Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!

Coming atcha!

I like making pumpkin lanterns :)
Fortunately, we do not have too many mini Mars bars left. Equally fortunately, we do have a few.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Mud and sawdust

I didn't weigh myself last Monday because I was in the grip of the crimson tide and feeling extremely terrible, and also bloated, so I was pretty sure the scales weren't going to say anything useful. And the in-laws were here on a visit, and we went out to dinner and then they came to dinner twice, and I didn't take much exercise because of feeling terrible, and, you know, not in the mood. And then I made some mini lemon bundt cakes out of How to Be a Domestic Goddess, because we both needed cheering up (see below). Very low-GI, I'm sure. No, they didn't have ground flaxseed in them or any other healthy modifications (if anyone knows where you can get ground flaxseed that costs less than several times its weight in gold, could they let me know?) They were nice, though.

The previous number was 186, which was up a pound from the week before that (sigh), so I wasn't expecting anything very good today. However, the human body is a strange thing, because I am now at 184. I don't understand it either, but I'm not going to complain.

Why we needed cheering: I had a job interview on Tuesday which I felt went pretty disastrously, and that day we also found out that the baby guineapigs we were hoping to adopt had suddenly died. (Not the ones we babysit, in the photos below - they're fine, but they've gone home now.) The owner was all upset telling me about it, poor lady. Not a good day, Tuesday. Although I did go to lunch with my sister, who cheered me up.

However, I was called up today and I've been offered the job! So evidently my prediction skills are completely useless. Either that, or I am very lucky. I think I'm going to take the job. This is the one that comes with a staff discount on gym membership!

We are definitely still going to GET guineapigs, but we're probably going to go to a pet shop and buy some that are already born and passed as healthy, as that seems a less stressful way of doing it. J is currently engaged in making a hutch, so the place is slightly full of power tools and pieces of wood and heaps of sawdust, mixed with bits of dried mud off my boots because I spent the morning planting bulbs so the garden will look pretty in spring. I am not so good at gardening - or anything, really - where you don't see an instant result, but those bulbs have been sitting around for weeks and were on my conscience.

I am all caught up with my work, and in general, everything seems a lot more hopeful.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ask and you shall receive

I have very little to report in this entry. My weight is exactly the same as it was last week, which is causing me to grind my teeth slightly. I have been good and entered everything into SparkPeople (but still haven't checked out the other site). I didn't get that job, but I've got an interview for another one closer to home. That was exciting, wasn't it?

However, by popular demand, here are some piggy pictures.


Doing what they do best - eating.

And a bonus video - taken back in the summer.

Friday, October 12, 2007


I didn't think there was going to be much to report this week. I've kept up the SparkPeople tracking; doing pretty well, except for Wednesday when my father-in-law came to tea. But I had a light day on Thursday to compensate! This may be the first time I've actually achieved this. (Loth, I hadn't heard of, so thank you! I should have deduced that such a thing might be out there. Not that I've got around to checking it out yet, or anything... And thanks for the comments, everyone else. I like comments.)

Weigh-in will be on Monday, same as last time.

I also went for another job interview yesterday afternoon, which I was very nervous about, especially since I had to give a five-minute presentation as part of it. I don't think I've done any public speaking since my European Youth Parliament days (at least five years ago). But in the event, it went fine - in fact, I think it's one of the best interviews I've ever given. Whether or not I get the job, I know I gave it a really good shot. (They're supposed to let me know today.)

But when I got back from being interviewed, I was exhausted. Completely poleaxed. I fell asleep on the sofa, which I never do, and J had to wake me up to tell me to go to bed at about 10! Not like me.

Today didn't start too well: we were supposed to be going to Glasgow to hear the Decemberists, but one of the band members is ill, so the concert is cancelled. Just as we were feeling disappointed about this, we got a phonecall...

We're looking after Snowy and Snuggles again. As in, they're here now, for a week. Still cute, still furry. Just what we needed to cheer us up!

Before too long, we should have guinea pigs of our own: we are first on the list for two babies that were born exactly two weeks ago, but we still don't know what sex they are. We're happy with either boys or girls, but not one of each...

Now to get on with some work, which has been sadly neglected lately.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Further ups. Further downs.

Well, this has been a very full week, one way and another. Lots of academic work, job applications, and J had a bit of a crisis on Thursday (he'd held it off until I'd handed my work in...) There was talk of his going into hospital, and it was all rather frightening for a while.

I know that going into hospital might not necessarily be a terrible thing, if it actually did some good, but given that J generally only wants me when he's feeling down, the idea of him being somewhere else daunts me. Not that it would be a bad thing if he had more people to support him, but... it's not that there is nobody else offering support; it's just that I'm always his first choice.

However, it doesn't now look as though he will go into hospital (he's not a danger to himself, so if he did go, it would be voluntary). His therapy is being changed a bit, and the doctors are considering whether to try medication again.

I'm kind of hoping they decide not to, because this would be something like the fifteenth different antidepressant J's been on, and none of them has had any visible positive effect. (Negative effects have been present and correct.) However, J seems to think it might be a good idea, and it's his decision.

Things improved a good deal on Friday, and the weekend's been not too bad; we went for a long bike ride, played with the kittens, and saw a good deal of my family. And he seems OK today, if a little panicky. I now have another job application to do and a five-minute presentation to write on the importance of local-authority archives...

On the other hand, it's been a good week for weightloss.

On Monday (possibly because it was also the first of the month) I decided to sign up for a SparkPeople account and do some food tracking. I've tried to do the tracking before while keeping this blog, but although I have written things down, I never get around to looking up the nutritional info. I do tend to lose while I'm doing it, however. This week, my intention was just to document what I was eating, rather than try to change it particularly.

Once, in a time long ago before I had a blog, I used to have a FitDay account and track EVERYTHING. Rigorously. This came directly after a period of more or less no exercise and fairly poor eating habits, otherwise known as the beginning of my first postgraduate degree. At that point I was living on my own, and that made it fairly easy to weigh everything I ate and so forth. The snag was that I didn't have any scales, so couldn't tell either what my start weight was or whether I was losing any, and that also made estimating my recommended level of food intake a bit hit-and-miss. I still have no idea whether I actually lost any weight during this period or not. Photographic evidence suggests I might have lost a bit.

When I moved back home, I stopped tracking everything because I was no longer cooking for myself, so I didn't really know what I was eating and it became too much of a faff. FitDay was/is somewhat cumbersome to use, and entering all the foods took quite a lot of time.

I got the impression that SparkPeople was better; it's actually not that different in that respect, although I'm being less obsessive this time around (I'm prepared to choose an equivalent if the food I want isn't already entered, and I'm not weighing every carrot). I've been at it for a week, and so far have not missed any days, although Sunday - salad buffet lunch at Mum and Dad's - was probably a bit approximate.

Things I like about it: it gives you an upper and lower calorie limit, not just a target to hit; it allows you to save "food groupings" (such as cereal and milk: handy if, like me, you eat the same things repeatedly). This feature also comes in handy for saving recipes you make from scratch.

What I don't like is the same problem that I had with FitDay: it's very US-centric. Often I've had to be a bit creative to find what I was looking for in the food database. For example, "peppers" didn't bring up anything, and nor did "capsicums" (my next guess). But "bell peppers" does. And there's a lot - a LOT - of pre-prepared US items, but not many UK ones, although there are some.

I suspect this is what you get with a database into which users can enter their own items: someone's found it worthwhile to put in Flora Light (a margarine) and Hellman's Light Mayonnaise, but not UK-style baked beans, for instance. (It matters a bit. US tinned beans have a lot more sugar in them.)

What surprises me most, so far, is that for the first couple of days of tracking, I actually fell UNDER the recommended calorie level, and well under the recommended intake of fat, although my protein levels (which I'd expected to be low) are about what they should be. I suppose that being vegetarian, I know I need to make sure to get protein, but maybe don't pay such attention to the proportion of carbs to fat. Although I'd said I was just going to record this week, and not change what I was eating, I seem to have self-corrected a bit: I notice that by the end of the week, I was more in the middle of the recommended levels, and that the proportion of carbs had gone down a bit. (This despite eating ice cream twice.)

But I've lost two pounds this week without apparently trying. I am not making any promises to myself that I'll track for X number of weeks, but if I can just keep doing it one day at a time...

Monday, October 01, 2007

Downs and ups

A couple of days ago, I was going to write a very moany post about how miserable I was feeling, but I didn't because I was feeling too miserable. I am now feeling better.

I don't know why, really, because the same circumstances still hold:

*I didn't get that job (unless a miracle occurs);

*I've put applications in for others, but I suspect I'm not going to get them, because I don't really have enough experience;

*my foot still hurts (see below);

*J is still off work, for complex reasons involving getting clearance to go back from his doctor and various official people at his work;

*I feel like I've spent too much money on things to cheer myself up recently;

*there are a whole lot of books I'd like to buy, and things I'd like to do to the house, but I feel I've spent too much money recently...

But still, I do feel better, so why poke at it?

Maybe it's because we've lately been doing various DIY jobs around the house; painting walls, putting up shelves. It is amazing the mental boost you can get just from putting up a little hook to hang keys on. J thinks I'm easily pleased in this respect, but what's wrong with being easily pleased? Doesn't that mean you spend more time happy than people that are difficult to please?

On the other hand (or foot), my foot still hurts. Not agonizingly, but it's rather hard to ignore when it's your foot: it aches, it hurts when I run, and I'm restricted to wearing my bigger clumpier shoes. (Fortunately, I have plenty of those.) Looking back, I seem to have bashed it on Monday 3 September, so that's nearly a month... so perhaps I should show it to someone. I don't really know who to take it to, though. I suspect my GP would say I just have to wait for it to feel better. And there's nothing to see any more, except a slightly bruised-looking toenail, and even that's looking a lot better now.

But I kind of need it to get better, because I want to enter the Great Winter Run again, and I can't train for it with a non-working foot.

And then in spring I want to do the Great Edinburgh Run, which is a 10K and the height of my distance-running ambitions. I think it would take me about an hour, and I would definitely get bored running for longer than that. I wouldn't say I'm easily bored, but that's because under normal circumstances I have a book on me at all times, so if my brain is unoccupied, I'm probably reading. But even I can't read and run simultaneously.

I want some new trainers, but I don't think I should buy any until my foot is fixed. Or maybe until I get a job. Or something. Something needs to happen, anyway.