Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An Early End of Month Report...

Since I’ll be heading out to the Netherlands of yurting tomorrow morning and getting some much needed R&R,  I figured I would go ahead and do my progress report for the month of March. It’s kind of hard to think that a quarter of the year has all ready passed by. Overall, I feel good and think I’m progressing well on my entire goals for the year.

As I type this I must admit that I’m very pleased with my progress on my savings goal.  I’m still ahead of my goal, and I even have managed to move more ahead of that goal. I’m almost ahead by $110. Yahoo!  Little by little its adding up, and it feels good too.

This morning I weighed myself, and found that I’m down another 2 lbs. YES! Though, I tend to wonder if some of that is due to my hair appointment this last Saturday. You see, I had about 4” of hair taken off the length. Naw! Just kidding around! Yes, I did have that much taken off but hair couldn’t weigh that much could it? So anyway, that brings my total weight loss to 18 lbs. total. I seem to be still averaging 6 lbs. per month; a very good pace of losing weight.

Here’s the nitty gritty stats for the month….

6 hours 24 minutes on the Elliptical

28.33 miles running

92.25 miles cycling

2 miles swimming


Read 5 books (up to 14 books for year)

I’m running a little bit less but getting more miles on the bicycle as the weather allows. I’m trying to balance out the running with the cycling; which was one of my goals. I’m also trying to build up more miles on the bicycle to work towards doing a century. One of my goals is to get one century in for the year.

"100 Salt Lake City Porches, No.32"- Poured Watercolor on 9" x 11" Paper
I just finished #32 of the 100 Salt Lake City Porch paintings.  This project has been moving along quite well and I seem to be on schedule to finish it up within the year so far.  I also think I'm seeing some improvement in my paintings.  Click here to check out the progress of the project.

Now for the uncluttering my life goal… Well, at the end of last month I moved out the defunked dryer. I then went through that closet and reorganized and cleaned it out of excess stuff. With doing my taxes I ended up going through various paperwork and receipts that I had. I cleared out quite a bit of the unneeded. Why I had the receipt for the 52” Big Screen TV that I got rid of 8 years ago? Gee, I think it was a safe bet that I didn’t need to keep that anymore. I was amazed at how many receipts that I had like that. I thinned out those files pretty well. I was actually able to get all of those, my tax papers, and other important papers to fit in my small fire safe. Cool! But you know with all of this clutter “maintenance”, I sometimes feel like I’m a gardener. There always seems to be weeds sprouting up where you least expect them.  The worst thing is... I never did like gardening or yard work, and most of it was due to those darn weeds!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Weighing In & Preparing to Yurt...

Good news!! I’m down!! It is another week where I’m down 2 lbs. for the week. I’m feeling good about the whole process. In fact, this puts me now at the half way mark of what I wanted to lose. I have 16 more to go. It seems quite a bit more doable than the original formidable 32 lbs. that I had original set out to do at the beginning of the year. I’m averaging about 5 to 6 lbs. weight loss in a month. Slow and steady seems to be the key.

I know that when I really start in biking season in the next month or so; the weight will just come off me as long as I watch what I’m eating. The major problem in the past has been swinging by a fast food place on the way home after a bike ride.

I’ve lately been getting ready for a yurting expedition that I’ll be going on next week. For three days and two nights I’ll be “roughing it” at a local yurt. What's a yurt you may ask?  It's like a semi-permanent tent set up in the wilderness area.  This yurt is a four mile hike in with a backpack containing what is needed for the entire yurt experience.  The yurt is a total of 8 miles from any civilization.  It rather sounds like a wonderful form of R&R vacation to me.  I have a couple of friends that can't understand my wanting to do this.  Their idea of "roughing it" would be staying at a Motel 8 with no room service.

Photo: 2 years ago - Me cross country skiing in the same area near where the yurt is.  A BEAUTIFUL Area!
Sometimes, it’s just nice to get away from the constant hum of “civilization”. I guess you could say I’m strange that way. I often find myself thankful when the power goes out at my place. I welcome the quiet of it. I don’t think we are aware of the constant hum of electrical products going on around us. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for quite a few of those amazing and well performing products. But at the same time, I quite often like the peace and quiet that comes without all of those “things”. When I’m captured up in those quiet moments a thought comes to mind… “Are we really in charge or is it the necessity of these things that is really in charge?” Gee, maybe it’s too scary a thought to have me thinking through these philosophical thoughts?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Art Hanging In a Gallery

It was a rainy weekend and I didn't manage to get out to play on my bike.  Darn it!  But on the bright side, my art is hanging at a local gallery.  In fact, if you get the chance you can see Number 15 of the 100 Salt Lake City Porches at the West Jordan's Schorr Gallery.  The Schorr Gallery is located in the West Jordan City Hall on the third floor.  The painting will be hanging up there until April 29th.  Also, while you are there check out my watercolor teacher's (Colleen Reynolds) paintings.  One of hers even got chosen as the best of show!  Isn't that AWESOME~! 

#15 of 100 Salt Lake City Porches & myself

I'm currently working on Number 30 of 100 Salt Lake City Porches, but if you would like to see the progress check out my 100 Salt Lake City Porches page.  Oh, and yes, my hair looks terrible-- it's rainy and windy out!!  What did you expect?  But I am going into my stylist this next weekend because I AM WAY overdue.  I told her that even my gray roots were starting to sprout gray weeds!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weighing In...

I would like to say that the St. Paddy's Day luck held out till this morning, and well-- IT DID!  BUT it wasn't just luck that made that scale say that I was down 2 lbs. this morning.  It has been all of the calorie counting and working out that has made this happen.  A lot of work goes into just losing 2 lbs.!!  This week alone I've run 8.10 miles on the treadmill, put in 100 minutes on the elliptical, and biked 40.25 miles.  Whew!  I'm tired just typing it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

May the Luck of the Irish Be With YOU!

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Photo: A swim cap for Diane & myself for a St. Paddy's Day present!  Isn't this FUN!?!
Oh, may those Irish eyes be smiling down on you with loads of luck this St. Paddy's Day.  I hope that my luck holds through all the way to my weekly visit to the scale tomorrow morning.  Nope!  No green beer for me tonight.  I got the scale to face early in the morning.  So please go out tonight and drink a green beer for me, will ya?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Biking & a Pound of Flesh...

Good news from the scale this morning, I’m down a pound! Yep, I lost that pound of flesh! Yahoo! That brings me to 13 lbs. total weight loss. Nice! Though, I probably blew it at lunch today on the beer & sweet potato fries. Awww, but what a yummy combo it was! I’m guessing dinner better be a light fare tonight, though.

The weather has been warming up here and I’ve managed to get out a couple of bicycling lunches in the last week and a half. Yesterday, while I was out I could have almost gotten away with a short sleeve cycling jersey. It was so nice; as long as the wind was at my back. Going north, I was cruising along at 25mph barely pedaling with the wind at my back.

But, oh BOY! Turning around was a whole another story. I was glad I had the long sleeves with the wind vest. I got my workout! I down shifted to a low gear; spinning away. Then, dropped into the hoods on my handle bars and tried to make myself as small as possible. Thinking myself small and trying to be as little wind resistant as possible. Also, I was just focusing on pedaling than realizing that I was really going anywhere for all that effort.

FINALLY, I got back to the office in time to change quickly and get back to my desk. Was it worth it, you may ask. YES! But believe me, I REALLY wanted to just continue north with the wind at my back and not go back to work.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Time for New Tunes...

For months—actually almost a year now, I have been listening to the same music on my little mp3 player for working out. I will admit that I have tons of variety within the music. My current play list consists of songs like: Sittin’ On The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding, hits by Creed, the theme of America’s Most Wanted—Bad Boys, Big Love by Lindsey Buckingham, Come On Feel The Noise by Quiet Riot, Bust A Move, and the variety continues on. But even with all of this variety I’ve gotten to know what song comes next in the list and I tell you I AM in need of some changes. And yes, I realize I could put my mp3 player on random but I’ve kind of got my play list building up and then tapering off in segments to help motivate me during my workout.

So it’s time for new tunes! With that in mind I found myself wading into new waters—iTunes. Yep, I was an Apple iTunes virgin until last week. OMG! I never realized how much music is out there. I felt overwhelmed as I looked through all of the music. On top of this, my brain seems to be naturally defunked when it comes to remembering song names and music bands. My brain was almost to overload! I waded through quite a bit and it was kind of hard finding music for me to use while I work out. I wanted music that I was somewhat familiar with but upbeat enough to motivate me for getting myself moving. HELP!?!

I ended up going to a local radio website where they had a list of songs that had recently played on the radio. I started searching and listening to those possibilities first. It was a place to start to narrow down ALL of the possibilities. So I would listen to songs from the same singers/bands and then narrow those down. Or find similar groups as I came along, and before I knew it I quite a bit of time had passed. I also found I spent about $12 when I figured spending about half of that. Ooops! But I think I added some more to my variety and I saw more potentials songs to add for my next batch when needed; which I’ll try not to wait a year for.

Here’s some of what I purchased…

Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked- Cage the Elephant
Bad to the Bone- George Thorogood
Black Horse & the Cherry Tree- K.T. Tunstall
Suddenly I See- K.T. Tunstall
Higher Ground- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Panic Switch- Silversun Pickups
Ocean Avenue- Yellowcard

And just for kicks I got… Handlebars by the Flobots. I know it’s not really a workout song but I think its cool and it talks about a bicycle! How can you go wrong?

I still felt totally out of my element. I should have been wearing a tag on my forward that said “music mp3 challenged”. I thought I had it downloaded to my mp3 player. Nope! No new songs on the mp3 that first night. Then I looked up and discovered that I needed to download the mp3 player version because most of what’s on iTunes is set for an I pod. So I figured out how to do that and WOW I had new tunes!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Weighin In & Girl Scout Cookies...

I’m down 12 lbs. over all. I lost 1.5 lbs. compared to last Friday. I was good for most of this week until last night when I got into those darn Girl Scout Cookies! The Berry Munch Girl Scout cookies were calling and I was not wishing thank you very much to the Girl Scouts of America! Why do they make them taste SO good and only make them available at one time in a year? It’s like double trouble for a person who is dieting. But I guess its smart marketing on their behalf.

Oh the choices they have for Girl Scout Cookies—Thin Mints, Samoas, Dulce de Lech, Trefolis, Do-Si-Dios, and Berry Munch. They stopped selling my favorites though. They used to have these cookies I think they were called Lemon Zingers. They were a lower calorie tangy lemony cookie that had a bit of powder sugar dusted on them. I LOVED those cookies! Oh, the things I wouldn’t do for a low-cal tangy lemon cookie! It would be a short list much to my Mom’s chagrin.

I remember selling those Girl Scout cookies as a young girl. One year with the help of my Dad, I sold 200 boxes. I got some kind of an award – a white t-shirt with a giraffe on the front and it stated, “Mississippi Valley Big Seller” – or something to that nature. I wore the oversized t-shirt a few times but it lacked the luster I thought that it should have had. I won the right to wear a t-shirt. A big whoopee do! The next year I just sold the bare minimum. I also always wondered why a giraffe was on a Mississippi Valley t-shirt; didn’t make much sense to me.

Needless to say, last night I felt quite guilty about eating all the rest of the box of Girl Scout cookies. I pushed myself even harder at the gym. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill and put in 40 minutes on the elliptical. When I got home my clothes were not just wet but DRENCHED! It was like I took a dive in a pool. But I will say my conscience felt a little bit better. The good news is that I only bought the one box so there are no more Girl Scout Cookies to tempt me at home. Now, if only, some of my co-workers would stop sharing them with me at work.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

2 Outta 12- Monthly Update

The short month of February flew by in a blink of eye, and here I am giving another monthly update as to how I’m doing on my New Year’s goals. So how am I doing two months into 2011 or should I say the .1666666666… of a year? Well, everything seems to be progressing…

I’m ahead on my saving schedule by a whopping $35. Not a big amount I will admit but every little thing helps. I think that a majority of the extra money is due to less being taken out in FICA. A small thank you to those in Congress who decided to take a little less out of my two paychecks per month. Since I haven’t seen a pay raise in almost two years, it’s kind of nice to see a little more. In fact, I asked after I got my first check wondering if my employer had actually decided to give out a small bit of a raise. Nope came the answer less being taken out of the paycheck. But it’s still nice getting a bit of a break. I filed my taxes this last week and hope to soon be putting most of what I’m getting into my savings.

As far as losing weight, it’s been feeling like an uphill battle. I keep pushing that HUGE rock up the hill but if I take a bit of a rest it seems to want to roll right on over me and back down that hill. As of yesterday morning, I’m down 12 lbs. over all. That averages out to about 6 lbs. per month loss. At that rate I’ll be down to my goal in 3.3 months time. I would be happy with that! But we’ll see how the uphill battle goes. Oh, and did I mention that I got my box of Girl Scout cookies today?  It's only one box but....I'm so afaid that I'll eat the entire box in one sitting!  I’ve been keeping track of my stats of working out. Here are this month’s stats…

7 hours 15 minutes on the Elliptical
37 miles running
14.1 miles cycling
3.8 miles swimming

Speaking of more stats, I’ve read 6 more books on my Nook this month. That brings me to 9 books that I’ve consumed on my Nook this year. I’m now up to 24 paintings on my 100 Salt Lake City Porches Art Project. You can view the progress of the project on this page. It’s kind of interesting looking at the different styles and techniques that I’ve used and I’ve been enjoying the project too. I hope that joy is showing up in my paintings.

Now for working on the clutter in my life—I got rid of the pile of clutter that was forming in my living room last month. While I was taking that pile to the D.I. (Deseret Industries- an LDS goodwill here in Utah), I also decided to take the old sewing machine that’s been sitting untouched for over 2 years. In the last couple of weeks as I was preparing to do my taxes, I’ve found myself getting rid of extra paperwork. Then, I also started in on a pile of old magazines. Why was I keeping them? Some for recipes or interesting articles but most of them just sat collecting dust. I tore out some pages here and there and the rest went to the recycle pile.

This next Saturday, I’m finally saying good bye to the unrepairable dryer that hasn’t worked properly for a year. It’s being taken by a fellow renter who is down on his luck with this economy He’s taking it to be recycled at a local parts store. I told him I would pay him $10 to move it out and then he could also collect what they pay him for the dryer. I’m happy just to help some one out, have the dryer out of my place, and its being recycled too. Kudos! I’m thinking I may work some more this month on the hall closet. Little by little by little, I’m getting the clutter out of my life.