Mission accomplished

(Today’s view of the pond.)

Today I successfully completed the two 30-day goals I signed up for on February 2nd.  I’ve been alcohol-free for 30 days and I walked over 100 miles in that same time period.

I’m enjoying, as Garrison Keillor put in his advice to the newly 50, the vacation from alcohol.  The loss of the empty (non-nutritious) calories has been a big bonus.  It leaves room for other non-nutritious calories such as Starburst Jelly Beans or Cadbury Caramel Eggs.  Not on a regular basis, mind you.  Just as the occasional treat.

(Jelly beans and sunlight.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I have to walk more to make up for the jelly beans and caramel eggs.  😉

After taking today off as a kind of rest day (I walked only 2 miles), I’m looking for a new challenge.  I plan to stay alcohol-free for a while as I whittle away the excess weight.  (Less jelly beans, more walking!)

I made a risotto with butternut squash and feta cheese for dinner last night.  Yummy stuff, but it didn’t photograph well.

(Unphotogenic risotto.)

I’m not sure more light would have helped in this instance.  Perhaps I didn’t pose it well.

The weather here in the Bogs continues to be bitterly cold.  I’m a little weary of the cold and being cold.  This is the first winter that the cold has bothered me.  I’m beginning to have a little more sympathy for those who always want the heat turned up.

It’s supposed to get above freezing tomorrow.  That will be a nice change of pace.


(Chocolate covered, custard-filled paczki.   Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Yesterday was Paczki Day, also known as Fat Tuesday.  If you celebrated by eating a paczki, you know one of the reasons why it’s called Fat Tuesday.

M and I look forward to this one day of the year when we can pig out on paczki.  Paczki are a lot like donuts only better (and, no doubt, unhealthier due to all the fat).  I’ve noticed (and I could be wrong about this) that paczki show up in our local grocery stores sometime around the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.

(Raspberry filled paczki.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

For those that don’t know, paczki are Polish donuts.  The traditional reason behind making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs, and fruit in the house before Lent.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m going to steal the idea of giving something up for Lent this year.  I’ve decided to give up potato chips.  For some reason I can’t figure out, I’ve been on a potato chip kick.  Normally I do not eat potato chips all that often.  Lately they’ve become almost a standard part of my diet.  It’ll do me good to give them up for a while, especially since I’m working so hard to make some big lifestyle changes.

Twenty-five days ago I signed up at MapMyFitness for two 30-day challenges:

  • Go 100 miles in 30 Days
  • Quit Drinking Alcohol for 30 Days

Since beginning these challenges, I have walked 80.12 miles and burned 8,930 calories.  I’m also sleeping and feeling better without the alcohol.

With all the studies that have come out regarding alcohol, it’s hard to know which way to go.  Today’s big news story is that even moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to cancers in women.  It wasn’t all that long ago that red wine was being touted as heart healthy.  So, what’s a girl to do?

I don’t know.  I do know that I’ve been working hard to improve my health, and one thing I can do to help is to take a vacation from alcohol.  I don’t need the extra calories, that’s for sure, especially if I want to indulge in things like paczki every now and then.

(For those who want more info on alcohol and heart health, the American Heart Association has some guidelines here.  But even they aren’t sure so I guess it’s a matter of balancing things out to fit your lifestyle, your health, and your history.)

We’re having warm and sunny weather here in the Bogs today.   By warm I mean the high today is going to be around 46°F.  I’m going out for a walk in a little while.  The snow is melting quickly this morning.  It’s going to be a muddy walk.

What’s new in the Bogs?

Well, not much, really.

We had a big warm-up (into the 50’s) yesterday.  The snowmelt was fast and furious, water pouring off the roof of the house.  This morning we found that some of the melted snow had made its way into the basement.  I have to admit it wasn’t totally unexpected (by me, at least).  I wondered (to myself) last night if we’d find water on the floor of the basement this morning given how fast the snow had disappeared.  When the ground is saturated the water has to go somewhere and that somewhere is sometimes our basement.

Thankfully most of it ended up in the bathroom and laundry room, as usual.  I’ll use this opportunity to thoroughly clean both rooms over the next day or so.  Right now it’s a matter of letting things dry a bit and taking care of the laundry that I’d spread out on the floor when I separated it the other day, preparing to to wash it.

Looks like M will be renting a bulldozer sometime this spring or summer.  The front yard needs graded (or regraded, as the case may be) to stop future flooding.  We’ve been aware of this project in the making, but have put it off in favor of other projects since flooding was a rare event.  But there comes a time when enough is enough.  I suppose this is that time.

Foxchild over at The Unveiling of a Pagan Spirit passed along a link that I’d like to now pass along:  Courage Campaign.  I’m not sure how something like this works (or doesn’t work) in terms of petitioning the Supreme Court (showing how little I know about how our law system works), but I do think the video is worth watching.  Food for thought, and all that.

An update on my 1100 in 2009 goal —

  • Total mileage so far:  116.425 miles

I signed up for a 100 miles in 30 days challenge.  My start date was February 2nd.  I’ve completed 27% of the mileage for the challenge.

And that, folks, is about it from the Bogs for today.

Self promotion

(Trail at Quail Hollow.)

I’m not very good at it.  Self-promotion, that is.

You see, I have this little book.  And what I want to say about it is:

I have this little book.  It’s not much.  Just an experiment, to see how my photos would look in print.  It was also a joke of sorts, something I did for a friend while keeping other friends in mind.  I think it’s a bit overpriced, but all the same….

And so on and so forth.  Which is not, of course, good self-promotion.

So let me try it this way:

Blue & Purple
By Robin A. Simmons
Make a photo book with Blurb
Book Preview

And see if that works.

In other news…

My total mileage for 2009 is up to about 75 miles now.  I was hoping to hit 100 by the end of the month.  January is a nice long month, usually filled with expectations, goals, and motivation.  I still might make it to 100, but will have to really step it up to do so.

There’s a big winter storm on its way tonight.  At least that’s what the weather people are saying.  Usually when they predict massive amounts of snow, we get little.  I don’t mean to complain about the weather forecasters.  I know they do the best they can, and have trouble winning either way, whether they under-forecast the amount of snow or over-forecast it.

I suspect they may be right this time around.  The radar looks like we might get that 5-8 inches, but it’s hard to tell for sure since the radar is showing that it should be snowing right now and it isn’t.  Never mind the 5-8 inches.  I see they’ve updated to 7-10 inches.  That will look nice on top of the 18 inches we already have on the ground.

Not much else going on here in the Bogs these days.  M has been working on a grant proposal.  I’ve been trying to get my house back in some semblance of order.  I may start my spring cleaning very early this year as the house really could use a good scrubbing and decluttering.

Last Saturday I went in search of a dress to wear to M the Younger’s wedding.  No luck.  There must be a dress out there somewhere that’s just right for me.  All I have to do now is find it.

Another Monday

(In the woods of Quail Hollow.  Photo © 2009 by Robin.)

It was a good weekend, all in all.  We got about 10 inches of snow by the time it was all said and done.  M and I stayed in on Saturday, enjoying a relaxing day, keeping warm inside while the snow came down pretty heavily.  Sunday we went cross-country skiing.

And today I am very, very sore.

We need to ski more often so my muscles will get used to all that activity.

Speaking of activity, the walking continues.

  • Total mileage for 2009:  32.241 miles

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of maintaining a regular (almost daily) yoga practice.

M and I watched Burn After Reading on Saturday night.  I enjoyed it.  It was entertaining.  I am a fan of the Coen Brothers’ movies.  I remember seeing Blood Simple (Director’s Cut) (not the Director’s Cut) when it first came out in the theaters in 1985.  It’s fairly easy to remember that one, though, as I was pregnant with M the Younger at the time and experiencing some pretty rough morning, afternoon, and sometimes evening sickness.

More snow expected sometime tomorrow, another 1-3 inches are predicted.  Along with the snow will be the return of bitterly cold temperatures.  The high on Friday is expected to be 6°F.  Brrrrr!