Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Flat Tire

I went downstate last Friday to hang out with a few sisters-in-law and just have a good time. Did some shopping, a lot of eating, actually went out for ice cream in this super cold weather. Bought a few things, a pair of brown shoes, a bathroom rug, an omelette pan, some lovely, tasty pistachios. The drive down was a little hairy. Though it was sunny when I got onto the I-75 the wind was so strong it was blowing snow onto the freeway that made it hard to see at times. Suddenly one had to drop from 70 mph (yes that is the speed limit on Michigan highways) very quickly. But I got there safely and as I said, had a very good time.

I came home today, another sunny and blustery day, but after I got onto US-23 after getting off I-75 in Standish some sort of board was in the road that I could not avoid. There was a car to my right, and ones in the lanes approaching me so I could not swerve. Hit it dead on with my left front tire, it smacked the undercarriage and flew out behind me. About a minute later I heard the dreaded "helicopter overhead" sound informing me one of my tires was flat and I pulled over as quickly as I could. Left rear was deader than a door nail. I called USAA, and a tow truck was sent out and arrived about 20 minutes later. As it was about 17 degrees Fahrenheit I had no desire to attempt putting on the spare myself, besides, it turned out that the guy had to whack the rim with a sledge hammer to get it off anyway. I don't carry a sledge hammer in my car. And as I have road side assistance on my insurance policy, I may as well get what I pay for.

When I got home, I emptied the car before I pulled into the garage. Later I noticed some frozen yellowish green spots in the snow where Rory was idling for 10 minutes. Now I have to wonder if something else was damaged by that chunk of debris. Hal will be crawling underneath and taking a look. The tire itself is salvageable, the sidewall on the inside has an L-shaped slice in it. So unless I can find the same tire to replace it with (it had a fairly deep tread) I will have to buy 2 to replace it. Plus possibly have to get some sort of leak fixed. Bummer all around.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

An Area Rug

I've been wanting some area rugs since we replaced all the living room carpet with vinyl. Besides being cool on the feet in winter, Luna has been slipping and sliding now and then even though it does have a texture. The store Big Lots had a sale this week and this is what I found among the meager offerings they had. It's sort of a purple blending into burgundy alternating with beige. I think Luna and Ziggy both like it. It's 6 x 9 feet and essentially is just a bound piece of wall to wall carpet. But I got it for $50 which is a pretty good deal. It's also washable, even better. The photos make it look more purple than it really is but even if it was that purple I still like it. The first photo was taken  shortly after unrolling it. Doggies everywhere!
The second photo was taken yesterday morning. The color is more accurate though a bit washed out, but the doggies still seem to like it.

Ribbon Candy!!

Because I hadn't had any in years!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gained a Pound

Not exactly a stellar start to my weight loss but I haven't really been trying very hard. The walking outside has diminished simply because it is treacherous, not because of slipping on ice but because that January thaw froze my foot prints into mini hardened sink holes that are now covered in soft snow and therefore hard to avoid. I can't count how many times a heel or toes have fallen in and wrenched me sideways. I'm wearing a knee brace on my right knee because it aches and my ankles are protesting though I am fortunate that my Muck boots are providing decent enough support.

On the indoor exercise front I have now bicycled 4 days in a row, 20 minutes at a time. Today I chose the 2nd fat burner program which get my speed to a high of 14 mph for a few minutes instead of merely 11 mph. I've also used my 5 pound dumbbells 2 days in a row. Going to try for 3 today. I have this vague memory that one should lift weights every other day to gain strength or muscle, but I am more intent on burning calories right now. If I get in the mood I'll do a web search and find out but that is for another day.

Speaking of calories though what I really need to do is eat less and eat better. Has and I are still consuming crackers and cheese in front of the TV at night as well as other junk foods. I even made brownies a couple nights ago. So as of today no more crackers (oyster crackers in soup do not count, though I don't have to use as many), more fruit and the yogurt that is languishing in the garage refrigerator really needs to come upstairs into the kitchen fridge.

So, is there anything that has changed my mindset other than just the weight gain? I am going to visit some SIL's next weekend and as I was packing I discovered most of my pants do not fit any more. I refuse to buy a larger size, I did that a few years ago. I do not want to make a habit of that. I am also only 9 pounds away from the heaviest I have ever been and that is not a good feeling. And as this now increases my weight gained over 14 months to 26 pounds I need a goal. I have decided to lose 20 pounds by Thanksgiving. That is late November, January is almost over so I won't include it in my calculations. That's 2 pounds a month, definitely doable.

Now to go get my weights.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It's Snowing, Sort of...

We're under a winter weather advisory or 4-6 inches of snow along and north of the M-72 corridor. Hey, that's me! But so far it's been pretty wimpy and what's on the radar is even wimpier. The center of this storm seems to still be hanging out over in northern Wisconsin. I suppose it's possible it will move this way and swirl around overhead after I go to bed, but at this point, I'm not seeing even the 4 inches happening here. I guess I'll find out in the morning.

But since I haven't much else to say, how about a photo of my 2 pups that I neglected to post back in December?

Luna, Santa and Ziggy
Edited to add: Barely 2 inches of new snow. Barely enough to shovel! YAY!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Well, I Ate a lot Over the Holidays!

I forced myself onto the scale today. Since mid October when I last weighed myself I gained 14 pounds. So much for the vague idea I had of not gaining much. Last January I determined that I had gained 11 pounds. So over 14 months, I essentially gained 25 pounds. Not pretty, even though people are always telling me "it doesn't show, you're so tall", I know it, I can feel it and I am not pleased. Now if I can just persuade myself to do something about it. Riding my exercise bike yesterday for the first time this year isn't going to help if I don't continue and eat less. So, let's see if I can ride it 3 times a week for 20 minutes at a time, continue walking the dogs, of course, eat less junk food and drink less beer and wine. *sigh* In other words, the usual. I am sure my 2 or 3 readers of this blog are holding their collective breath that I can DO IT!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Walking was Mushy Today

Had a bit of a warm up starting yesterday when it hit about 32 during the day, then it rained all night and today it actually hit 41.5 f. I took the pups through the usual trail around the swamp and though I planned 3 trips around by the time I got half way around I dropped that to 2 and by the end of round one had had enough. The effort to keep my feet from sliding left and right felt as much as if I was trudging through 3 feet of snow. Next walk we went up the driveway and back and while that was better it still wasn't much fun.

But I took this opportunity to see if I could get the Christmas lights off the gutter since the icicles had all melted. I succeeded though I had to leave a lot of the hangers which were still encased in ice. Got drenched in the process between the water dripping from the roof and the rain which had restarted but it felt good to have that done and not having to stare at unlit lights till March.

They're calling this the January Thaw though after weeks of tens and sub zero nights anything in the 20s felt warmer, but you don't know how cold it's been till it gets above freezing. What a difference.  Felt good but I'm actually looking forward to the ground freezing solid again so I can walk the dogs and enjoy it without worrying about falling. And it looks like that will be in a couple of days.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Packing up Christmas

First I'll mention that the intrepid travelers from Massachusetts made it home without incident yesterday.

Meanwhile, back at the swamp I am slowly taking down decorations and packing them up for storage. Yesterday Hal tossed the tree onto the front deck and I dragged it down the yard to the pile of tree limbs and remnants of previous Christmas trees at the edge of the woods. I have emptied the tree stand and put it with the others acquired over the years in the basement. I filled up one big box with the "good" ornaments, those that have special meaning or are just rather nice to look at. Lights went into a separate box, the LEDs and C-7 strings that my brother and I put up for that nostalgia. I bought 2 more strings of those after Christmas at Home Depot just in case we want to do it again. Those types of strings are getting harder to find. (And I always made sure the lights were off if we were going out,)

Old, meaningless ornaments went into another box with the nice garland on top. While pulling the box out of the loft to put the wreathes away I found an entire box of decorations for the table that I didn't even think of using. I really need to go through what I've got and get rid of some of this stuff. I've got way too much of it.

I also took the decorations off the driveway tree. It is really hard to see though. I am hoping a better tree will sprout up for next Christmas.
A little more than halfway up the driveway.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

So Much for Clear Sailing to Buffalo

Though nothing unusual is appearing on the radar near Buffalo, NY the governor decided to close the NY Thruway from the PA/NY border right through Rochester. All this in preparation for snow yet to come. I guess they have a blizzard warning so they closed the thruway at 2:30. Hal and I have been looking for alternate routes and now they are on I-86 which is south of the 90 and heading for Elmira. I took that route in warmer weather once, very pretty. As far as I know it's still open as it's much farther away from the Great Lakes causing Buffalo and its surrounds so much trouble. I've cancelled their reservation at Motel 6 just off the thruway as they can't get there and am waiting to hear if they want me to make a new reservation somewhere else or if they're just going to wing it. Winter travel can be so exciting!

edited to add: They made it safely to a motel outside of Elmira where the sky is clear and I can still see some snow on the Buffalo radar but I have no idea if it's as bad as predictions. But they're well out of it now so it's no longer a problem for us.

They're on Their Way There (Massachusetts)

Well my sister, her BF and Lyra left for Massachusetts this morning at 7 am, the Subaru packed tightly and Lyra snug in the back seat on her bed. I missed them the second their car disappeared up the driveway. I think Ziggy misses sleeping in the guest bed with them, too. I've gotten a few text messages and there was ice in a couple of spots on I-75 but they still made it to Dundee and the Cabela's there in about 4 hours. Now they're stuck in traffic just south of there, not quite to the Ohio border. (turned out to be a jack-knifed trailer truck)

The weather here is cold, only 7.7 f already exceeding the forecast high by 3 degrees. The low was only -7.3 but the wind is making it feel much worse. Wind chills are supposedly in the -20s and during the 6 minute walk the pups and I took after adding wood to the wood stove for the third time this morning, I believe it. I had to turn my back to the wind whenever it gusted. The dogs seem very content to stay inside. I didn't even open the pop-door to the chicken coop, don't need the wind to suck out what little heat they're generating on their own. And having just check the coop temperature I think that was a smart idea because it's already risen 10 degrees to 19 f. I may just keep them trapped in there till Thursday, they don't like walking in the snow anyway.

Yesterday I started taking a few decorations off the tree, but really got to work on it this morning. I'd have more done if I hadn't had to go outside those 3 times to work on the wood stove. (It's temperature was down to 128 on my first trip to it, then 126 which demanded a 2nd trip, and then 125 even though we'd turned the internal house temp back down to draw less heat from it. It's finally back into the 150s, needs to be between 160 and 170 for optimum heat, but I'm thinking it's time for Hal to get out there and throw in some bigger logs, I can only lift so much weight and with this weather, it's really burning wood fast.

I suppose I'd better get back to the tree now, it's not going to un-decorate itself. But first another dog photo taken Christmas evening.
Luna, Lyra and Ziggy

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Still Chilly

We've had a pretty major cold snap here. Been a long time since it's stayed this cold this long, don't know what last night's low was but the night before it dropped to -18.6 f. The night before hit -19 f. Yes, it's a bit nippy. The high yesterday was 12.7 f, it's 8.7 f now but not supposed to get any higher than that according to the forecast. No snow in the forecast either, I know I read some where that the old saying "it's too cold to snow" is just that, a meaningless old saying but so far it's holding bearing out. When it was in the 20s on and off the week before Christmas we were getting an inch here a couple inches there, but not now. Though we are having a light snow shower right now, it's not going to accumulate as it doesn't show up on the radar. (and maybe, it's too cold!)

For the most part the dogs don't seem to mind it, occasionally Luna or Ziggy will stop walking and hold a paw up in the air for me to dig out some crusty snow and off they go again chasing after interesting trails and wrestling right in front of me so that I have to walk around them. Sometimes Lyra will get into the wrestling as well.
Ziggy and Lyra
Looks like we'll actually get the temps up to 30 Saturday. We'll have to wait and see.