Thursday, April 28, 2016

May Healthier Eating Challenge

I am trying to eat better. My 3 main meals are usually sort of healthy, unless I’m really lazy and just eat snacks. And I pick at way too much crap in-between meals. So I was reading about changing habits and one suggestion was to make small but sustainable changes, publicly announce what you want to do, and invite others to join. There’s something about being more accountable when you do things as a group.

So, I am officially inviting you to my May Healthier Eating Challenge.

Here’s the challenge (mostly stolen from some website I no longer remember):

  1. Pick one small healthy change to make a week (see some suggestions below).
  2. On Sunday, May 1st, post a comment here or on your blog that you are joining the challenge, and tell everyone what your change is for that week.
  3. At the end of each week share how you did.  Did you do 5+ days of your change? Yay! Tell everyone about it. If not, share that too. We will all be supportive.
  4. Pick another change to make the next week, but also continue your first change. By the end of the four weeks, you should have four solid changes if all goes well. If you weren’t successful, just continue the same change (or pick a different one if you didn’t like that one) and try again,

Small Healthy Eating Changes

What changes should you make? Here are some ideas for small changes.

  1. Add one more vegetable to your dinner.
  2. Add fruit to breakfast.
  3. Give up soda
  4. Have a healthy snack for when you feel like snacking (carrots, grapes, nuts, banana, raisins).
  5. Use a smaller plate for smaller portions
  6. Change a white grain to a whole grain.
  7. Have a V8 While You Cook
  8. Find a healthy breakfast recipe and try it
  9. Pick a healthy recipe and cook 2-3 days’ worth of it
  10. Eat yogurt everyday.
  11. Eat a vegan meal each day.
  12. Pick a healthier protein for one meal (lean meats, plant-based protein).
  13. Eat no fried foods.
  14. Replace sweets with fruit.
  15. No liquid calories before/after  lunch (tea, water, black coffee OK).
  16. Drink more water (set your goal yourself).
  17. Eat slowly and mindfully for one meal a day.
  18. Eat whole food instead of prepared food for one meal a day.
  19. Eat a salad every day.
  20. Drink tea every day.
  21. Discover a new food.
  22. Add more fiber to your diet (vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils).
  23. Cook dinner without using oil or added fat.

You get the idea. Feel free to make up your own healthy changes and share them to give others some ideas.

I hope you will join me on Sunday. I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Full of Grace

  • Being invited to a Passover Seder. It’s been awhile since I had close Jewish people in my life and it was lovely to be reacquainted with this most holy holiday. Even though I still don’t understand most of the Hebrew, there is something very special and calming about listening to its rhythm and knowing that these same prayers have been sung and celebrated for thousands of years.
  • The Middle Girl who graciously gave me an education on the artist known as Prince. I apparently missed quite a talent there.
  • The peas are starting to pop up and I planted the first seedlings of lettuce. I would like to plant more because I get so excited about the whole thing, but we are having a week of very cold night time temperatures so I am trying to wait.
  • Getting most of the top on the deck, at least enough that the dog can use the house doors rather than having to go through the garage. I really enjoy building things, but I have to admit that this project is bigger and more time consuming than I first imagined.  But at least now most of the work is off my aching knees.  

  • All the time I have spent on this deck I have been thinking about my father who taught me had to build and fix and use tools. I was not even allowed to get my driver's license until I could change the oil and a tire in a car. At the time I thought he was frustrating and old fashioned. Once I became a home owner I really appreciated all the skills, not to mention the satisfaction of being self sufficient and the calm that comes when I get lost in working with my hands. So this week I am particularly grateful for my dad and all he taught me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Full of Grace

  • After a few weeks of high temperatures barely climbing above freezing it suddenly turned downright warm. Spring has finally arrived and with it, trees budding and grass greening and the birds are so damned happy about it. (Although I would prefer if they weren't so happy at 4 a.m.) The weather has improved everyone's mood.
  • I had the deck wood delivered and they just left it all in my driveway. A mountain of wood. So I hired my neighbor’s kids to move it all. Then the older kid stayed to help with all the heavy construction. Since Martha tore her rotator cuff, she has been of minimal help.  I am so grateful that a young back saved me from digging holes, lugging 16, 80 pound bags of cement, and holding 2 x 12s up while they were secured. I couldn’t have done it without him. 
  • The deck posts and joists are all in which is the bulk of the heavy work (which no one will ever see). Now I have a day off while the gas and electric people come.  We are going to hook our new grill to our natural gas so we never have to worry about running out of propane again.

  • Peachie and her boyfriend invited me to go for a hike in the Adirondacks. We climbed to the top of Buck Mt. and then took a nap on the rocks.  I was very grateful for the rest.

  • Meeting the new man Beaner has been dating and liking him very, very much. What a refreshing change from her usual "type".

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Two steps forward, ten steps back.

Step one of the deck project began with relocating some nearby bushes because the deck is going to be enlarged.  That went smoothly.

And then the snow came. And the cold weather. Not just for a day or two. Wintry weather has lasted more than a week.  So I started step two - the demo - with a snow covered deck.  At first I thought I’d be taking it apart board by board. But instead, since no wood was worth salvaging,  I took a chainsaw to it.  And because Martha built it decades ago, without the proper nails (of course) it just about fell apart on its own. I had planned on three days for the demo but I finished in one, including loading it all in our trailer and hauling 3 loads to the transfer station. Which was good because I needed two days and a bottle of Ibuprofen to recuperate.

And then things went downhill.

Years ago when the deck first started looking like crap, Martha wanted to paint it. I was totally against that since it would require so much maintenance, but she painted it anyway. And because she is not very particular in the way she works, she splattered a darker grey paint all over the light grey vinyl siding. Then she tried to paint the vinyl to cover it. Over the years it became a splotchy mess that looked terrible. So, before the deck went back up, I wanted to replace it.  

First step -  rip off the old pieces. But I found you need a special tool for that.  Go buy tool.

It was so friggin’ cold that it was twice as hard to get off as it should have been and some of the trim moulding snapped because it was so brittle.  Had to replace that.

Then under the french doors I found a whole section of rotted wood.  Aarrggghhh!

Now needing wood I had to hook the trailer back up. But it still had the last load of deck debris so that needed to be emptied first. We had lost a huge tree branch in the snow storm so I wanted to throw that in the trailer also.  Got out the chainsaw to find the chain now needed sharpening. Spent an hour looking for the spare chain (because every good lesbian carries a spare chainsaw chain, right?) Finally got that fixed, the branch cut up, trip to the landfill, trip to Home Depot (where all their computer systems were down and it took almost 45 minutes to check out)  

Cut out the rotten wood, filled with epoxy, and pieced in replacement wood.  It took me almost 3 days to replace 9 pieces of siding!  My hands were cold and raw and shredded, I wrecked my knees with all the kneeling on the frozen ground, there’s not one part of my body that doesn’t ache, and I am now way behind schedule and haven’t even begun the first step of construction. And now it is raining.

I have been trying to find some the blessings in all of this, but the best I can do this week is:

I am grateful to have a soft warm bed to collapse in every night.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Full of Grace

  • New York State Governor Cuomo placing a ban on official State travel to North Carolina because of their new discriminatory law.  Stating “in New York, we believe that all people - regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation - deserve the same rights and protections under the eyes of the law.”  Yeah, I do love my New York State values.
  • Taking a tour of my Town’s water treatment plant. I never knew how complicated the process was - dependent on weather and at what level the water is taken from the reservoir, and where you are on the water line, and a score of other factors. I am very grateful for the dedicated folks who keep my water safe.
  • Getting results back from genetic testing that showed of 22 markers for cancer mutations, all mine were negative.  
  • The police officer who helped when my dog got loose while out on a walk.  I knew my dog knew the way home but I live on a major, high traffic street and I was scared that she would get hit. The police officer parked in the middle of the street with his red lights flashing, and slowed all traffic until my dog got safely across.
  • Getting step #1 of the deck replacement -  relocating bushes - done before this happened.

Yeah, this might set me back a few days.