You know I wouldn’t really go over two weeks without posting.
No, I am once again MOVING blogs – but this time, I exported all the content so it’s not much of a change. I just don’t want to keep paying for web hosting, or whatever it is I pay for, because I take zero advantage of that. I just have a humble little blog using a humble little template, and I can do that for free at WordPress.com:
People often fixate on the milestones that define lives. Graduations, weddings, etc. I too fully see the great importance of those defining occasions. But man, it’s the simple joys that really make me glad to be alive. Very few things make me happier than being outside in beautiful weather, feeling the sunshine on my face and a warm breeze against my arms.
Anyway, also took a foodie pic, which I haven’t done much of lately. Somehow my Chinese take-out looked unexpectedly pretty.
On June 30th last year I sadly posted a blog entry entitled “Big Boned“:
“I’m back from the vet, and as always, Herman’s weight was the main topic of discussion,” I wrote. If he continued on the same track, the vet warned, Herman faced increased odds of diabetes, difficulty breathing, and leg troubles that could set in as early as age 8. He was over 14 pounds and I couldn’t imagine him getting down to 12 anytime soon. He’d been over 15 pounds at the vet a year earlier and although he’d lost some weight, it wasn’t enough and it wasn’t coming off quickly.
Well, I am here to say that as of this afternoon’s vet visit, my “big boned” guy is now 11.3 pounds (in a harness!). The vet said his physical condition looked great and that now we need to focus on maintaining his weight rather than losing more. Oh. My. Gosh. I was in shock. Vets ALWAYS scold me about his weight. I see him everyday and I simply had no idea that in fewer than 8 months he had come so far.
I’m thrilled that my beloved dog is on a healthier track. Thrilled to feel free of the guilt I experienced due to his weight. Thrilled to finally see results from our work and to get real approval from the vet. Now I just have to stick with it (and maybe play with the diet a little so he doesn’t lose too much more weight). But I’m motivated. I’ve gotten healthier and more physically active myself in the last 6 months so I feel like we’re in this together.
Some of my favorite recent moments were walks with Herman. We’ve enjoyed meandering through a sprawling historic cemetery in Tallahassee and playing in the bustling parks of Jacksonville’s trendier neighborhoods. It’s as as good for me as it is for him, not just physically but mentally.
Just felt like taking some photos on my walk with Herman before work today. Now that it’s so warm outside again (who knows for how long) I’ve been savoring the walks more, and I keep thinking that this side street is quite pretty.
A coworker had a great new year’s resolution: to stop eating lunch at her desk. So she has started inviting those of us around her to join her for lunch outside of our offices, and not only has it been a fun way for us to clear our heads and socialize, but we’re all on healthy eating kicks. We oooh and aahh over one another’s healthy lunch and it motivates us all to eat better at work. We’re also bringing better snacks and resisting the candy bowl that tempts us all during meetings.
I’ve had a spinach salad like this for two days now, with chickpeas and veggies and balsamic vinegar. I still have to have something else on the side though. No matter how many toppings I add, I just don’t feel satisfied eating only a salad for a meal. I’ve discovered that I like dumping Amy’s low sodium (canned) lentil soup over brown rice and adding spinach. For days when I’m looking for convenience, it’s not a bad option at all.
Here’s one last photo – a funny outtake of Herman. I didn’t even know I took this, it must have been when I was trying to get the camera to autofocus:
I live a few blocks away from a hospital and after wandering onto its campus a few weeks ago, I realized it is prime dog-walking territory. The sprawling lawn, the hilly landscape, the steep steps…it all makes for great exercise for Herman. And I really like the view of the river (where I took these photos last night as the sun was setting)–and the organic garden I just noticed yesterday. So I suppose I have been trespassing. And I’ll continue to do so until they tell me to stop, and if and when they do, I only hope it doesn’t result in a mugshot and criminal record.
A weekend that didn’t get off to a great start took a turn for the better with a trip to a new-to-us dog park. It was seriously awesome and I will be going back, for my sake as much as for my dog’s. It provided the woodsy outdoors environment I’ve been craving, trail and all.
Later, I did some shopping while my boyfriend tried on suits for a new job he’s starting soon. I was spellbound by the charms of World Market, barely willing myself to resist hammered metal spice tins and cast iron tea pots. However, I did scoop up a bunch of miniature-sized foodie treats, like curry spices, rhubarb raspberry jam, garlic and basil-infused olive oils, hazelnut coffee, and uh-oh, this list is getting long…
A beautiful, three-tiered jewelry box I’d ogled many times was fifty percent off today. I got the jewelry box. And a little bit of jewelry to put inside it.
I bought a few other “classics” tonight elsewhere too, the kind of things that make those lists in women’s magazines–ten items every woman should own! Some extra-long, skinny (but not too skinny) dark-wash Levi’s; a pair of simple, slightly-pointed black flats (I’d been searching for some all year); and a tube of retro matte red lipstick–MAC’s Ruby Woo, which I’ve also wanted for ages and admired on friends. It was my first MAC purchase and basically my first grownup lipstick.
Between nature’s therapy and retail therapy, I feel ready to conquer the world.
Running along the riverfront park, long dog walks, pumpkin patch excursion and pumpkin pie spiced coffee, football and pizza with friends, cooler weather (a little), downtown arts market “Oktoberfest”…I suppose this is fall in Florida.
Today I want to read my library books, carve a pumpkin, do my laundry and clean my bathroom, run, buy groceries and cook for the week, give my hair a great blowout, and make a to-do list for the next few months (got to make sure I fit in some last doctor appointments, check on the status of student loans, stuff like that before the year is over).
After a week of goofing off while personal trainer was out of town, I realized I needed to get back into exercise mode. And…I just ran a mile without stopping! At a decent pace (I mean, it was peppy, I wasn’t just dragging my feet)! And I didn’t get a cramp! And I’m dripping in sweat!
And now I should do push-ups and sit-ups but I probably won’t.
The other evening I woke up around 1:30 am and couldn’t sleep, at least partially due to stress. I turned to my beloved relaxation videos on Youtube and was quickly comforted by one of my favorite “whisperers,” a Welsh man who shoots footage of birds and squirrels in his garden, or sometimes cooks meals in the woods, or even just records the sound of rain hitting his roof. And even though I absolutely love his videos (his words really are so wise, kind, and soothing), I suddenly felt a little sad that I was looking at images of trees on a computer screen for relaxation. I began craving the experience of real nature.
Yesterday I rode a beach cruiser to a nearby cafe for lunch rather than driving. This morning as I walked Herman in the rain, I chose to embrace the sensation, even though I was unprepared with no jacket or umbrella. And now as I am about to begin my Sunday afternoon chores, I’ve decided to leave the music off for once, open the windows, and just listen to the sounds of the birds and the breeze. All little steps to feel more connected to the outdoors.
This desire to get outside more is also tied to another lifestyle change I am working on. As many of the books and blogs I’m reading right now point out: shopping should not be a hobby. And yet for so many, myself included, it’s a favorite past time. And this is sad. It’s as though, on beautiful days when I have precious free time, I don’t know what else to do with myself besides stroll around shops and plazas. There is so much more out there. It’s time to re-train myself to engage in healthier hobbies.
Not that I am saying goodbye to nature on screen. This new version of Wuthering Heights looks beautiful.
Yesterday I cooked some rice and vegetables with the idea that I could eat them three different ways. Indian style with curry sauce (I did this last night):
…Latin style with salsa and black beans (I am cooking dried black beans tonight), and Mediterranean style with olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and maybe a little pesto. Or hell, maybe I’ll even stir fry everything and have it with some soy sauce. So many possibilities! I also have some quinoa, couscous, and other veggies to play around with.
This morning I made my oatmeal with (unsweetened) almond milk and it turned out pretty well too. I cannot bring myself to eat oatmeal without any brown sugar, but I used much less than usual today and it was more flavorful than normal.
And, moving on, photos from last night at the beach. I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to get Herman out of the house and away from the normal neighborhood stomping grounds any day I don’t have work.
Well, it’s Monday. Here’s to making the most of the week.