This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Rainy day AND Monday

It’s not so bad.  We’ve had beautiful weather this week.  The kind of beautiful weather I moved to Ohio for.  Highs in the 70s, lows in the 50s.  Sunny, sweet, spring days.  The kind of weather a bride hopes for.  I’ve so enjoyed it, but after a week or so, I think we all begin to take it for granted, to forget that weather is something we have to plan around here in the midwest.  Don’t ASSUME you will have beautiful weather when you have time to do yard work, or a picnic, or any other outdoor activity.  If you’re planning more than a week or so out, you’ve got a 50/50 shot at best, depending on the time of year.

My weight fluctuated hugely this week.  On Thursday morning I was at 190.4.  That’s almost 10 lbs down on WW, and nearly 15 total.  This morning’s official weigh in was not so lovely, though.  194.4 lbs, up a little less than a pound from last week.  Weird.  Well, not really.  I was not very careful this weekend.  I did not not track well, and completely ignored counting alcoholic beverages.  Must change that habit this week.  I know that deprivation doesn’t work in the long run, but I am determined to be at 185 or lower before I go to Florida for my BFF’s 40th Birthday Party in two weeks.  I won’t look like a super model, but at least I won’t look like a cow.  So, this week and next, I will be keeping my total points at least 5 points below my limit and I will not use any of my weekly points.  I will not drink alcohol (much), and I will keep my largest meal to lunch.  I’d like to say that I won’t eat anything after 7pm, but that may not be practical.  I can’t sustain that lifestyle for long, but I think I can do it for a couple weeks before a trip.

On the good side of this weight loss journey, I can feel the difference.  Clothes fit just a little differently.  I can cross my legs again.  My bras fit.  So, there’s that.




I’m baaaaaack….

Okay, so I want to get back into the swing of this blogging thing.  I’ve been between classes for over a month now, and I haven’t done much of anything that I’d hoped to do during this break!  I was going to tell you all sorts of things.  I was going to paint the baseboards.  I was going to redo the kids’ bathroom.

DSC_0172What have I been up to?  Well, I sorted out all of our winter and summer clothes.  Doesn’t sound like much, does it, but I started the process way back here on April 4th.  That was just the beginning.  Then the keep stuff has to get packed up again.  THEN, the closets and drawers in our rooms have to be cleaned out.  Winter stuff gets removed, summer stuff stowed.  And all the while they keep WEARING clothes and putting them down the laundry chute, so the whole laundry process must continue.  I’ve also started sorting out the other junk in the basement and gotten rid of a couple old strollers, infant car seats, baby bathtubs, outgrown shoes, a crib mattress, and various other items that were just taking up space in our very limited storage area.  So, there’s all that.

I’ve continued to put energy into this weight loss thing.  Sometimes it’s only mental energy, but that’s something.  I completely blew off the tracking thing from Thursday to Sunday this week.  I could give you my entire justification process, but as I know that it is just that, justification, I won’t bore you with it.  I was sure that when I stepped on the scale today I would be lucky to have maintained.  Nope, I lost 2.4 pounds.  It’s true, I didn’t go crazy over the weekend, other than maybe some extra bread here and there that was totally unnecessary.  We had a lovely lunch at Bravo! after church yesterday with my parents and an old and dear friend visiting from out of town.  I enjoyed a couple pieces of bread and a glass or two of wine, but I did order from the “lighter” menu and avoided the heavy pasta.  I thought it might be enough to keep me from packing on a couple of pounds.  I’m guessing that even if I’m good this week, I’ll find myself holding steady next Monday.  I’ve made peace with that, so we’ll just be good and move on.

Today, I’m glad for my Monday morning respite.  I should go take a shower, but I probably won’t.  I am too jealous of the opportunity to sit at the computer and write or surf with no interruptions.  I can pin the Baby Bird into the family room with a favorite TV show and get 24 minutes to go take a shower.  I almost never get an entire hour, almost two, to just sit at the table in front of the keyboard.  Monday mornings are a rarity.  Except, I could go see if there’s that sweater on sale at Old Navy that I wanted.  Maybe in a minute.

Summer is going to be crazy.  I start my classes the first week or so in June, and the big kids will be busy with softball and baseball.  The calendar is filling up and I’m a little nervous.  I’m glad it’s only going to be six weeks or so of chaos and I’m looking forward to those two weeks in August where everything is over and school hasn’t started yet.  I can’t believe I’m going to have a 3rd and 4th grader!  That’s nuts!

Okay, now it feels like I’m just rambling, so I’ll wrap it up.  Maybe I’ll pop back in this afternoon.

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A Jumble to share

Today is one of those days where I feel like I have a lot to say, but none of it is coming together in my head in any coherent way.

Boston.  Oh, wow.  I think I am processing this the best anyone could, but it just stays with me.  The bombings happened, and since we don’t really know, yet, who or why, that’s all I have.  They happened.  Lots of people were hurt.  Three people died.  I am, of course, horrified that this could take place in my country.  My country that I thought was above this, safe from this.  Not a country where suicide bombers are part of weekly, if not daily life.  Not even a country where bombings are monthly or annual events.  The USA, the United States, America!  We are a lot of things to a lot of people around the world, but not this.  We have drunk driving that kills people, gun violence that kills people, teenage suicide from bullying, obesity, cancer from questionable food additives, blah, blah, blah!  But people do NOT regularly die in bombings here!  And the only people you hear of with limbs blown off lost them while over in one of those other countries fighting for ours!  So, I’m processing all that.

But then I see another picture of Martin Richard.  I’m sure you’ve seen this picture by now, it’s all over the news channels and social media.  It’s so dear and so sweet, and what an innocent face.  And he’s holding that poster with that message.  “No more hurting people.”  That’s not a line a teacher gave him.  I don’t know what the assignment was, but it wasn’t “print ‘no more hurting people’ at the top of the page.”  That came from him.  That came from his own heart.  Every time I see this picture I get weepy.  Somehow I just can’t process the death of this one eight-year-old.  Sandy Hook saw the deaths of 20 kids, not to mention the six adults, and it was horrible and I cried and I grieved.  Somehow, it was easier?  No, that’s not the word, just more readily processed.  Maybe that it was so big.  Maybe because there were ALL those sweet faces flashed on our screens every night for weeks, even as the networks worked to tell us a bit about each child.  Maybe it desensitized me a bit from the real pain of that tragedy.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  All I know is that Martin is harder for me to wrap my head around.  I have an eight-year-old boy, but he was just seven, a second grader, when Sandy Hook happened, just a year older than those innocents.  I don’t KNOW why it’s so much harder, but it is.  The child had just run, in utter joy, to hug his father at the finish line.  I haven’t seen any pictures of those moments, if they exist, but I can picture it.  And I do picture it.  I can’t help picturing it.  That father-son hug in a moment of triumph.  It haunted my dreams last night.

But then, I do want to talk about the other stuff in my life, because, well, it is moving on.  The main tasks in my life right now (namely feeding, cleaning, cleaning after, and supervising three kids) don’t wait for me to sit and watch the news and try to figure out how I feel about the death of a child I never met.  It isn’t my job to find the perpetrators.  I can’t help with the investigation.  I’ll get on with life and pray for all those whose jobs those are.  I’ll pray for Martin’s family, and all the others who were killed or injured and their families.  I’ll pray for me and my family.  I’ll keep doing laundry and making meals.

And potty training.  I’ll get on with the potty training.  As best I can, anyway.  I’m sort of on this ride alone now, I think.  He showed a little interest yesterday, so we jumped on that.  Two hours and four pairs of underpants later, my patience was worn out, there was half a roll of paper towel in the garbage, and Baby Bird got a mid-dinner bath.  I’m glad he showed some interest and I hope my frustration didn’t show too much, but I would not say it was a successful day.  If I get that load of laundry done, we’ll try again this afternoon.

My weigh-in was Monday.  I mentioned that I was up a bit.  Not much, just about a pound, but that’s the wrong direction, isn’t it?  As of this morning, I’d dropped that and another half-pound, so I have high hopes for next week’s official weigh-in.  I was bummed about the wrong direction of this week’s number, but really, it isn’t too bad.  Consider that last Thursday I ate a big dinner of rouladen and spaetzle at a local German restaurant in Kent.  And Saturday night I had wine and cheese with my girlfriends.  And Sunday after the hymnfest there was a wine and cheese reception, though I did call that dinner.  So, really that little bit wasn’t so bad.  I’m rather proud of myself for jumping right back on the wagon this week.  Of course, Thursday through Sunday is always the hardest, so here we go…

I have to get moving.  A couple pounds have come off, but only a few.  I have to get moving.  I know it, but I don’t like it.  I’m not going to think about that anymore today.  Maybe tomorrow.



close-up-nourriture- baconThat got your attention, didn’t it?

Oh, yes, I love bacon.  I REALLY love bacon.  I’m not sure I trust someone who doesn’t love bacon (religious observance exemptions, of course).  But bacon, as much as I love it, is not worth the points.  It takes several pieces to make me happy once I start eating it, and I don’t want to blow six WW points on bacon.  PLUS, I really like it sort of under cooked and not too crisp.  Mmmm, but that’s even more fat and points, so I must say no.  But the family still loves bacon.  Nothing makes my family happier on a Saturday morning than when I cook up a whole pound of the stuff and serve them eggs and/or pancakes with it.  So, I can EAT bacon with my family, or I can cook it and NOT eat bacon with my family, or I can not BUY the bacon and no one eats it.  Today, I made the bacon and did NOT eat it.  I’m so excited, and nearly high on this accomplishment.  I enjoyed the smell, and the smiles, but I did not eat any.  And it’s best that way, because one bite leads to one strip, to two, to three, you get the idea.  And don’t worry, the four of them did not polish off an entire pound of bacon.  There are several pieces left to put on Daddy Bird’s bagel sandwiches in his lunches this week.

Now to figure out how I’m going to skip all food until I meet with my girlfriends tonight to have wine and cheese.  More things I love that aren’t always worth the points, but tonight, I will splurge.  Okay, okay, I’ll eat some veggies at lunchtime!


No rice, no pasta, just cabbage

Really.  Now, I know I’m not the first person you’re going to want to take weight loss advice from.  It’s not like I’ve got any huge success under my belt.  What is huge under my belt is my belly not success.  But I have a couple tips for you.

First, a newly discovered fabulous tip.  It’s cabbage.  Cole slaw, actually. Well, not actual cole slaw with the sweet dressing and stuff.  But the cole slaw mix you can buy in the produce section.  Sliced cabbage and carrots, in a bag.  Seriously.  It’s a life saver.  Zero points.  That’s right, zero points.  Since one tiny little serving of rice or pasta has 4 or 5 points, this is infinitely fewer.  I like to saute veggies like onions, bell peppers, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, whatever, throw a cup of rice in and then matching spices.  Sometimes I add chicken or edamame for protein.  With rice, I tend to use soy sauce, sometimes a dash or two of Frank’s Hot Sauce.  With pasta, just garlic or more tomatoes.  Then I like a little feta or maybe parmesan cheese.  Both cheeses offer a big bang of flavor for just a couple WW points.

Second, forget what you’ve heard about the smaller plate business!  I know, I know, smaller plate means smaller portions, trick yourself into thinking you’ve had a bigger meal.  I say fill a BIG bowl full of zero point veggies and eat until you really feel like you’ve had a meal.  Now, THIS is where the first tip really pays off.  I chopped sauteed half an onion and five large mushrooms, then browned one crumbled turkey sausage link, added half a red bell pepper and one zucchini, and two cups of cole slaw mix.  Covered and let the cabbage, zucchini, and pepper just get heated through, but keep their crunch.  Tossed in a couple of halved grape tomatoes.  Top with one ounce of parmesan.  It takes a big old pasta bowl to contain that meal.  It’s delicious, and it’s SEVEN points.  That’s right SEVEN WW points.

I meant to take a picture, but the battery on my camera needs charging and I was too hungry to wait.  You’ll have to take my word for it that it was as pretty as it was delicious.

Now, on another completely unrelated note, Baby Bird, who turned three in February, seems to have finally given up his nighttime obsession with the Binky.  This is night four, and while he still needs some convincing each night at bedtime, he sleeps well all night long without it.  Unfortunately, we’ve still made no progress with the potty training thing.


Ice Cream, please. Hold the cream.

Sounds awful, doesn’t it?  Ice cream with no cream?  What’s the point?  Sounds like non-alcoholic tequila.  There’s a product that shouldn’t exist!  A nine-year-old doesn’t know much about tequila, non-alcoholic or otherwise, so when Girlie saw me stumble across this blog entry about  “Magic One Ingredient Ice Cream,” she HAD to try it.  She loves bananas anyway, and since the “magic” essentially amounts to whizzing up frozen bananas in the blender and refreezing it, I agreed to give it a try.  Did you know that bananas are zero points in WW?  Yeah.  That might have been part of why I agreed to this experiment.

If you follow the link above, the blogger talks about lots of different tweaks you can try that all sound delicious, but since I was interested in a possible zero point dessert, I thought we’d start small.  I bought about twice as many bananas as I needed for the pudding on Easter, and let the leftovers get perfectly ripe before peeling them and putting them in a Ziploc freezer bag.  Sunday afternoon seemed as good a time as any to give it all a try.

So, let’s just say that frozen bananas with no liquid are quite the challenge for a blender.  I got them started, but I needed just a touch of liquid, so I dumped a quarter cup of whole milk in the blender.  Yes, I realize that negates the NO cream thing, but it was just a little.  We got it going well, and added some frozen strawberries and it turned out really well!  You don’t need to eat a lot of it, but it is delicious.  Naturally sweet, and did I mention, zero points?



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Sunday Round Up

I have a lot to talk about, but don’t expect insightful.

Yesterday we took Girlie Bird to Michigan to see Daddy Bird’s Grandma.  Grandpa passed away last Labor Day, and Grandma is alone in the assisted living facility now.  She has fairly advanced Alzheimer’s.  We hadn’t seen her since Grandpa’s funeral, and since they will be moving her to a nursing home on Tuesday, we thought we had better make the adjustments to our schedule necessary to make the trip this weekend.  Because of her Alzheimer’s, I don’t really expect her to fully adjust to her new living situation.  I thought if we had any hope of her knowing just who we were, we should make the trip before the move.  So, we did.  We couldn’t imagine taking all three kids into the tiny assisted living apartment, so we just took the oldest, and left the other two at my mother-in-law’s, which is on the way.DSC_0025

It was a lovely and difficult visit.  She looked wonderful, and is obviously getting really good care from the nurse they have taking care of her most days.  She is alone at night, though, and often calls her sons in the wee hours of the morning asking about her husband.  Each time they have to break the news to her that he’s gone and isn’t coming back.  It’s heartbreaking for everyone.  She asked a few times while we were there, but it wasn’t like being told the first time during the day.  It was more like she just needed reminding and her reaction was more like, “Oh, yes, I thought I knew that.”  Still difficult for everyone.  Still, she knew my husband, and I think mostly knew me.  She knew my daughter was ours, though she asked a dozen times how old she was.  And over and over would say, “Now, you have two boys, too, right?  How old are they?”  I’ll take it.  She remembered how we all fit into her life and that she loved us.  I suppose she won’t always.

On to other topics?  Sure.

So, with all the driving yesterday, I didn’t do great with eating, but it’s okay.  First, you do need a day of not worrying from time to time.  Second, I was good enough through the week that I’d saved most of my “weekly PointsPlus” points, so I just snagged those.  And I didn’t go hog wild.  I had spaghetti and meatballs at my mother-in-law’s.  I resisted the Snickers minis my father-in-law passed out.  I only ate 2/3 of my chicken sandwich from McDonald’s, but then I did eat a cheeseburger that was for Baby Bird.  He fell asleep.  All of the McD’s stuff was awful, even though it was from our favorite one in Upper Sandusky.  Ugh.  Seems like maybe they don’t have their first stringers in on Saturday night.  But I did log it all, and as honestly as I could.  That feels like a victory.  This morning when I weighed myself (yes, I do it nearly every day and no, I don’t want a lecture about it), I was exactly the same as yesterday.  That feels like a victory, too.

SPRING!  That’s right, it’s finally here.  The windows are open, it’s in the 60s.  I can breathe!  Glorious.  It will probably rain later, but we’ll take what we can get!

I’ll be back later to tell you about today’s kitchen experiment.  Ice cream without the cream.  Yum.


Losing the Sauce

The Weight Watchers thing has, so far, been really helpful, but you know what helps even more?  All the times I failed before.  Even when I failed, I learned stuff.  I learned a lot of stuff.  Stuff about myself, my habits, my strengths and shortcomings.  Stuff about food, and shortcuts, and things that work and don’t work.  So, here’s a couple things I have learned:

1) Bread is bad, but that’s okay.  I don’t really need bread. I like bread.  I LOVE bread, even, but I don’t need it.  At least not like I thought I did.  The first time I attempted to shed a few pounds, the first thing I did was run out and find some “diet” or “light” bread so I wouldn’t have to give up my sandwiches.  You know what?  They all suck.  They are not nearly satisfying enough, and in the end, I would usually eat something else AND the diet bread and that didn’t work so well.  A friend told me about sprouted grain breads.  I found one I like and it’s delicious.  It’s not hugely more nutritious, but it does have a lower glycemic index, and less carbohydrates.  Plus, it’s just yummy.  So, instead of giving up bread entirely, I eat that, usually toasted, and make open-faced sandwiches.

DSC_00222) Sauces are the devil!  Dressing, in particular, but also mayonnaise.  My habit was to put mayo or butter on every piece of toast ever made.  Then follow that with cheese, or meat, or both, then MAYBE some veggies.  That’s silly, and not necessary.  Every good diet source will tell you to up the flavor, so hot sauce helps a lot, and pepper cheese is good.  And then, it turns out, I just don’t need the mayo or butter.  No substitution necessary!  Not saying I will never have mayo or butter.  Life isn’t worth living if those are off limits for ever, but I can usually leave it off, and not really miss it.

So, today’s breakfast is a piece of sprouted wheat bread, toasted and topped with halved cherry tomatoes and pepper jack cheese, all melty from the toaster oven.  Delicious.  Satisfying.  Four WW PointsPlus points.


The Fat Chick says…

Someday I’ll figure out my own head.  Not so much today, though.  I thought I would try to update “The Fat Chick” weekly, but tomorrow will be two weeks since I laid it all out there, and you haven’t heard anything from me, have you?  Well, don’t think I’ve just walked off and forgotten about all that.  No, I’m just having trouble figuring out exactly what I want to share.  I mean this to be a personal journal, yeah, but I don’t want to forget I’m leaving it on the table for everyone to read, either.  Forever, possibly.  I mean, you really can’t erase the internet, can you?

So, first thing is the basic update.  I’m under 200, again.  Just barely, but there you go.  199.8 at 7am this morning.  Let’s keep that trend up.

Here’s the big thing I wasn’t sure I was ready to share, but my brain isn’t accepting that.  I guess I want to talk about it more than I thought I did, but I kinda don’t.  See?  Can’t figure out my own head.  So, if I just put it out there, there won’t be anymore angst on deciding to talk about it, right?

I have joined Weight Watchers.  Yup.  I have paid money to get help to lose this weight.  And it ain’t cheap.  I am not convinced it is actually value priced, but I got in on that deal where they waive your Sign-Up Fee, so that’s not so bad.   I won’t be going to any meetings, or weighing myself in public (not sure why that’s so much scarier than posting a scale picture on the internet), online only for me.  It has only been a few days, but it is a pretty neat tool.  It’s well set up, with a slick website, and no other program gets reviewed as well for actually working.  But I just can’t get my head around the fact that I paid money for this.  It seems like an admission of failure.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t want to talk about it here?  It feels like I’m saying, “I couldn’t do what should be easy, so help me.”  And I guess I am, except the part about it being easy.  I know it’s hard, I’ve been doing this for a couple years now, and nothing else has worked.  There is the part of my brain that says, “Yeah, but you didn’t try THAT hard, did you?”

So, now you’re privy to the internal dialogue I’ve had over the last week or so.  The upshot is that I’ve accepted that I need more help than just a good food tracker.  WW is essentially just that, but they make it much easier.  And as a lifestyle change, it makes much more sense.  I’m not going to be able to sustain a long term lifestyle requiring me to count calories.  The PointsPlus thing is so much easier.  So far, anyway.

And then there’s the whole thing about getting off my butt and moving more.  I’m feeling the urge to get outside, and that’s good.  I’m sure it’s just the same thing everyone is feeling this time of year, especially when the calendar says it’s the first week of April, but it feels much more like the first week of March.  I WANT to get outside and move.  I think I’m going to bundle Baby Bird up and walk to pick up the big kids after school today, even though it’s only supposed to be about 45 or so at pick up time.  It will be good for all of us.

I want this.  And I’ve started to visualize the end result.  I can see it, it’s real.  Just have to not get distracted.  I hope to have a lot of habits changed before my classes start up again the first week of June.

If you’re still reading, thanks!  I know I was gone for a few days, but my buddy in Germany checked in everyday.  Thanks, to you, whoever you are!