Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend, what weekend?

This weekend, as with most lately was very busy. But also very fun.

I started off Sat morning with my Jillian 30 day cut workout. Sad to say that, although I am sore in places I didn't expect to be, the overall weight loss has not continued. Probably due to the delicious barbecued pork sandwich I had on Friday and the yummy french fries as well as the bacon on Saturday, starbuck's cookie and mixed nuts - all things you should probably try to avoid or minimize when reducing your body size. At any rate, as of today, I am still slightly ahead on the weightloss scheme so, all in all, not too bad for Day 6 and still plugging.

The workout is good although by the end of the 30 minutes, the 2 lb weights feel like 100. Some day..........hmmmm........ There is one point in the workout where you lay down on the floor for some bicycle, stomach crunches. Apparently, my feet and legs moving back and forth were just all too tempting for Thomas who likes to have his "butt kicked" - a form of play in which he turns his "butt" to me and I playfully tap it with my foot. The stomach crunches must have looked like a variation on that form of play since he went right in front of my feet and turned his "butt" toward me. Stomach crunches are hard enough without trying to move 65lbs. of dog with your feet. No wonder my thighs and inner groin are so sore.......

After working out, I ate breakfast, read the paper and showered then loaded up the car for my day's errands. First stop was Sports Authority to return all of the weights and balance ball that they had talked me into a week before. I decided it would be a very long time (can we say, "when hell freezes over"?) before I would be using the 6 or 8lb weights, much less the 10lb. Instead I bought the red 3lb weights just in case 2lbs ever starts feeling light.

After SA, I headed off to Macy's to return the last of my "alternate" dresses for the party. That totally commits me to the OCEAN colored gown now. So, I have to continue to work to fit into it.

From Macy's I headed south to my SIL's house. They were having a garage sale and I found it useful to continue with my decluttering of the garage by taking the things that would fit in my car and dropping them off for the garage sale. "Sell them for anything or give them away" were my instructions. She did really well and sold the big items for $15. I still had to bring a few things back home but they occupy very little space compared to what I had brought over. You go Deb! I tried to give her the money but she refused it so I brought her a box of chocolates instead.

Couldn't stay for the garage sale because I had to head to Scott's Valley to pick up my ring which now has a nice new opal in it. Yeah! And then on to the cake lady to take her my 50 candles for the cake. I couldn't find the right color combo so ended up giving her 3 different sets. She can choose the best to use.

And, if that wasn't already a busy enough Sat, I came back to the shelter to walk the dogs. Thank goodness. I was the only volunteer in that day and there are still 7 dogs there. The foreclosures and falling economy mean more dogs being surrendered and less people coming in to adopt them......sad. I took a couple out to the play yard to socialize them and was immediately reprimanded. How could I put two dogs in together? That is not allowed. Forget that the dogs were getting along terrifically and very happy to have company to frolic with. I see so many of the shelter dogs, including my own, with socialization issues because they are not allowed in the company of other dogs. I would think that doing everything you can to make them more adoptable would be the goal but apparently not........So I had to go back to having them out one at a time.....and hoping they all get adopted soooonnnnnnnn!!!

After the shelter, I have to admit that I was pretty beat. It was nice just to go home, eat some dinner and watch a little TV before heading off to bed.

Sunday morning dawned early with yoga. I don't know if it was all of the working out that I was doing or what but the practice was HARD. I was sore and sweating a lot - something I never do. The Srivasana (corpse pose) at t the end was so wonderful, I didn't want to get up. But, alas. That, too, came to an end and the class was over. I went to the farmer's market and took the Meyers Lemons that I had picked off of the tree that morning. The chocolatier needed them for the Meyers Lemon chocolates that they make. He traded them for a box of chocolates which I then gave to my SIL for selling my things at her garage sale. Isn't barter a wonderful thing?

I ran to my SILs house to drop off the chocolates and pick up the non-sold items, ended up chatting and visiting for a while and then headed home to get some yard work done.

Cut all of the rogue branches from the Mulberry tree that I have been trying to kill for a few years now, trimmed the funny shaped orange tree, trimmed the roses and the bougainvilla and pulled some weeds in addition to cleaning up after the dogs, washing out Thomas' pool and refilling with water which both of them enjoyed immensely since it was a warm day. A few hours later, the leaf bin was full and I was even more tired and sore.

Took a shower and headed over to Bill and Susan's house. Decided to walk since we were going to taste champagne and only then realized just how sore my hips were. The champagne tasting was wonderful and enlightening. We all settled on one type (the only one all three of us agreed on except for the one that none of us liked). It wasn't the most expensive but wasn't the cheapest of them either. Still, all in all, it was a good deal. Thanks to Bill and Susan for hosting this and thanks also for the wonderful steak and garlic bread dinner - yum!

I got home very late Sunday night, tried to do some email and a crossword puzzle but finally had to head off to bed since I had an early morning conference call today.

Great weekend - accomplished many things - decluttering, party stuff, yard work and enjoyed many things - SIL visit and champage tasting - a wonderful way to spend a weekend.

Hope yours was great too!

Friday, June 27, 2008

30 get cut dvd with Jillian

As I mentioned earlier, I bought the weights so that I could also work out at home and try to get a few more pounds off before the party. My first 30 day plan lost me 7 pounds but I gained 4 back. Still progress with net 3 lbs but I need more than that.

I started out 2 days ago by adding a morning workout in my living room. I am using Jillian's (from the biggest loser) 'Get Cut in 30 Days' DVD. It is not meant for those with a lot to lose but rather to take off those last 10 or 20 and get you "cut" in the process. I have seen her use it on the Biggest Loser on tv with much heavier people so decided to try it.

I am at the beginner's level, 2lb (purple!) weights - a 30 minute workout with 20 minutes of cardio and weight training and 10 minutes of warm-up/warm-down. By the end of the 30 minutes, I am beat. And that is at the beginner's level. Think of the intermediate or advanced.

The miracle is that, after doing this for only 2 days and still eating normally - drinking lots of water, I have lost 3.4lbs! This gave me encouragement to get back up in front of the tv today and do another 30 minutes. And, I will be at Curves tonight going through my 30 minutes there. My clothes are also already loser after only 2 days. I know that I sound like an infomercial but it is just so amazing. Incredibly, the 2 lb weights are also starting not to seem as heavy, although by the end, I am still barely able to lift them so will be a while before I move to 3lbs or more. I am very motivated to go the full 30 days and see what the effect is. Only 27 more days to go................

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Planning, planning, planning

Just when you think you are done...........

I thought we were all set on the food and bar for the party but then.......... the food bill got raised and suddenly, I was over budget by $1,700. And.........the Aquarium does not include champagne in its bar packages which threw a wrench in the works for my 'champagne reception' and the Aquarium does not include Sloe Gin which is in the signature drink - ouch - one more wrench.

The food was as I wanted so I accepted the new bill with a smile?

That just left the bar. The prospect of buying the champagne and sloe gin made the original hourly package much less attractive than before. So then, I started looking at the hosted bar - hmmmmmm........how much do people really drink?? How can I do a comparison that will give me a realistic estimate. I got on the phone and called my very handy sis who knows all about these things. She gave me some rules of thumb and we started calculating. It was really looking like going hosted rather than hourly might be the better (read cheaper) idea. I listed everyone that is coming and how much they typically drink or an estimate if I didn't know what they drank. The amount came out much lower than the hourly rate.....hmmm......

And then we started discussing champagne. All of the discussion led to a decision to do a blind (not us but the bottles) champagne tasting to determine which champagne we should order for the party.

And, after seeing the prices on the wine list, I now have the opportunity to also buy the wine and bring that in. My choice - the great standbys by Barefoot - nice Merlots and Cabs - and the bottle has a lovely purple foot in keeping with the theme of the party.

And beer.........the Aquarium only stocks Bud Light unless you specifically request something else. So, I sent a quick email to my family beer drinkers asking for recommendations. Submitted a short list of 4 to the Aquarium and have to wait to see what they will charge me for my list (because everything you do has a cost there).

And, after all of that, I was starting to feel like a shot of Tequila Rose but I looked on the list and, oh no, the Aquarium has no Tequila Rose.......so, I threw in a bottle of that, too. Which of course, they will charge me a $15 corkage fee (+25% for gratuitie and tax).

The net of all of this last minute decision making should be a savings of about $900 on the bar fees, I hope. Although the Aquarium does need to calculate it all out and decide what they are going to charge me. If I go over, I pay extra. If I come in under, I get a refund.

Anyway, I will then be only $800 over budget...........

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Never listen to a young guy at Sports Authority when buying weights...

In my efforts to lose a little weight, I bought the 30 day get cut dvd by Jillian Michaels. I figured if it worked for all of those bigger folks on the Biggest Loser, it would work for me. Jillian likes to workout with just your body and very few formal props so that you can work out anywhere at anytime. One of the props she uses for this workout is hand weights.

I didn't have any hand weights and had never worked out with them so did not know what my needs or threshhold were. I headed off to Sports Connection and explained to the young (really young) guy there what I needed. Nothing big or fancy, just hand weights so that I could use them while doing lunges, laying on my back on the floor, etc. -- an augment to a workout and not the weights for weight sake itself. He scratched his head and then called over another young (very young) male clerk and asked him what size he would recommend for me. They both recommended starting with 5 lbs and said that would probably still be too light.

I was seriously doubting my ability to work out with 5 lbs and told them that I was very weak in the arms and maybe not so young (not that that has anything to do with it - only more years of being weak in the arms to overcome). They said that they were thinking about weak in the arms when they said 5 lbs. Hmmmmm............... I was still not convinced. 5 lbs felt like a lot. Now, I do lift the 40lb bags of dogfood and their 40lb water cooler regularly but that is usually once to dump the food into their bin or put the water bottle into the cooler. It is not repetitions. To me, 5 lbs seemed like more than enough for repetitions. They recommended a small set with a stand - 3lb, 5lb and 8lb pairs plus buy an additional 10lb pair because "that was probably what I really needed".

As for me, I kept looking at the 2 lb weights - maybe because they were colored such a pretty purple. I just couldn't walk out of the store without them.

This morning, I did the workout with my new weights. I chose the purple ones - why not? 2 lbs - simple right. I went through the 20 minute workout and boy! did those 2 lb weights feel heavy. I think that they will suit me just fine for a while. I would have been dying with the 5 lb weights - ugh.........

And, I still have the 3, 5, 8 and 10 pounders just in case I ever get that strong........

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sweet Memories

Sometimes space clearing (decluttering) has its own surprises and some turn out to be real gems. Last night, for some crazy reason, I felt the urge to go see what was in the 3 boxes and trunk that are left in the garage. They have been there for 11 years untouched and probably in the storage room for another 9 years before that - at least some of it. There was much water damage and some funky mold smell but some of it was well-wrapped and still looking good.

2 of the boxes didn't hold anything worthwhile. One was just a gathering of items I had put out to give away or sell over the years - candle stands, candy dish, puppet, dog-bark deterrents (which work for many but not on my own cast-iron-neck pup), water bottles given at various events, a scale (the kind you stand on to weigh - yeah.......)

The other box didn't look like much. Lots of papers that I thought were probably old bills or something of that nature. Most of it was - and was sent off to shredder-land. However, some weren't. There were lots of old letters and cards. As I read some of them randomly, I was taken back to a time before email, IM, blogging and the like. People actually wrote cards, postcards and letters. One card just read, "wish you were here last night. We went down to the U-district and.........." It took me back........ Sorry folks, but email just doesn't do that. There was another letter from my Mom when I started my first job after school. She was asking questions about the job and then telling me of my older brother's efforts to become an electrician (which he did successfully), my younger brother working with my Dad and other family news as well as a list of dates when they would be up skiing so that I could join them........Wow! I had forgotten many of those things.....

And, then the photos. How they made me laugh and remember. There was one of me at my first job with the group there - all of whom I still remember - wearing out Lab shirts and looking so young - AND TAN - and thin. And the wallets from my college graduation in the 80s with the BIG hair~ Photos of my god children when they were young.

And, inside the trunk, my old jewelry box - smelling moldy and probably not retrievable although, as I looked at it, I realized what a good jewelry box it had been - much better than anything I currently own. Not much in there but there was an intact USC pin with Snoopy on it that I will certainly wear, a crystal cross that I have no idea where it came from but it is nice and several of the black and white scotch Scotty dog pins! I also found an old tin frog that clicks really loudly - and scared the H... out of the dogs when I clicked it at them. And, the driver's licenses - what better way to see the changes over the years........

Finally, it was time to go to bed. I put back the bags that I hadn't made it through to save for another day. Probably, most of it will find its way to the trash or recycling bins but first, I will get one last bit of enjoyment out of the tidbits that I find there. Just one trunk and one box left now........

Monday, June 23, 2008


Decluttering of the garage seems to be a much more pleasant and rewarding task than decluttering of the study. Two weekends have been spent on that endeavor with the result that many cardboard boxes have been "let go" of and sent to recycling. It is sad to say but, for some reason, I had a real attachment to these boxes. Over the years, I kept thinking that I would use them to wrap a gift, store something or put the original objects back into them for packing and moving. None of that happened. Rather, the boxes kept building up to the point that every spare space in the garage was filled with empty boxes. Most of those boxes have now journeyed off to the recycling center or are now in the recycling bin waiting on the next pickup. There are still more that are still occupying space but they are only waiting for their own turn at the recycling bin.

On an even scarier thought, below the boxes and buried in the gardening section were chemicals that have been shown to be nerve toxins. One was discontinued in 2001 and the other in 2004 yet here they were still in my garage. Thankfully, they were some of the many "chemicals" I had purchased over time with intent to use but had never actually used. It is amazing that I had 4 bottles of that stuff (nearly 1 gallon) that I had obviously purchased at 3 separate points in time, not realizing that I already owned the same toxic substance. How scary is that? Two of the bottles, along with old paint, batteries and roof tar all went off to the hazardous waste dump this weekend. I breathed a big sigh of relief to know that I had detoxified my garage - or so I thought. As I was going through the shelves, breaking down cardboard boxes and re-arranging the gardening items so that I would know what I have, I found the other two bottles. They will have to wait until July 19th for disposal since that is the next toxic dump day. I have put them aside in the farthest corner away from the house until the time that they, too, can go join their counterparts in what I hope is a safer place.

I also found another box of books that was meant to go off to the book recycling with the last batch that I took out last week. They were also buried under unused cardboard boxes. Being that they are all softbacks, they can go into the paper recycling bin once it has been dumped and there is room. Other than the remaining empty boxes, it looks like there are only 3 full boxes and one trunk left to go through in order to complete the decluttering process of the garage. Sounds simple but, if you look at it, there is still a fair amount to do to accomplish this. Still, I am hopeful that the next round will do it and I can move the lounge chair out to the garage and start using my treadmill in the living room. Not the best furniture, I know but, hay! It is a small house.

The amazing thing is that the decluttering of the garage must have released space for some of the energy in the house because the house does not seem as crowded even though I have not removed anything else from there.

Besides the garage, it was a wonderful weekend of sunshine, yoga, errands, errands, errands and a visit with my angels. They left me with a wonderful message and hope in my heart.

Party plans continue with the guest list approaching 80. Two of the invitees (a couple) have not responded to the invite, my emails or phone calls - strange. I am sincerely hoping and believing that they are okay but the silence is a bit scary. I still need to take care of the flower situation and the guest book, make any final alterations to my dress and figure out the jewelry. Oh, and the music, choosing my songs so that the DJ can guide us down the right road. I am trying my best to finish up by June 30 so that I don't stress and panic in July but just seems like these last bits keep hanging out there. And July is jam packed with Doctors appts., Driver's Licence renewal (yes, I have to make an appearance in DMV this year) and various other items that require my attention in addition to work. No wonder my tummy has been a little nervous recently. Getting centered and completing these tasks are important to my well-being now.

And, as always, I am grateful. Grateful for the sunshine, grateful that I am able to plan a party and fortunate to be able to perform these tasks, grateful for my health and that of my family, pets and friends, grateful that I can still drive a car and grateful for the full and blessed life that has been given to me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Well, it is 10:43 PM

and life has definitely gone on.

So much happening so quickly and I just can't keep up.

I realize that in my earlier posts I neglected to mention the new photos I had added to my stream. Of course, there were a few paintings. But I also added the photo of me in front of the house from Rocky Horror Picture Show which happens to be in England quite close to Windsor. I also took a photo of the penguin boys at Eton. This was on a Saturday and they still had to wear their tails (or Morning Suits as they are called in England). Like American kids with school uniforms, these guys have their own ways of expressing themselves. I saw many a pair of socks in yellow, purple or with cartoon characters on them.

Party plans have progressed and are close to becoming solidified. The guest list is close to complete with only one couple who have not yet responded. Some of the folks (old friends and relatives) did not send back their RSVP cards - most likely believeing that their verbal response was enough. Still, the card was there already with a stamp and would not have taken extraordinary effort to put into a mailbox. I am counting the cards for the final count so it would have helped to have had their cards as well. Ah..........modern life.......the niceties and proper behaviours of the past seemed to all but have disappeared.

The cake is set and I have just received the most beautiful rendition of what it will look like. Need to go buy the 5 and 0 candles to go with it. Have my dress and am totally in love with it. Silver sandals, too. The DJ is set although I still need to decide on the final set up as well as the song set. Haven't done the flowers yet. Reallly need to call on that this week. Guest book is not complete and that is my project for this weekend. Jewelry is also in the works. My ring has gone to the jeweler for repair and I have not heard anything yet. The painting is in for framing. So much to do....... I am attempting to complete by July 1st, but, as Gilda Radner said, "there is always something...".

Work continues well and it is nice to have a continuing paycheck. Was doing well with the 30 day plan and weight loss though hadn't lost as much as I had hoped by today. One more 30 day plan. And probably blew it today with the wine tasting.

Have continued on my decluttering and have progressed to the garage. Took a load of books to the book recycling last weekend and will take the hazardous waste in this weekend. Plastic bottles went in for a cash voucher redeemable at Molly Stones. It bought me half gallon of milk.

Still more cardboard to break down and boxes to go through but I am making progress. Once the garage is done, I can move back into the study and the terminal filing project but, at least will have one more space (the garage) cleaned out and can move the treadmill out there or the chair and put the treadmill in the house where the chair is so that I can use it while watching TV.

I am guessing that is it for now.