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Monday, January 25, 2016

Happy Home

This makes great blogpost title, and it is also the title of a decorating book byCharoltte Hedman Gueniau, founder of RICE, a homewares company in Denmark. Every  photo is brimming with color pillows and artifacts within all white rooms.  My BFF, Paulette, once told me that she owned a Happy Rug. What a treasure, indeed! The colors of her oriental rug are brighter than most of  this style and I think it is pretty special to own a rug that makes you feel happy.

I'm finally "leaning into" retirement, sage advice given to me from Vince, during my final dinner with the Board a year ago. My gym routine has added needed structure to my week for a start. And, there have been some arts and crafts projects on the back burner that I am enjoyng.

When niece, Kelsey (age 14) came to visit for a week earlier this month, she and I tried our hands at candle making - a popular craft in the early '70s...... We had the bright idea of using some canning jars that I never used (my aborted attempt to make grape jam from the Concord grapevine in our yard). As you can see below, something untoward happened after the candle cooled. It cannot burn properly, sort of the fundamental use of a candle. With $100 invested in supplies, and one ruined double boiler, it is a pretty expensive candle!

After that experiment, we joined a watercolor class in progress at the local metro parks. Our assignment was to copy a photo of a winter forest scene. I didn't like the middle part of my painting, so I cut it out.

Then, I decided I didn't like some other sections, so, I cut those out as well. This helped average out the cost of the workshop as now I had two painting instead of one!

We even did a bit of cooking, making a Thanksgiving dinner menu with Ron as head chef!

You know how you can always learn some new things from a teenager? Well, I didn't know that records, oh, em, VINYL is popular again. At $30 a piece, I am looking at my vintage collection in a whole new light.

Kelsey and Paulette shared new aps on their iPhones while waiting for me at the Mall one afternoon. This was the same day we hung out at Starbucks for awhile. I didn't realize I dropped my billfold under a chair until a very kind gentleman rang our doorbell that evening-billfold in hand! Wow. Thanks, Glenn. Now we are Facebook friends with several friends in common. Small world!  

Meanwhile, instead of knitting a pair of socks, I made a "sockhead" hat. (see photo above)  Since I currently own enough yarn to make 62 pairs of socks, this was an good move. Perhaps I could make 31 hats with 31 pairs of matching socks! Place your orders now. Just call 999-000-9999 before midnight. 

On a roll, Paulette suggested that we try a new craft each week. This week we are going to sew pillowcases for use in Valentine decor.  Details next month. Did I forget to mention ongoing decorating projects? I was asked to advise on paint, furniture, and layout for David and Karrie's home in Temecula, Ca. The photo below is the "before" picture.

The "after" photo features a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter on the walls with a few new pieces of furniture, too. This was really fun to do via  FaceTime with them. Actually, we did the entire house, not just this room. 

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed interior design. For awhile, I tried a double major at Kent (English and Interior Design) but couldn't manage the dichotomy and distance between classes. Paulie lets me decorate her home for each holiday, so I get a temporary fix every season.

Of course, I've not neglected my love of reading. Above are some of the books that are currently on  my nightstand table.  Most are from the Huron Public Library-an absolute gem packed with interesting new books, and a few are from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library that Paulie and I visited a few weeks ago. I am especially enjoying the Ross essays from her years at the New Yorker. I can't read the Bogle book at night because it keeps me wide awake-really. I've become a Boglehead and I have placed holds on his newest books. He is now 86 and I watched a recent interview of him predicting the next 10 years to have an  3% increases in an average portfolio. Oh oh. 

 This is Emma's first winter in a warm house. When she isn't sleeping curled up on the couch, she spends her time looking out of the window and I hope she isn't regretting the change in her environment. Several times a day she allows me to scratch her head and ears, but, I've not yet been able to pick her up. Ten months seems like enough time to get used to us, but, that's how it goes sometimes with cats,  I guess.

Emma's daughter, Lucy, has made herself right at home, as you can see from the photo below! Those are the Jolly Wee Elves that I knitted. They look a bit more wizened than the pattern, alas, but Lucy looks fine!

Lest you think Kate, namesake of this blog, is a reformed puppy, think again! Now at age 5, she still rules the roost and does as she pleases.

I tucked Kate into the bathroom while the Sears Repair guy was here to fix our dryer. It just seemed easier than trying to keep her from barking nonstop. On the other hand, I had a bit of cleanup to do later!

I was sorely tempted to head to D.C. for the big snow storm a few days ago. In Sandusky, the sun is shining and the grass is still green and these are not good things for January, in my opinion.  I'm making the best of it and heading out for a brisk walk with Jack-my new best buddy since Marilyn passed away. Actually, he has always been number one and graciously made way for Louie and then Marilyn Monroe. At age 9, we still have lots of walks ahead of us! From the happy home, jb.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Do your calves get along?

This was what I heard my personal trainer, Barb, ask me a few days ago while I struggled with the TRX set.  Well, actually, both calves were burning, so, I answered, "I'm not sure. Yes, I think so."
Turns out she was asking me if my CATS get along (the earlier conversation we had as I was gasping for breath during a one minute plank exercise). After a good laugh, she was undeterred from introducing me to Jacob's Ladder.

"Don't look so scared!" she exclaimed as she hooked a tether around my waist. This particuar machine just works as slowly as you climb, one rung at a time, forever, or, in my case, 4 minutes.  It also burned 125 calories in the 4 minutes that I lasted on the machine.  You can keep track of the rungs climbed and get a free t-shirt when you reach steps equal to Mt. Everest. Yeah, right, like I need a t-shirt that badly.

On to the recumbent bikes for 20 minutes of "cardio" as Barb calls this ride to nowhere. I haven't figured out how to use the headphone jack, but, I have learned how to read the close captions on the tv or better yet, I ignore the captions and try to guess what the tv newscasters are actually saying.

This little ride is followed by climbing up and down a flight of stairs, 6 times, carrying 10 pound weights in each hand. I clump up the stairs pretty quickly, but, remembering my broken ankle when I missed two steps in my basement stairs in 1999, I SLOWLY decend, staring intently at my feet as they land on each tread. This, of course, is also a pretty good tactic for stalling before Barb assigns me "our" next set of something or other. She also suggests I notice what the extra 20 pounds feels like.......ahem.

Since October, I've lost 2.5 inches from my waist and hips, which at least allows me to breathe easier in a pair of jeans. I actually look forward to my twice weekly sessions with Barb. I have yet to get myself to the gym three other days of the week, however.  In an effort to look for motivation, I signed up for a Metabolic Rate Analysis System test. As the brochure states, .....There is one basic truth to weight loss: you need to burn more than you eat. Your test results show you precisely how many calories your body actually burns and calculates how many calories you should eat to lose weight.

 So, here's what you do: breathe into a tube that goes into the computer for 15 minutes. It measures and then averages your oxygen and co2 levels, compares them to the same in the room, and, voila! You learn, among other things,  if your metabolism is slow, normal, or fast. First, you input your weight, height, and age, goal weight, BMI, and gender.  My rate was dead on normal, so that excuse went right out the window, or rather, down the tube.

Taking into account my "resting energy expenditure" of calories, according to the test, my "life style and activity" calories, and my exercise calories/typical session, I need to dump at least 300 calories/day  from what I am currently eating.  I am sure my "glass" of white wine would qualify for about 150 of those calories, and maybe the nut mix that goes with them. Guess I'll give that a go, so to speak, first. I put the Fitbit back on, too. The one with the lime green band.

I got my first Sneakers award, announced to me on my smartphone, by walking more than 10,000 steps today. Some of that was achieved by walking to the bay and back

and then a rousing round of shopping from one end of Crocker Park to the other. This last, however, was concluded by a nice dinner at Brio, of course with a glass of Cab. Sigh. Today is a new start. We're heading back to our alma mater, Kent State, to hike the campus and see the new buildings and the  rehab of downtown Kent, and, I have to admit, a stop at Ray's for a glass of beer.