Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It's Been a Long Cold Lonely...

Winter Week.

Yes, I did neglect posting anything for four days.  I actually started this post (in my mind) on Saturday, but oh how time flies when you're singing the blues. 

Last week was filled with stress; mostly stress of another person, but stress anyway.  The stress caused major breakdowns in communication, lack of respect shown to one another, and plenty of hurt feelings. 

But last week wasn't all bad:  we were surprised Easter morning by our first two calves of the season.  I've since named them Lolo and Double Stuff.  In contrast to last year's calving season, these two came into the world without a problem and without any help from us.  (Go ahead, ask me and sometime I'll tell you the story about the first time this city girl helped pull a calf) 

Then came Friday evening.  Things started out well.  Double Stuff has to be fed a bottle a couple of times a day to supplement his mother's milk, so I headed out after work to check on the ladies (that's the cows) and see if anyone else was making plans on adding to the little herd.  Seeing no calf parts hanging out, I headed inside to mix up a bottle for the little guy.  When I came back out and called for the little calvie (that's what Merv calls him) I looked up to see a slimy newborn calf on the ground next to his mama.  I happily fed Double Stuff while checking out the new guy and called my mom to tell her about my day.  Then I went for a walk to check on our other animals, including these two:

{Caliope & Firefox, around 8 weeks old, July 2009}

Firefox had not been well and had been hit with some medication the day before.  (Caliope is another story because I think she's gone the way of most girl barn cats and gotten herself preggers).  So I went to find him, calling "here kitty, kitty" but hopeful because as I'd held him the night before he'd been purring more, and breathing easily, and seemed to be getting back to his old self.  Sadly, I did find him, but he was no longer alive.  Still on the phone with my mom, I chose to focus on the happiness of a new calf, even though I was talking to the woman in the world most likely to understand my emotions. 

Eventually, I hung up, insisting that I needed to go start dinner.  Instead I needed to call Merv, tell him the bad news and try not to be upset about not getting the cat to the vet sooner.  After the phone call I found myself alone with my grief and wondering why I was so attached.  I was just a stupid barn cat, right?  But Firefox was so much more.  Last summer, Merv and I both lost our dogs to illness or accident.  These two kittens came on the scene not long after and filled that empty space I found every time I went outside.  Firefox especially was very loyal despite being a tom cat.  It was a long winter of finding days when it was tolerably warm enough to sit outside or in the workshop and hold these wannabe lap cats.  I never tired of giving them fresh food every morning, putting that food away at night to keep the pests from it;  of finding the old "dogloo" and filling it with straw and tucking it into the warmest corner of the barn for them to sleep in;  of running their water dish under the hot tap to melt away the chunk of ice and make room for fresh water.  It was all the reward I needed to see them playing in the spring sunshine, grown and cuddly.  And so happy that warm weather meant the return of me sitting outside watching the sun go down with two cats fighting for space on my lap. 

{Firefox, March 2010}

In the midst of memory there is grief, and it is more than grief that weighs on my heart.  I have a unusually strong compassion when it comes to suffering animals.  Sure, we all get a little misty when we hear Sara McLaughlin singing while flashes of too-thin animals appear on screen, but I weep.  At night, when those commercials come on and I'm alone in bed, I have to change the channel because the images haunt me.  When I see an animal on the side of the road my heart breaks, and it's all because I find myself "inside the head" of the animal.  I think about who they belonged to.  I think about what they were doing, how they were feeling.  And more often than not, I wonder if they were scared, hurting and alone when they died.  Now I was feeling that as I thought about my orange and white cat with an old soul.  I thought about the serene look on his face whenever I held him close and couldn't stand to think of the look on his face when I found him.  It was a long night.  And a long weekend.  And it's been a long week. 

But now I can write about it and I'm able hold back the tears.  I don't know if our pets will greet us in Heaven (and I'm not here to debate it) but I like to imagine that God knew a little girl in heaven, maybe a brown eyed red head like me, who just wanted a kitty to cuddle with.  I think God found the best one we could spare down here. 

{Firefox, March 2010}
Rest in peace, my purr-y furry friend, rest in peace.

P.S.  In case you wonder what a funeral, a holiday, a week of stress topped off by grief does for my weight loss:  I had a gain of 1.2 at Saturday's weigh in.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What'cha Doin With All Those Eggs? ::Thrifty Thursday::

Do you, like probably half the households in America, have a truck load of pastel or brightly colored eggs at your house?  Read on, Easter survivors, read on.  It's time for another round of Thrifty Thursday.  The day of the week when I take all of the advice I've gleaned during the week and filter the best of it to you. 

WHAT I FOUND:  If you eye those hard boiled eggs every morning thinking they'd make a nice breakfast, this article from All Headline News can tell you why it's a great idea.  WHAT I GET OUT OF IT:  Other than a way to use up some of those leftover eggs, a new motivation to make time in my morning routine for a breakfast that includes eggs.  In fact, I think I'd like ot try having at least one egg or egg product in my breakfast everyday for a week to see how it effects my hunger and weight loss. 

WHAT I FOUND:  Support for snacking!  (And while the article doesn't center on eggs as much as the previous find, they play a supporting role.) WHAT I GET OUT OF IT:  Just some excellent snack ideas.  I am definitely a "type of food" snacker.  I crave salty (soup), sweet (half grapefruit sprinkled with brown sugar and broiled) or creamy (Jello-O Mousse Temptations) so the list of ideas they provide is categorized nicely.  As a plus, they provide one more way to get rid of those eggs - hard boiled egg for an 80 calorie snack!

WHAT I FOUND:  A dieter's guide to dessert.  Because let's face it, snacks are not really the course I have trouble with, it's what comes after the dinner that my or may not include eggs.  WHAT I GET OUT OF IT:  All of the tips are helpful, though possibly difficult to implement in my life. The one that hit my the hardest though was tip #4: Know dessert when you see it. 

Alright, looks like I've focused too much on food here, how about some fitness?

WHAT I FOUNDFor Better Muscle Tone: Go Lighter?  Or Load Up?  WHAT I GET OUT OF IT:  Turns out I need to be dialing up the weight on my Body Pump barbell. 

No "Find of the Week" this time because now that I've mentioned one Les Mills class, I feel the need to talk about another.  Tonight will be my first Body Attack class with the latest release.  Okay, maybe this is proof that I'm getting addicted to this exercise thing since I'm so excited for new tracks - but there are worse vices a girl could have, right?  Here's a breakdown of what I can expect to be put through tonight:
We’ll kick off with the huge hit Evacuate The Dancefloor and then Don’t Upset The Rhythm as you’ll Pony your way through Track 2.
Are You Gonna Go My Way? Track 4 brings an inspiring Rock feel that will push you to your first cardio peak, blocking high balls on the volleyball court. Do you like Track 5? I know I Like It! This song will motivate you through all those Push Ups and the Superman stability training.
Game on in Track 7! Get ready for some true American football training with the Dodge Hops and the Heisman, to fend off your opponents. The sports-inspired training is all about improving your speed, agility and fitness. Are you in?
Next, feel the Freedom in the Interval Track. Keep your posture strong and give it all you’ve got in the Knee & Kick Combo. The options are there if you need them.
You are the champion in Track 9. Keep on fighting till the end! We’ve got some intense work targeting your legs, butt and core before we Cooldown to Hold My Hand.**
Doesn't that sound like fun?  (Now if it does, and you actually live closeby, come with me!  It's free this week) 

**From Totally Les Mills (http://www.totallylesmills.com/site/BODYATTACK)

Monday, April 5, 2010

I Hear a Sound

Oh yeah, I love thunderstorms.

Do you remember, in the movie The Lion King, when Scar responds to Mufasa's name by saying "oooo... Mufasa" and shudders? That's the way I react to thunder. (…except my reaction is not sarcasm born out of destructive jealousy.)

So we have a nice collection of thunderstorms coming through the area today but I’m not sure it will amount to more than a few of those low sweet rumblings. I will have to be happy with what we’ve gotten though, despite the fact that I’m the kind of girl who gets disappointed when the weathermen tell me the storm is breaking up or will pass me by. Maybe I’ve missed my calling and should be a storm chaser.

The weekend was a busy one but Friday’s efforts paid off. I did make it to the Weight Watchers center to find out I was down 1.8 pounds last week. That brings my average up to over a pound a week and I love it. I’m settling in for the distance and mentally preparing myself to let the weight come off at a reasonable weight. I still haven’t decided, however, whether or not I will continue to go to meetings or go for it online.

Anyone out there have feedback? Have you been in Weight Watchers? If so, do you prefer meetings or online? How about other weight loss methods, do you prefer to go it alone or have group support and accountability?

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Frenzied Friday! (And a Follow me one, Too!)

Hello friends.

I'm not normally the girl to toot her own horn about my fitness or nutrition accomplishments, but today I have to:  I made it to a 5:30 am class.  Yay me!  Not to mention I had to get up at 4:30 to do it.  Why so early?  Because we are taking a little one night trip out of town tonight and I had to pack and get ready!  In addition, I need to be leaving now to get on the road.  So just a quick update.  Going to weigh in today before leaving town since I"ll be gone in the morning.  (Can you say commitment?)

Oh and hey - it's a Follow Me Friday at the Trendy Treehouse

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Slimspiration, Motivation & a Spokesperson ::Thrifty Thursday::

WHAT I FOUND: Some slimspiration from six women who each flipped a simple dietary switch that set off a chain reaction of positive effects, from getting glowing skin to losing 130 pounds.  WHAT I GET OUT OF IT: The connection between whole grains and clearer skin (at least for one reader).  It's enough motivation for this shiny faced bread lover!

WHAT I FOUND: A way to train with celebrity trainer Nicole Stuart for pennies a day.  WHAT I GET OUT OF IT: A body like Kate Hudson's.  Okay, not really.  But I do think it looks like a great tool for on the go fitness.

WHAT I FOUND:  A roadmap and navigation system for avoiding the potholes and finding the fresh choices at the Sub Shop. WHAT I GET OUT OF IT:  A calm assurance that adding cheese to my sandwich isn't taboo (it's also not a reason to switch from Roast Beef to Meatball Marinara) plus a few menu items that are always a good idea.

Weight Watchers has a new spokesperson, and she looks great.  Head over to WeightWatchers.com and check out Jennifer Hudson's success.

What good advice have you found this week?  Share your links with me below!

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