You Do What You Can Do, Pt 2

There are certainly days like that, but this is not one of them. A few days ago I decided to stop fighting sleep. I’ve had a chronic problem with afternoon fatigue hitting as early as late morning (before lunch), and I’ve tried all kinds of advice from various doctors, with no good result. I’m done with the cycle of fighting the fatigue that ends with me up until midnight (or after) and waking at dawn, still tired. If I have to sleep, then I have to sleep, and if that means I go to bed in the late afternoon or early evening and get up in the wee hours of the morning after seven or eight hours’ sleep, then I’m ahead by an hour or two of rest I’d not get otherwise. Conventionality fails yet again.

I decided to go back on the diet again, too. I may have put on a few pounds in the last several months, but summer is a good time of year to do this, and I’ve found I really can get out and walk again without all the old aches and pains, so there’s another use for those cool hours between dawn and OMG-it’s-hot! in the morning. I’ve mostly used them for doing gigs on Mechanical Turk. Mturk doesn’t pay well enough to live on, but it’s worth a couple hours of my day to bulk up the finances while I have breakfast. The rest of the time, I’m better off working around here and walking a few blocks while the mockingbirds fill the morning quiet with song. The honeysuckle is blooming in response to the first real heat of Spring, so it won’t be long ’til the roses shut down for the summer and the rosemary puts on its darker green summer coat, but for now it’s a pretty day, and there’s stuff to be done.

 

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Day 223: You Do What You Can Do, Part 1

My last post was 82 days ago, early in the day my sister walked out of my life. I didn’t see precisely that coming, but I have to agree with her that we’re both probably better off. We got a lot of important things done over the years, but the last three or so became increasingly pressurized after I went into therapy for a few months after a friend’s death. It was then I found out how much she hates me and blames me for bad things in our lives, but we struggled on, as I was her payee for Social Security., and we got her custody of her grandson last Fall. That accomplished, things went downhill fairly quickly, and just over eight years since I came to live with her from Oklahoma, she said enough. I’m no longer her payee; once that was done, she and her daughter blocked me on Facebook, so for all intents and purposes, we’re dead to one another. I wish her well.

Since then, I’ve given matters a lot of thought. I’m 59 now; physically, I’m about where I was eight years ago, plus or minus some parts, and since the parting I’ve been more emotionally stable and balanced than I’ve been in more than a decade, if not longer. I’m creating things again, mostly home comforts from my thinned out stash and cooking; I belong to some upcycling groups, which are supportive and interesting, and I’m looking more deeply into how best to weather the changes in our world, both politically and environmentally. I’ve put the diet on pause, though I am still wearing the smaller clothes, and I’ll get back on it in five days, when I get paid, if not sooner, because I like the results.

 

Day 140: Taking Stock

The latest weigh-in marked another six pounds off.  I am disappointed that it was not more, but I was only mildly surprised. The weather has turned chilly, and I’ve been sloppy about tracking all the minutiae of what I eat and when. I am bored sick with the diet and with writing about it. Mind, the benefits are marvelous.   27 pounds is enough that I’ve had to buy new pants and such because the old ones won’t stay up, and while I still have a limited walking range before the body’s protests are too much, I am able to move much more freely.

I am also resting well. I went to bed when I was reasonably tired, but not nodding off, last night about 8:30, and I slept eight solid hours. That almost never happens, but I think I have it figured out. I was full of vegetables, thoroughly hydrated, and I wasn’t dead tired and hurting when I went to bed, so I could sleep soundly in the dark well before sunrise and woke rested, without pain a little after 4:30 this morning.

So, after a weekend to think, eat meat and think more, I’m ready to start changing things up. I’m not getting as much benefit from exercise, as I’m not moving around so much mass, and I’m getting more efficient in what I do, so it takes less time to do a given amount of work or distance walked. What I can do is change the challenges — set walking patterns for, say, a half hour at a time — and accept the limited calories I’ll burn doing housework. There is only so much to do, and deeper de-clutter requires some organization on my part, as I’m down to my actual crafting materials and I need to get to work with them. More on that later.

Day 114: And Another Thing

I mentioned fibro fog in the last post, and that it’s made itself known more the last couple of weeks. Technically, I’ve noticed it more, I think. I occasionally have to deal with people and situations around me not being quite as clear as they appear or as I would like, but as my daily activity increases, I notice it more. I have to make lists. I forget something I knew in detail yesterday — and which may come to me in detail five minutes from now. I space much-anticipated (and even desired) appointments and events that I have been planning for months and have even written down on a calendar and in my planner.

Those blanks used to terrify me when I was still working or trying to, especially when the fog would deepen under stress. Now it mostly just confuses me and makes me short-tempered. I know the fog won’t get kill me, and does end, but while the fog’s rolled in, I’m edgy. Exercise helps, so more days approaching and over 1200 calories burned are in my future, but I can sort that as I go.

Onward!

Day 114: Too much of a good thing?

So, this happened Saturday while getting ready for Sunday’s D&D game. I’m not entirely sure it’s accurate, as I have been dealing with some fibro fog drifting through now and then over the last week or so, but I did work most of the day cleaning, shopping and cooking in patches, taking breaks to drink a mug of water and log my time for different phases of activity. I’m glad I’ve made this much progress — four months ago this would have been impossible — but the numbers scare me. I like the way I’m eating, the exercise seems to push back the pain and fatigue, and I want to build up more speed and endurance, but what the hell is with doubling the rate at which I’m burning calories? How will I stay at just two pounds a week when I’m up to doing this kind of thing daily? I’m not planning to stop, but I need to sort this out.

Day 107: Yummy Food for Daayyss!

When Bryan runs a game at our place, I cook and put out snacks for whoever is here. Recently my food for the group is pulled pork tacos made according to the Easy Pulled Pork recipe at Chowhound. I’d bought a 5 lb pork loin to cook for the weekend, so when plans changed, I decided to make it anyway. I usually serve it as the main ingredient in a burrito bar with cheese, olives, sliced red onions, chopped tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream, but I’ve discovered the pulled pork makes a most amazing open face hot sandwich on sourdough bread and dosed with some of the extra defatted broth from the crock and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Even so, it should last us through to the weekend, when I get to make it again for Sunday’s D&D game. I really should get some salad made to put under it as well, because oh, my, it’s good that way, too!

Day 106: Morning Ponder, and a Question

I wake up most mornings sometime around dawn; today it was about 5:30, so it will be awhile yet before the eastern sky lightens. I woke to the usual biological calls — fluids and backache — and dreaming of Dubya.  It’s a sad state of affairs when that old war criminal can rehabilitate his image by calling out 45’s self-centered inhumanity and helping to raise money for disaster relief. Still, it does help, and that’s all to the good.

On to the Question.

Why are you reading this? I’m frankly curious as to why someone takes the time to read and ‘like’ one of my posts.  I’ve had very few comments. I put notices to my Facebook wall when I write another post, with the same result. Are you as bored as I am?  Drop me a note and let me know.

Day 104: Regrouping

It’s 2 weeks since the last post. Three weeks from the last weight check, so by my calculations, I’ve shed another six pounds, more or less, and I’m down to about 263 now. My average intake is down to just 1250 calories, my eating spikes less, and not much over 2000 calories when it does, so on the weight loss side, I’m hitting my goals and probably doing better than that because I’m tired of logging every minute of motion.

So yesterday I took a break. I was nauseous — a daily morning problem nowadays — and the morning 20 oz mug of water didn’t help. A second mug and a protein bar made matters worse, and by the time I was done shopping with my sister I was on the verge of dry heaves, so I decided to say fuck it, get my cramping innards fed and watered so I could think, and see what I was doing wrong. Another mug of water helped, but I still was seriously uncomfortable. Bryan, Ken and Ken’s mom wanted to go to coffee, so I went with them. A large cup of the local Java City’s house coffee and a delicious almond croissant helped, but when I got home I started tanking up on water, which made me feel better. Since I’d decided on a break day, I’d bought a cheap packet of imported cookies at Grocery Outlet to go with the water.  I admit I ate most of the packet over the course of the day, but they were a waste of money and calories consumed. Lesson learned; go for the Pepperidge Farm if you’re not hurting for calories.

The problems I’m having with dry mouth, digestive distress and even general discomforts seem to be a matter of hydration.  I drink about three quarts of water a day, not counting soda and coffee; according to a Web MD article I found, a human needs between half an ounce to an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day in a temperate climate. At my last weigh-in rate, that’s 14 to 38 cups, or roughly five to nine quarts, per day. Staying in the 17+ cup range has been hard since the weather turned cooler and humid, but that’s not enough to keep me hydrated and regular. So now I am working on my fourth mug of water since I got up about four hours ago with many more to follow. Getting my digestive tract back in order hurts as it goes back to work, but I am feeling a bit better already. Onward!

Day 90: Three months In

Between one thing and another, I forgot to mention that I did finally hit the two-pound-a-week average as of Monday last.  I now weigh 21 pounds less than I did when I started, and I lost eight between the September and October weigh-ins. The new jeans are already loosening up, and I’m getting more sleep if I go to bed early. Being a fifth of the way to my goal still has me mightily pleased with myself, though it’s getting a lot easier as I go. I still have My Fitness Pal open most of the time on my notebook, but I’m not as obsessive about the process as I was in the beginning, or even a month ago, now that I average two pounds lost per week.  I’ve started carrying a piece of paper to note start and finish times when I work instead of setting a stopwatch on my cellphone. At the beginning, every damned minute counted because I was starting from way too close to zero; I’m still short-winded, but I’m not struggling with sustained cleanup runs, and the chronic pains from inactivity are fading out as the post-activity needles take their place. I’m okay with that.

Figuring food is also a lot easier, too. The things I usually eat accumulate on My Fitness Pal, so logging is simple, and the measuring cups are close at hand, so it’s not a big deal to assemble a salad or whatever and log it for the calorie content. I’ve even started posting recipes with serving sizes, so I don’t have to remember all the stuff that went into the pea soup or the details of a crock of pulled pork.

I’ve found, too, that we eat cheaper, now that I’m taking in about half the calories I did three months ago. We eat better, with more fresh veg and fruit, and less fat, but the overall volume is less, and we don’t spend the money we used to on sweets or ordering in. I’m not sure I actually cook more, but a head of romaine is cheaper than a loaf of good bread, and chef salads are about as fast as a sandwich once the lettuce is torn up and the cheese sliced or shredded. I find I do have to watch how much we buy, though, and re-package meat for the freezer more often, because we don’t eat whole packages of anything quickly anymore. That’s coming together pretty well; I forget fresh bananas now and then, and I ended up making croutons and bread crumbs from half a pack of rolls that we skipped over a couple weeks ago, but it’s getting cool enough to make a meatloaf one of these nights soon, so it’s no loss in the long run.

Day 89: Housecleaning

The fires here in California are dreadful; I’m awaiting word on a family member in Santa Rosa. I’m reasonably sure he’s in a safe area after chatting with a representative from the SRPD, but the waiting is bad, and it’s worse on his mom, who has seen the videos I avoided. I scan the news for useful information I can pass on to others or otherwise help where I can from here, but all in all, it’s not much that I can do, and the horror is overwhelming if I let myself consider it too long.

So life goes on.  Bryan tells me of the latest political disasters now and then; it’s a different kind of devastation incoming from Washington DC, and it is relentless as those elected to lead abandon our people to the natural disasters and actively seek to destroy what solace remains in our country. There’s not a lot I can do about those, either.

About all I can do is to modify myself and my living conditions here at home; I diet and re-work the house as much as I can, putting such order as I can in place. The trash bin I bought last week was delivered today; it’s crimson plastic, and with that addition, the kitchen towels and the new red throw rug are beginning to tie together visually, rather than existing as isolated bright splashes against the beige, black and steel that are there now. The rust towels Bryan washed yesterday put life back into the bathroom that the light colored towels can’t. I fixed the skirt on his rocker yesterday. Today I’m purging the last of the SCA and fantasy garb, tossing cartons of scraps and failed projects into the dumpster and shedding illusions — and disillusionment — as I go. I wonder sometimes if I am lacking something that others possess in being able to do this, but so far it works well for me, and over time I find my baseline distress and bitterness are less.

Note: if you like the header illustration, you can find it here.