Snow and Stuff

Hurrah! Winter Storm Leon came through in style for HPNC. We got measureable snow this week!


It was the first real snow for the Pound Pups, and they romped and played and tussled and chased and...well, you get the picture, right? If not, here's a helpful hint or two:
 
Winston (f) and Abbie (b)
in the Way Back:
First snow!
Abbie (f) and Winston (barely seen!)...
More play, play, play
in the Way Back Gardens
























Truthfully? I am thrilled to have the snow and cold weather...especially since I'm usually inside by the fire, where it is warm and toasty. Last year we had such a mild winter that Mother Nature couldn't do what she does best with cold weather: help control the garden pest population. By the time the 2013 Summer months arrived, we were facing a huge and mounting "bad bug" invasion...especially in the form of squash vine borers, Japanese beetles, and Mexican bean beetles. So, throw some more cold at us...I'll throw on another sweater!

This snow day also gave me a cause for pause in an otherwise hectic week. All Master Gardening activities got cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday when the Guilford County Schools were closed for 2 1/2 days, so I found myself with time on my hands...and W-2's in the mailbox. And, you may have trouble believing this, but I took the opportunity to do our taxes. Yes, I did! Now, I still will be doing Missy M's, but our Fed and State returns are filed for this year. And, even though TurboTax said that the IRS wasn't accepting returns until 1/31, I just received both text and email confirmation that the Fed return had been accepted. Today. January 30. I suppose they opened for business a few hours early...kinda like how stores were opening on Thanksgiving before Black Friday. Or something like that.

Ahem.

Here are some more snow pictures for you:

View of shed and back yard
from Morning Room
Way Back Garden gate
got left open






















Looking into Rose Garden
"Dr. Seuss"
 








































Of course, I did as any well-raised Southern girl would do when there is even a whisper of the white stuff in the forecast: I headed to the store for bread and milk, of course! Here's the evidence.


 
 
When I posted that picture (above) on Facebook, I heard from a friend that I "should buy organic milk." (Yep, a Master Gardener friend...:-) I responded with "don't I get credit for switching to Whole Wheat bread and 1% milk?!" (I left out the Sheezsh!) And that brings up a whole 'nother subject...the "Stuff" of the title, I suppose.

My biking to Disneyland (I know, I know...I owe you a post...:-) got me reconnected with an iPhone app that I had used in the past called MyNetDiary. It allows you to easily track your exercise for the day, along with what you have eaten for meals. Keeps up with calories, nutrients, weight, etc. A really cool tool! I think I first learned of it from a Diabetes Education counselor in Missouri, when Momma was diagnosed with diabetes...and I was told I was borderline.

Anyway, the website was a clunky, cumbersome affair...but the app: now that works well, and syncs between my iPhone (there's a free version for the iPhone) and iPad! One of those is usually in my hands, so that makes it easy-peasy. I used it regularly for a while, and then our move from MO to NC intervened, and diet and exercise went hand-in-hand...out the window. Never fear...it's backkk!

At the same time I was reconnecting with my old friend, MyNetDiary (MND), Mr. T was struggling to make some changes that would positively impact his health...read that: lose some weight to get his BMI (recently discussed at his annual physical with Dr. K) down into the normal range. He was also looking for a way to keep up with his physical therapy exercises...other than the Excel spreadsheet he was using. So I introduced him to MND...and we were off and running, together!

Now, I must share some background with you. Most of my regular readers know I have battled my weight and yo-yo dieted since I was about 5 or 6 (no kidding). I have been on every diet imaginable...gained and lost at least 3 whole people in my lifetime, maybe more. One day about 6 or 7 years ago, I just said no. No more diets. Ever again. Never. Never, ever, ever. I had had enough of that.

And, guess what? When I stopped obsessing with my weight, it started dropping. Ever so slowly, mind you. So slowly in fact as to be almost a non-story. But I was reminded of just how much the other day when I was writing in my Journal (yes, I do still keep one, although I write in it infrequently). I have made a note of my weight next to several of the previous entries, and I realized that I was (then) 40 pounds lighter than my highest weight noted.

A second item worth noting is that Mr. T has never been on a diet. Read that sentence again. Never. Never, ever, ever. Oh, he switched from regular Coke to diet many years back and immediately dropped 5 pounds, but that doesn't count. He's occasionally tried to make what sounded like good choices off restaurant menus...but he still has to eat in restaurants for the majority of his meals, and there IS a limit to resistance to Five Guys fries. And he's certainly endured the countless programs I have done...and been a fabulous cheerleader. Yes, he has been on the sidelines of diet and nutrition his whole life.

Not any more.

While I am loathe to classify what we are doing as "dieting" in the sense that we are restricting ourselves (other than to the recommended calories suggested by MND) or following any "program" like Weight Watchers, South Beach, etc., I will say that we are giving our eating habits a long overdue overhaul. And when you KNOW you are going to have to account for what you have eaten that day in your electronic diary, you are ever-so-much-more inclined to make healthy eating choices. You pay attention to where your calories are coming from...what you are lacking (mine has been calcium and fiber)...and what you are overindulging on (we BOTH are challenged by our sodium intake). And you are conscious of poor choices, like my tendency to skip breakfast.

Plus exercise becomes something you want to do instead of "oh, Lordy, I guess I have to exercise today." Because when you exercise, you "earn" more calories to "spend" that day! Yee ha!!

So, there are some changes evident around here. Mr. T has become a consummate label-reader...shocked by seeing just what a portion or serving really is (I got out the measuring cups and spoons along with my ancient WW scale, to help him visualize). It's OK to eat a salad bowl full of cereal for breakfast...just realize that is actually 2 servings and enter the data truthfully.

And remember I said I identified I was having trouble eating the recommended calcium and fiber? Well, no more! We have made the Big Switch to whole wheat this and whole grain that. And to allow me to drink more milk for the calcium, but not bump up the fat count, we agreed to change to 1%. Who knows? Skim milk may be on our horizon! (Missy M is already at that threshold, since that's what I bought when she was growing up and that's what she prefers. We had changed back to 2% over the years...which was still better than the whole milk we both grew up drinking.)

OK. Time to go. Need to get my bike ride in for the day. I'm in Knoxville, by the way, stopped last night at Chilhowee Park, where the Knoxville Zoo is located. Promise: I'll get to work on my catching-up biking post!

I'll close this post with yet another dog picture that should bring a smile to your face. This was taken the night it started to snow, after supper when they take their pre-bedtime naps. They slept through the main part of the storm, getting up to go outside for Last Potty Call and being surprised at what they found. Let it snow...and stuff!

Duche$$, Abbie, and Winston...
Three Dog Night in  HPNC

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