Friday, June 29, 2007

One of the most helpful things Benji did while he was here, and he did several, was to rearrange our televisions. Mother's old TV had been homeless since her death, but with a larger, clearer screen than a couple of the sets we were using, I wanted it in our upstairs den. So he moved the one that was there to our bedroom to replace the small 13" set we watched from our bed. The little one got moved to the guest bedroom/my office spot, and the one I had there is now unplugged and homeless. It was a rescue from a neighbor's garbage several years ago and has worked well, especially for a throw-away with a universal remote.

It was not until we got Mother's old TV plugged in that I figured out why she kept it unplugged. When she lived at the Admiral, she told me several times that someone had been in her room while she slept and turned on her television. She was awakened several times by it, and her only explanation for this bizarre event was that an intruder had been there watching it. Poor Mom didn't need help sounding mystified by technical features like this, and we usually smiled or chuckled when she so sincerely complained about it. The manager knew how to turn off the automatic turn-on feature, and did several times, but it kept happening.

Well, I should have known that laughing at an old lady's confusion would come back to haunt me. I've reset this feature a couple of times, but somehow it goes back to the "on" setting at 5:30 AM. The poltergeist that came with it will have to plug it back in from now on if he needs white noise.

I've got several projects started that need my attention. The floor mat I started last week for my kitchen has turned out to be a major undertaking. I've logged several hours of painting on it and I'm only about half done. Before it gets hot on my deck, I'm going to work on it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I hate that Cooper's team didn't win the tournament, nobody hates to lose at anything like Cooper, but sounds like they played admirably. I'm proud of you, Coop! It won't surprise your Gramma to see you winning baseball scholarships or playing pro ball one day, if that's what you want to do.

Betsy left for New York this morning and will be visiting her children and grandchildren while there. With all the horror stories of airline delays and cancellations, I hope she got there without too much inconvenience. Don't forget to make pictures, Sis! And remind Laura that I'm still waiting to see the pictures she made in Tupelo in March.

Our pool was trashed this morning. Looked like someone threw a wild party out there and tried to make the biggest mess they could possibly make with cigarette butts all over the place and beer bottles thrown in the water. Nothing was torn up that I could see, but I came back home without exercising. It wouldn't have been as much fun without Pam and Jean anyway, they've gone to the coast on vacation. The pool cleaning crew usually comes on Thursdays, so by in the morning it should be clean again. I hope the security cameras caught the morons who made the mess and if they were not residents, we should have the sheriff arrest them. If they were residents, they should lose their pool privileges. There's no excuse for such carelessness and mischief.
Tournament outcome from Rick:

It is sad to say that we were eliminated from the tournament last night in a game that could have easily been a win for us if we could have limited our mistakes. Last night we seemed to be tired and just couldn't make the defensive plays that we needed in order to stay in it at the end. Cooper pitched a good game, but except for the third and fourth innings, we had multiple errors in each inning that were too hard to overcome. The team we lost to (New Tampa #1) was from our own park and was easily the favored team to win, but we didn't make it easy for them. In the end though, they are our friends, and we wish them all the best as they try to beat Land O'Lakes tonight and hopefully tomorrow for the District 25 championship.

A quick recap (again from memory):
We played as the visiting team and didn't score in the top of the first.
NT#1 scored 4 runs in the bottom of the first. We had two errors in the infield.
We scored 6 runs in the top of the 2nd inning. Cooper had a hard-hit seeing eye single for an RBI that just glanced off the diving shortstop's glove.
NT#1 scored 4 more runs in the bottom of the 2nd. Again, two or three more errors on our part.
We did not score in the top of the 3rd inning.
In the bottom of the 3rd and facing the 2,3,4,&5 hitters in the lineup, Cooper 's first pitch was lined to our 3rd baseman for a quick out. The next batter lined Cooper's second pitch of the inning to our first baseman for the 2nd out. The third batter fouled off a couple of pitches, and down 0-2 sat on Cooper's change-up for a nice single to Right. The 4th batter (who already had two homeruns in the tournament) popped up the first pitch to our 2nd baseman.....Inning over in six pitches. We're down 8-6 at this point.
We scored one more run in the top of the 4th inning. Score now 8-7, but we're still behind.
The manager felt like a change of pace may throw off the opposing team, so Cooper was replaced to begin the 4th inning. NT#1 did not score in the bottom of the 4th inning. We're still trailing 7-8 after 4 innings.
We had a couple of runners in scoring postion in the 5th inning, but had one player thrown out at the plate and wound up with no additional runs in the 5th.
In the bottom of the 5th, the wheels fell off the proverbial wagon. To summarize, the other team was loving our pitcher's fastball and were hitting it hard. We committed 5 errors and NT#1 took advantage of every one of them. By the time we got the 3rd out of the inning, we were down 15-7 and looking very deflated as we walked off the field.
We went quickly and quietly in the top of the 6th - 3 up, 3 down and thus ended our tournament and Little League (Spring) season for 2007.

It didn't take but about 10 minutes for one of the kids to realize that "Hey, we get our lives back." After a few tears and a quick medal ceremony (we did finish 3rd out of 9 very respectable teams), we packed our gear for a much needed Summer break. I hope that I haven't annoyed you with my emails, but most of you have been an encouragement to Cooper's (and mine as well) baseball fascination and training, and others of you are good friends that I know love a good baseball story....and then there are of course the relatives that can't get enough info about us. :-)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thanks to Rick for the sports reports. Here's the one from Tuesday night:

WooHoo!!!! We're still playing good ball and still winning games. We beat a very good Temple Terrace LL team last night 11-8. Tonight we outslugged the Dade City LL team and won 15-10 for our third win in a row. Cooper will be back on the mound again tomorrow night - not sure if a starter or closer at this point. We'll be playing against the "other" New Tampa Team (#1) because they lost to Land O'Lakes tonight. Being in the losers bracket means the next loss and their (or our) tournament is over. The winner of tomorrow's game will have to beat Land O'Lakes twice to win the championship.

Say a prayer for Cooper to do his best and for the rest of the team to play good defense and continue to hit the ball well, because it's going to be our toughest challenge yet against New Tampa #1.

This is Rick's report from Sunday night:

Whew! The final was 11-8, and Cooper got the WIN!.......but it was a close game most of the way.

The Manager of our team decided that he would rather have Cooper come in and close the game out the last 3 innings, which Cooper really enjoys as much if not more than starting. North Seminole won the coin toss and chose to be the home team. As it turned out, the gameplan didn't go as expected.

I don't have the scorebook in front of me, so I'll describe the game based on my "tired" memory.........We scored one run in the top of the first inning and none in the 2nd inning. Our starter wasn't very sharp from the beginning, and after 1 and 1/3 innings, Cooper was called upon to get the team out of trouble. North Seminole was ahead 3 to 1 and the bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the second inning. Cooper struck out the first batter on 3 pitches and the last strike was a beautiful changeup that the batter was way out in front of. Cooper got the next batter to pop up to the third baseman for the third out in the inning.....No more damage done that inning.

Our team scored 5 in the top of the third inning and we were up 6 to 3. Cooper went 3 up - 3 down in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

We scored 3 more runs in the top of the 4th inning to go ahead 9 to 3. In the bottom of the 4th inning, Cooper started off the inning with a quick strikeout. North Seminole was able to load the bases via a couple of walks (Cooper declares the umpire missed some really good inside pitches that were DEFINITELY strikes!......sounds just like a pitcher doesn't it? :-)) and a fielding error by the SS which was a really tough short-hop play to begin with. The next batter hit a bases-clearing triple down the right field line -he later scored on a sacrifice to the 2nd baseman who went to first for the 2nd out. Coach Dad went out to the mound to settle him down and to ask the catcher what he was seeing. We decided to have Cooper go exclusively with his 2-seam fastball since it was really dropping "off the table" (about 10-12 inches) in pre-game warm-ups. Cooper was able to compose himself and strike the next batter out. Score is now 9-7, AND we're still ahead.

North Seminole brought in a hard thrower in relief to begin the top of the 5th inning and he was a bit erratic. We got a couple of baserunners, but couldn't score them. Cooper came back out in the bottom of the 5th inning and got a real nice play from his catcher (Joey) as the first batter popped up a bunt attempt and Joey running toward our dugout dove and made the catch and held on as he flipped over on the ground. The next two batters got on base via a hit and a walk. Cooper's pitch count is in the mid-60's at this point. Little League has a 75 pitch limit per game for 10 year olds, so Cooper is almost done whether he likes it or not. With the TIEING RUNS IN SCORING POSITION at 3rd and 2nd bases (they advanced on a delayed steal), Cooper struck out the next 2 batters to end the inning and the scoring threat. He was out of pitches and we had one more inning to go.

We scored 2 more runs in the top of the 6th inning to take an 11-7 lead (and a litlle bit of breathing room). Our third pitcher (Jimmy) of the game started the 6th inning and gave up 2 quick hits. North Seminole had a sacrifice hit to second who went to first for the out, but a run scored. Score now 11-8, and another runner at 3rd base. The next batter popped up to the pitcher. 2 outs. Jimmy struck out the next batter to end the game. Whew!

Everybody played great, but the manager decided that Cooper came in, took control of the game and helped the momentum swing to our side and pitched out of several tough situations and so awarded Cooper with the game ball.

Cooper will not be eligible pitch again until Wednesday due to his pitch count, so that means we have to beat Temple Terrace tomorrow night and then win again Tuesday night. Temple Terrace is a strong team and could be a challenge to our team, but in Little League baseball anything can happen! (So, who you going to cheer for now Walt and Staci? :-))

I'll also take this opportunity to wish my other son CLAY a very happy 13th birthday! (Yes, our oldest son will be a TEENAGER tomorrow.) What a great kid he is and hopefully being a teenager won't change that. :-)
I love for them to come, but I don't mind it when they leave. I love my kids and grandkids, I enjoy having them here to visit, but when they pull out of the driveway headed home, there is an inescapable feeling of relief. I have a new appreciation for my own parents everytime my house is filled to capacity. When their eldest daughter moved in with two preschool-aged boys and didn't leave for 5 years, there must have been times when they very much wished for an empty nest. I guess I could get used to it if I had to, but I'm extremely glad I don't have to. Thanks again, Mom and Dad, for all you did to help me and mine.

Benji and Karen got all 3 of my screen doors hung and a light fixture repaired, and this was after a shopping trip they made to Lowe's with their 3 kids in tow to get all the supplies. I admire their youthful endurance. When they tell me they're going to remodel the downstairs bathroom in their Memphis house, I have no doubt they can do it and will do it well. Each of them is handy with the tools. Thanks, Guys, for your help. Maybe I can help out with your Memphis project.

Pip was not happy to see me or to be back at Gramma's house. So sure he was that they intended to leave him again that he never let them out of his sight, and did not allow me to get close. I'm sorry he associates being at my house with missing his parents, but surely he will get over it before long.

I'm due at the pool early today, so I'll sign off for now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thanks to Mary Ann for this report on their work week in New Orleans:

The Mission trip was incredible! It was hot as blue blazes but we were able to meet our homeowner and get to know her! She was amazing! She was one of the people we saw on the overpass trying to get on a bus to Houston. She was stranded on the bridge for 3 days! She had to leave her dog in the house and the dog survived for 30 days! When she got back she was alive but had lost her hair! Tracey pulled everything she had from the freezer and she survived! Her house had to be gutted since the flood water reached approx 4 feet in the home. World Changers put on a new roof the week before we got there and our job was to scrape and prime and paint. We scraped and primed the entire house. I think we painted over half of it. Pretty good for 3 days work! It was such a blessing.

Mama met us there and spent the week working with us! She is amazing! No one could believe how hard she works! We prayer walked and prayed with a lot of the neighbor hood. There were over 100 contacts made and at least 2 souls saved! It was an awesome experience for all of us!

Clay and Cooper were forever changed. They are so much more aware of their blessings now! We are all so glad we had an opportunity to do this! The folks from New Orleans were amazed that Rick used vacation to do this along with most of the Dads. We had 50 people from our church and there were other families from Georgia, Texas and South Carolina! We had a blast! and hope to do it again next year! We also got to deepen our relationships with the families from our church. (Did I mention we were all on a charter bus to and from?) It was an experience of a lifetime!

Continue to pray for the people there. I am amazed at what is left to be done. But they are so appreciative! I have never seen such soft, open hearts there before. After having lived there for 8 years, I am amazed how the waters of Katrina changed the city and her people. The people are hungry and thirsty for help and for healing. Pray for the harvest there. They are ripe and receptive for it! The drug dealers are the same as gone! Their crack houses washed away! Pray for the people there that want to rebuild and restore.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Finally! Something besides 4 lb to celebrate! Staying off the scales for a couple of days, I was rewarded with a 5.4 lb loss. I just got tired of not seeing progress for a week. We're supposed to go to a party tonight, I've got to be careful not to over-celebrate.

I'd really rather stay here, same sentiments I posted last year on the same occasion. I ate and drank too much then, and probably will again tonight. I wish Benji's family were back from the coast, so I'd have a legitimate excuse to stay home, but they're not due back until tomorrow afternoon.

I worked over an hour in the heat to replace the wire mesh on the screen door I want Benji to hang for me when he comes. I got pet-proof screen this time. We'll see if it's Gus and Jay-Jay proof. The storm door I had on the front last year needs new screen, too, but I'm waiting for a cool morning on the deck to do that. I would really like to paint the wooden frame on the back door with a decorative design like the one I had a few years back, but Mike thought it was tacky. I may do it anyway. It was the best way I've found, yet, to warn visitors that "an artist lives here," so they are not shocked when they come in and see art projects scattered around in various stages of completion. My decor is somewhere between shabby chic and country Bohemian, or as Mike calls it, "tacky," but it's comfortable for all who live here, those with 2 legs and those with 4.

I was awakened much too early this morning by a cat fight right outside our bedroom window. Mick came in with a scratch across his nose, and my day started about 2 hours before I wanted it, too. I made up the deficit with a 2 hour nap, though, so I'm hoping that gets me through the evening. Now if I could get the chest and arm pain to subside, I'd feel much better.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The tests I took this morning were not difficult, no pain induced by getting the heart rate up to the 136-142/min. range. The BP went way up, but came back down after resting a few minutes. Dr. Barksdale is to call after he views the results to let me know if any problem was revealed. (4 pm update: everything looked perfectly normal, according to the cardiologist.)

Doing without caffeine did not bother me as much as I expected. It would probably be good if I could live without it altogether, but I'm not ready to let go of that yet. I was so hungry when I left the clinic that I immediately started craving Shoney's breakfast bar, complete with sausage, biscuits, and gravy. Settling for a cereal bar instead felt like a major moral victory. With the weight loss still stuck at 4 lbs., I need to forget about Shoney's breakfasts and the rest of the "all-you-can-eat" buffets I so enjoy. Hard to believe there was a time when I was encouraged to eat like that to gain weight. (Note to self: That was pre-1984, Dear, not 2007, so get with it!)

What happened in 1984 to put an end to careless eating? Menopause, and we bought a restaurant where I ate ribeye steaks, baked potatoes and Texas toast laden with real butter every night for supper. Ah! That was some good eating! But the jeans got too tight too fast and the sizes have increased incrementally since then. I was a size 5 when Don and I married in 1975 and a size 10 when we divorced in 1985. Grieving over the divorce, I lost back down to a size 7, but after moving to Jackson in 1987, the pounds again started adding up. I regret ever criticizing my mother for gaining weight, because I've got those same genes. Too bad I didn't take after Dad's side of the family who don't seem to ever be overweight. His dad who died at 63 from a stroke was "portly," but his mother and siblings were all on the slim and trim side. Skip is built just like him.

I got a sad message from him saying their 14 yr old lab Buffy is spending her last day with them today and will enter her next life within a few hours, free of the disease and tumor that is debilitating her. Our sympathy to him and Helen, who will shed not a few tears over this loss. Letting these 4-legged babies go is almost as hard as letting the 2-legged ones go, I'm sure. I dread saying good-by to mine. He's due to come for a visit in the next week or two. I may cry with him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No caffeine today in preparation for tomorrow's thallium treadmill test, and that's just in case they have to go to "Plan B," whatever that is. If Plan A goes as it should, I could have had caffeine without causing problems. There is a $200 cancellation fee if they are not notified within 24 hours before the test. I'm 22.5 hours away from test time, so I guess there's no rescheduling without penalty. I'll just be glad when the whole thing is over.

12:30 pm. We had more wind yesterday than I realized. I knew garbage and limbs littered the grounds when I returned from running errands, but had no idea part of our wrought iron fence at the pool was also blown away. One of my neighbors had picked up most of the furniture that was scattered and cleaned debris from the pool, so we had a calm, clean, cool hour of exercise. The temp was only 85* when I came in at 11:00. I just wish we were getting more rain. The system that is churning in Texas is predicted to blow north of us, but that could change.

Mike is having lunch with Greenhill, so fixing lunch for him will again not be necessary. He forgot to have his Ambien refilled yesterday and could not fall asleep until I found an old bottle of Xanex and he took one of those. He has not been able to sleep without a pill of some sort for about 7 years now. I wonder about his chemical dependency but his doctors have told me that anxiety and sleep deprivation are more unhealthy for him than the drugs he takes, so I try not to worry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What a difference a day makes! I feel so much better today than yesterday. I slept better last night and we have cooler, rainy weather today, which seems to help everybody's feelings, not the all day soaker we were hoping for but several good showers, so far. All of nature is breathing a long satisfying "Aaahhh!" It's thirst is quenched, with more rain promised for tonight and tomorrow. We watched the rain clouds roll in while we were at the pool from 10-11 am. It started right after that.

After lunch, I went to the nail salon and got a manicure and a pedicure. I figured it would be a slow day for them, Tuesdays usually are, but everybody had the same idea I did, I guess, to spend the rainy afternoon being pampered. I was ahead of the crowd, though, and got out sooner than some of them will. They had 10 customers and only 3 technicians when I left.

Mike is spending the afternoon at Ron's, playing chess and watching a Beatles documentary. I think I'll grab a nap before he returns. It's not often I get to sleep to the sound of falling rain.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I have not felt well today. After taking Tylenol PM and the rough night that followed, I've been sleepy all day. The tablets had the opposite effect from what I expected and if I could have jumped out of my skin, I would have. A major case of heebie-jeebies tormented me for about 3 hours, and today it's been more chest and arm pain. It didn't bother me while I did pool exercise, though, and I worked myself pretty hard to see if it would. I was not alone and alerted the ladies with me to what I was doing.

I really enjoyed my company over the week-end and am looking forward to their return in a few days. I just hope I'm feeling better by then.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Both of my sons are on the road today, Ricky and family to New Orleans and Benji and family to my house. Travelling mercies, please Lord, for my precious family members. Ricky's crew decided to ride the chartered bus with the other church members, so I won't see them until they come back to MS in July for Mary Ann's family reunion. Benji won't get here until around suppertime, so I've got all day to put finishing touches to my housecleaning. They are on their way to the coast for a few days and are planning to stop at my house again on their way home, maybe stay for a couple of days.

Mike is meeting Bonnie at Border's for a Father's Day coffee and dessert visit this afternoon, so I'll have the house to myself for a while. For some reason housework is so much easier to do with Mike gone. He left around 6:00 this morning to help with a marathon being co-sponsored by St. Dominic's Rehab. That he volunteered to help really surprised me, but being so early in the morning, I'm sure it appealed to him when a later event would not have. He handed out water at the 1-mile marker point with a couple of his therapists and their children, and seemed to have really enjoyed it. He got himself up, dressed, and out of the house without disturbing me, so I got to sleep until after 8, a rarity around here. By 8:30, he was back home.

I seem to be stuck at the 4 lb lost level, but I didn't exercise much yesterday. After seeing the cardiologist, I went for my mammogram, then to McAllister's, then to Kroger. I was tired by the time I got home. Mike was with me all day, he's been terribly concerned about my chest pains, so accommodating him in addition to everything else just zapped me.

It's overcast and 80* at noon, a good day to exercise. Maybe I can talk Benji and Karen into walking the 1 mile to the Mexican Restaurant and back with me tonight. Our walking trail takes us right across the street from it and Pip would enjoy the stroller ride. We could walk off our supper. If they don't want to do that, I'll fix sandwiches or grill hamburgers. The chopped sirloin I use, when cooked on the Foreman grill, is mostly fat free, and with whole wheat buns, fat free mayo, fresh tomatoes, etc., they're not too unhealthy, quite tasty, in fact.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I'm still at the 4 lb lost mark, due, probably, to the Pop-Tart I had for a bedtime snack last night. Since I'm doing a treadmill test for the cardiologist this morning, I may let that count for today's exercise. Wish me luck and pray nothing is seriously wrong. I'll write more later about how everything went.

6:00 pm. No treadmill today, but they did an ultrasound test, or echo cardiogram; no abnormal conditions were found. They've scheduled a thallium treadmill for next Thursday. The cardiologist didn't seem at all concerned that I had something wrong, just wanted to "cover all bases." He was much more concerned with my BP, which was 140/89 when I was there, and was glad to know I was being treated for hypertension, and had started exercising and losing weight.

We all know that emotional stress and depression cause "heartache," the kind written about in country ballads, not usually fatal. But did you know that long-term exposure to adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones) can cause a heartache that affects the cardiovascular system, the digestive system, the immune system, the nervous system, etc? Learning to cope with stress in healthy ways is a challenge we all face sooner or later. No human is immune to stress. Exercise seems to be one of the best strategies for lessening its negative effect.

When I was a child, my pediatrician Dr. McDougal said I had an irregular heartbeat. I was also anemic and had persistent sinus problems, probably due to numerous allergies, but back then they didn't know much about all this. It led my father to being somewhat over-protective of his "delicate daughter," something my sister misunderstood as favoritism, and more than likely influenced her to be the rough and tumble tomboy she was.

I wasn't sidelined very often due to medical limitations, but I do remember being reminded not to over-exert myself. "Don't let yourself get too tired," they told me, so consequently I rarely pushed myself to discomfort and wasn't athletic. Trying to keep up with the other girls in calisthenics and basketball warm-ups usually resulted in doubling over stomach cramps for me and a shortness of breath that took me longer to recover from than others, but I rode my bike often, and suffered no ill effects. I jumped rope, played tennis, and walked long distances without it hurting me. I suspected I was not nearly as delicate as my parents thought, but I enjoyed the extra attention. Nowadays, the doctor would encourage a thin, pale child like I was to play and exercise without restriction, treating the anemia and the allergies, and would encourage my parents not to worry that she can't keep up.

I was reminded of all this during my conversation with Dr. Barksdale about my medical history. I'm sure my attitude about physical activity and exercise were influenced by my childhood experiences and have led to some unhealthy choices in adulthood. It's about time, though, to rethink these outdated ideas and deal with today's realities, "Get real! Get active! Get fit!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Carpet cleaners were scheduled to come at 10:00, but rescheduled for 2:00, so I got to do my pool stuff this morning. They're here now and it's hard to believe what a difference a professional cleaning can make. The light beige carpet color was chosen before we had dogs or cats and looks really ratty without regular cleanings. The whole house has a fresh lemon scent to it, really a nice improvement. The Bissell steam cleaner I bought a couple of years ago does a fairly good job, but nothing like these guys do. And one of them even put my closet door back on the track for me. I've never used this company before, but I will use them again, I promise.

Gus and Jay-Jay are protesting their restrictions, but they will get over it. And I'm going to spank them if I find a spot before company comes this week-end. They looked just like they understood every word I said when I told them this, too.

I made the most delicious, nutritious fruit concoction yesterday and ate it for a snack: diced peaches, strawberries, and banana with Kroger Lite Yogurt, the peach flavor, kinda like a smoothie but not blended, just mixed. Today it will be peaches and cantaloupe in raspberry yogurt. Now that the carpet cleaners are gone, I can get to the kitchen.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

When the low temp at night goes below 72, my back porch is tolerably cool for a few hours the next morning. We've had a couple of those pleasant times out there this week, which always leads to thinking of all the improvements I'd like to make (which usually sends my hubby straight back inside). Getting it decluttered and hosed down always helps, so I'm trying to be satisfied with that for now. I bought some new plants yesterday while I was out, and got them repotted before going to exercise. By 9:45, I was perspiring and needing a cool dip in the swimming pool. And it was sweeeet!

It was not until after lunch when I began logging activities for the day on the CC site, that I found out that an hour of general gardening activity burns as many calories as an hour of water aerobics. Who knew? According to my stats and based on the most sedentary lifestyle, I burn 1528 calories in a 24 hour period by just breathing. If I laid in bed all day and did nothing but watch TV, normal bodily functions would require that number of calories to keep me alive and at the same weight. An hour of general gardening activity and an hour of water aerobics burned an additional 632 calories, then with the few other activities I do, I'm burning enough to eat 1523 calories (my recommended daily allowance), and still lose weight.

If any of you would like to join me at the CC site, I'll put you on my "friend list", so we can keep each other honest and encouraged. And did I mention it's FREE? I've lost 4 lbs, so far, and if I can do it, you can, too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I did the easiest hour of exercise this morning at the pool. Why haven't I been doing this all along? No heat, no sweat, no jarring of the joints, just very pleasurable aerobic movement for an hour. That's 316 calories burned! There were 5 of us 50+ ladies there, one had 2 grandchildren with her, so I didn't feel intimidated by the sunbathing beauties who monopolize the place on the week-ends. All but one of them were much more overweight than me, so that also helped, but I admired their attitudes and effort. And I did some long overdue socializing with neighbors. I really enjoyed finding out that even the Republicans are sick of Dubya. Our group was evenly divided 2 Reps, 2 Dems, 1 Ind. And no, I was not the one who brought up politics first, surprise, surprise!

Benji, the sugar addict, has started his last diet and is using to keep track of his food and exercise. From what I can tell, it's similar to, not sure if it's free, though. There is so much good free info available on the internet that makes challenges like weight loss easier. I'm even getting interested in cooking again, and a trip to our local fruit and vegetable stand is on today's agenda. I've got a stress test with a cardiologist scheduled for Friday, also a mammogram. With what I've seen of heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, and crippling arthritis, I'm sure I don't want any of it. I'm determined to do what I can to prevent it, just hope I haven't waited too late.

Sad news from Ricky - the runt of Maggie's litter Ginny died. They have 4 healthy puppies left and plan to keep one of them. Cooper's All-Star Team starts the day after they get back from New Orleans. Clay's final report card was excellent; he was on the honor roll. Way to go, guys!

I've got several errands to run, so I'm outta here!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Our expected high temp for the day is 98*, and we're not even into July and August, yet. You lucky Bostonians get only 76* for a high, and Brooklynites have a good chance of thunderstorms with 81* as your high. Tampa is partly cloudy with a 91* high expected, while Makanda is partly cloudy with your high being 82* today. Woo-hoo! Rankin Co, Mississippi again wins as the most insufferable location for family members to be today, except Folsom, La, where Skip is, which has a 96* high predicted, but 61% humidity. Our sogginess will only be 35%, not much of a silver lining.

Ricky and his family have been woo-hooing Mississippi State Bulldogs and their entry in the College World Series. I hope Cooper was not too disappointed when MSU put FSU out of the running. If they were not already committed to their church's mission trip to do New Orleans rehab next week, they would probably be going to Omaha. Looks like Coach Ron Polk survives for one more season. GO DAWGS!!! (photo by Will Smith of The Madison County Register)

Benji and Karen hosted a birthday party for Bella at Giant City State Park Stables. Isn't she a beautiful 11 year old girl? The birthday is actually the 21st when they will be in Florida with Karen's parents. I'll see them Saturday, when they are planning to spend the night with me on their way down. From the pictures, it appears that everyone rode horses except Benji and Pip. Looks like Pip picked out what he wants from Santa Claus.

It is so dry around here that all three of my rose bushes needed life support. I performed radical surgery on them last night, cutting all the limbs back, watering and fertilizing, hoping to give them a fighting chance. It will cure them or kill them, last year it cured them. They were full of blooms around Mother's Day, then completely fizzled while the sun sizzled.

The weight continues to come down. Is it possible that EXERCISE ACTUALLY WORKS? I'm feeling really pumped by the results, so far. If you haven't used the Calorie-count website it's a cool tool to try. I especially like their use of normal daily activity to calculate calories burned, such a common sense approach. It has given me a new appreciation for making beds, washing dishes, laundry, and eldercare.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The scales showed a 2.8 lb weight loss this morning, and that's in just two days. I'm not sure that's right, but I have stuck to the healthier choices since Thursday's doc appointment. And I fired up the metabolism with some long overdue exercise. Five quick rounds up and down the stairs increases my heart rate, which means the metabolism is kicked up a notch, and I didn't even have to put on my walking shoes. Oh, and those weights I have sitting around all over the house as door stops, I've been lifting them whenever I sit down and become sedentary. I started logging food and activity at and have managed to burn more calories than I consume, so maybe the weight loss is valid. The analysis of the overall effort, so far, is A-, so I'm encouraged.

In case you missed Bill Moyer's interview with Presiding Bishop Katherine Schori last night, you can still see it here. Their discussion on scripture interpretation, homosexuality, and Episcopal church dissension was enlightening.

Not much else to talk about today. I went shopping and burned up 1275 calories just walking around the stores, didn't even spend much. Now that's the kind of exercise I enjoy. And I bought most of my groceries from the outside aisles, which is supposed to be healthier. Size 10, here I come!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Did you know that weight can be reduced by reducing screen time? That's not just TV time, but computer time, too, unless you're at the gym cycling while watching the tube. My treadmill faces a TV and it's in an air-conditioned room, so I'm planning to crank it up after several years of its gathering dust. I will stop if chest pains occur.

Dr. LaGarde added Vytorin to the meds I take already. With my total cholesterol at 257, the LDL at 184, I obviously needed the Rx and the exercise. HDL, Triglycerides, and glucose were good, though.

I'm still tired from child-chasing. Benji says Pip's been very affectionate since returning home. Poor baby missed his family. The pictures I made while he was here have been posted to my Flickr site. Most have already been published to this blog, but there you can see the whole set.

Plans for the P'ville reunion are moving along. George is hosting a planning meeting next week at Matt's Restaurant in P'ville. I hope several people pitch in to help make this a success. Gloria may be somewhat sidelined as she had knee surgery this week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

We came home from Memphis to find our upstairs AC putting out warm air instead of cool. It was a stifling 86* in our master bedroom. Thank goodness for the little window unit I installed in my office last year, which kept us cool enough to sleep in the guest bedroom and my office. The repairman is coming this afternoon.

Then more bad news when I went to my doctor's appointment this morning. I've gained back 9 of the 16 lbs. I lost last year, so he wants that lost again and kept off. My cholesterol is terrible, and he scheduled a stress test for me with Mike's cardiologist due to the chest and arm tightness I've been having. Exercise, no matter how unappealing, is not optional, he said. I've got to start a regular program and stick with it.

We had a pleasant trip yesterday with Pip and the dogs. Pip was so excited to see his parents and his brother and sister. After a fine Central BBQ lunch with Benji's family and a quick recounting of their Mexican adventure, we left the younguns and settled into our much tamer role as pet parents. The dogs couldn't wait to get in the bed, not very concerned that their first choice of beds was in the room that was much too uncomfortable for the humans. Their regular morning and afternoon naps have been disrupted for the past week, so they're making up for lost time today.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Since Pip has made friends with Gus, I've decided to keep him. No, running after this two-year old is quite a workout for this granny, and keeping up with him is way more work than I want to do full-time. I'm sad to think we're on our last day with him, but it's been full of happy times, so I'll have plenty of memories to smile about. I got plenty of pictures, too, and will enjoy the Pip show at least once a day for a while. I will upload them to my Flickr site soon, so you can enjoy them, too.

My picture of Pip so close to the water made Benji and Karen nervous. The water at the end of the pier is not over his head (we've had a dry year and the water level is below normal), and he's shown no interest in getting in the water, just throwing sticks and rocks in the water. We went last night just before sunset, and again this morning before it got too hot. He wore himself out running up and down the ramp to the pier with a rock in each hand, then making as big a splash as possible with each throw. It wasn't really as dark last night as the first set of pictures shows.

Monday, June 04, 2007

But Gramma, the ice cream is too cold! Then he ate two of them.

Oatmeal for breakfast, my favorite way to start the day.
Two families of geese on the Barnett Reservoir swim by while Pip begs to be unbuckled from his stroller.
Last night he watched Cars, this morning Ice Age.
Hiding from Gus

Saturday, June 02, 2007

This old lady is more confused than she realized. We drove to Richland to pick up Pip yesterday, only to discover I had the wrong day in mind, AGAIN! It was supposed to be Saturday, not Friday! The next time I tell you to send me an e-mail with the dates listed in black and white, Benji, I hope you realize I seriously need it. It was such a let-down, coming back home with no Pip. Oh well, we get him today and keep him until Weds. when we meet Benji and Karen in Memphis.

Mamie has weened him off most of the junk food, so our second tour of duty should be quite different from the first. We'll see. Mike has promised to leave the house if the baby noises begin to rattle him, and not try to outscream him if he's pitching a temper tantrum. I'm hoping Mike sees and understands how juvenile his tantrums are, and how much he acts like a two-year old sometimes.
The other change I'm making is that Pip will be sleeping in his bed this time. I've got it set up where Benji always puts it when they're here. With the white noise and no TV, he should do much better in sticking with his regular sleep schedule.
Betsy reports that Richard is back in the hospital after a scary episode on Memorial Day. He had quit taking his meds and began to behave in a dangerous manner, so she had to call 911. Remember them in your prayers.

Which reminds me, George posted a picture on his site that I like even better than the first one he posted a month ago of the same occasion. This one includes one of my very best friends Jane Parker. She and I had a "falling out" when Mike and I began dating in 1990 and we have not been close since then. I've really missed her, too, and have not had another friend I've been as fond of as her; one of those major losses in my life that still hurts to recall. You will have to click on George's site to see the uncropped picture.