Category Archives: Uncategorized

I made it!

Back at the beginning of the year, I didn’t make it an official goal, but when we booked our trip to Ireland for this fall, I made a mental goal to try to lose 20 pounds by then. That would put me comfortably into my clothes (some of which were too tight) since I had some creep happening.

Anyway, this morning I officially made that goal!  Yay!  I’m wearing my size 10s easily again, which makes me happy.  I really did it by just staying around 1500 calories a day with more on long ride days in the range of 2200 to 2500. One thing that helped was to keep my exercise on the non long ride days to an hour.  Doing more than that was counterproductve and trying to force weight loss with exercise just doesn’t work for me.  Anyway, I actually acheived a date goal, which I almost never set.

That cooler weather blew in this week with a vengeance!  Overnight the temps dropped 20+ degrees along with lower humidity. We had an overnight temperature of 47 degrees, too, which is crazy. I had to jacket up for morning riding.

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It’s been nice not sweating profusely all the time, too. I was getting really tired of wiping my upper lip LOL.

It even called for warm evening drinks.

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One of my favorite snacks when it is cooler.

Even though it feels like fall, it’s not and I don’t want to be seeing this in the stores.

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Gah!  I took this picture when it was sweltering hot, too.  Go away.

We have a house project we are working on now.  Over the winter, we noticed a leak in one of our basement rooms that is directly below the garage. We kind of freaked out and had a couple structural engineers come in to make sure our garage was okay. They said the house was very solid, but there are a couple depressions in the garage floor where water pools under the car tires and seeped through some cracks to below.  The solution is to level the depressions and epoxy coat it. Phew!  Of course, in leveling the depressions, we removed some loose concrete skim coat and now have a bigger project.

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That’s getting patched:

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The sticks are there to prevent anyone walking across this. And by anyone, that would be me because I almost did!  Once all this is dry, we can do the epoxy floor coat to seal it up. That will make it look nicer, too.

Some plants are arriving as well!

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These are some heuchera. There are 9 plant plugs in all here, surprisingly.  Most of these are going to go by our water feature since it is semi shady.

So there is no shortage of projects going on around here.

It’s back to the warm weather now. I sure enjoyed that coolness while it lasted!

Farmer’s Market

I don’t want to complain about the heat considering how cold our winters get, but goodness! Actually, it’s the humidity that’s getting to me rather than the heat.  We just aren’t used to such prolonged humid spells.

Since we have radiator heat, we can’t put AC in our house other than window units. We have one in our bedroom, but not the first floor because our house usually doesn’t get that hot with the thick brick/cement walls. However, enough hot days in a row and it gets warm.

The humidity does put a little damper on riding – not to mention the threat of thunderstorms.  Saturday morning rain looked like it was going to come in and I wanted a ride, so we took a 12 mile loop and hit up the farmer’s market.

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It was pretty bustling, too, which is good to see.

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These are vegan cookies and some are gluten free as well.  They are quite good, so we picked some up to take home.

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We actually bought a bunch of stuff and crammed it into our bike bags. Then we rode the mile home. We had yogurt, so we kind of wanted to hurry a bit. There is a cheese and yogurt maker at the market that makes great stuff, so I got a couple yogurt smoothies and John got a big container of yogurt. Here is our haul:

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I’m going to be eating patty pans this week! I wonder if they spiralize?? Not pictured are the cookies, but I’ll show you the vegan gluten free oreo:

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It’s a bit crumbly, but very good.

Pixie got a new present. We occasionally will take her out on a leash, but she could twist herself out of it and we certainly don’t want her roaming. Those days are long gone for her since her stray days. We’ve had her for 9 years, which I can’t believe.

Anyway, I picked up a harness that would be more comfortable for her and something she can’t slip out of.

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And it’s pink LOL! She seems to tolerate it much better.

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You can see how fluffy she is by how much her fur compresses. It’s not tight, I promise.

And if you think you’re going to rack up steps taking Pixie out, it’s not going to happen. She creeps around the perimeter of the yard and stands there.

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Now she is a monster wanting to go out more, so we have to be very careful to make sure the screen doors are fully closed so she can’t get out.

On Sunday, I did manage to get in 28 miles of biking. It was sweaty, sweaty and icky, but it was morning and there was cloud cover. Have to take the conditions that make the riding possible in weather like this. It was good to get in a longer ride, too.

On the last note, I found a cool feather in the yard:feath8-14

This is from either a downy or hairy woodpecker. We get both regularly in the yard, but this feather was under the tree that the downys like, so I’m going to say it’s one of theirs.  Very pretty, don’t you think?

 

Thursday things

Goodness time gets away from me and I’ve been neglecting my part of the internets. Not really a lot exciting happening around here, though.

Lisa asked me if I took my good camera on bike rides.  I do sometimes. It depends a little on where we’re going and if I have room in my bike bag. I did receive a nice case (my link) to be able to protect the camera in my bag for my birthday. This is neoprene and stretches out. I don’t have it on quite snug enough in this shot, but it suited the purpose for riding.case8-11

It’s inexpensive, too.  It’s long enough that I could use my 70-300 lens in it, but that lens won’t fit very well in my bike bag.  At least it beats the bubble wrap I was using before!

On another shopping note — we are gearing up for football season around here. I was bummed the HOF game was canceled. I know it’s just preseason, but we’ve been waiting months! Anyway, I guess I am a sucker for targeted ads on Facebook.  When these came across my screen, I clicked and bought.

 

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It’s actually very cute and I can interchange with any kind of 20 mm snap I want, so it doesn’t have to be just football. I love this.

How about a lazy meal, but kind of fun?  This is one of those Bird’s Eye steamer meals. It’s actually Star Wars.

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That’s supposed to be yoda, I think? The package picture seemed more like yoda instead of pasta blobs with ears 🙂   This was okay and fine for a quick dinner, but not sure I would get it again.

On a good note, I am almost at my Ireland goal. Just 1.5 pounds to go.  I’ve been working hard at it this summer, but also being smart.  Daily ride:

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This ride took me just under an hour as my average speed was 12.8 mph.  I’ve learned that an hour of exercise is good for weight loss. More than that and I start to get too hungry and will eat back too many calories.  Long ride days, whatever, but the every day is what’s important.

I’ve been back stirring the soap cauldron this week.  I have a show I’m doing in September and it’s a big one – and expensive to get in, so it had better be good.  I am topping off my inventory and adding a couple new soaps.  Since soap has to cure, I have to make it well in advance.

Newly made is Bay Rum and Lime.  Something for the men, even though I hate gender labeling.

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Freshly cut and stamped. I still need to clean them up a little bit, but that happens after they harden up.  I’m bringing in more soap to the store in the Shirt Factory this weekend. Lemongrass is the popular one there and they are almost out.

I have some tall plants in the garden this year.  My cardinal flowers in the back are way taller than I expected!  Me for reference.  Last year when I put these in the ground, they were only a few inches tall and stayed that way all season. First year sleeping indeed.

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The hummers love these.

Anyone watching Perseid this week?  It’s actually perfect for my type of insomnia, which is falling asleep easily, but waking up a couple hours later. However, I’m not having insomnia right now. Is that irony?  It’s supposed to be clear tonight, so we’re thinking of getting up to watch some.  Maybe I will try to take some pictures, although meteors are harder than moon pictures.  We’ll see if we get up 😀

Lately

I made it through to Wednesday!  My work was a bear this week, and it is supposed to be my slow week. Not sure what happened there, but it was bad timing with me watching John’s biz while he is away.  Good thing it was really rainy because I would have had to neglect the garden anyway as I was burning some midnight oil.

I have tried a couple new to me foods lately.  Normally I don’t like to drink shakes and smoothies for meals because I like to chew my food and they never seem to last that long. However, when it is really hot, I just don’t feel like eating much and that is when I drink stuff.

I tried this because it has 15 grams of protein and not a ton of sugar.

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It was good, actually! Not too sweet and not too yogurt tangy, if that makes sense. It was heavy enough in texture to be satisfying. I did have to really shake it up as the yogurt was really thick at the top. I might try a chocolate one some time.

You know I like dried fruit for ride boosts, like dates and dried pineapple. We were out of dates and I was going to get some at the grocery store when I saw these coconut date nuggets by the same company. The price was the same as a box of dates, so I picked these up.

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These are just ground up dates rolled in coconut. I could probably make them myself, but meh, not this time.  I love these, however! They are very tasty and pack energy punch into each piece. One nugget has about 67 calories (pretty much a whole date). They are pretty rich, so not something I would go overboard and snack on when not riding, which is a good thing.

My drink of choice during the hot weather is seltzer water.  We have a Soda Stream and John did some sort of hack where we can hook up a refillable CO2 canister to it, which is waaaay cheaper than getting the Soda Stream brand ones. Then we use extracts to flavor the water. I don’t like the sweet, so we make unsweetened ones for me — lemon is my favorite, and John will make a stevia one for himself.

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I don’t always drink it in stemware, but it classes things up, don’t you think?

After a hard few days of work, it was a treat to walk downtown tonight and partake in Take A Bite.  That’s the sidewalk food sampling thing that happens on Wednesday evenings in July and part of August. This is the first one I’ve gotten to this year. Where the heck does the time go??  It’s just a 20 minute walk to downtown from our house. I know I keep saying it, but I love how close we are to things like this.

Really nice evening. I decided on some pasta that sounded really good. This was tortellini with sauteed chicken, asparagus and roasted peppers in a creamy pesto sauce:

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Yum! This was really good. I really like tortellini. This plate was $5, which is the most any dish will be at this event.  Good wife that I am, I also picked up a brownie for John from a place that makes amazing brownies.

Then it was time to sit in the park:

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Isn’t this beautiful? Our city park. All of our recent rain has kept the lawns pretty lush around here. They look great for August.

Lots of exercise today. 17 miles of riding this morning and then 3.5 miles of walking (gotta hatch those eggs 😀 ).  Things will get back to a little more normal pace tomorrow, thank goodness. And Thursday is also John’s birthday!

Christmas in July

I have been doing volunteer work at the Chapman Historical Museum. Periodically, the volunteer coordinator has gatherings of the volunteers to have lunch or do other things not really related to Chapman.  This gathering was to do a Christmas in July for the needy and, specifically, for women. Did you know there aren’t government subsidies for feminine products? They are not covered by food stamps.  Not to mention just having to pay sales tax on them in a lot of states (although NY is soon to be joining those that don’t, thank you). Don’t even get me started on that…

Anyway, we got together to create purses filled with personal hygiene products, done with donations. We had second-hand purses that were donated from a church (which I can’t remember now), and the volunteers brought in supplies to fill them.

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We had an assortment of personal items: toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, hand sanitizer, lotions, sanitary pads, tissues, etc.

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We then were able to fill 12 of the purses with these items.  They are going to Community Action, which is a local group that helps the disabled, income-eligible, seniors or just people in need and these will be distributed to women who need them.

This is such a great idea to do. We are going to do another one in December. The coordinator is going to check with the domestic violence safehouse liason to see if this is something they would want for the next time.

We also talked about food pantries and I didn’t realize this, but food pantries will give out not just food, but other personal items and two things they are always requesting are sanitary pads and diapers as there is such a need for that. Those are not covered for the local pantries to purchase from the regional food bank (such a complicated system), but they need them.  So the thought is that we are going to do a “pad” drive in the fall and collect these from the volunteers or anyone to distribute to the pantries.

When you are fortunate, you don’t always think about how hard just basic necessities are for some people to get.

Consistency and super powers

I feel like I’m being pulled in a few directions right now. There are those times where all beams cross at the same time.  One thing I do have to start doing is saying no when work calls to do extra stuff. When urgent files are needed, it seems I am the one that gets called. Probably because I always say yes. D’uh.  The next few days I am going to say no when they call. I have enough on my plate already.

When I get really busy, there are certain things that are non-negotiable. My guitar practicing suffers when I am busy. One of those non-negotiables is exercise. I need that daily to help keep my sanity and as part of self-care. It’s not always heavy duty, either. Just walking some days is fine. My phone tracks my activity. It does the steps on its own, but I have to input the biking – other than it recording it as flight climbed 😀 .  I looked at the month view and noticed quite a consistent trend in my exercise:

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That’s biking.  Pretty much the same length (1 hour) most days and then the longer rides on weekends. Then I opened up the steps as well and you can see that where the dips in biking are, the rise in steps appears.

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I laugh at the 0.2 miles today. I didn’t carry my phone around and it just sat by  my computer all day LOL. It’s nice to see the consistency here. Maybe I can stay halfway sane after all!

On to super powers. John and I were laying in bed one night, and you know how those conversations can be really interesting. John asked me what super power I would like to have. Then, of course, we had to discuss the merits and disadvantages of all of them!

Invisibility: It’s not very useful per se, and it seems that you would be more likely to use this power for bad things, like stealing.

Immortality: Is this actually a super power or just a state of being? I wouldn’t like it because you would have to watch everyone you love get old and die forever. Boo.

Flying: Good for getting places, but that’s about it. Can you take someone with you? What about luggage? And I wouldn’t want to fly in bad weather LOL!

Telekinesis:  This is the power John wants. You can do a lot of things if you can move stuff with your mind. You can help a lot of people, move debris at accident sites, stop things from happening. I do think you would need to keep the fact that you had this power under wraps because everyone would be asking you to help them move.

Mind reading:  No way. Then you would know exactly how much everybody lies to you. And it’s really only good to gain the upper hand in all situations.

I decided I would make my own super power. I’m going to call it flower power.

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I said last week that the garden was my happy place, so I would use flower power to negate the anger in the world. Sprinkle pollen or something. That would create world peace. Since many plants are also the forerunners of modern medicine, flower power can be used for healing as well! It’s the perfect super power for me.

What’s your super power?

Rainy, rainy weekend

We had some much needed rain this weekend, but there certainly was a lot of it!  Unfortunately, that meant no biking. Any time we thought we might be able to sneak out for a bit and radar had rain coming. Oh well.  I did manage to get in 5 miles of walking each day between rainstorms and a circuit around the mall 😀

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Wet path and humid, but exercise is exercise! Keeps everything green, too.

It was our BIL’s birthday on Saturday and we had a gathering.

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Carvel ice cream cake:

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I haven’t had a Carvel cake in I can’t remember how long.  I actually don’t even remember what it was supposed to taste like LOL!

Then game time:

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This is called King of Tokyo and I couldn’t even begin to explain it and have it make any sense. We got it figured out though.

Then some fireworks:

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These are the kind that are legal here in NY, the ones that are fountain style on the ground.  This next shot came out really cool on my phone:

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Probably couldn’t duplicate that again if I tried!

Another thing for a rainy weekend was planning our itinerary for Ireland:

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We’ve had the flights booked since February, but we were having trouble nailing down where we wanted to go and what to see. We only have 7 days, so obviously seeing everything is out of the question without being in the car the whole time. And yes, we are renting a car and driving on the left (the wrong side!).  That will be an adventure in itself.

John’s job was researching and booking flights. Mine is to find places to stay and with the trip a little more than 2 months away, it’s time. Of course, that means figuring out where we want to go. We nixed Dublin since we are flying into Shannon on the other side of the country. We are going to concentrate on the southwest and Wild Atlantic Way.  Here is a map if you’re interested to see it. Click the map to make it bigger.

The plan is:

Day 1 and 2:  Ennis base to explore the Cliffs of Morer and the Burren.

Days 3 and 4: Base at Kenmare to do the Ring of Kerry. (This changed, Mom!)

Days 5 and 6: Base of Cork to explore that, Cobh and Kinsale.

Day 7: Back in the Ennis/Shannon area the night before our flight making sure we get to Rock of Cashel on our way there.

This should give us more than enough to see and staying 2 nights in places will keep us from having to pack up every day. Now to book some B&Bs! We are getting pretty excited now that we have a plan!

Cycling flights

Cross your fingers that the pictures and RSS reader glitch is now fixed!

John is away for a few days after leaving post breakfast. Noms!

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I love my bagels. They never taste the same at home, even if I buy them at the place I eat them. Must be the atmosphere.

I had ridden to breakfast. John drove and left town right after and I continued my usual Wednesday ride.

When I got my iPhone, I thought it would be interesting to see my daily steps. Of course, I don’t have my phone on me all the time, but it’s a good guestimate. It does not record biking and it doesn’t record any steps while I ride. However, it somehow translates my biking into floors climbed!  It’s about 1/2 a floor for every mile biked.

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I did 13 miles this morning and it said about 6. Then that time at noon I did a couple flights of real stairs.  I wonder if it senses the up and down motion of pedaling and interprets it as climbing stairs? Anyway, I find that very amusing.

I did my monthly volunteer work at the Chapman Museum yesterday and they have a mini exhibit called Help Wanted: Female. It’s a look at women entering the workforce.  Here are some interesting notes:

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It’s amazing how they put it right out there that women would be paid less. Of course, that still is true now, but earning less money ended up being how so many women were able to enter the workforce because companies were hiring. Interesting and still discouraging.

There’s your history lesson for the day!

Fourth Weekend

Our temps finally cooled down enough for a cupcake ride on Saturday!  Not sure if it’s sad or not, but when looking ahead at the weather for the weekend, Saturday was circled for a cupcake day 😀

Friday some big storms came through before the cool down. Usually Pixie hides, but she came running to me and got in my lap:

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Poor kitty. She hates fireworks, too.  Last year, they made certain fireworks legal to purchase in NY and all these roadside stands pop up with them. Of course, that means people are setting them off every night and not just on the 4th. Kind of irritating, actually.

Anyway, after lunch we got ready to head out.  It was in the low 70s, but sunny, so I had lots of sunscreen on.

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And my Road ID!  It was pretty breezy, which is really my only complaint on the day. At first it was seeming like either a head or crosswind on the way down, which would mean tailwind on the way home. But then it started to changed directions.

We passed by one of the state parks and an entrepreneur has set up a firewood station at their house:

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It’s illegal to bring wood from other places in order to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer, so local suppliers do really well during camping season.  Garden art:

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Quick break at 10 miles.

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Sorry I got you with your mouth full, John 😀  And I somehow got my finger in this picture from my phone. Newbie on the iPhone.

This is a nice section of road and newly paved. Pretty sweet.

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We got to a very busy Saratoga, so we were in a hurry to get off the bikes and out of the way of all the cars trying to find parking spots!

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We hit up our usual spot for cuppies, Park Side Eatery.  I had a raspberry cheesecake cupcake and a hughjass iced coffee:

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Yum!  This seemed a little small, so John and I actually split a carrot cake one, which I forgot to take a picture of.

The ride home was a little tiring. The wind was swirling around a lot, so it took some extra energy constantly making corrections. John said it was like being in a little plane during a wind storm.

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Boom.

Ride stats:

Total miles: 41.2

Average speed: 13.2 mph

Calories burned: 1360 (probably not quite that much, but maybe so with the wind).

We decided to head out for a beer on Saturday night and tried a new place. Common Roots Brewery:

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I have to say that I prefer Mean Max. This place only had really citrusy hoppy beers and IPAs, neither of which are what I like. I prefer darker more malty ones.  Anyway, they do have board and card games to play while there, which is nice. I liked the atmosphere here.

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Work also progressed on the water feature this weekend. Mostly hole digging and moving dirt around.

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I had to test out the hole when the liner went down. It was almost like a hammock:

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My sunscreen works really well. I am almost my winter skin color LOL!

John working while I’m goofing around in the hole:

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Then it was cookout time on Sunday:

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Yum! We grilled up brats, chicken sausage and a veggie burger.  I had the chicken sausage, al Fresco brand, which are quite good.

I had to work some on Monday, but in the afternoon we went to a picnic at our neighbors house and the weather was just really, really nice.  A good weekend overall, that’s for sure!

Progress time

I thought I would update my progress and share something interesting with you. This is a long talky post, so I’ll apologize for that up front.

First let me back up a little.  Many of you know that my job can get stressful for me at times. It’s mostly because of poor company management, but the problem has been that there isn’t enough work to go around and what there is has horrible production,  so I make less money now and you just have to keep checking for work. Then what work there is gets gobbled up like a bunch of piranhas. I have been wanting to change and John and I are moving along to make it happen, but it’s going to take a little time. So there’s that frustration.

I’ve been hovering around the same weight for the last couple years. I would try to lose more and then it just seemed like I was getting nowhere, but I keep trying.  Maybe that’s maintenance in a nutshell… However, that gets frustrating.

Then there is my insomnia and if any of you have this, you know how awful it feels. I have it periodically. I think my body just eventually gives in and I sleep, but when it happens, ugh. So, there has been a constellation of things and I just have been feeling a little blah.

Anyway, I normally don’t try to lose weight for a certain goal. That has never worked for me because I lose really, really slowly, so I could never do a diet bet or anything like that.  However, in the beginning February, we booked our flights to go to Ireland at the end of September and I thought, “I would really like to lose 20 pounds for Ireland”.  That would mean about 2 and sometimes 3 pounds a month. Sounds doable unless you are me 😀

So, I was doing my usual food logging and trying to stay at 1500 calories (hard for me) and get in my exercise and the scale isn’t moving. Then sometimes you just say “F**k it, I’m going to eat”. Know what I mean? Especially if what you are doing is getting you nowhere.

I flailed around for a couple months and then decided to try counting WW points because I was getting really tired of calorie counting and I needed a change.  It was nice to not think in terms of calories, although I have a good running tally of those in my head from years of food logging.  Still not really getting anywhere, though.

I talked to my PCP at the beginning of April and I voiced all of these frustrations to her – and she listened, which was great. She decided to put me on bupropion, which is the generic of Wellbutrin.  She said this should help curb my appetite and make my mood better, which would hopefully help with the insomnia. I was a little hesitant because I just don’t take meds unless absolutely necessary, but I figured why not.

At first I didn’t notice anything but some dry eyes and a headache after I took a dose. The headaches resolved, but the dry eyes haven’t. My mood certainly perked up, but I didn’t get any appetite supressant effects, which I was hoping for. I still get hungry. However, an interesting thing happened. I lost all desire to snack. I still eat snacks because I’m hungry, but I don’t overeat them and I don’t have the urge to have more.  I am sure I’m not alone in the eating when you aren’t hungry.

Anyway, that has been amazing to me and has allowed me to stay within  my calorie goal. It’s not surprising, I suppose, since bupropion is the main ingredient of Chantix, which is prescribed to help you stop smoking. It’s supposed to stop cigarette cravings, and it did for food with me. Not having cravings is wonderful.

There is another side effect to bupropion that can happen, and it’s weight loss. Since I started it in April, I have had steady losses almost every week except my birthday week. And not my little tiny bits, but an average of 1.5 pounds each week, which is a lot for me. Now I am down 13 pounds with only 7 to go before Ireland in September.  I don’t know how long the effect of the meds will last, but I just might make it!

That has been eye opening for me. Not that I am advocating taking it, but it’s not something I would have considered had my PCP not recommended it. As far as insomnia?  It’s better. Not great, but better.  I’m not sure how long I will take this, probably until the job thing straightens out, but who knows.  So that’s my story.  Thanks for reading if you made it this far!