Category Archives: exercise

Young Veggie Garden

Our spring raised bed square foot garden is off to a good start. We have six 4’x4’x8″ boxes at about my chest level in our vegetable garden. (We also have two brick planters on the other side of the house we use for our tomato plants.)


You can see the sprinklers and hoses that run over the top of the boxes on either side, making up the irrigation system. I added the timer a few days ago to the outdoor faucet, so the garden gets watered for 10 minutes each morning. There are drain holes in each box so that excess water runs out freely.  I’ve planted onion sets, iceberg head lettuce, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and spinach so far. I’ll plant some radishes later, plus bring out starts of celery from the house.

This year, except for the onion sets and radishes, I decided to only plant one plant in each square. There are only two of us eating salad in our household, so 4 lettuce plants to a square is too much for us to eat and the plants grow rapidly, crowding each other. I’m experimenting to see if this spread out version works better for us.


The spindly plants around this lettuce plant are onion sets. The tops of the onions don’t look great, but I’m hoping that the actual onions are doing well. I won’t know for a long time.


Here you can see broccoli in the foreground, a spinach plant in the middle, and lettuce toward the back.  I’m planning to start the tomato plants we bought very soon.



This is

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Filed under Arkansas, DIET!, doing what you love, exercise, Favorite Things, greenhouse, Healthy Eating, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds



I’m trying to do some good stretching each day. I began this last year, when I found the “Gentle Yoga” DVD series taught by Cat Cabira and offered through Sixty & Me.

It’s designed for older-than-dirt ladies like me who might be physically challenged and/or intimidated by the idea of trying yoga. To be honest, when I first started, the biggest challenge was getting down on the floor – and up again.  I hadn’t been practicing because I thought that ANY exercise was good and the fact that I’ve been seriously cleaning out our house, one room or closet at a time was exercise enough. The problem is, it isn’t. It’s good exercise, but it doesn’t take the place of what yoga does for you.

One of the biggest problems I have in getting older is that I seem to tie myself up in a knot. My muscles get sore. My joints get creaky and painful. When I try to lie down on the yoga mat, it takes me a minute or two of simply lying there, trying to get my back to stop hurting, to finally RELAX enough to do this without pain. I don’t know why I’m like this, or if everyone who gets older has similar problems, but it’s a major one with me.

I started about a week ago doing relaxing poses on my mat again. I’m already feeling the good effects from it. Even though it takes me a long time to relax, if I get into the stretching pose and just hold it, breathing into the discomfort, my body finally lets go. I can FEEL my body give and stretch out. I take my time, getting into whatever pose I think will do some good and just let my body decide how long I need to hold the pose. When I finish, I simply lie on my back, arms and legs spread out, and RELAX.

I spend about 30 minutes or so daily on this now. I’m feeling looser and it’s easier for me to get up out of my chair. I’m not stiffening up as much as I was just a week ago. I’m going to keep on keepin’ on until this is a lot easier, and then I’ll start with the DVDs again. I actually look forward to my time on the mat.

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Progress of a Sort


I have a good start on the ‘reboot’ of my low carb eating and exercise plan now.  I’ve been good for a week now, even managing to lose a bit of weight when we went out to eat. I lost 3 lb this week. My totals are: a loss of 17 lbs and 10.5 inches. I’m still playing catch-up and re-lose from my ‘stumble-and-splat’ when I was concentrating on my husband’s need for low or no sugar, rather than paying attention to that AND low carbs. Lesson finally learned.  I’ve also learned that just working hard isn’t a good substitute for actual exercise.

I’m finding some low carb recipes that are real winners lately. My husband is requesting that I include them on the menus for the week! I’m trying to post – if not the entire recipe – at least the link to it. (One lady asked me very nicely to only give the link to the recipe on her website, rather than posting the whole thing with credit, so I’ll comply.) You can find some of them under two categories here: “Cooking/Canning/Recipes/Low Carb” and “Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle.”

One thing that is really helping me keep my head on straight on how many carbs and calories I’m eating is the website.  This has the best database of foods I have found. On other websites, you have to list each ingredient in a recipe in order to get a total carb count. I just don’t have the patience for that. On this website, you type in what you hope to find already listed. If it isn’t there, you can add it, all on one short form and then click to share it with others or not. This is really great. They also have a reasonable exercise database. You can record what you did and the number or reps or time you spent. I’m trying to stay under 40 carbs and 1200 calories per day. I can change what I’m planning to fix for dinner so that I stay on track. I like that a lot.

For exercise, I’m on my elliptical trainer in the garage most days. I also do careful stretching via yoga, concentrating on trying to convince this old body to RELAX. After all the work I’ve been doing cleaning out my house and working in the yard lately, I find this takes longer and longer. I just hold a pose – breathing into it until I feel my muscles ‘give’ and I’m comfortable. This is helping me feel better. Today I had extra help with that because I enjoyed a wonderful massage! My therapist, Lynn, really listens and does all she can to help me. Today we discovered that most of my sore muscles were on my right side – I guess from all the hauling of Mel’s Mix to the garden. I’ll have to concentrate on carrying the basket left-handed and see if that helps. :0)  If you live in the Greenwood area, you can contact Lynn Moody at 479-629-7601 or via email at I’m so lucky to have found her.

I feel good that I’m again on the way to getting the lard off and feeling better.

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Filed under Challenges, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating

Mel’s Mix – Day Two

This is a much grander version of what I’m going to be doing this afternoon, but it gives you the idea.

We were able to get the components of Mel’s Mix (a ground soil alternative made from 2 parts peat moss, 2 parts vermiculite, 1 part each as many different kinds of compost as you can find – I use mushroom, cotton burr, and barnyard, plus our own homemade, when we have it.)  Recently we tried the very used cement mixer we bought to mix the components together before putting them in our raised bed garden boxes. The mixer is GREAT. I’m using a small bucket, but I can mix TWO batches of Mel’s Mix in the mixer at one time, then dump some out into a plastic yard basket for transport to the garden and into a box.  Now that I know how to move the mixer up and down and what to expect, I can do this any time I would like. I love feeling empowered!

We added a bunch of Mel’s Mix to three of the six 4’x4’x8″ raised wooden boxes that make up our vegetable garden. I may need to add more, but I’ll decide that later. Today I’m concentrating on the rest of the boxes. Once I get the Mel’s Mix into the boxes, I’ll stretch string between nails on the edges of the boxes in both directions to create ‘squares’ for planting. (In square foot gardening, you plant different numbers of plants in the squares depending on the plant. (For broccoli and cauliflower, for example, you plant one plant in a square. For lettuce, you can plant 4 plants in a square. For radishes, you can plant 16…) You spread out the planting so that you’re not planting the same thing in two squares right next to each other. This cuts way down on any insects or disease.

I’m not going to even think about getting plants until the boxes are filled and the squares are marked and the irrigation system is set up. The first thing I’ll plant is onion sets. I may bring home other plants to put in my new greenhouse, even though it’s not organized yet.

I’m excited to start another year of raised bed square foot gardening. I learn a TON every year – mostly things NOT to do next time, so far :0) – and I have SUCH a good time watching things grow. I’ll post pics from time to time to share how things are going.

Have a wonderful day!

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Mel’s Mix 2.0

This is a picture of two of my six 4’x4’x8″ raised bed square foot garden boxes. We had an absolutely perfect day to work outside (sunny with a high of 68) so I threw my plans for the day up in the air and decided to start topping off the Mel’s Mix in the garden boxes in preparation for planting our spring garden.  (The mix settles during the winter. I can’t figure out where it ‘goes,’ but about half of the mix is gone.)  My husband came along to give me moral support – and to insult me while I learned how to use our new-to-us cement mixer. Our 91 pound puppy, Amber, came with us just because she likes to be with us and loves being outside.

Last year we bought the mixer, thinking it would help me get the components of Mel’s Mix combined better. (The components of Mel’s Mix are peat moss, vermiculite, and as many different kinds of compost as you can find. I use cotton burr, mushroom, and barnyard, with a bit of homemade thrown in. ) I used to dip out the components into a wheelbarrow, then use a shovel to mix it up as well as I could and then fight to get the wheelbarrow through the door of the garden fencing, shoveling out the Mel’s Mix into one of the boxes, scoop by scoop. It was a huge job.


My husband made a nice handle for moving the cement mixer around, if necessary, and we put the mixer behind the shop, next to the square foot garden, in the row of trash cans I use for all the Mel’s Mix stuff.  We put a tarp over the mixer and the long extension cord for it for the winter.


Today I put together one batch of Mel’s Mix, putting each measure into the cement mixer for the first time.  I saw that it would hold a lot more, so I added the components for a second batch. We plugged the mixer in and mixed the stuff for about 3 or 4 minutes. It was mixed SO much better than I could do with the shovel! We poured some of the mix into a large plastic yard basket with handles (about half full so I could lift it) and then I took it over and dumped it into a garden box.( It took 2 cement mixer loads to top off one of the raised bed boxes.) We kept mixing and dumping until we ran out of some of the components of the Mel’s Mix. (We topped off 3 of the boxes.)  Then, because my energy had run out before we used up the components, we went ahead and covered up the cement mixer again and put the tops on all the trash cans holding the compost, etc., before going to town.

The co-op apparently closes at noon on Saturday, so replenishing our supplies will have to wait until at least Monday. They usually don’t have the vermiculite I need and have to order it, but we’ll can get what we can and order the rest to pick up later in the week.

The mixer helps a LOT, but doesn’t make it so it isn’t really physical work for this old broad. It does a MUCH better job of mixing the components. I now know how to move the mixer bowl up and down, so I’ll be able to do that now any time I want to.

We finished enough garden boxes so that if we find good onion sets at the co-op Monday, I can go ahead and get them. We already have some string for marking the garden ‘squares’ that will weather being out in the sun better than the stretchy nylon string we used last year. (That was nice to use, but deteriorated quickly.)

The season is almost starting – at least for onions! I’m determined to get the beds ready for planting BEFORE I actually get the plants this year. Trying to do the prep AND the planting in one day is too much!

After eating some late lunch mid afternoon, this lady crashed in her recliner…

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Folding Myself into a Paper Airplane – Reprise

Even though I’ve been working hard the past two months cleaning out 30+ years of ‘stuff’ in my house, apparently I haven’t been moving my body well. It’s letting me know loudly and clearly. I’ve been particularly stiff and sore the past couple of weeks.

Today I did 30 minutes on my elliptical out in the garage. I came back into the office a few minutes ago after doing about 20 minutes or so of stretching poses in the living room. (Our two dogs think I’m playing, so I have to pen them up in the office with my husband before even thinking of getting down on the floor. :0) )

I had been doing pretty well with two DVDs I purchased called, “Gentle Yoga.” These are designed for people who are old like I am and have never done yoga before. The teacher is wonderful. She is very straight forward, gives you lots of choices, and mainly stresses that if you’re TRYING to stretch in the proper way, the poses will do you some good. She tells you how important it is that you get on the mat every day, even if only for a short time. I didn’t really believe her, so now I’m paying the price.

Today I had trouble even lying on my back without pain. I remembered to take things really slowly, breathing into the pain, trying to relax. FINALLY, my back eased. I did this with each of the changes in pose I made. I don’t think I’m as stiff as I was before I started the good DVDs, but I’ve lost a lost of flexibility I had gained. A lesson learned.

I feel pretty good now. I’m very happy that I stretched slowly and carefully, taking my time, easing into new positions and listening to my body. I could actually FEEL my body finally letting go!

So this is DAY ONE of my folding myself into a paper airplane practice. I’ll do several more days of just stretching on my own and then I’ll start the DVDs again. I can only get better from here!

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I Know, I Know….


I’ve told you recently that I was “back in the saddle” on my dieting and exercise. I guess I lied.

Today marks the fact that I’m not giving up. I just came in from doing 30 minutes on my elliptical trainer in the garage.  Right now I feel better, looser. I may pay for it tonight, when I need a crane to get me up out of my recliner; but right now I’m happy that I did that. Later today, after vacuuming the first floor carpet, I’ll do the first yoga-for-old-broads I’ve done in quite awhile, seeing if I can stretch out some muscles.

I just took our doggies out; and while I filled up the bird feeders on the deck, they ran off.  I had a good walk around and around the house, pushing the warning button on the zapper that controls Amber’s shock collar. Our sweet cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross, Molly, is almost completely deaf, so I didn’t bother to try calling her. I walked around, holding the zapper in different directions in back of the house, and then in the front of the house, warning and calling Amber. I was starting to get concerned when Amber came running. Whew!

I also started up again, realizing that whatever I’ve been doing lately isn’t working for me. We’re eating low carb, but we’re also eating other stuff, and the pounds have been creeping up. I’ve lost ground on my inches lost, as well. To say I’m not a happy camper today is the biggest understatement ever.

But – I’m not a quitter. Even though I’m as old as dirt and the poundage and lard take forever to come off, I CAN do one day at a time and not beat myself up over losing ground. I won’t get points for losing a certain poundage in a certain amount of time. No one will give me an award for there being less of me than there was.

The important thing is that I don’t want to FEEL as old as dirt. I want to have enough energy to do what I’d like to do, rather than crashing in the afternoons. I’d like to move with less pain. I don’t want my life to revolve around what hurts the most today.

I have a lot of fun things I want to do. I want to get up to my newly cleaned out and organized art room and start playing!  I want to spend some time each day getting my new greenhouse organized and ready to plant. I want to use my concrete mixer to mix up Mel’s Mix to fill up my raised bed gardens. I want to think about getting spring plants in.

“I” will be my own reward, doing the things I would like to do. Today is another opportunity to get it right.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off

“Have-to’s,” “Need-to’s,” and “Should’s”

Yesterday was a much-needed day of sloth for me.

Our good plumber had a guy call us regarding putting a snake into our clean-out pipe in the front. He came about 3pm and was gone 15 minutes, our problem fixed. The last time we needed this was in 2015 (my husband checked his log). We had to pay a fortune because we – and the guy – had to FIND the clean-out pipe. It wasn’t where we thought it was, and was buried after many years of things moving, shifting, and settling around here. After finding it, we added to the pipe so it sticks up out of our gravel. Some people might call this ‘ugly,’ but ugly is certainly in the eye of the beholder. Since our bill was about 1/3 of what it was last time, we call it, ‘beautiful.’

The only other significant thing I did was gather books and take a donation to our local library.

We are hopefully having our last day of rain and drizzles – looking forward to two or THREE days of sunshine! (THANKS to those of you who were still doing a rain dance for STOPPING!)

Since I’m not planning on diving into another purge/clean-out project today, I’m going to concentrate on getting back to my regular exercising regimen – walking, the elliptical trainer, and stretching via yoga. With all the cleaning, I haven’t done this and my poor old body is feeling it. I’m hoping that getting into my usual rhythm will loosen me up and ease my old woman’s pains.

‘Have-to’s’ and’ need-to’s,’ as well as ‘should’s’ have accumulated while my attention was elsewhere, so I’ll use today to see how many of those I can check off my list.

I wish you a happy, productive day – or give yourself permission for a wonderful day of sloth.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, exercise, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Snow People – Take 32


Good form! It’s important to stay fit during the winter.

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On the Right Track Again – Finally


My husband and I have had a hard time for the past 6 months or so on our efforts to get the lard off and get healthier by moving more. We simply drifted off the track, endlessly seeing yet another excuse for splurging or ignoring our guidelines. Excuses, lies, and blather followed.

We’ve been trying various things over the past month or so – some successful to a certain extent, but not really being serious on a long-term basis in our heads. Last Monday we came up with a combination that seems to be working for us! There are certain things that are important that we keep – such as my husband’s fruit and cereal in the morning and our orange dream bars at night – but everything else is on the table for discussion.

My husband likes to eat out at lunch. This has been one large problem because we tend to choose the wrong things at the deli, as an example. I have decided to be prepared to fix us a large salad for lunch each day. If my husband decides suddenly that ‘we’ should stop at CV’s and he wants to get lunch at  the deli, he can do that. If he does, I have a go-to meal I can throw together at home, some combination of raw veggies and dip, hard boiled egg, a bit of meat – things like that. For dinner we’re staying low carb. Last night we had a roast from the crock pot and some steamed mixed veggies. My husband is a big boy and can make decisions about whether he REALLY wants to eat half a bag of potato chips while he’s reading in the afternoon… We also chose carefully and stockpiled our pantry freezer with low carb, low sugar frozen dinners, so we’re not derailed if I’m “too tired to cook.” I’m concentrating on drinking more water during the day, as well.

Since last Monday I’ve lost 5 lbs. (18.2 total from my highest weight.)  I’m down 13″ from my starting point so far.

I’m hoping that I’ve finally turned the corner again, taking responsibility for what I put in my own mouth, rather than grabbing excuses out of the air and pointing fingers elsewhere.  I’ve told myself that I won’t be upset if the scales or the tape measure don’t show any improvement from one week to the next. I just want them NOT to INCREASE!

I have not been doing my exercising, again using lame excuses. :0(    We have a 91 pound lab ‘puppy’ who tends to come in and run over me on the floor on my yoga mat, knock me over, or lick me to death. There ARE ways around this problem.  It has been REALLLLLLY cold for Arkansas this month. My elliptical trainer lives in the garage, so I’ve been using the excuse that it was too cold to do that. (The fact that I have walking DVDs in the house has been ignored.) I have also piously excused myself because I have been tackling an area most days to DEEP clean, including taking everything out, going through it all, deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away before cleaning the area and all things in it and reorganizing. This is a good thing to do – and LONG overdue – but NOT a valid excuse for not doing regular exercise.

I’m giving myself a bit of slack, though, because I HAVE been eating much healthier and taking responsibility, so I’m honoring my promise to

but I need to put this together with an honest effort to at least do some yoga stretching each day. I’ll concentrate on that this week.

Wish me luck?






Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating

Good Start


I had a good day yesterday.

I had my regular breakfast (low carb and protein-rich). We went to Subway for lunch. I got a double chicken bacon ranch salad. I ate half of it for lunch. I drank my Meta Appetite Control powder stuff mid afternoon. (The only bad thing is that it’s 11 carbs, and I get 40 for the day). I ate the rest of the salad for dinner. And then I had an orange dream bar. I was way under my 1200 calories for the day and was under my 40 carbs.

Since my husband is enjoying getting something for lunch out, rather than my fixing our lunch at home, my new plan is to decide what we’ll have for dinner based on what we had for lunch, rather than planning it all out and then having to regroup, feeling a loss of control.  Example: if we eat heavier at the deli, we’ll eat a salad for dinner.  I feel good knowing that the Meta drink will help me manage my raging appetite.

I felt good being in better control yesterday. When I eat right and exercise, I feel that I’m taking better care of myself. I hadn’t felt that in a while – or only sporadically – so the new start feels good.

Today will be Day 2.

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I’m making it through lunch just fine on my low carb eating. THEN I fall apart. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’m disgusted that making it through an entire day seems to be so much of an EVENT. :0(    For some reason, my brain and body seem to think I’m starving to death. I’m a bottomless pit with appetite enough for 3 or 4 hungry folks.

I have some Meta Appetite Control Dietary Supplement Sugar-Free, Orange Zest powder that I’m going to start using today. You mix it into at least 8 oz of water. I’m planning to drink some mid afternoon or later to see if that, along with the willpower I thought I had been building, will help.

I’m also going to start doing my elliptical trainer and yoga later in the day, hoping the activity will get my mind off food.

I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time getting back on track, but the least little excuse causes me to derail –  eat for 6 – then get even more disgusted before trying again. I WILL DO THIS!


Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise

CleanER Garage Counter Top

The last big area that needed bailing out around here at the moment is my counter top in the garage. The area is difficult because I have bulbs in peat moss overwintering, a whole huge basket filled with iris rhizomes waiting for early spring to be planted somewhere, stuff brought in from the front porch, else. It’s also the area where my husband has decided is the extra storage for pop, tea, wine, beer, water, etc.

At least now there is a clean area of counter top between stuff that needs to be up off the ground so the doggies can’t get them and part of the drinks area. And the counter top is actually shiny!

To the left of this picture is my elliptical trainer, now being used for at least 15 minutes daily. There is a fan attached to the wall in front of the trainer that I can turn on when it’s too warm in the garage. Now I’m wearing a vest at least part of the time because we’ve had a cool spell lately. It’s funny that this is the only place we could put the trainer. It has to be on concrete or hard flooring without rugs or carpet. We didn’t want it in the kitchen, pantry, dining area or utility room, so this was the only space left. It’s only a bit difficult when we’re having weather extremes.


Filed under exercise, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

Juggling to Get the Lard Off

I’ve been doing well the last couple of days on my latest effort to lose the lard. This is my 3rd day of doing 15 minutes on my elliptical trainer in the garage (MUCH easier when I can get my music to play.)  I’m also folding myself into a paper airplane – doing 30 minutes of deep stretching yoga for old broads – slowly and carefully, as I’ve apparently tied myself in knots over the period I didn’t practice. I’ve done really well on my low-carb eating plan of  40 carbs per day and 1200 calories per day. Actually, I’ve had an easy time of staying under the calorie limit, but I’ve really had to juggle to get my carbs in line!

My laxness lately and the on-again-off-again cold weather here has caused my usually reasonable judgment to nosedive. My husband and I really like the fried catfish sold for lunch at one of the local deli’s. I’m getting two pieces of fish. (My husband gets the full dinner.)  Today I can make us a nice big salad for dinner with kielbasa leftovers from a recent grill outside.  Several times, though, I’ve wanted to serve our leftover beef stew with low carb garlic bread. It’s obvious that any time we go to the deli that idea is out!

The thing that is really helping me adjust my thinking, portions, and meals is

I usually eat the same thing for breakfast every day except Friday, when we go to Lunch Bunch (brunch for us.) I can add things as I go, and then figure out the rest of the day thanks to their really superior, easy-to-use database of foods. I can hunt for something, find it and add it to my personal list, or I can add something if I can’t find it. I can keep changing and juggling until the numbers add up the way I want them to. I’ve tried several other record-your-eating-and-exercise websites, and I find this is the best one for me.

It makes me feel good to be giving healthier eating and exercise my best efforts again.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating



I’m trying, once again, to control my eating and increase my movement. This image above describes my efforts to date. I have just started recording my food intake and exercise on in an effort to –

  • acknowledge that I need to (I lie to myself a lot)
  • plead with my husband not to show me he loves me with a buttered muffin from the microwave
  • come to terms that my meals are okay, but the combinations are above my 1200 calories and 40 grams of carbs limit
  • focus my efforts to keep my mouth shut and my body active

I had my usual breakfast. We’re planning to stop at the deli to bring lunch home (I will either get fish or chicken ONLY – no ‘meal.’) I was going to have leftover beef stew and some garlic bread for dinner, but NO! That puts me way over my limit, so we’ll have a large salad, instead. I’ve built in my orange dream bar for desert. This combo will bring me in under on calories and at my limit on carbs for the day. I’m also going to do 15 minutes on my elliptical machine and 30 minutes in yoga stretches this afternoon.

I’m doing pretty well until after lunch. Then I go nuts for some reason. I have no clue why, but instead of continuing to be disgusted with myself, I’m changing what I’m doing. If I can do this for a week or so, I can get back on track. We’re not planning to have or go to any holiday parties. My biggest ‘enemies’ are my husband and myself.

I’ll make it a point to fix some things that are on my diet to eat as snacks, in case I think I’m starving to death. :0)

Today is Tuesday. I’ll plan to get back to you about my progress NEXT Tuesday. Hopefully, I can report that I’m being good and making progress.



Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating

Mulching, Matilda….

I just finished spreading two of the four large leaf bags of mulch I made recently. I wore Targa 2  “Racing” Goggles we had on hand while I did it, not wanting a repeat of the eye scratches I got when I made the mulch a little over a week ago.

The next step is cleaning out more brick flower planters. THEN I can probably distribute the rest of the mulch.

Exciting, huh.

Actually, I DO find it exciting that I can make my own mulch, cleaning up many of the leaves in the yard as I do, and not have to pay for bag after small bag of mulch I used to buy at the local hardware store each fall. As I remember, it was about $3.00 or so per bag, and I used about 20 of them one year. So I’m saving money, cleaning up, recycling, and mulching my plants for the winter!

And, between the weeding and cleaning out of my square foot garden, plus distributing the two 39 gallon trash bags of mulch, I’ve gotten a good amount of exercise and fresh air today.

If the weather is cooperative tomorrow, I’ll try to get more planters cleaned out, working my way around the yard.


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Filed under Arkansas, Bright Ideas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood

Good Workout

If anyone asks you, blowing leaves into piles, then picking them up and putting them in the mulcher is a really good workout. I’ve only been working an hour and I’m pooped.

I have to say that this is a perfect day for leaf gathering and mulching. The temperature is 62 degrees F. with a slight breeze, and mostly overcast. If you’re just sitting out there, it’s chilly. If you’re working like a stevedore, like I am, you’re still sweating, but the breeze cools you off when you stop.

I have half a 39 gallon bag of usable mulch so far. This has been through the mulcher twice and is ready to put into the flower planters. I’ve used the leaf blower to make another humongous pile of leaves, but I’m resting and drinking lots of water before going out again. The task is endless, but I’m going to TRY to clean up the civilized part of the front yard today.  Since it’s supposed to be rainy Tuesday through Friday, that’ll probably be it for the week.

I can’t begin to tell you how filthy I am. I sat down in my computer chair and there was a ‘huff’ with fine leaf powder that poofed out. I’m like that all over. Needless to say, I’ll hit the shower when my energy is sapped and work outside for the day is finished.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, exercise, Gardening

Two For One

Craftsman Push Weed Eater

I just spent over an hour using our push weed whacker (Craftsman calls it a weed EATER).  I find this to be a two-for-one thing: good exercise and character-building both at one time.

‘Good exercise’ because nothing in our yard is flat. I’m either trying to get it to go uphill, fall in a hole, or hit rocks or a hard clump of weed that cause me to really work. I rested once outside, then did another hitch before coming in. I was really breathing hard, hot (it got to 90 degrees F. today!) and my hips were screaming.

‘Character-building’ because I worked harder than I would have normally because I really wanted to get the area I was working on DONE. I went all the way around my square foot garden perimeter, around the garden bins, around the shop propane tank, and the whole area beside the shop out to the garden.

I have a lot more weed whacking to do, but I’ll do the rest with one of our hand-held weed eaters.

Now my husband can run the gas out of this and put it away for the winter.

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Filed under exercise, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Folding Myself into a Paper Airplane – Take 13

The Awesome Daily

I told you that I did something mysterious and hurt my back. I have no clue what I did, but I was in real agony for about a month, unable to do much except gripe, groan an try to sleep while my husband tried to keep things afloat and take care of me. I’m really not interested in repeating this experience, so I have CAUTIOUSLY begun my yoga for old ladies stretching again, plus CAREFULLY starting up my sessions on the elliptical trainer.

I have to put Amber on the porch because getting on the floor is an invitation for 65 pounds + of dog to sit on you, mouth open, with too many teeth available.  I’m doing stretching on my own on my mat, rather than trying to do a lesson from my “Gentle Yoga” DVD set. I’m up to 10 minutes again on the elliptical – pretty pathetic, except I don’t know what I did to trigger my problem. I’m treated myself kind of like a time bomb at this point, hoping to ease into more and more.

Since I’ve been walking and playing with Amber several times each day, plus working in the yard, I’m still getting a reasonable amount of exercise.

Now – If I can JUST be a good little girl and eat my low-carb stuff, my world will be complete.

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Digging up Iris

A couple of years ago we bought 3 rhizomes each of 5 different iris than we had in our yard from Nanna’s Iris Garden. All of them were pretty (I never saw an ugly iris) and we particularly liked a large, yellow one.

The planter is now too full of iris for them to bloom well next spring, so I’m trying to dig everything out, separate the rhizomes, replant some in this planter, and replant all the others around the yard.  Doing this is easier said than done!

Today was a perfect day to get started on this.  Amber kept me company while I worked for an hour or so this afternoon on the project. I filled a large plastic bucket quickly, then went to get another one – plus my clippers, so that I could go through what I’d dug up, cutting off too-long roots and leaves. I came in when I got too hot and tired, and am about to go put in another session today. I can tell that cleaning out this planter is going to take at least 3 or 4 sessions.

I found a good article on “When and How to Divide Iris” at if you’re interested.

I think we have large,  bright yellow iris, some quieter yellow, some blue, and some small purple. I think there is a fifth color, but I can’t remember what it is now.

It was really nice outside today. It’s 73 degrees F. and sunny, with a slight breeze. I dig for awhile, then sit on the edge of the brick planter to cut off excess roots and leaves. Amber found a huge stick. She paraded around with it hanging from her mouth down to the ground on both sides, and then sat down to chew on it. She also went exploring a couple of times but stayed close.

I hope the weather where you are is such that you can enjoy being outside, working or resting on this nice Sunday afternoon.

Sun Doll-Nanna’s Garden


Filed under exercise, Gardening

“Want To” vs “Doing”

Translating intention to action to results is difficult. If I could bottle it, I would be a gazillionaire and could stop entering PCH and MegaMillions.

Trying to get myself to actually DO the things day after day that will get the results I want seems like a pipe dream at times. When I’m eating right, doing yoga and my elliptical trainer, and concentrating on moving more, I feel better – physically, mentally, and emotionally. So why am I still having to MAKE myself do these things, lapsing for a day or two, losing my motivation, failing to take each day at a time?

I am again talking to myself – pretty harshly – since I think I may be like our lab puppy, Amber, and need a shock collar to take things seriously, rather than blowing things off.

THIS TIME – I have my ducks more in a row (if you’ll pardon the pun on the pic above.)

  • I’ve been missing bread a LOT. I’ve now found Bob’s Red Mill Low Carb Bread Mix that is a net 5 carbs per slice. I wrapped it around a hot dog yesterday and bit in with gusto. (I’m still going to try my new weird screaming green silicone bread maker thingie, but I’m finding other priorities at the moment.)
  • Thanks to my son, I found a new nutrition counter and log called “Cronometer” to replace MyFitnessPal, which is good, but the people don’t maintain the website well. The front page hasn’t come up for months. I haven’t tried to add a recipe new to the website yet, but, so far, entering what I eat and logging in my exercise daily is quick and easy.
  • Since my back finally quit hurting (still no clue what I did to cause the situation) – I am able to do careful stretching in prep for getting back to my “Gentle Yoga” DVDs with Cat Kabira.
  • Also, since my back quit hurting, I am able to start catching up with all the house cleaning that was ignored while I vegged out in my recliner on my heat pad on muscle relaxers, ointments, pain patches, etc. Feeling that I’m doing something significant each day to purge/clean/reorganize is making me feel more together and in control of things. (Today’s project is finishing up scrubbing the master bathroom)
  • We’re supposed to get rain today/tonight and a very welcome cool front, lowering the temperatures and humidity that have it feeling like over 100 degrees F. for the past month. We are more than ready, and I’m itching to get back out to my square foot garden and see what’s what. :0)

Tonight we’re having spaghetti and salad, with a bit of bread. (Newman’s Own Marina sauce is low-carb. My husband prefers small elbow macaroni to spaghetti, so I’ll fix that for him. I’ll have spaghetti squash as an alternative to spaghetti, and a piece of my low-carb bread I made.)

SO – desire to be healthier, get the lard off, increase my flexibility and overall health merge with good intention, motivation, means, and attitude to give me a good start. One day at a time.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off

Stretching C A R E F U L L Y…

Bored Panda

I’m doing some really C A R E F U L  stretching today, in addition to just the bending over and letting my arms hang down. This is Day Four of my back not hurting! I’m also being careful to ‘hold my mouth right’ and doing whatever else I can think of to not jinx myself, ending up back at square one.

I really wish I knew what I did to get myself into such a pickle. I can promise I wouldn’t do whatever it was again – EVER.  Since I don’t know, I’m treating myself as if I’m a time bomb, easing into each thing and seeing how it goes. This tees me off. I’m used to being able to do almost whatever I wanted to do without giving it a thought, unless I thought it was dangerous. The only limits have been my imagination. I’m ready to throw this caution to the winds as soon as possible.

I’ve decided to let the weed whacking go until we get over this last impressive heat spell.( That would be the middle of next week they say.)  If the present humidity of 67% holds until this afternoon, it will FEEL LIKE 114 degrees F. here. This is unacceptable, particularly if you’re entertaining the idea of yard work. So that kind of thing will be put on hold until the actual weather starts paying attention to the calendar and we get a break for the start of fall.

Meanwhile, I’m continuing my efforts INSIDE to throw away/give away/put away things that need help all over the house.

My latest project is reorganizing my books upstairs. Yesterday I moved the 44 Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb “In Death” series books to the guest room shelves. I’ll continue moving and reorganizing until I no longer have books falling on my head when I try to pull one out…

Wish me luck?



Filed under Attitude, exercise, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Day Off


Since my back has been in protest mode lately, I’ve leaned toward comfort food, rather than eating my low carb food. The low carb foods can be really good, and I don’t feel deprived, but they aren’t comfort food.

Today I’m taking my last day off. To that end, I asked my husband what he has been missing most. He immediately said, “chicken chunks and soup over rice.” And so it shall be. I also got some double stuff oreo cookies as my official send off back to being a grown up.

I’ve decided it doesn’t matter anymore whether my back hurts. I’m going to get back to doing what I know I should – gentle stretching and eating right.

If someone could come up with low carb, low sugar comfort food, he or she would be a gazillionaire.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise



I’m not ready for any marathons, but my back is FINALLY easing up. :0)

I was actually able to sweep the back porch this morning – a really good thing because Amber had decided to take the bedding out of the crate and completely shred it all over the porch.

We just returned from grocery shopping. We found more bedding we can use in the crate. Fingers crossed she doesn’t decide to shred THIS immediately, as well.

I’m going to TRY to get some seeds planted inside – in a plant starter – and outside in the garden. I have no clue whether these will come up at all, (since my moniker of “Serial Seed Killer” still applies), will come up in time to actually make before it gets too cold, or what, but I’m going to try. I DO have 4 celery plants ready to go out in the garden.

I was unable to find any ready-to-plant veggies that I wanted for the fall, so I’m open to complete experimentation.

It’s still reading 110 degrees in my greenhouse, so it looks like my main time for using it will be in the winter, trying to get a good start on spring plants, and also trying to keep the plants that don’t do well over the winter here, alive to set out again when the danger of freeze is past.

I’m not really sure what is working to get me past my back problems, but I’m more than grateful. I’ll take it slow, continuing to use the various meds I have for muscle pain, the muscle relaxers I got from our doctor, the heat pad, careful stretching, my regular massage next month, etc. I’m hoping I’ll be able to resume my yoga practice soon.



Filed under exercise, Health Alert

Help for my Back

I did SOMETHING mysterious to my back a couple of weeks ago and have been pretty useless ever since, spending a lot of time in my chair with the heating pad, taking pain relievers, etc.

Yesterday I had a wonderful massage. My massage therapist always asks if I need more help in a certain area, and I told her about my back – that my muscle pain keeps moving, causing me spasms, pain, and general grief.

My doctor gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxant and that has helped, but I’m still a mess.  I had to grit my teeth to get up on the massage table and lie down flat on my front.

Lynn concentrated on my back, using a spray stuff she massaged in. For the first time in a long time I was free of pain! I asked her what it was and where I could get some. She got it on a trip to Branson, Missouri, but she said the lady had a website, What she was massaging into my back is called, Kelly’s World Famous Eucalyptus Oil. It’s an all natural pain reliever. It doesn’t have an odor and rubs in, not getting on your clothes. To be honest, at this point I wouldn’t care if it looked and felt like tar and smelled bad. It took my pain away.

When I got home I went to the website and ordered two 4 oz bottles. I’m going to ask my sweet husband to spray it on me and rub it in as soon as it arrives.

I still have a super tender back today. It isn’t a miracle drug, but it DOES really ease the pain while your body works its way out of the pain cycle.

I’m hoping the combination of muscle relaxants, the spray, the heat pad, and really careful stretching will get me back to my normal state – my husband describes as, “mean as a snake!” :0)


Filed under Challenges, exercise, Health Alert



Yesterday we had our quarterly primary doctor appointment.

Our doctor was really happy with our blood test results.  I’m doing well on my current dosage for thyroid and my numbers otherwise continue to improve – all in the normal range now, when I used to have high cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. My blood pressure was the best ever. – 124 over 68.  My husband’s A1C showed the best results since we had the scare about a year ago. His number then was 16.1 (this is a ‘call-the-medics’ SCARY number on diabetes). It is now down to 7.3. We’re shooting for under 7, and our doc says this is doable, and he was REALLY happy with my husband’s efforts to cut out sugar. :0)

Now, all ‘I’ have to do is get the lard off.

To date I’m down 25+ pounds and 18-1/2 inches.

We’re following a low carb diet with as low numbers on sugar as possible. I’m trying to stay under 1200 calories and 40 carbs per day.

Yesterday I had my best day ever on steps – almost 8,000. I’m seriously trying to move more – a bit of a challenge lately since my back keeps having spasms. My doc checked it out, confirmed it was in the muscles rather than the spine, and put me on muscle relaxant meds for about a week. He wants me to take them for two days and then I can EASE back into my yoga.  Then I’ll try for a yoga session and a half hour on my elliptical daily.

I’m tracking what I’m eating and my exercise on The fixing of problems on their website isn’t great. The main page where you can see how many days in a row you’ve checked in, see how much weight you’ve lost, etc., is STILL not working (over 3 weeks now), but their foods data is the best I’ve seen, so I’m staying with them.

My husband and I are finally on the same page on motivation to eat right. This is really helpful. My willpower isn’t that great, and it doesn’t take much at all for me to throw in the towel and go get a pizza. Last night, though, when we were exhausted from our efforts all day long, my husband suggested we go to Subway. I can get a double chicken, bacon, and ranch salad that is really good and on my diet, and my husband can indulge in a foot long sandwich. He was good last night, except for getting 2 oatmeal raisin cookies… :0)


I’m hopeful that by the end of September, I can report a reasonable weight and inches loss. I’ll keep on keepin’ on, and concentrate on


Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off

I use to help me stay on task in my efforts to stay under 1200 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates each day.

I’ve been annoyed for the past three weeks or so because the “My Home Page” isn’t working properly. No one seems to be trying to fit it, so the annoyance grows.

I tried two other online free food and exercise websites. I used them for several days each, because there is a learning curve, and ‘different’ seems harder at first. I finally gave up and went back to MyFitnessPal because of their food search feature. This is by FAR the best food search I’ve found. I can look to see if a food or recipe is already in the data bank. If it isn’t, I have the option to add it, and another option if I want to share it with others. I can add foods quickly once they are a part of my personal eating history.

One of the programs I tried required that I add EACH INGREDIENT of a recipe separately, then add them up and name them. They had no record of what I had eaten before, so I had to look each thing up for every meal. Bah – Humbug!

One of the programs didn’t list carbs. I had to list the foods I was planning to eat, then show ‘reports’ to figure out if I was staying under my limit for carbs for the day. Bah – again!

One of the programs insists that you look for things in a certain manner – example: first ‘egg,’ then ‘hard-boiled’ wasn’t listed, so I had to change to ‘custom’ to get another list! (Each time I ate one! Bah-for the last time.

SO – MyFitnessPal isn’t perfect, but for my needs, it’s wonderful, non-working home page and all.


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Filed under DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, taking care of yourself

Glorious Weather

I’m feeling especially bad about Hurricane Harvey for a couple of reasons –

  • My husband’s name is Harvey, so it seems a more personal responsibility, somehow
  • Our weather is ideal for this time of the year. The sun is shining, but a cold front came through, brought us rain, and now it’s dry and NOT HUMID like it’s been for so long.  I feel guilty that we’re enjoying such beautiful weather when others are in for a really scary, awful time with the hurricane plus SO MUCH RAIN over the next 5 days or so. :0(

We’ve been trying to get outside each day to do all we can to get caught up on our outside list. Yesterday we mowed and weed whacked a bit. I worked in the flower planters, but mostly spent time with the two planters we’ve converted to square foot gardening and are raising tomatoes in.

I harvested the tomatoes above. As you can see, they aren’t as pretty as the ones we were getting earlier. I spent about an hour on the 8 foot tomato planter, pulling off dead stuff, cutting off some limbs, etc.  We found some Early Girl tomato plants at Yeagers yesterday. We bought two and I planted them in that planter. They’re supposed to produce within 50 days, which would put us into October. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope.

I tried to clean up the plants in the nook planter, but they were just too far gone. I finally ended up pulling the plants out.

The suckers I tried to grow in water on my window sill didn’t make it. I’ll try again if I can find some more good suckers.

This morning, while I was out with Amber, I found a BIG spaghetti squash HANGING down outside one of my raised bed square foot garden boxes in the garden!  I got one of the plastic bowl thingies with the pointed thing in the middle that allows you to set growing melons on them, raising them up out of the soil and giving them support – and used it for the spaghetti squash. This will be squash # 4 grown from two seeds in a squash bought at the store.

Today I plant to

  • clean out the hummingbird bird bath we built,
  • work in garden on my veggies
  • work in the flower planters some more.

Tonight we plan to grill burgers on the deck. Such glorious weather! I wish everyone could enjoy it with us!




Filed under Arkansas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Playing with Flowers

Viral Sprint

We had rain overnight-into-this-morning that has cooled things off. It’s a nice day (77 degrees F.) and overcast now – perfect for me to play with my flowers. I have lots of flower planters, but I’m going to concentrate on three end-to-end 8 foot long brick planters that run between our driveway area and our front yard. They are totally overgrown with all the rain and sun we’ve had and need all kinds of attention.

We don’t have any errands to run and we wore ourselves out yesterday with projects, so today is a quiet day, with a reward at the end of a grilled steak and some salad. Ahhhhhhh!

I hope the weather is nice where you are, and that you’re able to get outside and enjoy it.

Happy Wednesday!


Filed under Arkansas, exercise, Gardening, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Folding Myself into a Paper Airplane – Take 13

Somehow, in my recent yoga efforts, I did too much of a good thing. I wasn’t careful enough, threw caution to the wind, and stretched as much as I possibly could – folding myself up into a paper airplane – messing up my back in the process. :0(

Cat Kabira, the teacher, STRESSES not to push yourself past what’s good for you at a given time. She asks you to do your best, but STRESSES, “if this is too much for you, don’t do it.” I didn’t listen, stretched beyond my comfort zone, and am now paying the price.

I’m having back spasms that are really cramping my style. (ha ha – pun)  I can still function, but I’ll be in the middle of standing up and all of a sudden my back is clenching. It’s really annoying.

I’m doing a combination of pain meds, muscle creams, and the heat pad, and these are helping, but it amazes me how long it takes me to get back to what passes for ‘normal’ around here.

Today I’ll get on my mat and do SUPER careful stretches v-e-r-y slowly and see if I can get myself straightened out again.


Filed under exercise

Attitude is All


This resonates with me and makes me laugh, but I don’t think this way anymore.

Today’s ‘yoge’ is “hips.”

I just finished getting a “Chicken with Creamy Orange Sauce” by Dana Carpender into the crock pot for dinner tonight. It’s amazing to me that we have never tried one of her low carb recipes we didn’t like. With her slow cooker recipes and her “15 Minute” low carb recipes, I have pretty much all I need to keep me on track. I also just got a low carb bread recipe book to use with a really odd-looking lime green silicone bread bowl thingie.

I have no clue whether this is actually useful or not, but I’ll give it a try and report back to you.

With rice for my husband (cauli-rice for me) and some salad, dinner is taken care of. When I finish this, I’ll make us some lunch. is keeping me on track with my eating again. I keep being amazed at how far off I had gotten. I was making low carb meals, but was sabotaging my efforts with the portions, side dishes, and sugar-free stuff “I” was eating to be companionable with my husband. Now I’m being careful to stay under 1200 calories a day and under 40 grams of carbohydrates, plus move more.



It’s encouraging that this 2nd round of the 8 sessions in the DVD set is a bit easier. I don’t kid myself that I’ll loosen up quickly, but I know that as long as I get on the mat every day with Cat Kabira, I’ll be working toward my goal. She has a very compassionate, encouraging manner that I find very appealing.


One day at a time. The next weighing and measurement day is this coming Saturday. Hopefully I’ll be able to report a bit of progress.

Have a happy day!

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating