Coffeegirl63's Blog

Working in the Yard June 19, 2011

Filed under: Exercise,My House — coffeegirl63 @ 10:54 am
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Full disclosure: I’m a girl. I mean sometimes I’m SUCH a girl. The thing is, I am really smart. I can figure out most situations I face. Even in a conversation where the subject is completely unfamiliar to me, I can usually follow the thread just by breaking down the vocabulary. However, there are certain situations that overwhelm me to the point of debilitation. Most of those include a shopping scenario in which I have to figure out what to get.

Since I moved into my house late in the summer last year, I never really had to work on my yard. The one time my lawn needed to be mowed, my neighbor took care of it for me.

A couple weeks ago, I got a letter from my homeowners’ association reminding me that I’d bought a home in a nice neighborhood, and that we all wanted to respect each other and care about each other, and so could I please take time to police the weeds in my backyard. In my defense, one of the reasons I haven’t done anything with my backyard is that Richmond (the company that built my house) has told me a few times that they need to re-grade my backyard. So, the following weekend, I spent time a few hours digging out weeds. One of my neighbors suggested I just poison the weeds instead of doing all the work to dig them up. As someone who sits in front of a computer all day, I preferred the work.

Although my lawn is still more brown than green, things started coming to life over the last week. Due to the rains we’ve had over the last week, the weeds in my backyard are getting quite happy. Time to deal with the sad state of disrepair. The state: weeds in the landscape rocks (isn’t that why they put landscaping fabric down first–to prevent the weeds?) and scraggly, unhappy-looking grass in the front yard; prolific weeds in the backyard.

Friday Afternoon: I stopped by the man store to buy poison, lawn feed, and cutting tools. I stood in the poison aisle for the longest time. Yes, there is an entire aisle, and I was completely overwhelmed. I had received advice ranging from “Round-Up is the best, it’ll kill your weeds dead;” “Round-Up is poison, it’ll kill the ecosystem dead, hire a ‘green’ lawn-care service.” Ok, here’s the thing: my lawn has a footprint smaller than that of my smallest bedroom… I’m not hiring someone to take care of that. I texted a friend to see what he thought. His advice was, “you’re not a man, so ask for directions!!” I just picked out the super-duper Round-Up and headed to the next item.

I needed something to make the grass happy so it would grow. Somehow I felt like the manager of a circa 1950’s entertainment artist: uppers and downers for my yard just so it’ll perform the way I want it to when I want it to. Fortunately, as I stood in the lawn-food aisle, someone walked by who could help me. Scott’s Turf was what was recommended–”do you have dandelions?” “no, I haven’t seen dandelions in my yard or those of my neighbors.” “ok, then just get the regular Scott’s Turf; otherwise, you’d get the one with weed control.” (guess what I saw on my lawn when I got home… yup.) He asked how big my yard was. “Ummm….” “Ok, compared to this aisle…?” “Ah, yes, like 4 of these squares.” “Get the small bag.” … Next

I wanted a scythe for the times I need to chop down tall weeds or grass. Do they still make scythes? I don’t want a weed wacker because I’d rather my yard work actually involve work. I headed to the full-length garden tool area (shovels, rakes, etc)… and there it was! And only one option! Hurray!!

Now for the lawn mower. Again, I don’t want a gas- or electricity-operated machine for that. Fortunately, they do still make reel mowers. There were two options: $200 for the fancy one and $100 for the regular one. Choosing simplicity, I headed for the checkout counter and on my way home. When I got to the car, I was surprised to find that the several hours I had spent in the man store actually took a little less than an hour.

Saturday Morning: Don the old t-shirt and shorts overalls. Skip breakfast because it’s too much trouble (this proved problematic later). Armed with the directions and my adjustable wrench, I head to the garage to build the new lawnmower. Everything went together just as directed, until I got to the part about attaching the handle to the mower. The base of the handle was wider than the space it was supposed to slide into. After working on it for 20 minutes, I was able to muscle and finesse it into place. I did a quick victory dance, and then looked to make sure none of my neighbors was about.

The upside to having a yard as small as mine: I poisoned the front-yard weeds, mowed the lawn, fed the lawn, and pulled all the backyard weeds in about an hour and a half.

By the way, while I enjoy the physical activity of working in the yard, I’m very grateful for my sprinkler system.

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Diet and Exercise April 24, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Healthy Living — coffeegirl63 @ 8:42 pm
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Well, it’s time. And it’s been some time coming, too. I’m not sure what happened, really. It kinda snuck up on me. Oh, that’s not true. I’ve watched it approach, wished it away, denied it’s existed, pretended it didn’t bother me… But I procrastinate. What elephant-in-the-room am I so desperately hoping would shrink to a manageable size? It’s funny you should put it that way. In the last year, I have slowly but steadily increased in size so that I currently weigh more than I have in my life… at least, in my non-pregnant life. A couple of years ago, I was thin—skinny, truth be told. With the help of a friend, I put on weight until I was a very healthy size—mostly through healthy eating and exercise. He had this great boxing exercise that was fun and intense. I was strong and I felt great. I stayed that way for most of a year. Then we got busy and couldn’t exercise as often or for as long. Because I kept eating the same amount of food without burning anywhere near the number of calories, I gained weight. Logical, yes, but who wants to deal with reality when denial can seem to be such a lovely place. Then I got sick and couldn’t exercise at all for a few months. That’s all it took for my body to decide it was on a new path, one it seemed to embrace. (I hate when my body has a mind of its own. Well, technically, it *does* have a… ah, but I digress…) So, here I am now, forced back to reality by the fact that my clothes don’t fit, and I have neither the desire nor the finances to replace them with larger ones. Options? Let’s see…

My first successful weight loss was in high school. After a particularly traumatic event in my life, I coped by eating my emotions. Never a good idea, by the way. Then, someone very close to me made a comment about my appearance. Something along the lines of: Two-ton Tillie walking ‘cross the floor, couldn’t get through the kitchen door. Shocked and humiliated, I embraced the only route that made sense to me at the time: I quit eating. Anorexia—she seemed like such a good friend to me. She helped me lose the weight quickly. She helped me learn how to not feel the pain of life. Unfortunately, she was a liar and really cared nothing for me at all. Where Bulimia tends to hide her head in shame at her desire for beauty but her lack of self-control to achieve it, Anorexia stands proud in her complete sense of control and ability to be controlled by nothing—not even hunger or the taste of food. She lies. It’s not control; it’s fear… fear of how others will think or feel of me. Because I wasn’t completely suicidal, I eventually had to eat to survive. She is a precarious wall to hide behind. Besides, after about a year of living with her, I had a wonderful experience—just after my 18th birthday, I became a Christian. Living on the brink of life was no way to honor the One who had given me life. So, anorexia is no longer an option for me.

The way I lost weight after each of my babies was born was to go on a missions trip, eat mostly healthy, walk for 10 – 12 hours a day for a month. I’m not saying I recommend it as a diet plan, but that is how I got back into shape a year after each of my children was born… just in time for me to get pregnant again! Hmmm… coincidence? I argue that it is not! Those were wonderful, life-changing trips that I wouldn’t trade for anything. But after a season, it become too difficult, logistically and financially to take 4 children overseas every year or two. Counting on going into a controlled environment for one month whenever I became too heavy was unrealistic. Ok, so going on a missions trip in order to lose weight in not an option.

Another way I successfully lost weight was through Weight Watchers. It worked very well for me. I was able to follow the plan and I enjoyed the group of people I met there. I think one of the reasons WW works so well is the accountability and fellowship one can have with others who are walking the same path. It’s amazing how a group of people can join hands and laugh about what they’ve been so shamed for, and walk together toward health and wholeness, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, but never alone and ashamed… and learning to take that confidence and success into other areas of their lives. The problem I had with WW was that once I reached my goal weight, I didn’t stop. I went on the maintenance plan, but I just kept losing. The other women in my class would rejoice when I had a weight loss every week, whether I was supposed to have one or not. I think part of what happens is we see someone doing what we do, and we have a choice to be more ashamed of ourselves because we’re too weak to accomplish what looks so easy for someone else or to take hope and courage that we can do the same thing. So, as I continued to waste away, I remained a beacon of hope to a group of women who aspired to the same for themselves. Somehow this didn’t seem to be a healthy role model for me to assume.  I also really don’t want to go back to eating fake sugar just so I can eat more!

There are other methods I could use to lose weight, but somehow they all seem to require various levels of self-starvation, stress, self-abuse in the form of mental flagellation, stuff like that. Unfortunately, I  renting a room from someone who keeps an eye on that and won’t allow any of it. Ok, fine, it’s not *really* unfortunate. But sometimes it *feels* unfortunate because I can’t just use my own warped tools to fix myself quickly.

And, thus, my dilemma… how to lose the weight, lose the inches, in a healthy and permanent way? If only I had a boyfriend I could be healthy and cute and skinny for, then I’d be happy! Oh, wait, no… that’s not it. Don’t get me wrong… I really do want a boyfriend, and eventually to marry again, but that’s not the solution… but maybe it’s a subject for a future post—my life in the dating world. So, ok, back to reality. I know that the safest, best, healthiest way to lose weight is to eat well and to burn the calories at a sufficient rate. It seems lately that I can’t find or make the time to get in a regular workout at the gym.  I haven’t been able to run lately because I got a cold last fall that never completely left my lungs, and because I’ve put on so much weight that it hurts my knees. I have a friend who owns a couple QuickGym locations here in the Springs. He introduced me to the workout about a year ago, but I wasn’t consistent. He’s been encouraging me lately to get back into it. As crazy as my schedule is, it’s completely do-able. The workouts only take 5 – 10 minutes to complete. Here’s a link to his website. I have a friend who has offered to train me at the gym, but our schedules never seem to coincide. I think I’ll take the gym workouts when I can get them, but these quick workouts will be the exercise piece of the puzzle for now. (I don’t know if that analogy works. That means it’s really only a two-piece puzzle—so simple most people wouldn’t even look at it… uh, oh… I think I just found the point!)

This week, I started paying attention to what I’m eating. I’m working on eating mostly produce and whole grains for a little while, probably a week or two, to kind of stifle my sweet tooth a bit. I haven’t missed sugar-treats or been hungry, so that helps a lot. When I add in the exercise again, I should start feeling better very quickly. I am hereby giving you permission to ask me from time to time how I’m doing in these areas.

In Him, Joni