Maine or bust!

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!