Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Goals in Review

At the beginning of this year, I chose to set goals instead of making New Year's resolutions. Now that the year is coming to a close, it's time to review those goals and see how I did.

One of my goals for the year was to become a healthier person. In June, I finally got serious and started exercising regularly, with a goal of getting back to a healthy weight (losing 69 pounds). I haven't reached my goal weight yet, but I have managed to exercise at least 3 times each week (with only one exception). Part of my commitment was to be accountable and blog about my progress each week. I know that this is the reason I've stuck with it this time. I would consider the original goal met, and worthy of continuing.

Another goal was to make my home more comfortable by removing clutter. I've made a lot of progress, but still have work to do. I'm not sure that this is something that will ever be completely finished - especially when other family members (and their stuff) are involved.

Last year I bought myself a new camera for Christmas. My last goal was to learn how to use all the features. I've taken a lot of pictures this year - even framed a few - but I still have a lot to learn about my camera. I tried participating in a weekly photo challenge, but gave up after a couple of months when the topics didn't inspire me. Maybe I should create my own challenge where I just shoot what interests me. Hmm, I'll have to give that some thought.

I like these goals.  I think that I'll keep them for next year as well.

Happy New Year, my friends!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty Six

I am so glad that Christmas is over.  I gained another 2.4 lbs last week and I am thankful that there will be no more candy and baked goodies coming out of my kitchen for a while. Now, if I could just get rid of all the stuff that is already there... without eating it myself! 

I'll be working a temporary job for the next few days. That will keep me busy (and away from temptation) for a while. I've done a pretty good job of staying on track with my exercise - getting in a minimum of three workouts a week - but it will be easier when vacation is over and I get back to my regular work routine.

There will be some changes this year, but I will have to share those with you in a later post.  In the meantime, I hope you all have a very Happy New Year!!

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +2.4
Total weight loss:  13.4
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0
Total inches lost:  26.5

Where do I get my best motivation?  From you and from my friends at the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook. Stop by and check it out.

My current motivation:  Still looking forward to wearing those khaki slacks (and some black slacks that I picked up a few days ago) without any muffin top!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty Five

The holidays are the worst time for weight-loss.  Cookies, candy, family get-togethers based on meals - it's all a huge marketing conspiracy to make us gain weight. Don't believe me?  Then wait until the first of the year and see how many stores have big sales on exercise equipment. See?  I know what I'm talking about.

Last week I gained again - just a little bit, though.  My friend, Daria, swears that it's muscle weight, and since I'm still losing inches (yes, half an inch counts), I'm inclined to agree with her.  My goal for this week before Christmas is simply to maintain.  I will enjoy some holiday treats (including egg nog) and spending time with my family, and if I'm a good girl, maybe Santa will bring me something special this year. 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +0.6
Total weight loss:  15.8
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  26.5

Where do I get my best motivation?  From you and from my friends at the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook. Stop by and check it out.

My current motivation:  Wearing those brand new khaki slacks that are currently hanging in my closet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty Four

The roller coaster is on a uphill track this week. Fortunately this week's up is a lot smaller than last week's down, and next week should be another down week - if I can stay out of the Christmas cookies, that is. The holidays are tough for me.  I have a tendency to eat more when I'm stressed out and Christmas can be a pretty stressful time.  I did finally get my Christmas cards mailed... now I just have to finish up the shopping and the wrapping and the baking.  Seriously, you'd think that I wouldn't have time to eat!

Remember last week, when I said I needed to get new slacks?  Well, I picked up a pair of khakis - the same brand I bought last time in a smaller size - and the darned things don't fit like I had hoped.  They're just a little tight and... Hello, muffin top!  I really don't want to return them.  I'm thinking (hoping) that they will stretch if I wear them for a while. The old ones were always a little snug right after they'd been washed and then they would stretch out.  Wishful thinking?  Yeah, maybe. 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +1.6
Total weight loss:  16.4
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0
Total inches lost:  26.0

Where do I get my best motivation?  From you and from my friends at the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook. Stop by and check it out.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty Three

As I stepped on the scale this morning, I recalled that I had only done 3 workouts last week, and had enjoyed a few cookies - okay, a lot of cookies. My expectations were pretty low. When I saw the number, I almost fell off the scale.  I had lost 5 pounds since last Sunday.  That might be my best week yet, and it more than makes up for the 2 pounds I gained last week.

I'm 2 pounds away from my first mini-goal, and 51 pounds away from my long-term goal. It may take me another year (or more) to get there, but I know I will make it. 

I visited my mom and stepdad on Friday, and they both remarked on my weight loss. In fact, my mom commented that my slacks were looking a little baggy in the rear.  Guess I'll be headed to the store during my lunch hour tomorrow to shop for new slacks... in a smaller size.  :)

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -5.0
Total weight loss:  18.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  26.0

Where do I get my best motivation?  From you and from my friends at the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook. Stop by and check it out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty Two

Okay, so I knew in advance that Thanksgiving was going to be a bad week for weight loss.  I actually gained 3 pounds from all the feasting, but by my official weigh-in day it had corrected to 2.2.  My goal is to get that back off quickly and continue making progress.

The good news is that I can consistently get through level 2 of the 30 Day Shred now.  Woo hoo!  It's not easy, but I can do it.  I think I'll stay there for a couple of weeks before taking on level 3.  During Thanksgiving break, my son had to exercise (once) to get credit for his kinesiology class, so he joined me in my workout. I dropped back to level 1 for him, and took great satisfaction in seeing that he found it just as hard as I did at first.  These really are tough workouts!

It's been five months since I posted my "before" picture, so I thought I'd do a new one to show my progress.  I still have a long way to go, but I can already see a difference.

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +2.2
Total weight loss:  13.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  0
Total inches lost:  25.5

Does 25.5 inches sound like a lot?  I think so, too.  Let me break it down for you.  These are the areas I measure and how many inches I've lost in each:  Waist -6, Hips -4, Neck - 1.5, Arm (upper) -2, Thigh -5, Calf -1.5, Bust -3, Chest -2.5

Looking for some company and motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

People Watching at RenFest

One of my favorite events every year is the Texas Renaissance Festival. I won't go into a lot of detail about RenFest (you can click the link if you want details), I'll just say that it's an experience worth repeating.  And we do... several times each year. 

There is much to do at RenFest - shopping, games, shows and food - but my favorite activity of all is people watching. All of the actors and vendors dress in costume, as do many of the patrons, and it becomes a feast for the eyes. 

I'd like to share a few of my favorite shots from this season with you.

Beautiful colors and a beautiful girl.

This lady paints pictures on faces. I think her face would make a lovely painting.

This man has the softest hands at the fair. No kidding!

Such a sweet couple.

The lovely Katie.

Tipsy and Traveller... and don't call her a bird, she's a dragon.

A distinguished gentleman.

This intense look turned into a playful laugh when we asked him what he was wearing 'neath his kilt.

A singing pirate.


I love all the small music stages scattered around the festival.

A wise-looking mage.

Rhythm that makes you want to shimmy.

Oh my!

Would you trust this pirate?

A handsome rogue... who also happens to be my son. :)

Beautiful Cinder and her thousand watt smile.

A feast for the eyes and the ears.

As I said there is much to see and do at RenFest, and I can't wait to do it all again next year. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Tradition

Another Thanksgiving has come and (almost) gone. My extended family used to get together at my sister's house for Thanksgiving, but we stopped doing that several years ago.  This year, it was just the three of us - me, my husband and our son (who was home from college).

Cooking a Thanksgiving feast for three people is a challenge for me.  You see, when it comes to Thanksgiving, I like to cook BIG.  A large turkey (18 lbs), mounds of mashed potatoes and gravy, and enough dressing to feed at least a dozen people.  Plus green bean casserole, cranberry sauce (made by my son), rolls, and pie for dessert (apple this year).  I know I could  adjust my recipes to make smaller batches, but it just wouldn't feel right. 

The good thing about this little dilemma is that we always have a ton of leftovers.  I'll be feeding my guys various reincarnations of turkey for the next few days.  Thankfully, we all really like turkey.

The bad thing is that we don't have a lot of extra space to store all those leftovers.  However, through a creative game of Refrigerator Tetris after dinner, I was able to squeeze everything into the fridge.  We just have to remember to be careful when we open the door. 

Tomorrow morning we'll be getting up bright and early.  No, we won't be taking part in the traditional chaos of the Black Friday shopping marathon.  Instead, we'll be headed to the Texas Renaissance Festival to enjoy the festivities of the Celtic Christmas.  It will be our last huzzah of the season.  While we're there, we'll probably do a little Christmas shopping.  It's traditional, after all.

I hope you've had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your weekend is calm and soothing, or exciting and productive... or perhaps a bit of both.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty One

Hard work really does pay off.  My numbers are headed back in the right direction again.  Just in time for the food frenzy that is Thanksgiving. 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.4
Total weight loss:  15.2
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  26.5

Still on Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred, still can't make it all the way through. 

My goal for the upcoming week is simply to maintain... and if I miss my goal, I will blame it on the Pilgrims. :)

Looking for some company and motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twenty

Grrr!  I'm back on the weight loss roller coaster again.  It is definitely time to put this program back into high gear. 

This week I will work out more than three times.

This week I will make healthier food choices.

This week I will limit my portion sizes.

And next week... I will report a weight loss.

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +0.2
Total weight loss:  14.8
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0
Total inches lost:  26.0

I'm still doing Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred, and it's still kicking my butt.  One day I hope to have enough upper body strength to make it all the way through without stopping.  Then... I will move on to Level 3. 

Looking for some company and motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Weighing In - Week Nineteen

Some days I get home from work and I just don't feel motivated to work out. Especially on those evening when I have Scout meetings.  The last time I felt that way, I thought about how good I feel after a workout... and I got out the weights and started up the video.  I did feel better after the workout and I was proud of myself for sticking with it.

Nineteen weeks.  This is the longest I have ever stuck with any weight loss effort.  Could it be that it's becoming a way of life?  Let's hope so.

Weigh-in this week revealed a small gain.  I had done well the last few weeks, so I was due for a set-back.  No worries.  It keeps me motivated and will just make me work harder to get back on track.  Time to kick it back into high gear.

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +0.6
Total weight loss:  15.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0
Total inches lost:  26.0

I tried Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred on Friday... and it totally kicked my butt.  It's more intense and there are a lot of plank-based moves.  After a few weeks at this level, my shoulders are going to look amazing.

Looking for some company and motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Weighing In - Week Eighteen

If you've been paying any attention to my blog, you may have noticed that there was no week seventeen post. What happened?  Wood Badge happened.

Wood Badge is adult leader training offered by the Boy Scouts. It's held over two 3-day weekends, and last weekend (actually 2 weekends ago) was the second weekend of the course - my second Wood Badge staff experience.  It was busy, intense and, when it was over, I was exhausted.  And I'm looking forward to doing it again. 

I think I may have had a small weight gain from all that great food at Wood Badge, but I didn't do my weigh in, so the world may never know. So... we'll just skip ahead.

The first part of my week was spent trying to catch up on errands that I normally do on the weekend.  Fortunately, I did manage to do my workouts during the week.  Those 20 minute sessions (30 Day Shred) are easy to fit into my schedule, which means I can do them even on those nights when I have Scout meetings. 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.6
Total weight loss:  15.6
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.0
Total inches lost:  26.0

I'm still on Level 1 of the 30 Day Shred, but it's getting easier. I think I may be ready to move up to Level 2 soon.  Yay!

Looking for some company and motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weighing In - Week Sixteen

Twenty minute sessions of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred x 4 nights = one very happy me. 

After eight weeks, my scale is finally reporting some decent numbers again.  If I had know that a simple switch in my exercise routine - one that takes less time, even - would make such a difference, I would have done this weeks ago. 

I swear, if I ever meet Jillian, I'm going to give her a big kiss!!

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -2.4
Total weight loss:  14.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  25.0

Looking for some company and motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Weighing In - Week Fifteen

Broiled Salmon with Raspberry Citrus Sauce
It was bound to happen.  I slacked off on my exercise (only 3 times) last week and ate a few too many desserts and not-so-healthy meals.  And then there's the water retention.  It all added up to a (small) weight gain for the week.  I wasn't shocked when I got on the scale... mildly annoyed, but not shocked.

The good news is that I still lost inches. Yay!

The best part of last week, was that my husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary on Friday.  I tried out a new recipe for the occasion - broiled salmon with raspberry citrus sauce.  I used this Mrs. Dash recipe, with a few little modifications, and the results were amazing.  It was healthy (shhh) and so good!  I will definitely be making it again. 

I've decided to change up my exercise routine and am starting Jillian's 30 Day Shred.  I like this program because it mixes cardio, strength training and ab work - and it only takes 20 minutes a day. Maybe this time I will stick with it for an entire month.  Wish me luck! 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +0.4
Total weight loss:  11.6
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -2.0
Total inches lost:  24.5

Looking for some motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook... these folks are an inspiration!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Weighing In - Week Fourteen

If ever there was a week when I had low expectations for weigh-in day, this was it. I'm staffing another Wood Badge course (I'll explain this in a separate post for my non-Scouting friends) and weekend #1 started on Thursday, which left me with two free nights for exercise. Even worse, the meals served at Wood Badge were really good, and snacks and candy were plentiful.

My job as Scribe involved lots of keyboard time (working on the daily newsletter and printing various forms and handouts), paparazzi duty (taking random shots of the participants), and making appearances at all the group assemblies, but mostly lots of keyboard time.

I returned home from Wood Badge on Sunday evening, and chose to postpone my weigh-in until Monday morning. I always do weigh-ins first thing in the morning.  Besides, I was in no hurry to experience disappointment.

Imagine my surprise when I actually lost weight.  Granted, it was a very small amount, but at least it wasn't a gain.  Yay me!! 

I never did get around to taking measurements, but I will make sure to do that next weekend.  I have one more Wood Badge weekend (in three weeks) plus preparation, and I'm hoping that I can make it through without gaining any weight.  I'll be watching what I eat, exercising as often as I can, and keeping my fingers crossed.
My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.2
Total weight loss:  12.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  ?
Total inches lost:  22.5

Looking for some motivation on your weight loss journey?  Check out the Empty the Junk from the Trunk group on Facebook... awesome people helping each other.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weighing In - Week Thirteen

I went to an All-Class High School Reunion on Saturday night, and actually felt good about the way I looked.  I'm nowhere near my goal weight, but I am making steady progress and feeling better about myself.  

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.6
Total weight loss:  11.8
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.0
Total inches lost:  22.5

This week I'm adding more water to my diet. The regular trips to the water cooler give me an excuse to take breaks from my computer. (My eye doctor would be so proud.) I'm also still packing my lunch. That's working very well, and I like having healthier choices.

The Empty the Junk from the Trunk 10-week motivation project has come to an end.  I did not meet my goal for the final week, but I did lose 6.6 pounds during the challenge, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weighing In - Week Twelve

I worked out just as hard last week as I usually do, but my results weren't quite what I had hoped.  Was I disappointed?  Why, yes, I was.  Until I put on a pair of shorts that I bought at the beginning of last summer, and they were quite loose.  Then I took them back off again... without unzipping them.  Awesome!

My very smart friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk keep reminding me that the way my clothes fit means more than the numbers on my scale, and they are so right. I love that my clothes are fitting better, and that some are even a little too big. It won't be long before I have to go shopping, which I usually hate, but now I'm actually looking forward to it.

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.2
Total weight loss:  11.2
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  21.5

I've decided to make another change in my eating habits. I work in an office where lunch is provided (free) almost every day. Unfortunately, the hot lunches are not very healthy and the salad bar is not always available. So, I've decided to start bringing my lunch. This way I can have a healthy lunch and use up some leftovers. (I still haven't gotten used to cooking for two again.) I'm also hoping that this change will provide another boost to my weight loss.

Only one more week left in the Empty the Junk from the Trunk 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a small cash prize. Will I meet that 2 lb weight loss goal this week?  We'll see...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weighing In - Week Eleven

It seems like I've always struggled with my weight. I've tried different diets and different exercise programs - some more successful than others - but nothing ever seemed to stick.

This time something's different.

I know I've expressed disappointment that the weight is coming off slowly - about a pound a week - but I haven't been depriving myself of anything. I eat whatever I want, I just try to make healthier choices most of the time and take smaller portions. Today, I even had ice cream! I'm finding it much easier to make those healthy choices now, and the smaller portions are just enough - leaving me satisfied instead of stuffed.

My real secret weapon for weight loss is exercise. That's right, I decided to get off my couch and move it. I'm not much of a morning person, so I do my exercise when I get home from work - before I have a chance to get too comfortable. Thankfully, my family has been very understanding and hasn't complained that dinner comes a little bit later these days. 

My favorite workout right now, is Zumba.  I have a set of DVDs that lets me alternate between three different workouts. When I want to really challenge myself, I put in Jillian's Yoga Meltdown DVD. I still can't make it all the way through that one - even on the easiest level. I do occasionally take the day off due to scheduling issues or sometimes just because I feel like it, but I don't let that happen too often.  I try to work out four or five times a week.

So what's different? 

I think it's me. I'm tired of wishing I could lose weight and am doing something about it. It's not quick. It's not easy. It's a lifestyle change, and hopefully it will be permanent. If it takes me sixty-nine weeks to reach my goal of losing sixty-nine pounds, then so be it. 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.0
Total weight loss:  11.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -4.0
Total inches lost:  21.0

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a small cash prize. I haven't hit all my goals lately - exercise, water, and eating are all good, but I haven't managed the two pound loss. Maybe  the goals are too high?  Nah!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Another Good-bye

Last week was another tough one. With emotions still running high after moving my son to college, I had to say good-bye to someone else who is very dear to me. My boss of 17 years retired on August 31.

Ken was easy to work with from the very beginning. His cheerful demeanor and mischievous grin put me at ease in my first ever temporary job. So much so that, after working with him for just over a week, I handed him my resume and insisted he forget all about his short list of job applicants and hire me full time.  Luckily, he agreed.

Ken has been the best boss I've ever had. He was easy to talk to and he always listened to what I had to say.  We didn't always agree on everything, but I never felt like I had to censor myself with him. He encouraged me to think things through and form my own opinions. 

Over the years we've faced many challenges together and had more than our fair share of successes. We've enjoyed the good times and weathered the bad times. Through it all, I've always felt secure in the knowledge that he was there supporting me.

We all expected Ken would retire soon. In fact, he had set a date - four years in the future. But things don't always go according to plan. An opportunity to retire earlier was presented and Ken accepted. We were all happy for him, but it was still hard to accept that he won't be around any more.

On his last day at work, I wasn't able to speak to anyone without the threat of tears. There were so many things that I wanted to say, so much I wanted to thank him for, so many memories to share.  But I couldn't get the words past the lump in my throat.

Now that he's gone, the office will never be the same. I will miss his smiling face and his silly little songs - often accompanied by graceful dance steps. I will miss his practice of "managing by walking around". I will miss his words of encouragement.

I hope Ken knows how much he means to me and how much I will miss him.

Thank you, Ken, for everything.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weighing In - Week Ten

I thought I would do something different this week and post my results on weigh-in day instead of waiting until the middle of next week.

It was a rough week, but I stayed on track.  I exercised 4 times, didn't eat too many desserts and lost one pound. I was hoping for two, but I'll take it, because it means I've hit a milestone.  I've lost a total of 10 pounds!  Of course, it also means that if I plan to wear a bikini next summer, I'm going to have to step it up and do better than a pound a week.

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.0
Total weight loss:  10.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  17.0

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a small cash prize. We're starting week 8 and I'm hoping that I'll meet my weekly goals at least once more before the project is over.  Next week my goals are to exercise at least 4 times, increase my water intake, and lose 2 pounds.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Hardest Day

One of the most satisfying things about being a parent is watching your child learn and grow into a responsible young person. It's also one of the hardest things about being a parent.  Because you know that the day is approaching when your child will be an adult.

It's frightening.

A parent's first job is to protect and provide for our children. We naturally want to give them the best of everything and do whatever it takes to help them succeed. As they grow, our efforts to help are eventually met with, "Let me do it, Mom." This is our cue to step back and watch as they demonstrate all their newly learned abilities. Ah, sweet success!

Then comes THE DAY.  Your baby is ready to venture out on his own. His bags are packed and he is ready to leave the nest.

That day came for me last week.

It's time. Time to load his boxes and bags in the truck. I resist the urge to check the contents, and satisfy myself with a few reminders about key items that I suspect he may have forgotten. Last minutes items are retrieved and we are on our way. During the drive, we discuss seemingly random things like vehicle maintenance, health insurance and credit cards.

We arrive at the university, locate his dorm and wait patiently as he navigates the check in process. Then we help him move his belongings into the room that will be his home for the next nine months. After all that hard work, everyone is hungry, so we head to the local pizza place for lunch.  Lunch is followed by a trip to the grocery store to stock up on snacks and drinks.

Suddenly, it's time to say good-by. Somehow I manage to hold it together through hugs and kisses, and then we're gone. On the way home, I hold back the tears.

My baby has grown up and now he's on his own. He's been preparing for this his entire life. He's ready. He will be fine - great, in fact. 

I'll be fine, too. After all, it's only college, it's not forever, and the relatively short drive will make visits easier and (hopefully) more frequent.

It has been one of the hardest days of my life... and one of the most satisfying.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Weighing In - Week Nine

I was expecting a difficult week, and it was. Work hours were consumed with meetings (again), and on Tuesday we helped James move into his dorm room at A&M.  There were a lot of less-than-healthy meals and more than a few desserts, and I only exercised 3 times. But I managed to survive and even (surprise!!) record a small weight loss. 

My numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.4
Total weight loss:  9.0
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.5
Total inches lost:  16.5

This week I will get back on track. I will lose the weight. I will be bikini ready by next summer. Hey, it could happen.

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a small cash prize.  I've won the prize once, and earned back my investment. While it would be nice to win again, I'd really rather see everyone else have a shot at it. Good luck everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weighing In - Week Eight

I am really feeling good about this little weight-loss project of mine. I'm working out four or five days a week, I have more energy, and I'm losing weight. I'm seeing a difference in the way my clothes fit - especially my pants. I could probably fit into a smaller size right now, but I'm going to wait a bit longer before buying any new pants.  Maybe I can even go down two sizes!

Here are my numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.2
Total weight loss:  8.6
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.5
Total inches lost:  16.0

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a small cash prize.  I bumped my goals up a little bit last week and unfortunately didn't lose enough weight to qualify for the drawing. That's okay, though. The fact that I lost weight makes me very happy. 

This week my baby heads off to college and I will be childless for the first time in 18 years. I'm not sure if that will have any effect on my results. I guess we'll have to wait and see. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Weighing In - Week Seven

Some weeks I actually look forward to weigh-in day. Not this week. With a grand total of only three exercise sessions and more than a few tasty desserts consumed during the week, I was prepared to see my weight go up.

Imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale and I had lost weight. Not a lot, but it wasn't a gain. Could it be that the roller coaster ride is over? Probably not. 

The really big surprise came when I got out the tape measure and found that I had lost 4.5 inches. That's a number that I can get excited about!

Here are my numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -0.2
Total weight loss:  7.4
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -4.5
Total inches lost:  14.5

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a cash prize - not a big amount, just something to make it interesting.

I won the $10 prize in the last drawing! Last week I didn't meet my goals, so I'm out of the running this time.

My goals for this week - continue using my food journal and limit desserts to no more than four, exercise at least 4 times, and (hopefully) lose at least 2 lbs.  I'll let you know how that works out.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weighing In - Week Six

It seems that my weight loss journey is going to resemble a rollercoaster ride.  One week I'm up, and the next I'm down. I won't lie - I'm terribly disappointed every time the numbers go up. But knowing that they will probably go down again next week makes it a little easier to deal with. 

This week was a good week. 

I stuck to my plan to limit desserts, and only indulged four times.  This seems to have made a difference, so I'm going to repeat that next week.  And yes, afternoon cookies at meetings count as dessert.

Still rockin' the Zumba videos, and loving it!  I exercised 6 nights in a row, and actually looked forward to it. The really good news is that my foot pain has lessened. Still hopeful that it will go away completely.

Here are my numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -2.4
Total weight loss:  7.2
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.5
Total inches lost:  10.0

I'm sticking with my current plan - food journal (limit desserts), exercise at least 5 times, and weekly progress reports.  I am determined to reach my goal!

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a cash prize - not a big amount, just something to make it interesting. I met my goals this week, and my name is going into the drawing. Yay!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Praying for Rain

It's August, and it's hot in Texas. REALLY HOT! For the last week, the temperatures have hovered at or above 100 degrees. At this moment, the temperature has dropped to 92... and it's 9:30 at night.

Not only is it hot, but we're in the middle of a severe drought (over 13 inches below our average rainfall). Recreational lakes are dangerously low, roads are cracking, and wildlife is coming into residential areas in search of food and water. People are praying for a hurricane in the Gulf, hoping that it would bring rain.

I'm doing my part to conserve water by not washing my truck, even though it was the victim of a fly-over bird bombing last week; by not watering the weeds that pass for ground cover in our yard; and by doing as few loads of laundry as possible. I know! It's a huge sacrifice, right?

Seriously though, I am so very grateful that I work in an office. I can't even imagine how uncomfortable it is for those people who work outside - especially those guys who are shoveling asphalt to repair all those cracked roads. I am grateful for an air conditioned home (and car) and for the trees that shade our property and keep our electricity bills out of the "oh my gosh!" range. I'm very fortunate.

I'm still praying for rain, though. Maybe even a hurricane...

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weighing In - Week Five

I was feeling really good about my progress this week, and expecting good results at weigh in. Then I got on the scales. Another gain. Not a big one, but still a gain.

Reviewing my food journal shows me that I am still struggling with the lunches during our daily meetings. Gotta stay away from the desserts and afternoon cookies! Today I learned that the meetings have been extended for another four weeks. Joy.

Zumba is still my favorite go-to exercise. I exercised six nights last week! I'm still experiencing pain in my foot - most likely plantar faciitis - it's not severe and goes away with stretching and massage. My hope is that it will go away completely as I lose weight.

Here are my numbers for the week:
Pounds lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  +0.4
Total weight loss:  4.8
Inches lost (-) or gained (+) this week:  -1.5
Total inches lost:  8.5

I refuse to let this minor setback get the best of me. My plan is to continue with my food journal and exercise program, and to say no to desserts a little more often.

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a cash prize - not a big amount, just something to make it interesting. I did not meet my goals this week. Hopefully I will do better next week!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weighing In - Week Four

This week was much better than last week. I spent most of the week in meetings, where I did not get to chose my lunch menu, but I did try to keep my portions small and stay away from the cookies (most of the time). I managed to avoid fast food completely and stick with my regular exercise program, and the results were pretty darn good.

Food Journal:  Faithfully recorded everything... including the occasional cookie.  I wish these meetings would be finished, so I could go back to my regular routine, but it looks like we have a couple more weeks to go. Ugh!

Exercise: I did the Zumba Accelerated Fat-Loss Program every night except Tuesday and Saturday. I love this workout! I need to get some new shoes, though - some that have great arch support and don't grab the carpet while I'm dancing.

Measurements: Here are my numbers for the week.
Pounds lost this week:  4.6
Total weight loss:  5.2
Inches lost this week:  2
Total inches lost:  7

Last week, I gained 2 pounds (probably from water retention), so the 4.6 pound loss this week puts me back on track.  If I can continue to lose 1-2 pounds a week, I will reach my goal of losing 69 pounds by next summer. New bikini, perhaps?

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a cash prize - not a big amount, just something to make it interesting. I met my goals this week!  Yay!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weighing In - Week Three

This whole week was slightly "off" for me.  Monday and Tuesday were spent in all-day meetings (food and snacks provided) and Wednesday through Friday were spent with my son at new student orientation at Texas A&M University. I wasn't following my regular schedule and it showed... and not in a good way.

Food Journal:  I was good about writing everything down. Everything. I still have an issue with snacking, but I'm getting better. I limited myself to one or two (small) cookies instead of half the bag. My biggest pitfalls were during our college trip. I can easily see where the "Freshman 15" comes from - late night studying, student gets hungry, and the easiest option is fast food. Hello, Whataburger! (Gotta remember to send healthy snacks with my son this fall.)

Exercise: Sunday through Tuesday, I did the Zumba Accelerated Fat-Loss Program. It alternates between the 50 minute Cardio Party and the 45 minute Sculpt and Tone plus the 20 minute Standing Abs workout. The sessions are twice as long as what I've been doing, so it's tough, but I love it. During our visit to A&M, we did a LOT of walking and one evening we hit the pool - mostly to cool off, but I did get in a few laps.

Measurements: Here are my numbers for the week.

Pounds lost this week: -2 (gained)
Total weight loss: 0.6
Inches lost this week: 1
Total inches lost: 5

I am disappointed that I gained two pounds this week, but I'm not surprised. I made poor food choices and exercised less. There's a good chance that some of the gain is from water retention. Anyway, I'm not going to get discouraged about it... just going to start fresh this week, stick with my program, and report better results next week.

I've joined my friends at Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group in a 10-week motivation project. If I meet my weekly goals, my name goes into a drawing for a cash prize - not a big amount, just something to make it interesting. Wish me luck in meeting my goals this week!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weighing In - Week Two

I just weighed in for the week. The pounds aren't exactly melting off, no Biggest Loser style results here, but I am making steady progress, which is exactly what I expect for the "program" I'm following.

Food Journal:  Everything I ate went into the journal. It really does help to put it down on paper so I can see what I'm eating, and how much. I'm getting better about the snacking during the week. Lately, those cookies that tempt me at work just don't taste as good. I wonder if they've changed their recipe or if it's me. Either way, it's easier to say no. Weekends are still a challenge, especially when I'm home all day. I'm dealing with this by buying healthier snacks, like fruit and nuts, so I can reach for them instead of candy.

Exercise: On Sunday, we visited my mom and spent the afternoon swimming. I would so love to have a pool that I could use everyday. The exercise is great, and it's easy on the knees. For the rest of the week, I stuck with the Zumba Express workout. Next week, I'm going to start the Accelerated Fat-Loss Program, which incorporates the rest of the videos. Should be fun!

Measurements: Here are my numbers for the week.  Remember, my goal is to eventually lose 69 pounds.

Pounds lost this week: 0.8
Total weight loss: 2.6
Inches lost this week: 2
Total inches lost: 4

I wish that the weight would come off faster, but I think I'm doing pretty good for someone who doesn't have a personal trainer and isn't following a strict diet.

Are you looking for some encouragement in your weight loss journey? Stop by the Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group and request an invitation to join. The awesome ladies in this group help keep me motivated and they can help you, too!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Weighing In - Week One

It's been a little over a week since I officially started my campaign to get fit and lose weight. I had hoped to post on Saturday, but life somehow got in the way. Go figure. Anyway, here are my results as of Saturday.

Food Journal:  I did a good job of writing everything down. I made healthier choices on some days, like skipping the bun and condiments on hamburger day at work. My biggest problem area is snacking in the evening. I did notice that there was less snacking by the end of the week.

Exercise: I mowed the yard on Sunday (an hour using a push mower). Monday through Friday I did the Zumba Express workout (20 minutes) each evening. On Saturday, I took a break from exercise and did housework and ran errands instead. I am really enjoying the Zumba workout. I'm at a point where I am comfortable with the moves in the Express workout and I think I'm ready to move to the next level.

Before (taken 6/29/11)
Measurements: My goal is to lose 69 pounds. That may sound like a lot, but it will get me to a healthy weight for my height. I'm pretty happy with my numbers for this week.

Weight loss this week: 1.8
Inches lost this week: 2

Posting a picture was a tough decision for me. I have a habit of deleting all the pictures of me that I don't like, as a result, there aren't too many pictures of me. However, I wanted a "before" picture to help measure my progress, so here it is. You don't know how badly I wanted to PhotoShop the heck out of this picture (or maybe you do). But I didn't. All of the bumps and bulges are mine, and I'll own them. For now. I'll try to post additional pictures as I go, so you can see my progress.

I've met some new friends through the Empty the Junk from the Trunk Facebook group. It's so helpful to connect with others who are facing the same challenges - keeps you motivated. If you're looking for some encouragement, stop by and request an invitation to join.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Weighing In

My new scale, and toes in need
of a pedicure.
I've had it with feeling fat and frumpy when I should be forty(ish) and fabulous. So I've decided to do something about it.

Here's the plan...

Food Journal:  I have a tendency to snack. A lot. Writing down everything I eat will force me to acknowledge how much I'm eating, and hopefully encourage me to eat less.  That's the theory. I'm also trying to make healthier choices and reduce my portion sizes.

Regular Exercise:  I'm an admitted couch potato. Don't get me wrong, I love to go camping and hiking.  But when I'm home, I'm usually curled up on the couch with a book or my laptop. Last week, I received my Zumba Total-Body Transformation System from Amazon, and discovered just how fun this exercise program can be. I love Latin dance and I'm really hoping that this is something I can stick with.

Measurements:  On Saturday, I bought a new digital scale. I recorded my weight and measurements and will check these weekly.  This is my least favorite part of the plan because my numbers really suck right now.

Accountability:  I'll be posting my progress here every week. No, I'm not going to post my weight or measurements (I'm not that gutsy), but I will report how much I've lost - or gained. I'll also share my observations on eating and exercise.

So far I'm feeling really good about this. I've been faithfully doing Zumba workouts every evening. I skipped over the weekend, but made up for it with running a ton of errands on Saturday and mowing the yard on Sunday. The food journal is an eye opener. It makes me think twice about grabbing yet another handful of M&M's. As for the measurements... well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Let's Hear It For the Boys

Aren't boys amazing? They can spend an entire afternoon pelting each other with paintballs in 100 degree heat, and still remain best friends. Let's hear it for the boys!

This photo was submitted in the I Heart Faces weekly photo challenge -

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Things My Father Taught Me

I haven't spoken to my father in over ten years.

My parents divorced when I was seven and we moved to Texas a few years later. For years, I tried to stay in contact with him through letters, phone calls, occasional visits, announcements and greeting cards. I maintained the hope that one day he would realize that he missed me and wanted me to be a part of his life.

I pretended that it didn't hurt when he never responded. I was kidding myself.

Five years ago, I gave up. I finally admitted to myself that he was never going to respond and I was wasting my time.

If I were to talk with my father today, I would thank him for teaching me a few things about parenting.
  • You do not divorce your children when you divorce your spouse. Children are family forever.
  • Children are a labor of love. They should never be made to feel like a burden.
  • It takes very little effort to show your child that she is loved.
  • Children (both boys and girls) need a male role model in their lives.
  • Promises are not made to be broken. Sometimes, it can't be helped, but it should be a rare occurrence.
These are just a few of the things I have learned from my father. I like to think that they have helped make me a better parent for my son.

Perhaps one day my father will realize what he's missed.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We found out on Friday that James would be sitting on the stage during graduation - one of the top ten students in his class. (He is number ten.) On Saturday morning, we found out that he would be speaking.

What?? Why doesn't my son share these small, but important details? And why didn't I order a video of the ceremony?

We arrived at the SHSU Coliseum at 1:30 - an hour and a half early, as instructed. The students found their seats, then proceeded to mill about the coliseum floor - taking pictures and visiting with friends.

My mother and her husband joined us a few moments before the ceremony began and we watched as the students lined up by rows and filed out. As they exited the coliseum, we noticed that each student carried a rose and each row of students was connected by a ribbon tied to their roses. Interesting.

The ceremony itself went by in a blur. We cheered when they introduced the top ten students and listed their accomplishments, and we were happily surprised when the principal acknowledged James' attendance achievement. We listened to the clever speeches and then watched our son and his friends, some that he's known since kindergarden, walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. We cried as they cut the ribbons at the rose ceremony, separating each student from his classmates. We broke into wild applause as James took the stage for the closing speech, and we all cheered as the caps went flying into the air... and James' cap landed at the principal's feet.

We've watched these kids grow up and now they're headed off in different directions and to new adventures. They've come so far... and we can't wait to see what they'll accomplish next.

Congratulations Caney Creek Class of 2011! Good luck and God Bless!

Photo credit: David Mackey

Friday, May 27, 2011

Present and Accounted For

In my last post, I mentioned that my son, James, has never missed a day of school. Not one single day.

His goal of perfect attendance was established in sixth grade. He had just been recognized for 6 years of perfect attendance (not counting kindergarten) and decided that he was half-way there. Why not go all the way? An article about a local girl winning a car for outstanding attendance may have influenced his decision somewhat, but that doesn't matter. The boy had a goal.

For thirteen years, he has been in class or at school-sponsored events every school day. Never absent, never tardy, and never leaving early for a doctor visit. And for thirteen years we have monitored his attendance records, understanding that sometimes people make mistakes. There were lots of mistakes once he reached junior high - not surprising, considering each teacher was keeping track of 3, 4 or 5 times as many students. At least once a year we contacted the school to report errors. The errors were always corrected... or so we thought.

Last week, we attended the senior awards presentation. James received several awards , but we were surprised that there was no mention of his attendance achievement. I may be a little biased here, but I think that lifetime perfect attendance is something that deserves recognition. Otherwise, why would anyone ever bother attending more than the minimum number of days required?

James followed up with the school this week, and learned that his record showed an absence in 8th grade, and that he would have to contact the junior high to correct it. I remembered reporting that absence to the school on the last week of classes and receiving assurances (as usual) that it would be corrected. Only this time, it wasn't. I guess I should have checked... verified that it was corrected... followed up every time to make sure that people were actually doing their jobs. Silly me - expecting people to keep their promises... to do their jobs.

Today I made phone calls, speaking with people who claimed to be unable to correct records that had already been submitted. (If that is true, we have a seriously flawed system.) I worked my way up to the district superintendent's office, where I finally spoke with someone who actually seemed to care. She took my information and promised to help resolve the problem.

It's amazing how quickly things happen when you get the right people involved. Within an hour, I received a call from the high school principal. She had talked to the junior high principal who agreed that the record was incorrect and James really did have perfect attendance. She apologized for the confusion and told me that they were ordering a plaque for James. It wouldn't be ready until after graduation, but at least his efforts would be recognized.

I'm sad that he wasn't able to share his achievement with his friends on awards night. So I'm sharing it here... with you.

Way to go, James!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Senior Year

This is my son's last year of high school. We've been acknowledging it all year... last first day of school, last homecoming, last fall festival, last marching band competition, last football game, last banquet, last fundraiser, last class project, last concert, last test, senior awards night, prom. Every event was marked as their last by the senior class. 

And on Saturday, we will celebrate the culmination of twelve years (thirteen if you count kindergarten) of academic study and extracurricular activities.


My baby boy is graduating.

For thirteen years, he has attended classes - never missing a single day of school, he has maintained an A average, and has never gotten a bad conduct report. He will graduate summa cum laude, top 5% of his class, an AP scholar, with a UIL award and a President's award.

I am so darned proud of him, I could cry.

And I probably will.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

There's Something About Cats

I keep asking my husband to please remind me again, why we have cats. 

They really are worse than children. They require constant maintenance - food, water, and litterbox cleaning (yuck). Closed doors upset them and they will stand outside the door, yowling, until it is opened. They are always underfoot. Even when you are careful to avoid them, someone gets their tail stepped on. They sleep all day and race around the house at night, using sleeping humans as their own personal trampoline.

Everything is a toy to cats. They will steal things from my purse to play with and leave them floating in their water bowl when they are finished. (So far my blue tooth hasn't made it to the water bowl yet, but I'm keeping my purse zipped from now on.)  Body parts (toes, fingers, hair, etc.) are also great toys - perfect for clawing and biting.

We chose not to have our cats declawed and they have repaid our kindness in so many ways. The little furballs have practically destroyed the upholstery on my favorite chair and the carpet in our hallway and are now expanding their efforts to other areas of the house. Their most recent adventure... the box springs. My husband thought they were playing under the bed while he was trying to nap. When he looked under the bed, no cats. But then a face peeked out from the bottom of the box springs. There was a hole in the cover and they were playing inside. (Yet another item to add to my ever expanding to do list.)

Did you know that cats have a special defense mechanism? It's strongest in kittens, but works for adults, too. I can be furious with them and then one will climb into my lap, curl up and start purring... and I melt. It happens every time... and we still have cats.

Last week's MCP Project 52 photography challenge topic was Window Light. I was lucky to have my camera handy when one of the girls was enjoying the afternoon sun, and caught this picture. Notice that there are no curtains in front of this window. There's a reason for that.

Monday, April 25, 2011


This is Ursula. Her mother came into our family as a stray two years ago. Ursula was the first-born of four kittens and one of three that we kept. (The fourth went to my step daughter.)  Ursula is small and she has no tail, but she has a big personality and beautiful golden eyes, which she usually closes whenever I try to take her picture. On Saturday, I was lucky to catch her napping in the sunbeam. A rare quiet moment. 

I am submitting this photo to the iheartfaces photo challenge. I'm hoping that they will love it as much as I do.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Four years ago, my son and I planted a hosta in our flower garden. Every winter, the hosta turns brown and dies, and every spring, it comes back as lush and green as ever. I was in the yard on Sunday afternoon, looking for a good place to hang a hummingbird feeder, and I stopped to admire the hosta. Then I noticed that there was a cute little green tree frog sitting on one of the leaves. So I did what any aspiring photographer would do - I grabbed my camera and took the little guy's picture. I had to share it with you, of course. Isn't he cute?  Too bad I don't have a current photo challenge with a green theme. This would be perfect. :)

I have finally reached the end of my 52 Organizing Missions.

#48 Organize Your Kids & Their Bedrooms - I have a 17 year old son. Getting him to organize anything is a losing battle. I have offered to do it for him, but he has declined, knowing that many of his possessions would simply disappear. He leaves for college in the Fall. Before then, his room will be cleaned and organized. Or else. ;)

#49 Find Your Business or Career Passion - I am 47 years old and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I may never know. But I have learned that I still enjoy photography and am working to develop my skills. Maybe one day I might even earn some money from it. A girl can dream! In the meantime, I will do what I do very well - system administration - and branch out where I can.

#50 Create a Debt Repayment Plan - I did this a long time ago. The only debt we currently have is our mortgage and a short term note for the truck I bought last month.

#51 Create a Weekly Schedule Template - I've been using a weekly planner since I attended Seven Habits for Highly Effective People 17 years ago. It has been a lifesaver for me and I would be lost without it. It is my master calendar - recording everything from birthdays and anniversaries to reminders to change the A/C filter. Effective? Very!

#52 Simplify Your Life - My new mantra. I will continue to declutter my home and keep new clutter from building up by following the one in one out policy. I will carefully consider each new request for my time before saying yes. I will slow down and enjoy life rather than blindly racing through it at warp speed.

Through this challenge, I have learned that I wasn't as disorganized as I originally thought, but I still have areas that could use improvement... and I will continue to work on those.

I've installed a new comments application on my blog, and I'm curious to see how it works. I'm hoping that some of my regular readers will leave me a quick hello to help me out.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Furry Friends

It's Tuesday, and I have already submitted my entry for the weekly MCP Project 52 photography challenge! Did hell freeze over? With 90 degree temps outside, I think not.

Actually, this week's topic was an easy one for me: Furry Friends. We happen to have a lot of those running around our house. Sometimes they even allow themselves to be snuggled, and I took advantage of one of those special moments to capture my shot.

This is my son, James, and his cat, Stormie, taking a catnap together. They are the best of friends, and both of them tend to be a little furry. (Sorry, James, but you must admit that the sideburns do give you a furry look.)

For my fellow cat lovers... a few more of our friends  (Ursula, Shadow, and Puck in the background).  We have eight cats in all. 

Just call me the crazy cat lady...

The crazy cat lady who submitted her photo early this week.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Wind in Her Hair

Some of our friends brought their daughter by for a visit during a recent Scouting event. At first, she was shy around me and my camera, but it didn't take long for her to warm up and start posing. Isn't she adorable?

Time for Hummingbirds

Yesterday, a hummingbird hovered outside my patio door for a moment. I stopped what I was doing to watch him, wishing that I had put up the feeder so he would stay long enough for me to take pictures, and then he was gone. It made me think about all the opportunities that we miss because we are too busy doing other things.

I've been struggling with my schedule lately. Flitting here and there like the hummingbird - trying to keep up with work, home, school and Scouting commitments, and still find time for me. Of course, the “me” time is what tends to slide. I really enjoy the weekly MCP Project 52 photography challenge, but the last few weeks were hard. I didn't have any really good ideas for the theme, so I waited until the last minute to take pictures... never a good idea.

Week 14's theme was Fusion. I wasn’t sure where to go with this, but a creative co-worker gave me an idea. An active imagination led Bo to attach a Chevrolet grill to the front of his desk – in a way, combining work and play. Is this fusion? Absolutely! And it was a lot better than my alternative picture of bugs on the front of a car. I was happy with the final result, but I wish I hadn’t waited until the end of the week.

The theme for week 15 was What People Think About You. Rather than showcasing one of my activities, I decided to put myself in front of the camera for a change. First, I had to learn how to use the self timer because I have not yet bought a remote. Then I had to pick a location. I tried a few pictures at work, but I wasn’t able to get a good angle without my tripod. I tried again at home, with the tripod this time. Better, but evidently I still have a lot to learn about using my camera, because I wasn’t able to get a clear shot. Every single one was blurry. Since I was running out of time I picked the least blurry shot to submit. My husband claims that I am constantly on the move, so maybe this could be his representation of me. I’m not happy with this picture. If I had started sooner I think I could have done a much better job.

I think it’s time to evaluate the activities that take most of my time. Aside from work, which is a necessity, which activities could I eliminate? Am I doing these things because I enjoy them or because I feel obligated? What would happen if I stopped? What else could I do with my free time?

It’s a lot to think about. And I will while I watch my newly hung hummingbird feeder for visitors… with my camera at the ready.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Crazy-Busy Life

I should have realized that I was tempting fate when I wrote about making weekly posts on my blog. That was on March 21 - more than 2 weeks ago. Now I feel bad for letting my readers down - all two of you - when you've been so good about checking in with me. I will do my best to catch you up on my crazy-busy life.

My participation in the MCP Project 52 has been affected by my schedule. I submitted pictures for the last two weeks and they were on the suggested theme, but I think you'll agree that they are not my best efforts.

Week 12's From the Jewelry Box had me digging out my collection of 80's twisty beads for a colorful, but messy shot, and Week 13's Just for Fun, an example of our Spring Fellowship craziness, was a late submission that missed the deadline for the group - probably just as well.

The best part of the last two weeks was spending time with my family. First, there was the Woodlands and Wildlife Expo two weekends ago where my son, James, and I took a couple of wildlife photography seminars; played with working dogs, a wolf hybrid, snakes, and a petting zoo full of cute critters; ate food prepared by the local dutch oven society; and picked up some trees to plant in our yard.

That was followed by all of us heading into Tomball for the German Heritage Festival.  Polka music, German beer,  brats and sauerkraut! What more could you ask for?  All in all, it was a wonderful (busy) day.

With the deadline for finishing our pow-wow outfits fast approaching, all of my spare time last week was dedicated to bead work and sewing. I am happy to report that the projects were finished in time. Well, mostly finished. I still plan to do some ribbon work to decorate James' leggings and aprons, but they were at least wearable. 

Here we are in our dance regalia.

James entered the dance competition and took first place in Senior Straight Dance.  He received a certificate and a belt buckle, along with quite a few nice compliments about his new outfit. There was no competition for ladies, but I enjoyed my evening of dancing and watching the boys compete.

Now that the big weekend is over, I'm trying to get back on my regular schedule. (My blog wasn't the only thing I neglected last week.)  Oh, and I'm looking for ideas for this week's photo challenge - Fusion.  If you have any suggestions, please send them my way!