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Stepping it Up a Notch March 28, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Birthdays, Fitness, Goals, Uncategorized.
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Six months from yesterday I will hit a milestone birthday — Double Nickels. Generally, I’m not much of a birthday person. I don’t need, or even want, a lot of hoopla. I’m ok with baking my own cake, or cooking up some other decadent and expensive food. Although I certainly won’t turn down presents, I don’t expect them, even from my kids. I do look forward to special calls from my kids (although one son has to ask almost every year if my birthday is on the 27th or 28th — it’s the 27th).

I’m not sure why but this year feels different. For some unknown reason, it seems more important. I know it’s still six months away, but I’m starting to think about how I should mark the day. I’ve thought quite a bit about goals to meet before the big day and I finally settled on one: I want to walk one million steps in the six months before turning 55.

A million steps sounds like a marathon, but that would actually only get me about 58,000. Not bad at all, but not a million. When I did the math, it seemed like destiny:

1,000,000 ÷ 180 = 5,555.55556….

Did you catch that? The number of steps required daily is fifty-five, fifty-five. I think it is destiny. Or more likely just coincidence. Whatever, I like it.

This is my pedometer reading from yesterday. Not a bad beginning, eh? Let me share a little story.

PedometerI worked from home yesterday and I must say I was quite surprised when I checked the pedometer about noon and saw there were about 3500 steps captured. Actually I was more than surprised, I was shocked. Usually on my work from home days I’m lucky to break a thousand steps unless I purpose to get outside and move.  I had been a bit more active than normal because this happened…

Coffee Mess

Silly me got distracted and forgot to put the carafe in the coffee maker and had to clean the counter and mop the floor. I was moving more than normal, but certainly not 3,000 steps more. To give some perspective, a mile at my stride is about 2,250 steps. Maybe there are homes with lots of acreage where one could rack up a mile and a half mopping the kitchen floor, but those homes are not my apartment.

I thought my pedometer was broken and clipped it back on my hip. I checked it a couple of hours later and darned if it wasn’t showing 4,200 some steps. Huh, that is really weird. So I tested the thing. I got up and walked back and forth to the window, counting 100 steps. For the record, it is 11 steps from my table to the window. I did NOT feel silly walking back and forth, not at all. I was testing a theory. I checked the pedometer and there were exactly 100 more steps. Again, I clipped it back on my hip, sat back down and went back to work. A couple more hours and a few more pedometer checks and the steps kept racking up. How could I possibly be adding steps when my behind wasn’t even leaving the chair. I held the thing and rested my hand on my thigh, perplexed. And then I figured it out!

I am a knee jiggler. You know, one of those people who simply cannot sit still and constantly bounce their knee? That person who really annoys you when they’re sitting on the same pew at church, bouncing away? Yeah, that’s me. I’ve always been a jiggler but lately it’s been out of control. One of the side effects of a medicine I’m taking is restlessness and this is how my body has been letting that restlessness free. (Another side effect is uncontrollable yawning — I had that one for awhile, too. I didn’t yawn all the time, but if I was the slightest bit tired and yawned even a little bit, I would end up yawning repeatedly and hugely, totally out of control. Luckily that didn’t last very long.) Unless I consciously think about NOT bouncing my knee, it has a mind of its own and keeps moving. The pedometer was counting every one of those knee-jiggles as a step. I could leave it on my right hip, rack up the points and meet my goal early but I’ve moved it to the other side. Now it is really counting my steps, not my knee bounces.

The true total steps from yesterday is probably closer to 1,500 than 6,320 but, just this once, I’m going to let the knee bounces count towards the total. This is a bit of a stretch goal, but not an impossible one. Now that Spring is finally starting to show itself, I can get out and walk. Winter lasted too long this year and I was starting to turn into a couch potato. Time to step it up.


Why I never feel caught up March 16, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Goals, life, Procrastination.
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It’s eleven o’clock and I’ve been up for two hours (woo hoo for sleeping in once in awhile). So far today I’ve accomplished the following:

  • Drank two large glasses of water
  • Drank my daily half-pot of coffee (Mexican Chiapas from Dean’s Beans)
  • Took one batch of yogurt out of the yogurt maker and put another one in
  • Put away about a third of the dishes I washed yesterday (I really hate putting dishes away)
  • Listened to Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and This American Life
  • Figured out what I’m making for the bake sale at work this week (raising money for a co-worker’s international adoption)
  • Mixed up some marinade (using the fresh yogurt and this sauce) and added chicken. I’m not sure if this will be dinner tonight or lunch after church tomorrow
  • Made a grocery list for the things I need for the bake sale (since I’ve nibbled away at the chocolate chips I thought were in my cupboard
  • Packaged up the “Clean the Refrigerator/Freezer Chili” that simmered away in the crock-pot yesterday into individual servings and fit them in the freezer
  • Caught up on Facebook and e-mail

Whew, I’ve been busy. I think it was the decent amount of sleep last night (plus the fact that the coffee has not yet been diluted with actual food). I still have more that must be accomplished today (or at least by the end of the weekend but it’s better if I get it done today so I have some time this weekend that I can call my own).

  • Mail a package (I’ve already missed the window for mailing from my little local post office. They are only open from 8:30-10:30 on Saturdays. If I don’t get to the bigger post office (in the opposite direction of where I’m going grocery shopping) it won’t get mailed until Tuesday. If I don’t get it mailed today, it will at least be ready to take to the post office. The label is written and the item is in a box, so I’m more than halfway there.
  • Get those groceries
  • Make one of the bake sale items (the other will be done Tuesday evening)
  • Log into work (I’ll either get up early and do this before church tomorrow (and then nap away the afternoon) or work after church)
  • Do some housework (that one never ends)
  • Pick up the library book on hold (Forrest Gump, the novel. I didn’t even know it was a novel before it was a movie until I saw a post on Reddit this week. I was so intrigued it popped to the top of my reading list)

Oh, and I should probably get changed out of my pajamas at some point.

I used to think I was just really bad at time management and honestly, I’m sure there is some truth in that. I make lots of lists, and I like having a routine, but I don’t do well with a schedule. Plus, I generally under-estimate how long tasks are going to take me. When I’m making those lists, I seem to think it’s reasonable for a Saturday to-do list to be twice as long as what I’ve written here.

Today, after I get all that stuff above out of the way, I’m going to spend some time feeding my creative side and sew. Or maybe I’ll get dressed, eat something , run those errands and sew away the rest of the day away. Those other obligations aren’t going away. I need to remember — no one will die if everything doesn’t get checked off the list today.

Who buys food because it’s cute? March 12, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in cooking, Finances.
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Apparently, that would be me. Tell me, could you resist these adorable, petite beans?

AdzukiAdzuki Beans look like miniature Kidney Beans. They are about the same color and shape, just half or less the size. Here they are next to some Small White Beans (honest, that’s what the bag says “Small White Beans”).

Adzuki 2I was out with my son enjoying some Indian food and we decided to visit the grocery next door. The store was both wonderful and overwhelming. So many things on the shelves that I had no idea how to use. The smells. The colors. The crowds. The store was pretty busy for a Saturday night, full of families with full carts. I was trying my best not to look like a gawking tourist but I don’t think I succeeded. I was tempted to buy lots of things but used restraint. I came out with a bag of these cute, little Adzuki beans, a box of Cardamom Chai (heavenly!), a jar of Tikka Masala simmering sauce, and some fresh cashew/pistachio candy (meh – I just can’t get used to rose flavoring in food). I want to go back but before I go, I’ll do my homework so I can 1) not look like such a dumb tourist and 2) know that I’ll actually use whatever I buy.

When I got home I went searching for recipes for Adzuki beans and found this recipe for Butternut Adzuki Soup. The soup has been simmering delightfully this afternoon and smells delicious. My plan was to make a half batch since I’ll be the only one eating it but I ended up making a full pot. The Adzuki beans grew much more than I expected when cooked — a scant two cups of dry beans expanded to well over six cups cooked — so I went for a full recipe. Hopefully this will freeze well (a test container going in the freezer tonight and will go to work with me tomorrow) or I’ll be eating nothing but soup for a few days.

I love shopping in ethnic groceries even though I invariably look like a tourist. Prices are generally lower (only $2.49 for two pounds of Adzuki beans) and the variety can’t be beat. Sometimes it can be a challenge to figure out how to fit the new food into my menu. I’m very pleased to have found at least one recipe to use the Adzuki beans. Next time I plan to buy some Fenugreek, but first I need to figure out how I’ll use it. Anyone have a good recipe to share?

Well-prepared or Over-packed? March 2, 2013

Posted by phoenixhopes in Books, Knitting, motherhood.
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I’m out for the day with my youngest boy and I know the day will include lots of waiting around on my part. Currently I’m in the waiting area while he’s in an audition for a college music program. Next comes an audition for the theater program at the same school (well, “next” as in two plus hours later).  When that’s dome travel 1.5 hours south to drop him off at rehearsal in downtown Chicago. I’ll meet up with him again at the performance at four and when that’s done I’ll head home

To keep myself occupied I brought along:


– Two books (nonfiction, the kind one reads in bits and pieces, pausing to consider)

– Three knitting projects (one glitten (glove/mitten hybrid)  that just needs the ends sewn in, one glitten that needs mitten cap finished and then a few ends sewn in, and yarn to start a new Wingspan)

– Notebook for writing (there are a few things stirring that need to come out)

– Three pound bag of Cara Cara oranges (it was simpler to grab the bag than just a few oranges)

So, what do you think? Too much? Just enough? Or might I end up at loose ends with nothing to occupy my time?