lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Down another three and a half pounds. Between a morning ride for groceries, the walk to the Y, and the treadmill time I figured I should put in while I was there, I about have my steps for the day. We have lovely leftovers for dinner so all I have left to do is a load of wash once I have changed my clothes.

EDITED TO ADD A RANT: I know my dieting food choices aren't for everyone. I can tolerate a high degree of monotony and choose my foods carefully, for maximum nutrition at minimum calorie content and cost. My typical day includes a breakfast of an omelet with two jumbo eggs cooked in 1 tsp canola oil; a lunch consisting of 2-3 oz cubed chicken in a sauce made of 1/2 c Greek yogurt, 1 tsp oil (usually olive or sesame), vegetables, and a range of flavors; and a dinner of 4 oz meat, a small serving of starch, a huge bowl of vegetables with 1 tsp of butter and perhaps some concentrated chicken broth. Evening snack is either fruit or fruit-and-yogurt, if I want it.

I don't feel deprived. I feel energetic enough to walk those 10,000 steps and I'm beginning to think about doing something to strengthen my upper body and abdominals.

If I were going to Weight Watchers, I'd be enduring innumerable lectures about the perils of cutting out carbohydrates and the pitfalls of losing weight too quickly. Today it has occurred to me that every time I lose only a pound instead of three, it means two more weigh-ins at $14 (or would if I weren't a lapsed lifer). Makes me wonder. And sitting through those meetings! Listening to the poor tortured souls going on about their cravings, and their shame and guilt at backsliding, and then the leader talking about Weight Watcher Double Fudge Sundaes as a healthy treat, bah. No...better that I go to the Y, get exercise and no lecture with my weigh-in.

Well, that's my rant for now. Watch me sing a different tune if/when the cravings start, or I start to pack the pounds back on, or the rate of weight loss slows to a crawl.
lblanchard: (swannfountain)
Sunday I was pretty active and logged upwards of 11,000 steps on the iPhone pedometer. Yesterday I was pretty shaky -- felt as though I'd consumed an incredible amount of caffeine and was also a little dizzy.

Might be cause and effect, but this morning I looked at my third cup of coffee and said no thanks.

Roy is out of town till Wednesday evening. Yesterday, before going out, I carved up that whole pork line into eight chops and two roasts, and roasted one -- very simply, with a sprinkling of marjoram and black pepper and a skootch of dry vermouth in the bottom of the roasting pan. That will make lunch and dinner until he gets home and a nice cold dinner when he does. (Clearly, I can tolerate a high degree of monotony in my diet.)

I hit Peak Garden last week. This week the coleus are geting leggy and trying to bolt.


Cuttings will be taken this weekend. The hippeastrum will get a shot of Death To Everything next weekend and turned on their sides so that they'll begin to dry out in preparation for fall dormancy.

Inside, I gave BabyMax and friends a shot of dilute Miracle Gro and I swear they've all doubled in size. There are third leaves emerging from many of BabyMax now.


They will need to be potted on soon, in deeper pots. The ones on the right aren't so far along.
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Today I got into, and zipped up, the smallest pair. I was surprised to check the label and see that they're nominally the same size as the mediums, but they're decidedly tighter. Could it be that they'll relax and truly be another "size medium"?

I think I may have a couple pairs of thinner trousers packed away in Anderson House -- ones that I put away in the late 90s when it was obvious that the perimenopausal weight trend was upwards.

If not, there's always the tape measure. Which says, by the way, that I've lost four inches off the hips, three inches off the thighs, five inches off the waist, and maybe an inch off the chest. If I snug up the tape measure, I'm within spitting distance of having the first digit of the waist measurement be a 2.

Tomorrow is our election and I believe I'm with that tearful four-year-old who sniffled that she was "tired of Bronco Bama and Mitt Romney." I've reached a point that the clever LOLcats-style graphics on Teh Facebooks annoy me whether they tickle my isms or not.
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Exercise: 5.5 miles on the bike, 1.3 miles on my feet plus an hour standing around at a party. Not terribly strenuous but better than being a couch potato.

Food: a perfect day on program. I guess I really have lost my appetite for sweets. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania threw a party for its head librarian's 20th anniversary, and the President spent the entire weekend baking the entire spread -- cakes, cheesecakes, cupcakes, pies, and cookies. I'll pause to let you get your arms around the concept of the president of a big cultural organization personally catering a staff party. I admired the look of the items, enjoyed the scent of the items, and had absolutely no interest in picking up one of the items and eating it. I had a bottle of water.

Callus maintenance: three times up and down the fretboard plus a couple of tunes. Say 45 minutes. I have a band-aid on my left ring finger, down by the nail, because I have an Evil Hangnail that may be slightly infected. That does not contribute much to dexterity. Last night was also the first time I'd played the Martin since we ripped apart the downstairs to accommodate the dining room work -- say two weeks. After two weeks on the beater guitar I really noticed the difference. I guess I won't put it on Craigslist quite yet.

2.5 out of 3 ain't bad.

Someone asked Tommy Emmanuel what his favorite chord was in a Reddit AMA. He replied with a Soundcloud file. It's an E maj 9 and he says "yummy." I have played a muddy version of that chord on the beater for the past couple of weeks -- it came out clear as a bell on the Martin. Yummy...

http://soundcloud.com/tommyemmanuel/fave-chord

(It's the real reason I've been playing all those cheater chromatics -- to strengthen and stretch my fingers so I can play a chord that has a four-fret spread.)

My stepson the Guitar Hero is coming up with his family in early-ish December, so I have a goal -- be able to play for two hours without raising blisters. We'll jam with him playing real stuff and me playing simple chords behind him. Hard to believe that when he was a stripling I was teaching him...
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It was sputtering when I got to the Asian grocery this morning and raining gently by the time I got home. Now it is raining in earnest. But I got my ten miles in so I feel quite smug. Also, I got a couple hours work in while waiting for the ocntractors to deliver the oak flooring for the dining room. It needs to spend a week getting used to our house's microclimate before the ocntractor puts it down. Farewell old nasty carpet. It was supposed to be stainproof but anything that fell on it left disgusting black spots that not even an immediate attack with the rug shampooer would budge.
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I felt the need to do something other than the usual stuff today, so I've reached back into time to edit my photos from the Maya 2012: Lords of Time exhibit at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. They're from mid-August and I'm just now up to them in my backlog. I've finished the exhibit, but still have a ton more photos from that day to edit.

Hard to believe, but if I had stuck with my archaeology and my focus on the Maya in the late 60s instead of dropping out and getting married, I might have been one of the young hotshot epigraphers in the golden age of the Maya Decipherment, instead of an armchair enthusiast. Oh, the life-changing decisions we make at a tender age.



[Note: if you click through the slideshow to Flickr itself, you'll find that all exhibition labels are legible in the larger sizes of the photos -- just in case you want to become an expert on these Time Lords.]

While I was at the museum in August, I did buy the current Standard Reference on the Maya (Robert A. Sharer with Loa P. Traxler, The Ancient Maya, Sixth Edition), which weighs in at an impressive 931 pages and 3 lb 12 oz. I've just signed up for a lecture this coming Wednesday evening on the epic and game-changing battle between the city-states of Copan and Quirigua in the early 700s. I'll need to do a little reading between now and then.

And also, there's the little matter of getting some exercise today. Would the sky fall, I wonder, if I were to skip two days in a row? Yes, I think it might.
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I got up at 5:15, was caffeinated and dressed by 6:00, but lingered with yet another cup of coffee and didn't pull out of here until 6:35. Which was ten minutes before sunrise but not the magic I wanted. There were three cars in a row right at the corner, waiting for the light to change. Bikes whizzing by. People getting into their cars on Christian Street and revving their engines right in my ear. Big noisy trucks delivering sodas and fatty snax to the little stores. In short, it was Business As Usual before sunrise.

Still, I did make it down to the Delaware River, and the two miles I rode vaguely north on the bike path along the waterfront were pleasant enough. I went across town to the Schuylkill via Spring Garden Street, which has a bike lane, and then turned off on some park roads that are very much the roads less traveled at any time, doing a pleasant eight miles in the park with trees and grass and eighteenth century country houses (Mount Pleasant and Laurel Hill among them), and then rode home past the Art Museum along the Schuylkill River Trail, which is mostly used by bike commuters and serious joggers at this time on a weekday. I didn't see even one of the hated double-wide strollers with leashed dog attached.

So...almost eighteen miles. Two hours less some stops to take pictures, wait for lights to change, search the sky for hawks, etc. Nice. And I came home and did 35 sit-ups.

When I finished my sit-ups and headed for the kitchen, I could hardly hear myself think for the whining of a news chopper overhead. One of the last of the drug dealing families had a dispute a few blocks away, dangerously close to three elementary schools, which fortunately harmed no one but the intended target. Given the location of the shooting I would say the guy almost certainly deserved it. The shooter gets no points, though, as the target was wounded in the back.

Meanwhile, on the windowsill, the Class of 2012 is acting as though it hadn't been pulled out of its previous pots by the roots. Go me.
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This morning's bike ride: 20 miles, including some hills. I'm still not speedy. Average speed was 10 mph, but that includes being stopped in city traffic, etc. I came home and did my sit-ups and am slogging through some work now. But 20 miles! I substituted a couple fairly level miles for the piece of the Mansion Loop with the Short Sharp Hill of Doom out of consideration for my left knee.
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During the last U.S. presidential election season, I lost a couple of LJ friends of the liberal persuasion in the course of heated debates -- one by his choice, one by mine.

This year I am determined that this is not going to happen, partly by refraining from airing my political views on Teh Internets.

I read something somewhere (FB, I think) in which someone commented to the effect that "your snarky political observations aren't going to convert me; they may momentarily make you feel gleeful but they will essentially lower my opinion of you." That resonated. Boy did it resonate.

Yesterday I had jury duty and missed my daily afternoon dose of caffeine. I fell into bed before the thrilling conclusion of the Team Blue convention, even as I had during the thrilling conclusion of the Team Red convention.

Yesterday being jury duty day, all the bike ride I got was about 2.5 miles to and from the Criminal Justice Center, plus a short walk on my lunch break, plus my sit-ups when I got home. I upped the ante on the sit-ups by extending my legs fully rather than bending at the knee. I have limited patience for exercises and would resent time spent doing more than 30 of the wretched things. Tomorrow is reference jeans day and I'm looking forward to seeing a little bit of progress after another perfect week of following the Weight Watchers program on my own and getting the requisite 28 points of exercise.

On, and plant news for [livejournal.com profile] clindau -- I stopped counting Schlumbergera seedlings when I got to 20. I wish I had equally good news for [livejournal.com profile] halfmoon_mollie, but all the willow wands I started at the time I started hers have gone belly up, including hers. I'll start one again in the spring, or possibly ship you an unrooted wand in Feb, which you can place in water in a sunny windowsill, if you have one to spare (do you?). I brought in some willow cuttings one February and they were beautifully leafy by the Flower Show and had rooted heroically as well. I think that [livejournal.com profile] kightp took one home with her, and possibly [livejournal.com profile] karenkay and [livejournal.com profile] clindau as well.
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I have concluded that there is absolutely NO cross-training effect between cycling and walking. How else to explain that after a day or two of walking and a day off my muscles were weak as water?

Well, it was terribly humid and close, which may have had something to do with it, and it was mid-afternoon before I managed to haul my reluctant self out the door.

Despite feeling decidedly unathletic, I did tackle the Mansion Loop, 6 miles and more hills than I usually do, including the Gazebo Hill of Doom (a short sharp shocker), and then did the 9.5 mile drives loop. That plus 4.5 miles to get to and from home and that's a respectable distance, even if it did take me two hours. (See: hills. Also: stop lights. Also a pause under a bridge during a shower.)

I gave away seven members of the Class of 2011 part 1 to a neighbor last night and tossed the rest without feeling terrible guilt.

Today's adventure will be the planting of the Schlumbergera seeds I harvested yesterday. I have bored holes in a salad container and am dampening some seed starting mix.

Although I've played at least a little every day, I've done less callus maintenance than I should be doing and I felt it after playing about ten minutes last night. Back to the woodshed for me!
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2011-01-20_01teacupAlthough I'd love to have space to grow butter beans, it's also very nice to be able to walk to a store that sells mugs and tea like these. I bought this mug because it reminds me of the illustrations for Monkey Subdues the White Bone Demon, although I didn't find Monkey, Pigsy, Sandy, or the monk once I got it home.

The tea is oolong and not my favorite. There's a tea-shop about a mile and a half from here, but it's not convenient to go to it in the winter because of the short days and the snow. But I just found out that they do mail order! For the cost of two bus tokens I can have my Earl Gray/Darjeeling blend and my Blue Eyes sent to me! The deed is done.

boring windowsill and food stuff )
lblanchard: (Default)
The coleus cuttings have enough roots that they should be potted. But when I went out back to grab some potting soil I saw bazillions of minuscule gray insects -- I would say mite-sized, so I don't want them in my potting soil. After two hours in a 250-degree oven, I would expect the mites and any other insects or pathogens to be nicely steamed.

I went to the dentist today and we decided it's time for quad scaling again. Bleah. Pain and expense.

As a consolation prize I biked down to the Lakes after the dentist's. The swans have moved from Meadow Lake to Edgewood Lake again, not surprising as Meadow Lake is starting to look more and more like Meadow Mudflats.

There was some wonderful sun-behind-cloud action as I biked home on the new Delaware River Trail (all .8 miles of it), and later I will see how Mr. Nikon did with it, as well as with the swans.
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Yesterday it rained in the afternoon, creating a very dark space in our back yard -- which happens to be occupied by, among other things, a chunk of my moonflower vine that decided it wanted to be ground cover. The dark afternoon tricked it into thinking it was twilight. And so, in the soft wet false crepuscular light it opened as wide as wide -- and I was able to get up close and personal with it. Isn't it a pretty thing?

2010-08-23_06moonflower


other musings about my day )
lblanchard: (Default)
2010-08-23_02namethatflowerToday I supplemented my bike ride of eight level miles with a walk of about one level mile, or once around Edgewood Lake. It was good to get some weight-bearing exercise, and I didn't feel too achy at the end of it. Besides, I saw interesting things. Three common but showy butterflies -- painted lady, monarch, tiger swallowtail. A number of dragonfly-like things -- slender needle-like fellows in neon blue, and a whole bunch of those fat double-wing bombers in green and nondescript colors. Then this new to me plant, growing at the water's edge. I believe it to be Ludwiga grandiflora, a troublesome perennial on whose knees mosquitoes love to breed.

I saw a little green heron overhead, along with the usual assortment of pigeons, cowbirds, and 737s.


2010-08-23_01swansBut the real novelty is this one, a pair of mute swans. Okay, they're nothing really out of the ordinary, except that I've never seen swans on the lake before. I doubt they were introduced by the Park folks, nor by any neighbors. More likely, they're on stopover on the way south. Possibly they're thinking of wintering over in Philly. I don't know much about them. The Canada geese were keeping a respectful distance. The swans appeared to be feasting on duckweed, which in and of itself should make them welcome visitors...

EDIT: The Blackberry sucks as a field camera. From now on I at least take the Kodak!

Exercise

Aug. 21st, 2010 06:26 pm
lblanchard: (Default)
Walking does not use the same muscle groups as biking, and I had a lot of trouble coaxing eight level miles out of my legs today (EDIT: on my bike, not walking!). But I did it. That is all.

Thyme's up!

Apr. 2nd, 2010 01:09 pm
lblanchard: (Default)
That was fast. I sowed the thyme seeds March 28 and counted nine little seedlings this morning. The packet says germination in 14-21 days.

I now have a new technique for Very Small Seeds:



  1. scatter them on the surface of soaking wet potting mixture in a cut-down 1 gal milk jug
  2. put more potting mixture into a colander and shake over the surface to cover the seeds -- barely (only the fine stuff makes it through the holes so the seeds aren't suffocated by big honking chunks of wood chips or whatever crap Miracle-gro puts in its potting mixture)
  3. set top of milk jug loosely on top of bottom and place in sunny windowsill.


In other news, Roy says he's going to break up the last little nubbin of concrete on his hit list some time today. I think I'll plant my undistinguished sedums there.

Other windowsill news: I don't see any ovarian swelling on the 'gervase' flower I pollinated, but I do see that its girly bits have collapsed, whereas the girly bits of the others are still standing up. Also, that flower rolled up a lot faster than any of the others did. Since the first flower of the second stalk was sort of open, I took a chance at pollinating it with what's left on the collapsing Apple Blossom. Photos should be taken, I guess...

EDIT: I biked about 9 miles today and was pretty tired at the end of it. Roy did indeed break up the concrete but I couldn't muster the energy to plant the sedums.
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Up at 6:00. Dressed, groomed and partially caffeinated by 6:20. On a day that the roads are dry and I can bike, that will be good enough. For days on the bus I need to be out the door by 6:00 if I want any floor time before my tour.

They're threatening us with snow today/tomorrow, but not too much. Three inches, they're saying, maybe less. *Yawn.* The snow isn't supposed to start till late this afternoon, so I should be able to fit in the other part of the training -- time on my feet -- before the white stuff starts to fall.

UPDATE: I bought a bus pass, too the 17 bus to 5th and Market, and walked home in a very leisurely fashion, taking pictures as I went. It took me almost 2 hours to do a little under three miles including my various detours off the straight path, but there were a lot of stops. And the last mile went *very* slowly because my knees were complaining.

Now I'm home and waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in, drinking coffee and watching the lazy snowflakes flutter from a leaden sky.
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For someone whose morning pattern includes drinking three cups of coffee in bed and sitting at the computer in her nightie until something like 10:00, the early morning Flower Show routine is a real shock to the system. If I want some floor time before my guide shift starts, I have to be there by 6:30. It also means being on my feet for about four hours, just about without a break.

So this morning I got up at 6:00. I'll need to be out the door by 6:00 starting March 1, but it's a start. A walk to the grocery store (6 blocks) and around the grocery store will keep me on my feet for over an hour, and I'm sure I can add some chores to that.

By the end of next week I should be getting up by 5:00. I don't think I can work four hours on my feet into my day, but I'll see what I can do.

EDIT / UPDATE: I did indeed walk to the store and did indeed find chores to do when I got home. I believe I was on my feet for two hours nonstop, and lived to tell about it. This is a good omen. Now at precisely 10:00 p.m. my eyes are falling down. This, too, is a good omen. Perhaps I'll wake naturally before 6:00...
lblanchard: (Default)
This weekend's forecast:

Saturday -- clear, highs in mid-50s
Sunday -- clear, highs in mid-60s

A good weekend for catching up on outdoor chores, perhaps, such as hacking down any about-to-die plants in the back, moving the pots full of more tender stuff indoors or into the alley, etc. Also good for raking our very few leaves from the sidewalk, and for running errands.

A little indoor gardening is called for, too -- I have several small pots full of rooted cuttings that I've potted up and watched to make sure they've "taken," and now they need to go down under the grow lights, where they'll only be looked at once a week when I do laundry. I have some more rooted cuttings to pot up, too, which means bringing more potting soil from Anderson House.

I'm keeping Roy company on Weight Watchers -- now that he's over the hump he's really channeling his inner accountant, very conscientious about filling out his food diary and calculating how many points he's earned from his exercise. I'm not quite as compliant as he is, but I did notice that I was able to get up from the eat-em-up sofa in the sitting room without bracing myself on something. So my legs are stronger or the load they have to lift is lighter, or maybe a bit of both. Perhaps I'll try on my too-tight trousers again and see if they fit better. If they do, I'll get around to hemming them up.

Pride goeth before a fall, feather-and-fan-wise, and I'm one stitch off on the pattern. Serves me right. But since I didn't put in a lifeline and I'm only doing a little lap robe for having around the house, I don't plan to frog it. And it doesn't even look that bad...

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