Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Brain's Real Age

I was listening to the radio this morning and some commercial came on and said something like this: blah blah blah and if you're over 35 you're at a higher risk blah blah.... My initial reaction was a complacent sigh, followed by my brain doing a double take like this: Oh, good thing I'm not HOLY CRIPES I AM NOT UNDER 35 SHAZBOT I. AM. ALMOST. 40!!!1!

I mean, WTPF? It was as if in my mind I'm still 30-ish, not Nearly Forty. Lordy B'gordy, when did I get this old? True, I look closer to 30 than 40, in better health and shape than when I was 20-something, you're only as old as you feel, the older the better like a wine, but part of me freaked out. And that freaking out freaked me out.

I guess it's a good thing I still feel younger than I am. Sheesh, I'd hate to feel older! I don't even know what my age should feel like, but I think know that my brain is feeling the right way. I didn't want to stay 20 when I turned 30, and I'm pretty much looking forward to being a happily wedded 40-something with a career.

Just as long as I still look 30. X-D

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Scale--or, What I Hate About You

All my life I've lived in fear of one thing. Not SARS, not speaking in front of a crowd, not spiders. No. I'm afraid of a little squarish thing that lives in most people's bathrooms. I'm so afraid of its power that I will not allow one in my house, how's that for crazy? Really, I'm afraid of the three little numbers (which make one BIG number) that show up on its little face.

For years and years I've let The Scale judge me and its rarely ever nice. I remember one weigh-in at WeightWatchers where someone asked me how I was and I said, "I don't know. Let's find out." I couldn't believe it! Was my self-esteem really so low that I would let a machine dictate whether or not I had a good day/week? Yes. Yes, it was. And still is in some respects. No matter how strong I was, how many healthy food and exercise choices I made during the week it was all up to the scale. Oh please, GodoftheScale, be good to me. I have made many sacrifices in your honor this week. I promise to give up all chocolate if you shine on me today.

Well, I have made a discovery. That frikkin' thing doesn't own me! It doesn't even know me. There are many things it CANNOT and DOES NOT tell you.

So now, a list of

What The Scale Cannot Tell You

1. How much stronger I am now compared to last month. I have so much more upper body strength! Even my husband has noticed!

2. My arms are getting some nice muscle definition.

3. I could've had several beers at happy hour and I opted for ONE.

4. Pants and blouses fit me better than they did in September.

5. I haven't had a soda in 30 days. :-)

6. I haven't had Splenda (or other artificial sweeteners) since 1 Jan!

7. I am a good teacher. (So there, stress blahs!)

8. I am consciously choosing a healthy lifestyle.

9. I ran a mile in under 10 min (9:08, to be exact)!

10. My husband loves me.

11. I like me very much. Usually.

12. I have learned to love eating vegetables with every meal. Yes, even breakfast.

13. Not eating potato chips doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

14. There is so much of the grocery store I don't even walk through anymore!

15. People think I'm strange eating this way and I don't mind. :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

In a fog? In a cave? In a shaft?

Ever since that incident at school my mojo has left me. I was a fabulous teacher and looked forward to inspiring my students.

Now I find that I just want to make it through the day, go home, and go to bed. :-( It's very difficult for me to care enough to grade papers, make lesson plans, and even enforce my own class rules. I just don't have the energy for it and I hate myself for feeling this way.

Yes, I said it. I am not happy with my performance/attitude whatever you want to call it. I'm looking forward to the end of June and not teaching for a year at least. Am I even a decent teacher anymore? I just don't know. I'm on auto-pilot, coasting, hoping I make it to the end.

It's not me and not how I want to do my job, but there is so much hurt and inertia I need to overcome and I don't have the stomach for it.....yet? ever?

I'm just floating around blindly, hoping that the fall won't kill me, that a door or window will open and light will pour in and show me something to make me feel that it is still worth it.

There is a little voice inside my head telling me that all I need to do is reach out, that I can stop myself anytime I'm ready, and that I am the one who can open the door. But until I can find the key and the will to use it, I'm going to keep wandering around in the dark.

Third Time = Habit?

We are fasting. Again. This is the third time we are skipping dinner. My husband liked it so much (and I didn't mind it so much), that he has a program that randomly tells us to fast. It's set up so that there is a 33 1/3% chance of us fasting each day. This is to simulate our chances of Tim having a "bad day" at hunting, and us low on stored foodstuffs. :-( (What kind of early woman was I if I didn't have a store of dried fruits and nuts?? Really, I'd have a stash of somethin' handy for just such an occasion. "Poor honey. No mammoth tonight? That's OK. I found us some eggs and we still have some dried out tubers I can boil in a proto-soup.")

At first, skipping dinner was kinda cool. I was very proud of myself for not eating dinner that first time. The second time I just shrugged, remembered that I had done it before so can survive another night without dinner, no problem.

But again??!!?? I feel like my body wants to hold a meeting and make it's voice heard. "This is ridiculous! Do you know how bored I am on these nights? Water has no flavor!" from my mouth and tongue. "You don't have to listen to the Stomach moan and groan, complaining about how empty and lonely it is," from my ears. And from my intestines, "Well, at least it gives me a chance to get caught up!"

Seriously, it looks like fasting will be a part of our lives at least for now. This third time makes it feel more real and less like a passing fancy.

Anyway, to keep my mind of off FoOOooOd I'm making a list of all the good things that come of this:

Hooray for No Dinner!

1. I didn't have to go to the grocery store.
2. I didn't have to cook, which means no chopping of several pounds of veggies.
3. I didn't have to figure out how to make chicken more interesting.
4. More time for relaxin' and knittin'.
5. Can go to bed early and get caught up on beauty sleep!
6. Look forward to breakfast.
7. Get hydrated. That's full of all sorts of health benefits!
8. Hey, post a blog!
9. Husband is more relaxed and happy and that makes me happy. :-)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How Do I Love My Husband?

I was reading this here blog and felt the need to reply. It was such a big comment, and I feel I have a lot to say, that I pasted it here and continued to write about it. When you live with someone, how do you show them you love them?

These are all very good questions. I feel that what works for one couple may not work for another which makes it difficult to give advice! I can only share my own experience.

I was surprised by how easily our lives "meshed" after moving in together. I think we allow each other to be independent while still having "one" life. By creating a relationship where we can honestly communicate our needs we're able to love each other without smothering.

It's true, he doesn't bring me flowers as often and I don't dress up or cook fabulous meals all the time anymore. But that makes it more special when he does and I do. How do we show our love now on a daily basis? We're still very affectionate (lots of hugs and kisses) and even just sitting in the computer room together is nice; I like it when he looks over at me, smiles, and wiggles.

We show each other we love each other by making time to be together during the week and on weekends, by cooking dinner, buying groceries, doing laundry. And by telling each other. I also think if you have the same long-term life goals and see each other working towards them, it solidifies your relationship. Having similar beliefs and supporting each other in them is another way to show your love.

Gee, it doesn't sound like a lot, but this is what works for us. I feel satisfied and not neglected. I feel deeply loved by a good, intelligent, caring, attractive man.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

In the Fast Lane

Tim and I are fasting tonight. The idea is that in our evolutionary past, we didn't stuff ourselves with "food" every day. There were times when we went hungry and during those times our bodies released hormones and did...stuff. Survival-type stuff. Anyway, it's supposed to be not-bad for you to skip a meal here and there and, really, I won't starve to death if I do.

Right now my stomach is confused, I can feel it. It's wondering where the chicken breast and veggies are right at this moment and thinking that if the snack of veggie burger with a side of cucumbers and salsa was going to be "it", it would've asked for something better, like chocolate.

I was talking with a teacher friend on the phone and at the end of the important business stuff she asked me what we had for dinner. I kind of looked at my husband and said, "Oh, we're fasting tonight," which made him smile amusedly. I don't know why I was embarrassed. I think it's because people at work see me as one of those weird folks who doesn't eat "normal", like a vegetarian. They all know I try to follow a healthy diet. So, not only do I eat vegetables and non-processed foods, but now I fast, too???/? Never thought I would be that type of weirdo!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

6 Months Left... live! I only have 6 months left of living on the Southern California coast. Part of me is being philosophical about it. What would you do if you only had 6 months to your current residence?

Obviously, I would try to have fun and take advantage of what's around me. So, I'm going to find things other than school to put my energy into like dance! I'm going to sign up for a session beginning this week. I'm going to spend quiet time knitting and perusing my favorite yarn stores. I'm going to get outside and enjoy the beach and avocado trees and have coffee and (real) scones in our little bakery. I'm going to see more of my friends, even if it kills me.

I'm also going to get rid of "stuff." Being a pack rat, I have a bit of stuff that for one reason or another I haven't gotten around to throwing away, but it all has to be gone by the end of June. It makes buying more yarn or clothes moot; they'll just be boxed up for a year soon. I did throw out some things today like old moisturizers, baskets, and shells. If it wasn't raining right now, I might even toss out all the cardboard we've stashed for rats. I have a shelf full of things I can recycle right now and that's what I"m going to do!!


My husband gives good, straightforward advice. After reading my last post (and I made the mistake of watching him read. Expecting a reaction. Or, at least, a smirk.), he looked at me and said to "just pick one. It's a name and doesn't matter." The sad thing is that he is correct. But, that being said, he is usually right and that's because he doesn't say anything that can't be logically supported and he hasn't spent time thinking about.

Another piece of advice he gave me (in a much more supportive manner) was in regards to my plan to eat more (real) food. He advised me to change over slowly, as it seems that I depend on these non-foods for meals and not just snacks. Very good advice indeed! This is what I've been doing this week, slowly finishing up my non-foods and getting real foods in their place. Bu-bye egg product, see ya' artificial sweetener, so long diet hot chocolate! Hello eggs, greetings honey, sugar, and stevia, hiya milk and cocoa!!

Tomorrow is the real test as I return to school and my normal routine.

New Name

Yup, I no longer like the name of this site: Alphabet Soup. Of course, the url will remain the same but in readiness for the next, exciting chapter of my life I would like to rename my blog. I'm not sure if I can be as clever as some of the other bloggers I've read. I do feel some pressure to be catchy and witty, but, really, who else is going to read this blog except for a couple of friends and my husband?

But, still, I want a new title. Something that is short, amusing, summarizes my personality (bleh), includes my hobbies and interests and travel. Oh, I feel another list coming on.... A list of

Possible Blog Titles That May or May Not Be Meaningful

1. The Knit Goes On

2. Around the World in 80 Stitches

3. The Search

4. Stitch and Bitch? How about Slog and Blog!

5. Needles of Wood and Shots of Bugs

6. Purl Gurl Wurld Tour

7. Ex-Schoolmarm on the Loose

8. The Married Woman and the Computer Engineer

9. Of Food and Fibers

10. Sistah Knittah and her Traveling Harmonica Band

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Breakfast Ideas for 2008

Well, it's the 5th day of January and I'm still gung-ho about Eating Food. I needed a place to keep a list of possible breakfast ideas that were food and mostly plants. Oh, yeah, baby, it's another list! A list of

Breakfast Ideas for 2008

1. Veggie Scramble - This is my normal breakfast, but I don't want to keep on eating processed egg product nor do I want to eat eggs every day. These ideas are for one or a couple days a week, so if I have 5 possible breakfasts I should be good for the week.

2. Oatmeal- Ya' know, I really do like oatmeal. We prefer to eat steel cut oats as they are less processed and more tasty than rolled oats.

3. Fruit salad- Or my hubby's breakfast. He eats 2 pounds of fruit with a bit of yogurt thrown in. I can do this with a little spin of, say, some chopped nuts.

4. Cantaloupe with ham- according to Tim this is one of Art DeVany's breakfasts, so it has to be healthy (if you know anything about Art DeVany.)

5. ???? I can't think of anything else right now. We have to get ready to workout, but I'll be back.
5. Dinner! I hesitated writing this earlier because I don't want to put something vague on this list because I don't want to have to think about what to eat in the mornings, but nothing says I can't eat dinner or lunch foods for breakfast. Meaning, I'll probably be having soups or salads or leftovers for breakfast!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mr. Right

My husband rented a movie tonight. While I served us our dinner, he put the movie into the player. "What did you get," I asked. "It's a surprise," was his response. I sat through Disney promos and previews while he tried to remember how to work the controls and I was puzzled. A Disney movie? What kind of Disney movie would Tim rent? A surprise for me? I couldn't figure it out and Tim is very good and not giving up a surprise so he let me sit and wonder until he finally found his way to the DVD menu.


I was so delighted, my eyes misted over. I'm sure Tim couldn't understand my emotion but this seemingly small thing meant so much to me. It's always about the little things. I guess it wasn't just the movie but the fact that he knew me so well, like how much I like rats (and still miss my ratties). He had me in his thoughts when he ordered the movie. I am so lucky to have married a man who thinks of me and my happiness every day.

I married Mr. Right. I'm so glad I waited for him to come into my life.


You won't believe it, but I discovered the appeal of the dishcloth! They are super cheap (one skein is about $2 and you can make 1-3 cloths!!) and super fast (I made an extra-large one in two hours!!) and a super way to try out a new pattern or stitch and they are super useful. Super!

At first, I scoffed at this unholy love people had for dishcloths. I mean, there are a lot of interweb dishcloth groups out there! Incredible!! But, through a weird set of circumstances I found myself searching Knitting Pattern Central for dishcloth patterns. (OK, OK, to be brief, I had a small amount of cotton chenille-like yarn left over, very orange, and had no clue what to do with it until I read a thread on my WeightWatchers board about knitting dishcloths, and so there you go).

After knitting this pattern in my orange yarn, I was pretty happy. Not with the pattern, but with the idea of making something small and useful. Sadly, you couldn't really see the coffee cup through all the yarn's texture, and it was a bit small, but it was soft and dried off my hands beautifully. Therefore I had no choice but to go to the yarn store and purchase a less textured yarn (in a nice sage green) and try it again which is what I did today. I doubled the pattern (for more length as Tim pointed out) and reversed it, making two coffee cups in opposite directions. The length is good but you still can't really see the coffee cups so I may have to get some smaller needles or just do some other pattern. But, the finished product is now draped over one of the doors under the kitchen sink waiting to dry off a pot, pan, or wipe up a spill on the counter.

I think what really sold me on the whole dishcloth thing, and made people's making so many of them make sense, is that a long, long, long time ago there was no such thing as "paper towels," if you can imagine. What did they do? Well, they made dishcloths. They're reusable, which makes them environmentally friendly, and if you stick to the basic pattern they are quickly made and not so pretty as much as they are functional.

Of course, they can also be used as washcloths and there are tons and tons of patterns for pretty dish/wash cloths out there. And the gift giving possibilities---handknitted washcloth with fancy handmade soap or a set of handknitted dishcloths in a kitchen gift basket---at last! something that you can knit up quickly but looks pretty neat when done.

Anyway, I'm about to use the little bit of green I have left to make a small basic dishcloth.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Eat Food

Well, it's the first day of the new year. Only 6 more months to the end of school!!!

Most people use this time to make resolutions, promising themselves that in 12 months they'll be better in some way. A lot of people vow to lose weight. I've already lost most of my weight and would like to lose 10 more pounds (would make my doctor happier and me healthier) but I'm going to look at what I eat instead of how much I eat.

I was reminded of this article today. The main idea is: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Simple, right? The author was being interviewed on the radio and the interviewer said how the first part implies that what we eat isn't food. Now, for the past few years I've begun to think that I do have a healthy diet, but that comment made me stop and think, "What am I eating that isn't food?" So, like many bloggers, here is a list! A list of

Food I Eat That Isn't Food

1. Veggie and soy burgers. I do eat these regularly, one almost every day. But how processed can you get? I get the ones with the fake grill marks on them. How cheezy is that??
2. Egg product. Like EggBeaters, just a carton of cholesterol-free egg. product. I do like to eat my veggie scramble every day, but if I don't feel comfortable eating real eggs daily, then I need to change up my breakfasts.
3. Diet soda. O. M. G. I do luvs me my diet soda. I will admit it is my one true addiction. But, for better health I will cut it out. :-( For now. My hands are shaking at the idea of no more soda. How will I get through my stressful days? I can't smoke, and alcohol isn't allowed on campus!
4. WeightWatcher's Smoothies. *sigh* This smoothie product has been my savior, rescuing me from many a bowl of ice cream and bar of chocolate.
5. WeightWatcher's Bars. Again, another product (sheesh! product not food!) that has kept me away from the candy dish in the front office. Guess I'll need to find some other sweet-fix. OR do without!?!
6. Catsup/Ketchup. My sister says you might as well be pouring sugar or syrup over your eggs, but man! I do luvs me some ketchup on my scrambled egg product! This may be the hardest thing to give up because I do this every morning.
7. Non-dairy creamer. Or, worse: FAT FREE non-dairy creamer and SUGAR FREE non-dairy creamer. I don't even read the ingredients list 'cuz I know I wouldn't recognize half of them.
8. Low-fat American cheese. OK, OK, ever since I was a little girl I knew that American cheese couldn't be real cheese, as the label states it is a "cheese food product." But I do like that creamy texture and it melts so nicely.
9. Non-fat cottage cheese. It is much lower in sugar than non-fat yogurt, so it's got that going for it.
10. Non-fat or Low-fat yogurts. Ever since I read the label and saw how much sugar is in this stuff, I've managed to keep away. I guess this means I have to resort to REAL YOGURT!
11. OMG, I can't even believe I'm here at number 11, and I'm embarrassed to say that this item is...artificial sweetener. :-((( Once again another thing I use not only everyday, but several times a day: morning coffee (3 packets), mid-day coffee (not always do I have a mid-day coffee), non-fat cottage cheese or any plain yogurt, instant hot chocolate with added cocoa, spaghetti squash with butter and cinnamon, and not including other products that use it (like diet soda). I suppose I need to A)bear down and use real, raw sugar, and B)just get over it and stop eating sweet things. *sniff*boo-hoo*
12. Skinny Cow. On the plus side, I only eat this stuff in the summer.
13. Condensed soups. Nothing is as homey as Campbell's soups. :-( They make me feel better when I'm sick or in a hurry or only have a couple of points left for dinner. However, I do make some very tasty soups of my own, so maybe it won't be too hard to give up.

Now that I've reached lucky number 13, I think I'll end it. My point's been made. This year I will continue my healthy lifestyle and quest for less pounds on my frame, but will make it a point to eat. more. food. :-) That does mean I need to focus on eating only when hungry and small, normal-sized portions of real foods like sugar and butter. And eggs. And oatmeal?