good sense to marry her.

Anyway, we want to go to the wake and funeral to support Michelle but of course, I don't have anything to wear. The black dress that I wore to my mom's funeral is a size 5X and literally falls off me now.

So Michelle is picking me up tomorrow afternoon to see if we can find me a cheap black dress or skirt and a pair of pantyhose in amazon size. The funeral is Thursday morning.

It is almost time for the Biggest Loser so I will end this here! But, I'LL BE BACK!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday's Work out

I had a great weekend and actually did some form of exercise three days in a row-- Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Saturday was just a brief walk-jog in the woods with the dogs, but hey, I'm gonna count it!

Sunday, I started off with a 1 and 1/2 mile run. I was hoping to be able to go for 2 miles straight but I was being overly optimistic about my abilities. LOL Still, I was thrilled to go a mile and a half straight!

Next I went to the gym. Last time I worked out, I didn't have my log with me and realised later that with the program I am following, I was supposed to increase the sets that I do from 2 to 3 as of the last work out. Not having the training log with me, I didn't do it.

So I got myself on track with that as of today's work out. Another two weeks or so and I'll be done with the break-in phase of the NROL4W program. Then I take a one-week break from lifting before beginning phase two.

Here's what I did today:


DB Shoulder press*


10/25 -- this last set I did something different and held a 25# plate in front of me as I did the lunges, instead of a DB in each hand.


Leg Lifts

Side bends holding 25# plate

Skull crushers (2 handed)

Last week I had increased my crunches to 50 reps per set, now I'm doing three sets- so I did 150 crunches today-- and Gosh, did it burn!

I am proud of how reliably I am working my abs now. It is one of the few things I was haphazard with up until I started this program.

I don't know what happened with the DB shoulder presses, a work out or two ago I was able to force up 25# DBs for two sets. I tried to go for 30# this time and barely eeked out one set. I dropped the weight to 25# and simply could not do it.

I hated to, but dropped it back down to 20# in order to do all three sets. Progress isn't a straight line I guess.

I do lift both arms at the same time, which is harder. If I do one at a time I can lift a bit more, but I prefer to lift both arms at the same time.

I did get to the gym today and jumped on the cable chest fly machine, which I LOVE and have been missing as I've been working out at home. So I hopped on that bad boy and did 3 sets of 10 with 80# and one set with 90. I cannot do complete range of motion with 90#-- I forced it and did what I could. I'd love to be able to pull 100# on that one of these days.

I read (I think in Arnold's old Body Building book) a few months ago about occasionally forcing yourself through things even if you can't complete more than one or two reps. That's pretty much how I brought my numbers up the machines before I started this program.

Anyway, I have been spot-on with my food and calories and I've been fitting more cardio into my schedule-- so I hope these efforts show up in the scale.

I have my colonoscopy a week from tomorrow, February 1, and have my mammography the following day. Since I'll have to fast for the colonoscopy anyway, I was thinking of morphing that into either a short fast of a few days or a longer modified fast of a week or so (with just protein shakes and water).

I haven't done either of these since July and I've had success with this at earlier points of my journey. It clears my head and my whole system out. Last time I did it an annoying rash that I had for years disappeareed and hasn't returned.

Anyway, I'll let you know if I decide to do this. I hope that you had a great weekend! I got to spend quality time with Jeff, got caught up with work stuff and got in a bunch of exercise, so I am stoked for great week this week!

Be good to you today!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Perfect Ten Update #3, Today's Workout, and running, running running........

It's time for my third Perfect Ten update! I have not once been late in posting my updates and I am VERY proud of that.

I realized something today that makes this challenge even more special to me. The end of the challenge coincides with my one year anniversary of starting on this journey. That makes me more determined than ever to really kick butt during the coming weeks!


1) Begin the NROL4W program (THE NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN - LIFT LIKE A MAN, LOOK LIKE A GODDESS). I just completed my third week on this program, making me half-way through the break-in phase.

I wanted to mention that, my arms, especially the triceps are one of my problem areas. So I've been throwing everything at them but the kitchen sink for the past 7 months with very little improvement.

All of a sudden I see/feel a BIG difference in the strength/muscularity there and I KNOW that the push-ups and the heavier weights are creating these changes. These exercises that I am doing are standard, foundation-building exercises that body builders have been using for decades. There's nothing fancy-pants or new fangled about it.

It figures that putting aside the gimmicky stuff and and putting some honest work into the basics is getting me the results I've been longing for! The work outs are difficult, but the results spur me on and I am eager to see how things go in the coming weeks and months.

2) Begin Training for the New Haven Road Race: This has not been going well. Between the weather, illness and an overwhelming schedule I have only been averaging one walk/jog of about a mile, once per week. I HAVE been working the backs of my thighs like crazy though, as this is supposed to be good for female runners.

Today, I got up early to take care of some business and household things and get a good groove going on my day so that I could get outside. This worked! I went out this morning and did my two-mile jogging interval routine and I was able to run for at least half of it!

I worked up a good sweat there, came home and rested a bit, then launched right into my weight lifting routine! I was a bit off on my food earlier in the week. I was feeling anxious and eating a bit more than I should. I am back on track now on all fronts and feelin' good!

3) Lose 20 pounds by the end of the challenge. Although I am not weighing myself until my monthly progress report (about a week from now) I feel confident that I've gone down a bit and that I will have no trouble reaching this goal.

4) Improve sleep habits: My dog getting sick and keeping me up all night, then getting a bad cold had my sleep all messed up for about two weeks. This week, (knock on wood) I was able to fall asleep at a reasonable hour most nights. I hope the trend continues.

Now, for something that you probably don't know about me. I was in my thirties before I learned to drive. I don't like driving. I only do it when I have to.

Before I go on to post today's work-out, take a gander at this "before" pic of me that I came across yesterday when I was searching for photos for my garden post.

Holy crap! Look at how fat my arms, legs and gut are! Jeepers creepers-- if this doesn't keep me on track, nothing will!

Also kids, just wanted to note that I removed my weekly fitness totals from the sidebar on the right and replaced it with monthly inches lost. I post my workouts now both here and on the Daily Mile, so it is redundant to have that on the sidebar.

Today's Workout

Warm up - Yoga stretches


Push Ups (30 degree)

Step-ups with DBs (18" Box)

BB Bent over rows

Side bends with 25# plate

Single-arm, DB Skull Crusher

DB Preacher curls



Leg Lifts

Cool down - Yoga and old school floor exercises -- mainly for flexibility

I upped the weight for the squats, step-ups and rows, and it was at the upper limit of my abilities. I could barely rack the barbell after the squats and as I was coming up on my last rep I could barely get my body to come back up.

So, I have reached that stage where I am not going to be making giant gains in strength from work-out to work out. I will have to increase the weight periodically to improve, but it won't be as frequent.

This is a good thing! It's a sign that you're moving out of the "beginner" phase when strength gains are rapid.

Anyway, I feel good heading into the weekend! I'm on track with the food and the exercise and I am feeling strong inside and out!

How was your Perfect Ten week?


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Long-Promised Tour of My Garden

Greetings friends! I've been promising you a tour of my garden for 6-months! It's about time I kept my promise to you. This post will show the evolution of our property, at least in part; and give you a glimpse of our garden. So come on in and I'll make you some mint and bergamont tea with herbs from my garden.

Oh yes, you noticed our nifty sign. We are very proud of that. We had our property certified as an urban wildlife sanctuary through the Humane Society.

Habitat loss is a major threat to our native birds. As a result, 50% of Connecticut’s native bird species are declining, and 17% are on the State’s Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern list. That is: 50 out of 290 regularly or annually occurring bird species in Connecticut are State-listed.

Bees, via pollination, are responsible for 15 to 30 percent of the food U.S. consumers eat. But in the last 50 years the domesticated honeybee population—which most farmers depend on for pollination—has declined by about 50 percent, scientists say. Unless actions are taken to slow the decline of domesticated honeybees and augment their populations with wild bees, many fruits and vegetables may disappear from the food supply.

What can you do? With a little effort, you can improve your property’s usefulness as a wildlife habitat, while at the same time preserving plants that are native to your state.

You don’t need a lot of space to create a garden that supports wildlife, propagates indigenous plants, and helps to increase wild honeybee populations. Later on, I'll steer you towards info on getting your property prepared and certified. It is easy and is a great thing to do! Let's continue our tour, shall we?

We bought our house during the winter, 7 years ago. It had been abandoned for 5-years at the time that we bought it and it was in terrible shape. The inside had to be gutted to the studs and completely remodeled. Inside, everything is new--- but that is another story. Today's tour is about my garden.

On the outside it was also a hideous mess. This house is on a corner lot, so we have a neighbor to the right, but not on the left. The left-hand side of the property is slightly elevated, as you will see in other pics.

See that white van in the front driveway? Well, as a corner lot, this house originally had no driveway there. The original driveway was on the left side of the property near an old detached garage.

At some point in the history of the house, someone thought it would be a great idea to make another driveway in the front and to make it curl around the house and join the other driveway, so that you could actually drive in one way and exit the other.

While they were at it, they went nuts with the asphalt and concrete, and extended it ALL OVER the property. There was not one speck of grass in the backyard, it was all asphalt and concrete in shitty condition, with weeds growing out of the cracks. HIDEOUS.

One of our first "VISIONS" for the property was to get rid of the asphalt, build a deck on that side of the house, and to enclose everything with a fence both for privacy and to contain our dogs.

So my husband went out there in the spring and started breaking up the asphalt with a sledge hammer and crow bars. Yes, he did this himself. The man is insane. Ya gotta love him.

See the mostly dead tree in the pic above? That was growing on the fence line so we had that and a few others cut down, then DH rented a stump grinder from Home Depot and ground the stump down so that it wouldn't interfere with making the fence.

This pic shows where the asphalt driveway curled around the back side of the house and met the other driveway on the side. The gate where you came in is in this spot now, it's how you enter the yard from the side or the back. The driveway leading up to this on the side is all that remains of the original asphalt and concrete.

This shows the process started of breaking up the asphalt driveway. YIKES! My Dh is a madman. What did we do with all of that concrete and asphalt once Jeff broke it up?

We found a company that gives special deals on dumpsters if all that is going in it is asphalt and concrete-- as they recycle it and use it to repair roads. So we had a DUMPSTER FILLING PARTY during a July heat wave. Want to know who your true friends are-- have a dumpster-filling party in 95 degree heat and see who shows up.

We all wore work gloves and filled wheelbarrows with asphalt and then emptied them into the dumpsters. It took two days. Half a dozen friends stayed. Bless their hearts. My garden will ALWAYS be their garden too.

Here's Zeke in the former driveway with the asphalt removed. And the dead tree has been cut down- you can see the stump still there in this shot. Yeah! Progress!

This shows the front of the house with the driveway removed and the privacy fence started. Obviously, the deck hasn't been built yet. It is now and is connected to the house on this side. There is now another section of gate going across the front at about the point where the enclosed porch connects to the house. The front path extends up to the gate, which has flowers growing all around it. Thus, at this point, you can't see into our backyard from the street and the dogs cannot get out of that area as there are fences installed at any point where they could escape.

Here are two views of the side yard BEFORE the dry stone retaining wall was put in. When we bought the house, there were railroad ties along the area of elevation. They were ancient and loaded with graffiti. When DH removed them, the soil had been in that position for so long that it just stayed like that.

This is the left side of the property, the corner side. You can't see it in the pic of the house that I put at the beginning.

I ALWAYS wanted a house on a corner lot because of the landscaping opportunity. It is like having two front yards. When I first looked at this property, I could "see" a circular path here, with a huge center garden and flowers growing along the retaining wall and spilling over the sides. I could see it. I wanted it. And I did it!

Jeff working on extending the retaining wall around the front of the house to enclose front flower bed. You can see in the background that my magical garden hadn't been created yet.

Here's a view of the side of the house after the retaining wall was finished and the garden started. In order to make my "magical garden" I had to dig up all of the grass and weeds over every square inch of this elevated side yard. Your amazon did this, a little bit each day, all by herself, when she was at her heaviest. Yes, I really wanted this.

Neighbors would drive by and stop. "What are ya doing?," they'd ask. "Well," I'd reply, "I'm digging up my lawn to make a magical, circular garden." They'd drive away scratching their heads. Thus we were identified as the neighborhood freaks almost from the moment we moved in.

At present, the circular path is complete and has off-shoots that connect it to the remaining driveway in back and a path in front of the house. There's a small pond too and several places to sit.

I love a "wild" look -- sort of English cottage style. I planted a lot of indigenous flowers and also stuff that supports bees, hummingbirds, song birds and other critters.

Intermixed with the flowers, most of them perennial, are my veggies and herbs, places to sit, annual flowers in pots, and other treasures. Angels, gargoyles, fairies and whimsical garden statues peek out from among the plants and surprise you as you turn corners and explore the plantings.

Tall flowers such as Pacific Giant Delphiniums and climbing vines such as clematis are against the house on this side. The circle includes a lot of easy care plants such as Black-eyed Susan's, Cone flowers, and the like. There are bird feeding stations among the plants and chipmunks have turned the retaining wall into a condo. They scurry around eating seeds that the birds drop and they are so cute!

Stone retaining wall from side. The gutters on our house actually connect to pipes which go underground and exit here above the storm drain in the street. Our basement FLOODS otherwise. Yours truly helped to dig the trench for this. I don't know how I didn't have a stroke at friggen 430 pounds.

The fence and part of the deck. Those Roses are called "Don Juan" and they are so beautiful.

Back in 1993, Jeff made me two of these benches out of kits he bought at Lowes. One finally broke last year but this one is hanging on. I've tried to make this a three-season garden by planting things that flower at different times. We have beauty out here from early spring until late fall. My no-care, "Freedom" roses often have blooms on Thanksgiving that I cut for our table.

A few statues in the bird feeding area. See the plant in the upper left that is enclosed? That is comfry and it gets GIANT! It is one of the healthiest plants in the garden. I have to enclose it or it sprawls out and smothers everything around it. It gets delicate purple flowers in spring and is so beautiful. There's a white dove in this pic. Do you see her?

Ribbon grass. It is pretty, but the stuff is invasive and I have been trying to thin it out every year. The red thing hanging from the pole is a hummingbird feeder. They are vacationing down south now and will be back soon!

Spiderwort and Iris, both of which I have in abundance.

I was a city girl and grew up in housing projects and tenaments. It turns out that I love gardening far more than I ever dreamed I would. Gardening enables you to work in partnership with God and nature to create something beautiful. It teaches you patience. The garden is different every year as I don't know where the squirrells might have replanted my bulbs or where seeds have replanted from the wind.

I Love this Rake lady. I got her at the Christmas Tree shop

I LOVE lavender and over the years I keep planting varieties that are supposed to be perrenniel here, but they NEVER grow back. Luckily, it is cheap to plant every year. You can't beat the smell!

Along the privacy fence, I planted roses and flowers. I used leftover stone from the retaining wall to close-in my flower beds elsewhere on the property. In spring, I have a hellava time keeping the dogs out of the freshly emerging plants in these beds. Along this fence, only the strong survive!

I always loved the look of morning glories and tried every year to grow some but I always failed until two years ago. Sadly, these are an annual, at least here. So these won't come back. I may plant more this year. These got so healthy that I had to trim them to maintain access to the gate.

For awhile, I tried to grow herbs in the back. That area is fenced-in so the dogs cannot get loose when they are outside. I could not keep Zeke out of my herbs in spite of the signs you see in my little patch here. LOL Those ceramic "no pooping" doggie signs are hilarious close-up. I'll take better pics of them for you in the spring. I painted a piece of slate with "Zeke Keep Out." Can you see it in there? Anyway, I gave up. Only flowers in the back--nothing I'm gonna eat because of the dogs.

A view of part of the circle in the spring. See the chives with the purple flowers? Very yummy to pick them fresh! I replaced the woodchips in the path with stone last year. I can see this area from my kitchen window and most of the bird feeders are around here. In the winter, I watch the birds feedng outside and dream of spring and tending my garden.

You can see a bird in the platform feeder. This is in the side yard.

My beloved Zeke in backyard with view of roses and flowers along privacy fence. This is after Jeff built the deck as you can see the steps leading up to it on the right.

Yellow Roses along privacy fence.

I told you I'd explain about urban wildlife sanctuaries in case you want to do it. You can live ANYWHERE and do it-- a farm in Nebraska, a condo in New York, a house in California--anywhere!

The HSUS Urban Wildlife Sanctuary Program fosters a greater understanding and appreciation of wildlife in urban areas by encouraging stewardship practices that improve conditions for wild animals, and by promoting humane solutions for resolving human-wildlife conflicts, when they occur.

Last I knew, it costs $25 for a homeowner to have their property certified as an Urban Wildlife Sanctuary, and you get a nice metal sign to display on your property like the one I have on my gate. You may apply online. The size of your property does not matter.

Here is the criteria that your property must meet in order to be approved:

Ideally, there would be some type of naturally occurring food such as trees, bushes or berries.

Feeders for birds, humming birds or squirrels are also a plus

There must be a water source, it does not have to be natural, a small birdbath is fine

There must be at least one type of cover or living space. Mature trees are ideal, but rock piles and piles of brush are acceptable, as chipmunks will live in them. Ponds, nesting boxes, and hedgerows are also acceptable.

People in condos can make the area on the small patch of grass outside their door or even on their balcony or patio. Stawberries and flowers can be grown in pots on a porch, patio or balcony, a dish of water can be a water source, and any mature trees on the condo grounds near your unit should qualify as habitat.

That's it. You fill out the questionaire, pay, and you get your certification in the mail. Wanna check it out? Visit this link:

Part of the circular path in the side yard.

Our garden is so dramatic now when it's in full bloom that cars come to a complete stop to check it out. Some actually get out of their cars to ask for a tour or ask about particular flowers.

One lady lives a block over but comes home by driving by our house so she can see the garden. Now that the dream has come alive, people understand what I was trying to do and they appreciate it. The lady digging up her lawn by hand doesn't seem quite as crazy anymore.

Our garden is a gift, not only to ourselves and to the wildlife it supports, but to our community as well. Everyone gets to enjoy it as they walk or drive by and we've inspired many others to garden!

By the way, our garden is completely organic, including the organic top soil and cow poop we had delivered by a local organic farmer when we got started. We are trying to heal this little piece of earth. Certain pesticides render butterlies sterile. We don't use chemicals of any kind on our property.

We also planted milkweed because butterflies like to lay their eggs there. This worked, when we sit out in the yard during the summer there are dozens of butterlies flying around.

I hope that you enjoyed your tour. I will post updated photos as my garden comes alive this year and I plant new things-- which, I always do!

Here's a government website where you can look up indigenous and endangered plants in your state:

And another that is about gardening for wildlife:

A good book is Douglas Tallamy's "Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens" (2007, Timber Press), which brings into sharp focus the relationships between plants and wildlife.

I have to get on with my day but feel free to rest in the bench above and dream of spring! And if you need any gardening tips, you know where to find me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday's Work out, Getting a (gulp) colonoscopy, and other fun stuff

The journey to health and fitness
Should be taken
Because you love yourself,
Not because you hate your body

Today was a work-out day and I DID it! Before I launch into recording that and other exercise-related stuff, let me say that when I went to my new doctor at the end of last year, he asked me if I'd ever had a colonoscopy (no), mammography (no), Bone density test (no), chest x-ray (no). And he wanted to know when I had my last eye exam (5 years ago) and pap smear (about 15 years ago, right before DH got himself fixed and I said 'goodbye' to birth control pills) (Yeah, I know, I know, PLEASE spare me the lectures. How many 430 pound women do you now who go to a gyn doc?).

And so I agreed with the doc that we'd start tackling these things one or two at a time. It was in all of the initial blood work that we discovered my hypothyroidism. So I like this guy. Anyway, I have an initial appointment tomorrow with a gastro doc about getting the colonoscopy. This isn't the procedure, it is the preliminary appointment.

Your amazon is scared. Why? Well, on my dad's side, two people died of cancer that started this way. Also, on dad's side, I had a half-sister whom I never knew. We were separated when my parents divorced when I was 3.

I searched for her as an adult--but she died of breast cancer before I found her. So, on mom's side, no one gets cancer. On dad's side, everyone does. So this and the mammography scare me. This is stupid, I know. It's not like if there WERE a problem, ignoring it would make it go away.

Anyway, my preliminary for the colonoscopy is tomorrow and my mammography is February 2nd -- ground hog day. LOL. I will post after my appointment tomorrow. Please send calming thoughts my way. This isn't easy for me. I'd rather do ten extra sets of box step-ups-- that's how much I don't wanna go. LOL

I haven't posted about this before-- I guess I was giving myself room to chicken out and not go- then none of you would be the wiser. But I guess I gotta do this and I am making myself accountable for it just like the exercise and weight loss by posting it here.

Anyway, moving on....... Quite awhile ago I read a post or a blog somewhere by a guy who had previously been really obese, then he started a weight lifting program and now looks great.

Anyway, he talked about how one of the hardest things about body building for someone coming from a high weight is that it is a LONG, LONG time before you can actually "see" the muscles you are developing because of all of the fat covering them.

You work your *ss off but have to trust that things are progressing as they should because your muscles are hidden. Boy, have I found this to be true.

Take my arms for example. When I first started working my triceps and biceps 6 months ago (with ten # weights)it took awhile, but gradually, I could feel a tiny amount of muscle there when I'd flex. Here we are now and I can hammer my arms with heavier weights--plus the push-ups and other exercises are helping. And when I flex and feel my arms, I can feel a THICK amount of muscle in the triceps, biceps, and deltoids.

Yet, when I look at myself in the mirror, my arms look the same as any other woman who has another 80 pounds to lose. No one would guess by looking at me that I can run a mile or lift heavy weights. I don't yet look like someone who can do this.

Certainly not all of the time, but some days, doing this on faith without any visual reward for all of my effort is HARD. To go to the gym and see that you are working 2 or 3 times as hard as people half your size yet don't look anywhere near as good as they do is irritating and disappointing.

I try to keep a positive and upbeat attitude and to focus on my strengths and the weight loss progress I have made, which is massive. Most of the time, I just keep looking ahead and do what I must do. But I am a human being, subject to "bad days" when I can't be a cheer leader; and on those days, not looking better than I do after all of the work that I put in really sucks.

So if you're coming from a high weight, you're going to have to accept that you will get stronger and fitter LONG before it shows on the outside. We cannot give up though! We must persist!

Today's Work out:

Warm up - Yoga stretches

Dead Lift

DB Shoulder press


Side bends with 25# plate



Leg Lifts

DB curls

I changed the way I do the cruches and leg lifts so that there are more reps per set to make it harder.

Also, with the DB shoulder press. I am simply not as strong with this movement as I am with others. I upped the weight from 20# to 25# today and I barely made it through the 2nd set. Yet, look at how much I can pull or lift otherwise.

I was looking through the NEW RULES OF LIFTING FOR WOMEN book to see what I'll be doing in future phases of the program-- and the next four stages incorporate a lot of balance work--- such as one-legged dead lifts and squats; and also compound movements that are difficult-- such as, instead of just doing step-ups onto the box holding weights, I'll have to do overhead presses at the top of the movement- which means stepping up on one leg and going into the press-- the press and the step-ups are already hard for me --when they are combined it will be killer!

I can't see myself with this kind of balance and strength but I've been told by other women who have completed the program that you vastly improve over time. I'll keep you posted. I will be half-way through phase one as of Thursday and I already feel a lot stronger.

Hope you're all doing well!

Tonight is biggest loser night. I'll be crying in front of my TV!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Today's Work-out

I did not want to work-out today. Having the cold all week (I am better today, btw) and Zeke and DH being sick last week put me behind on a lot of other stuff I must do. I wanted to spend the day playing catch-up. BUT, the work-out is only an hour if I stay on task and don't allow a lot of rest between sets. And I do want to stay on target with my exercise. So I just did it-- and I am glad!

Today's Work-out

Warm-up - a few Yoga stretches


Push-ups (45 degree)

Bent-over rows

Step-ups (18" box)

DB chest Press

Leg Lifts


Side bends with 25# plate20

Skull Crushers

I feel stronger each time I work out!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New awards! Thanks so much!

Hope you're all having a great weekend. Believe it or not, I STILL have my cold. I normally have a strong immune system against these things and either don't get them or get a much milder version than what everyone else gets. I haven't been able to breathe through my nose since Monday and overall, feel pretty gross. Enough is enough already, so I hope I feel better tomorrow.

On a more cheerful note, several of my blogging buddies gave me awards this week. I just went through my comments and I THINK that I have accurately sorted out who gave me what. But if I missed you, please bring it to my attention, as I want to give everyone their props!

Kat over at FitMindBodyspirit and Patsy over at Musings of a 100-plus Weight Loss Journey both gave me the HAPPY 101 award. Thank you ladies!

As always, there are instructions that come along with this award:

1. Copy the image and display it on your blog.

2. List 10 things that make you happy.

3. Try to do at least one of them today.

4. Pass on the award to 10 bloggers who brighten your day.

First, the 10 Things that make me happy:

1) My husband. He really is a great guy.

2) Having a spiritual life.

3) Gardening! I love my garden. I promised you a virtual tour of it long time ago and have yet to do it; so I will get to that soon. Promise!

4) Music. I love music. Can't imagine life without it!

5) Books. It is amazing what having a written language enables you to record for the future. And I love to read. I totally enter the world of the book when I read a story and can "see" everything so vividly. When I meet people who don't like to read or who CAN'T read, I always feel so sorry for them.

6) My blogging friends. Sorta matches up with number 5. I honestly feel like some of you are such good writers that the essence of "you", the "youness" of you comes through in your blog, and that if I could sit with you and talk, you wouldn't be like a stranger to me at all.

7) Exercise. I can't believe I am putting this here, but it is true.

8) Dogs. I really love em'! If you came home late and woke people in the house, everyone would be angry with you except the dog. Day or night, they are overjoyed to see you no matter what the hour. It could be three in the morning but they will run up to you all sleepy-eyed and waggy saying, "OMG, OMG, I am so happy to see you." The humans say "You woke me up as*hole." So, we have a lot to learn from the furry kids. They know what's important.

9) Cooking. I am good at it. If I weren't, the way I need to eat from now on would get pretty boring. Lately, I have been trying to produce at least one restaurant-quality meal (in taste and presentation) at least once a week. I've been turning out some beautiful stuff and DH is lovin' it.

10) Food. Kinda matches number 9. Lately I have been trying to train myself to appreciate foods as they are given to us by God and nature, without being messed with by humans. How can we bite into a piece of fresh pineapple and not feel joy? Foods, as they are, are a gift to nourish us and bring us joy. We mess with perfection and ruin it with chemicals and processing. So I am trying to keep it simple and have some gratitude, and this makes me happier.

Now I must pass this award on to 10 people/blogs who have impacted my life in a positive way:


Chris at A Deliberate Life

Helen at Doing a 180

Leslie at Something Brilliant is Brewing

Aubrey at High-Heeled Love

Kristina at Life Won't Weight

Cinci Mom at Losing the Baby Weight

Greta at Big Bottom Blogger

Ruth Anne at From Flab to Fab

Candace over at Believing in C, C is Me

Whew! That takes care of award number 1! Now on to award number 2.

The Beautiful Blogger award. This one was given to me by Ruth Anne, Candace and Helen. Thank you ladies!

The rules dictate that I tell you 7 things about me that you probably don't already know. Then, I have to pass it on to 7 recipients.

Here are the seven things you probably don't know about me:

1) I am the only daughter of an only daughter of an only daughter.

2) I had identicle triplet boys when I was only 20-years old

3) I became a widow when they were only three-years old

4) If I eat without drinking something with it, I get the hiccups, without fail! Even if it is a tiny bite.

5) I donated my breast milk to the neo natal intensive care unit at Yale New Haven Hospital for about 6-months after the triplets were born. They fed it via tubes to the preemies whose mom's couldn't give their milk.

7) When I was still young, I offered to have a baby for a fertility-challenged
couple at my church. We actually went through counseling for it together. It didn't happen because they were afraid I'd have triplets again and they didn't want that. LOL

Now, the seven recipients:

Paula Wanna Crackern

Sandra over at My travels to Becoming a Better Me

Purple Moonflower over at It's not a diet, it's a WEIGH of life

The Sweet Tooth Obliteration Operation

Patsy at Musings on a 100-plus weight loss journey (right back at ya, sistah!)

Christy in Seattle

Tamzin at One Inch at a Time

Ok, so I think that covers it. Thanks you for giving these to me ladies. It was not an easy week and these brightened my day!

It is over 40 degrees today! If DH can get home from work early enough we are going for a walk! Enjoy your weekend!