Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ultimate Shrinkvivor? It's Up To You!

So I find myself in the company of six other Shrinkvivor Outlast Tribe members and we're all vying for the same set of awesome prizes. This has been an amazing journey with lots of eye opening moments and accomplishments.

Before you check out the vlog, please remember it's my first and, yes, I was really nervous. But it was fun and I had Beth's kids doing the "Take two" and "Cut!" coaching so that helped. And, as you'll hear, Eli even did some coaching of his own.

Please remember to vote everyday at And one more thing, in my vlog I stated that the voting continues through Tuesday but that was incorrect. The voting actually ends at 9 p.m. Wednesday. I can't believe I almost gypped myself out of a whole day's voting.

Okay, here it is.

I want to say thank you to our awesome sponsors, Beach Cruiser Bicycles, Click, EA Sports, Fitness Coffee, Lands End, Bornfit, and Miraclebody Jeans.

And thank you so much for watching and please, go now and cast a vote for me. And then again tomorrow and the next day, etc. etc. etc.

You'll have my undying gratitude!

Friday, October 29, 2010

You Capture - Autumn

I know it's late but I worked too hard on this week's You Capture subject of Autumn to just skip the challenge altogether.

So I'll grab a couple of photos that I think were among the best I took last week and submit them.

Since I walked over thirty miles last week, all my photos originated at or very near Striebel Pond.

For more Autumn pictures, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shrinkvivor Challenge Check-In #7

Really? Check in #7 already? When this started, we had eons ahead of us to accomplish every kind of wonderful thing. And now it's flown by and almost over.

The bad news is that it's almost over.

The good news is that I feel like I've accomplished almost every kind of wonderful thing. I've learned so much and come so far that just writing this makes me feel exhilarated and happy!

Oh those mini challenges (or should I say many challenges!). So much to learn. And so very helpful. I didn't know that water was that important. It wasn't until Bacardi Mama and I shared the same disappointing weight change, that I started to realize that water really does make a difference and that maybe, just like our body holds onto weight when we screw up our metabolism by starving ourselves, our body also holds onto water when it thinks there's not enough coming in.

I learned that, not only is it healthy to eat fruits and vegetables five times a day, doing so leaves less room for other, not so healthy foods.

I've learned that exercise isn't just for when I'm in the mood. Exercise is a lifestyle. You do it regularly and I learned it because I'd rather die than let down a whole team of people. So, I found out I could get out there and move even when I thought I was too tired or didn't have time.

This Sisterhood is a beautiful place. I've been so happy here and I've been so successful. Finally I got my mind right and my body followed. Don't get me wrong. I've got a ways to go but for the first time in eleven years, I believe I'll get there.

I only lost .4 of a pound this week. But it's okay. It's in the right direction and it doesn't signal the end of my weight loss journey. It just says I didn't do as well this week but I know I'll do better next week or maybe the week after. It's a marathon - not a sprint. And thanks to the Sisterhood and all the support of its members, I'm in it for the long haul.

And I walked over 30 miles - just barely but WOO-HOO!

By the way, I didn't earn the shopping trip that Mr. Right promised me if I lost twenty pounds by the end of the challenge (I still have a week to do it right?) but I was right. My prize is the new, smaller, more fit me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking Back Tuesday - Honeymoon In Denver

A few weeks ago I wrote here about when Mr. Right and I got married and I said that we honeymooned in the South by driving around aimlessly for a few days. We called that our honeymoon and we did it because we felt like we were supposed to but really it was silly. We only had a few more days to spend with our families before we'd be moving more than a thousand miles away and we could hardly wait to start our new life in Denver, CO. And that's where the real honeymoon happened.

I worked for Kelly Services. I usually took a bus to work and, as a Kelly Girl, always wore white gloves - at least to the first day on each job.

Mr. Right had classes from noon until about 5:30 or 6:00. So after I got off work each day, I had time to hurry to the neighborhood grocery store and purchase something to prepare for dinner. I can't forget how quiet that little apartment house was and that I finally started turning on the radio during dinner because sometimes all we could hear was each other eating.

After dinner, I cleared the dishes and ironed and starched Mr. Right's fatigues until they could stand up by themselves. Then I would drill him on his school work until he got 100% on his tests every week.

Each day he would sleep until time to report to school at noon and then he'd get in his car and drive to and from school while I figured out bus transfers and schedules to get to and from work. I wonder if he thought life would always be so idyllic for him.

I know it sounds like I got kind of a raw deal here but remember, I was basking in the glow of a new marriage, and everything was just the way I wanted it.

Besides, now I'm retired and he isn't, so I think things are really starting to even out.

Next week I plan to tell you just how honeymoony our time in Denver really was. Ah! Memories.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Monday Musings

What a mixed weekend it was! Amy was in town and that's always wonderful! But my desktop comptuer got sick again that's a downer.

How can someone be so lucky and fortunate and then be thrown into a tailspin over something so unimportant. I'm thinking I just got discombobulated and I'm having trouble righting myself.

I knew I was blessed to have so much resolve and focus on my fitness and weight loss efforts but now it's slipping away and I'm not sure why. I know I bent some of my own rules this weekend but I should be able to do that and go on. Is that how we fall off the weight loss wagon? By starting to do everything halfway or do we start doing things halfway because our resolve is ebbing? I wish I knew the answer and I wish I could get back in the groove.

I had some beer over the weekend but I'm going to do that in my life. We went out to eat at Olive Garden and, as I found out when I got home, even their best choices aren't real good ones when you're trying to LOSE weight. But I intend to go to Olive Garden sometimes in my life. Amy and I went to Qdoba Friday night and I got two of my favorite meals - naked burritos with black beans, chicken, cilantro rice, and a little queso. I've been doing this every week though for about three weeks and I got away with it. (By the way, one of the meals goes into the refrigerator for later in the week.)

Was it the combination of all these no noes that knocked me for a loop? I'm starting to cheat on my Hostess cakes and I haven't been as disciplined in other areas as I wanted to be. I'm walking everyday but I'm not achieving the miles walked that I told myself I'd do. Ugh! I just hope I can find my way out of this before it's too late.

Then, to top it off, when I walked at Striebel Pond last night it felt terribly lonely and desolate. There was not a swan in sight. Not one. I've never been there when there wasn't at least one on site but people have told me that it's happened before. I guess I'll have to wait and see if they come back.

I started my walk right after an unexpected thunderstorm and the clouds reflected the turbulence that was still in the area.

All too soon the sun was slipping below the horizon and it was getting dark even earlier than I expected because of the cloud cover.

So, I tried to quicken my tired step to get as many miles in as possible before I had to pack it in due to darkness. As I rounded the southeast corner, I came upon a woman (about my age) pacing back and forth and looking distressed. It turned out that there was a turtle on the walking path and she didn't know what to do about it. I did though. I took pictures. It was too dark to not use the flash but just the same (after missing two turtle photographing opportunities this summer), I was determined to capture his beautiful countenance. Or something.

While I clicked away, the other woman fretted about how to get him off the path. In my mind, he should get off the path the same way he got on. Finally she agreed and we ended up walking together for about the next mile. It was really nice to have someone to walk with and the dark isn't nearly as intimidating when you have company. Plus time goes much faster with a partner. I'm going to have to find a way to get Mr. Right out there every night.

Perhaps I'll run into her again someday. In the meantime, I'll try to get out of my funk and get out to Striebel Pond early enough to avoid the dark and I'll look forward to the hoped for reappearance of the swan family.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do You Suppose They Pose?

I've certainly addressed the issue of deer being so elusive and shy but now I'm starting to think they're clever and bold. Why else would two deer stand in an opening, staring at me like I'M an alien, and begging to have their picture taken.

I can just hear the conversation taking place as I approach. "Watch this" one will say. "She won't see us even though we're in plain sight". Then when I do see them and stop to take pictures, they don't flee; they just stand and stare at me.

See the pavement right in front of them? That's the end of the cross path. They couldn't be more obvious. But still, they just stand and stare.

Then the mom says, come on let's go. I'm bored. Let's show her our butts.

But the kid, being a kid, says no I just want to stay and stare a little longer.

Okay, I'm outta here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You Capture - Orange

You capture this week is orange and that's perfect for mid October. There's orange everywhere right? At least that's how I saw it. Now Mr. Right thought I was seeing orange where there was none. See what you think.

The foliage looked orange everywhere but when I turned a more critical eye I did see brown and I did see red. These were my only two keepers of the foliage shots.

This one even Mr. Right agreed was orange in the purest sense.

And when the darlings of Striebel Pond have such obvious orange in them, they get to be included too.

Even in flight. You might have to look but it's there.

I'll be the first to agree that geese are not orange. But when they flew up into the setting sunlight, I saw orange.

And even as it got dark on the ground, they found light in the sky.

And of my dozens of sunset photos, this SOOC is the only one that made the cut and that's just because I see orange in the water.

For indisputable oranges, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shrinkvivor Challenge Check-In #6

I can't believe we're nearing the end of this giant challenge. When we started, I was confident that I had plenty of time to accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish in this time period. Now I'm not so sure.

I've continued with my good habits. I haven't missed a day of shredding in 45 days. And now, after I finish Level 1, I continue right into Level 2 where I'm up to Circuit 2. Wow! Even I'm impressed. There are so many exercises that I was sure were beyond my capabilities at first glance but now, with patience and determination, I've been able to work into all of them. A peek ahead makes me wonder if that will continue, but, deep down, I know it will. Slowly but surely.

And I haven't let go of the walking either. One of the things I love about these challenges is that they prod and nudge and force you to do the things that might slip away if we didn't have some mini-goals. So, on my worst day, I walked an hour and twenty minutes. I'm impressed again!

The only thing I changed this week was my eating habits. First of all, I started using most of my Weight Watcher points. This was hard to do but I had too many experts advising me in this direction to ignore them. In fact, last week I used all my weekly flex points and had only ten activity points left over when the week ended.

I also really tried to keep my water intake up. I'm convinced that this is a key part of getting fit AND losing weight.

And the final thing that was a change for me was a new product that I tried. I saw it advertised on TV so when I came across it in the store, I gave it a second look. The front of the box bragged about 9 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 7 whole grains. I hadn't really addressed protein before but I wondered if I needed better fuel for all the exercising I was doing and if so, it looked like this product would help provide it. Furthermore the back of the box called out to me too. It said Eat Right, Exercise, Relax. Hmmm. I had been tense lately. Maybe there was something there too. Long story short, I've had a bowl of Kashi GOlean Crunch every day for lunch. (I can't let go of my thin, everything bagel for breakfast) and I think it's helped.

So when I stepped on the scale this morning, I saw that my weight had dropped 2.6 pounds and that's something I can celebrate. Woo HOO! I am so pumped!

That 20 pound loss in 7 weeks goal, that I set, still looks kind of elusive but now I believe that I'll at least come close and that makes me so happy!

Thanks Sisterhood for keeping me 'on point'!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Looking Back Tuesday - Wrong Way All Day in 1966

I wrote the following synopsis for a post back in May and at that time, indicated that a future post would tell what happened next. This is that original post clip.

When my sister, Laurel, and I drove our brother back to Ft. Leonard Wood after a weekend leave from the National Guard back in the spring of 1966, we arrived so late in the day that we had to spend the night in a motel. It was located right on the cloverleaf that would take us back to Indiana so we didn't need to look at a map to find our way home. We drove all day and had a great time. The muffler went out on the VW so we bought some white shoe polish, painted a huge mouse on the side of the car and the words 'the mouse that roared', and laughed and laughed. We saw signs that said Springfield so we knew we were headed in the right direction and since we didn't have to worry about changing highways until we got near Chicago, we just kept on going. About the time we were wondering why we weren't seeing signs of Chicago, the engine blew on our little 'mouse that roared'. A couple of helpful motorists, a truck driver and a local resident, stopped to help us. They looked at our license plate and asked where we were headed. We said, "Home, to Indiana". They said, "You're eight miles from the Oklahoma border". Laurel and I looked at each other and, you guessed it, laughed until we couldn't breathe. We had driven all day - the wrong way. And the Springfield signs we had seen were not for Springfield, Illinois like we thought. They were for Springfield, Missouri. How we got home will be a subject for a future post.

Now, here's the rest of the story.

One of the motorists towed us to the nearest truck stop. That truck stop was not the modern oasis that motorists enjoy today. It was truly a truck stop where mainly truckers stopped and ate lunch. You could gas up and eat and leave. That was about it. Of course, the proprietor knew the locals and knew the mechanic who would come and analyze our engine problems.

Soon there was a group of men standing around the car, looking at our mouse with the long tail artwork and saying hilarious things like, "she ain't gonna roar no more". And offering all kinds of help for my sister and I like "I've got a place you can stay tonight. bwhaha!" Soon, though, a very countrified looking southern gentleman (think hillbilly) named Pud proclaimed that the engine was truly blown and would cost hundreds of dollars to fix or replace. I turned to my sister and said, "what are we going to do?" and she replied, "let's just wait 'til the mechanic gets here". "That", I said, "is the mechanic". And we laughed and laughed and laughed!

Soon we realized we were going to have stop laughing and call our Dad and see if he'd send us the money to get the car fixed. Deep down we both knew that wasn't going to happen. But I called (probably collect) and, we were right. He wasn't going to send that huge amount of money. In fact he wasn't going to send any money because he seemed to think it wasn't a mistake that we drove all day the wrong way. He thought we were running away. Why we would do that I don't know but all he said was, "get home". But, Dad, I said, "we only have $13 between us. Just before he hung up he said it again, "get home".

In Dad’s defense, I’m sure he thought we were too smart to drive all day the wrong way but he was wrong.

My sister and I were nothing if not faithful so we decided to walk out in the beautiful field behind the truck stop and say a prayer. Probably we should have known when we climbed through that fence that there might be cattle in there but obviously this wasn’t a stage in our lives where we always wore our thinking caps. There was a herd of cattle but they were docile and we escaped unharmed.

And most importantly, our prayers were answered.

Pud lent us the money for bus tickets and towed our car to his house, we never called home again. When I think of what our poor mom must have gone through, it almost breaks my heart. There really wasn't a way for them to research where we were or who we were with. There were no cell phones or computers to help us find our way or help them find us once that connection was broken. We knew where we were and we knew we were okay, but we were too stubborn to share that with our parents. I'm thinking that about the time Dad hung up that phone, he was starting to regret being so curt and terse. On the other hand, he must have known that if we couldn’t figure something out, we’d call back.

We rode that bus overnight and arrived in downtown Chicago. From there we took the South Shore train to Michigan City. We called home then because it was about 13 miles from the train station to our house and we were REALLY tired. Sure enough, Mom was waiting for us when we got there.

Now all these years I've felt that we were greatly wronged that day. That Dad should have made sure there was a way for us to get home - that he should have helped us figure something out. Now, after thinking about this post, I'm thinking differently. (These blogs can be very therapeutic.) Now I'm thinking we should have kept the home front apprised of where we were those two days and what we were doing.

Nothing was ever said about those two days when we were out of contact.

And when my Dad and Mom drove to Missouri a few weeks later to pick up my car, Pud told them what nice girls we were. He said we were so polite that we even asked if we could smoke before we lit up in his truck. Ooops. We may have told Dad that we never smoked.

And as far as our being too stubborn to call home again? I wonder where we inherited that trait.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Musings About Nothing At All

Which is what we did this weekend. Another beautiful Fall weekend that we enjoyed doing nothing in particular. We dabbled in yard work and cleaned up a corner that sorely needed it and we planned to put the cover over the big pond but we never got to it. That corner took far more time than we expected.

The koi were grateful, though, to put off adding the cover for another week. They don't like it too much but it's necessary to keep leaves out of the pond. They expressed their gratitude every time we walked in and out of the house by greeting us like this.

As usual lately, I spent a pretty good portion of time at Striebel pond. I walked 4.5 miles on both weekend days and that feels like some kind of accomplishment right there.

Here are some of the pictures I took yesterday.

The geese were just chillin' getting ready for the much colder weather that's sure to come. There were small gatherings like these:

And much larger gatherings like these:

Later on they took flight and I found out where they were going so enthusiastically. I saw them land right across the street and was surprised because I didn't think there was a pond over there. Then I realized there wasn't a pond. There was a cornfield. And sometimes that cornfield is quite covered in geese. Perhaps tonight I'll try to get a picture.

Soon the sun was setting. Sometimes I wonder if sunsets were a lot more boring before the jet age.

The swans were basking in the evening light.

Or following the Yellow Brick Road:

Mr. Right was waiting in the dark parking lot again. Time to head for home.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Deer Plus The One That Got Away

I walked at Striebel Pond yesterday evening. As usual I searched the woods area for deer and on my last round I was rewarded when I thought I saw a small one. I stopped, peered into the area where I'd thought he was, and no, I was wrong. No deer. A few steps further and I spotted this gal.
She posed for several pictures and then gave herself away when she looked back.

Pretty soon this youngster came into view. See him on the left?

And then in the blink of an eye on the right?

Almost like an illusion. He appeared and then was gone and if my camera hadn't seen him, I might not have either.

I left the paved path, crossed the bridge and entered the woods. Far off in the distance I spotted them again. But not before they spotted me.

On October 9th, I found myself out at the pond at almost 7 p.m. That's dark time here in Northern Indiana. I was on the homestretch of my walk and, although I was still carrying my camera, I knew the time for pictures was long passed.

Then at the side of the road that parallels the west side of the Striebel Pond path, I saw him. He was amazing. And I was so startled that I couldn't get my camera up and focused in time to get a good picture. But unlike some fish stories about the one that got away, I have some proof. It's a terrible picture but you get the idea. He was magnificent.

Look at the antler spread! Do you think it might have been a moose?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Maybe They're Always There

I like to photograph deer. I think it's because they're beautiful and elusive. I just see them so rarely and one day it became clear to me why that is. Much clearer in fact than my view of the deer themselves. They are masters of deception. They're probably standing there watching me pass by everyday and high pawing each other when I never see them. But one day I did spot something in the shadows and on closer inspection, there they were.

Now you really might have to double click on each picture to fully appreciate how clearly they are there but how well they're camouflaged. If you do, remember, use your green browser arrow key to back out of the enlargement. Not Esc or Backspace, because that will probably take you out of the site altogether. For me anyway, the green browser arrow key works well.

Anyway, there you have it. The real reason why I have thousands of pictures of geese but hardly any of deer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Capture - Animals

Our You Capture challenge this week was to capture animals. This should have been one of my favorites and one of my best. I spend half my life taking pictures of animals. After all, I don't have children around all the time to capture and I spend a lot of time observing and photographing the wildlife at Striebel pond.

Of course the swans are going to hog up a lot of the room on this post but first here are a couple of other birds, a grebe and some geese.

I had to include this shot because this guy swam right up to me and smiled. He actually wanted his picture taken.

The wingspan displayed in this picture was very impressive to me.

Then the swans got a little crazy and I had to photograph them. These photos would never win in a photography contest since they're so dark but I'm including them because of their content and the fact that if it weren't for Beth and You Capture, I wouldn't have them at all. They were far too distant for my flash and it was way too dark to shoot in auto. Thanks, Beth, for the little bit of knowledge I had that let me shoot in manual and capture the moments.

The money shot.

Then there was this little amphibian visiting the small pond at home. What is it? Frog? Toad?

Of course, I'm always on the lookout for deer when I visit Striebel Pond and this week, I caught a couple.
The end. Finally right?

For animals of every kind, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.