Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Party Plan & Inspiration

Christmas Party


J Crew Glitter Ballet Shoes / Kate Spade Earrings / Emerald Party Dress / Green Tissue Pom Poms / Scalloped Glitter Garland

I found a dress for our Christmas Party!  I'm doing a loose green & gold glitter theme for the party.  I'm making the scalloped garland.  The tissue poms are on order.  I found the earrings on ebay for a lot lower in price.  I really love the shoes but I'm going to go with some black ballet shoes I already have with black tights.  I also ordered a cropped black cardigan for if I feel exposed (or cold).

I know I said I wasn't posting this week but surprise!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quick Check In

I'm not going to be able to post for the rest of the week.

From here.


I have a huge project with a deadline at the end of the month and I need every available moment.

Also all the cats are sick, this has never happened before.  It started with Grayson and has slowly been moving through them all in slightly different ways.  Grayson has used up our vet budget requiring two visits to the vet in the last few weeks so we are trying to not go to the vet, I hope we don't have to go to the vet, we'll see.

I will say I weighed in at 226.6 on Monday morning.  I didn't even count my calories last week but I guess I did okay.  I meant to get back on track on Monday but I don't know maybe I'll just take it easy another week and go from there.

spinach & goji quinoa


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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meet a Cat - Zimmy



Way back when we lived in the big house Aidan and Bella were my cats that I had before Brian.  They were pretty tight, especially now that we have 5 cats and none of them cuddle, I miss the days seeing Aidan and Bella draped on each other.

I also had a real job back then that made me cry and everything.  Oh those were the days.  One day Brian called me at work (on a freaking land line people! it was that long ago) and said there were kittens living behind his office.  Brian works downtown in this cute tiny little building that has a small fenced yard in the back, and a mom cat found her way back there with two tiny little kittens.  There are multiple restaurants nearby and birds and other creatures.  One of Brian's employees brought in a huge bag of cat food and they would feed the mom cat every day.  I would camp out in Brian's office window that overlooks the back yard, hoping to catch a glipse of the kittens.  Then I would slowly creep into the kitchen and try to open the backdoor without the mom cat hearing me and take pictures.  She was pretty quick so all I got were shadowy photos of them in then impossibly tiny area between Brian's building and the building next door, like 6 or 8 inches wide, not much at all.



One day Brian's office caught one of the kittens and every one was like what do we do, what do we do, so Brian calls me again and I said if they are still nursing then he needs to put the kitten back outside.

This, my friends, is my biggest cat mistake of all time and I'm going to tell you why.

I have caught multiple cats since Zimmy and I have learned the trick.  The moment you see a kitten eat the slightest morsel of cat food it's time to grab that cat.  You cannot wait until they never nurse again because I've seen kittens almost the size of their mommas still nursing, it's incredible.  You can't wait or they will get too feral.  You want that sweet spot between can sort of eat regular food and still wobbles around not knowing there's a scary human hovering over them.

When Brian called me, that was the sweet spot and he had Zimmy in his hands, perfect Zimmy in his hands, and he put him back outside.  We waited about 2 or 3 more weeks, maybe more, and borrowed a trap from animal control and we were ready to catch both kittens and catch & release the mom cat.  One of the employees was going to take the other kitten and we were going to keep Zimmy.

Brian caught two other cats before catching one of the cats we were trying to catch.  One we are pretty certain is Zimmy's dad because he was so gigantic when Brian opened the trap door this huge black butt wiggled his way backwards out of the crate in such a way that we still laugh about it to this day.  And Zimmy seems to have inherited that giant cat's rear end.

I don't remember the order that we caught the two kittens and the mom but we brought them all to a vet in a bordering county.  I can't remember what she charged us but I think the mom cat was free if we paid for the kittens.  The kittens were very sick with the eye thing Grayson had (and actually has today).  This was where I made my second cat mistake.  I kept the kittens together in the front, upstairs bathroom (oh yes, I used to have 3 bathrooms) and they kept swapping the sickness back and forth and prolonged the illness.  Also the other kitten, not Zimmy, hated me, I mean really HATED me and that rubbed off on Zimmy who thought perhaps maybe the lady with the feather wand was okay until his sister would hiss and freak out and then he'd start shaking.  Oh it was awful, awful times.  Plus I was only there after work and I'd sit in that bathroom for like 2 hours every night trying to socialize them. 



I should have either separated them, good lord we had the space, or given Mia to her new momma.  The plan was to get them healthy and then give Mia to Brian's employee but they ended up never really getting better so she had to give her medicine anyway.  By then it was even more weeks later, 2 weeks or so and Zimmy still had only hung out with me only when another cat was hissing and hating me.


Even then I moved Zimmy into the front bedroom for another week or so for his eye to heal and he was practically adult before he saw anyone but me or saw another cat.  He immediately took to Aidan and Bella but he is one scared cat.  He spends most of the time hiding and the rest of the time relentlessly wanting affection, like constant, overkill, one might say.

 The mom cat was the only cat we've ever tried catch and release.  We brought her back to Brian's office after her surgery, she was pretty pissed and you could tell she was really lonely.  The next day she was gone, we never saw her again.

When Andy joined the family a few years later Andy immediately became head honcho cat and Aidan suffered the brunt of that because he used to be head honcho.  A couple years later, Aidan doesn't really care anymore, so Andy takes the bulk of his aggression out on Zimmy.  I'm not sure why. 



Zimmy is like the sweetest cat of all time.  It's not all the time but it's there.  Fox has become Andy's right hand man so he is almost as bad.



Because Zimmy is somewhere between scared silly and wanting to be loved he spends a lot of time laying in the hallway watching us.  We call him our threshold kitty because that's usually where he is ready to flee if necessary but happy to hang out in the meantime.


I'm pretty certain Zimmy is the most beautiful cat I've ever seen.  I love photographing him because he is so pretty and isn't hyper and will hold a pose waiting for my fumbling fingers.  I always feel a little sad that Zimmy is such a timid cat and I could have grabbed him earlier and he'd be a completely different cat.  But I think at the same time he's very loved and happy and he's so lucky to have the life that he does, I just wish I could have made it a little better for him.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 2

Well this week was a bummer.  I don't know where to begin.  First of all, my daily calorie allowance is 1412 calories (I'm using LoseIt.com).  I went over by 867 calories (for the entire week, a little over 100 per day) and I gained 1.5 pounds.  Even if I was the world's worst calorie counter, and I can assure you after years of doing this I am not, there's no way I'm off by 5250 calories for the week over what I need to maintain my current weight which should be in a low estimate around 2260 calories a day.  I was pretty much weighing around 226 or 227 all week and then I weighed 228 this morning.  I did start my period on Friday and it's been a pretty bad period but still.  Come on.



I was thinking about throwing in the towel and going by Dunkin Donuts to get some donut holes but I didn't.  This week is going to be crappy too with Thanksgiving.  I'm eating at three different houses for three different days for Thanksgiving, no matter how hard I try it's just going to be difficult.

I having a hard time getting in the right mindset.  I'm still eating bigger portion sizes than I'd like and eating the wrong foods.  I just get sick of Subway so fast.  Sick of grilled chicken sandwiches and sick of all of it.  I think I was trying to make a lifestyle change and still eat to a degree where I didn't feel too deprived but I need to do more.  It's not enough.

I also need to post more often, sorry about that.  I will try to do better.

From here.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hiking with Sassafras

As we get started in planning our 2013 Appalachian Trail adventure, I have been thinking back on how this all got started. I have always had an interest for the outdoors. My grandfather was the classic Maine outdoors-man  He was an avid hunter, loved to fish and was very independent.  He gave me my first exposure to the outdoors and have had a love for it my whole life.
My Grandfather as a small boy with his father 


I tried to pass this love of the outdoors to Sassafras. I took her hiking as soon as she could walk. We went camping, fishing, hunting, snowshoeing and canoeing whenever we could. She loved all of it.
A young Sassafras already wearing a pack

When she was 8 years old we were car camping at Mount Blue State Park in Maine and went to the evening  presentation. At this state park on Saturday nights they offered a nature presentation of some sort each summer. On this particular night a gentleman gave a talk about his thru hike of the Appalachian trail. Sassafras was enthralled by the presentation and after his talk she went up to him and he was nice enough to answer her questions for over 1/2 and hour. He told her that in two weeks a young lady who he thru hiked with would be giving a talk at the park. She begged us to come back and see the presentation. Two weeks later we were back and the hook was set. The young lady brought her gear from her thru hike and after her talk she spent a long time letting Sassafras try out all the gear and answer her many questions.

The next weekend I had no choice but to take her out on an overnight backpacking trip. So i got out my old gear and off we went. We hiked Baldpate Mountain near Bethel Maine on the A.T. and then stayed overnight at the shelter. That night as we were ready to go to sleep two thru hikers came in, having just gone thru the mahoosuc notch and down Old Speck. Sassafras talked to these guys for about and hour asking one question after another. The were so kind and patient with her (this has been my experience with the people we meet on the trail). The next morning she told me that some day she was going to thru hike the Appalachian trail, little did i know how soon that would be.
Hiking down to Fry Notch Shelter-notice the huge 1989 Camp Trails Backpack

So from that time on we have been hiking as much as time would allow. Sassafras loves to hike and meet all the interesting people. I remember that first hike well. I bet my pack weighed 50 pounds (for and overnight hike) all my gear was 15 to 20 years old and heavy. I also remember to odd looks I received from thru hikers that met us those first few hikes, I guess because of the huge pack and little girl. We learned quickly to lighten the load. The first few year we did our hiking on the A.T. between the New Hampshire line and Rangely Maine.  Living in Maine and doing most of my hiking in Maine and New Hampshire, we both thought this is how the A.T. was i.e. steep, rocky, and rooty, but still has a great time. After hiking in Virginia and Georgia I am sure that this foundation will do us well on our Thru Hike.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 1

Oh, what a week.


I thought my week was going pretty well until I woke up on Monday morning for my weigh in and gained 2 pounds from the day before.  I weighed two more time and got two different weights, that's three different weights getting on the scale three times in a row.  Needless to say I'm getting a new scale.  This morning I went down about a pound but I also got some weird electronic blip.  I think my scale is done.  I have had it since my last big diet on this very blog, that was a long time ago.

So that was a bummer.  I went with my highest weight just in case it was the real deal, just in case I gained 2 pounds eating 1500 calories.  Crazier things with my metabolism have happened.  In a normal week 2.5 pounds would be really great but I really wanted to benefit from a strong, water weight start.



My goal is to be in onderland on Valentine's Day.  I'd love it to be in Christmas but that's not going to happen.  Because the holidays are the worst time to try to lose weight I don't plan on "dieting" on Thanksgiving Day or the bar Christmas party.  It's just too sad to diet on those days.  I would add our Christmas party too but I generally don't eat a lot during our parties.  I have like adrenaline or something (total exhaustion) and it makes me not eat very much.  I'm not going do the baking thing this year.  It was really fun last year always having homemade cookies ready during the season but I think I'll live.

Valentines Day seems so far away.  I just don't want to blow it before then.  Onderland is just a start anyway.  It's a great first goal.  I cannot believe I weighed 205 pounds last year and blew it.  I'm such an idiot.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween in Retrospect

...I know, Halloween is so done right now. But I want to share my thoughts and photos anyway.

 I really enjoy using pinterest to get ideas for holidays and parties.  One rule I have for pinterest is to never pin anything that I can't recreate or afford (in the short term, anyway).  I don't want pinterest to be a fantasy wish list, I want it to have real things that I can make or do or buy or decorate.

For Halloween I came up with a lot of ideas.

The first thing I wanted was some sort of garland for the ceiling between the kitchen and dining room.  I also knew I wanted to hang tissue paper pom poms, which I found a pack of three by Martha Stewart for $3 at TJ Maxx, score!  I hung those over the island and they are still there.  I'm hoping to keep them up through Thanksgiving and then replace them with something more Christmasy.

I got my Bat Garland idea from here.  I used her template and spent an afternoon cutting out bats from cardstock I bought on Amazon.  I'm really happy with how this turned out.

The inspiration is on the left, mine is on the right for these collages.

I think I was most excited about the cake.  I really wanted to find a black cake stand but when I saw this one (on the right) I had to have it.  Black would limit when I could use it and now I can use it all the time.  Right now it holds bananas.  It's my new favorite thing.

I used this site for the cake and the toppers.  I tried using her pdf as a stencil but it was very intricate so I tried printing it on black cardstock and it left a shadow so I could cut the bats out that way.  I was not easy attaching tiny paper bats to super thin wire when you have 2 hours before your party and you haven't showered or started cooking dinner (shaky hand syndrome) and the cats are like "oh, toy!" so keep that in mind.  I had the bats cut out in advance and I should have gone ahead and glued them to wire.  Also I'm not a neat cake person.  I don't like leveling cakes especially when it was obvious I was missing a couple layers to match my inspiration cake.  I used a cake box for the cake but made the frosting homemade.  Next time I'd do it all homemade, it was lacking for me.


For my tablescape I really fell for the matte black pumpkin from here.  I actually first used chalk paint and then ordered a sample pot of seriously matte black paint hoping for a more matte effect.  In the end I could not obtain what I was looking for.  This was a fail and because I went with the sample pot I spent more money that I would have liked on this project.

I don't know how I found this bouquet but I really liked the white flowers with the black feathers.  I found a feather at Michaels and used grocery store roses.  They have since really opened up and look even more stunning.  I got the vase from TJ Maxx.  The pumpkins are $2 from Target but I spent like $15 on paint like an idiot.

I also was still not finished with my husband's (the Dark Knight Rises) Bane costume. So I was still tweaking it and had to essentially give it up. It looks a little rumbled but it is what it is. I was supposed to be Cat Woman from the masquerade ball and I was so exhausted by party time I wore my Nike Sneakers and didn't take off my glasses so I didn't wear my mask. One of the three reasons I got fed up with myself is I bought a special dress for the night and when I went to put it on for the party it didn't fit me! I bought it a month or so ago and it fit barely. I remember thinking at that time I better watch it or this dress isn't going to fit me. And it didn't. I went with an old Old Navy party dress and it's not like I was pulling off Anne Hathaway anyway. Speaking of, like no one knew who Brian was. It's the second highest grossing movie of the year and like 10% of people knew who he was. Me, I'm a cat with a black dress on. Kind of lame...


The party was not, it was one of our greatest parties. I made Jambalaya and it was so good. We had nine people total gathered around our little table and we had more trick-or-treaters than ever before and all the kids wore costumes! It's always really upsets me when kids can't afford trick-or-treat costumes. We almost ran out of candy!

 I hope your Halloween was wonderful too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Slow Boil

First a little history.

I made a determined effort at the beginning of the year to lose weight.  I was doing pretty good too until after Valentine's day when I started feeling nauseous every hour of every day.  Two weeks later I was in the emergency room for an emergency appendectomy.  I had continued to lose quite a bit while I was sick.  I didn't and couldn't really eat a lot so it made it easier.  I also was certain I had IBS and started trying every IBS diet I could find to find some relief from this terrible constant ache and twisting I had.  None of them helped, obviously, because I didn't have IBS.  Even after surgery for some unknown reason I got nauseous about a week after I got home.  I was so scared because I thought I had rid myself of that feeling and here it was again, agonizing me.  But luckily, thank god, it finally went away.

It was around that time that I started associating hunger with my nauseous and I took a break from feeling hungry.  I thought I could control it, I never went crazy, but I do know I cannot maintain weight, even over 200 pounds, and not be hungry most of the time.  This is my reality.

I weighed myself from time to time and kept telling myself it wasn't so bad.  I don't know where this rationality comes from.  Brian describes it as the frog in a pot scenario.  If you put a frog in boiling water he'll jump out but if you put him in cold water and slowly let the water get hot, he'll just sit there.

I'm really good at just sitting there.

Then about a week or so ago a few things happened that are not things I really want to go into here but they forced to me to think about some things I hadn't thought about in a long time and after 7 years of marriage I shared some stuff from the dark parts of my childhood with my husband that I had never told him before.  I don't know if it was the crying about it or finally sharing it with my husband but I felt this sense of release.  A couple other things came into play and it felt like a switch went off inside me.

I think I'm going to be able to do this.

So I wanted to take some time to make sure I was serious and it wasn't some 24 hour diet bug I got and it's been about a week now, maybe a little more and I feel really good.  Really strong and really determined.

When I started my diet in January I weighed 241 (crazy!) pounds.  When my surgery was over the last of the nausea went away I weighed 205.5 pounds.  I know, don't tell me.  So close.  A couple days ago I weighed myself and I weighed 229.  The boiling frog in me actually thought hey, less than 230, like a dumbass.  I gained 23.5 pounds since March.  That's a lot and it was very easy.  I wasn't like stuffing my face 24/7, I was just eating pretty normally with the occasional comfort eating episode.

For me, food is very comforting.  I don't smoke or drink (very occasionally, like once a year) or do drugs or dangerous sports or even drive fast.  When I'm stressed or just want to relax I eat something amazing.  I don't think I'm a binge eater, I used to, but I'm very particular about what I will eat.  I want something delectable or I won't bother.  I love desserts most of all and I like a big portion.  And I think, it wouldn't take much to gain 24.5 pounds with that sort of mentality.  And that's why this is so hard for me.  There's nothing to comfort me, I have nothing to replace that feeling with. 

So I have to find other ways to comfort myself like the thought of feeling pretty and more secure with myself or taking care of my husband or being the best kitty mom in the land.  I'm still working that part out.  And I've failed so many times before but I don't care, I want to try again.

I don't feel healthy at this weight and I certainly feel no confidence.  My confidence is at an all time low.  And it's really sad because I know inside I'm a pretty person but when I see myself I know what people think of me and it makes me feel very small (irony!). And I don't want to feel small anymore.  I've been though a lot in my life, I've missed out on a lot, and I don't want to miss out on my happiness and my sense of worth anymore.  I want to feel as beautiful on the outside as I do on the inside.  I'm worth that, it's worth giving it another go.

 
From here.