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Updated: 2018-02-18T08:41:57.367-04:00


Which Wednesday?


Not Wordless. Witty? Wonderful? Wild & whimsical?Early-ish deploy window (i.e. earlier than I wanted to have to get myself into the office; particularly after staying up too late watching Olympic figure skating), so worked from home. Also was not ready to eat anything that early, so just had coffee.Around 10 am was able to step away from computer for a break. Went down and started a fire in the wood stove; not really that cold out today, but I was feeling chilly. Still not terribly hungry, but should eat something, so finished off leftover Thai Hummus with some sprouted grain toast and another coffee.Back to the computer for a couple of hours, then go up to take another short break. I find I really need to be conscious of getting up and moving around when I am working at home; for whatever reason, I am more likely be glued to my desk at home, hunched over the computer, and I end up feeling crappy by the end of the day. Better to get up and take some breaks.Actually did my 20 min walk break on the treadmill (and added some more wood to the fire while down there), then came back up to grab some blackberries & cottage cheese...And didn't take a picture, but really, how exciting is that to look at anyway? Did enjoy eating though, especially the blackberries.It was actually a nice day - it has been warming up again. Isabelle has it pretty good on my work from home days; she usually gets a few trips outside, instead of one after work on normal work days.Snow is melting, melting, melting again...Husband came home from work, I took Isabelle for one more walk about in the yard, and then we were out the door again to meet up with friends for dinner.Beer & Whisky flight (Husband & I shared; I may have made a bit of a pouty face, but he did have to drive home).Appetizer special, which I would have (we probably should have shared) but we each had our own. I had Fish Tacos and Macaroni Bites. And...veggie burger with parmesan fries. I was really hungry when we ordered. I ate most of the burger, and a few fries. Husband helped out with the fries, his dinner was smaller than mine. Good evening with friends, home to watch some more Olympics. Looking forward to quiet evenings at home for the rest of the week.[...]

Pancake Two-sday


Making it a quickie...Pancake Tuesday! My always-happy-for-excuse-to-eat-pancakes day!

A whole stack of these delivered to the kitchen at work to start off the day:

I am sure I have not had McDonald's Hotcakes since I was a child. There were sausage patties too, but not my thing.

Lunch, pretty much the same as yesterday:

I did have another clementine too, but somehow that didn't make it into a picture.

Then for dinner I made real homemade pancakes, with blueberries, blackberries and maple syrup. Eggs on the side (1 for me, 2 for Husband).

Husband also brought me home a present which I totally was not expecting!

I was supposed to have my piano lesson, but we were running late, I was rushing around trying to throw dinner together, totally stressed and feeling like I wouldn't even have time to eat, so I ended up cancelling.

Enjoyed my pancake dinner and stayed up too late watching olympic figure skating.

Sweets for your Sweetheart


Couple of busy weeks coming up, starting today. Here we go!- Was sore yesterday, particularly right hip. Expected worse to day, but is better. Still feeling the right hip and my right knee a bit though.- Was aiming to try and get out of the house a bit earlier this morning, since we want to leave work early today, but Husband was the one slowing things down for a change.- Our driveway, and the drive down to the road are solid ice. The car actually slid sideways down the hill, but fortunately not all the way to the road. It's garbage day, but we didn't see ourselves walking down the icy hill; put garbage in trunk and got out of the car at the bottom to put the garbage out.- Lots of new Pokemon to catch on they way to work this morning! Yes, we are easily amused.Breakfast: Coffee, cottage cheese and a clementine from the kitchen at work.  Lunch: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Mole, popcorn and the clementine that I never got around to eating with breakfast.- Being a day I need to leave a bit early, I'm in the midst of trying to resolve a problem when I look at the time are realize it is 4:28.- Rushed out of the office, forgetting to change into my outdoor boots. Fortunately sidewalks in town are mostly clear.- Met up with Husband, and we were off for a quick dinner before the main event. Let the festivities begin!I honestly walked into the restaurant planning to order a salad. But then we discovered two of the things we loved from the last Chop Chop week were on the menu: Street fries and Thai Hummus. We shared these, and husband also ordered some kind of chicken bites and Thai Brussels Sprouts.And then off to the "Sweets For Your Sweetheart" whisky and dessert pairing.- There were two seatings, and we chose the early seating even though it meant leaving work a little early and having a quick dinner; old fogies that we are, we didn't want to be out late on a Monday night.- When we get home, our driveway is still looking like a skating rink. Husband takes a run up the hill, I brace myself to crash into the house or something; we did a bit of sliding around, but we made it safely into the garage.- Husband then called our snow plow guy to have some sand dumped on our driveway before it's time to leave for work in the morning.- Isabelle was a bit desperate to get outside as usual, but it was dark by this time and I wasn't going to risk going out and falling on any icy patches in the dark, so she'll just have to survive until tomorrow.[...]

The Easy Does It Plan


Since getting the all clear on Tuesday morning from my doctor, I have been thinking about the how to get back into the exercise habit, build up my fitness again, and avoid doing any more damage to my knees...Walking, at a slow pace, seems safe. I'll get bored if that's all I'm doing though.Should I go back to my usual workouts, but reduce weights and intensity? I'm afraid I'll get impatient with that, and I'm not so sure those workouts are the best for recovery. Maybe I am overthinking, and worrying too much, but I would prefer to be cautious rather than wind up right back where I was last fall.So, I turned to google for specific ideas and decided to give this a try:8 Exercises to Help Your Knees from WebMDYesterday, did 6 of the 8 exercises here, alternating each one with an upper body or core exercise. It took me an hour to do, so not something that I am likely to squeeze in on a work night. Feeling it today, and probably will be feeling it even more tomorrow.    Aside from this, what I have been trying to do is:Get in a a walking break of at least 20 minutes during my work day. The office building I work in is part of a complex of buildings connected by walkways, so I can easily walk indoors without worrying about the weather (or slipping and falling on ice, and possibly banging up my knees even more).Aim to get in an additional 20 minutes of activity after work. This could be walking, or other exercise. The workouts might be longer than 20 minutes. Some days there might only be one. Some days I might do a block of 40 all at once. Basically just trying to get movement back into my life without overdoing it. I'm not sure how I'm going to track this. So far I have set it up on my side bar to just mark off the blocks of [at least] 20 minutes that I get in each day. I don't want to get into writing down specifics of treadmill walks; I used to always write down speed, distance, incline for my treadmill sessions but this tends to lead to me wanting to outdo my last session, which in turn can lead to me overdoing things, and I really want to keep things slow and easy for now.I really do feel like I'm being ridiculous and making too big a deal of this...But then I remind myself of what it was like to not even feel confident about walking. I'm already nervous about walking down stairs, and always try to keep my hand on a railing because I don't trust myself. I have a real fear of falling now (something to do with having done that three times in three years).So this is my loose plan. I will likely have to come up with some shorter strength routines; possibly I will just break up the Web MD one, but I did see some other exercises when I was looking around.The rest of last week passed in a blur...I'm trying to remember what I did, but obviously nothing exciting! We had more snow on Wednesday, I remember that for sure. Yesterday morning it was snowing again, and it looked very pretty in the morning. Then by afternoon it turned to rain again.I slept in a bit, then relaxed for the morning with my coffee and a book, plus a bit of time on the computer. Cottage cheese for breakfast because it's easy, I like it, and it gives me protein. Did my workout and then had lunch:The Indian meal delivery for this week was Pad Thai (which is not so much Indian, but not complaining) . This is the second time for Pad Thai, and last time I found that one serving was enough to give me two meals. There is always a Dal dish offered, so this time we ordered one Pad Thai for me (with Paneer), two for Husband (one shrimp, one chicken) and one order of the Dal.I split the Dal between us for lunch, and toasted some sprouted grain bread. I very much enjoyed it, Husband said he didn't like the Kale that was in it.I followed that with a piece of Dark Chocolate Almond Bark that Husband brought home on Friday;Then I tackled sorting through some old clothes to get rid of. I am such a pack rat, I have a hard time getting rid of anything. Over the years, as older clothes[...]

Ready or Not


Yeah, so; didn't take long for me to remember why this daily food blogging thing fell by the wayside. In theory, it doesn't seem like much, I'm snapping pictures on my phone and publishing them on my blog...But honestly, a lot of days even an extra half hour of "to do" seems like too much.Last night, after I'd already published for the day, Husband and I split this last treat from his Japan Crate:And just because it entertained me, my view of Isabelle's paws as she was napping on the love seat. My sweater was on the arm of the love seat, so I wouldn't even have known she was there until the paws stretched up.Food-wise, today was a repeat of yesterday, so I won't bother to repost.Doctor appointment this morning to finally follow up on that knee X-Ray I had back in...Nov? Early Dec? X-Ray does not show any problems, and given that I am not feeling pain like I was back in the fall, I am clear to start exercising again, but slowly; the doctor actually said "very slowly". I feel like he was just humoring me, but that might be my own bias talking there.That said, I will take it slow. While it is true that I am no longer experiencing pain like I was in the fall, neither of my knees feel quite right; nor does my ankle; maybe they never will again. But I'd like to keep them in the best shape possible, so "easy does it" will be the plan.This evening was supposed to be piano lessons, but it's snowing again and the roads were slippery in spots on our way home, so I decided not to go back out. A quiet evening with the Husband and kitties is always nice.Yesterday Today Interesting article of the day:If You Stop Thinking Of Exercise As A Way To Lose Weight, You May Actually Enjoy ItThis is one of those things that I know, yet I need to keep reminding myself.  I know that I feel better when I exercise. It has many health benefits. And I am more likely to do it, and reap those benefits, if I do workouts that are enjoyable to me. And it feels less like a chore if I'm not thinking about it as a way to burn calories. Yet, I still find myself doing just that; did it today, in fact. So good have this reminder.Also timely:February 7th is the day we give up.This showed up on my Facebook feed today and it felt relevant, though maybe not quite in the way it was intended. Honestly, at the beginning of January I was just feeling exhausted and cranky, not at all inspired. Today is when I am starting to feel fired up. I suppose, according to the research, this is due to wear off in 38 days? I'm kinda feeling like I'll just take what I can get for the moment.Honestly, I had lots on my mind throughout the day to day, and I intended to write more, but I've been trying to type around the cat sleeping on my lap and it is rapidly approaching my bed time, so this is it for now.[...]

And Out Of Fashion


I know it's no longer the thing; daily food blogging is so 2008 and here we are in 2018 already. But reading back over some of my old posts on the weekend was fascinating to me; it's so easy to forget what was I doing then that was the same or different?I know I won't keep this up. I truly miss the old days  of reading daily posts from other bloggers, but I also remember that it felt like a lot of work sometimes. But revisiting once in a while might be fun, so here we go...Ten years ago today: Would you like chocolate with that?*   Well as a matter of fact, I'm having chocolate for lunch today...sort of; read on!I am forever struggling with what to eat for breakfast. Mostly, I don't like eating first thing in the morning. Late last fall I started bringing a container of cottage cheese to eat for breakfast once I get to work. That's working for me, and lately I've been enjoying some blackberries on the side. With coffee, of course. Last year I also switched to full on 18% coffee cream at home, so when I bring my coffee, that's what is in there. If I get my coffee at work, it's 10%; what they call Cereal Cream around here.Yesterday, made sweet potato and black bean mole chili. Four ziploc plastic containers went in the freezer, and two ceramic containers in the fridge. There is still one container of Rockin Moroccan Stew in the freezer. Lunches are covered for the next couple of weeks. Oddly enough, 2009 me was also eating Rockin' Moroccan Stew and sweet potato and black bean mole for lunches.Looks like mud? Tastes like chocolate!I was looking for a change in routine. I eat a lot of Rockin' Moroccan Stew, and it's good, but it's nice to have something different. I did a Tomato Veg Soup with lima beans and lentils that I also enjoyed. I remembered that I used to to a slow cooker mole, so I went searching for the recipe, thinking to adapt it as a vegetarian lunch and discovered that I already did that, and if I can believe myself, I quite enjoyed it.I was still not 100% confident, but turns out it's pretty wonderful, if I do say so myself. Apparently I do sometimes know what I'm talking about. A hint of sweetness, warm spice and chocolate. It is rich and comforting.Almonds were afternoon snack.Stop for groceries on the way home, then home where the first order of business was to take Isabelle outside. Most of the snow is gone again, and it was warm - relatively speaking anyway, 2C - and Isabelle was a happy kitty.Then inside to make dinner - another recognizable favorite:Mapo Tofu over Jasmine rice. Dinner entertainment was Star Trek: Discovery which I am loving, though it has already broken my heart a couple of times. And, um... 9 Unexpected Things That Happen When You Abandon Your Workout RoutineTime to get back to it.* Technically, the date is off by one, but I chose to use the nearest Monday, which was Feb 4, 2008. Carry on. [...]

Old School


Friday morning we woke up to above 0C temperatures and rain. By midday, the temperature had dropped back down below freezing and it was snowing. As you can imagine, that made for a bit of a mess. Buses were pulled from the roads, businesses were closing for the day; I was already working at home, but Husband actually came home early.Back in November, a friend sent me a link to Japan Crate which is one of those monthly subscription box services. They were offering a special Holiday box, so I ordered it for Husband. The shipping was estimated to be 4-6 weeks, and it shipped Dec 4, so I was figuring it would show up some time in January.Finally arrived on Friday. Yep, February 2. Almost a full 2 months.But on the up side, it was a nice surprise for Husband, arriving home on a stormy afternoon.And Isabelle enjoyed the box.Trixie just really enjoys our wool rug.Anyway, yesterday was -18C, with a wind chill of -30, so we decided not to go out, and put off shopping until today...Which has turned out to be a messy, rainy, snowy day and we have plenty of food to eat so who wants to leave the house anyway?Last night we had one of our weekly Indian delivery dinners (a local entrepreneur delivers to workers at an office building in our neighborhood where two of our friends work, we got in on it and now he delivers to our house on Friday morning). Butter Paneer (Butter Chicken for Husband) and Rainbow Rice. Slept in until around 8 am this morning, then stumbled out for coffee.Was not the slightest bit hungry, so just served myself some blackberries to munch on while I relaxed for the morning.Around 10:30 I decided it was time to get up and get some things done. I threw together a sweet potato and black bean mole (based on this recipe) and then it was noon and I was finally hungry. By this time, we had decided we could get by without going out for groceries today, since the weather is still not great, so I threw together some pasta for myself.After lunch, some puttering around doing laundry and trying to de-clutter at bit (one of my biggest challenges).And then I pretty much goofed off for the rest of the day, and I don't feel bad about it. I've been in the computer-gaming mood lately, so I indulged. It will wear off, and then I go back to other things.Since we didn't end up going out for groceries, we ended up with sausage, eggs and hash browns for dinner. It was not really all that picturesque, so I didn't bother with a photo. It did the job. Now winding down and kind of looking forward to sleepy time (if not to the Monday morning that will follow...). [...]

Can We Start Over? Part 2.


Nothing particularly exciting about yesterday; it was Friday and I was glad.- JavaChick, Nov 21 2009I went searching for an old recipe from my blog, and wound up whiling away a bunch of time reading posts from November 2009. Wow. I miss Blogger JavaChick, circa 2009.  I often feel like I have so much less energy than I used to; I've been telling myself I'm probably imagining that, but Nov 2009 JavaChick was getting things done. I've said this before, but one of the things I appreciate about blogging is the ability to go back and read old entries. I wish that I kept up with it better; recipes I had forgotten about, pictures of my Fabulous Felines - oh, how I miss them! - and remembering that I actually used to enjoy doing intervals on my treadmill. Honestly, I've never been a person who has a huge amount of energy, but compared to now, that girl seems like a go-getter.The walk down memory lane was entertaining. The aftermath was a little bit of me thinking: "What's wrong with you? Why can't you be like that again?" But that is pointless. What was that New Year's Resolution again? Do the best I can, and don't beat up on myself (paraphrasing). I am feeling better than I was a month ago; I've rested up, the days are getting longer, I've started taking some vitamins and they're kicking in? Either way, things are looking better. So, looking forward...Immediately after publishing my last post, I thought: "Okay, you've done your venting. So, what are you going to do about it?"The very next day, I decided it was time to make friends with my treadmill again. and marched downstairs after work...To be confronted with the mess that my workout area has become. I had an afternoon off coming to me, so that Friday I took the afternoon and did some cleaning up down in the basement. I find I am always more motivated to go down there when things are at least somewhat tidy. Sadly, I ended up packing away the paintings I've had sitting up on the ledge down there. I put them up last fall I think? They were just leaning against the wall, but I have all these paintings, so I figured I might as well have some where I could see them. Then every once in a while I'd go down and find one had been knocked down (climbing felines, you know). Anyway, Isabelle knocked one down while I was down there cleaning up and actually knocked the wood framing a bit out of whack, so the painting is no longer flat. So I put them away, and now it looks bare down there; didn't realize how much of a difference it made until I took them down. I will have to see about putting up some picture hanging hooks.Any-who, first step accomplished: I can actually access the treadmill. Of course, I then proceeded to avoid it until Thursday. I let myself have the rest of January, but now I'm giving myself a kick in the butt.  We've been having a weird winter. It snows; it turns really freaking cold; it warms up and rains; all the snow disappears...and repeat.  Isabelle thinks she still wants to go outside, but on the cold, snowy days she usually doesn't make it far, or last very long outside.But for now, the routine is still to come home and at least attempt to take Isabelle outside. Now that I have dug out my treadmill, I will attempt to add in some short walks...Partially to start getting in the habit again, and also because I want to see how my knee holds up. I've been doing well with bringing lunches to work, and allowing myself one day a week to buy lunch. I've been getting in my piano practice. We've been keeping the freezer well stocked with things we can come home and defrost for dinner. [...]

Can We Start Over?


Dec 31, 2017 I still like my 2017 Resolution:Keep doing what I know I can do, but do it better, and be kind to myself.In all honesty, I feel like 2017 kicked my butt. Not that it was necessarily a bad year, but it was extremely busy and left me feeling overwhelmed. I used most of my vacation time for going places. I feel like I should not complain about this because I know I get a good amount of vacation time - more than many people have available to them - and I really am thankful for that. And we did a lot of fun stuff; they were good trips. But this home-body-introvert likes to save a chunk of vacation time for spending quietly at home, doing her own thing, and she did not get it this year. Work seems to get busier and more stressful all the time. I didn't get to start my December vacation as early as I wanted because of the way project deadlines worked out. I was so desperately looking forward to vacation starting, and then it ended up being busy busy...Things that had to get done, but they weren't my things, not the things that I had been counting on doing....So I had 3 days of rushing around, wishing I was doing different things, then we went home to visit family and I was probably not in the best frame of mind because I was tired and frustrated. We got delayed coming home because of weather. I was almost in tears on the way home, feeling tired and frustrated still/again. Husband said "Sleep in, tomorrow you will feel better."I thought: "No I won't. That won't solve anything. I slept plenty while we were home."Ha. He was right. Ssshhh. Don't tell him I said that....The bed we were sleeping on while visiting home makes my back hurt. Amazing how much better you can feel after a night sleeping comfortably in your own bed.I still haven't done the things I wanted to do, and at this point I can't even figure out where to start. I have spent the last two days doing not much. Recovering my equilibrium, I guess. Today I am finally feeling like I want to do things...sort of? It's our anniversary. Hey! Happy 16 years! We are going out to dinner. Early this year, so we will be home in our jammies well before midnight, I am sure. Sounds good to me.I find myself feeling reflective, and thinking about what I want for the coming year.There was lots of good stuff. There was lots of stress which is not so good. Things have been changing at work over the years, since our happy little company was acquired by a larger entity. We still have jobs; we have better perks now...But the day to day gets harder and harder. I feel like I need to get a better handle on dealing with stress.Health-wise; I wish I could turn into an energetic, not tired person...But I don't think that is my physical makeup. That said, there have been some extra challenges with my knee being uncooperative, and I also feel like I need to get a better handle on my eating; I am not eating in the way that makes me feel my best and I need to make some changes there...even if it means I drag Husband along, kicking and screaming all the way.Jan 21, 2018...So I started writing this post on Dec 31, walked away to gather my thoughts a bit and here it is, weeks later...I'm not sure my thoughts are gathered yet.Went back to work on Jan 2nd and jumped right back into craziness and my 'almost feeling like myself again' went back to exhausted.I feel like I have not accomplished much.Still have not made a follow up doctor's appointment about my knee (I did go for x-rays, but need to go back and find out if they showed anything and if there are any next steps).I wanted to at least try to start doing some easy yoga, and get back to some short walking breaks at work, since it does seem like my knee is cooperating at the moment.I still have bunch of things to tackle at home. It's still hard to know where to start I need to book vacation time and buy a plane ticke[...]

All about my knees...


This is making me cranky.
  • Still afraid to exercise. Walking is even iffy, since I never know when my knee is going to go funny.
  • Made a doctor's appointment.
  • Have adjusted my chair and keyboard tray at work so that they are in the lowest position and I am trying to sit with my feet flat on the floor (Am very short. Hate sitting down that low. Feel like a child sitting at the grown-up table).
  • I am a person with a large shoe collection. Surprisingly, I have very few flat, supportive type shoes that are not casual/athletic looking. Went shoe shopping on the weekend, even though I am the last person one would describe as "in need of new shoes." Bought 2 new pairs of Naots that should be okay with dress trousers (as opposed to jeans). Looked around a lot, and tried on a bunch, but Naots have never let me down in the past. I may also have tried on a pair of Fly London heels because I fell in love with them; they did not have the right size in the store; I then hunted them down online and ordered...Stubbornly optimistic about knee recovery.
  • If not exercising, should probably start paying more attention to what I am eating... :(
  •  Am now sleeping with a pillow under my knees because it is the only way I can get comfortable. Already had three pillows on my side of the bed (so I can sit comfortably to read before I sleep) which makes Husband shake his head; this brings the total of JavaChick required pillows to four.

 I am to young for this. Right?

    One Year


    Yesterday was one year since we lost Zappa. One year without my Fabulous Felines. Still sad, in all honesty, but at least I am back to myself (or mostly anyway). Trying not to dwell on it, but it has been popping up in my mind whether I want it to or not. I've been missing Zappa hugs lately; he was really good at that.

    My knee, which I thought was getting better, is worse again. Probably my own fault for wearing heels the past two days at work, but I am getting bored wearing the same two pairs of shoes...So still afraid to actually work out. I keep meaning to google 'exercises to strengthen muscles around knee.' Suppose I'm getting to the point where I should maybe see a doctor or something. I just hate going and trying to explain what's wrong.

    Definitely starting to feel like fall. Starting to cool off, and I've been noticing it smells like fall; when I take Isabelle out in the yard, I can smell the leaves on the ground, and whiffs of evergreen.

    Still, there is my brave little rose bush...

    And interesting things to see, now that the leaves have fallen from the trees...

    And that's about it for the moment. Short one tonight, it's late and I need to take myself off to bed, but somehow I just needed to post this.

    This is why I don't blog much these days...By the time I actually manage to sit down at the computer, it's late and I'm tired, and while I have a vague notion of why I wanted to write a post, I can't seem to put it all together.

    This Is Now


    Busy, busy summer. Lots of fun stuff, but also some stress and exhaustion. Have been waiting for things to calm down and get back to "normal"...and am now coming to accept the fact that "normal" at the moment does not mean back to the previous status quo. This has thrown me a bit.....Adjusting...Please Wait....I adore my new kitty, and would not give her back for anything. But. She is full of energy and mischief. She needs exercise and entertainment. She loves to go outside. She can climb the fence like nobody's business.Enter the conversations re: "We have to install the cat fence conversion like we should have done in the first place." My wonderful Dad offered to install it for us, all we had to do was get it ordered...And certain persons in this house have been dragging their feet about the whole thing.I was really counting on having it done this fall, but it has become clear that is not going to happen. Cue JavaChick feeling the urge to spiral into despair.Basically, the time that I would normally have used to for workouts during the week is being used to supervise Isabelle's yard time. I can't even do anything while out in the yard, because I have to follow her around to make sure she doesn't go over the fence. And I'm so frustrated because I wanted this fixed. I'm mad at myself because I should have kicked up a fuss about it, but that is not my way; I don't like to push.I found myself thinking: How am I going to manage to keep on like this all winter?Well...the answer is that I will because I have to.I can hope that Isabelle will calm down somewhat, that she will not want to go out as much as the weather turns colder, wetter, snowier... Experience with my previous cats tells me that is not likely, but I can hope. :)So, I think to address the workout situation:Pull out the shorter circuit training DVDs again, and alternate the uppper/lower workouts so it should only be 15 - 20 minutes. I was really hoping to continue with Pump and Chalean Extreme, but you do what you have to do.Take advantage of weekends; should be able to get in at least one longer workout on the weekend.Make sure I take a walking break during my work day (this has disappeared from my daily schedule again). As for keeping a grip on my sanity...That was always a bit of a dream anyway, right? My husband would probably say it's already long gone.I really want to start painting again; not sure how that's going to work with a kitten around.Company this weekend, so will be busy with that...After this though, we should be back to "normal" for a little while.Where has this year gone?And P.S. since I never got around to publishing this post:Hurt my knee again. I think I strained it Thursday last week, stumbling over uneven ground and trying to put holes in sod at a volunteering event. Then was on my feet all day Friday, and there was an incident of banging my knee with a 10 lb barbell plate...It would really help if I would stop banging up my knees. I actually do worry about being healthy as I age; at this rate I won't be able to walk by the time I retire.  What to do when your cat won't wear her cone after surgery.It was amusing while it lasted. :)Answer to the painting slump...Small paintings that take less time and will hopefully get me going again. Following along in a book for now, but it has only taken one quick painting for me to start coming up with ideas...[...]

    End of Vacation Blues


    I had a super fabulous vacation running around Nova Scotia with my family for 2 weeks. We didn't get to do everything that we would have liked - amazing how two weeks can fly by - but we had a good mix of sight seeing and time hanging out at home.There was lots of food and drink, but also lots of walking, some swimming and of course laughing with the family. It was hard to come home.Things have been really busy since I got home as well - had company the weekend I arrived home, and week of work, and then this weekend 2 dinners + a brunch out with friends and an overnight guest one night. Good times with friends and family, so no complaining, but I could use a little down time.I had good intentions going back to work last week, but I was missing my family and it was hard to go back to the grind; then I ended up getting sick. So, here's hoping this week goes better.I had both slow cookers going today. Our fridge and freezer are stocked with easy meals for the week. I am vowing to stay away from those Peek Frean cookies that they've started stocking in the kitchen at work. I will get in my walking breaks at work, and hopefully get a few workouts in this week. Honestly still not feeling 100%, but feeling ready to ease back into things.Even if I'd rather still be on vacation... [...]

    Summer Fun


    I started a post three weeks ago now and didn't finish. It was getting too long and maybe sounding like a bunch of complaining, which is not what I was meaning to do....I think I was feeling tired and overwhelmed. I love summer! But it can be a busy time - this year seems more so than usual. So I will try to sum up...IsabelleIs a lovely kitten! She loves to go outside. She loves to sleep on my laptop keyboard, unfortunately, meaning I'm spending less time on my computer these days (maybe not so bad, but sometimes makes it hard to get things done). Also loves to wake me up my licking my face and biting my nose AT 4:30 FREAKING AM. You know, losing Frank and Zappa broke my heart into tiny pieces, and I missed my cats so much...But I gotta admit; the sleeping through the night thing was pretty nice.TrixieIs getting braver! With this newly gained bravery, she is showing herself to be a rather demanding cat. She wants attention. I have no problem with this. I have cat love to share with all my kitties! Unfortunately, she's so persnickety about how she wants this attention to be dispensed; namely, she wants me to sit on the floor in the basement and hang out with her. I can only do so much of that. I am trying to encourage her to hang out with us upstairs, but this leads to her sometimes chasing after Isabelle which is not so good.Sigh. Crazy cat lady problems.Busy Busy Summer!Trips scheduled once a month from June through to September! Most are weekenders, but one longer trip in August when both my sisters are coming home. So happy about this visit, but also apprehensive about being away for 2-ish weeks. I am such a homebody. Also, my vacation time is pretty much all spoken for. I shouldn't complain; I am fortunate in the amount of vacation time I have...But I like knowing I have some extra should I feel the need for a day off here and there. Not having that causes me anxiety. I do have a couple of extra days and I am guarding those for emergencies. I'm not really a good traveler...By which I mean the getting ready to go and the recovering when I get home. When I'm in the midst of the trip, I'm fine. But the days leading up to going stress me out, and when I get home I go to ground; homebody that I am, I just want to spend a couple of days curled up in my chair, soaking in the fact that I am back in my element.PaintingI want to. I still find myself looking around; at the clouds in the sky, the beautiful blues and greens we see this time of year. I often look out at the view of the harbor from my desk at work and wish I could set myself up to paint right there. But it seems hard to find the time right now.Healthy Living GoalsI somehow got out of the habit of tracking my workouts - I used to always write them down in a notebook - and I want/need to get back to that. Workouts were getting pretty erratic, and I finally decided I needed to switch things up. That helped, and I was starting to feel like I was back on track, then I got sick last weekend. Feeling better now, but then this morning managed to fall (again!) and bash up my knees (again!) on gravel. Honestly, I am my own worst enemy.Eating, well, good days/bad days as usual. I kind of feel like I need to make some radical changes. I always let myself put it off because I don't want to inconvenience Husband, but I need to try (again) to find a way to work around that...Or really, get Husband to go along with it; he could benefit just as much as I could.And summer is almost half over already...Yikes.Isabelle  TrixieView from my desk at work [...]

    Spring Cleaning


    I know I have been complaining a lot here lately, dumping all my sadness, etc. I kind of feel bad about that! But I feel like it has to go somewhere...Tuesday was one year since the day we lost Frank. And I still have October 31st coming up, the day we lost Zappa. Those were both very hard days/weeks for me, and while I am doing much better, there are still hard times. I don't feel like I really want to talk to people about it; in some cases because I feel like someone might not understand, in other cases because I don't want to overburden someone. But I do still feel the need to articulate my feelings now and then, and, oddly, I also want to remember it.  It's part of my life, and I know that memories can grow fuzzy and change over time...That is the main reason I keep blogging, I think; I like to be able to look back.I am finally feeling better; all over that cough, the weather is improving - we've had a sunshine-y weekend which has been fabulous. I was looking at the calendar last night and I could not believe that it has only been two weeks since my over-booked Saturday on May 6th.We went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 week before last, which was a blast. We hardly ever go to the movies these days; we went with friends and had a great time. I had a chat with my manager at work this week that made me feel better about some things; not that anything is likely to change, but at least I know that I am not alone. Planning summer vacation with the family, plus some weekend trips in the summer and fall. It's been busy, but it's been good stuff. I haven't had much time for painting lately...which may be partly due to the fact that I can't quite settle on what to do next. But I finally filled in the blank space at the bottom of my cloud practice piece from a month ago.Last Friday, May 12, a little ball of sunshine was delivered to my house by a friend. Meet Isobel.Seven weeks old, she hit the ground running as soon as she arrived, and she has not stopped since. Interesting times around here, for sure. It was sudden, in that I was not actively looking, but I think she is what I needed. I am simultaneously happy and other words, back to the cat-mom status quo.At this point, I feel like I should share the fact that Isobel is not the only cat in the house at the moment. Not all that many people know this, but I took in a rescue that had nowhere else to go at the beginning of April. She actually arrived on April 1, and she was not at all happy to be here. It was not really mentioned until she was dropped off that she doesn't like people and she scratches. I can also tell you from experience that she bites.This is Trixie:It's been hard to get a good picture because she mostly hangs out in the basement. It has been a long road to get her to trust, but we're getting there. She's not too happy about the new addition, but I'm hoping she'll adjust. It took her about a month to warm up to me, so here's hoping...Monday is Victoria Day, and I took Friday off work to give myself a 4 day weekend. It has been too long! Having some sunny days off with no obligations does a lot to improve my outlook on life. I've been trying to get some spring cleaning done. We've been barbecuing and enjoying the sun. Playing with the kitten to tire her out (kittens are adorable, but I'm kind of looking forward to her growing into a lazy, sleepy cat). So that is life at the moment. It has been good to finally have a weekend where I have some energy, where I'm feeling rested and relaxed. The next set of problems will come along, no doubt, but for now I'm going to enjoy the rest of my long weekend.[...]

    Deep Breath


    Well. That did not go as planned. Looking back at my last post, I had been struggling with getting back into my workout habit, and not feeling well. I was getting over one cold, Husband came down with a second cold, and you guessed it...I got sick again.Had to go to Nova Scotia (while sick) and accompany Husband to see the eye specialist  (while sick), did enjoy a nice visit with family  (while sick), then head back home on Saturday so I could go to my last painting class (you guessed it - while sick). And I was still sick for a week after that. It is only the past week where the cough and rattle in my chest is pretty much gone. Saturday was a super busy day since I managed to overbook myself - volunteering Saturday morning (in the rain, praying that I wouldn't end up getting sick again), and painting event from 3-5 pm, in between that I went home to pick up Husband because it was also free comic book day, so a visit to our local comic book store was necessary. And then we went out to dinner.Sunday I mostly took it easy and puttered around the house, but when Monday morning rolled around it really felt like I hadn't had a weekend.And I was hoping to ease back into some workout this week, but it has ended up that we've had something going on every evening after work. Really abnormal for us.Deep breath. Here's hoping that next week things will be back to normal.I got to bed right on time last night - a few minutes early even. I don't remember a thing after I turned out the light and put my head down on the pillow. But it was so hard to wake up this morning. Maybe because it has been grey and rainy for the past couple of days. When I was in the shower I remembered a dream. Details of the beginning part are fuzzy; I was with my family, I was trying hard to wake up but I felt like I couldn't. Some obscure family member came to visit, and they or someone said that now I had to wake up, but it was so hard to keep my eyes open. I was in a car driving, with my Dad in the passenger seat telling me to do all kinds of crazy things; yes, drive through those bushes! Drive up the stairs! I was trying to step on the break pedal but it wasn't there or it wasn't working, and it was so hard to keep my eyes open. And finally, I was at home in my bedroom, lying on the bed with the sun shining through the window, and Frank was sleeping on top of me. And in my dream I thought: Frank can't ...Something, I'm not sure what, but in my dream I knew something wasn't right, but my dreaming mind came out with: " but he can still sleep with me."This morning, in my still somewhat groggy state I remembered that, and puzzled over it for a short while, then moved on. It came back to me later today, and I felt sad because Frank can't sleep with me. Coming up on a year now actually. But slowly getting a bit easier.From my last painting class. We went outdoors to paint. It was chilly, a grey, overcast kind of day. But it was an interesting experience. Saturday morning at the park for the annual Walk for Autism. We were having a down pour, but people still showed up to walk. Then I went home and changed into dry clothes so I could get on with my day. Painting event - Paint Your Pet. You send a picture (or pictures), they do the sketch for you, and you paint it.  It felt unfinished, it was a rush to get done (it always is for me), but it still makes me happy to look at a painting of Frank.[...]

    Blue Skies and Clouds


    Last Sunday in my painting class we were focused on clouds. At the start of class, we all went outside and looked up; we were observing the blue of the sky - which was actually quite bright that day - and the clouds.Then we went in and worked on painting the shades of blue, and adding clouds. I was painting without actually being able to see the sky, which is probably not the easiest way to go about it, but sometimes I can get very focused on what I am doing and not stop to think about things like, say, getting up and going out for another look or two or more...Still, I love the color blue and who doesn't like contemplating fluffy clouds in a blue sky? Next, we chose pictures from old National Geographic magazines and tried to paint those skies.There was more in the picture I was working from - a castle, in fact, I think it may have been Bulgaria? But trying to get that sky took plenty of time. I added the ridge line in at the end, just to give it some sort of definition.No class this week, because of Easter, but next week will be the last class. I can't believe how fast the weeks have gone by. Despite the fact that it has been so busy, I think I will miss it.If I had the energy, I would continue by turning the idea of blue skies and clouds into an insightful blog post about ups and downs and silver linings...but I don't really.The week following my previous post, I did manage to up my game from 0 or 1 to 2 workouts in one week! Then the next week I got 3! but I was kind of exhausted, because busy with all the usual things, plus husband got sick, so I was making him chicken soup and doing all of the chores....And of course the next week I got sick.I had a cold, which I have gotten over, and I was looking forward to a 3 day weekend to get a bunch of stuff done, and try to jump back into workouts, but I have still not not feeling well. Headaches and a queasy stomach...I can't figure out if it's stress, or what. But it has made me feel like I don't want to do too much.The weather has been beautiful though, finally. I did get out for some walks, and a couple of yoga sessions - basically things that might help with stress and/or relieve my headache.I have also been staring at clouds with great fascination since that last painting class, and have spent some time this weekend painting.From a photo of Peggy's Cove that I took in June of 2014:There are details that I left out because a) I started it to work on the sky, and b) I was afraid I would mess it up!It is far from perfect, but if you look at it from a distance, it is not too bad. I think this is a photo that I will work with as I attempt to improve my skills, and hopefully one day I will have a decent painting.And still in progress, from an iPhone photo that I took in July 2012; pretty sure husband and I were in a restaurant overlooking the Saint John river. I'm mainly looking at the top part of the photo though, so it's all clouds at this point.:But, it was a nice view: I've got a busy week coming up, and still not feeling great, so at this point I feel like I will just be concentrating on keeping my head above water. And hoping that I start to feel better soon.[...]

    One foot in front of the other...


    I posted a while back about ups and downs,  highs and lows,  and lately I've been in one of the down phases. I suppose some of it can be ascribed to end of winter blues. I have also been stressed over work related things. I am tired. I am sad. I seem to have misplaced my motivation to do a lot of things. Which is not to say that it has been all misery all the time.  We've done some fun stuff. I've had some up moments for sure. It's just my overall mood lately, I guess; I'm tired and I just have to keep slogging through.Just a little ball of sunshine right now,  aren't I?I am here to say that I need to start feeling better,  and to do that I need to start taking better care of myself. Spring will make its presence felt eventually  (hopefully sooner rather than later), and wouldn't it be great if I could greet it with energy?So I promised myself that if we got home at a reasonable time today, I would get in a workout. Can't say I really wanted to do it, may not have been on my best form...but I did it. I would like to get at least two more workouts in this week...Lately it's been more like one workout per week...Three is better.We've been sticking to the slow cooker plan, trying to make sure we have plenty of meals in the freezer each week which helps a lot. Work lunches were going pretty well up until a couple of weeks ago when things got busy, so that has been a challenge. I have resorted to cans of Amy's Kitchen chili, that will probably have to do for the next couple of weeks, but will try to add some fruit and/or raw veggies to go along with it. What have we been up to....Well, there was Winter Chop Chop, which is restaurant week here in Saint John. We always enjoy checking out the menus and trying new things...This time around there were quite a few menus that interested us, so that pretty much wrote that week off. It was fun, but we were happy to get back to home cooked meals at the end of it.Saint Patrick's week we did an Irish Whisky tasting on the Thursday night, which was interesting. Then we went out to dinner on Friday, and the restaurant had a special on a flight of Bushmill's Irish  Whisky, so I basically did whisky tasting two nights in a row.Fun, but have had enough whisky for a bit.I am taking a Sunday afternoon painting course. I took some time to debate that with myself, because I know I don't handle it well if I have too much going on and this meant giving up six weeks of Sunday afternoons...Then I thought I wasn't going to get in because the class was full, but at the last minute the added a second class, so I've been doing that - 3 classes done so far. We're spending a lot of time learning to mix colors, which is maybe not the most exciting thing, but something I wanted/needed to learn. Our first class, after painting a color wheel, we painted oranges.Oh, and there have been a couple of Van Vino painting nights in there too. There was another one I would have liked to get to but I had something else going on that night.  Oh, and I mentioned in my last post that I was thinking of doing a painting from a photo I took last summer, which I did do. Lately I haven't found much time to work on any thing else.  This past Saturday we went to a fundraiser lunch for a charity that is friend is involved in, then got groceries on the way home. Then Sunday morning I had to work, and then rush off to my painting class....It was really hard to wake up this morning and realize it was Monday. I've got more busy weekends coming up in the next month...I'm tired just thinking about it.I know[...]

    Mid-January Check In


    There was a post over on Cranky Fitness to kick off the new year. I don't really do New Year's Resolutions, but when you are facing the end of a relaxing vacation, the start of a new year at work, it's hard not to think in terms of planning ahead. Mainly, I want to make things easy on myself and try to keep my sanity! So I stated my goal as:Keep doing what I know I can do, but do it better, and be kind to myself. So two weeks in, how's that looking?Do some workouts!I had already started round 2 of Chalean Extreme in Nov/Dec, so I am carrying on. I am into phase two - the Push phase - which is heavier weights, less reps. I still like these workouts. I confess I do adjust the schedule when it comes to the cardio workouts, but I stick to the strength training ones.I have dumbbells up to 20 lb, and honestly I could probably stand to have some heavier ones, particularly for lower body, but...I find it hard on my hands, holding on to the 15, and especially the 20lb weights if I'm using them a lot. I noticed the same thing when I was doing Pump. I might feel like my muscles can take more weight, but my hands (and with Pump I noticed wrists and forearms) can't take as much. I don't know if I will eventually build up to that if I keep at it? I have small hands, that probably doesn't help?Healthy eating!We have been giving our slow cooker a workout. I just get so tired of washing dishes and cleaning up the kitchen. Using the slow cooker once or twice a week, freezing things, having lots of leftovers just makes things so much easier.I resurrected an old Looney Spoons favourite - Rockin Moroccan Stew - and threw that in the slow cooker as well, to freeze for lunches. Haven't done frozen lunches in a long time; we don't tend to have a lot of room in our freezer, but we're managing it.Rockin' Moroccan Stew going in the slow cooker.Exercise your creativity!Still doing some painting. Over the holidays I did a lot of it, and I feel like it is good for my mental state. I don't know how to explain it exactly - I was chatting with my sister and I said it felt almost therapeutic. I think it takes so much focus and concentration, it gives my brain a break. And I enjoy it - I've always had the urge to do creative things, but it was difficult to make that leap and get started again. Time is a factor too of course, I really only have the weekends for painting, though I have been finding time some evenings to practice sketching as well. My middle sister and I used to draw and read all the time when we were in our teens. Drove our mother crazy; she was always wanting us to get up, go out, do other things...Funny how when you are a kid, that stuff can be seen as lazy or a waste of time; when you get older it can be seen a cool thing. Or maybe that's just my experience?The jug was an online lesson in painting with a limited palette, I then took that lesson and did the chickadee painting.  In Progress - I am looking at a hummingbird photo that I took last summer and thinking of turning it into a painting, but I am afeard! So I found an example of a hummingbird painting to try out first. No idea why, but working from someone else's painting is less scary than working from my own photograph. I will get there.Miscellany of daily lifeI am continuing with my piano lessons.  My camera gets less use these days - no cats to take photos of. There hasn't even really been much snow...The weather turns cold and it snows....Then it turns warm and rains...Then it turns cold again. The good news is that the last warm spell got rid of a good amount of ice - we can now [...]

    Counting it Down


    It seems to be a commonly held opinion that 2016 kind of sucked.  A lot of beloved celebrities died. Then there is the fiasco that was the US Election. There were plenty of things in the news this year that made me sad, angry, confused, but more personally? My cats. Husband and I got married on December 31, 2001. We moved into our house in May/June 2002. We got our kittens in August of 2002. Which means those cats had been with us for almost as long as we have been in this house, almost as long as we have been married.  They were 14 years old. It has been a difficult adjustment, and while I know it's not something that everyone understands, I am still grieving.I've been on vacation since Dec.22. We had no plans to go anywhere this year, since we were home at the beginning of November, and again at the beginning of December. Things have been really busy. November was the worst, since Zappa died on Oct 31 and I had  no time to get used to that at all before we had to get up early the next morning and go to Nova Scotia for 5 days. I feel like I have just been stumbling along, trying to get through what I have to get through. It just hasn't been the best time.So it's been nice. Having this time at home, not having to go anywhere; nothing we have to do. I mostly have not been doing anything that I don't feel like I want to do. I've been reading my way through a stack of books, working on some paintings, playing the piano, staying up late[er than I normally would which is probably still not late to a lot of people], sleeping in.I could wish that the weather was a bit nicer; it's not terrible but a lot of flip-flopping between warm and cold, with precipitation, so it's a sheet of ice out there and I don't want to go out and walk on it. But it's been nice, just hanging out at home with Husband. We've been cooking dinners together that we normally wouldn't make because it would be too much time and effort during a work week. Just generally relaxing, de-stressing, enjoying ourselves.I miss the cats. I still get the feeling, now and then, that I'm forgetting something; I think its an echo of the way I always used to do a mental check; do I know where the cats are? I still look at the doors when I'm walking by, like I'll see a little face sitting there looking in. I still have my moments where I feel so overwhelmingly sad; I think it started happening more after I had a few days at home and I think it's maybe good?The weirdest thing happened - not sure if it was Saturday or Sunday. I was sitting in the living room on my laptop. My mind had been pretty occupied. I was watching a series of "learn to draw" videos. Then I think I was surfing around maybe, reading some other things? And suddenly I could have sworn that I smelled my cats. If you have cats, you know how they have a scent, if you bury your face in their fur? It's fairly subtle I think. It's pleasant. Anyway, I have no idea where that would have come from, but for a moment it was like it was there. Then I got up and left the room so Husband wouldn't see me burst into tears.So yeah. Still hard. But good vacation anyway. Still have some time left, though I know it will be over too soon and not seem like it was long enough - vacations never seem long enough, do they?Reading actual books for a change, instead of the e-reader. You can't learn to paint without doing some still life paintings, right? Cause everyone needs to know how to paint fruit...Winter painting. Klingon beer. Good stuff. We like our Dunkel.[...]

    I Dream Of Cats


    This morning I dreamed that my cats were here, following me around the house as they always used to do. I went into the bedroom to get ready for work, and Zappa jumped up on the window sill behind me; Frank jumped up on the bed and I was petting him. Surrounded by my happy cats. Then I was on the other side of the bed, by the closet, giving them cat treats. Cory came in and asked what I was doing and I said I was giving them cat treats even though I knew they weren't really there.

    I started to wake up then, but I didn't want to and tried not too. But I had to, so I got up and let myself cry in the shower.

    I'd  say the dream made me  sad, but I haven't really stopped being sad. It just made it hard to ignore again.

    Anyway this afternoon at work, I suddenly remembered pictures that I thought were on my phone and had to stop and look for them.

    This was pretty much the normal state for those 2 years or so that Cory was traveling to Japan for work. They were the best feline pals a gal could ask for. Don't know what I would have done without them. 

    Thanks for visiting my dreams, guys. Wish you were still here.

    I'm Not Okay


    I did indeed finish my last week of Chalene Extreme on time. I really wanted to get in that last workout by the end of October because on Nov 1 we were going away for 5 days, and I just didn't want that one last workout hanging over my head.I scheduled those workouts, and did them on the day that was scheduled, and I finish the final one on Sunday, Oct. 30.The weekend was busy with trying to get ready for our trip - last minute errands, laundry, getting things ready for the cat sitters.Monday, Oct 31 I got up earlier than I wanted, because Zappa seemed to think I should get up and feed him. It was good though, had things to do. Had a good morning; a little relaxation, working on getting packed, tried a new yoga workout, had cuddles with Zappa. After Zappa had his cuddles with me, he went over and jumped up on Husband's chair for cuddles from him. I remember thinking: What am I going to do when I lose him? And then a couple of hours later, he was gone.The vet thinks his heart just stopped.And then we still had to get up early the next morning to catch the ferry. I didn't want to go, but Husband had an appointment in Halifax, and our families were expecting us for a visit. After the first day, it was maybe a bit easier being away; we were busy and distracted, and in a different place where I wasn't expecting to see Zappa. Heading home was hard. I was bracing myself for it, and trying not to be too upset, because I know that's hard on Husband. I think I maybe bottled it up too tightly, and ended up feeling a bit remote at first, in a little bit of a daze. I was sad but it was like I didn't quite know what to do, or how to process it. It's starting to hit me now though.You know how sometimes people say "Hi, how are you?" and you just automatically respond that you're good,  you're fine, you're okay....At least I do that a lot. Yesterday at work a coworker actually asked "are you okay?" I thought I was doing keeping it together more or less, but the way she asked that question makes me think not. And what came out of my mouth was: "not really." This morning I got really irritated with Husband over nothing, and then tears just started running down my face and I realized I'm not really okay right now. Turns out it's a relief to acknowledge that, even just to yourself.I will be okay, eventually. But right now? I'm hurting and just trying to keep myself distracted as much as possible. I haven't really been taking pictures lately. Not sure why exactly. I've been grieving Frank and I haven't had the heart for a lot of things, I think. And Zappa has always been a little harder to photograph; as soon as he knew you were looking at him, he'd come running, looking for attention. Most of the recent ones I do have are from my phone.  October 22Wishing for the rain to stop so he could go out and chase mice. October 29Not really a good photo - I have not mastered the art of the selfie - but this was his favourite thing: to be picked up and carried around, resting on the left shoulder. I would stand/walk around the house until he was ready to get down, which could take a while. But he purred and snuggled and was happy as could be.October 29I bought a new cat fountain, had not set it up yet; was planning to do it the next time the old one needed to be cleaned. Cory and I had watched Zappa checking out the box before I opened it and chuckled about how fast he'd be in there once I opened it. Sure enough, I unpacked the new fountain on Saturday and the next thin[...]

    Eyes On The Finish Line


    The weather has also taken a sudden turn; last week we were still seeing temperatures of 18 - 20 degrees Celsius. I  walked to my 7:30 pm piano lesson on Tuesday night and didn't need a jacket. Rainy over the weekend though.This week the temperatures have been around 10 degrees Celsius, or less.  I walked to my piano lesson on Tuesday night, wearing my nice, thick hoodie, and wished I'd dressed warmer and worn gloves.  And more rain coming t his weekend, apparently.  Have still been feeling mostly good. Workouts have been happening, lunches have been packed...Up until this week.Have been sticking fairly close to my workout schedule, and am in the last week of the last phase...Really wanting to finish by the 31st.So, as I say, all has been going pretty well until Monday. My workout plan has 3 phases, and each phase is 4 weeks. I'm in the 3rd phase, which I have been finding to be the toughest (not a surprise, I suppose), and Monday was the final workout of Phase 3, Week 3...Well sort of, but I'll save that for another post...What I considered to be the last one anyway... So third time I've done that workout, but it seriously kicked my butt. I had noted the last time that I should increase my weight for a few of the moves, so maybe that had something to do with it. I guess I had swapped a couple of other workouts during this week, which may have left me more fatigued, I don't know. I will say, I was feeling less energetic last weekend anyway, so maybe it's just a minor downswing.I finished with jelly-limbs, and dragged myself up the stairs. We had dinner cooking in the oven while I was doing my workout, and the timer went off just as I was coming up. I was seriously a bit worried, taking things out of the oven, that I was going to drop something. Even dishing it up and carrying plates felt like an effort. So there were no dishes washed, no lunches packed that night...I really didn't want to move any more. I was tired on Tuesday, but it was an off day on the workout schedule anyway, so I just took it easy.Started week 4 last night...Today is another off day; I had thought about throwing in a cardio workout today, but decided to stick with the rest that's on the schedule...and then I have until Monday to finish out the last week. I should be able to do it. Already trying to figure out what I will do next...Aside from the workout stuff, I have been playing around with painting on my own. It's one of those things that I always wanted to try, but it was hard to figure out how to get started. So, after a half-dozen paint & sip nights, I got some paints, etc., and gave it a go. I played around on mixed media paper for a bit, and then finally made the jump to canvas paper and did these two paintings.I did some research on paint colours, which also led to looking at recommended brands. These are done using Liquitex Soft Body Acrylic - Amazon has a nice starter set of 8 colours, so that seemed like a good way to start.I'm using canvas paper, rather than using canvas stretched on a frame - that seems wasteful/expensive when you are just learning and trying to figure out what you can do, plus they take up space - what do you do with all of them? These are small - I have canvas paper pads in 8x10 and 9x13, and I do kind of wonder if it will be hard to move to larger size if I let myself spend too much time doing small pictures, but we'll see.What's hard about doing it on my own:- Figuring out what to pa[...]

    Up Days and Down Days


    Tuesday, Sept 27 My energy levels vary widely; I go from feeling like a superwoman, that I can do it all to feeling like I can hardly get through the bare minimum. I find it frustrating because I never know how I'm going to be. I have wondered if it is related to hormone levels? I think lately some of it has been due to - or exacerbated by - stress.At the moment, I'm still kind of stressed (though coming down) and I am feeling pretty good. See? Here I am blog writing on a Tuesday evening after washing dishes, playing piano, doing a short workout and making a salad to take in my lunch tomorrow (of course this could also have something to do with husband bringing me a coffee after work - I hope I sleep tonight).Right now:Feeling good about...Piano lessons; still living out the childhood dreams and doing piano lessons once a week. Things are better now that I have been able to switch to evening lessons once a week, just around the corner from my house. Before I was going on Thursday afternoons during the workday; when I started, the place I was going was close to my office, but winter before last they moved farther away and it has been more difficult. I was afraid if I stopped, I'd never start again, so feeling better with the change.The fact that the high pressure projects that have been going on at work are winding now, and soon things should be back to normal.Workouts; slowly getting back into things over the past week, and reminding myself that it is okay to sub in different workouts if I feel the need or the urge; doing a different workout is better than no workout.Tomorrow is another painting night!Tuesday, Oct 4Oh hello! I meant to come back and update at least a couple of times during the week, but things have been busy. Trying to think about what I actually want to do here...I guess two things:1. Try to track how I'm feeling2. Work on doing things to make me happyNot that I'm not a happy person...It's more that I feel like I don't do anything; I go to work, I come home, I do it all over again....I feel like I don't have any interests I guess? Or more accurately: there are things that I think I would like to do someday...But you have to take some first steps or it never happens.So here goes...How am I feeling?Actually still pretty good. There is still some deadline pressure/stress at work, but nothing like it had been for the past month or so.WorkoutsFinally finished Phase 2 of Chalean Extreme (took way longer than it should have, but I got there) and aiming to start Phase 3 this week. Also trying out a few other things, including Tai Cheng which is available through Beach Body On Demand; I just noticed it last week, tried out the first one tonight and found it very relaxing. It will likely take a back seat to Chalene Extreme, but it feels good to have the option since I still feel like I can't do yoga (stupid knee).NutritionDid well packing lunches last week - only missed one day, because I somehow completely forgot.There were Girl Guide Cookies; Thin Mints. They are gone now.The Fun StuffPiano lessons ended up being cancelled last week, but I still got in a good amount of practice and feeling good about that.Wednesday was a painting night and we did a fun and colorful painting. After almost a year of thinking about it, I got myself some painting supplies and for the past couple of weekends I have been playing around. Just trying to practice/learn more technique at this point, but it's definit[...]



    September always feels like the beginning of the end to me....summer winding down, the year winding down, days getting shorter, weather getting colder...I guess until I hit that point where I'm starting to look forward to spring again.This summer has been...quiet and I guess also busy at the same time? I've been tired a lot. We've been working on stress-inducing projects at work. I'm still having a hard time with losing Frank.I had another dream about Frank a few weeks back. Husband had to go away for a conference. I was kind of looking forward to some time to myself and had god intentions to get some things done, but I ended up feeling so tired. Anyway, Husband left on Sunday, and I think it was Monday night/waking up Tuesday morning that I dreamed I was going camping with my parents; I was meeting them at the campground, and when I got there they had Frank with them and I thought well that's kind of odd, we hardly ever take the cats camping (try NEVER). But somehow it was plausible that they had Frank, like they'd been taking care of him, and I just thought it was unusual to bring him to the campground. Anyway, they are all nonchalont about it, and I'm all "be careful! watch him!" thinking I didn't want him to get lost, we had to take care of him because we didn't know how long we'd have him. Anyway, at the end of the dream Frank stretched up his paws to me like he wanted me to pick him up and give him a hug and then I woke up enough to realize I was dreaming and I was going to cry so I went back to sleep and overslept. Had to rush out the door to get to work that morning, and the feeling stayed with me for a couple of days.Zappa had his yearly check up at the beginning of August, and the vet did blood tests and discovered his thyroid levels were off, so he's on medication now and we've been back to the vet a couple of times to make sure everything is okay. Yesterday the vet said she felt better because he's gaining some weight again, she was concerned that he hadn't at first, and considering what happened with Frank. I've been trying not to think about it...That if only we'd had Frank checked out maybe there was something they could have detected and treated...But nothing had seemed off; then hearing the vet say that brought it all back...If only...I don't want to sound like I'm walking around miserable all the time, because I'm not. I don't ever completely forget, there is something every day. A lot of days are okay; I accept that I still feel a little sad, and I carry on. Some days are just really hard. Maybe I am a total nutcase, but so be it.So what else has been going on...I feel like I need to change the subject, change the mood.It has been the summer of Fitbit and Pokemon Go; have been so tired recently that I haven't done much in the way of formal workouts, but at least I am walking most days. It's actually been good, the Pokemon thing has been getting me outside more and revisiting some of the nice spots that exist in the vicinity of my office.I discovered Elizabeth Hunter thanks to Amy and I read all of the Irin Chronicles, then the Elemental series, and I actually just went back and read the Irin series again because I loved them that much. I did read some other stuff in between, mind you, but I really did enjoy that series.We did go home to NS for a visit. It was busy as usual, dividing time between families. I spent an afternoon on my own with my family rambling[...]