Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lots of Walking This Month

Despite the rain, Shasta and I managed to get out walking as much as we could. I've taken to walking to whatever I can, which often include Whole Foods (when we don't have a large shopping list), the library, and the local market or restaurants. I'm not in the greatest shape yet, but I've worked up to over 2.5 miles per day on average this month (half of my long-term goal). Though, due to having so many days of rain, I had to do some of my miles indoors—doing Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds exercise videos. Shasta has been my great walker buddy whenever we can make it outdoors.

While we were in Oregon last month, Jeff was given a new board game called Pandemic. It's a pretty cool game where all the players have to cooperate--because all the players win or lose together. Jeff is quite obsessed in figuring out the best way to "win" the game. He has played it a lot this month and has even dragged me into quite a few games. We really need to schedule a game night so he can drag some new folks into his obsession.

Our compulsion to watch every Netflix movie possible has finally eased. We still watch a lot of programs and movies, but we actually turn the TV off once in a while! We actually had District 9 for three days before we watched it!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Changing Our Unhealthy Habits

We continue with our efforts to change our lifestyle in an attempt to be healthier and lose weight. I continue to track all of my eating and exercise at the SparkPeople website. I make an effort to get out every day and go for a walk with Shasta. Though, with the weather this week, it was a challenge.

When I can't get outside, I have started doing exercise videos; my current favorite is the Leslie Sansone Walk off the Pounds series. My current goal is to do 45-minutes a day of cardio six days a week (I give myself Sundays to rest). I also do about 30-minutes of beginning strength training 5-days a week.

As far as food, we've slowly been using up our pantry and slowly restocking with healthier foods. Nowadays, we mostly buy only wholegrain pasta and flours and other whole grains. We've gradually added more and more beans and vegetables to our diet. I've found some really wonderful recipes using winter squash. We have gathered quite the collection of grains in recent months!

I'm on the lookout for a good bean cookbook, but while I continue to search, I am building up recipes I have collected from the internet. In fact, I have decided one of my goals for 2010 is to learn how to cook beans and to make them a larger part of our diet. I'm striving to add a bean dish to our menu at least once a week.

We're also eating more veges and fruit. I try to eat five servings a day, but at this point I often fail. I have added carrots and celery to snacks, as well as an apple or other seasonal fruit. This year, I'll definitely enjoy the variety of fruit available starting in late spring. I pretty much only buy fruit that's been grown in the United States; I don't want to buy fruit that's been flown in from out of the country. I would buy only local--buy I love apples and they're mostly grown in Washington!

We're spending quite a lot more on food these days as we shop almost entirely at Whole Foods, but we've decided our health is worth it. I'm sure we'll save money in the long run as we'll hopefully need less medical care as we grow older.

Fractal Quilt Finished!

Last night I finally finished binding Jeff's Fractal Quilt! Yah!! Now my queue of incomplete quilts is done, so I can start a new one if I want. Somewhere along the line, I decided I didn't want to start a new quilt until I had finished all the in-process quilts.

Now that I have, I am free to go on to my next project. Now I just need to decide what it is; maybe the library Roman shades. I could probably get them done in a week or so once I figure out the pattern.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Bad Weather = Cleaner House

We've had pretty bad weather this week, for California anyway. I think we've had about 7 inches of rain so far this month. So, I have had to cut back on my outdoor walking this week, but it turns out that's a good thing because I have turned my energy to cleaning house.

Today, I finally managed to deal with the master bathroom. We have had misc. tubs sitting around on the counters since we moved in. Today I finally managed to sort through everything and get the counters clear. I also cleaned the bathroom, because it really needed it. This is the best the bathroom has looked since we moved in.

This makes two rooms that I have managed to clear out this week. I also started in on the pile of excess boxes in the hallway outside the sewing room. It feels really good to finally make progress on getting this place cleaned up.

It's taking me a lot of time to go through these boxes because I am actually sifting them. For the most part, I'm getting rid of stuff. I've filled up the paper recycling and managed to get stuff that we're keeping put away.

We may actually be able to get this place cleaned up in the next couple of months.

School started this week. Classes look to be much like last semester; I even have the same two teachers.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sifted Again

Today was stormy and rainy outside, so I decided to get some exercise by cleaning the final disaster room, the "library." The room was basically crammed with all the boxes we didn't get unpacked after the move and the room was really not usable as it was. Sure, there were bookcases and books in there, but you couldn't get to them very easily. Plus, we also had the return of several boxes of books and I needed to try and figure out where to put those.

So, I spent around four hours today clearing out the library and reorganizing the book cases. I think I have finally gone through all the boxes that were in that room. Mostly, I recycled whatever paper I came across. I had a whole box of software boxes that dated back to 2002! For the most part, I flattened the boxes and recycled them and tossed the software. I kept of a few of the disks, but most everything got dumped. And I have a growing donation pile that I hope we'll get rid of in the next couple of weeks.

I was actually able to squeeze in all the tubs of books onto the existing book shelves. And now all the books on the shelves are mostly sorted by subject as well.

And now that I can finally get to the windows in that room, I'm thinking about making the last set of Roman shades. Hmm, the fun part is the planning; choosing the pattern and the fabric.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Contemplating the Coming Year

We met for dinner last night with David and Melissa (Leon and Muriel) and they returned our SCA books. It reminded me of our many years in SCA and I am missing it. (At least some aspects of it.) Our lives have been in this holding pattern for too long.... We just keep holding steady, not committing to anything that requires any more than a few weeks, because we don't know where we're going to be living in three months. Maybe it's just time to do what we enjoy no matter where we live. If we end up moving, then we'll just deal with the issues.

I think I'd like to work on resuming research on some SCA projects. I'd like to make a heraldic pouch one of these days; I started researching it quite a while ago. I was hoping to stitch the pouch with our heraldic devices and devices for SCA branches where we've lived. Maybe I'll see about trying to draw the patterns for my pouch project.

I've grown a little tired of the Quicken sifting. I've entered and reconciled the credit card accounts but I still have to try and account for all the non-payroll deposits into the bank accounts. That's a lot harder, because I don't have information on all of them. Oh well, I'll do the best that I can.

Jeff is off at his co-workers house today helping to kill chickens! (He's so brave; I could never do it.) Apparently one of his co-workers has a number of chickens they need to cull. I guess I'll find out if we're vegetarians again when he comes home.... =)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Solving Financial Neglect

Last April the screen on my old PC died and I found it difficult to keep Quicken maintained. I'd have to plug it into my TV to see what was going on. And, actually, with the market crash I wasn't really too eager to get regular updates on our net worth anyway. =)

Well, finally, this week was the week to deal with the paper records. We seemed to have records drowning us everywhere we tried to deal with piles of paper. I have spent the last two full days sifting paper. It doesn't feel like it, but I've made a lot of progress.

I've got all the credit card accounts entered and reconciled. And I've got all the bank account records sifted and ready for data entry. My only problem is trying to identify non-payroll deposits; I wasn't always good about keeping those kinds of records and not all checks came with "stubs." I'll do what I can...

Our Friday evening dinner date is obviously off now that the house isn't clean. I kept waiting for our invitees to get back to me about whether the date would work and they didn't respond until this afternoon. Too late now. We'll have to go out somewhere for dinner if they decide to come.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quilt Photo Album

I finally finished all three of the quilts for my brother Jeff's kids. It only took me a year....
Yeah! I am so happy.

Building a Fence

Yesterday, Jeff, and two of my brothers, James and Jeffrey, all converged on my mother's house to help replace the fence. They worked all day and only managed to put in most of the posts. They rented a hand auger, but it was having a problem. It delayed their progress by a couple of hours.

While I went along, I didn't help with the fence. It was tight quarters and there wasn't much I could do. I worked on the final edge of Veronica's quilt and I also washed our King Size quilt. I am so close to being done with all of them!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Found the Kitchen Counters!

I spent the afternoon working on clearing the kitchen some more. Unfortunately, there is still a pile of stuff I just haven't figured out where to put. But, for the first time since June (when we moved in), I have found the counters! Woo hoo!

Wow, looking at these pictures, it reminds me we need to glue the missing cabinet face trim pieces back on. Maybe we'll get it done now that the kitchen isn't quite the disaster. I'm still trying to tackle the small pile of stuff left on the table. Maybe we'll manage full room pictures tomorrow. =)

I'm also attempting, this week, to get our Winter Newsletter printed. I actually had the Newsletter finished before we left on vacation, but I never found anybody in Oregon to print it for us. I had been hoping to, but we spent a lot more time looking at houses than I had been expecting. We really didn't do anything else but look at houses and visit friends on our trip.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Quilt Finally Finished!

At long last, I have finally finished the lightning quilt. I started it back in 2005 originally. On occasion, I would pull it out and work on it, but it would always get repacked up to make way for another higher priority project. Finally, this fall, I took it out for the last time.

This morning I finished the last of the hand sewing on the binding. It's a relief to finally have this one done.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Sifting Again

Now that we have space in the garage, Jeff and I have embarked on finally decluttering the house. Though we moved in six months ago, we still have piles of boxes sitting throughout the house. So today we resumed work cleaning. We are working our way through the house and sifting everything. For the most part, we are getting rid of non-essentials, but there is a growing pile of boxes in the garage.

Today we started with the kitchen. We spent pretty much all day going through all the piles of stuff sitting around the room. We also worked on reorganizing cabinets so that they would hold more stuff. We made a lot of progress and we'll probably manage to get the kitchen picture-worthy by tomorrow evening.

While we were in Oregon, we borrowed all five seasons of Battlestar Galactica from Ross and Wendy. Today, we alternated watching episodes with doing housework all day long. Tomorrow we plan to spend the day in much the same way.

I expect that it will take us a couple of weeks to work our way through the house. But I'm looking forward to when we're done. Maybe we'll actually be able to have company again. That will be nice. =)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Safe Trip Home

As expected, due to the snow, we didn't get off back to California until Thursday morning. We set off at 5:19AM.

We had a lot of rain until we got down to Southern Oregon then we had fog. We reached the pass at around noon and while there was snow on the sides of the road, it was mostly clear with some rain and we did not require chains. Yah! We finally arrived back in Redwood City at around 5:40PM.

Our Shasta baby was a wonderful traveller.

Since it was New Years Eve, we ended up going to my brother's house last night for dinner and a movie. We had a very long day.

Luckily, this morning we got to sleep in. Today, we've spent the day recovering from our trip. I've done laundry and cleaning, etc. and we're looking forward to a productive weekend. We're planning to move all the excess boxes sitting around the house into the garage. Maybe we'll finally be able to get this place cleaned up and be able to host guests. That would be nice!