Sunday, December 23, 2007

Random Thoughts

After a whole week of vacation (my first in 6 months), I finally had had enough of sitting around and doing nothing. It's kind of funny, and not that unexpected, that it would take a whole week of doing nothing on vacation before I finally felt like doing anything. Oh sure, I made cookies one day, and I did one day of Christmas shopping, but that's it.

So today I decided I'd clean the house. And do the stuff that usually gets forgotten. So I spent the first 2 hours doing nothing but putting things back where they belong, with the ultimate goal of cleaning up my kitchen counter for the first time in months. Maybe a year. It was clean, but it was always cluttered. Well, no more. There's a candle and a silver platter on there, and that's it. While I was in the process, I cleaned the rails on the elliptical, cleaned the baseboards, vacuumed absolutely everything, and made a pile of stuff to go to the Good Will. I'm not done with that pile yet. It'll grow before Jan 1. I also cleaned off my desk and the side table in my office. First time that's been done in many, many months. I even managed a run to Wal-Mart to pick up some more vacuum bags so I could finish the job.

I'm also back to exercising after a week of being a slob. This week, even watching the Biggest Loser didn't motivate me to get moving. I need to though. My jeans are getting a wee bit too tight. Part of that slobbishness was 2 days of eating above-mentioned christmas cookies. I only ate two today though. I held my binge down to 2 days, so I'm getting better. It just didn't feel right if I went the whole season without making any cookies.

I guess I really did need that down time. Now I'm able to think about getting stuff done around the house, and I haven't had time for that all fall. I briefly toyed with the idea of doing something ambitious over my vacation, like painting the bathroom. But I quickly came to my senses, much to my husband's relief.

Got out of the house yesterday and went to HGMS. I wanted to finish up faceting a blue stone I'd been working on for a couple of weeks. However, when I got there and started really looking at the crown (the top part), I realized I'd screwed up the pavilion (the bottom part). The girdle (the middle) facets were staggered, up and down, instead of in a straight line. I had to take it completely out of the dop, and I'll have to start all over again. Bleah. Since I had to clean the wax and glue off of it before I could restart, I decided to start on a ruby. I'd bartered a bottle of brandy for a half a boule of synthetic ruby a month ago, and I've been anxious to try it. Tom helped me figure out the best way to dop the rough stone so I'd get the biggest cut out of it. Then I almost really screwed up the cut by getting my facets mixed up. Luckily, I figured it out just in time to save the stone. Oh, I could have saved it anyway, but I'd have had to make it smaller, and I didn't want to do that on a ruby. I got the first pass done on the pavilion, but I don't think I have a 600 grit lap to do the next pass. Well, maybe I'll pull out the faceting machine in a day or two and play with it. I also wire wrapped 3 cabochon stones this weekend, although I'm not really happy with the way one of them turned out. It'd suck if I have to scrap all that silver wire and start again. I could at least sell the wire for scrap to one of the guys at HGMS, and silver isn't all that expensive. At least, not as bad as gold wire.

I braved the mall last week, and found a great tasting tea at Teavana. Usually, I never stop in there, and I usually stick with flavored coffee. But they had a mix of chai and mate that was fabulous when I tried a sample, so I had them mix me up some. I didn't listen to the bit about it only being fresh for a week though. I wasn't going to buy a special air-tight tea container for $17 just to make my tea taste super fresh for the next month. I drink tea that's over a year old. It tastes fine to me. I'm not that much of a tea or coffee snob. Or a wine snob. either I like it or I don't.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree

That's the best part of the whole season. I love putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it. I like even better when the weather's been as nice as it has been lately, so I can sit on my chaise lounge in front of the lit Christmas tree, reading a book and listening to my stream through the open window. Ahhh, so nice.

When we went shopping for our annual trip a couple weeks ago, I found the perfect ornament hangar at a little store in Spring. Ordered one for myself, and when I got it last week, I put it up and it displays all my fancy ornaments gorgeously! See?

Okay, so you really have to click on them to look at the larger picture, but it's very pretty. And the best part is that I have plenty of space for more ornaments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Shopping

Friday I took the day off work and with several other ladies from work, we went to old town Spring, north of Houston, to spend the day shopping. It's a really cute place with tons of neat, kitchy shops. I think I ended up spending most of my money on myself instead of presents for others.

Pat loves snowmen, and she always picks up several different snowmen in Spring. This year, she found a door hangar that had a reindeer head on top of a snowman head on top of a Santa head. I took one look and called it a Christmas turducken. :) It's hanging on her office door now, and it's really cute, all soft and plushy.

Oh yeah, the best part of the morning was breakfast. Really. I've been low-carbing for a while now, and I was so looking forward to pancakes on Friday morning. We ended up at IHOP, and I got cheesecake pancakes with apple cinnamon. Very, very yummy.

I also found an ornament stand for all my fancy Cracker Box ornaments. They're too heavy to put on my real tree, and I've been looking for something like that for a long time.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Beowulf on the Big Screen

It was a really, really big screen. We went to see Beowulf at the 3D IMAX in north Houston today. Wow! It took up the entire screen, and the 3d was pretty cool. The sound was loud enough I could feel it in my bones. I don't think I've ever seen a 3D movie, so this was lots of fun.

Afterward, we stopped at IKEA, because it was there. I think I'm definitely an IKEA kind of person. The furniture, carpets and curtains were what I considered to be reasonable, and mostly nice, although it was a little too euro and modern for my taste. They still had lots of stuff that I thought looked nice. And the prices were a hell of a lot better than the stores I've been looking at around here. We even had dinner there: swedish meatballs and gravlox.

I can't believe how nice the weather is lately. It's the first of December, and it's 80 degrees. I'm wearing shorts and have the windows open. Just talked to Carolyn back in Virginia and she's getting sleet. I guess I can't complain. Sometimes I still miss winter weather. But then I realize Im wearing shorts in December. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Successful Thanksgiving

And by that, I mean I didn't eat so much I stuffed myself sick and slept the rest of the day. I made it my carb-up day and ate nice and sensibly. Oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and dinner was turkey, stuffing and part of an acorn squash. For dessert, only one slice of pie. I really wanted that second piece, but at 400 calories a slice, I thought I should really stop with just the one. Back to the low-carb diet the next day. I really do enjoy eating low-carb most of the time. My energy levels are much more stable, and I don't have any upset stomach issues.

We had a major storm front come through Wed night. Temp dropped by 20 degrees in 10 minutes, and by the next morning, all of the windows in the house were completely covered in condensate because we have such poor quality windows in the house.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lucy - Science in Hosuton

Saturday we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see Lucy, the oldest complete skeleton of Australopithecus Afaransis. It was part of an exhibit on Ethiopia, the country where she was found. The Ethiopia exhibit wasn't very interesting; it seemed more like a tourism guide to get you to come to Ethiopia. Unfortunately, the Lucy exhibit was very small, but it was still very exciting to see the actual bones. Apparently, this is the first time that her bones have ever left Ethiopia, and one of the conditions of letting it go on tour was the Ethiopia tourism exhibit had to tour along with it.

Aside from the fossilized bones, they had a reproduction of the bones that was put in place in 3D (the real bones were laid out flat in a case), and a flesh reproduction of how Lucy would have looked in life. She was short, only 3.5 feet tall. I've always been interested in human evolution, and I'm glad I saw Lucy. I learned about her in college, but I wish the exhibit had been larger.

After the museum, we went to the Galleria mall to pick up a couple of things. I had no idea the traffic would be as bad as it was. It was what I would have expected to see on the Friday after Thanksgiving. If it was that bad last Saturday, I cringe to think about what it will be like this Friday.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Catching Up - Quilts and Parents and Hospitals

Yeah, lots of stuff has happened since the last time I posted. It's been busy.

Went to the International Quilt Festival in Houston last Thursday. The only way to describe it was overwhelming. I've never been in such a large building, and one third was quilts, another third was vendor booths, and the last third was the food hall. In spite of spending 6 hours there, I still only saw about half the quilts and a little more than half the vendors. And that's skipping all the sewing machine and quilt fabric vendors. I can't afford a new sewing machine and I don't need any more fabric. I did break down and buy a quilt kit. It's a small flannel ragtop quilt. Since the fabric was included with the instructions, I decided I'd go ahead and get it. This way I get the whole package at once. So far, I've got the pieces cut out. Here's a link to my quilt album. This is only a fraction of the pictures I took there.
Houston International Quilt Show 2007

My parents were here visiting last week. They got in on Thursday so they could go to the Galveston Bike Rally on Friday. We also got up early and went to NASA to see the balloons come in for the Ballunar Festival. It was very nice, with the balloons coming in out of the morning mist. Here's some pictures of that.
Ballunar 2007

They stayed over the weekend and left to go back to Illinois on Monday morning. I was looking forward to a return to a nice, boring routine. No such luck. Monday night, Daniel tripped over the littlest cat and fell and broke his elbow. Four hours later, we got out of the emergency room with his arm in a sling and a prescription for Vicodin. Luckily, his professors were nice and are willing to work with him, especially since he broke his right arm.

Then my routine was thrown out of whack because the gym at work was closed for repairs all week. Finally got back in today and got in a nice hard workout. Now I have a three-day weekend, and I'm ready for it. Hoorah!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My yard got chopped!

Our landscaping crew showed up yesterday to do a fall cleanup on our yard. Now keep in mind that we haven't had a spring cleanup, or a fall cleanup from the year before. To say our yard was a bit overgrown was being generous. I'd done some pruning, mostly on the evil bougainvillea plant, but I wasn't able to actually prune the palms or the bigger plants. As a consequence, our yard was getting really shady, the grass was dying and it was looking like a jungle.

So I called our landscaper and he gave me a pretty good price for pruning plus mulching. As it turns out, I think he gave me way too low a price. The estimate said 4.5 hours labor, but the guys were there from 8 am until 8 pm. There were immense piles of branches, shrubs and debris in our front yard. I couldn't believe how much they trimmed away. Admittedly, there are places where it looks like I have real landscaping now, like on the side of the house. And our 20 foot legustrum got pruned down to about 8 feet. I have sunlight coming into the two side bedrooms of our house now. I'll post some pics later tonight to show the scary amounts of brush. Hopefully they'll be able to clear them away today before the trick-or-treaters come by.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Not-so-scary failure

For years, I've been nervous doing heavy squats because I'm always worried about what happens when I fail. It's not like you can drop the bar, because when there's 200 pounds on it, you have to worry about where it's going to go. Will it hit you on the back? Will it wrench your shoulders? Will it squash your knees?

It finally happened last night. I was feeling good, and thought I could go for a new PR on my squat. I did 215 for 1 rep, my previous max, and it was fairly easy. So I added 10 more pounds, strapped on my belt and couldn't get out of the hole. Fortunately, I had a spotter, and I only needed a bit of help to stand back up. Plus I always have the safety chains up when I go over 130 pounds. I really feel like I should have gotten it, but it was very close. And failing wasn't a scary, dangerous thing at all.

My back is getting fried from the heavy lifting though. I plan to do three more days of intense lifting, then take about 5 days off to let my back recuperate.

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's finally done!

Hurray! The guys finally came and installed all the plants, so the water feature is done.

Here's Eric installing the plants.

And here's the final product.

Still waiting on plants plus some good news

*Sigh* Carl promised he'd have them in either Wed afternoon or Thursday. It's Friday morning and still no plants. I talked with my regular landscaper this week and got a price for him to do a cleanup on my yard. He's the most reasonable of the three companies I priced, so I told him to go ahead. So hopefully by next Tuesday, my yard will finally look nice. Woot. Plus he is going to start doing a trim service every 6 weeks for a very reasonable price in addition to our regular groundskeeping fee. Have I mentioned how nice it is to have a landscaping service here? When he came over a couple days ago, I was treated to an earful about how hard it is for him to find legal workers who are willing to do the work. He says he absolutely cannot find American workers who are willing to do landscaping work, so he's trying to get visas for immigrant workers from Mexico, and having a hard time dealing with the Government bureaucracy.

The good news is that I got my faceting machine yesterday. Aside from a broken light bulb, it appears to work just fine. I didn't work on faceting a stone yesterday, but I used the laps to rough polish an Ethiopian opal I'd picked up a couple months ago. Works great. Slow, but that's what opals need. I still cracked the surface though, so I put it up to ask the experts on Saturday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Next Step - Plants

Stopped by the nursery this morning to select plants. Finally caught up with the designer, so he walked around with me and told me about the different plants and their properties. I picked out one large pot to use as a new fish pond. I also gave him a list of plants that I liked, and then told him to select what he thought would work best out of that list. I did put down a couple that I definitely want, like asparagus fern, ginger, African iris and a couple of others. They have to be plants that are well behaved, not too big and do well in shade. I really wanted to emphasize Texas native plants, but I'm doing this very quickly, and I couldn't get hold of the native plant nursery to go through their plants, so I just picked what was available. Kind of typical, it seems. Always enough time to dream, never enough time to actually do when I'm in a crunch.

Found out that he didn't install lights or an auto-filler since he was trying to get the price down. That's okay. I can install those later and pick ones of my own choosing.

Last night, I had the window open a crack because it was rather chilly out. But it was enough to hear the stream. First time I walked in the bedroom and heard it, I got a big grin on my face, so I'm happy with it.

Some more photos of the installation:

Putting in a seating area next to the waterfall:

The finished hardscape of the waterfall. No plants yet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The landscaping continues

Don't have any pictures of it yet. Ran home at lunch to check on how the crew is doing. They were piling on the big moss rocks when I got home, and they had installed the flat rocks where the water spills from one level to the next. I thought the stream was going to curve a little more. Not sure there's anything to be done about it now.

Things still to do:
Go by the shop and pick out plants.
Look for native plants at a different local nursery.
Make sure the stream is connected to a water source for the autofill feature.
Get with Carl, the designer, and have him install the plants.
The crew has to bring in dirt and mulch.
They have to install the lights.

Finally, I need to relax!

Oh yeah, the post office has lost an $800 package I ordered 2 weeks ago. :(

Relax. Breathe. Chill out. Bleah.

My new jewelry display

Just a quickie to show off the little project I did while the guys were working in the back yard. I've always wanted a better way to see my jewelry and figure out more easily what I want to wear in the morning. So here's what I came up with.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Weather Woes

Of course, for the past month it's been beautiful weather. Hot, sunny, dry. Today, when I have a crew working in my backyard, it's about to rain. And it looks like it's going to pour. The cold front just came through and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees in 10 minutes. I checked the hourly forecast. It was 81 this morning. It's going to be 53 tonight. Holy cow! Should warm back up by tomorrow though, and be nice for the next couple weeks. That's good, since my parents are coming for the Galveston Bike Rally next weekend.

The landscaping makeover begins!

The guys showed up about 30 minutes ago to start installing our new water feature in the backyard. So far, they've moved most of the rocks and bricks and gotten the old pond liner out of the ground. Seems like it wasn't too hard to get out, but I don't know where they're going to take it to throw it away.

Last night, I was having major buyer's remorse when I went to bed. Told myself that there was nothing I could do about it then, and there's nothing to do about it this morning. I already made the decision, and I try very hard to have no regrets. I know I could have done it myself and saved a lot of money, but I also know myself after all these years. If I had done it, it still would have cost a substantial amount for materials, and it would have taken me weeks, at the least, to do the installation, and I would have agonized and cheaped out over so many little material items. This way, I pay one price, and the company does everything in one day. So yes, the time and effort saved is worth the money.

It is nice to be at home during a workday, especially when Daniel is off to school, so I have the house to myself. Every once in a while, I'll pop out to take some progress pics of the pond. The guys probably think I'm a crazy woman, but then again, I'm sure they're used to people taking pictures of the installation. Times like this, I wish I could speak Spanish. They don't speak any English at all. Hopefully, they won't need anything. Carl, the designer, says they're all set, and this crew does nothing but install ponds.

Here's some preview pics.
The pond area after we drained it and before the work crew got here.

The crew starting the tear out of the old liner and rocks.

Updated edits:

Here's the basic form covered with the waterproof fabric liner.

And here's the pit with the pump installed and the pit filled in with gravel.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

New Squat PR!

I got a new personal record in squat tonight: 215 pounds! That's even after taking 2 weeks off of heavy squatting. I'd been doing squats, but doing volume work the last 2 weeks. Another 20 pounds and I'll be up to 2 plates on the fat bar. That's some real weight! Tomorrow starts the cutting diet again, and I'm debating on a different workout program during the week. i've just been winging it for the last 6 weeks, although I have been working really hard.

Our first major home improvement

We've tried to fix our fish pond this week. We moved our remaining fish to a temporary holding pot and bailed out the pond. Unfortunately, when we pumped it out, I could tell there was a bunch of water underneath it. Don't know how deep the hole is or how serious. Called a couple of pond landscapers, and one came out Saturday to take a look. We ended up going to his local store and taking a look at the various kinds of ponds they have installed.

After looking around, we decided to go ahead and have his company install a new waterfall feature in our back yard. Important points that sold us: Very low maintenance; they take away the old, broken pond; they can do it in a day or two; and they can have it done by the end of October. The designer is coming over Monday afternoon to work with us on designing the waterfall.

We think we've decided on a disappearing waterfall. basically, the pond section is filled in with large rocks that act as the biofilter. There's no open space for plants and fish; instead the water comes off the stream and disappears into the gravel-filled resovoir to be pumped up again. I'm excited to finally get something really nice for the house.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hugely successful milestone

I've been working on a major project at work, and yesterday, we passed a major milestone. Not only that, we ended up with a fantastic result. We ended up shaving a couple of months off our project and did something that apparently hasn't been done in 10 years. Unfortunately, I can't go into more detail because it's sensitive information, but we're all excited. Last night, I went home and did a happy dance because now I might actually get to take a real vacation. Today, we celebrate with an ice cream social. Hurray!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Touring the Solar Homes of Houston

October 6 was the solar home tour. We managed to make it to 3 of the homes around Houston. We started in Galveston at a net-zero energy home. I think it was the most conventional of the homes we saw. It had 21 solar panels that produced 2.1 kW, and when we were there, it was sending 1.9 kW back to the grid. Of course, the only thing running was the a/c unit. The guys there said the PV array cost around $24K. The house also had a wind turbine and a biodiesel generator. It was designed to be extremely airtight to minimize heat loss and a/c usage. I think it was the prettiest house we saw.

We went into Houston to see two others. They were both much more modern and industrial-looking. They were LEED certified; one was platinum. I really liked how one of them was designed to fit in with the narrow lot and take advantage of the area.

Unfortunately, it seems like being green is great when you can custom build, but we won't really make a change until we get the tract builders to start building green, and that probably won't happen for many more years.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Skip bottled water for 1 month

Carbon Conscious Consumer Logo

Take the pledge. I did. Tap water is perfectly fine. Our water system is the best in the world and it costs just pennies. I use a mug at work and a glass at home. The only drawback for me is that my cat likes to stick her paw in my water glass if I leave it unattended, so I tend to go through several glasses at home.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

When it rains, it pours

Our bad week continued in a spectacular way. By the end of the day, 6 of our 7 fish had bit the dust. Or gone belly up, to be more precise. We have one lonely fish swimming in circles. For a while, we weren't sure he was going to make it. We moved him to a smaller container while we make repairs to the big pond.

Last Friday, we headed to Fredericksburg to visit the Renewable Energy Roundup. We stopped at Whataburger for lunch. Bad idea. A couple hours later, Daniel started feeling ill, and the last 2 hours of the trip were him alternately freezing to death or being ill by the side of the road. When we got to Fredericksburg, we immediately went to the emergency room. Diagnosis? A bad case of food poisoning. So I went to the fair by myself while he watched tv in the hotel room on Saturday.

On the silver lining side, I had a great time. I met a couple at breakfast who were wildlife rehabilitators. They had brought 20 turtles (including one 60 pound box turtle) and 6 alligators from El Paso to a refuge near Austin. Also talked with a really nice shop owner who used to work for Lockheed Martin before he started a new job as a jeweler. The fair was nice, and I got some neat ideas and saw some good products.

My bad luck wasn't done yet though. Yesterday, on my way to work, my alternator stopped working. Work has been so busy I haven't even had a chance to get it to the shop, yet. I'll hopefully get it in tomorrow, so we can go on the Houston Solar Home tour this Saturday. And hopefully, I'll get a break and some time to get stuff done around the house. Like fix the fish pond.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Trying Weekend

It's been a weekend of highs and lows, but the lows were much worse than the highs.

On the good side, we went to a shrimp boil Friday after work and had a good time with folks while enjoying sweet gulf shrimp, corn, potatos and various chips, cookies and other junk food. Then on Saturday, we went up to the HGMS gem and mineral show. I got some nice opals, a nice piece of amber (raw) and a few slabs to cab later on. Plus I picked up some tools for my Dremel to make it easier to polish my opals.

On the bad side, Daniel discovered he's developed an allergic reaction to shrimp. Notice what we had on Friday? Somehow, he didn't get sick by eating it, but when he handled the raw shrimp, his hand swelled up, and by Sunday night it had started to spread to his neck, arms and legs. So we made a late night trip to the emergency room for steroid shots and prescriptions.

The not-fun continued today, with the sad death of three of our goldfish. We'd been keeping the pond level low so that when the weather finally cooperated and we had time, we could easily pump out the pond, put in a new liner and replace the water. Unfortunately, it seems the water got too low for some of the fish. We lost 3 last night and 2 more are looking shaky.

The timing doesn't help either. I've got a massive amount of work to do this week, so I'll be working 10 hour days, and this weekend, we've already made plans to go to Fredericksburg on Friday and Saturday. Plus, they're talking about having us work this weekend! My poor fish. Maybe I'll just have to break out the flashlights and do it at night.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Diet and workout - CKD

Part of getting back to this is to have a place to record some of my thoughts on my new diet and strength training program. It's not a place for detailed day-to-day journalling, but I think an update would be good here.

Almost 4 weeks ago, I started a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD). It involves low-carb during the week, and high-carb on Friday night and Saturday. The idea is to get the body to switch to fat burning during the week and lift very heavy. Then on the weekend, you eat high (clean) carbs to replenish the glycogen in the muscles, give them something to use to repair and get stronger. Then on Sunday, back to low-carb and the whole thing starts again.

I'm an all-or-nothing kind of person when it comes to diet. I did okay on a moderate (40/40/20) diet for a few months, then the snacks and junk food would slowly sneak back in, and by August I had gained back 15 pounds from January. I actually only count 10 of it, because the first 5 was water rebound from the Medifast diet I did last year. So I found out about the CKD and decided to give it a try.

It's been 4 weeks, and I made the switch fairly easily. Never had the brain fog that affects most people. The happiest thing is that I'm rarely hungry and I'm able to get by with the targeted amount of calories. I set my calories at 1650-1750/day Sunday to Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, I'm aiming for 2100-2300. You're supposed to do clean carb-ups, meaning oatmeal, sweet potatos, tuna, chicken. A "standard" bodybuilder diet with low fat and no refined sugar. In practice, I've been giving myself permission to have the things I'm "denied" during the week, or even on a 40/40/20 diet. From what I've read, it's fairly standard among people starting a CKD, and after a few weeks, you're done binging and you can easily stick with clean carb-ups.

I've only had 2 carb-ups so far, and last week I splurged on a birthday cake, so I went a little overboard. I know that a dirty carb-up can wipe out any gains during the week, so I have to take more accountability for my weekends. However, my pants fit better now, even though the scale isn't moving down very much. That's the most important thing to me, considering that I had to go buy a larger pair of pants a couple months ago. Now I'm back in my regular clothes and much happier.

It's an experiment and for the first time, I'm sticking to the rules so I can acurately evaluate what's working for me and what isn't. I feel like it's taken me many years, but every time I try something, I get a little better at it.

So bottom line for the past 4 weeks?
Low carb cals: 1650-1750; ~20 g net carbs (lots of veggies)
High Carb cals: ~2200; too much fat
Exercise: Heavy training 2 days/week, depletion workout on Friday afternoon; cardio 2-3X/week
Weight lost: 2 pounds
Waist inches lost: ~1-2 inch

Thoughts: A little slower than I was expecting. Possible reasons? Too many refined carbs and fat during the carb-up. Not enough calories during the week.

Have to really keep an eye on carbs during the week. They sneak in everywhere.

Strategy? Giving it 2 more weeks on the current schedule, then I'll decided what changes I want to make. Work on cleaner carb-ups and getting more healthy fats in and reducing the saturated fats. Aim for 4 strength trainings/week instead of 3.

Back and practicing

There are so many reasons to keep up a blog. So why do I have so much trouble? Well, maybe by now, not so many people are reading, so I can spend some time writing for myself now, and work out some issues. Like why do I procrastinate? Why does anyone?

There are a lot of things going on right now, and often I think it'd be neat to write stuff down so I can share with friends. I also feel like it's about time to reinvent myself again, something I seem to do every 3-5 years. Thoughts of running my own business are creeping into my head again, but I keep asking myself, what would I do? I know I don't want to stay in Houston, and I'd like to move back to Virginia, so that's the major factor in that wish. I did have an interview at Wallops Flight Facility, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, almost 2 weeks ago. I thought I did really well on the interview, but I still haven't heard anything. I know they have someone, or two, in mind locally, so I'd have to be really good to beat them out. One other thing is that they aren't offering relocation expenses, so we'd have to pay for it ourselves. I would, though. That's how much I'd love to get back to Virginia. Everything else can work itself out.

So this morning on my way into work, I hear a talk show about a woman who started her own business(es) and what she had to say resonated a lot with me. To the point where I went to the website and did some reading and got some ideas.

One of the ideas floating around in my head involves communication, so in the end, that's why I'm back to my blog. I need to practice. I need to get in the habit, even if no one is reading now. Someday, they will be.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wildflowers in Texas

We finally got out of Houston for the day and got to a prettier part of Texas. The hills really are blue and red and orange and pink with all the blooming wildflowers. I couldn't tell which was more interesting - the flowers or the tourists stopped on the side of the road taking pictures. Of course, I was one of the tourists, so I can't do much other than laugh. At one place, we found the holy triumvirate of picture taking: cows lying in blue bonnets next to a quaint pond. Cars were lined up for a quarter mile. Pictures are here (still working on them).

While out, we stopped at the Antique Rose Emporium in Brenham, TX. They rescue old roses from ditches, cemetaries, old homesites and places destined for the bulldozer. So I bought 3 roses to put in. I'm slow at that like everything else, so it might take me a few days to get them in. But hopefully, eventually, I'll get my yard all cottage-y.

Painting the Bathroom

Respite Blue or Raindrop Blue? How can there be so many shades of blue and none of them just right? I finally got the old wallpaper off the bathroom walls. That took me about a week. Then another week to tape and prime the walls. Now I'm studying the two shades of blue I test painted on the wall behind the mirror to see what I like best.

Now explain to me why people would hang wallpaper over plain drywall, then take the time to plaster a spongy pattern on the wall, but only behind where the mirrors are hung. There's no paper there, but plenty of plaster. It took me 2 hours with a sander to smooth off the plaster bumps. Then another hour to vacuum up the plaster dust and mop up. I still need to find some new lights to replace the standard builder's lights they put in originally. And finally, I'm trying to figure out what I can do to fancy up the mirrors. Gives me excuse to buy and browse through the home improvement magazines.