Maine or bust!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blackberry Muffins with Skye!

We were at the grocery store earlier, and they had a pretty decent price on these:

They looked so awesome that I had to pick some up! Skye and I decided to make some miniature muffins with them. I cheated, and used a mix (what? She's 10!) so we made low-fat blackberry oatmeal muffins. Sadly, with a mix, that means no recipe to share, but I bet there are hundreds of great recipes online if you really want one. (Or, go to Loblaws or any of the stores that sell yellow no-name products, and buy the low-fat oatmeal muffin mix - I added two half-pints of blackberries, chopped up).

And then, the final test!

To be honest, I had never baked with blackberries before, so I had no idea they turn red when you cook them! They are just the right combination of sweet and tart to make these muffins mouthwatering. Even her big brother gave them his seal of approval :) (he gets to make blueberry muffins on Wednesday).

Oh, and I know that a couple of people were following my landlord saga here the other day. I came home to a brand new sink AND cabinet today! (granted, the previous landlord had only painted to the outlines of the old cabinet, which was bigger, so there's ugly wallpaper peeking out now, but that can be fixed). So now there's just the window to fix, and then I can get to work making this place homier and more attractive to live in!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Carrot Soup

I've been meaning to make carrot soup for a few weeks now, and I finally had a short Saturday shift, so I was able to come home and get some stuff done (like the carrot soup). It has been simmering on the stove for the last couple of hours and it smells so good! A couple of friends asked for the recipe, so here it is. For my vegetarian/vegan friends, you can replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Simple Carrot Soup

2 lbs carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 medium cooking onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock

Over medium-high heat, bring carrots, onions and one quart of chicken stock to a rolling boil. Cook 5-10 minutes until onions soften. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Test carrots to see if tender. Add ginger and pepper, stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is almost completely gone. Add second quart of chicken stock, and heat through. Using either a stick blender or a Ninja (my baby!), process soup until smooth. Serves 4 as lunch, or 8 as a dinner appetizer.

©2011 Lynne Toll at

I use grocery store carrots (sob) for this, but if you want REALLY good soup, buy some at a farmer's market of even better, grow your own! I'm a bit too lazy at this point to make my own chicken stock, so I buy the low-sodium option in tetra packs at the grocery store. If you prefer spicier food, you can use fresh ginger instead of the powder, and if you like milder food, reduce the ginger and black pepper to 1/4 tsp each. This really is the easiest soup in the world. There are very few ingredients, little to no fat (none is added, it's just whatever is in your stock, and if you do vegetable stock, there's no fat at all!), and it really wows your guests as an appetizer, especially if you get fancy and serve it with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche and some freshly snipped chives. It's also a fantastic comfort food you won't feel guilty for indulging in :)

I was a good girl and composted all my carrot peelings and onion skins too! Sadly, I was a lazy blogger and didn't take any pictures of the process, or the finished product LOL That's okay, there are a billion pictures of carrot soup served in pure white bowls (which is what I have anyway) so you can just go look one up :P Let me know if you decide to try it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dreaming of spring already!

This past week has been a bit better than the last few in terms of eating and exercise, but any kind of organization has gone right out the window. I have three loads of laundry to fold, one in the washing machine (forgotten from a few days ago... will rewash with vinegar tonight), no clean dishes in the house, and we barely have room to move around. It's time for another big purge/clean. I've done three or four of these since I moved in seven years ago, but I'm hoping to either finally make the place nice enough so that we can move out, or finally render it liveable enough to stay in long(er)-term. I have a broken bathroom sink that I'd like to have replaced, a broken front window that NEEDS to be fixed, and I'd like to replace the carpet in the livingroom/front room with either cheap laminate or industrial-type carpet (the flat stuff). Oh, and I have a stove that has one working burner *sigh*

All these projects require a lot of money. Money I don't currently have. But if I'm a bit smarter about my budgeting and work enough extra hours at the store, I should be able to manage a few of these before spring. I'm hoping to get the sink/window issues sorted before Christmas (Rob and his son are coming up for a visit, and it kind of sucks that you can't even brush your teeth in the bathroom sink). I think Jeff's niece's husband (wasn't that a mouthful) works in plumbing and I used to work with a girl whose husband does windows, so I'm going to chase down those avenues before going public in my quest for home repair. My landlord will be footing the bill whether he likes it or not. He's been aware of all these problems for quite some time, but refuses to have anyone in to repair them.

I also need to bring my vacuum cleaner to be repaired. The ten-year-old vacuumed her freshly-cleaned room a few months ago, and I think she burnt out the motor on it. I thought it was the belt at first, but when I took it apart to poke at its innards, the belt we had put in a couple of years ago seemed brand new (okay, so I don't vacuum often). That will be done tonight, hopefully (we have this fantastic place on Bronson Ave called The Vac Shack that's been around longer than I have, it has a very good reputation for good work and reasonable prices).

As for the dreaming of spring... well, I've recently started reading this blog (Itty Bitty Farm in the City by Heidy Kooy) and I am craving the ability to plant even a small herb plant. Sadly, everything I've tried to grow in my apartment has been devoured by the beast (my cat, George). She ate some lovely pumpkin and squash sprouts I had started, ate all my mint and basil (that made for some interesting stains on the carpet later, let me tell you!) and I've stopped even bringing home the traditional plants my aunt gives all the moms on Mother's Day for fear of inadvertently poisoning her. *sigh*

I have such garden fever right now that I actually requested a seed catalogue from Stokes (the Canadian equivalent of Burpee, pretty much). I don't have a yard. I don't have my own balcony. I have NOWHERE to grow said plants (unless I set up some sort of table or shelves in my bedroom windows, since the cats are NOT PERMITTED in the master bedroom). I don't care!!!! I WANT TO GROW FOOD, dammit! I want to grow herbs so I'm not stuck with flavorless dried stuff. I wish I had unlimited space so that I could grow and process my own fruits and vegetables, but I'd be happy to start out with a small herb garden. I wonder if I could put window boxes over the edges of the (shared) balcony... I wonder if the fact that my neighbor smokes out there would totally ruin anything I tried to grow. I wonder if I actually have the chutzpah to pull this off... (heck, reading Heidi's blog, I even had fantasies of setting up a beehive on the roof, if I had access... I wonder if the landlord would give me access to the roof to start a container garden!)

Anyway... this is what I've been dreaming of for the last few weeks, and it's killing me LOL I raid my mother's garden mercilessly every summer, and I pick the gooseberries that grow on a tiny little hedge at our front door... I'd love to plant a rhubarb patch, but I've never had one take before. Maybe this year will be luckier. (and maybe I can find a spot to plant one that won't ruin my basement neighbors' view out of their windows).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Life Lessons...

(or, "How To Pull Out Of A Tailspin *After* Your Plane Has Crashed Into The Mountain")

So hey. It's been a while. How've you been? Good, good... So much for blogging regularly. I have to confess a few things, and I've been putting it off. I missed my last two yoga classes - the first due to a massive migraine that was not responding to any drugs or begging. I missed the second last week because I was spending US Thanksgiving stateside with the fella and his bunch. Pretty sweet deal, right?

Yeah.... so true to form, I went on a massive sabotage the week before leaving. I blamed it on stress. I blamed it on wonky hormones (which should level out now, hopefully). I blamed it on lack of time. I blamed it on everything except myself. I prepared NOTHING for the drive down, so I ate fast food. Didn't eat all that great while I was down there, but I wasn't overly bad... I prepared nothing for the drive back so I ended up eating donuts and Taco Bell (the kids get upset if I don't bring home any donuts from CJ's). Excuse after excuse after excuse, and the gist of it is, I just stopped trying.

I don't know why I stopped trying, but I do it every time. I make a lot of great progress, and then I undo it all in one fell swoop. This time, I undid it to the tune of finding myself at 280 again. How happy was I when I looked at the scale? Not too happy at all. I've also been meaning to try doing some yoga at home until classes start again mid-January (twice a week this time! WOO!). Have I done any? Of course not. My treadmill is currently buried under a pile of recycling and storage bins. I have done NOTHING.

Add to that the fact that my hormones really ARE wonky (I just had my IUD removed, the type that releases levonorgestrel into your system... so remove that and hello emotional nosedive!) and that I've had AF visiting for 45 out of the last 60 days (yay), and I've really been in a bad spot emotionally (and nutritionally).

It's time to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start over. I know I only went up 8 lbs from my lowest official weigh-in, but I feel like I'm right back up at 310. I gained back one fifth of what I had lost, and I'm not happy about it. I want that 8 lbs gone, and I want it to take its friends with it. My stomach has been upset almost constantly, my head has been hurting - again, almost constantly - and my joints feel like crap (they were liking the new lower weight). I did groceries with this in mind, and so now I have to get organized.

I can't kick ass and take names if I'm sitting around moping and feeling sorry for myself, can I?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Yoga blues

I can precisely pinpoint every single muscle that got worked at yoga today. How? I know, for example, that my triceps got an excellent workout, as did my quadruceps and hamstrings... my calves are whining for attention, and my glutes are sore as hell LOL

I am now ready for a nap!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Facing my demons...

Borrowed from Wikipedia.

So I was super-excited when I weighed-in on Friday and saw 272 on the scale. Even more excited, albeit a bit apprehensive when I saw 270.5 on Sunday. But when I saw 268 on Monday morning? Frankly, I was a little terrified. Okay, a lot terrified. What the heck is going on? I'm dropping weight like nobody's business, and I haven't changed any of my exercise or eating habits and in fact hadn't been to yoga class last week because I was sick with a really bad chest cold. (I was light-headed walking from my bed to the bathroom.... putting myself in downward-dog and various other strenuous positions did not seem like a wise idea.) Losing nine and a half pounds in ten days (I was 277.5 the previous Friday) is ridiculously fast and I started wondering what the hell was wrong with me. Am I sick? (Sicker than just a cold). My son suggested a tapeworm or other parasite... I am rather fond of undercooked meat, so not completely out of left-field. Basically, my entire brain was screaming "WHAT THE HELL" at me, over and over and over again.

So when I got home? I ordered pizza for dinner. I actually *talked myself into it*. I had planned dinner, there were pork chops thawed in the sink, and I convinced myself that I was too tired to cook, and that the kids should have pizza. I rationalized it at first by saying I'd order a pizza for them and a salad for me, but the cheapest deal was two medium pizzas and six cans of pop, so that's what we got. My pizza had chipotle pulled pork and BACON on it (real healthy, as if the pizza wasn't bad enough). And I ate an ENTIRE medium pizza, minus one slice. When I saw that last slice staring at me from the box, I did all kinds of beating myself up (Rob can attest to this, I was still beating myself up four hours later when he called). I felt like a horrible person who was deliberately disappointing all the people who have been supporting me.

This morning, I hopped on the scale, saw 271.5, and felt RELIEF. How messed up is that? I was honestly terrified of how fast weight was dropping off for NO APPARENT REASON, and I was relieved that a pizza binge still had the normal effect. What the hell. I want to lose weight, right? I'm happy that all my clothes are loose, right? Well, yes and no. I'm a bit sad that a lot of my favorite tops just fit like tents now. I'm disappointed that a lot of the new bras I bought less than a year ago don't fit anymore (like at ALL). Heck, the new ones I bought at Thanksgiving aren't fitting as well as they did a few weeks ago. None of my pants fit right anymore. But I can't afford to replace anything yet. I'd love to buy new clothes, but when I go into the store, nothing calls to me.

So now I'm worried, frustrated, and sabotaging myself again. I thought I was doing better than this :( I've wanted to lose weight since puberty, so now that it's happening, why am I so afraid of it?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cabbage soup and an awesome surprise!!!

My mom phoned me this morning asking if I'd make her a batch of cabbage soup. I gave her my recipe last year after reverse-engineering this canned cabbage soup we used to buy that's no longer made (DAMN YOU, HABITANT!!!!). But she says that when she makes it, it never turns out quite right. So I got there this afternoon, and there were two cabbages and the other ingredients needed to make soup :) I managed to injure myself a couple of times (one cut was actually quite deep and I BLED -- that's an unusual occurrence for me, so somewhat noteworthy -- and no, I didn't bleed in the food. But all in all, it was a triumph and enjoyed by all.

Lynne's Cabbage Soup

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
One head of green cabbage, cut into quarters and chopped fairly fine (no piece should be more than 1/2 inch square)
One large Spanish onion, diced
Two large carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 tsp celery seed (THIS IS IMPORTANT - NOT CELERY SALT!!!!)
six envelopes of beef Bovril (1/4 cup of any other beef soup base powder)
Enough water to cover cabbage plus about 1/2 inch
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large wok (you can use the pot itself, but a wok is easier), heat the olive oil. Over medium heat (4 or 5 on the dial), sautee the cabbage, onions and celery seed, stirring often to prevent scorching. Continue cooking, covered, for 10-15 minutes until the cabbage is soft. Add the water and beef soup base to dissolve, increase heat to maximum. Add the carrots and pepper, bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to 3 and let simmer for 2 hours. Season to taste with additional beef soup base powder about 15 minutes before serving.

This soup is freezable, you can add to it (say you have leftover vegetables, or it's getting a bit too chunky, just add more beef broth, or even V8 juice) and it's filling yet light :) Very versatile and everyone who's tried it has loved it!

So as to the pleasant surprise..... well, I hopped on the scale out of curiosity this morning, and I hit 270.5!!!!! That's a ZERO, people!!!! I can not WAIT to see the scale on Friday! I'm hoping for a SIX in there somewhere! :D Not sure what I've been doing right, but I'm sure the yoga and the weekend job that keeps me on my feet aren't too bad :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


I know it's been a while since I've been here. Chalk it up to being sick (first food poisoning and then a cold from hell), being busy at work (only two jobs now!) and midterms at school. Actually, just chalk it up to laziness on my part ;)

Anyway, this Friday's weigh-in is.... *drumroll please* - 272 lbs!!!! I'm not quite sure how this happened, since I was at 277.5 on Monday (food poisoning was last Friday). But I'll take it!

I've been up coughing since 4am and haven't been able to get back to sleep. I think it's probably wise to give myself one more day at home (I was off sick yesterday for the first time in a while) because I'll likely need a nap pretty desperately around 9am. Bleh.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins with Zachary!

I love fall. Pumpkins and apples and sunflowers (oh my!)... everything becomes radiantly beautiful for a few short weeks before fading into winter. The temperature cools to make it more comfortable to be outside, and I'm basically just a happy little camper.

This year, I bought several sugar pumpkins, roasted a few and pureed them (yay Ninja! Best blender I've ever owned!). Monday evening, my son asked if he could make pumpkin muffins. He's 12 now, so about time for him to start learning to cook ;) I supervised (and did a little of the egg beating), but otherwise, he baked them all on his own.

The unanimous verdict is that these are fantastic muffins! We used the Company's Coming basic Pumpkin Muffins recipe (no glaze or raisins though). The only tweak was that instead of regular cinnamon, we used Watkins Cinna-Cream Sprinkles (I was out of cinnamon!). Absolutely delicious, and I got to spend some quality time in the kitchen with my son :)

Next up will be apple butter with Skye! (Coming later this week)

Monday, October 24, 2011

On resisting temptation...

Three different people have tried to throw chocolate at me today, and I have successfully resisted all three. Am I super-virtuous? Heck no... but I'm starting to realize that what I put in my mouth has a direct correlation on my long-term happiness. Until now, I've been all about the instant gratification. I like instant gratification, but I'm beginning to realize that feeling good RIGHT NOW doesn't counter-balance the feeling like crap later on that I get when I just give in to my impulses. And I vividly remember feeling like crap the last time I binged, the last time I weighed myself and found a gain instead of a loss, the last time I let myself down.

Because ultimately, that's what I'm doing. I'm letting MYSELF down. Nobody else's opinion matters. It's me that I'm disappointing, and it's me who ends up being unhappy as a result. I don't want to be unhappy. When I dream at night, I see myself as a healthy, active individual. I don't see myself as a wheezing, overweight cow. So my behavior has to mirror my own image of myself if I want to achieve that. I've by no means mastered that, but by recognizing it, it's made choices easier to handle and temptation a bit easier to resist.

I did have leftover pizza for breakfast (my kids had theirs for lunch). Not so proud of that choice, but I was able to turn the rest of my day around. I know a lot of people think it's hokey nonsense (and maybe it is, but it works for me), but I watched The Secret on Saturday night, while I was feeling particularly good about myself. I find it more helpful to watch it when I'm in a high place than when I'm feeling low. Because when I'm feeling low, I feel like these people are all full of it and what do they know of my problems, right? I want to wallow, and the film tries to pull me out of that, so I stubbornly dig in (sometimes). But when I'm feeling good, when things are going well, it kind of reinforces that. It's a lot easier to maintain a positive outlook in any case. (And Rob snickers now because I was in a pretty low place last night due to something that happened yesterday afternoon).

Hopefully it will become easier and easier to remind myself of this :) I don't really have any frame of reference as to what goes through the mind of a skinny person when they look at something particularly unhealthy. But what's going through my mind now is that if I haven't been particularly "good" lately, I'll regret it and guilt myself about it later. Progress?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Knitting up a storm...

As most of you know (all two of you who read this), my knitting group is having a Charity Knit-Along for three Ottawa-area charities; one for women, one for men, one for children. I'm so excited about this that I've been on a major knitting streak using up all kinds of yarn I've had no idea what to do with. Hats, mittens, a few scarves, I've been having a great time!

I'm also feverishly working on the blanket Rob asked for, because I want to get it done before he comes up for Christmas :) (Can you give a Jewish guy a Christmas present? It's actually supposed to be a birthday present - the two just happen to come around the same time of year LOL) Have I finished the top I intended to wear to Thanksgiving dinner? no... of course not. My circular needle broke about a week before the deadline, so I'm currently waiting for a replacement to come in. *sigh* I bought a replacement at a different store, but the needles are wayyyyy too long, and I'm not happy with it.

I think I'd like to take an introductory crochet class with Skye (and perhaps Zachary) when we can find one that suits our schedules. I can do half-double crochet all day long, but anything more complicated than that is a bit too scary for me right now. I'd also like to take an Entrelac knitting class someday. Dara had done an Entrelac baby blanket in Tunisian crochet of all things, and it looked fantastic!

In the meantime, the new job at the craft store has taken up all my previous social knitting time. I've lost my Friday knit nights! WAHHHHH!!! I miss my knitting friends a lot! Oh well... I do get the occasional Friday off (I'm not scheduled for next Friday, for instance), and I'm making very good money at the store, so I can't really complain. To be honest, it's the most fun I've ever had at work. I thought going back to working retail would be unpleasant, but it's like working in a toy store! EVERYTHING in the store is something I'd like to play with LOL It's not hard to show enthusiasm for the products you sell when they genuinely interest you.

I got some baby time today :) Some friends of mine had a little girl on Thursday afternoon, and I got to go have cuddles with her after work today. She is so tiny and so adorable, I just didn't want to hand her back to her mom! :D All I can say is, I'm glad I get to be an honorary auntie to this one! (Oh, and the magic boobs still  work - she was handed to me, squirmed once or twice to get comfortable, and went right to sleep... although it could possibly be argued that she was on her way there anyway...)

Hopefully I'll get some baby time again tomorrow :) Friday when I went to pick Skye up at the babysitter's, my nephew got very upset with us for leaving  him (I had to get to work!). I'm looking forward to playing with him tomorrow at my mom's :)

Activity-wise, yoga was not good this week. It's not the yoga's fault, it's all me. The first time I went down on my knees for a pose, it felt like broken glass :( It was not fun. I stuck with it and finished the class, but I had trouble getting down the stairs to street level afterward. I worked Friday at the store, and then all day today, so no extra exercise there, but tomorrow I'd like to take a nice walk somewhere. Maybe with kids and baby if the stroller comes along! Trying to sort out Thanksgiving and Christmas so that I can actually have some time with Rob, but those are the two busiest times of the year at the store, so we'll see what I can come up with. Time for a bit of knitting and then bed.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's a New Day...

I'd say I'm feeling good, but I'm not. I had a very weak weekend food-wise and I'm kind of beating myself up about it. I had a really horrible dream that made me wake up headachy and miserable on Sunday, and the feeling kind of stayed with me. I ate an entire half-pound of bacon in the morning, went to NY Fries for lunch (and it wasn't even good!) and then pulled out a lone, hidden bag of namkeen from the pantry and ate half of it. I then spent the rest of the evening angry with myself, and still smarting from the very painful dream, and ended up breaking down completely while talking to Rob and sobbing uncontrollably for an hour or so :(

Didn't get to bed until midnight and so today I'm exhausted and still very sad (two years and a bit later, and the pain is still as raw and fresh as the day it happened). BUT. Today is a new day. I don't have to repeat yesterday's mistakes, and I won't either. It's cold and rainy, and it's that time of the month (yay...) and I feel horrible (soooo not hungry), but I will remember why I am doing what I'm doing. I'll remember what my motivation is for all the changes I'm trying to make in my life. I *will* fit some sort of physical activity into my day, and I *will* eat foods that will encourage, and not discourage me from reaching my goals. I *will* work on organizing my home because my kids and I are worth it and I *will* work on decluttering my house and my life because I don't need the extra weight there either ;)

I may not physically feel too good, but I have two fantastic kids and a wonderful man standing behind me, and friends who support me, and life is good. The sun is currently peeking intermittently from behind a bank of clouds. If I just wait for the clouds to part, the sun will come out again. I just have to be patient and determined :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A friend has kindly offered to be a kind of fitness coach for me (she's eminently qualified!) and she gave me some homework last week :) Since I've gotten so bad at this that I even forgot to post my weigh-in on Friday (it was 278 - again), I figured I'd post my homework here.

The first thing she asked me to make a list of was reasons I want to lose weight / get in better shape:

1. I want to feel better and have more energy. I want to be able to keep up with my kids and maybe even show them a thing or two ;)
2. I want to take kayaking classes with my kids (in other words, I'd like to fit in the kayak!)
3. I want to be able to shop at Coldwater Creek and other stores I really like and buy REGULAR sizes!
4. I don't want my children to be embarrassed by comments their friends make about how fat their mom is.
5. I want to be able to wear a skirt without having to put a pair of shorts on underneath because my thighs rub together.
6. I want to look good. I mean GOOD. I want Rob's eyes to bug out when he sees me wearing something sexy ;)
7. I don't want to be embarrassed to be seen eating.
8. I want to learn to wear high heels.
9. I want to be able to ride a bike, hike or do whatever I want.
10. I want to stop thinking about what I'm going to eat next.
11. I want to be able to knit myself clothes and not go broke buying the yarn ;)
12. I want to be able to fly somewhere without feeling uncomfortable in the seat, or be able to sit in a booth in a restaurant.
13. I want to prove to my family (and whoever else) that I'm capable of losing the weight, whether they think I can or not :)

The second thing she asked me to make a list of was my goals, short- and long-term:

1. I will wear the tank top I knitted by Christmas (it's an XL).
2. I will see 260 lbs by Christmas Eve.
3. I will be able to climb the stairs at work (3 flights) without gasping for breath).
4. I will be able to walk around Pink Lake with Rob and the kids next summer.
5. I will see 200 lbs on the scale by my next birthday.
6. I will fit into the size 20 jeans that are in my closet before spring (current size 24/26).
7. I will be able to walk away from a plate if I'm no longer hungry WHEN I'M ALONE.
8. I will be able to climb all six flights of stairs at work by the new year.
9. I will make it through a yoga class without tears.
10. I will be able to get on a bike next summer.
11. I will be able to wear a size 14 again and shop in a regular store.
12. I will be able to walk a 5km without needing to sleep for several hours afterward to recover (nearly there! I don't require sleep anymore, but I am completely wiped out after).

Third list was the challenges I face:

1. Avoidance when it comes to getting off the computer and getting some physical activity done when I'm alone (i.e. I'm lazy).
2. Emotional eating, stress-based eating, boredom and loneliness eating.
3. Failure to plan (when fast food is just the most convenient option).
4. Laziness where cooking is concerned.
5. Justifying the exercise avoidance so that I won't be guilt-tripped later.
6. No motivation to exercise when I'm alone.
7. No time for any kinds of exercise that really interest me (aquafit, tai chi).
8. Arthritis pain sometimes prevents me from doing much.
9. I don't respect regular mealtimes when I'm alone on weekends.
10. If something is on sale, even if it's unhealthy, I'll buy it and then feel obligated to eat it all.
11. I eat so fast that I keep feeling hungry until I've over-eaten and then I feel really sick and/or guilty.
12. I tend to eat mindlessly so that I don't realize how much I've had until I'm uncomfortable.
13. I tend to binge when I'm alone -- I'm embarrassed to eat in front of people.

So that was my homework. Today's triumphs have included making a cup of tea and getting some raw veggies to snack on when tempted with a bake sale at work (the girls have all been telling me that since we're doing yoga later, I can treat myself... no, I can't. "Treating myself" becomes normal behavior and it's a slippery slope) and pushing the veggies away after a few celery sticks because I wasn't really hungry. They'll either be an afternoon snack, or part of dinner when I *am* hungry. I will be going to yoga class at lunch, so hopefully that will go well! It was pretty brutal last week, but it was my first time, and I did practice a few of the easier poses at home.

At some point this weekend, I want to make some acorn squash soup (for me) and a batch of apple butter (for my cousin's father-in-law). I'm only working Friday evening and Saturday evening, so we'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I suck at this...

Wow... a week goes by without posting, and I don't even notice until someone asks me if I gave up the blog thing. *blush* In my defense, I have started my third job, and I'm exhausted LOL When you've been working on your butt for thirteen plus years, suddenly starting to work on your feet and doing 15 hours' worth in one weekend is a bit draining. I have started knitting a scarf for the charity knit-along and it's SO pretty :) I think once the official KAL is over, I'll just continue knitting charity stuff in between my usual projects and save the stuff for next year!

So last Friday's weigh-in was 278. Not good, but I'm still below 280. I have no excuses. I binged without even thinking about it. As in, I didn't notice I was bingeing until my stomach was uncomfortably full (which, thankfully, requires a lot less food than it used to!). This is what happens when I'm run off my feet all the time and don't plan ahead. I have no idea what I weigh right now, as I haven't stepped on the scale since Friday morning. This is unusual for me.

This is what the world outside my windows looks like right now :)

Okay, perhaps not RIGHT outside my windows, as I don't live on the banks of the Gatineau River... but near enough :) I am loving the beginnings of crisp fall weather and the apples and pumpkins in evidence everywhere... oh and the sunflowers! Sunflowers are my absolute favorite flowers :) They're so cheerful, but they also remind  you that when they die, they will bring fall with them and winter will not be far behind. They're ephemeral in that you know they will fade and pass quickly, but they don't malinger like other flowers.

It's been a week of joy and sorrow as well. My co-worker gave birth to a second baby boy last Thursday, which I am over the moon about :) However, on Monday, one co-worker's  mother passed away, and on Friday, my boss's father died fairly suddenly (he'd been ill for only a few days). I know how close both co-workers were to their parents, so my heart feels quite heavy and I haven't been quite sure what to say to either one of them other than, "I'm sorry" and "I'm here". I can only hope it conveys what I intend it to.

I've been dwelling on negative emotions for the last few weeks, and I can feel it dragging me down. It's time to focus on the positive things in my life. These include, but are not limited to:

My kids. They may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love them so much. I would never trade either of them, no matter how much easier they sometimes think my life would have been without them. Easier, perhaps, but infinitely more boring!

My fella. Rob is a bit of an anchor for me these days. He keeps me sane, keeps me grounded, and reminds me of the good things I have in my life. He doesn't let me dwell and he reminds me constantly that I deserve good things in my life.

My jobs. Yes, all three of them ;) My day job is pretty good :) It pays peanuts, but it's challenging and fun, and my coworkers are nearly all awesome individuals. There are a couple of dorks, but where aren't there? The pizza job is okay. It pays okay, and the customers are okay. I wouldn't want to pursue a full-time career there. The weekend job is EFFING FANTASTIC. The people are good, the bosses are AWESOME, and the work is actually FUN. Yes, I'm having FUN working retail! (Hell, I work in a CRAFT STORE... that's like letting a kid loose in a candy store!) It's very grueling physically (I'm not used to running around non-stop for 7 hours), but I am definitely liking it a lot :) (I can't tell y'all where though because they have a social networking policy and I don't want to piss off the corporate powers that be!)

School. I am greatly privileged to be able to afford to go to university. I have the province of Quebec to thank for that, actually, since they send me a ridiculous cheque every three months simply for being a parent. (This is what currently pays for my course fees and books.) I'm enjoying my classes and I hope to continue enjoying them when we switch back to French in January ;) (okay, okay, maybe I took a couple of English classes for easy As).

My knitting girls :) I have such an amazing group of knitting friends. They are fantastic ladies and my life would definitely be poorer without them.

And it's now past my bedtime. At some point this week, I'll try to get some pictures of my current knitting projects up :) Go to bed!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What do you mean I missed Friday???

Seriously, the last few days have been so shitty, I'm amazed I remembered that today is Saturday :( I have the plague. Not the normal plague though. I have the type of plague that had me passing out randomly on Thursday and Friday, and not making much sense, having very delicate digestion (as in, don't bother eating anything, because you probably won't keep it), I nearly hit a cyclist while leaving the grocery store - evidence that I should NOT have been behind the wheel of a car, and feverish and generally miserable.

Today, I was meant to be going to a friend's for her baby shower, but I've begged off, since I woke up with a very angry porcupine lodged in my throat and left ear (yay dizziness!)

I've done very little other than sleep (a LOT!) and whine since last night LOL I dragged myself out to the mall to get some wonton soup and managed to cut myself in two different places AND break a nail trying to get from my car back up to my apartment *sigh*  Add to that the fact that it's currently 32 C in my apartment... I'm sweating like a pig! They turned the heat on. No, really??? But I can't get the guy to turn it back off, because I haven't managed to catch him at home yet. Bleh. i've got the AC running full tilt and I've got my bedroom windows open and the fan going in there (the AC doesn't reach that far).

It's a grey, gloomy sort of day. 3pm, it was already pretty dark out. I hope Rob's having better weather for his bbq today! I weighed myself this morning, and considering that it's STILL that time of the month (it lasts anywhere from 8-12 days now, stupid Mirena), I'm pretty proud that I weighed in at 277.5.

So I was listening to this today:

I downloaded it on the say-so of a friend whose taste in music I respect.... and it may just be the plague talking, but I do *not* get the huge fuss everybody is making over this girl. Yes, she has an amazing voice, but she's wasting it on chavvy-sounding lyrics and intentionally mispronouncing words "I'm the only one in lowwwwve" - wtf??? There were three decent songs on the albums, but the others all made me cringe. She has so much potential, but I'm not seeing her reach it on this album. I will give it another listen when I'm not so plaguey and see if I still feel the same about it. Severely underwhelmed :/

I'm going back to sleep now! ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oh Mr. Monday...

Had an okay day at work today... lots of running around, but all in all, I accomplished a lot :) Climbed the stairs TWICE. I was going to make it a third time (I ran downstairs a lot today), but I figured I'd better not push it too fast. Progress at home included 100 steps on the stair machine thingie and 50 crunches without the ab-rocker. I think that thing is going to find its way back down to the garbage pile where I found it. I also did my mile, although I didn't time it.

Lynx says hello.
So I've kept to the plan :) Last night Rob was a bit disappointed that I hadn't done my crunches, so I ended up doing 40 of them IN BED. BOOYAH. Doing crunches in bed may not be the best form, but it's a hell of a lot easier on the tailbone! My butt does not like me lying flat on my back. Yoga class promises to be interesting for this reason LOL (since I can't kneel either).

Dinner was a lovely frozen lasagna (which I cooked in the microwave, so even less effort than usual). The ten-year-old was sick this morning, so she spent the day with Daddy. So I don't have to make her lunch tomorrow (since she has two lunches sitting around in the fridge - unexpected PD day last Friday, and today's lunch - the kids can fight over who gets which).

And apparently my friend Stephan and his wife are expecting their third little boy (oh come on, you've had two already, my chances are good!), and Chris and Shumin are expecting their second little Rakos, so HUGE congrats to them :) I swear, EVERYBODY AROUND ME IS BREEDING... and Rob wonders why my biological clock has suddenly started going haywire. Logically and intellectually, I know that I don't want another baby. I know I don't want to raise another child (got my hands full already, thanks!). But the raw emotional reaction? I loved being pregnant. I loved feeling the baby move inside me and I loved holding that little body that trusted me implicitly. I loved nursing, I loved sitting in the living room at 3am with the balcony door open, listening to the city's night noises. I loved all of that, and I wish I could experience it again.

Once everybody stops popping out kids (or maybe once I get to babysit for a few of my pregnant friends, hiiiiiiiiint to Kit & Phae!), my hormones will probably calm down some ;) In the meantime, I'm very thankful to be lucky enough to have a fantastic guy who puts up with my irrational behavior and wicked mood swings. (He's off playing with power tools tonight with some guy friends to compensate LOL) Wait... Rob, does a welder count as a power tool? Meh. I'm a girly girl when it comes to tools. I know what some of them do, but I'm pretty useless with most of them LOL

Oh, and it's September 19th, making today....


So how was THAT for rambling nonsense? As you were...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Long Walk...

I got up at an ungodly hour this morning to go walking with some of my knitting friends. Picked up Sarah shortly after 8am (hey, that's ungodly when you've worked until 3am!) and headed over to the Running Room on Merivale Road. Our friend Sandy joined us and a few other dedicated souls (who were in much better shape than me, but that's ok) and off we went. 2.72 miles (or 4.34 km) later, I was wiped, sore and wanting to go back to bed. I did get catcalled from a passing van, but I think there may have been some drugs or hangover involved there...

I will confess, I have not done my 50 crunches. I had fully intended to do it when I got home, but my stomach is still full enough that it will cause some upset, so I'm skipping them. I did do my 100 steps on the stair machine though! I got baby time, I got a tiny bit of knitting time (was interrupted by baby time) and I picked up some beautiful Macintosh apples at the Orleans Fruit Farm. My cousin says his father-in-law would pay handsomely for some more of my apple butter, so I'm going to make a full batch just for him (I'll make more for us later in the fall). I figure the apples cost me $10 and a box of jars will cost me $10, so $20 is a fair price for a batch of apple butter. Not really in it to make a profit, but if the ingredients and equipment are paid for, that's fair :).

All in all, it's been an active day, and I'm tired and happy. Mom also sent me home with leftover corn on the cob (beautiful stuff from a farm in Richmond, ON - you can buy it from a truck on St. Joseph in Orleans, just across from Place d'Orleans - best corn I've ever had) and some leftover t-bone steaks (yum!). So the kids and I are having corn and steak for our lunches tomorrow ;) Spoiled? mmmmm yeah, just a bit ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday in the Park

Well okay, there was no park involved. There was, however, some fantastic time spent at Knit Knackers Yarn Warehouse on Bank Street this afternoon at a free sweater demystifying workshop taught by a fantastic knitter I met through Ravelry. If you ever want to take some knitting classes, Lillian Trudeau teaches all the classes and workshops at Knit Knackers (except spinning - Juliana teaches that), and she's very good at it :) I can't wait to take some of her more involved classes! I've made a lot of progress on my DROPS Designs tank top in the last week, and I can't wait to finish it! I'm hoping to wear it to Thanksgiving dinner, but failing that, I'll wear it to American Thanksgiving!

Photo mine, steal not please :)
I accomplished my 100 stairs once today (might do it again before bed) and I did my 50 crunches. Not sure the ab-rocker helped any - it's actually quite difficult to use! I might try just doing crunches normally. My tailbone HURTS lol I'm also going to turn into a total girl for a second here and say it's definitely time to cut my nails as I bent one backwards while doing the crunches - don't ask me how. I'm gifted.

So after knitting, I came home and watched De-Lovely (2004), which is one of my favorite films. It's a biopic of Cole Porter's life with his wife, Linda. Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd are absolutely brilliant in it, and I love the music - even Alanis Morissette's performance of "Let's Fall in Love". (it was quite good, really!) I cry every time though, several times throughout. These were extraordinary people. I highly recommend it, and although it might be a bit chick-flicky (it *is* a love story, after all), it's definitely worth a watch even if you're not a chick :P

Tomorrow morning, I'm getting up at an ungodly hour to go walking with some of my knitting friends at the Merivale location of the Running Room. I'm a bit apprehensive - in my experience, Running Room people take their walking/running groups seriously, but Sandy and Sarah promise they won't leave me in the dust. Starting the first week of October, I'll also be attending YOGA classes with several of my coworkers. We got an excellent deal at Jack Purcell, and a bunch of us will be schlepping our non-yoga-doing butts down there every Wednesday lunch hour for eight weeks! This could be interesting (and comical for the others). They did promise not to laugh *at* me ;) Again, apprehensive, but cautiously optimistic.

It's been a beautiful Indian summer day, and I'm more in the mood for fall than ever. My mom told me today that she's buying me a small chest freezer as a combination birthday and Christmas gift. You can not imagine how thrilled I am about this :) I've wanted one for years, but could never quite manage it financially. It means I'll have to get rid of my kitchen table (which is the kitchen table my parents bought when they got married) but I'm okay with that, since we never eat at it anyway and it's just a place for stuff to accumulate. So while my friend Chris is sunning himself at DisneyWorld and taking pictures of his son and beautiful pregnant wife on the beach, I'll just hope fall lasts a really long time and keep enjoying the leaves turning and all the beautiful things around me. Enjoy your weekend!

Also mine - leave it be please :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday weigh-in: 277!!!

To be perfectly honest, the scale said 277 on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, and then jumped to 282 this morning, but Aunt Flo arrived at the same time, so I'm going with the 277. Sue me. ;)

Why yes, that is a picture of a man being lifted by a bunch of balloons. Did you know that you can pay to do this? Seriously. They have a website and everything. Go see them!

That said, I'm a week early, I'm annoyed about it, but at the same time, it's par for the course these days. Food-wise, I've not been making all the SMARTEST choices, but I've been smart about my BAD choices, if that makes sense. Last night, we got home really late, so I stopped at the mall to pick up some Subway for dinner. However, instead of getting a footlong sub like I normally would, I got a six inch and piled on the veggies. (I do love my footlong subs... part of the reason I made it up to 310 at my heaviest).

So as of today, I have three weeks and two days until Rob arrives. The goal was to hit 275 by my birthday, and I'm hoping to leave it in the dust! Here's the plan:

Week ONE:
100 steps on the stair master at least once a day
3 flights of stairs at work at least once a day (that's from the 4th floor, which is where my boss is, to the 7th floor where I am)
50 crunches with the ab-rocker every day
1 mile walked every day.

I will revisit and re-evaluate after week one to see how much progress I've made. This starts tomorrow, Saturday morning :) Week one will be entirely about exercise, and I don't plan on changing my eating habits just yet.

Yesterday I forgot I was wearing buttoned pants, and when I went to the bathroom at one point, I just slid them off. Um..... yay, my pants just slide off, but at the same time, boo - my pants just slid off. That said, I need new pants. I can not yet afford new pants. This is a dilemma LOL Fortunately, I should be able to get pants in a couple of weeks! PANTS. Have I used the word "pants" enough yet? No? PANTSPANTSPANTS. Pants. I've always liked that word. Moreso after I found out that it was my ex-boyfriend's favorite swear word (he's British... I can't explain it). Right, this is getting silly, so I'll go now.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lazy Thursday...

So I barely have time to think anymore. I got home last night to discover water all over the bathroom floor, an overflowing toilet, and two hungry kids *sigh* After nearly an HOUR of working with the plunger, I managed to get the toilet working again (thank god!). Off to swimming lessons for the twelve-year-old, where, for the *third* week in a row, we had a fight to get him into (and then subsequently OUT of) the change room... *sigh* I'm not sure why. But for some reason, although he LOVES swimming, he hates that change room. I think it might have something to do with the fact that the guys (all strangers) are getting nekkid in front of each other, and he's not used to that. Might have to tell him to pick a bathroom stall and get changed in there.

Between my schedule and Rob's, we rarely get to talk to each other until late in the evening, and it's taking a toll on my sleep schedule. I hate it, because if I put a moratorium on late-night conversations, I won't get to talk to him at all until the weekends. Stupid distance. Well, September's always crazy for both of us anyway, especially since I started school and he decided to take some classes as well ;)

I love Tracy Chapman, always have. But this song is just where I'm at right now. It came up on my iPad (which I use as an mp3 player at work) and it just made me feel so good. Right now, I've got a semi-headache, my throat is trying to decide whether it wants to be scratchy, I'm tired enough to fall asleep, and I'm a bit congested. This likely means I'm succumbing to the cold everyone's been trying to throw at me for the last two weeks, but I'm pretty mellow about it right now. I'm drinking a lot, and I'll be going to bed early tonight.

So as I sit here at my desk with a crisp fall day going on outside, the reflection of last night's rainwater on my ceiling, and my lovely knitted wrap keeping me warm, I'm feeling lazy, but happy. This is my favorite time of year, and I'm going to enjoy it, even if I do get sick.

Photo is mine, please don't steal, mkay?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday On Time....?

Well, weigh-in isn't fantastic, but at least it's down. Saw 278 on the scale this morning. It's a sign of hope. It's a sign that even when things are incredibly hectic and I'm not always paying attention, I'm still moving in the right general direction. That's an encouraging feeling. It doesn't mean I'm going to completely disregard eating and exercise from now on, but it means I'll beat myself up a bit less when I'm maybe not 100%.

I get the feeling it'd be at 277 if my body could get into a decent rhythm. What does that mean? It means my innards are on a weird schedule and my body vacates its waste mid-morning instead of later in the day. TMI? For sure. but it's one of those things that affects my weigh-ins, and it bothers me.

I had my first class on Tuesday, and it was awesome. My Prof is this feisty old lady who has some definite passion for our field of study (I'm in translation) and she's really fun and interesting. I kept trying to figure out what she was wearing. Looked like a high-necked dress (long sleeves, down to the ankles) - to be honest, it looked like some old pilgrim dress. On top of that, she was wearing a huge square of fabric like a Clint Eastwood poncho (from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, say). No idea why, unless she naturally runs to being cold, but she made it work :) I think this is going to be an awesome class.

Both kids had their first swimming lessons - the ten-year-old took to it like a duck to water. See what I did there? :P (puns truly are the lowest form of humor!) The twelve-year-old stood against the wall, not moving, until I broke the rules and went into the pool area with *gasp* SHOES on to sort out whose class he was supposed to be in and argue him into the water LOL To be fair, he's a great deal older than most of the kids in the class, but that's only because his form is a bit off, not because he can't swim. He enjoyed it once he got going :)

Aaaaand I'm officially working at Michaels now :) Weekends only, of course. Fortunately, I'm not working THIS weekend, so I can still work my closing shifts at the pizza place tonight and Saturday without painful sleep deprivation ;) And on that note, it's time for me to go to my day job LOL Have a great weekend, everybody!

Yes, this is one of MY pics, please don't swipe it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Belated Friday?

Wups... *blush*

Ever since I got back from Chicago, I've been running from one place to another with barely enough time to sit down and breathe. Therefore, no blog updates! Anyway, I did weigh myself last Friday, and I was at 280 even. Not great, but I'm ok with it considering the stress I've been living with!

Rob took my measurements and a photo while I was visiting. (he fails in the picture-taking department!)

You may be able to make out a person at the end of that murky hallway. That'd be me. Current pic. Not that it shows any detail, and not that you can tell how fat (or not) I am compared to pics from last year (which I haven't posted). Lord love him, his camera sucks, so that's the best we were able to do LOL Next time we'll use mine.

Measurements are currently

Bust (under): 43 inches (previously 43.75 inches)
Waist: 46.5 inches (previously 47 inches)
Hips: 58 inches (previously 59 inches)
Biceps: 16.75 inches (previously 16.75 inches)
Thigh: 29 inches (previously 28.75 inches)
Calf: 18 inches (previously 18.5 inches)

Not a great loss, but a loss! It'll do for now. As for stress, well Dad's still in the hospital (I think, I visited on Sunday), the 9 year old has swimming lessons on Tuesdays from 5 to 5:30, then I have class from 7 to 10. The 12 year old has swimming lessons on Wednesdays from 6 to 6:30. I work full-time during the day, then I also have a part-time job for the pizza place (evenings), and I'm currently working on getting hired on part-time at a craft store (weekends). Add school to that, and I can barely breathe *sigh* However, I need to become financially independent. I'm tired of relying on my ex-husband to get me through. (I'm sure he's tired of it as well!)

My dad said I could have the smaller of his two bikes. If he holds to that, then next spring I will have a bicycle! :D It's too small for him to ride. So now if I want to be able to use it, I have to stop letting stress and lack of time dictate my eating habits. I'm going to make a pot of chili this week for school nights and times when I don't have time to get elaborate meals ready. I also need to bake some corn muffins (the boy's favorite) and some fruit muffins for breakfasts. I just really need to purge my living space and pare down so we're not constantly battling with mounds of stuff. We need to be able to find things quickly and easily ;) The livingroom floor got cleaned up on Monday. Now we just need to clear off the couch.

I got a couple of bookshelf frames out of the garbage a few months ago when a neighbor moved out. For some reason, she kept all the actual shelves. Ugh. So I need to pick up some wood to make backings (1/4 inch should be fine) and some half-inch particle board that I intend to coat with shelf paper for shelves. Then I'll be able to reorganize the front room to hold a lot more books, and give my poor son a bookshelf for his room again!

Both kids have - amazingly - cleaned their rooms without being asked! Granted, the nine-year-old packed every piece of dirty laundry she owns into boxes and bins in her closet, and the twelve-year-old has a large pile of books and magazines int he corner, but they cleaned! Sadly, the nine-year-old did the vacuum cleaner in while she was doing her room, so I need to see about fixing that.

Most people go into a spring cleaning frenzy. I tend to do it in the fall when it cools down outside. I want all the excess stuff GONE. All of it. I need the landlord to fix my bathroom sink, the bathroom ceiling, and I want that new stove he promised me (2 years ago). ugh. So that's where we are today. I'll try to be a bit more regular in my posting (for the two people who read this LOL)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let's Get It Started!

I've had that song in my head for the last little while, so now you will too (all two of you who read this LOL). You're welcome.

When Rob took my measurements on Saturday night (they're coming - he just needs to send them to me with a progress pic), my waist and hip measurements were down, and I got psyched :) We're not even talking first thing in the morning here! It made me happy :) So now I have renewed motivation. I want to see 275 before my birthday (that will be 35 lbs down from my last birthday). I now have an Ab Rocker (I didn't buy it... someone moving out of my apartment building tossed it, and I grabbed it), a mini stair machine (also someone else's trash) and the treadmill, so no excuses.
This is the ab-rocker thingie.
I'm also continuing to use the stairs at work, and after the amount of walking I did on Sunday (two airports later...), I think I'm doing fairly well. I'd like to be able to use a bike by next summer. Can't right now, my lower abdomen gets in the way.

This is my treadmill - Tunturi T20 - I love this thing!

I didn't move yesterday. I was so sore from all the walking - and the 50 lb backpack I lugged around - that I just passed out on the couch after work. Tonight is groceries, and then I work my 2nd job (I just applied for a 3rd job - am I nuts???), but I'm going to try to fit some ab-rocker in to try it out tonight, and use the mini-stepper at least once or twice. I've done three floors worth of stairs up and down at work today (does that count as three flights or six? That's always confused me!) so at least I've been moving a fair bit. Add a salad for lunch, and I'm pretty proud of how today's gone! We won't talk about the pizza I had for breakfast....

This is the same mini-stepper I have. I removed the rubber cords because they were rotted.

Monday, August 29, 2011

STITCHES post-mortem

This past weekend, I attended STITCHES Midwest ( in Schaumburg, IL (a suburb of Chicago). I hadn't the money to sign up for any classes, and I knew that if I got the chance to go shopping, I wouldn't be bringing too much home. In fact, when I arrived, I didn't have two pennies to rub together. *sigh* So the only thing I attended was the Marketplace.

But that alone was worth going! I got to see all kinds of neat stuff (like the Fix-A-Stitch and the Roxy Em Yarn Tower) that knitters create - Rob was fascinated with the motorized "tower" winder that the creators of the Yarn Tower had had made in order to wind their spools quickly and quietly. I got to visit designers I've always admired, like Helen Hamann - who is not only a great designer, but also a very nice lady who has a lovely, well-behaved dog :) I got to visit the owners of some pretty great shops (Sophie's Toes Magic Balls are particularly impressive - if you google it, you'll find her etsy shop, but it's currently empty).

I was a tad disappointed that Fiddlehead Yarns didn't have a presence (they're a LYS in Kenosha, WI that I've been dying to frequent for years now), and EXTREMELY disappointed that Ravelry didn't even have a table, or a handout or anything. But most of us were ravellers, and just about everyone I spoke to managed to work it into the conversation ;)

The classes going on all around us in little partitioned rooms looked fantastic. Next year, I plan to sign up for some of the "Market Sessions" (short, 1-hour classes that focus on a particular technique or difficulty). I might make my way up eventually to the half-day or full-day classes, but for now, I think this will ease me into the whole thing. I also would have like to attend the pyjama party, but a) I don't own pyjamas and b) we were dead tired and weren't going to drive back to the Ren at 10pm. Maybe next year if some of the girls want to come along :)

I did manage to get a LOT of work done on my DROPS tank top. I'm nearing the half-way mark. It's amazing what some three-hour layovers can do. The flight home nearly didn't happen, as every airport on the Eastern Seabord was shut down because of Hurricane Irene. If Rob hadn't said, "But what about Detroit?" when the ticket agent was trying to rebook my ticket, I'd still be in Chicago (not that I'd mind, but my kids start school tomorrow!) As it is, a few flights got redirected to Toronto just after my plane touched down because of high winds all around Ottawa.

A great weekend, definitely to be repeated :) Measurements and a "current progress" pic to follow tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My bags are packed...

Okay, that's a bald-faced lie. I have my KNITTING packed. Everything else will have to be hastily shoved into a backpack tonight in between feeding the kids, showering, and working an evening shift. *sigh* At least there was room for the knitting, right? :)

So I'm headed to Stitches Midwest. I'm VERY excited about it! I've never been to a "knitting con" before. I'm also excited that I get to steal an unplanned weekend with Rob! Hey, when you live 850 miles apart, every minute counts. I haven't been posting much because I've been too busy, etc. Obviously I won't be posting much while I'm there. I'm also not planning on bringing my enormous camera (okay, JEFF'S enormous camera) with me. So there will be no pictures :(

That said, I'm really hoping the evening goes by quickly, because I'm SOOOO tired! So until my return, be good :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


First off, I'd like to offer my condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Jack Layton. You were a class act, sir, and I'm very sorry you'll never get your chance to captain the ship.

This weekend was an odd one. I never stopped moving, but I feel like I got absolutely nothing done. I didn't do any laundry or dishes or cleaning up (boo!). I barely slept, and I feel emotionally drained and worn out. I did manage to finish the stuffed Octopus I was making for a coworker's baby shower (which is tomorrow).
I also managed to start and finish a hat on Saturday for our Charity knit-along :) I started a second hat, but I've only gotten about half-way on that one.

I also managed to work a 3 hour shift on Saturday night / Sunday morning, lost most of my faith in humanity on the last call of the night, and hopefully made a few dollars in the process.

Yesterday was a major cluster. Jeff asked me to drive out to Barrhaven to pick him and the kids up. Okay, no problem. I had to hit Michaels for the safety eyes and polyfill anyway. I went to the Pinecrest Mall location (sorry Kit!) because it was on the way. They had NOTHING. No 16" circs, not a great selection of PolyFill (they had "heritage cotton filling" which was $20 for an 8oz bag - I don't think so!), no safety eyes. That, and it took me a full 30 minutes to get OUT of the parking lot once I returned to my car. I don't think I'll be going back to the Pinecrest Mall, like ever. Maybe when the kids go off to college, I'll buy them some Ikea furniture, but other than that? Forget it!

Then I headed to Barrhaven (late) and promptly got lost. I couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong until I realized that I came up from Greenbank when normally I'd go up Woodroffe to get there. Jeff got me back onto the right street eventually, and I found it from there. *sigh* Sometimes it's like my brain just shuts down and that's all there is to it.

Of course, having worked the 12-3am shift, I slept in, and was therefore unable to fall asleep last night. It was the first time it got cold enough for me to actually pull a blanket out of the closet! :D I love cool temperatures when I'm sleeping - that's the main thing Rob and I disagree on. He likes it warm and cozy. Yuck. ;) Good thing I'm not working tonight, so maybe we'll be able to get some cleaning done - I'd like to get the kitchen table cleared off before the kids start school. The boy has his own desk, but my daughter has to use the livingroom floor right now. We'll see how it goes.

So what did I accomplish? Not much, when all is said and done!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ottawa Charity Knit-Along!!!

The Ravelry group I belong to, the Ottawa Area Ravellers, have organized a charity knit-along. We're hoping it will become an annual event! The organizer has chosen three local charities on which we'll concentrate, and we're to make lovely warm things for winter. I was so excited, I got started early. Here's what I did today:

I'm very excited about this challenge for two reasons. One, it's an excuse to knit stuff. (stuff that won't lie around the house afterward!). Two, I will use up SO much of my stash doing this. At least, that's my hope! I've been jonesing for some new yarn, but I have so bloody much of it, I can't justify buying any LOL Tomorrow, I need to finish my octopus (he is so cute!). I have to buy some safety eyes and some poly fill, and stuff him with filling and jingle bells :D (I'm still SO psyched about the jingle bells!)

Once the octopus is finished, I may allow myself a break by working on the tank top I started last week. Or I may start a woman's or child's hat. We'll have to see :) I'm playing it by ear. I'll bring the changing pad I'm making to Chicago with me, I think. I figure they're less likely to confiscate a blunt crochet hook than pointy knitting needles ;)

Tomorrow will be Octopus day, and PACKING! I also found the PERFECT gift bag for the blanket and octopus. They suit the recipient *perfectly*.

I'm going to go pass out now, since it's 4am, and I got off work an hour ago. *yawn* Good night, moon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Quiet Moment...

Friday weigh in: 281.

Do I care? Yes. Am I bummed? Oh yes. Do I feel guilty? heh. Don't even ask. I was raised Catholic.

Am I going to beat myself up about it? No.

I've had a hell of a week, what with my dad entering the hospital on Monday, continual financial crap causing me heartburn, generally feeling sad and headachy, and yeah, I made some poor food choices based on emotion-based laziness. I also came in to work TWICE with baked goods sitting on my desk (one day was leftover cake Isabella had left behind, and this morning, Judy's daughter had sent in some AMAZING cupcakes, one of which is currently residing in my thighs).

I'll fix it. No really, I will. Right now though, I'm just a bit too tired and worn out. I miss Rob and my head hurts, and I just really need a hug.

Did you know that the average person requires three hugs a day in order to be content? I think the last time I had a hug was last Friday. I am very much looking forward to seeing my girls at knitting tonight. I will knit octopus feet and drink Raspberry Tea Crush and be happy to be surrounded by friends. G'night, Gracie.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Drama Train Rolls On

Sorry for the lack of posts lately (I say to myself, since I'm the only one who reads this LOL). There has been a boatload of drama going on at my house.

First, my computer was in full mutiny, so I couldn't work my pizza shift on Saturday night. Then on Sunday, I arrived at my parents' house to find my father barely conscious and largely unresponsive, but my mother said he'd be fine, so I didn't think anything of it. There's more to it than that, but we won't go into it. I cooked a DELICIOUS batch of quinoa, which my mother took one bite of, went, "well, it's not my favorite" and left the rest on her plate. My brother, his wife, both kids and I (and their baby) DEVOURED our portions. It was FANTASTIC! Recipe below.

Went home with cranky-ass kids. My daughter has just turned ten, and seems to have taken this as permission to become a hormonal shrew. She bursts into tears for no reason, has massive tantrums (à la 2 year old) and has started snarking me on a regular basis.

Puberty. Joy.

My twelve-year-old has been a cranky-ass for at least a year now, but it's getting worse now. We've been trying to teach him that he can't speak to adults the way he speaks to his buddies on the playground. It's not sinking in. He has nothing but contempt for me, and it shows every time he opens his mouth. He starts junior high in two weeks. This should be interesting. Let's see how he reacts to being at the bottom of the food chain again ;)

Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. I wouldn't trade them for anything. (well, maybe some chocolate when they're behaving as above). They're pretty awesome most of the time. But then there are other times... like last night. My kids HATE going for groceries. We used to go while they were at karate class, but since they're no longer going to karate, they're home. Once or twice, we let them stay at Jeff's while we went shopping, but it's just easier and more convenient to bring them along. Yeah, right. As soon as we step into the store, the 10 year old decides she doesn't want to be there anymore. It's one tantrum after another, constant tears until we leave the store, and having to drag her along like a recalcitrant puppy. UGH. The other one just pokes at her and riles her up. They're so much fun to shop with.

Anyway, I'll just lightly touch on the drama bits, because I don't want to dwell, and more importantly, I don't want to get all pissed off again. Monday afternoon, I phoned my mother for something inane, and she tells me my father's in intensive care. Since 4:30 that morning. Um, WHAT???? When were you going to tell me this??? And she hasn't told my brother either, because "it's his first day back at work and I don't want to disturb him." WTF WOMAN????? I later found out that all the aunts and uncles already knew, as did most of my cousins LOL It was just the man's CHILDREN who didn't deserve to find out. Anyway, my brother and I visited him that afternoon, and while it's serious, it's not as bad as it sounded over the phone with half-assed information.

The second incident, I'm still pretty steamed about, and it happened at work, so I won't go into details. Suffice to say that if you're going to make someone stay late, it's not cool to pussyfoot around the subject and then waltz out the door at your usual time. Not cool at all.

That said, I've been making some awesome knitting progress the last few days, and I'm very happy with how the changing pad I'm crocheting is coming along as well! I will share pics when there's a bit more knitting to take pics of ;)

Forgot the Quinoa recipe!

1 cup quinoa (uncooked) - I actually use a package from President's Choice, not sure of the amount
2 cups water
2 envelopes of beef soup base
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 roma tomatoes (from my mom's garden! YAY!)
3 stalks celery
1 medium onion, diced
12 baby carrots, sliced
1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp HP steak sauce
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Bring the 2 cups water to a boil, add the soup base and stir. Then add the quinoa and simmer for 15 minutes. In a nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Toss in the onions, celery and carrots, Stir to coat; cover, and let sit for 5 minutes or until celery and carrots have softened. Add diced tomatoes and sauce. Cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute to coat everything with sauce. I add a dash of steak spice, but you don't have to :) Stir the vegetables into the cooked quinoa and mix in the grated cheese. Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

©2011 Lynne Toll at

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Light Dawns on Marble Head...

To be honest, I haven't been all that impressed with my weight-loss progress over the last year or so. Yeah, I lost 30 lbs. (My highest was 310 about this time last year). Yeah, I was getting in better shape. But I didn't SEE any noticeable difference. Until today, that is.

I was looking at some pictures of myself from last summer, and holy CRAP, have I changed! I hadn't noticed without the photographic proof, because I still feel like a huge whale, and I'm still a lot bigger than I want to be. But I HAVE lost weight, and I can *see* it when I look at last summer's pics, or pics from my brother's wedding (three years ago now - happy anniversary, guys!) or from our trip to Arizona last summer. I was a balloon! I can't believe how huge I was!

I'm still huge, but I can see the change. I couldn't see it before, and it makes me really happy to see it now :) I mean, I knew I must be losing something, because none of my pants fit right anymore, but to be honest, I kind of felt like the numbers were all in my head. I looked at the pictures because I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for a couple of years on Thursday, and she immediately said, "You look great! You've lost weight, haven't you?" I figured that if someone I hadn't seen in a while could see it, then maybe the change had been too gradual for me to notice. I haven't got the first clue how to set the timer on this camera to take a current pic of myself (and I don't think there have been any recent pictures of me). But I promise I'll get Rob to take one when I go back to Chicago at the end of the month!

I'm a happy girl tonight, even though I haven't slept (thus the 5am update). Afternoon nap + too much caffeine = all night knitting session ;)

Friday, August 12, 2011

YEAH, BABY!!!!!!!!!!

Check this out! NO!!! Seriously!!!! CHECK IT!!!!!

PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF!!!! (for the record, it was 279.0 without the behemoth camera in my hands LOL). I even weighed myself SIX SEPARATE TIMES to make sure it didn't slide back up over 280. 280, I has broken you!!!! :D

Rob's lucky I didn't call him the second I did this (which, incidentally was at 5:20 when I got up to pee - weigh-in was post-pee, of course, not that you needed to know that). Yes, those are my ugly-ass feet, as evidenced by the gross marks on my left toe from the burns three weeks ago (healing slowly).

*ahem* okay, that's enough excitement. Carry on.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night...

Okay, it was a somewhat bright, yet stormy day. Yesterday, that is. And it seems that the clouds loved us so much, they're hanging around for an extended engagement today. I really wish I had a small camera I could keep in my purse. Maybe I'll buy myself one for Christmas. The big camera (Jeff's) is fantastic, but it's unwieldy and it's *ahem* not mine ;)

So anyway, the point is, I love storms. I mean, I really LOVE storms. I love watching them, I love hearing them, I love the surprise flash of lightning and the heart-stopping crashes of thunder. I love to hear the rain pattering against the windows or the roof. I'm not totally crazy about driving in them, but I can handle it. I have a pretty decent view up here on the 7th floor. One of these days I'll have to bring the camera in to show you what I see from my desk. Right now, over the apartment buildings and hundreds of trees, there are some lovely medium-grey clouds drifting by at a fairly decent speed. Some are lighter, some are darker, and there's a bluish band near the bottom with big fluffy white cumulos.

I walked out of my building yesterday to go home, and it was so cool and refreshing outside, I was immediately smiling. Yes, rain makes me happy. I love fall, because it's a lot of cool weather and fantastic storms. Yesterday was kind of a hint of what was to come in October and November, and I so needed that to get me through this week.

I also booked my plane ticket the other night, so I will definitely be going to Stitches Midwest! (more importantly, I will get to see Rob and spend most of the weekend with him!) It seems like we never see each other in winter, but in the summer, it's almost once a month. Can't complain, but I wish it was a shorter drive. I wouldn't mind doing it regularly if it was 8 hours, or even 10. But 14 hours is a bit much for just a weekend :( I'm not entirely sorry we can't move in together for the forseeable future though. Gives me time to get my life in order, get my degree, be independent. The apartment looks a little bit better every day, and the kids are starting to learn to pitch in without being asked.

Now if only the laundry can start doing itself, life will be peaches :) I'm off to take a walk in the cloudy outdoors!