Monday, March 30, 2015

D-day -- as in, Diet Day

Today is day one, of 21.  The book calls for dropping red meat and alcohol today, but both are a moot point. I can't remember the last time I had red meat, and alcohol is sporadic at best. So, no biggie for that.

And, the things that are allowed are basically the things I eat, anyway, so that's not a problem.

What is different is the full pound of veggies per day. This is part of today's pound -- a whole red bell pepper, a small tomato, and fresh Broccoli Raab. The rest goes into my smoothies as raw greens, and there were a couple of breakfast radishes as well.

I had a lot of issues around everything she wanted done for 'prep' work -- and in the end have
decided against any of them. Most were beyond my pocketbook -- a rash of bloodtests for hormone levels, body fat tests and such that can't be calculated by measurements. A blood testing kit for glucose, to be used daily. All kinds of body measurements and the various things that can be calculated from them -- ratios of all kinds.

And then there are all the food calculations involved: protein, carbs, fiber, and calories (even though she says 'forget about counting calories), and fructose once fruit is discontinued. So, while not offering any suggestion for how many calories to have per day, she says to 'fill in the remaining calories with healthy fats, which should be half the calories you take in'. And increasing fiber by 5g per day. And doing all kinds of calculations. And getting a FitBit band and smart phone app to record how much sleep you're getting at night and your daily footsteps, and presumably an app that would break out all those food content things for you.  I already do calories and protein by hand, daily, but I'm not willing to add carbs and fiber and fructose into the mix.

So -- I'll follow the actual diet part -- what to eat and what not to eat -- but that's it. I really don't need all those benchmarks to see if the diet works. Hopefully, weight will come off and I'll feel better. That's all I ask.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A drive to the coast

The quintessential post-card view of Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Florence, Oregon. I've seen others that capture the vista better than this, but it's nothing short of breathtaking in person. Was the first time I saw it in 1996, still is now.

I had an unusually good night's sleep and woke up interested in doing something. A trip to the coast came to mind, but was initially discounted, although I couldn't let go of what a beautiful day it was over there. It came back with a vengeance, so off I went.

I wanted a beach rather badly, to walk upon, but at the two where I stopped I found parking fees of $4 and $5, and I wasn't willing to spend that for a short walk on a beach. I remember the days when all of Oregon's beaches were free access, but I guess those days are in the past. Oh, anybody can still walk on all 365 or so miles of it -- as long as you have a way to get there that doesn't involve parking a car. So, I satisfied myself with the views and what was supposed to be a good lunch.

Another view of Heceta Head, although from the same location. I can't decide which I like best, hence both are included.

Just below the viewpoint, these sea lions on the beach were making quite a lot of noise, At first I thought it was somebody's radio, then realized what it was. Sea Lion Caves is just south of this, and it appears that the nice day brought the residents out of that cave. More were swimming toward this beach.

A close-up view of Heceta Head. The lighthouse is barely visible through the trees toward the point. The caretaker's cottage is now a B&B, which I think would be really fun to visit. There was a path from this beach up to the lighthouse and I would have taken it if there wasn't a $5 parking fee. Yes, that irritates me, but I'll get over it.

Then, I headed in to Florence for lunch. This is one of my favorite places and I can never stop taking pictures because everything down here is just so photogenic. This is Old Town, and the bridge over Hwy 101 with a glimpse of the dunes on the other side.

The cherry blossoms were blooming and as you can see, the day was sunny and warm. Shirt sleeves even for me!

These spring-like clematis were enjoying the sunshine, too.

So -- about that lunch. Tomorrow I start my diet, so I thought a last 'blow out' would be fun, plus allow me to say I actually 'go off' certain foods in the coming days. As it turned out, the only thing I had that I have to 'go off' is alcohol, in the form of one beer. Not even chocolate! Chocolate is actually ok on the diet, but I digress.

I'd decided to go to Mo's, which is legendary on the central Oregon coast. I think I ate at one location back in 1996 when I first arrived, but hadn't done so since. I ordered fish tacos that sounded great on the menu. But, the breading on the cod was soggy and seemed stale, there was so much slaw in the tortilla that it was hard to fold it up to eat, and the entire thing was bland and tasteless. And for the price, not much cod. Grumble. Other than the view and the Rogue beer, it was a wasted $20. Sorry, Mo's, but I'd rather offend you than suggest that somebody else go there. Old Town has any number of other eating establishments, any one of which would likely have been a better choice. Win some, lose some.

It's odd, but I've had fish tacos on three occasions recently, two at fairly well-known places. Mo's, of course, is famous in these parts and theirs was the worst of the bunch. A few weeks ago I had some at a local place called Fisherman's Market, which while not quite famous, is certainly well-known around here and was recently featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. This one was acceptable, but also on the bland side, somehow. The best came from a small brew-pub in the small town of Oakridge awhile back.

So -- that was my day. Still wish I'd found a beach to walk on, and had a better lunch, but all in all I'm glad I went, got my 'fix' on this beautiful, scenic area again. I should be good for awhile, until the pull for sand between my toes gets too strong and I go prepared to pay for parking.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I feel so at home here....

One of the things I missed most when I was living in Georgia was the wonderful local farmer's market. It's early in the season yet, so only a few of the vendors are out. In a few weeks, this block plus the side streets on either end of the block will be packed with vendors, selling the glorious bounty of Oregon.

Today, mostly greens and root veggies, winter stuff. But there was a mushroom vendor (harvested fresh in local forests), plants, and much more that I didn't really stop to visit. I can't even tell you how exciting it is to me to be back in the midst of this place. And I can't wait until the season officially opens.

In the meantime, I share with you some random shots of today's pickin's. Locally grown, harvested fresh, fully organic. Including delicious farm eggs.

Friday, March 27, 2015

New shelving

A new addition to the room has helped with storage and reducing clutter. Note the white cube shelving in the middle of the wall.

I've been looking for awhile for something used to fill this need, but have become tired of fruitless trips to various thrift stores. This is new, inexpensive, and very flexible for here as well as future needs. Perfect.

Of course, it comes in a box and needed assembly, and of course the first box I brought home wasn't the color I wanted. I'd wanted plain black, but it turned out to be dark brown woodgrain, so I returned it and traded for the white, which has turned out to be a better choice, anyway. That box weighed 40 lbs, so getting it from the store and home twice was almost more than this old body could handle, but it's done. Looks so much better, makes the TV visible from either the chair or the bed, let me unpack books. So, I'm a happy camper.

I would love to paint this half of the room a light color, because it's really dark in here, but I don't really have the energy or a strong enough desire to really do it. Nothing on the walls yet, but eventually. Maybe.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The answer?

Just got this book and started to read. Will it be the answer I've been looking for? I think it'll be forever impossible to tell, because miraculously, my body already seems willing to release some of this fat. Finally!

I always hate reporting any weight loss, because I know so well how losing a few pounds can backfire, and balloon right back up despite continuing the efforts that supposedly burned it off in the first place. Thus, I've waited almost a week to see if the trend would continue, or backfire. So far, it's continuing. Hallelujah!

I'm down around 4 lbs in the last week. I can't see the difference in the mirror yet, and it's only barely translated to the tape measure, but I can feel it. The body feels lighter, thinner, and I feel better as a result, physically as well as emotionally.

My frustrations from last week spurred me to work a little harder, make more changes. I lowered the calorie count to average under 1200 per day, dropping to or below 1000 a couple of days, followed by a day of higher cals so the body wouldn't react by sensing 'starvation' coming. Plus, I've upped my exercise level. I've been more consistent at the gym, insisting upon a full hour with every visit, plus I walk around the 'block' after lunch daily. It's not a lengthy trip, but it does have some substantial hill climbing involved. I started taking longer walks on the nearby running trail from time to time -- a couple of miles at a time -- and I'm wearing an odometer.

But, I also have known for years that my metabolism was out of whack, and that other hormones were off as well. I've just been unable to find the solution so I ordered this book to give it a chance. I heard the author being interviewed early last week, and was intrigued by what she had to say. I read enough of the 'free' pages on Amazon to know that I already abide by many of the nutritional aspects. I also know that I'm not plagued by hunger, or an inability to resist processed carbs or other foods, nor do I have insatiable food cravings or eat mindlessly. I've studied nutrition since the late 1960s, and while I'm no expert, I know a few things. But that knowledge and continued research didn't seem able to solve the  problem, thus the book.

Of course, now the downward trend appears to have begun, so it'll be tough to tell what results come from this book in terms of weight loss. But I can still try it, see if the hormone reset works (although I'm not sure how I'll know, really). I just started reading this morning, and want to read through it before beginning the diet, which will require shopping for lots of veggies, if nothing else! Her premise is to drop some things from the diet every three days, while adding new things. Each of these three day periods is supposedly designed to reset a specific hormone. The first week requires dropping red meat and alcohol, and eating a pound of veggies every day. Other than all the veggies, that won't be much different from my normal diet. I eat that way most of the time -- rarely eat red meat, don't have alcohol on any daily basis.

In fact, lots of the things that are to be dropped are things I already don't eat or eat sparingly (red meat, alcohol, sugar, grains), but some are (dairy, fruit, a small amount of caffeine). These are not permanent changes -- the diet requires 3 weeks of adherence to reset 7 hormones and then one can begin adding things back into the diet slowly. I haven't gotten that far yet in my reading to know details. One step at a time!

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thursday blues

After two weeks of strict dieting and exercise, I've concluded once again that it doesn't matter what or how much I eat or don't eat (other than bread and pasta and cookies and chips and such) or how much or what kind of exercise I get, the weight either increases or stays the same. And that the way I generally eat (aside from occasional forays into said bread, pasta and cookies) is just fine.

Week one, I kept it under 1500 calories, all healthy calories. Week two, kept it around 1200 (as low as one should go). I generally ate more than I wanted and felt stuffed, just to reach those lofty caloric heights with said healthy food. Result? No changes in weight or the reliable old tape measure. I'm still fat, and nothing seems to budge that. Once again, I'm at a total loss.

I suppose I could strap on a little backpack laden with nourishment and water and try walking aimlessly all day. I've lived in places where I've noticed people doing that, and they were indeed thin, although seemingly driven by something unseen lurking in their minds. I'd see them walking studiously away, all over town and in various parts of town on different days. Actually, I remember one man in Corvallis who did this for years, and there was a guy in Georgia with a long beard and hair who talked to himself or shouted to the world as he walked, often about sin and religion.  I saw him everywhere too, every day, although he seemed a bit paranoid and unpredictable so I tried to avoid close encounters, after the first few.

Surely, enough exercise would trigger the old metabolism and set it and all the erring hormones back to normal. Or not. The likelihood of me actually trying similar all-day walks is fairly slim. This place is too far from business centers to walk for groceries or the gym. There is, however, a lovely and well-used wood-chipped running/walking trail that begins near the bus stop, just down the hill, and goes probably two or three miles into town, and that might be a good place to try some walking. Level, good footing, people and places to watch, no bicycles, benches to sit if needed. Now that sounds like a plan, although I'm probably not good for more than an hour or so at the moment. All day will have to wait awhile.  Ironically, taking the trail to the end would take me near either the supermarket or the gym, contrary to what I just wrote. However -- walking back with food or after a hard exercise is a bit different from just hauling my fat ass back home. That's enough, for the moment, all by itself. And again, I'm not even good for that far right now.

I fully understand that my hour or less at the gym 3x per week is inadequate, considering how little I generally do the rest of the day. I walk up and down the stairs here multiple times each day -- does that count? Not enough. Some drastic energy expenditure is needed. Each time I spent weeks (or months) at the hermitage in California, with all its mountainous glory, I came away much slimmer even though I was no doubt consuming more calories.

There must be an answer. I've heard of a new book about resetting hormones to help with weight loss, but I'm not sure I want to try it, and I'm very sure I don't want to spend $30 to buy it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St. Patty's Day

It's St. Patty's Day! Little did we know when we went for an after-lunch walk along the Amazon Bike Path that we'd end up in some celebrations for the day.

Eugene has a wonderful, newish (7 years or so) artisan brewery called Ninkasa. It's grown by leaps and bounds and we stopped there after our hike for a beer. It was the middle of the afternoon, so we were surprised when a bagpipe band arrived, followed by a food truck that backed into the patio. They didn't stay all that long -- I heard something about another gig in Springfield this afternoon and yet another somewhere else later in the day. But -- it was all unexpected to us, so we greatly enjoyed. An employee came out and lit the fire, and we decided we needed a second beer.

For some reason, I was taken by this drum, or the lettering on it, so there are lots of photos. Men and women in kilts with bagpipes and drums all filled the air with joyful noise. We left after the second beer, which is a good thing.

A nice atmosphere -- lights under the canopy (light rain came, eventually, so we also popped under the canopy).

Ninkasa makes good beer, and they are expanding, so if any comes to your neighborhood, give it a try.

Other than that, a quiet day. My cell phone charger doesn't seem to have made the short trip across town in the latest move, so tomorrow I need to go in search of a new one. The frustrating thing is, what happened to it? I don't have all that much stuff, and it 'should' have been with the other chargers and wires -- but when I went to look for it today, it wasn't anywhere to be found. Alas. They're available, but may need to be ordered. Aaaargh!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lions and Tigers and Bears -- Oh My!

As I walked to the bus stop this morning I passed a trailhead sign that works for both the in-town running trail and the hiking trail through the woods that takes off in the opposite direction. A warning sign caught my attention, and since I was early for the bus, I went over to take a look: Bears and cougars inhabit this area year-round......if attacked, fight back.

I left out the warnings between the first and last, but you get the idea. That old saying, ignorance is bliss, comes to mind here. I'd much rather not know, so I could hike those trails and hills with abandon. Now, when I'm up there, I'll no doubt always be looking over my shoulder, jumping at every sound. I don't like hiking around bears and cougars! There were cougars at the hermitage in the redwoods, I heard them often and sometimes right outside my kuti. Undoubtedly, there were bears as well, but somehow, the cougars worried me more. I got used to them and in time, the rattlesnakes became a much bigger and more likely issue in certain areas.

Oh, well. It was that kind of morning. I sat at the bus stop until about 5 minutes past when I expected the bus, then headed back home. On the way, I began to wonder I'd remembered the time correctly. Seemed odd that the Saturday bus would arrive at the same time as the weekday schedule, but I knew I'd checked the Saturday schedule. Still, by the time I got home up the hill I knew I'd screwed up -- and yes, the bus was due to arrive 20 minutes later than I thought it was. There's a video being held for me at the library and I wanted to pick it up, watch it this weekend. Alas.

It's drizzly out there, too -- not uncommon here of course, and we need the moisture. I carry a small folding umbrella, but refused to use it because real Oregonians don't use umbrellas! I didn't get soaked, just damp.

So -- guess this day is going to be quiet reading, with a few of yesterday's TV shows to watch. That works for me. Right now, a little hot chocolate sounds good to my chilled body.

Monday, March 9, 2015

A neighborhood stroll

I went on an exploration hike today, decided to tell the story in photos, as I am wont to do. Above is the trail that leads off our road down to the next road, the bus stop, and several trail access points. It hangs a left just beyond the last post, levels out for awhile before going down once more, to the street.

One of two bridges I encountered. As you can see, beautiful day here. About 63 up here at the moment. SO hard to take this time of year.

These lush ferns remind me more of the Coast trail than what I expected to find around here.

The trail is wonderfully built and maintained, not too steep, and of course, the sunshine on the trees is something I just love. And remember, this is a city park. Eat your heart out.

These trillium are the only wildflowers I saw. Too shady up there, I guess.

Second bridge -- in the shade. I went a bit further from here -- the trail began to get steep, I was already 30 minutes from home, plus there were a couple of women coming up from below making a hellacious racket out there in the peaceful woods. The combination sent me back down the hillside.

I'd crossed this gravel road going up, knew it was the access road for the power lines. Being in an exploratory mood, I opted to follow it up the hill, as I knew I could access the trail above my home from this road. That distant peak, by the way, is where this trail eventually leads, 3.5 miles later. I don't think I'm quite up to that just yet, But I will make it eventually. This photo is looking back toward the lower trail. I headed the other way.

I can see these signs from my windows, above. From here, I could have followed the gravel road uphill for awhile longer, but opted to take this street back to our access trail.

This trail goes up for awhile, below the house and then up again. That house is on our street level, but still downhill from us.

Taken from our balcony. The small white arrow points to those red and yellow signs, far below.

All in all, a lovely way to spend an hour. The body feels great -- no serious ill-effects other than some possibly exacerbated at the gym this morning. I could have kept going -- but I simply don't have the will power I once had for such things.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sahalie Falls

I have been enamored of Sahalie Falls since I first discovered it, quite accidentally, not long after I settled in Oregon back in 1996. I just wanted to explore the mountains, see what was up there, so I pointed my little truck east from Corvallis and opted to turn right when I reached the McKenzie Highway, probably because the maps showed that was the way back to the Willamette Valley. Little did I know what awaited me not far down this road. It's all beautiful, as most of it follows the exquisite McKenzie River all the way almost into Eugene. But early on there was a sign that I couldn't resist: Sahalie Falls. So I pulled into the parking lot and followed the trail (and the noise!) and when I came upon this sight my heart just leapt out of my chest. The trail continues on to another large waterfall, Koosah, and circles back on the other side of the river. I've only made that round trip once, but I remember waterfall after waterfall, and rapids and forests and nothing but utter beauty. I was entranced then, and I still am.

Last time I was here was in the spring of 2009, not long before I moved away from Eugene. There's a primitive video on this page where I wrote about that day's journey.

The above photo is the first I took when I arrived, and frankly, the best of the bunch, I think. But, there are others.

This photo is from a different spot and shows the entire scene a bit more -- and don't you love that beautiful arc of rainbow? First time I've encountered that, and it was fascinating to watch. I could watch the mist drifting through it in places.

This one was taken a little further down the trail, shows that beautiful, clear water rushing downhill from the falls. Hard to get much in the way of photos here because of the trees, but I wouldn't change the trees -- they add to the beauty of the place.

At about this point, my camera battery died. I'd thought about charging it before leaving home, but decided it was probably good enough. Wrong! We continued east to the sweet little town of Sisters for lunch, stopping along the way at a couple of places. One was a resort on a lake with snow-capped mountains behind it. Simply breathtaking! And of course, the day was warm and crystal clear, blue skies and sunshine and I itched for a photo, but it'll just have to stay in my memory. There were many such views -- of the Three Sisters, and Mt. Washington. No snow where we were, but they are much higher and had plenty.

Lovely day. And next time we go out driving, I'll be sure the battery is charged.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Life is good

So, I can't say it's exactly 'together', but I felt like posting a photo anyway, as is. This is my new home -- where I spend most of my time here. Spacious, bright enough (I love more windows, and the walls are dark, but it's not bad and I can change the color if I want), very comfortable. Warm. What more could I ask?

Well -- it would be nice if the TV would agree to talk to the wireless router all the time and without added effort on my part. Right now, there is a work-around wherein I have to go and push a button on the router when I want to use the TV, and that doesn't always work. When it connects, it's great. I'm sure there is an answer out there. This is at the moment a minor issue.

This is the view out the window -- which ain't bad at all! Trees, squirrels, birds, turkeys. There are houses at the foot of the hill, barely visible here, but they can't see inside unless I'm standing at the window, as I was for this photo.

This whole spot is carved from a forest of big fir trees like this -- enough taken out (presumably) for buildings and parking areas, but no more. Gotta love it.

We are having marvelous weather here! Cold nights, warming up daily -- 64 today, 67 tomorrow, 66 for the following few days -- and sunny. Doesn't hurt my feelings at all, even though I realize we do need rain this time of year.

I'm mostly over my aches and pains and fatigue that resulted from last week (in the gym and in moving). Still sleepy, but that's ok. I'm used to that. Next week, back to the gym. Today -- maybe more exploration of trails around here. I went exploring a couple of days ago and found the trail that leads to a big butte (3.5 trail miles from the starting point). Lots of steep ups and downs from here to get to the trail, which was level for the short distance I could see but won't stay that way for long. There's about 1000' of elevation change to the top of the butte from that point.  I'll take the camera this time.

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's all about being warm

I'm still here. Tired, achy (less so today, however), but glad to be here in this lovely new space. No photos yet -- still getting it 'together' -- but soon. Stay tuned.

Every night when I go to bed I find that I am flooded with several specific things that bring great happiness. First -- it's so good to be in a place that isn't cold! I even open the window a crack at night for ventilation, and it's still comfortable. I really, really like that, because I was rarely warm in the cottage, even wrapped in fleece blankets.

Secondly, I'm grateful for a bed that's warm (don't even need the electric blanket, as the room is not cold enough to make it necessary), and a bed that doesn't threaten to slide off the box springs every time I get out of it. And a bed that is wide enough that I don't feel cramped in a narrow space and where the covers aren't constantly sliding off on one side or the other. I could go on, but you get the picture. A real bed is a thing of joy.

And then there is the absolute quiet, and the lack of lights flooding into the room at night, setting a much better stage for actual sleep. I'm still tired, but energy will return. I do plan to rest up, skip the gym this week. The body demands it.

Had a flock of wild turkeys wander up the hill yesterday morning in what appeared to be a ritual for them -- the gobbling drew me to the window. That was cool. We are literally on the edge of the 'wilderness' here -- meaning large parks and private rural property extending beyond this edge of the city.