Make your own salt scrub

I wanted to post the recipe for the Holiday BLOB that I mentioned in my last post.  I love salt scrubs and was spending a ridiculous amount of money on them when I realized that I could make them at home for a fraction of the cost.

In a bowl, mix:
1 cup olive oil
1 cup sea salt – course ground (I get it by the bucket at Hobby Lobby)
1 cup  sea salt – fine grind (from the grocery store)

Mix well and then add whatever essential oils that you like, happen to have on hand. I particularly like Orange, so I add in:
1 packet orange peel (also from Hobby lobby, but you can make your own zest and dry and grind it up)
5-10 drops of sweet orange oil (depending on how strong you like the scent)

Mix well.

For Christmas gifts this year, I  pretty some in pretty glass containers and wrapped them up, but you can put them into any container that has a wide mouth – a clean plastic cottage cheese tub with a lid works really well.

Then when you finished with your usual bath or shower, take a scoop and scrub all over your arms, legs, torso. I use it on my face, too, but be careful if you try your face and don’t get it in your eyes.

Then rinse off with warm water and massage the olive oil into your skin. Leaves a nice, silky feeling and a pretty scent.

Oh and here’s the label I attached to my gifts this year:

Holiday BLOB
I remember Christmas morning breakfasts that smelled of baking sweet rolls with orange glaze on top. The scent of that inspired Brier’s Luscious Orange Bath – sea salt, olive oil, orange peel and sweet orange oil.

Directions: Apply to moist skin in the bath or shower and scrub all over. Rinse with warm water and massage oil into your skin for instant mood lift and silky skin.

I know you’re out there

I just wanted to say thank you to my friends who read and post comments. There are days when I wake up and think, what is the point? No one is listening, I am only writing for myself. Which is true, but it’s pretty wonderful when someone comments.

Thank you.

Time for my grow light

Philips GoLite

It is 6:29 am and the sun is still not up. Yes, it’s definitely fall. I love fall. The cool mornings and evenings. The chance to wear a jacket or sweater again until the day heats up, but I still get to wear my summer clothes. Especially this year because I suspect I won’t be wearing these again. They are mostly 12’s and some 14’s and will be too big next year. I’m going to pack them away in a couple of months, but I think when I take them out next summer, they will be big and baggy.  That’s okay – I’ve picked up a lot of summer stuff at the goodwill and thrift shops. Now is a good time to buy for summer since everyone is cleaning out their closets and going to fall/winter clothes. I got a couple of gorgeous linen jackets, shirt and skirts this weekend. All too small, I thought, as they were size 8’s, but I managed to get one pair of pants zipped, so I think it is not unreasonable to believe I’ll be a size 8 in 9 months.

I had to stop for a minute and read that again. I’ll be a size 8. Yes. That’s what it says. Me, the extra extra extra extra large girl. The size 4x, size 28 woman. Wearing a size 8. Okay, I’m done. Moving on!

I started this thread to write about my grow light. LOL. It isn’t really a grow light, it’s a therapy light. I have the Philips golite that sits on my desk at work. Since I work in a cube, about 6 months of the year I need to do a light treatment in the mornings. In the really deep days of winter, when there are days and days that I don’t get sun, I do one in the morning and one in the early afternoon.

Here’s the link for the Philips GoLite that I use at work:

This year I am thinking about getting a wake up light. It gradually increases the ambient light in the room and keeps you on a more regular schedule. I tend to sleep too much in the winter and it drags me down instead of energizing me. This is the one I’m thinking about:

BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model with White Noise

BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model with White Noise

It has a ton of reviews, most of them positive. I’m going to get Fred to take a look at it. He’s really good at reading the reviews and finding the right produce.

The lights help, but I think the weight loss and the exercise help more.  This past winter was the first time in about 12 years that I haven’t needed medication to get through the winter.

Speaking of exercise, Boot Camp got extended into next week, so now it’s 7 weeks instead of 6. I’m down about 3 pounds (whooo hoo!) and I’ve definitely increased my strength and endurance.  I’ve still got a couple more weeks of scuba class on Friday nights and then I’m going to start belly dancing. After that – rock climbing!

Well, the sun is finally up and it’s time to get going on Grandma Stinky!  Have a great day!

Grandma Stinky

I’ve started writing fiction again. I made up the Grandma Stinky stories for Jacob, several years ago.  I also had stories about four brothers that Jacob liked because he’s always wanted brothers. So I decided to combine them into one series. The first story starts with the boys setting off on an Appalachian thru hike because quite frankly, I have Springer fever. I keep having fantasies about quitting my job and taking off on a six month hike. Been there, done that. At least this way, I get to keep my job, but get to plan the hike and write it as if I was there.

So my blogging time will be shortened for a while, until I finish boot camp and scuba. Then I should get a bit more time to write.

This is week six of boot camp and I do feel stronger, but oh so tired. I find it interesting that I’m stronger, but my cardio and endurance are maybe not as good as they were when I was doing straight cardio. Jacob and I hiked up Stone Mountain yesterday and it was a bit harder than the last time I went. (Although hopefully, if I’d been wearing a backpack, that part would have been easier!) Another reminder that I have to do both.

Had a quiet Labor Day weekend. Did get my bathroom dug out and clean and organized. Hauled a huge amount of clothes over to the thrift shop to donate. It feels weird to be donating my goal clothes, but a lot of my size 14’s are too big. May also have to give away some of the 12s and 10s I bought, because I had either forgotten or just didn’t know that I was a petite on top. I’ve always thought the too long sleeves and weird cut was because I was too fat.  I wear an average bottom, but I’m looking for petite tops. How about that?

Oh – nearly forgot – I was able to button a pair of size 8 pants this weekend. They were so tight, Fred said they looked as if they had been painted on. They were some sort of stretch blue jean fabric, which is why I could fasten them. But it was fun. Makes my legs look very long and skinny. Can’t wait until I can actually breath and sit in them!  Maybe I can wear them to the opening of Marie’s bar in October. That would be fun.

Big day at work, so gotta get going.  Have a great week!

My Desk

The sky is starting to get pink and blue and rosy over the trees outside my window. This is why my desk is next to the window and why I like this corner of the house. I am a morning person. I like to wake up in the dark as the sky is getting light and see the light change. The patches of blue that follow the pink. The way the trees go from black to green as the light hits them. It only lasts for a few minutes, but it makes the whole day seem magical. I like to think of that wave of color coming west across the world and all the people waking up to see that flash of color, the promise of the new day.

I thought this new day would include a clean office, but I’m not quite there yet. For the last few months, I’ve been using the kitchen table as my desk.  This has worked pretty well, but it is a bit distracting from the real business of the kitchen table, which is eating.

My office has been in horrible shape for a very long time.  It has always been the dumping ground for work papers and books but it also ends up being the place where I store all my personal papers, crafts, memorabilia and miscellaneous STUFF.

But in my new goal of having a clean and organized home, I’ve been working for the last few weeks to get it sorted out and organized. Last weekend I put up shelves and got the business stuff in order, all 12 years of work related papers. (I know, way too many, but we always filed the paperwork late, apparently you save the papers from the date of filing, not when they were due.) Then I did a little dusting and sweeping (more needed, though – yikes!)

This weekend I’ve been trying to marshal the rest of the stuff into order. Boy there was a lot of it. I’ve hauled 8 or 9 big trash bags full of empty boxes, junk mail and rubbish downstairs. That still left a lot of STUFF.

The craft stuff is now pretty much in one of those rolling cart deals with clear bins, so I can find what I want. (So can Jacob – he loves that stuff.)  I even knitted a few stitches this weekend and completed a few rows of the scarf that has been on my Amish handloom for YEARS. Haven’t done either of those things in a while. I used to crochet a lot, but my fingers had gotten so arthritic, that it was very painful.  I have put the scarf next to my bed – it would be nice to finish it before winter. It is my scarf, the last of a project where I made handmade scarves for everyone for Christmas and Hannukah one year. But I never made one for me.  I started it, but never finished it. It matches a hat I like to wear for apres ski, so goal is to finish it by January when we go skiing.  I think I can do that.

I freely confess that I have an office supply fetish. I love paper. And pens. Notebooks. Envelopes. Paper clips. Scissors. Tape. When I was a little girl, if my mom lost me in the grocery store, she could always find me in the school supplies. I would be gazing at little notebooks or pads of colored paper. Mechanical pencils. Colored markers. I’ve definitely made up for it – I have 6 BINS of office supplies. Different kinds of paper, colors and thickness. Labels of every possible description. Envelopes. I have an entire bin of ENVELOPES. Greeting cards. Notebooks. Binders. Sticky pads. Pens. Pencils. Markers. Thumbtacks, paper clips, staples. Well, they are all sorted out and organized now, so until I use them up, I have no excuse for buying more. Well, unless they are really cool. LOL.

I thought my pictures were sorted, but I found tons mixed in with papers. So now I’m going to need to get to those. I’ve got tons of albums – with nothing in them. I want to start scrapbooking again. As soon as boot camp is over, I’ll have time in the evenings to putter around with that. Two more weeks and I can go back to morning workouts and evenings at home.

We moved the treadmill out of my bedroom and into the office last night. It was a major event. That thing is MASSIVE. I got the big Solo F85 because of my weight last year, but I had no idea how massive it really was. We had to basically dismantle it and the door to get it out. Then I forgot to remove two screws on the bottom that scraped my beautiful wood floors through the furniture pad. So I get to tick off treadmill moved , but add repair floor to my To-Do list.

It feels good to have it out of my room though. Not just because the thing is massive and took up half the floor. Because it represents a time when I was not fit. When I could just manage to stagger out of bed and onto the treadmill. I’m proud of what I did to get to this level of fitness, but I don’t need to have it next to my bed any more.  It will be nice to have it in the office so Fred can use it at odd hours, which means he’ll probably do it a lot more. He’s going to mount the television on a swing arm mount so it can be used for the treadmill or swiveled around to watch from my desk or one of the chairs. That will be nice for all of us. Jacob can watch a movie while I’m working or hitting the treadmill. Probably should have put it in here in the first place. But it served it’s purpose next to my bed. It was my no excuse workout when I needed it. (Thanks, Dan! It was the best gift anyone could have given me!)

Okay – the sun is up, gotta go make some breakfast and get this week started.

Reframing the Stall

Yesterday was my surgiversary (I promise to post my 5k pictures later tonight) and officially (the wii fit is my official record) I have gained 2 pounds since last month. My regular scale says I haven’t gained, but I haven’t really lost either.  Bizarrely, I keep having a tiny little bit of weight loss at my weekly weight watcher’s meetings, even though I’m not losing at home: 4 ounces, 6 ounces, 12 ounces. Today I was down a whopping 1.2 on the WW scale. That is so weird since I’m really not seeing that on the home scales. In the past I would have assumed one of the three scales was broken, and raised Cain, but now I’m just thinking – who cares?

I’m building muscle and my body is adjusting to the novel experience of consistently losing weight for over 2 years. May 2008 to August 2010. Two years and three months. 27 months of weight loss. From 321 to 278 the first 15 months. 278 to 177 since the surgery 12 months ago.

So is this a stall? I’m not sure. Okay, so the scale hasn’t moved pretty much at ALL for 2 months. A pound up, a pound down – pretty much normal fluctuations, I’d say. In fact, except for the 5 pounds I gained on vacation and then lost, my weight hasn’t changed significantly for 2 months.

But – I have dropped a size and bits of me are thinner than they were. I feel a lot stronger and I see the muscles in my legs, where before I could only feel them. Got a compliment on my arms today, too. That was cool, since I have, you know, fat wings.

So whether or not this is a stall, I’m treating it as an introduction to maintenance. Maintenance is my ultimate goal. A time when I never gain, never lose and stay at the same weight, give or take a few pounds of fluctuations. So I’m going to keep doing the right thing, not worry about the number on the scale (unless it goes up!) and enjoy the benefits of my three years of effort.

I’ve never been in maintenance before. All these decades of diets and I have never stayed at a weight that I achieved. As soon as I stopped (usually short of goal) I started to eat my way back up, usually past that starting point and to a new high. So I need to just learn to be patient and content at the weight I am. If it is higher than I want it to be, it is 144 pounds lighter than it could be!

I keep thinking about doing something to shake up the weight loss, like a diet.  Am I insane? Didn’t I just write that every time I dieted, or did something short term, as soon as I stopped I would eat my way back up past where I started??? Diets don’t work. So I need to just keep on doing what I’m doing. Exercise. Eat right (small portions, balanced, healthy choices, eat slow, chew, no drinks with meals). Take my vitamins. Get my water. Exercise again.

Probably if I was journaling and tracking what I’m eating, I could analyze that data to see where I could make changes. Obviously, if I am not doing it, it is because I don’t want to make changes.

Hmm.  Something to think about, isn’t it?

Post #100

I just noticed that I’ve posted 99 times so this will be number 100. I’ve been enjoying it, though the last week has been hard, because I’m tired and my schedule is off. I get so used to waking up early, exercising and then going to bed early. I LIKE that schedule. But with a 6:30 pm boot camp, I don’t even get home until 8pm. Then shower, dinner and some time with the family and I don’t get to bed until 11. And then I’m WIRED and it takes forever to read myself to sleep.

Am I whining? Oh crap – I’m whining! Okay – deep breath, positive attitude in, bad attitude OUT!

So I made yogurt Sunday night. It took about 15 minutes of hands on time and lots of time watching the cooking thermometer. Then I went to sleep while it cooked, and put it in the fridge before work. I came home at lunch to strain it and at dinner last night it was perfect.

But tiny.

One half gallon of milk makes about 2 cups of thick, creamy greek style yogurt. No wonder that stuff is so expensive. The milk alone cost me almost $4 and I really thought I’d have more. But by the time I strained out the whey, there wasn’t that much left. Apparently you can use the whey for baking, so I saved it and will try a nice whole wheat cottage loaf on Friday night for Shabbos dinner.

Boot camp was hard, but mainly in my head. Fighting my demons who really want to cheat and whine about how hard it is and oh, poor me! My arms hurt, my legs hurt, my knee hurts, blah blah blah. Enough. Just suck it up and do it.

I gained 2 pounds since last week, which I am putting down to muscle because I lost over an inch off my stomach. I have to keep measuring it, because it looks HUGE to me when I look in the mirror, much bigger than it ever did when I weighed 143 pounds more.

I know that is just my fat-head talk, because Fred posted some pictures from our trip to Vermont/New York and I look pretty good, I think. If I can figure out how to make them smaller on Jacob’s computer, I’ll load them up. I really need to get my computer fixed. Sigh. I’m whining again.

Okay, I’m going to see if I can get out the door and go swimming. Need an attitude adjustment!

My Unplugged Sunday

I took the day off from technology on Sunday. I didn’t start off that way, it just sort of happened. I got up early and discovered Fred working in the yard, which inspired me to go out and do some yard work. I mowed the grass, and clipped and cleaned up and felt much better about my front yard. Then the Georgia Power folks arrived to fix the electrical line into the house and turned off the power, which put paid to my plans to go in and blog. So I decided to hit the backyard. My backyard has been a bit of a nightmare for almost a year. Fred and his brother very nicely put in some new doors and windows in the basement last year while I was having my surgery. Unfortunately, they didn’t clean up afterward. Also, there was a lot of stuff stored under that wasn’t properly covered/stored and the dogs got into it. Add in a years worth of leaves and tree debris and it was a MESS!

I got some gloves, garbage bags and dug in. 5 hours later, my patio was clear and the stuff was stored in the shed. I hauled bags of trash down to the curb and unwanted stuff to the truck to take to the Goodwill.

After that I was so bushed I just had a shower and some lunch and snoozed on my hammock for a while. After a while I thought about checking email and blogging, but decided to have a nap upstairs instead.  Then Jacob and Fred came home from bowling and dragged me off to the pool and out to dinner. So I never answered email, Facebook, cell phone, home phone or any other technology ALL DAY.

I can’t remember the last time I did that. But I liked it. It was good for my stress level. I think I’ll start doing that once a week – either Saturday or Sunday.

Well – my oatmeal is made, my vitamins are packed and my lunch and snacks are loaded. Guess I’ve gotta get the boy to camp and then get to work. Have a great day!