Monday, October 31, 2011

October Recap

October in this part of the country usually consists of crisp, sunny days slowly declining in temperature and length and gently ushering in the holiday season.  This year, however, was the most unusual October I remember.  We started with some very sudden cold temperatures making our arts and craft festival on the first weekend of the month less enjoyable than usual. That was followed by a week or so of rain, rain, rain.  Then we had the more normal crisp fall days that are so pleasant you don't want them to end and you don't want to come into the house.  But you can't ignore the fact that the days continue to get shorter and shorter. 

October saved the craziest for last this year, though.  We ended the month with a snow storm!  Snow often doesn't appear here until January although a late November snow is not unheard of.  I've been told that this was the first October snow since 1979.  It looked like was got about five inches and most of the accumulation was on the grassy areas, although the roads became slush covered.  The trees took a big hit, though.  Many of them are still bearing leaves so the heavy wet snow made for heavy, wet and eventually broken branches around the neighborhood.  Our electricity flickered a bit but never went completely out.  And we had our first overnight frost of the season. 

I love the change of seasons and I love them even more now that I'm retired.  I can enjoy the days as they come without regard to weather it's a work day or not.  I can spontaneously change my plans according to the weather from a gardening day to a quilting day or whatever.  I can enjoy the snow from inside my house without worry about having to drive to work in it and I can walk the dog whenever the conditions seem the best for a walk, not at a particular time.  But it IS time to stock up on some hot chocolate!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Diet Check In

Well, with the year 5/6ths over, it's time to evaluate my diet.  The weight is still coming off, but very slowly now.  I love my digital scale.  It's not only more accurate, but I can see progress in smaller steps.  For instance, I haven't seen the number "136" for many weeks.  And I'm seeing "134" more and more often.  In between there I see 135 and change.  I know that weight fluctuates during each day but as long as the higher numbers become less frequent and the lower ones more common, I figure I'm still headed in the right direction.  The first time the number 133 shows up, I'm going to be excited.  I'm not sure that I will reach my goal by the end of the year but the change in scales (remember my old scale measured 4 pounds light) makes it a bit hard to determine.  In any case, though, I will end the year in better health than I started it.

The pretty fall days have been good for increasing my exercise.  I've taken my dog out on afternoon walks at some local parks in addition to our regular morning walk.  I wish I could have gotten out on some hiking trails with him this fall, but I didn't accomplish that.  We do have some nice local parks and a lake near town with a trail around it that we visited recently.  We also tried a trail around our new hospital.  They have been advertising it as a "park like" setting.  It's totally oversold.  It's just a sidewalk around the hospital...not very park like to me.

Food choices are always a challenge.  I've learned that salads and fruit are important to keep me on track.  They're filling but low in calories.  They also seem to control my carb and sweet cravings fairly well.  I've also noticed that being involved in as activity - even a sedentary one like my sewing - helps simply because I don't think about eating when I'm concentrating on something else.  I'm also much more aware of portion size, particularly for calorie dense foods and try to limit my servings of them.  I've also learned to notice when I feel full and to leave the rest on the plate.

So, I"m already thinking about 2012 and goals to set there.  If I had to give myself a grade for 2011 I think it would be a solid "B".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why Do Blogs Stop?

So, I know that blogging about blogging is the most boring thing I can do, but since my audience is small or maybe non-existent (I sort of feel a bit like Russell Crowe in "The Beautiful Mind" talking/writing to people who really aren't there) I'm taking some liberties here and expressing my wonderings.  I sometimes browse through blogs or happen upon them when searching for something and am surprised to find so many that just seem to end many years ago.  People were writing regularly and then just stop.  What is written is still interesting to read but the ending is abrupt. It's like watching a movie and having the DVD freeze up in the middle.  Or reading a book and losing it somewhere before you finish.  It always causes me to wonder why the person stopped.  Did life just get too busy?  Did they become ill or have some tragedy befall them?  One woman was blogging in January about a flood near her house and then another post in April and then....nothing.  A few are blogs that I try to follow because they write about common interests.  Are they no longer interested in these interests? And, I also wonder, just how long will blogspot keep an inactive blog online?  In any case it doesn't seem like a conscious decision to stop blogging.  It seems more like it "just happened".  I miss the "closure", but I suppose that's my issue.  I AM one of those people who likes to watch a movie from the first frame to the last without leaving for more popcorm or a trip to the rest room.  Hopefully when I stop blogging it will be with purpose and with a heartfelt farewell to my audience....real and/or imagined.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Memory Quilt - Done

This quilt was made for my Uncle and Aunt.  He is the last surviving sibling of my mother's family.  The quilt is meant to highlight their life together.  He is Italian, signified by the "pasta" print; she is from Germany, the beer print (I couldn't find anything else that seemed to represent Germany), they lived much of their life in New York and now live in Las Vegas - the top and bottom prints.  I added some pictures to tie it together.

I was anxious to try the strip method again - like used on the cuddle quilt.  I think it is a good option when the prints themselves are telling the story of the quilt, but it works better with the nappy fabric of the cuddle quilt.  I overquilted because it just looked too plain without some additional quilting.  I'm still not too good at binding, but I keep trying.  The funny thing is, I found a quilt that I made 30 years ago before I knew anything about quilting and my corners on the binding are perfect!!  How did I do that?  I discovered how to use some of the decorative stitches on my machine and used one to attach the binding and another for decoration.   So, again, another learning experience.

I've recently discovered some new things about quilting.  This is probably old news to anyone who has quilted for awhile.  There is another way of piecing a square called "paper piecing".  There are several patterns listed here. I may try this on my next quilt for a few blocks if I can figure out how to increase the size of the pattern.  Also at this blog there are nice hints on how to do free motion quilting using just a regular sewing machine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Motherly Trifecta

I had a mother's trifecta this weekend.  I spent Saturday with son #1 and got to see his new rental in D.C.  It was a very nice visit that I hope to repeat soon.  Driving to Northern Virginia, I received a rare call from son #2 asking me about a hiking trail that he hoped to do with his wife later that day.  And on the way home I received a call from son #3 who was visiting his girlfriend in Lexington and wanted to stop by to visit on his way back to Columbus!  So, in the space of 24 hours I had contact with all three offspring!  Now, if you are the parent of only girls, you may be thinking, "So, what?!?"  But, for sons, or at least for my group, any contact is a cause for celebration.  And to have 100% contact....well, that's usually saved for holidays.  Merry Christmas me!!!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

"Not Dead" Day

Yesterday was October 6th.  Every year this day is special to me.  Thirty years ago on October 6th two things happened:  Anwar Sadat was shot and I cheated death.  I have vivid memories of that day.  I had just left a patient's house where we watched the news about Sadat's shooting.  I attempted to turn left out of their driveway onto a twisty two lane road and was hit broadside in the driver's door by a large truck.  It's amazing that I'm still here and even more amazing that my oldest son is alive.  I was pregnant with him at the time.  My injuries were extensive and I was told to expect to miscarry.  The "compassionate" doctor told me not to worry- that 33% of all first trimester pregnancies miscarry.  What he failed to understand was that this pregnancy represented 100% of MINE.  The discipline of trauma medicine was in it's infancy, MRIs were not yet invented and uterine ultrasounds were so new that they were performed by doctors as a procedure.  But, despite all that, seven months later I gave birth to a healthy baby boy who is the only other person who truly owns this "not dead" holiday.

So much could have changed that day.  I was fortunate to have survived the initial impact, to apparently have been small enough not to crush my unborn, to get good emergency care at the scene and then later at the hospital, to recover without consequence.  I have a few scars to remind me and sometimes I think my word finding difficulties might be related to the injuries, but none of this has prevented a full and productive life.

I'll go on celebrating "not dead" day on October 6th with a thankfullness for life and resolve to make each day count.