Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Five

I'm making up my own rules. :) This is just my Friday Five as in half of a Tuesday Ten.

1. I'm still lusting after Kettlebells. Think I might get some for Christmas? I found a very reasonable place to buy them - The Fitness Factory Outlet. I think that if I got a 15 lb one and a 30 lb one that I would be quite happy for a while.

2. Of course, then I'd have to buy Kettlebelle Body which Skwigg reviewed on her blog so that I would know what the heck to do with the things.

3. I got my father $200 on Tuesday afternoon. He doesn't go anywhere, yet he only had $40 left this morning when we went out for his blood work. Someone, obviously, is taking money from him. They are not supposed to. He offers it all the time - trying to bribe people into giving him extra care. He is at an expensive assisted living, so it shouldn't be necessary. I'm afraid he may have found some unscrupulous person who is willing to give favors of a more sensual nature... I reported it.

4. I went for a nice run last night and still have to either go to the gym or lift weights at home today. The workout I have planned I could do either home or at the gym. It is also beautiful outside which tempts me to say, "Forget that! Time for a track workout!" I guess I ought to make up my mind soon.

5. This song came on the radio this morning and now it has fully taken over my brain. Well, a couple of parts of it have. Particularly,

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

turned around

Blogged today's workout here: Sweat Report

I almost wrote a cranky, complaining blog about stuff that annoys me. It was going around in my head this morning while I was working out ... and then I had an attitude adjustment. It's not that anything particular happened. It's was just one of those nudges from God where He reminds you gently, "Rejoice always!" and "Who are you to judge?", 'Be completely humble and gentle," etc. You get the idea.

Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; And renew a right spirit within me." That verse came to my mind and I thought about what direction I'd like to see my day go. A downward spiral that starts with crabby judgmentalism, disgust with the weather, being annoyed, etc... OR an upward gaze that is grateful for all the blessings of this new day.

So, I'm just going to make a random list of things I'm grateful for right now:

Being safe and warm.

Having a husband who loves me & didn't give up when I wanted to.

Beautiful, kind, creative, intelligent, utterly wonderful daughters.

A cat that wants to sit on my lap.

Dogs that adore me.

Being able to stay home and homeschool my children, cook healthy meals for my family and be a traditional wife/mom.

A good hair day.

My cold may be slightly better.

That gas is $1.97 in Cleveland.

For Layla liking to sleep in my arms.

That God blessed Wendy & Jenna with good husbands.

The new Super Wal-mart nearby that will give Giant Eagle competition.

Oh - that Rhianna has gotten a modeling job with Giant Eagle and will s
oon appear in print ads all over OH & western PA.

That God got my attention with a nudge this time instead of having to use disaster. I hate when it takes big, bad things to get my attention.

A great workout this morning.

That He created me with a desire to do things that are good for me, even when I don't like them (instead of giving up). I would hate to be a slacker or a quitter.

For the concert my dh is taking me to next month.

For my dad's doctor telling me yesterday that he thought I was dad's granddaughter. That always feels good. :)

For hot chocolate with a scoop of chocolate whey protein powder post workout.

That God really does make things new. That His mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is GREAT, even when ours sucks.

That's just a random sampling, not in any particular order.

A favorite Rich Mullin's song of mine - "Sometimes by Step". I rock and sing babies to sleep with this song. In fact, Layla has had it sung to her a few times already. I love, love, LOVE this line: "
And on this road to righteousness, Sometimes the climb can be so steep, I may falter in my steps, But never beyond Your reach"

Sometimes By Step - Rich Mullins

Sometimes the night was beautiful
Sometimes the sky was so far away
Sometimes it seemed to stoop so close
You could touch it but your heart would break
Sometimes the morning came too soon
Sometimes the day could be so hot
There was so much work left to do
But so much You'd already done

Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
Oh God, You are my God
And I will ever praise You
I will seek You in the morning
And I will learn to walk in Your ways
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days

Sometimes I think of Abraham
How one star he saw had been lit for me
He was a stranger in this land
And I am that, no less than he
And on this road to righteousness
Sometimes the climb can be so steep
I may falter in my steps
But never beyond Your reach


And I will follow You all of my days
And I will follow You all of my days
And step by step You'll lead me
And I will follow You all of my days
And I will follow You all of my days
(Sometimes the night was beautiful)
And I will follow You all of my days

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The events of the day so far...

I woke up at 3:30am and could not go back to sleep. I know it is because I slept a good bit on Sunday, slept in late on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday and went to bed early last night. My body simply did not want to sleep anymore.

I got up and paid bills. Had a cup of decaf tea. Spent time with Pat when he got up. ;) Let the dogs out. I finally tried to go back to sleep and it just wasn't happening, so I went to the gym bright and early. When I walked there the temperature was only 32F.

Lo & behold, He Who Wears Regular Pants to workout came in WITH a workout buddy. The love-interest does not come in on Thursdays, so the soap opera didn't unfold any more. However, this guy actually did a DIFFERENT workout. This amazed me. I felt like history was being made.

I had a good workout and then walked was still cold. I actually had to scrape ice off the back window of the van.

Got cleaned up, rushed to pick Dad up for fasting lab work and...drum roll...the idiots gave him breakfast. This is after they called and woke me up yesterday morning, getting him ready on the wrong day. They had assured me that not only were they sorry for screwing up, but that he would be ready today. He was not. Not only was he not ready and had eaten, but he had to use the bathroom which is *not* a speedy task for him. I did not know he hadn't eaten until we were out in the car and on the way. He then told me that he had had scrambled eggs. I had to call them, make sure he wasn't dreaming it, go to the VA anyway to cancel and make a new appointment. GRRRRR. And we pay $750 extra month for special "Level 4" care. Ha ha.

He still wanted to go out to Cracker Barrel, so we picked up Jenna & the baby. That turned out nice. I was using that for my post workout feeding but I didn't reallyuntil I got home. My cold makes it impossible to taste anything, so I was holding Layla so her mommy could eat and I had more fun. :) I did eat it at home and couldn't taste a darn thing.

We were busy doing school and such when I made this impulsive decision to get my hair trimmed. I was starting to look very triangle-headed and we're having company for the weekend. I didn't want to be the walking example of a wedge. So I decided to run up to the cheapo hair place nearby. I then ended up freaking out as she instantly began to cut it shorter than I told her to. Shorter and short the back went and I was flipping and freaking - inside, because I still felt compelled to carry on polite conversation. I'm already pale and ghostly white, but I think I became almost translucent in fear. I wouldn't let her dry it because I don't blow dry this curly hair to avoid frizz. I rushed home to deal with it, whined to the kids who told me it looked fine. Jenna whooshed the back up for me to show me how it should go. About an hour into it, I calmed down and realized it looks just like it did when I first got it cut. HOWEVER, I *was* trying to have it a longer version of the same cut. I guess that is not to be.

I took a picture and sent it to Pat for his opinion. It's my icon picture now. He assured me it was fine. We'll see. I'll probably be okay as long as I don't look in a mirror or touch the back of my head. There will be no stubby little ponytails now.

So now it is mid-afternoon. I've got to get dinner started, run some errands and then finish cleaning the house like a crazy woman. Wendy, Dan and little Chase & Nyla will be here for the weekend. I need to pick up some "spoil the grandkids" odds and ends to keep them busy. Rhianna has to mail a package to College Boy. She baked cookies and bought his favorite candy.


I mentioned yesterday or not, but Erin was part of a living Ohio flag at the McCain/Palin rally yesterday. She was only 4 rows behind the podium and we got to see a glimpse of her, her friend & my friend who took them on the news today. She had a BLAST. Got to hear Gretchen Wilson & Lee Greenwood right up close & personal. She said that Sarah Palin is "paper thin" and the John McCain is a "teeny guy with skinny legs." She loved the whole thing, walked about 3 miles and cheered/screamed herself hoarse.

Blogged Tuesdays and today's workouts here: Sweat Report

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I have a cold...

and it annoys me. I don't have time to get sick or stay sick. Things to do, places to go.

I did have a great workout yesterday - NROLW Stage 4, workout B. However, I didn't blog it yet. I eventually will.

I had great plans for today. I meant to go for a chilly run and then do some yoga. Somehow hanging upside down and doing vinyasa after vinyasa with a runny/stuffy nose doesn't seem very do-able. Neither does sneezing my way through Wheel and Plough. Perhaps I should just listen to my body and do nothing.

Nothing involves neglected housework. I cleaned out the cabinet in the pantry and the fridge. There are other things waiting to be done, but I guess they can wait.


Watched the Biggest Loser last night. I've decided that Vicky & Heba must go. Both are Not Nice Women. I think it is possible to "play the game" and still be a decent human being. Vicky is a lazy whiner. Heba is pushy and obnoxious. I want Phil to kick their *sses. And I hope that come finale time that his very sweet wife Amy P. has lost much more than they do and looks way better. Looking good can be the best revenge.


Yesterday Rhianna and I had a weird experience. Two young 20-ish guys were watching us as we left the NY Style Grill & Deli with Grandpa's veal parmigaiana. They watched us cross the street and approach the van. As we were about to get in, one yelled in a crazy, deep scream-o voice, "I SEE BEANS!!!!" We jumped into the car and Rhianna had the doors locked before I could even find the button.

It left us wondering: Were there beans lurking just out of our vision? Is this a code for something we don't understand like "perfect mugging victims"? OR perhaps they are like Hannibal Lechter and have a craving for beans. Didn't he eat someone's liver with fava beans and a nice chianti? (I did not watch that movie; I stay away from horror movies).


Erin was part of a living Ohio flag at the McCain/Palin rally today. Homeschoolers from all over the state came to be a part of it. She was only 4 rows behind the podium - and got to see them up close. She also had a great seat for Gretchen Wilson's performance. I'm not sure if John Rich was there, but I'm sure she'll tell me when she gets home.

Monday, October 20, 2008

In defense of variety

I spent the whole day yesterday lounging around and being sick. I watched a bit of Band of Brothers (an all-time favorite) and still cried at the end when all the real people whose clips have been shown all along are revealed with their names. I then watched two or three episodes of House. Yep, that's me when I'm sick. I did manage to get up and make a huge pot of homemade chicken soup because that's the only thing that sounded appealing and the family still had to eat. For some reason I assumed that since Pat slept all day that he would be the one to put the soup away. I was wrong. No one did. I woke up to 1/2 a pot of good homemade soup wasted, sitting on the stove. Yuk.

Now it's time for... my mini-soapbox. More than just annoyed about being sick and missing the great workout I had planned for today.

In Defense of Variety.

I do like Craig Ballantyne and his Turbulence Training, but it's not the be-all, end-all of fitness to me. He advertises it like this, "
Lose fat and gain muscle without cardio. Discover the cardio free fat loss workouts using weight training exercise and interval training to burn fat, get rid of stubborn belly fat, and build muscle. " He's all about having 3 short 45 minute workouts a week. (Although if you follow him on iSweat you will see that he works out more than 3X per week to get the ripped body he is showing you on his page). He also makes great videos and shares them on YouTube.

I have Turbulence Training and there are many, many workouts. But - I quickly lost interest because it was boring to me. Very guy-like in nature. Deadlifts, squats, pushups. Nothing flashy and crazy. I like flashy and crazy, that spices things up. I felt the same way about Afterburn by Cosgrove. Guys who just want to get-it-done will love these plans, women who don't like variety would probably do well. I can imagine anyone would do well...but love it? I like to love my workouts...even by adding stuff I hate, it makes me love them more.

So yesterday on Craig's blog he wrote out about working out at the YMCA and then got catty about some of the things he saw there. One that he didn't like was a "40 yo girl doing cable chest flyes on a stability ball." He said "Seriously, you can't find a better exercise to do? You've been reading too much Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine."

I ended up commenting reminding him of how when she did that exercise she was not only working out her chest but working out her core and her body's proprioception. He dismissed my defense of her. Oh well... I still think he's wrong. His defense was wrong, too. He said that lower body strength is what you need not to be fumbling/stumbling in your old age. I beg to differ. You need to work on balance. You also need upper body strength because if you are stooped and leaning that will still make you tipsy. The body is a full package - got to take care of the whole thing. I decided not to argue with him any further. Why bother?

But in defense of her some more... her exercise sounded way more fun than doing just another round of pushups or dumbbell flys! Yep, it sounded *much* better than doing the same ol' same ol' all the time.

He also said about another patron he saw, "
Another fit young girl was doing lying cable biceps curls on the seated row bench. And again I say, couldn't you find something better to do? Do a set of chinups for more results in less time."

Who says we want "more results in less time"? Who says we hate being in the gym and want to get out speedily? Maybe we want muscle confusion, maybe we are addicted to feeling our bodies move and *like* spending an hour or two in the gym. Maybe variety IS the spice of life. It's not inconceivable.

I believe everyone should exercise and care for their bodies. But I do realize that there are some people who just want to get it over with - and I say, "Thank God! At least they are doing something!" I like the fact that people like Craig have made compact programs that will get the fitness job done for them. I applaud that.

However, there are also others (like myself) who love the act of being active. We like variety. Programs like Jillian Michael's "Making the Cut" are up our alley. Or, one that I love, love, LOVE...Tony Horton's P90X. (Somehow I cannot imagine Tony Horton & Craig Ballantyne getting along. I think that would be an interesting meeting). Both of these programs have an ever-changing variety of moves. They are boredom-busting sweat fests!

There are women who like being active but don't want to be "too muscular" - for them there are workouts like Valerie Water's Red Carpet Ready. She keeps the variety going, but the weights low.

I think before I'd send a woman to Turbulence Training, I'd send her to Marci Lall. He has so much information on his blog - and puts up some great workout videos with lots of variety. You get the picture - I like variety.

Another thing that Craig Ballantyne is against is lots of cardio. He wrote the report "The Dark Side of Cardio." Some people happen to like their cardio. I do. I like a long, long run. I like a killer interval workout that is *more*than 15 - 20 minutes long. Even the great Tom Venuto has conceded that some people *need* more cardio in order to lose weight. (His Burn the Fat Blog is great). Every body is different. And some of us need more cardio just because it makes us feel alive.

As for me, one of my all time greatest heroes is John Bingham, you know, the guy with the "courage to start." He's a columnist from Runner's World, aka the Penguin. Once upon a time he was an overweight, cigarette smoking couch potato. He got up off that couch and started running. He's competed in more than 40 marathons and countless smaller races. He is the author of numerous *real* books, not just eBooks (okay, that was a stab at a certain someone just selling their program in 'e' format). He's got a new one , "Running for Mortals." I followed "Marathoning for Mortals" when I ran my marathon to celebrate turning 40. (Unfortunately, my immunologist says that marathons are no longer in my future, because it does a whammy to my whacked out hyper-active immune system. Makes my body feel like attacking itself). He also is the author of "The Courage to Start" and "No Need for Speed." This guy is a REAL inspiration.

Okay, I'm stepping off now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Research news

Ick. I woke up sick. Sore throat, stuffy head, feeling blah. Playing hooky from church as it is not nice to spread my germs about.

Great strides in the science of boobs and abdominal fat loss!

First off, a tweet from theDailyblonde led me to a Swedish study which has shown that drinking coffee can make women's breasts smaller. Now I wonder, who funds these things?? It apparently doesn't work in my family of busty women who drink copious amounts of coffee, but according to the study only 1/2 of all women have the gene that links the two. Does it matter if it is regular or decaf?
Does it matter when you start drinking it? I would think that drinking it during puberty would have the great effect. What about obese women who gain weight in "the girls" as part of the distribution of excess fat - do they gain less in the boob department due to coffee? What a silly waste of research dollars! Must be a bunch of bored men funding this one.

Second, HA HA! I always get sick when I hear people still believe that low intensity cardio is the way to go to lose weight. Well, Alwyn Cosgrove reviews a study on his blog which yet again dispells that myths. Here is what Alwyn reports:

"The researchers split the subjects into three groups - a control group (no exercise), a low intensity cardio group (performed five days per week), and a high intensity group (performed high intensity three times per week and low intensity twice a week). The study was 16 weeks in length. The only difference between the exercising grops was the three high intensity sessions per week.

The interesting thing was the researchers controlled the groups for total calories burned -- so they adjusted the duration of the high intensity group's workouts so that they didn't burn any more calories than the lower intensity group. So both groups burned the exact same number of calories (400 calories per session) - and obviously the higher intensity group exercised for a shorter period of time on those days.

This is where the results are interesting. Despite burning the exact same amount of calories over the sixteen weeks - the low intensity group did not see any changes in abdominal fat. The exercise program did not do anything. However the high intensity group saw a significant reduction in abdominal fat.

Why? They burned the same calories in training - so they should see the same results.
Because something happens in the post workout period following high intensity exercise that doesn't happen after low intensity exercise. Is it an increase in metabolism, an increase in fat burning enzymes or simply a decrease in appetite as a result of the exercise?"

A thought for the day:

Philippians 4:6-7 (New American Standard Bible)

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday - Good Stuff!

Blogged today's workout here: Sweat Report

Greek God's Yogurt - I went to the Mustard Seed the other day. I was so annoyed that an itsy bitsy 8 oz container of Oikos Greek yogurt was $2.19 and the Fage brand was even more. I was about to walk away in disgust instead of succumbing to my craving, when Jenna noticed that on the top shelf there was a third brand of Greek-style yogurt. It was $1.79 and besides coming in plain (which is good all by itself) it also came in flavors. I purchased the Vanilla Cinnamon Orange and it is DELICIOUS. If you have not yet tried Greek-style yogurt, you simply must. The texture is completely different from regular yogurt. It's smooth, creamy and tastes awesome. Even the plain is good all by its lonesome, no fruit or sweetening required.

Max Factor Lash Lift Waterproof Mascara - This mascara is GREAT. No clumping. Comes off easily with a little baby oil. Definitely makes my lashes stand out. I had been using another brand that did the tarantula leg effect. This product is a major improvement!

The Love Dare - This is a devotional book that was inspired by the movie "Fireproof." In fact, the book is a part of the movie and during production, the authors were inspired by the need to write this book. Instead of doing it separately, Pat and I are doing it together for our devotional. We've only done two days so far, but IT WORKS. LOL - we're doing "projects" today - painting, cleaning, etc. Someone didn't make his plans clear nor did he tell everyone else what he expected of them. He then began to be very cranky and unpleasant. By remembering the dare of the day (which was a carry-over from yesterday), I kept myself from saying anything negative in response and diffused WWIII. So the world can be grateful that we read this, because things could have gone nuclear because of someone's irritability combined with someone else's hormones.


I am working on purging my closet once again. Things must be multiply and breeding in there. When they do, they have ugly offspring. Seriously! Things I wonder "where did that come from and, whoa! I certainly never wear that!" There are also things that have seen better times - those garments that are much loved and unfortunately, it shows. These things are going, going, gone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

On the passage of time...

Landslide (live) - Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)

Maybe it's the grey, maybe it is because it is already October 15th, I'm not sure...but I'm amazed and a bit saddened by how quickly time is flying.

I was walking home from the gym, trying to stomp on especially crunchy leaves, seeing particularly bright ones and wanting to pick them up and carry them home. I was thinking about autumns past, taking my little girls out to collect leaves and press them between sheets of wax paper. And I was remembering being a little girl myself, excitedly finding just the "right" leaves and hovering around the ironing board while my big sister pressed them for me.
burning bush at the park
At the park yesterday, doing a field workout, the girls were saying, "Remember when we used to come here and look for leaves and stuff?" That's when I took this picture of a lovely burning bush. I got a bit caught up inside remembering all the times we went there, hunting wild flowers, fungus, nuts, whatever...making a field trip out of it. I was remembering all the long hikes in other parks that we went on as a family - in all four seasons. I remember talking with them about how skunk cabbage comes up so early (February) and makes its own heat, about maple sap rising during January thaws. I can still see each little girl with birdseed in her hand waiting for the little birds to land on her while she stood perfectly still.

Rhianna was nostalgic yesterday, too. She remembered playing softball at that very same park and always getting hit in the face! We found a softball in some bramble during our cool down trail hike.

When did time get so crazy and busy that we stopped doing things like this regularly? One of the last times we went on a "family hike" all five of us was at least 3 or 4 years ago. I remember a sullen teenager who absolutely did *not* want to be spending the day that way. We drove out to a park that we had never been to, near the Pennsylvania border. We brought a picnic. We had a close encounter with sleeping bats. Skipped rocks in a stream.

Now everyone is older and life consists of running this way and that. Figure skating, football games, youth group, meetings, shopping, friends, etc. It seems that time is so compressed, that there is too much that we have to fit in to every 7 days that we're not taking the time any more to enjoy being outside together, playing with leaves and picking up cool rocks.

Oh, there have been some hikes here and there, but not all of us. We did spend a lot of time with Erin at a nice little park and nature center over last winter. Maybe now that Layla is here, we can do some of these things as a group of 7. There is just something about being together. All of us. Before we're too old to enjoy it. And in spite of teenagers who get sullen about it, there is always the hope that they'll have fond memories, too.

I think it's time to prioritize hiking together and things that involve just enjoying the world again. I'm a bit tired of hustling and bustling all the time. Time to just say "no," and organize a bit so that there is time.

Just for the fun of it, here is a picture of me and Pat, back in the day. We used to spend hours hiking and exploring the woods. I'm making such a goofy grin...I wish I remembered what it was about. He looked sort of like Chachi back then. (Notice: Somehow back then my hair was going straighter than it did after having children. I was a curly baby, but in teens/early 20s it was just very wavy).

Glynis & Pat way back

Blogged today's workout at my Sweat Report.

A sweet note: Last night while watching The Biggest Loser, he came and sat with me on the chair-and-a-half and held my hand for most of an hour while we watched.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ta-da! Tuesday Ten

1. I finally went to the doctor to review my spit test results - it was a female hormone panel done on day 21 of my cycle. I remember that filling that vial of spit was much harder than I thought, especially since spit repulses me. It was spit, gag, spit, gag for what seemed like eternity.

Anyhow, apparently I have the hormones of a woman still very much in her prime. So THANK GOD we have things taken care of with Pat because I can't even imagine what having a baby at this age would be like!!! I'm all about looking young, feeling young and living young ... but I've raised my babies. No need to go another round of that part of my life! I have a wonderful granddaughter to spoil! Plus, the two from NJ will be here at the end of the month and I'm going to have so much fun with them!

From the looks of things, peri-menopause and menopause aren't going to be knocking on my door for quite some time.

2. Every fall my thyroid med, Armour, has to be bumped up. I had my blood drawn last week...everything was fine but my free T4 started to swing down. That happens whenever the days get shorter. Fortunately, we caught it before I became symptomatic and I started on my fall/winter dosage yesterday.

3. I can't believe people fall for Detoxifying Foot Pads. I saw them for sale at CVS and they were not cheap. 20/20 did an expose' on them and it was such a joke. The manufacturers claim that they turn brown after use because of toxins drawn from your body. DUH! They turn brown as a natural reaction to heat and the ingredients of the pads. Placing the pads over a bowl of steaming water will produce the same foul results.

Tests on the pads showed they removed NOTHING from the body.

4. I like my doctor. :) We had a great chat about selenium and its role in thyroid health. I had brought him a couple of reports, including the followup on the Turkish study I had been intrigued by, and we had some geeky moments talking about biochemistry. When we got back to the business at hand - my health - he advised me to make sure I'm taking Vitamin E with it.

5. I was able to recommend him to yet another friend. My Avon lady called yesterday afternoon. She had finally had enough with her doctor (who was once mine). Double-billing, crazy policies which involve just spending more and more money there, etc.

6. My sister gave me a GORGEOUS pashmina for my birthday. (She had an appointment with the doctor, too, so I drove us there). Anyhow, it is beautiful, rich, tapestry tones.

7. I kept having crazy dreams last night and waking for 2 minutes or so, falling back asleep and then have more crazy dreaming...repeat...repeat. UGH.

8. I made chicken and broccoli stir-fry last night with brown rice. It was really good and I'm wishing for leftovers but there are none. :(

9. Marci Lall made a comment on "" a few days ago about eating an egg salad sandwich. I have not been able to stop craving egg salad ever since! I have no choice but to make it today. (P.S. Check out Marci's site - he has some great blogs and workout videos of circuits that anyone can do with little or no equipment).

10. Today is a track workout day. I should be training my friend and her daughter, but the daughter is sick. (So many people are coming down with nasty colds over the past week, 'tis the season!) That means I'll just be out there with my kids putting them through the ever popular Frankenstein Walk, high knees, butt kicks and bleacher running. It will be blogged at my Sweat Report.

I have another person to train on Thursday and I'm starting her at the track, too, while the weather is nice.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

About my birthday

First, I was greeted by a couple of party animals on Saturday morning.
Birthday bunny

Party Cat

Whiskers is just a baby bunny, so remember to read that with a baby bunny accent. :) Dexter was not to outdone, so he had to wear the party hat for a bit, too. Virginia would have no part of it; the dogs wanted to eat it. Party items must seem tasty. Pat had gotten me some flowers and the cats were interested in eating those.

After staying up way, way too late, I was up by 8am anyway...with the intent to take the dogs on a long walk. Unfortunately, I got distracted by email, by laundry, by dishes. By the time the other sleepyheads woke up, it was time to think about getting ready to go out to lunch.

We picked up my dad and went to our favorite local Mexican restaurant. Jenna, Josiah and little Layla joined us. It was Layla's first restaurant outing and she was a doll. For a while, she was transfixed by a toucan on the back of the chair her seat was on. I had been running behind all morning and had just drunk my protein smoothie at around 10:30 or so. I wasn't even hungry. I'm pretty sure my leftovers are in the fridge.

We came home and ate the massive cheesecake that I made. It was NY style cheesecake made with 40 oz of cream cheese, sour cream, heavy cream and 5 eggs. Fattening as heck! Covered with blackberries. Yum!

The mail came early and hurray! My new Asics Gel Enduro 4 running shoes arrived. Jenna is impressed that I can order shoes online and they fit me. It's because I buy the same brand, same model - it just gets updated, year after year. Size 7 in Asics is the perfect fit for me. I like shoes slightly loose, but snug in the heel. Saucony fits this way as well.

There was a gorgeous picture of Layla that the kids took which I admired. They had it blown up into an 8X10 for me and framed it. She is now proudly displayed in the living room. There was also an adorable one with her arms up over her head, it makes me think she's playing Simon Says.

After a bit, it was time to go up to Little Italy in Cleveland. Rhianna had a promotional modeling job for Gusto Ristorante Italiano. There was an art festival going on, so we decided to hang out, walk and eat. Everyone came and Layla got her second meal out, lol. And she sure did have a meal out, she woke up hungry right when the food came. We ate at La Dolce Vita, down the road, because Gusto's was packed and even pricier. La Dolce Vita was pretty pricey anyway. Packed and busy - it took forever to get seated (outdoors, no less) and forever for the food to come.

Here's the comparison...7 of us ate at the nice Mexican restaurant by home. My father and Pat had shrimp specialties, the rest of us had chicken fajitas and one giant burrito California. My father had beer, Pat had iced tea, the rest of us drank water. The servings were HUGE. The bill, including a generous tip, was $65.00. At La Dolce Vita, we each had tiny personal pizzas, only 5 of us eating and the bill was $65 before the tip.

Little Italy is a nice neighborhood with beautiful old structures. We walked around, looking at art, going into little vintage shops. The smell of grapes was heavy in the air. Many backyards had trellises filled with grapes, it was delicious. It was a gorgeous evening to stroll around and dine outdoors.

By the time we came home, I was exhausted. BUT my new issue of Oxygen Fitness magazine arrived, so I had to at least scan through it for a few minutes before hitting the sack.

I have a Barnes & Nobles giftcard that needs spending, new running shoes and Pat picked out a little black dress for me and then thought maybe I'd better go see it and make sure I like it first. He wanted to do that yesterday afternoon but there was no time.

I think I'm going to blog about this last orbit around the sun of mine, but not now.


This morning I was up before the sun and took my new Asics for their break-in run. 45 minutes hitting the hilly neighborhood spots. It was very chilly out this morning. Hard to believe it's supposed to be 80F out there this afternoon.

The plan is to do P90X yoga this afternoon - when Rhianna gets off the elliptical and I have room. She's parked in front of the TV. I also have to make some brownies and goodies for Parent Night tonight at AWANA.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FIREPROOF - a review

One of the first things I read about "Fireproof" was how actor Kirk Cameron will *not* kiss a woman other than his wife, even for work. Since the movie is the story of the disintegration and rescue of a marriage, it seemed a hard thing to do. For the big kissing scene, elaborate work was done to dress his real wife, Chelsea, exactly like the female lead and then shoot from angles so that she would be indistinguishable from the lead actress. (I can say it worked very well). His reason, "I have a commitment not to kiss any other woman." Simple...a man who keeps his commitments. I find that very honorable, indeed. This movie was also very important to him - here is what he says, The reason this movie was important to me personally is because I love my wife dearly,” he said. “We’ve been married for 17 years … and we have six children. So marriage is a very special and sacred thing to us. In a day and age where marriage is falling apart, we want to make movies and projects that really uphold and have a high view of that which is beautiful and wonderful in our culture.”

What is the movie about? In the words of one of the writers: "It doesn't mean when something is fireproof that fire will never come, but when fire comes, it can withstand it," Alex Kendrick said. "Every marriage will go through trials, or fire, as we say, and what's going to happen on the other side of that fire? Will your marriage survive?"

The movie is about a firefighter, Caleb Holt, who is a hero at work, but doesn't feel respected at home. At work, he lives by the motto,"Never leave your partner behind" but at home, it's a different story - after 7 years of marriage husband and wife have lost track and live separate lives.

I was intrigued and had already heard from a couple of people - our male friends, no less - who said it was a great movie. AND THEN, CNN had an article about the movie "The Surprise Film Hit of the Fall." In fact, the article is still in CNN's ten most popular stories list, staying between 4 and 6. The movie was made with a teensy budget of $500,000 and yet grossed $13.6 million last weekend. I suspect much more this weekend, it was packed even at the late show we went to.

Here's a shocker: The cast and crew worked mostly for free. Most were church volunteers. Kirk Cameron worked for free, too.

We went to see it last night, to the 9:45pm show because we had to pick our daughter and her friend up from a football game first. That's late for us. We like to be in bed by 10pm. It was also not playing at the closest movie theater which many times makes us say, "We'll wait for video." We did have coupons from an entertainment book, so knowing we weren't paying a fortune to get in sweetened it.

There were tons of people coming out of the movie talking about how great it was. You could overhear conversations from every side...and this was a 18 movie multi-plex, so one would expect to be hearing comments mostly about the 17 other movies, mainstream Hollywood films. Not so. When we got into our theater, we were also surprised that it began to fill up and there were many young couples coming to see it, which was nice.

During the first 5 to 10 minutes, the acting worried me. I didn't think the female lead (Erin Bethea) was going to be able to carry it. Fortunately, she warmed up to the role and I won't even take a star away. Realizing that she was a church volunteer, not a seasoned actress, I then really respected the job she did. Her other acting experience? "Facing the Giants" another stand-out production by Sherwood Pictures that made Hollywood sit up and take notice.

I cannot recommend this picture more. My husband and I both were crying - and you could hear the sniffles from others all over the audience (just like when we saw The Notebook in theaters a few years ago). In fact, if you liked the Notebook, you will *love* this movie.

One of the premises of the story is that while this firefighter is putting out fires all over the city, his own marriage is going up in flames. His father asks him if he really wants to give up and he is unsure. His father then gives him a 40-day "love dare" and sends him a book with a special instruction for each of 40 days. This book didn't exist until the movie was in production, it was fictional...but during the production the writers realized how important it was for such a book to exist and prayed to God for helping writing it. It is now on's best seller's list.

To find out about resources related to this movie, go to:

Purely trivial: Pat and I were commenting how now that Kirk Cameron has aged (he turns 38 tomorrow), he looks surprisingly like a young Mel Gibson. In many of the shots, he was caught from angles where it was like, "Whoa! That's Mel in Braveheart! Yikes! Mel in Bird on a Wire!"

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thoughts on this week's Biggest Loser

But first, I blogged today's crazy soccer field sweat fest here:

Now on to the subject at hand. This week's episode was a two-parter thanks to the debate on Tuesday night. Both parts seemed to focus on Jillian and her team, which annoyed me. I used to really respect her and want to emulate her. Not any more. There is a Bible verse in James that talks about how blessing and cursing cannot stream from the same fountain. (James 3:11 "A spring cannot pour both fresh and brackish water from the same opening, can it?") On one hand this woman is fouly cursing at these people and on the other hand she's all psycho-babble pseudo caring get-at-your-inner-feelings buddy-buddy.

I do not think it is necessary to use obscenities in order to push anyone. You can be hardcore and tougher than nails without being demeaning and disrespectful. I'm getting quite disgusted with this. It's probably some ratings ploy, "Look, we have an evil she-devil cutting loose!"

I was getting quite annoyed about her "no hands on the treadmill" rule. While I understand that YES, YOU DO BURN MORE CALORIES if you keep your hands off, I also understand that many obese people have serious balance problems. Balance is not built in a day. Balance takes time to acquire. Give them a bit of space, they'll still be burning far more than they were back at home, sitting on the sofa, eating fast food. I don't think it is necessary to stress someone to the point of tears. Feeling like you are going to fall is a horrible sensation.

Now on Jillian's side, I can imagine how frustrated she was. Her team seems to be made up of mostly unmotivated people. At least unmotivated in comparison to teams and individuals of past seasons. When you consider how very many people wanted to be where those ladies are now, it is an insult that they are making the most of every single moment.

One of my favorite couples, Heba & Brady, was split up this week, as the husband did not lose any weight and that put them under the yellow line. Brady did INCREDIBLE at home and has lost 85 lbs. The transformation was crazy-wonderful. He & his wife were on Bob's team - I was hoping that no one from Bob's team would go home, but that's the way it goes. I thought Jillian deserved to lose team members to prove at some level that sailor-tongues aren't the key to success.


Precision Nutrition had a neat forum post - The Amanda Graydon Project. This was a fit, healthy girl who wanted to take her fitness to the next level and become "figure competitor fit."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tuesday Ten Once Again

1. Carp pedicures? How gross! I cannot believe that people pay to have dead skin nibbled off their feet as part of receiving a pedicure. No thank you! Washington State is banning carp pedicures because they are unsanitary. The state law is that all pedicure tools be sanitized and how do you sanitize live fish? No boiling! LOL.

2. There have now been more than 9,700 reports of adverse effects caused by the Gardasil vaccine. Deadly blood clots, acute respiratory failure, cardiac arrest and “sudden death due to unknown causes” have all occurred in girls shortly after they’ve received the Gardasil vaccine. The vaccine is still *unproven* as to preventing any forms of cancer.

3. Want to cut your risk of cancer? Quit smoking. Start exercising. Eat healthier foods. Limit sugar and processed foods. Get regular screenings. Get the right amount of sleep. Get enough vitamin D. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins.

4. More evidence that soy is "not soy good." It inhibits iron absorption, is linked to peanut allergy and increased risk of asthma, provides no benefits with respect to heart disease, may cause bladder cancer, the list goes on. Here's a small blurb from the American Heart Association.

5. Since 2007 I've had 76 signatures in my Classmate's guest book and 361 visitors. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone signed the guestbook? The last two are guys I don't remember, two grades above me. Before them was an old friend with a disabled sister who had the best attitude, she was very inspiring.

6. Took Layla to her first appointment with the pediatrician. She has recovered her weight within just 2 oz shy of her birth weight. Formula-fed babies lose less than breast-fed babies BUT this is not actually good for them. Normally babies get back up to their birth weight by their two week checkup, so Layla is doing awesome.

7. For great Christian satire, go here: The Wittenburg Door.

8. I ruined my breakfast protein smoothie today by adding a packet of Super Fruits Plus. I cannot begin to tell you how disgusting it was and yet I did manage to get it down.

9. Queen Helene Mud Pack Masque. Inexpensive and awesome. The Mint Julep Masque is also terrific. The lack of sleep and craziness of late had my skin rebelling. I was not very happy with its behavior. I packed on the mud last night for about 30 minutes, washed up, went to bed and woke up with happy, blemish-free skin.

10. Very funny blog. Craig Ballantyne Wanted Dead by Fat Cells! From the spokescell from Dan's fat cells who are very unhappy with what Turbulence Training is doing to them.

Going to the track this afternoon - first to work out myself, then to train a friend and her daughter. It will be blogged at: Sweat Report

Friday, October 3, 2008

Always an Adventure

Today started around 2am when I went with Jenna and her husband to the ER. She was having incredible abdominal pain. When she's in enough pain to agree going to the hospital, she's really in pain. As usual, there are idiots working at our local hospital. We arrive and the triage nurse is off somewhere and will "be there shortly." She comes lollygagging in with a big cup of coffee which she is trying not to spill and takes her sweet old time positioning her self and starting vitals. I got the distinct feeling that unless you were decapitated and handed her your head personally that nothing was that urgent to her. Working in the Emergency room always meant to me that the nurses there should act with a sense of urgency. Ha. She attempted to ever so slowly lead my daughter to yet another empty desk to wait indeterminably for another employee in order to be registered before being brought into an examination room. Bull crap. That wasn't happening, not on my watch. A few words about reporting to the administration her lazy demeanor and shoddy service and she was bringing us to a room a bit more quickly.

Hours later - but shorter than most ER visits at this hospital - the verdict was renal colic and a UTI with the distinct possibility that she had passed a kidney stone. This was after a full bag of IV fluids, a CT scan and an abdominal ultrasound. I was pleasantly surprised that all this was done between 2:45 and 6am. Record breaking for this place. Passing kidney stones is supposed to feel worse than childbirth - since she just went through that ordeal a mere five days ago this makes it especially rotten.

There were moments of comic relief as she started to feel better. Josiah probably scared the daylights out of the woman in the next room when he leaned in to kiss Layla and bumped the huge rolling medical cabinet. This sent this giant 8 ft wide, 6 ft high cabinet sailing into the curtain dividing the "rooms" and rolling towards this woman's bed at quite a speed. Being draped in the curtain she could not see that it was a cabinet not the wall moving towards her. She was having some mental issues and I imagine she must have thought the walls were closing in on her. I'm sure it wasn't funny to her, but we were tired and it brought tears to our eyes. There was also the incredibly funny at the time "your yams are always overgrown" comment. I think we were getting giddy and silly from lack of sleep.

Little Layla slept through most of it, waking up for a snack mid-hospital visit. She is just such a cutie.

And to close, here is a picture of wee Layla in the arms of giant Poppa.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

That Three Thursday Confession Thing

1. I'm exhausted but I'm still so happy about my granddaughter that it is hard to take a nap. Steve wrote in his TCT about being in love with his daughter and I identify with that. My daughter is just a naturally amazing mom and I still can't get over the gift she gave me in having me there to help with the birth, my granddaughter is wondrous. She was such a fighter and such a trooper during the birth - and it was a hard one. She maintained composure even when under insane amounts of stress from some stupid nurses. My other two daughters are precious and are so "into" being aunties. Everything Layla does captivates them; Layla captivates all of us. It's just a big love fest around here. Add to that how sweet my husband was, tears in his eyes over the birth of his granddaughter and that look of joy whenever he sees her, how he melts when he holds her - I'm overcome with warm fuzzy feelings. My son-in-law, well, he's just plain adorable with his daughter and a sweetie with my daughter. He was so strong and sensitive during the birth.

Love, love, love! I love my family.

2. I'm amazed at how I can feel all this tenderness and still be so riled up about what is being done to my pastor. He's been on sabbatical this summer and the preaching has been a desert wasteland. The preaching this summer seems like some messages came out of a dusty file cabinet, "This one was good back in 1991, I think I'll use it again and throw in a few football jokes." I hate football. I'm being sarcastic and I probably shouldn't be. I'm confused, upset and yes..angry. I want to be challenged. I want to be exhorted. I want someone preaching to me who wants to set me straight and isn't afraid to do it. I don't need to be coddled and I don't want someone to make me feel good, like I'm such a good girl for coming to church. Tell me how to live a Christ-like life, don't give me some canned message. Tell me where I am wrong, where I've screwed up, and inspire me to open myself to the Lord for change.

3. I slept wonderfully last night in my own bed and would have loved to stay in that warm bed longer to catch up on sleep, but I confess... I got up and made sure I was at the gym at 6:30am. I blogged my workout here: It was still dark out while I was walking there. This shortening of days sure happened fast!