January 2007 Archives

Me now. Me at goal.

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2007_0130myvirtualmodelnow.jpg 2007_0130myvirtualmodelgoal.jpg
(Images created at My Virtual Model. I'm not brave enough to post the red one-piece bathing suit model from Prevention.com's Virtual Model.)

The first photo is very close to how I look now, except my hair is a little shorter. (Greg: Is it accurate?) The second photo is how I will probably look at goal weight (there wasn't an option for waist size) - X number of inches and 26 pounds less from today. I know I feel good at this goal weight. I may need to lose more depending on what my waist measurement is at that time (needs to be 32.5 inches or less).

According to weight charts, for my body's frame (large), I should weigh 15-20 pounds less than my goal weight. In the past, I've found it hard to maintain that weight but I'll see how it goes as the waist inches move lower.

I decided to be bravely honest and post a "Taking Care and Improvement Tracker" in the sidebar (update: moved to a separate page due to its length).

Me: On a Diet progress

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Since Sunday last week, I've lost 1 inch in my waist and 2 pounds. Whoop! Down 9 pounds since January 1 (when I started 2007 Taking Care and Improvement plan!). And that's without much (any...) exercise due to avoidance and laziness and then being congested for over a week now.

This morning, I put on my gardening clothes (2 old t-shirts, ripped and sloppy green plaid flannel long-sleeve shirt, too big sloppy pants, hat with brim) and pruned the roses, cut down dying and dead plants, picked up dead leaves, pulled weeds - and got in my exercise for the day: bending, sweating, breathing hard, pulling, clipping, stretching, kneeling, crawling...

After our usual Sunday morning "breakfast by Bill" (2 whole wheat pancakes with sugar-free blackberry jam, 2 scrambled eggs, 3 slices of red potato), I took the You: On A Diet shopping list (PDF) grocery shopping, read a lot of labels, and discovered that we eat pretty well but need some adjustments. I bought more fruit and different types of vegetables than usual. And bought items we don't usually eat: walnuts, almonds, semi-sweet chocolate chips, low-fat yogurt, etc.

There are a few items on the shopping list that I didn't know what they are, such as calamata olives (also: kalamata olives) [dark eggplant-colored Greek olives, usually packed in olive oil or vinegar]. And some items were just not found (such as unsweetened canned peaches), so I substituted as close as possible (canned peaches in pear juice).

I've read the first 3 or 4 chapters of You: On a Diet and am taking care to read the sidebar items and review each figure. In a playful way, the book explains the science of how our bodies digest and use food and how different foods affect our hormones and organs.

I am excited about feeling better physically and mentally by making some key changes to the foods I eat. I'm still not keen on the exercise part of it, but think that when I begin to feel better, I'll not find exercising to be such a sweaty, miserable burden.

My first knitted swatches

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The pink swatches in the first photo were made last weekend as I followed the directions in My Knitting Teacher for the Knit and Purl stitches and binding off. If you know anything about knitting, you can see that the Purl stitch swatch is incorrect - it should look like rows of Vs (I think that's because I didn't have the yarn in front).

Last night while watching The Shield on DVD (it's an excellent show - so riveting!), I started again from the beginning. I practiced casting on until I could do it (almost) rhythmically, then I practiced Knit and Purl, alternating K 2 P 2, slip stitch, and binding off. I pulled out the swatch several times until I was comfortable. The swatch in the second (right side) and third (wrong side) photos was started when I wanted to see how my tension was (pretty good!), and after a while I moved on in the booklet to yarn overs, increasing, and decreasing.

The My Knitting Teacher booklet is easy to follow - and provides instructions for left- and right-handers. In addition to 15 patterns (some outdated), instructions for casting on, knit stitch, purl stitch, slip stitch, and binding off, the booklet includes instructions on reading patterns, joining new yarn (different or same color), casting on while work is in progress, correcting errors, picking up stitches along an edge, making a cable, working with circular needles, knitting with four needles, working from charts, stranding (carrying yarn across the wrong side), finishing techniques, and making tassels, fringe, pom-pons, and twisted cords.

A few things I've noticed about knitting vs. crocheting:

  • Crocheting (for me) is much faster. The larger knitted swatch took about 1.5 hours! I could have crocheted about 5 granny squares (7-8 inches wide) in that amount of time!
  • Knitting gives my hands a different workout - they were tingling all over when I stopped practicing last night!
  • Knitting needs more of my attention - and that's not even trying to follow a pattern.
  • Knitting splits yarn more than crochet (i.e., partial bits of the yarn strand is more easily accidentally picked up instead of the whole strand).
  • Knitting creates a softer, stretchier fabric than crocheting when the same yarn is used.

Best thing about the new TV

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I just wanna say that the very best thing about the new HDTV television set is the ability to change the volume and mute the sound.

It's heaven sent! Truly.

With commercials being so much louder than shows, it was deafening with the other TV set (the remote did not operate the power or the volume!!!).

Turn photo, graphic, image into chart

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KnitPro [http://www.microrevolt.org/knitPro/] will turn a photo, graphic, or image into a chart that can be used for crochet, cross-stitch, knitting, and needlepoint. Images with large flat color spaces work best.

Got some learning and changing to do

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That was fast! The books arrived today!

You: On A Diet and You: The Owner's Manual by Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz.

Since seeing an episode of You: On A Diet Saturday afternoon, I've been reading labels and making more healthy choices than I've done in quite a while - not strictly following the advice I picked up watching the show, but definitely thinking differently. It makes so much sense to me to choose foods in their close-to-the-earth state.

How cool is it that Dr. Roizen commented on Crazy Aunt Purl's entry about her 30-minute lunchtime walks and change to healthy foods!!

My plan is to read You: On A Diet and start. Since Saturday, Bill has already voiced his support a few times toward making healthier choices with the food we eat - and since he cooks 99% of the time, this is important. Tonight, for example, he didn't put any butter (or margarine) on the asparagus! And, he said I can leave potato chips off the shopping list since he didn't need to eat them either.

On Sunday, I measured our waistlines around the belly button - just like on the You: On A Diet show. Bill's waist is 33 inches around - 2 inches less (lucky guy) than the 35 inches maximum for men. Here's a brave statement: My waist is 39 inches - 6.5 inches greater than the 32.5 inches maximum for women. My goal is to feel better so that I can enjoy life more and not be at risk (or reduce the risk I've already put myself into) of diabetes, heart disease, joint problems due to weight, etc.

For me, the most difficult part of this will be keeping a regular (even somewhat regular) schedule of walking (30 minutes a day!!! I didn't even keep up the 10 minutes a day I started on January 1!!!). The head cold of last week has moved down toward my chest and my voice has lowered a few octaves - no exercise until it's gone.

Karma. Me: On A Diet

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Yesterday afternoon, I watched You: On A Diet on the Discovery Health Channel and was very very inspired! I even teared up a few times - I felt Drs. Oz and Roizen were talking to me about my own health. They make so much sense with their approach to being healthy. I want to learn more and plan to order have ordered - and then read - the You: On A Diet book. Since watching the show, I have a strong urge to go through everything in the kitchen and, using their rules, get rid of the harmful food items, then eat only healthy, good-for-me foods. See the You: On A Diet shopping list (PDF).

Just a few minutes ago, I re-read an entry Crazy Aunt Purl posted a few days ago in which she mentioned thinking a different way about food. She refers to the same doctor - Dr. Oz!

It must be karma.

I'm learning to knit - again

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Earlier this week, I picked up the Susan Bates Learn Knitting kit at Michaels Craft Store - complete with size 7 and 10 single-point knitting needles, My Knitting Teacher book with instructions and beginner patterns, and other paraphernalia related to knitting or yarn.

I know several of the books in my collection of crochet patterns have instructions for knitting as well as crochet, but I didn't have any knitting needles - and with a Michaels 40% off coupon, I bought the kit.

I've been sick (head cold - hopefully it won't move into my chest) for a few days so pruning the rose bushes and tending to other plants in the garden isn't on my list of to dos. After finally finishing the 9-patch Granny Square Lap Blanket (no photos yet) a few hours ago, I opened the knitting kit and started working through the My Knitting Teacher book.

I've taught myself to knit twice in the distant past (the first time when I was 15 or 16), but I liked crochet better and stuck with that instead. Now, however, I have an urge to knit socks - multi-colored, fine-patterned, comfortable socks. I have plenty of sock yarn which I bought to crochet more pairs of socks, but the reality of it is that crocheted socks aren't comfortable to wear (they're bumpy on the bottom of my feet - like walking on very small rocks).

Now that I've started, I'm eager to find a sock pattern I like, get the proper knitting needles for that pattern, and start. Although Mom says 2 pairs of same-size double-pointed knitting needles are usually required, I've seen patterns with different requirements.

Socks 101 at knitty.com says knitting socks are "great for beginners". Looks like I can start my hunt for a pattern there!

or here...

Knitting Pattern Central - Socks

or...

(photo source: Sock anxiety?)

and many other websites!

Looks great even without HDTV service

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Guess what came home with us Friday night? Yup, the new HDTV television! We waited until Saturday afternoon to unbox and setup the television and its stand.

The difference in size between the very wide and deep black Mitsubishi television and the wider but very narrow (less than 4 inches) silver Panasonic flat screen television is amazing! The livingroom is so much lighter and spacious now!

The huge older television is now in the closet of the TV Room. A few weeks ago in preparation for this move, Bill cleaned out this (his former) closet, put his hang-up clothes in space I opened up for him in my (now "our") closet, and painted the TV Room closet.

He is looking forward to napping while watching football and other sports on the larger television set (he says napping and watching television can be done at the same time!).

We haven't ordered the HDTV service or receiver from Dish Network yet, but the picture is very nice without it!

And still more HDTV saga

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Ack! This afternoon I finally received from frys.com an email confirmation of the reversal of the cancellation of our HDTV television order. Remember, however, that last night I cancelled the order with frys.com - and received a confirmation of that cancellation. I thought it was all taken care of.

Not apparently. The email confirmation indicates that the uncancelled order was processed with a different order number.

When I cancelled the order last night, I used the original order number (starts with J), not the new order number (starts with P).

And following that email confirmation of the reversal of the cancellation was another email confirming the shipping of the P order.

I called frys.com customer support again this afternoon, explained I had just received confirmation of the reversal with a new order number (P) and explained that I cancelled our order altogether last night and don't want the P order either.

The customer support woman was very nice and took care to follow the steps of what happened and will call DHL to try to stop the delivery. If it cannot be stopped and DHL shows up, we need to refuse delivery (or a whole other bucket of worms will need to be dealt with).

Ack.

The continuing HDTV saga

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Before dinner, I explained to Bill the cancellation by frys.com of our HDTV order due to the credit card magic number error and the subsequent reversal of the cancellation. He expressed interest in buying the 600U model instead since the 60U has been discontinued, a back-order arrival date wasn't available, and the 600U has updated features.

So I did some more online research about the Panasonic TH-42PX600U 42-inch Plasma HDTV and price shopping. the reviews are great (better even than the 60U) so I called frys.com customer service and cancelled the reversed cancellation of the 60U set.

Amazon's price for the 600U is $1499.99 (same as the 60U), but I discovered that the seller is actually an online retailer called OneCall and, although there's no tax, the shipping charge is $150.00 . Drplasma.com lists it for $1485.99 with free shipping and no tax and seems to be the best deal for the money. The customer reviews about OneCall and Dr. Plasma are OK (not spectacular). But it was the return policies that bothered me. I was OK with ordering a large, big-ticket item from frys.com because there is a Frys store in Fremont (even though the frys.com return policy isn't the same as the on-ground store's). I'm not comfortable, however, with ordering this large television from an online retailer.

So, we decided to buy the 600U set from Video Only, an on-ground retailer in Hayward (website) from which over the years we've bought the small television in the craft room, 2 VCRs, a DVD player/VCR, and probably one or two other items. It costs more at $1699.00 plus tax ($1858.74 total), but we're more comfortable buying this large item from an on-ground store. The item is in stock at their San Francisco store, and will be sent to the Hayward store for us to pick up by the end of this week.

Gotta go! Jack Bauer's on! (24, Day 6, Hours 3 and 4)


The college is closed today for the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday holiday. That means I didn't go to work today. And, in turn, that means I've been by myself all day, except of course for the company of Cleo and Jaz (who sleep some 20 hours a day).

My job keeps me from being a complete hermit. I'm not a social person. While at work, I interact with people (usually by email) on work-related projects and do some workplace socializing with my co-workers.

There are a few core people in my life: My husband, my son, and my Mom.

Even though we don't see each other regularly or keep in contact by phone or email regularly, I consider Paula my closest friend and share with her my deepest thoughts and feelings. We became friends while she worked with me from 2002-2004.

Tj and I worked together from 2002-2006 and had lunch or coffee together every few weeks; now we talk or see each other every 6 months or so.

A budding friendship with someone I clicked with in mid-2003 when we met at Kaiser faded away toward the end of 2005. We are close in age and similar in some ways, but she's in a place in her life very different from where I am: 2 young boys vs. adult children living on their own, stay-at-home mom vs. always worked, husband with very lucrative high-level office job vs. husband who loves his blue collar average-salary job, difficult mother-in-law vs. no mother-in-law, big family vs. small family.

My "best friends" friendship of 29 years ended early last year. It had been fading for a long time. I hope she is happy.

...

Enough melancholy! Bill got home from work as I was writing and editing and editing some more. Need to spend time with someone besides myself and Cleo (who's been sitting either on my lap or on the desk next to me).

HDTV...not here yet

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Our new HDTV set did not arrive Friday or Saturday as expected. To keep Bill and his co-workers from obsessively scanning the front of the shop looking for the delivery truck, I called customer service Saturday morning to find out when delivery could be expected and was told our order was still being processed and an email verifying shipment would be sent when it has been shipped. I had misunderstood the shipping information on the website - i.e., the free shipping option is not also the same day option (see screenshot; these are 2 separate options: "In stock, same day shipping. Ships Free").

While checking email over an hour ago, I opened a message canceling our HDTV order! I've now talked with frys.com customer support and uncanceled the canceled order (I had provided an incorrect "magic number" for the credit card!). Whew.

However, I was also told that model has been over sold, is back-ordered, and is discontinued (because of a newer model). I confirmed that we want the model we originally ordered and would wait for the back-ordered sets to come in and be shipped to waiting customers. Apparently, the frys.com website hasn't been updated with the information that the item is not in stock (still says it's in stock: see screenshot). Harrumph.

No shipment date information for the back-ordered television was available. We're hoping it's here in time before February 18 so we can watch the NASCAR Daytona 500 in HDTV!

Entering the world of HDTV

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We're entering the world of high definition television!

After several Google searches to learn more about LCD and plasma and HDTV and a bunch of other terms still swimming in my head, we decided on a Panasonic TH-42PX60U 42-inch Plasma HDTV. Lots of excellent online reviews.

Of course, Amazon was my first stop...$1449.99 (raised to $1499.99 when I checked again yesterday). I then hunted around the Web to price compare. Froogle yielded lower prices from unknown-to-me online retailers.

I found the television at Frys for $1249.00 with free shipping - and even including sales tax, the cost was less than the tax-free-and-free-shipping price at Amazon. So we ordered it last night - and expect delivery tomorrow.

How exciting!

Our livingroom is not big enough for a screen much larger. We sit about 8 feet from the screen which is in the recommended range for a 42-inch wide-screen television. Our current tube-based television is, I think, 40-inches diagonally measured - and it is huge and heavy.

So, if we already have a big-screen television, why are we getting another one?

Well, the TV room is calling out for a larger television. And my craft room is calling for a larger television. And my home office doesn't have a television. And we're spoiling ourselves.

The 40-inch monster is moving into the closet in the TV room. The 24-inch (estimate) television currentlyl in the TV room is moving into either the craft room or my home office. If into the craft room, the 13-inch television in there is moving into my office.

Of course, getting an HDTV television isn't all that needs to be done to view high definition television. HDTV programming is needed. And an HDTV receiver to decode the HDTV programming. Our new television has a built-in HDTV tuner which allows us to receive over-the-air HDTV programs (i.e., not cable or satellite programs), but an HDTV receiver is needed to receive HDTV programming from our satellite TV provider. I'm not too pleased by the additional $20 per month cost for HDTV programming (the package must include the SPEED channel, so the Silver level is what we'll get).


I couldn't resist turning the close-up photo of Cleo's profile into a banner heading! After all, she's The Favorite!


I started the Perfect Profile Lap Blanket December 31. It went well for the first 16 or so rows. Then I noticed it was leaning... I tried to correct it as I continued, but after 34 rows, it had firmly taken on the shape of a parallelogram. So I pulled it all out and started over, modifying the pattern just a bit on each end and using different crochet hook sizes to try to control the offsetting...

That didn't work so well, so I pulled out those 20 rows.

During the third attempt, I was more conscious of tension and the blanket grew (very close to) evenly for about 22 rows... Then I noticed it: The parallelogram was definitely back. It turns out that the little bit of tugging I did when "measuring" to see if the blanket was still a rectangle was hiding the truth.

So I pulled it all out a third time last night - and started a lap blanket using 9-patch granny squares.

I've realized that Perfect Profile (pattern 3 in 280 Crochet Shell Patterns) isn't going to be perfect (or even close!) for me - at least not at this time. Maybe later if my yarn tension changes...

4 days into the new year

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Today is 4 days into January and I'm feeling better than I have in a few months. I'm actually sticking to the 5 "Everyday Things" on my 2007 Taking Care and Improvement List!

... Well, so far anyway...!!!

2007 Taking Care and Improvement List

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It will come as no surprise to those who know me: I'm a list maker.

Here's my list for 2007, inspired by Crazy Aunt Purl.

Practical Stuff - Finances:

  • Review and update beneficiary designations, including life insurance, retirement, savings.
  • Continue contributions to savings account.
  • Increase contributions to retirement accounts.
  • Review and update budget.
  • Buy ground coffee I like and use the coffee maker I bought for work. Buy fat free half-n-half because coffee with cream tastes better than coffee with milk.
  • Reduce the number of before-work visits to Starbucks to 1 per week, to include 1 cup of coffee and 1 pastry treat (about $3.30) - a per-week savings of about $13.20, or $53.00 per month.
  • Get my 1999 car a checkup. Preventative maintenance should help me not have to buy a new car anytime soon.

Practical Stuff - Health:

  • Only 1 before-work visit to Starbucks each week will reduce calorie consumption by about 2,000 calories per week (about 500 x 4 days; see Starbucks Nutrition PDF file.
  • Floss more often - works better than toothpicks.
  • Gotta lose weight to get blood pressure down, to feel better physically, to feel better mentally, to be a better me.
  • If I really do have exercise-induced asthma, go back on the meds (been off since mid-November). Regular walking exercise for a week or so should answer this question.
  • Buy a new bed. Sleep better = Feel better.

Practical Stuff - Other:

  • Get my hair cut and styled before it bugs me. Go shorter. Go longer. Don't be sloppy.
  • Keep a closer eye on my appearance. It's OK to wear comfortable clothes, but don't look sloppy.
  • Consider finding comfortable, supportive shoes to wear at work that aren't white New Balance walking shoes.
  • Replace older windows in the house.
  • Find out how much it would cost to get new kitchen cabinets, counter, sink, backsplash, flooring. I hate the jade green and lime green counters.
  • Fix or replace the stove. Only 2 of 4 burners and 1 of 2 ovens work in the really old stove that came with the house when we moved in during late 1987.
  • Continue to be involved in the goings-on at work, but also remember I have a limit.

Everyday Things:

  • Get back on track with vitamins! Women's multi-vitamin with iron, plus calcium and vitamin C tablets.
  • Walk at least 10 minutes each day - whether I want to or not. I can take 10 minutes to do this for myself and my family. Use the treadmill. Walk outside. Before dinner. After dinner. During a break or lunch at work (this will also make me get away from my desk!).
  • Continue drinking lots of water.
  • Leave the house for work by 7:15am at the latest. Not 7:20am or 7:25am. Driving time is shorter when I leave earlier; longer if I leave later. Not stopping at Starbucks each day will help ensure getting to work on time.
  • Observe and appreciate who and what is around me.

Fun Stuff:

  • So sew already! And quilt. More fabric can be purchased if I really screw up. Mistakes come with learning and growth and help me gain experience. There's no such thing as perfect.
  • Photography. I (used to) love it. What happened? Get a better digital camera (with macro and advanced focusing) - some great photos are being taken and displayed out there on the Web. Join the fun.
  • Been thinking about learning to knit (again - my 3rd time!) so I can knit socks - although working with 4 knitting needles at a time may be more challenging than I want to get.

A close-up of The Favorite

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The Favorite (aka Cleo) allowed me to get a close-up photo of her, but only while she looked away from the camera. Beautiful soft hair!


Size: 31 inches x 44 inches
Colors: Cape Cod Blue, Lace, Winter White, Country Basket Ombre (Caron Perfect Match)
Pattern: #156 Cluster Ripple
Book: 200 Ripple Stitch Patterns - ISBN 0-89689-276-X - Designs by Jan Eaton - Copyright 2006 - kp books
Hook: I
Date: start December 28; finish December 30

Third of 3 lap blankets for 2007 donation finished during the holiday break from work. That's Cleo helping to display the top right corner of the blanket.


Size: 35 inches x 49 inches
Colors: Scraps, Black (Red Heart)
Pattern: Granny Square Afghan - Design by Cheryl Lambert
Hook: H
Date: start December 20; finish December 28

Second of 3 lap blankets for 2007 donation finished during the holiday break from work.


Size: 39 inches x 51 inches
Colors: Scraps in Reds, Oranges, Grey, Black (Red Heart)
Pattern: Granny Square Afghan - Design by Cheryl Lambert
Hook: H
Date: start December 24; finish December 27

First of 3 lap blankets for 2007 donation finished during the holiday break from work. That's Cleo wondering how she can help me take the blanket photos.

Sketch of Cheryl

About Cheryl

Enjoys crocheting, gardening, cats, NASCAR (especially Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch!), reading, photography, snorkeling in Kailua-Kona with sea turtles, Sizzler's Mega Bacon Cheeseburgers, hot and iced decaf coffee, dark chocolate, color (yarn, fabric), playing around with web technologies - not necessarily in that order! Still very much a beginner with quilting, knitting, and sewing. Donates crocheted lap blankets.

List maker, detail-oriented, organized, leans heavily toward perfectionism. ISTJ. Libra.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2006 is the previous archive.

February 2007 is the next archive.

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Cat playing with strand of yarn.

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