Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Not a BIT of Progress

Actually, that's an assumption. As Mr. Bob strongly recommends not getting back on the scales until the end of Phase One, and phase One is all about establishing new habits, I have no numerical measure of my progress. Ergo, it appears there is none.

Remember those habits?

1) Increase my activity level.

2) Stop eating 2 hours before bed-time. (aack!)

3) Eat three meals, including a nutritious breakfast, plus at least one snack, daily.

4) Stay hydrated. (48 oz of water a day.)

5) Eliminate alcohol. (um, ok. Done. It's not that I don't drink, I just, um, don't drink.)

6) Take daily supplements.

I haven't kept a chart or any way to track any of this. In my defense, I have been up to my ying yang in making charts and lists for school, but that's over now. So, I think I need to play with Word and get something run off to stick on the fridge. It would be a way to track progress, of a sort, wouldn't it? Because I think I'm going to be in phase One a long, long time.

As discussed before, #2 is the bugaboo, for in order to stop eating 2 hours before bed time, one must actually have a bed time! Remember how I mentioned I "eat to stay awake?" Well, a few times in the past week I caught myself eating late at night...for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The house was quiet, the kids were asleep. I didn't need to stay awake...and yet, here I was, eating, while planning to go to bed. Hmmm.

We have managed to get up at 6:30am this morning. (No, they aren't reading, but watching Arthur. I'm typing this.) But it is too soon to celebrate a new "habit." In a month, it will still be too soon, I think. When my son attended school, we had to be up every morning at 8:30 at the absolute latest. In order for him to get enough sleep, he had to be in bed by 9. In three years, it never happened. Ok, maybe once or twice, but never for any length of time. (I did seek doctors help. They were unhelpful.)

So, my perspective on this is that we will have to keep at it for at least a year. I think I may have to include weekends, though, frankly, I will resist that for as long as I can!

(ack, I said "no more Arthur, time to get dressed," and I think they have crawled under the covers again! Oh man. I've had less than five hours of sleep, myself. sigh. I'm tempted to let them sleep for an hour but our school day is likely to be very short today as my Mom is coming at 11am and then my sister is dropping off my eight month old nephew to be looked after for the afternoon. I do NOT want to give up the school day!)

I guess this is precisely why I need a really long term perspective. If I based my "progress" on the results of a mere week (or month), I'd be likely to throw up my hands and say, "this will never work." Surely, if I give it a solid effort 'til Christmas, at least, we can establish this new, wonderful habit?

I'm going to rouse them and herd them to the table, now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend Project 1

We finally rented a chainsaw! We were able to get a 16" electric. The big decision for the husband was whether to buy one (for $60) or rent. We probably spent 1/2 the day discussing it.




The stump is still in the ground, though. I'd thought we could just grind it down below the surface with the chainsaw, but I didn't know that a chain saw musn't come in contact with the ground. (Gums up the gears or something.) Oh well.

Project #2 will be planting my poor wilting dogwoods sometime today.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Holy Books, Batman!

We're up at 6:30am again. We managed it yesterday and now, today. It's been my goal to "get up with Dad" and see him out the door, and here we are two days in a row. (Tomorrow, though, he wakes up at 5:30, so he'll have to see himself out.)

But that's not all. They are reading. Reading! Not watching TV/DVD's as is usual. They wanted to.

It's calm. Peaceful. What a wonderful way to start the day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not Exactly a Guilty Pleasure

I am compelled to provide a bit of background.

Last week I finally got to see The Queen. I always enjoy the commentaries, and I found the one by the historian quite interesting (if a bit pedantic and a bit too much of stating the obvious). He mentioned that "an interview" with the late Diana, The Princess of Wales which was playing in the background and which in the film the Queen was watching had "blindsided The Palace." He said it was this interview which decided them that the separation between the Prince and Princess of Wales should be made permanent with a divorce.

It was the famous interview (which I actually saw at the time) where she mentions being "the queen of people's hearts."

I wanted to watch the interview again, so I turned to You-Tube and found it.

I also found an awful lot of sick puppy videos centered around Prince William and Prince Harry. I watched a few--still photographs culled from various sources set to awful music.

However, I did enjoy this one. I thought it was done rather well.

Too Sexy Prince Harry

Friday, August 15, 2008

Planning School

Well, it has to be done.

I still have my wonderful spreadsheet from last year, but it is hopelessly out of date and I'm beginning to be a bit alarmed. I hauled the kids outside today to read a chapter of The Railway Children by E. Nesbit, just so I could feel like we did something.

As a consequence, though, I've started posting again over at the SSC blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Numbers Up!

Stucco is really, really hard. Even with the proper drill bit, it took forever to drill the holes for the screws.

But here they are!

And for the finale---wait for it----

Crackers--in addition to a new light fixture, now I need a new welcome mat! Look at that dinky thing.

I understand now why the husband looked at me funny when I brought home the new mailbox and protested, "It was only $11!" Then again, the numbers project came in under that modest amount, but one thing does lead to another, doesn't it?

I imagine you are asking yourself, why "03" and not just "3?" Call it quirky local convention. Our addresses in this part of town are all numbers--a "3" by itself would be a bit confusing, believe it or not. (Or so we figured.)


Most of these were enjoyed in Aurelia's Birthday dinner salad.

Tomatoes symbolise the purpose of having a food garden. It was The End of Food by Thomas F. Pawlick, I believe, which explained the mystery and annoyance of the ubiquitous cardboard supermarket tomato.

I was never allowed to eat tomatoes in the winter: we couldn't afford them. If my mother did give in to my high pitched pleadings, I was invariably disappointed. They were tough, they tasted awful and the expensive booty was left to rot in the fridge.

In the summer, by contrast, we would slice a tomato each, layer it on two pieces of soft brown bread slathered with mayo, dust them with salt and devour them standing over the kitchen sink letting the juices fall down over our chin and harmlessly into the drain.

When was the last time you had a tomato like that?

Blame it on the Unions. Blame it on migratory workers wanting a living wage, for heaven's sake. Blame it on the big tomato producers who found a way to get rid of unionized decent-wage demanding migrant workers. Blame it on mechanical pickers which can only pick a tomato of a certain size and weight. Blame it on chemicals and transportation. Blame it on the discerning consumer.*

We are now in the odd situation where canned and processed tomatoes are actually healthier than the red, chemically ripened globes in the fresh produce aisle. The latter don't have to be "perfect", you see, so they are allowed to ripen a little longer, get a little bigger before they are picked by a mechanical arm.

So what's a chin slobbering fresh tomato-loving gal to do?

Grow my own.

I did it wrong, though.

What I did right:

I picked a good variety--"Early Girl." As we have a teeny tiny growing season, I wanted something that would actually ripen before September. Since I didn't give it any thought until late May, I bought two already started.

I planted them in "container soil" in a large tub.

I watered them faithfully, even through all the rain we had. One night as we noticed hail about to bounce from the sky, the husband and I picked up the tub and carried it inside the playhouse.

I mulched them with spent coffee grounds. I did this mostly to keep the dog away from them, but it turns out to have been a good thing.

I put a cage on them to support them.

What I did wrong:

I planted them side by side. They need two to three feet between them, or one tub each.

I put the cages on them: upside down.

I didn't fertilize.

I didn't prune.

Outstanding early variety of tomato for short season gardens. Proven, dependable, tasty uniform 4 to 5 ounce tomatoes. Excellent for home gardens (24 seeds approximately). Early Girl is an indeterminate variety (tall growing) so provide some support as plants grow. Approximately 62 days to maturity from transplanting.
From Ed Hume's Seeds

"Indeterminate" varieties need to be staked and pruned. Basically, you find "one main leader," train it up a stake and snap off any "branches" which come out from the leader and head sideways. Trimming them out allows air and light into the plant and prevents all sorts of problems like mildew.

A "determinate" variety, on the other hand, should be let to sprawl on the ground and the suckers allowed to develop.

(And, of course, given my penchant for procrastination, I only found all this out this week.)

My first tomato was nice and large: big enough for a sandwich with some left over. I meant to eat it that way, but somehow it got tossed into a scrumptious salad. I couldn't believe my daughter when she refused it at supper.

"I don't want tomato," she said.
"You've ever had a tomato like this one," I said, "give it a try." (It killed me to say it, actually. I would have been quite happy eating it all myself.)
She protested some more, so finally, I said, "Just take a no-thank you bite. Here."

She actually thanked me later for making her try it. And she requested the same salad for her birthday dinner.

The tomatoes, since, though, have been quite small. Too small for a sandwich. I have hope, yet, though. Along with a bunch of little ones, there's one which looks quite promising still on the vine.

And I'm not going to share it.

*This line always trumpets through my head as I prowl through the produce: "Give me spots on my apples, but leave me the birds and the bees, pleeeeeeease." From Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

House Numbers

Of course, we could go the "cute" route:

(from Ann's House Numbers).

or the kistchy:

or the elaborate:

But sometimes, simple is best.

Check this out (top is the before and after):

From this site. (It was also featured on AT, which is how Google found it.)

I think that raising them gives the cheap thin numbers greater depth and weight--and it's too easy. I showed the husband and he said, "We can do that."

We've decided we just want the house number. Around here, most folks include the street number as well, but as we are right on the corner, we can be cheap!

I think it might work best where scb recommended it go--to the other side of the mail box and light fixture and not between them as I'd originally thought. Like this:

(Font: Times New Roman, which I quite like, courtesy of MS Paint.)

We briefly considered putting the numbers into the triangle of the porch "roof" facade, but thought better of it. It's too small to "dress up" but doesn't this make a statement?

From this site.

I am itching to re-paint the trim from that ugly yellow-brown to something with more pep. But at this rate, I'll be lucky--and glad--to get the fence done.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Boom Da Da Boom

The husband has completed re-routing the eavestroughing at the front door. Here it is as of yesterday:

Just for fun, let's compare that to the front door which greeted us when we returned from vacation in late May, shall we?

(The eavestroughing on the right ran down the trunk of that tree, the left didn't function well at all.)

I'd still like a new light fixture--and figure out a more satisfactory solution for the abysmal house numbers. Any thoughts?

The Problem with Bed-Time

It is 1 am and the house is finally quiet.

The husband fell asleep hours ago, struggling to stay awake to put my daughter to bed. She's having her eighth birthday tomorrow and a tooth was loose and sore. At 11:30, during her second foray downstairs to complain about it, not at all sympathetic, I told her to work on it and pull it out. On her third venture downstairs, she was triumphant. I listened to the tale of how not the first, or the second, or the third, and not even the fourth but the fifth twist brought it out. We looked at it carefully, discussed how expensive it was (it had been capped, one of her "silver" teeth) and she disappeared.

I noticed during our conversation that my son was still watching a John Wayne movie. I had told him to turn it off a half hour earlier. I reminded him, somewhat severely. He turned it off and wandered into the dining room. He sat down as I read blogs and quietly tattooed himself with pen. He came over to show me what he had done: "I Love You" spelled out on his fingers between the first and second knuckle joints. I gave him a kiss. He gave me one back. I handed him Hank the Cow Dog and said I would be in to tuck him in in a few minutes.

I got to reading something about The Stockholm Syndrome, then Cognitive Dissonance, then to a book recommendation and then to our local library page to see if we had it. Down for maintenance.

I went to tuck in my boy and happily discovered him in bed, with the lights out and groggy. I hugged him and left closing the door quietly behind me as he'd asked.

And then, it occurred to me that in order to follow Bob's rule about "Do not eat 2 hours before bed-time" I would actually have to have a bed-time. And so would the kids.

I have to shift this quiet time, too, from late night to early morning. I haven't been too successful in the past, though. The peace and quiet is so nice when I waken an hour or so before them that, sometimes, I don't get them up--and then I'm sleepy in the night, and they're wide awake--and I eat to stay awake. It's really that simple. I eat at night to stay awake.

Because I like quiet time.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Three Been Salad

I found this recipe many years ago in an old recipe book written, I believe, in the day when canned veggies were considered superior to fresh.

To substitute fresh (or frozen) for canned, wash the beans, cut them up into appropriate sized pieces, then boil them until just done. (If they are soft enough to bite into and not mushy, they're perfect.) Drain them in a colander and douse with cold water to stop them from cooking further and cool them down.

(1 to 1 1/2 cup cut up beans would be about the right amount).

Adjust ingredients for taste--especially the dressing--it's a bit heavy on oil and sugar! (Sugar substitute works well, too, but still, use less!) I usually make about half. I don't like my salads swimming.

1 (1 pound) can cut green beans, drained
1 (1 pound) can wax beans, drained
1 (1 pound) can red kidney beans, drained.
1 cup minced celery
1 cup minced sweet green pepper
1 cup minced yellow onion
1/2 cup minced sweet or dill pickle (optional)

1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients, cover and chill several hours before serving.

This salad keeps for about a week or so, making it super easy to haul it out and have a bowl whenever the blood sugar gets low. In fact, see that bowl up there? That was breakfast!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The $3.02 Pot of Cheer.

Sometimes it pays to procrastinate! The geraniums (2) were 1/2 off--$1.50 each. They had no blooms whatsoever. I talked to another shopper and asked her if they would be OK.

"Yeah, sure," she said.

"Why?" I asked.

"I've never seen a geranium not bloom."

She was right!

They looked kind of lonely when I planted them, so I went back the next day. The "grass" was on sale too but when I got to the till, I couldn't remember the price and the cashier had trouble ringing them up, so she sold them to me for a penny each. I tried to find something that would fill in the front and cascade down the front of the ugly pot (a freebie from my Mom) but, truly, there was nothing left.

Just as well. It acts as a door stop for the back yard screen door.

BIT, Bob, and Breakfast.

I hate to promote any one person's weight-loss and fitness regime because there are many worthwhile ones out there. However, I need structure and Mr. Greene's is as good as any. (For the record, I like Dr. Andrew Weil, too, and his program is even broken down into 8 weeks, but I don't happen to have a copy of his book.)

Mr. Bob breaks things down into phases--and this is its major attraction to me. The first phase is supposed to take 4 weeks (or so) and focuses on making changes in your habits. This is good. I have terrible habits when it comes to eating and excercising. (As if that's news).

Truthfully, this is a focus I can live with. The feverish attempt to lose weight is anathema to me...and in a way, that's fortunate. It means I've never yo-yoed. I have a pretty clean track record when it comes to trying to lose weight, per se. I think that's a good thing, physically speaking.

According to the theory of having a "set-point" (a weight at which your body goes into ultra conservativative hang-on-to-the-fat-or-die mode), yo yo-ing (going on and off diets continually with the consequent results of going up and down the scales) messes with your set-point and, supposedly, "sets" it higher each time. So, if the theory is correct, I don't have a messed up set-point--which may or may not mean anything.

What I want is a healthier lifestyle--a more functional and healthier relationship to life--not necessarily just my body. So, with that in mind....

Here are the objectives for Phase 1:

1) Increase my activity level.

2) Stop eating 2 hours before bed-time. (aack!)

3) Eat three meals, including a nutrious breakfast, plus at least one snack, daily.

4) Stay hydrated. (48 oz of water a day.)

5) Eliminate alcohol. (um, ok. Done. It's not that I don't drink, I just, um, don't drink.)

6) Take daily supplements.

The biggies, here, are 1), 2), and 3).

I plan to do my best to meet these objectives. But what I am NOT willing to do, at least not yet, is change what I eat. For example, the yogurt breakfast, a la Bob Greene is fat free plain yogurt, topped with fruit, nuts, a little honey and (if you like) a spoonful of flaxseed or wheat germ or a couple of spoonsful of low fat granola.

The yogurt breakfast, a la moi is 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt (4% M.G.) with 2/3 cup Quaker "Harvest Crunch." (I only know this because I actually measured this morning.) I throw on a handful of blueberries when I have them. Mmmmm.

I've mixed honey into plain non-fat yogurt before: it's time consuming and the taste takes getting used to. On my previous "diet" --a home made version of weight watchers-- I could only eat it with half an apple cut up into it along with cinnamon and nutmeg. Plain non-fat yogurt is just vile. And I bet French women don't bother. ;)

In winter, I like Red River cereal with a handful of dried cranberries. Oh, and brown sugar.

Perhaps this reluctance to alter what I eat will change. Anything is possible. But eating breakfast, in and of itself, will be a huge change for me. (Normally, breakfast is, well, let's just say lots and lots of coffee and...cigarettes.)

And that's enough for now.

Isn't it?


All right. Since Wende and scb are feeling self-conscious about being alone together in this enterprise for a better body, I have to join them, if only to encourage their efforts. Besides, I need encouragement too, and it makes no sense to me to let this opportunity go by.

Years ago, I purchased Bob Greene's "The Best Life Diet." At that time I was researching diets and low-glycemic index foods, healthy eating and lifestyle changes, and so on, and it seemed quite a sensible approach. So, that's what I'm going to use as my guide.

There's just one thing about it I really don't like, though it was probably important to me at the time I bought it. Greene places a lot of emphasis on analysing why you overeat. Are you stuffing down your anger? Your disappointment? Your frustration? Find new and better ways to deal with it, he says, and "have the best life you deserve."


Oprah wrote the introduction (of course). In it she writes:

Loving yourself means honoring yourself and your own feelings first. When I was 237 pounds, I didn't even know what I felt. It was like living behind a veil of fat.

I hesitate to say this, for all sorts of reasons, but I do not believe, in spite of being 75 pounds overweight, that I am living behind a "veil of fat."

No, I am living behind a veil of smoke.

I use cigarettes to "manage" my feelings. I have promised to quit and I have quit a few times in the last eleven years, but never for more than a month at a time. I've invested in courses from the Lung Association, pills from the doctor, nicotine gum...and now that the patch is available without prescription, I'll do that too.

I have to set a quit date and dig out my little cigarette charts to track and cut down on the number I smoke each day (about 20, now). Crikey, just typing this makes me so nervous, I'm reaching for the pack! They steady me.

Managing my emotions in a different way is going to be HUGE. I can't tell you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Just a Small Project

No more soggy mail!
(The original one had lost its lid.)

Did you know the centre of my house is the mailbox--more or less? Crazy.

Who wants to make the mail box the focal point?

Now, for the light fixture. I'd like to either replace or repaint the one we have. If I could find a more attractive (and suitable) fixture for about the cost of a can of spray paint, I'll do it in a heartbeat! I'd want something plain--but somehow tied into the lovely trellis work. You can't see it, but the window in the front door is a simple diamond. A very simple arts and crafts style would be nice--or would it be too arts and crafts? I haven't a clue. But the current "carriage" style doesn't say anything nice (on my house. It'd be fine somewhere else, I'm sure.)

I went Windows shopping. Here's one from Home despot:

And here's one from our other Big Box store, Rona.

A bit ornate for my taste...but it has a diamond and the scrolly curves of the trellis. I would like it better if the face plate were square. I use compact fluorescent outside, so the frosted glass of the first one is preferable. I like this one, too (also from Rona) but the clear glass gives me pause:

(However, it is only $12!)

I seem to have lost all confidence when it comes to taste. Which one do you like?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

From the Inbox

One of the great things about homeschooling is finding out about all the neat teaching tools out there.

A notice that these are available arrived in my mailbox today.

They are from Dover Publications. (psst, if you click on the link, you can follow a few more links and see Cindy and Michelle, too!)

Aren't they great?

Note the posture. Are Republicans upright and stiff? Are they unyielding? Or, are they trustworthy and dogged? Do they have necks?

Are Democrats sloppy and slouchy and not to be trusted--or comforting and laid back? Will they park my car for me?

I wonder if there would be outcry and brouhaha if Hillary had won the nomination instead? (Though I would feel vaguely indecent dressing and undressing Bill.)

I wish they had Canadian equivalents.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Giving Up....

It feels like giving up. It probably isn't. But it might be.

What am I giving up?

No, not food, not chocolate, no, nothing really that matters. No, I'm giving up on landscaping and gardening. My enthusiasm is finally waning. I'm not making any progress understanding what it is I'm supposed to be creating, so I'm going to stop trying.

I've been living, breathing, and dreaming about plants and plant care, designing with plants, pruning, soil, native species, ways to plant, styles of gardens, and studying (and trying to apply) each and every design principle so I can create a plan and get planting.

I give up. I can't figure out where to put the paths. I can't figure out where to put the planting areas. I've purchased two bushes--and already thinking that one of them was a mistake.*

I have to grade the front yard to ensure there is a 1" drop every 8 feet--and then plant the two bushes (probably on a great big mound of soil as I suspect we'll need a truckload of dirt). The husband is working on putting up new downspouts (had to be done as one of them ran down the trunk of the tree we axed). I still want to pressure wash the fence and paint it. And we need to mulch all the foliage we've got stacked in the backyard.

But the planning--I've hit a brick wall and it feels like defeat. I still don't know where to put anything--so I probably won't put anything anywhere. I'm very disappointed.

*The Isanti Dogwood. The beast is going to grow 8 to 10 feet around--if I don't whack at it constantly--though only five feet tall.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Crunching the Golden Numbers.

I've just read the most useful working explanation of the Golden Mean I've ever come across and I need to pass it along.

The Golden Mean is a ratio of proportion. The sides and length of a given rectangle are based on numbers which have a certain mathematical relationship to each other. It has connections to the Fibonacci sequence and the "Rule of Thirds" is loosely based on it too. (So I've read. I haven't the math skills to understand it clearly.)

I'm not going to try and explain the Golden Mean the complicated way. The easy way is this: take a dimension, say 12 feet. Multiply it by 1.618 to get a larger dimension. There you have one rectangle: 12 x 19.4. Alternately, you can multiply your given number by 0.618 to get a smaller dimension with the same Golden proportion. So, the smaller dimension would be 12 x 7.4.

Isn't that cool?

My house facade, as it turns out, is loosely based on the Golden Mean. The height of the roof on the right hand side is 12 feet. The husband and I estimated the peak at about 20. If it is, in fact, just under 19 1/2, then the roof heights are in perfect proportion to one another.

I also figured out that the left hand side of the house (including the width of the front stoop) is 18 1/2 feet. The right hand side of the house is 10 1/2 feet. The golden mean would have it be 11. Close enough.

I can't tell you how relieved I am to find this out! It's nice to know there's something elegant and vaguely classical about this generic Monopoly house of mine.

And now that tree has another reason to be taken down.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Another Idea

Notice anything different?

My neighbour had her son "who was in landscaping for six years" trim the tree. I was not at all impressed with his technique, but it's done.

We got to talking, though, and he recommended I build up the soil in order to plant. I fear he may be right. I was trying to figure out how deeply to dig my holes for the two dogwoods I bought today--and realised that we've disturbed the soil so much (especially where we took out the bush) that I have no idea where the "top" should be. He helped me figure that out (use the top of the sidewalk at the bottom of the steps as my guide).

Then a couple of other neighbours ambled down the street and said, in the nicest possible way, "This looks like a big project, what are you doing here?" I told them the truth, "I don't know anymore." We talked a bit and the fellow said he may have a saw the husband can use to take out the stump. I said I would send him down. He is picking up a heavy duty axe on his way home from work this evening thought.

Last night, I analysed my shadow pictures and studied up on asymmetry a bit more and drew the following.

The planting bed (between the house and the path) on the left side right drops down 16' at the sidewalk, and 14' on the right. (Right about where the sunlight is on the grass in the above photo, taken at 5:30 this evening.) From east to west, it extends 18' on the left and 11' on the right. I don't know how much I should raise it--except that dirt is supposed to slope one inch every eight feet down and away from the foundation. So, it should be 5 1/4" inches higher at the house end than the street sidewalk end. I haven't measured, but I bet it isn't.

Figuring out the math to calculate cubit feet of dirt needed is beyond me.

And that last tree has got to go.

You can call me insane, it's OK. I decided that as my trouble is with envisioning verticals, that I should make a scale 3-D model of the plan above. So, I did. It is very crude.

The first image in the sequences has no fence, the second, a fence along the west side only, and in the third there's a fence along the west side and west side front. It is to scale. The city will allow a fence 3.3 feet high (not including the height of the fence posts) in the front yard.

Looking head on:

Looking west:

Looking east:

Let's design by committee, shall we?

Which do you like best? No fence, one fence, or two fence?

Bit: or Biting off More than I Want.

Scb is to be applauded for just diving in and beginning. I have been in denial about my own weight issues for about seven years. I have such a precise figure simply because my daughter will be turning eight in less than a week. For the first year after she was born, I promised mysef to lose weight slowly and carefully. And I did--I got down to a weight that is about 50 lbs less than where I am now. That shocks me. See, 50lbs less than I am now was still "fat." I'd wanted to lose another 25-30, but I plateaued. So I gave up.

Of course, that means I have 75 lbs to lose, now. Impossible.

My knees are bad. My back is worse. My right arm has been bothering me for months. My feet, fortunately, seem to have stopped pronating (or whatever it is feet do when the arches "fall.")

And can you believe this? Digging out bushes, sledging concrete and walking, nearly every night for at least 1/2 hour, leisurely, to be sure, but still walking, has done nothing to the scales since we've returned from our trip 8-9 weeks ago now.

I can tell you though, I have lost a significant amount of weight in the past. Yep, about 70 lbs. It took nine months. Nine months of low-impact aerobics at the local Y (eventually I became a certified instructor and taught classes so my membership would be free), nine months of measuring out my food and recording everything I ate on a chart. Nine months of endless carrot sticks and eating (lightly floured) fried (baby beef) liver and onions every friday. Even though that was 20 years ago, I still remember it vividly. I just don't want to do that again.

I grew up in a house where my mother was always trying to lose weight. She always thought she was fat. She was always bemoaning her body. I do not want to continue that legacy. I grew up with absolutely no idea what was "normal" and what wasn't. At 13, I thought I had "fat thighs" and went on my first diet. Fortunately, I haven't dieted much at all, other than those two separate times.

But dieting does require you to focus, focus, focus on your body, your food, your excercise. And I honestly believe that intense focus is not healthy--though the process and the results may be.

So honestly, I don't know what to do.
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