Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is it spring? Or does it just feel that way?

Beautiful scene from a webcam in Stanley, ID yesterday morning.
Hard to believe that it's around 3:30 in the afternoon on February 25 and I'm sitting in my room with the window wide open (all afternoon) dressed in my usual sweats, heat off, and I'm too warm! Memory says we always have some days like this in February, but this one seems particularly welcome. Nearby Wunderground station says it's 59.5 out there at the moment, but it seems far warmer. Sunny, no wind. Perfect day to be outside. I, of course, have not taken full advantage of that (somehow I never do these days!) but I have been out there a few times, walking around 'the block' and doing some chores. Loverly. Around the neighborhood on my walks I see lots of purple crocus and daffodils. Every now and then I get a whiff of some spectacularly perfumed plant but so far have been unable to find a flowering bush in any of the locations.

I don't know what's going on, but lately I seem to have more energy during the day than I know how to handle. Not complaining, as it's quite a welcome relief from the old lethargic status quo, but of course my mind wants to know why this is happening. Could be a lot of things: healthy food, enough exercise, fun things (my fermentation items) to fill my time, and yes -- even the loss of 20 pounds over the last year might also have something to do with it. I'd think that would be more psychological than physical, however, since this is something new and the weight loss has been slow and over a long period of time. Whatever it is, it's keeping me up and active most of the time.

All those scale fluctuations I talked about finally settled down into a nice lower number this week, including on weights and measures day yesterday, and was still lower today, rather than going back up. Hopefully, the downward trend will continue.

I took my last real carb, corn tortillas, out of the diet starting Sunday or Monday and that's when the scale started being my friend. I know I can't eat any kind of grains -- whether flour or, apparently, corn -- on a consistent basis without gaining weight, but since it was going down all year I thought the corn was maybe ok. Not! And that's ok. I can have them on occasion, but as with beer and wine and sugars and lots of other goodies, I'm happy to exclude them as long as I'm at such a low calorie intake, and settle on more nutritious foods. Not counting the occasional comfort food, such as the fish & chips last Saturday and the Newman's Own healthy pizza today, that is. Those help psychologically, and don't seem to hurt the waistline as long as I balance the calories the rest of the day.

Started an easy yoga class last Friday, will go again tomorrow. So beautifully relaxing! Not overly challenging, but still good for me. Meets at noon, which I don't like, but the alternative is evening and I really don't like that, so noon it is.  By Friday, my exercise energy has been fairly low so this is very welcome, while still giving me an hour of healthy exercise. Then, I crash all weekend!

Made some chicken stock for the freezer today. Every time I get a rotisserie chicken I save the carcass and all the bones/skin/whatever in the freezer for this purpose. It was starting to take up far too much room in there, so today seemed a good day to boil 'em down. Great for beans and soups.

Don't remember if I mentioned it, but a few weeks ago I got a bug in my bonnet to make some sriracha-style hot sauce. I expect that happened when I found out that the real sriracha is actually produced through fermentation. So -- bought the right kind of peppers, added a bunch of garlic and put it to ferment. That was almost two weeks ago. I moved it around from cooler to warmer spaces to see if I could see signs of fermentation, but no bubbles. My fermentation experts assure me that 'stuff is happening' whether or not there are bubbles. My point is that the stuff is in my room at the moment and it smells so good I can hardly stand it! Want to taste it so bad, but it has another 3 weeks left to ferment before it's ready. Aarrrrgggghhh!!

So that's my less-than-exciting life. It's working OK for me at the moment.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A nice day trip to the coast

A webcam on the coast showed bright, clear sunshine this morning, so we opted to drive over. Unfortunately for the sun aspect, we went south and the sun stayed further north. But, that's ok. We traveled along the Umpqua River Road, which is so scenic, and of course the coast is always beautiful, rain, clouds or sunshine.

I'd run a quick check on fish and chip places in Winchester Bay, where we were headed, and found this sweet little place on TripAdvisor that's actually a floating houseboat, with 4 tables inside. More outside and even a couple of auxiliary buildings with tables, although none of those were in use today since it's not exactly high season for tourism. I loved the atmosphere, the food was super. We both had plates for 'people with smaller appetites' (I was trying to somewhat stay with my calorie count), but by the time we got home, we were both wishing we had ordered the bigger plate. I had fish (local cod) and my friend had oysters (local, from Umpqua Triangle Oysters).

Then, we went on an exploration drive and ended up at a beach. It was chilly and windy, not too conducive for long beach time, but I walked out there long enough to see the beach and take a few pics. Later, I realized I'd been there before. Part of this post on my other blog.

I wasn't in the mood to pick my way through this rather typical logjam to go beyond this, but I was happy just to be this close. I really miss living on the coast!

Keep an eye on that jetty -- it'll show up in the other post from  years ago and another photo here, later. Last time, I walked out it quite a way until the rocks became so rough I didn't dare try to walk them.

Then, we drove up to the Umpqua Lighthouse and stopped to take in the view far below. It was up here that I recognized the beach from the previous trip.

Not a bad view! In the distance, in the center, there are two jetties jutting out at angles to form a triangle. Inside that triangle are oyster beds -- ergo, Umpqua Triangle Oysters! It would be cool to buy some of these fresh one of these days, bring 'em home and cook 'em.

Nice day, despite the lack of expected sunshine.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Scale wars

This old weight-loss battle continues, and I must say it's been more of a battle lately than in the past. Why? Good question. I'm having troubles staying within the new lower calorie total I'm allowed (determined by my current weight), although I'm always very close to it. But beyond that, I think it's just that the remaining fat has been there for a very long time and the body is reluctant to let it go. I've always heard the maxim about weight: last on, first off.
And that, of course, also translates to first on, last off. The longer the fat has been there, the harder it is to get rid of.

My scale has been flashing lower numbers all week, before deciding on one that's more familiar. Sometimes, however, like this morning, a nice lower number stays there. Of course, it's been going right back up the next day, so there hasn't been a lot of real downward movement. Some, thank goodness, but not as much as I'd like for 6-7 weeks of effort. I guess the good news is that I've seen this happen before during the last year, and eventually the lower number will become the norm, paving the way for still lower numbers.

Right now, with today's number, I'm getting into territory I haven't seen consistently for many years. I go back to 2004 with these numbers, although I got really serious about working out at a private health club in Corvallis that year, followed by more once I moved to Eugene, so I was more in the desirable weight category for close to 4 years. But by late 2008 it started up again and when I moved to Brookings in April of 2009 it got completely out of control, even though I was walking and hiking a lot on a daily basis. So -- all this to say that progress is happening. I hope that once I break into that old fat successfully it'll start to go away more quickly.

I am sure ready to go to some kind of maintenance calorie count, so I hope it goes away really fast! I want this to be over with, but I refuse to give up until I'm where I want to be (I don't really know where I want to be, but I'll know it when I see it).