Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I'm Alive!

We are still here!
Alive and thriving.
Well, most of us.
Poor Mrs. Puffington was assaulted and brutally murdered this week.
The opossum was caught, brought before a jury that found him guilty and the death penalty was issued.
Ain't nobody messin' with my birds.

I do believe I'll have some time to blog tomorrow.
Stay tuned.

Off to take Aaron to Chicago now to
'Paul Mitchell - The School'.

Lord willing and the creek don't rise - he'll be enrolled in there by this time next year.

'Talk' to you tomorrow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Pause

Aaron, Phyllis and Calvin - pausing for a moment.

You guys are so good to me.
I know it must be time to blog again when I start getting 'are you ok?' emails.
Bless your hearts.
Sure makes me feel loved.

All is well in CoopKeeper land.
I suppose you can say that - or you can say that 'all is well and you can't control a damn thing'.
That be done the first time I used a swear word up on this here blog.
Please don't unfollow me.

Life is a whirlwind right now - but it's all well.
Right now I'm dealing with a food sensitive brain.
I ate up some Jay's BBQ potato chips yesterday.
Day before I ate a half a slice of  'eye talian' bread and two pasta noodles.
Enough to turn my brain into a squirrel vacation resort.

I've come to learn - by experiment of my own that I have some incredible food sensitivities.  My body doesn't cotton to the food preservatives, additives, wheat, dairy, and chemicals that abound in our modern food.
Nay - one or two mouthfuls of noodles or bread will bloat me and cause me to lose a day or two of feeling mentally sharp.

Here's me right before the noodle episode.
Don't you just love the clarity my photos have in this post?

Right after the noodle episode:

I've been reading things like this:

We believe that food allergy is a common cause of mental illness. Allergy to proteins from cows milk, hens eggs and wheat are the three most common problems. One idea is that antibodies generated by gluten proteins can attack the brain. This immune mistake is generally known as molecular mimicry. A second idea is that gluten proteins or peptides generated from them during digestion can act directly on the brain. A third idea is that your brain is affected by immune responses in other parts of your body. All immune activity sends signals to the brain to change behavior and to recruit a range of defensive responses.

Disturbances to brain function vary from routine effects such as sleepiness, fogginess, and brief episodes of confusion to symptoms of major mental or neurological illness. For example, people with celiac disease suffer for many years before the diagnosis is made. They often state that they never feel well. Most of these patients will report episodes of fatigue with cognitive dysfunction; difficulty concentrating, mental "fogginess", recent memory dropouts. They complain of mood liability and are often tearful and irritable. They return to normal when they no longer eat problem foods.

Chew on that for a while.

I've been extra busy.
Good things.
Not so good things.

Wednesday night I attend a meeting about an expressway being built woefully close to my home.
Our road is being called 'an arterial road'.
What does that even mean?
If they widen our road, my house goes bye bye.

Phyllis is doing much better, and will actually walk on the leg that has been ailing her.
She's still inside.
She still needs her oinment and tinctures.
A few of you had asked if I was using a chicken diaper. 
No maam's. 
Those things are quite nasty.  I use a little towel around her while I'm holding her and she just seems to 'hold' it when I have her.  As soon as I put her back in the cage - she relieves herself.

(Kate - you had asked about the dirty eggs.  I don't think the eggs should be THAT dirty.  If you Google washing eggs - you'll see that it's not the preferred method as it washes off what they call the 'bloom'.  It makes the eggs suseptible to bacteria penetrating then.  On really wet days sometimes I will collect a muddy egg or two from the hens sharing a nesting box.
Covered in poo and mud all the time?
Poor hygiene in the coop.  I'd find another egg source.)

The most exciting news of the week:

Aaron is coming back to Marmie's Learnatorium as of Monday.
More to come on that.
We had a meeting at my new favorite diner.
The Boychild ate pancakes smothered in bananas, bacon, peanut butter and chocolate.
I had a Blacked Veggie Skillet with Egg Whites.
What ARE those blackened spices?
I gots to get me some.

Busy with Bootcamp.

Busy helping some friends.

Busy working on serum formulations and developing more skin care products.
Did you know that my Spring Chicken Serum has all the key ingredients that other serums selling for $100 an ounce have!?
Say what!?


I've come to even cringe at the word.
I'm getting sick of saying 'Oh I'm so busy'.
I'm getting tired of hearing everyone else say it too.
What in the sam hill are we all so busy doing?
I do believe it's the bane of our generation.
Is it all in our heads?

I think one can be very busy, and productive and yet not possess that wild eyed, breathless 'busy' vibe.
It's what I'm trying to learn to do now by pausing and really breathing.
Belly breaths.
My yoga teacher says -
'calm breath - calm mind'

It's really true.
Are you just 'sipping air'?
I know when it comes to breathing - I've been a sipper.
A dabbler if you will.
Mental preoccupation does that to a gal.

I've been practicing breathing.
Doesn't that sound funny?

l pause and breathe at stop signs now.
I actually stop.
Imagine that!

I get excited when I get stopped by a red light.
Breathing time!

I look for the longest line in stores now.
Gives me time to pause.
Time to breathe.

Try it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Chicken Doctor is In

Remember Phyllis?
The determined banty hen?

She's stricken.
Nothing too terribly serious.
A darn good case of the scaly mites.

Scaly mites are something that affect chicken's feet.
Their scales start to raise - and if left untreated, they can lose toes, even feet.

I guess it is terribly serious now that I think of it!

Phyllis had this trouble a year or so ago, and I convalesced her here in the house and did have to amputate two of her toes.

Now - this is the stuff you shouldn't think about before getting chickens.  It's just so rare that this stuff happens.

I really try to look over my flock well.  Every morning when I feed and water them, as they are walking around - I always give their feet and bums a good look over.
I look for swelling in the feet, runny beaks, and dirty butts.

Phyllis doesn't roost anywhere with any other birds.  She's taken to the garage.  She roosts up in a beam in the garage roof. 
 She's also the only one that has this problem.

What you have to do is smother the mites.
I like to use Preparation H initially because it also helps with any swelling that may have occurred.

I'm embarrassed to report that poor little Phyllis's legs got pretty bad before they were noticed.
Not sure if you can see here - but even her claws are overgrown because she hasn't been able to scratch.

Now - this might sound a bit sick in a weird twisted way - but I was just kind of hankering around for something to nurture.
Aaron got over the flu - Glen never got it - there was nothing for me to take care of.
: -)

Now I've got Phyllis.
She's sitting here on my lap now all cuddled in.
She's going to require a lot of care.

We watched 'Downton Abbey' last night and have been discussing it since.
That Mary!
We both have a crush on Mr. Bates.
Matthew's plight choked our craws right up.
If I'm sitting down, Phyllis is with me.
A regular ole lap chicken.

If you ever find yourself in need of doctoring a chicken up - this is a trick that I learned that works like a charm.

Cover their head.
I was walking all over the kitchen whilst Phyllis just lay there still.

After completely covering her feet and legs in Preparation H, I gauzed them up.

I'll need to do this daily.

I'll also need to exercise her a little since she'll just want to sit with her legs like that.
Do ya blame her?

Danged mites.

After I get the swelling out of her legs, clip her claws and assess things in a day or two, I might take her to the vet - or look into a miticide.  I know the Preparation H and Vaseline worked great last time, so why use chemicals?

I may have to treat her roost though.

This is her new roost now.

Gracious, I love this stinking bird.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Humiliation in Crystal River

Alright y'alls.
I'm hormonal.
It's gloomy out - and it just seems like hormones and gloom make a good day for a good story.

I'm completely aware that I think too much, and it's something I'm thinking about stopping.

For the last few days I've been thinking about humiliation.
It's such a strong word isn't it?

Think about it.
Do you feel HUMILIATED?

"Oh my gosh - my child failed algebra - I'm completely HUMILIATED!"

"Oh dear Lord - I ran into Marge at the Piggly Wiggly and I had on no make up nor a bra - I was completely HUMILIATED!"

"Patty just stopped by out of the blue and there were dishes in my sink!  I'm HUMILIATED!"

For me - humiliation was a constant companion - for most of my adult life.
Much of it brought on by my choice of eye wear and clothing.
"Ya, I'm fat and I'm wearing horizontal stripes!  Suck it!"

"Oh sweet Jesus - I haven't seen Kathy since I weighed 187lbs - I just ran into her at the Dairy Queen - I'm 272lbs - I'm HUMILIATED!"

"Hmmm....when I went in for this surgery I was not wearing these paper panties that I've woken up in.  Did the doctor that looked like Mario Lopez wrangle them on my gelatinous 240lb behind??

Perhaps my ultimate humiliation was when we were snorkeling about the Crystal River in Florida with a few very fit friends.
We'd rented a scraggly old Jon boat to do it in.

We were panning the river, back and forth, and as soon as we saw nostrils emerge from the water - we'd bail out of the boat, go under, and look to find them.
I never knew something that weighed 900lbs could be so elusive.

Back into the boat we'd all go.
Well, we did finally get to swim with them, and I have to tell you it was beyond exhilarating.
Back into the boat for the last time.

I was 270lbs.
In a wetsuit.
Surprised I wasn't mistaken for a manatee m'self.
Due to my physical state, due to being wet, exhausted and exhilarated, but mainly due to the fact that I was 270lbs, I couldn't get back in the boat.

I tried.
My friends tried pulling, they got in the water and they started pushing.

All that was going through my head was 'could this be any more HUMILIATING? - oh yes, I could be nude....that could make this MUCH more humiliating."

We gave up, and I held a rope as I was towed back to the boat dock.

I so hope you are laughing.

The reason I'm sharing this story with you today - because it's become very clear to me that I have a choice.

I have a choice to feel humiliation, or a choice to chuck it off and laugh about it.

I also have a choice to see that painful feeling as a message.

Peter McWilliams says:

“Pain (any pain--emotional, physical, mental) has a message. The information it has about our life can be remarkably specific, but it usually falls into one of two categories: "We would be more alive if we did more of this," and, "Life would be more lovely if we did less of that." Once we get the pain's message, and follow its advice, the pain goes away.”

I'd venture to say that the pain of me being towed back to shore was a message that
'hey girl - you're a bit overweight - perhaps you could change this?'

After working out with my amazing Coach this past week, at times, I have to say I felt that familiar old feeling of humiliation.

Now, the guy's heart is the biggest muscle he's got, and I know wasn't looking at me and thinking 'hey fatso - you are pitiful'.
If he was - I wouldn't have him as a Coach.

So all of that to say this - it just got me all thinking - and yesterday I shed a few tears thinking about it.
I felt stupid, ugly, blubbery, and old.

And somewhere inside I saw this ever small flickering flame that was hope - that was the voice of reason (we've all got one!) that said in it's best Handmade Ryan Gosling voice -

"Hey Girl - you are awesome.  You have a choice.  Why don't you tie up that humiliated feeling to the back of that Jon boat and let it go back to shore - you are headed for deeper waters."

You see - this weight loss journey hasn't just been about lowering my blood pressure, looking better in clothes, finding out what has more nutrition - broccoli or Brussels sprouts - it's about life.  It's about living.  It's about facing adversities one at a time - calling that voice in your head that tells you you're pitiful a liar.  Shouting it as you cross the line of a marathon!  It's about flinging that kettle bell high in the air realizing that there's nothing you can't do if you'll only put your mind to it.  Your past only defines you if you let it.
Rock on.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Best Chocolate Cupcakes. Period.

I have a confession.

I like baking.

There ain't no crime in that.
I'm a versatile blogger if anything -
blogging about my workout one day - cupcakes the next.
It's how I roll.
I recognize that not all of you want to suck on brussels sprouts and orange slices while swinging kettlebells.
I still love ya.

Today has been a lovely day - the sun is shining in a way that makes you want to get your seeds organized and dream of seeing little rows of lettuce popping out of the soil.

Aaron has been with me all day - and I'm sure you can tell by the photos.
I told him that my blog has declined a great deal since he decided to leave the Marmie Learnatorium and go to the 'Public School'.

Glenco just finished a brake job on the 1973 Maverick and is dozing on the couch.

I'm in the kitchen roasting a humanly raised, organic chicken.
Now - call me crazy - but how is it any different once the birds have been killed?
You raise them humanly, and you still kill them and roast them at high temperatures??
I'm so on the fence about meat in general.

But this post is about cupcakes.

You can put your search for the perfect chocolate cupcake to rest my friends.

A tender crumb.
Quick and easy.

Frost them with gobs of this:
1 stick of butta
2/3 c cocoa powder
1/3 cup of milk
1 t vanilla
3 cups of powdered sugar

Everyone who's anyone that's tasted them has declared them the best ever.

Now - this video might be a little disturbing - yes - I have the spatula full of frosting very close to my mouth as I'm singing right on top of it - rest assured that these cupcakes were consumed by family only.
I don't breathe all over cupcakes that I give to friends.
Or do I?

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday friends!
As always - thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lived to Tell the Tale

Me and Me Coach.
David Greenwalt.

I did it.
I didn't pass gas.
I didn't vomit - nor did I faint.

You can't tell by this picture, but he's holding me up by the waist band of my pants.
I believe I was seeing the Smurfs dancing at this point too.
Butter me up, I was toast.

It felt SO good.
So, so, so, so good.
When it was over - it felt so good.

You've seen those cute things going around Pinterest -

Pinned Image

Look at me.
Proof I trained hard enough.

50 hang cleans
50 squats (I probably did 70 but a lot of them didn't 'count' cause I didn't lower my rump enough)
50 one arm dumbbell rows
50 Romanian dead lifts
50 triceps push downs
50 assisted chin ups
50 rope triceps extensions
A gob of kettle bell swings
Core work

I'm sore all over - but my quadriceps are the sorest.
I think I could put BBQ sauce on them and I'd have shredded pork.
If I drop something - it stays on the floor.
Every time I visit the bathroom I wish I had man parts.

I can't wait to do it again.

Working out with my Coach was a great gift to me.
He's one terrific guy - and I'll say it again - I'd be in a gutter with a marshmallow bag over my head if it weren't for him.

Eight of y'all have signed up for Bootcamp.
I'm tingling inside with excitement over it all.

I got this text this morning from a friend that just signed up for Bootcamp this Monday, and Bootcamp doesn't 'officially' start til Wednesday!

'Actually I'm doing very well.  I weighed last week at 203 and today I'm 199.
Been following the advice on the website and it actually feels kind miraculous.  I feel like I've been trying to break that 200 marker for a long time - and now I've done it in less than a week...come on!  Thanks for all of your great encouragement, it is really appreciated!'

I so want this for you.  I so want you to feel what I feel - I want you to know that it's never to late to start - it's never to late to change.  In one year I've gone from a butter licking 250lbs gal who considered feeding the chickens a workout - to a fabulous 50 year old only 15lbs from her goal weight - swinging kettle bells like nobody's business.

Who'da thunk it?
David Greenwalt - that's who.

Last chance....and seriously the last time I'll mention this until next year.
And that's a promise.

Pinned Image

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

on exercising

It's 8am and I'm sitting here trying to type with a purring, kneading cat lying on my forearms.
I'm drinking Irish breakfast tea.
I keep smelling an odd, bitter smell wafting around me.
Chores are just about done and I'm excited to work on my 'to do list'.
It's going to be a great day - I get the BoyChild after school today and I'm making a 'clean' meatloaf with red potatoes and a green bean salad.
I might bake him something.

Let's talk about exercise.

We all need to do it.
Most often we exercise our jaw more just talking about it.
We are all familiar with the Nike ad -
Just do it.

For an ADHD'r  like m'self - it's more like -
Just think about it.
Just talk about it.
Just plan it out to the last detail on paper, and then lose the plan.
Just don't do anything until you have the perfect exercise regime figured out and then doubt that it's the perfect one - so don't do it.

I haven't worked out with any regularity since the marathon.
I really need a workout buddy in order to stay consistent.

Oh I have bouts of exercise - a burst of it here or there - a few days or weeks strung together -
and all it takes is a few days to make me feel like I'm really something.

Truth is, I love to exercise - I do -
truth is my mind sometimes won't let me do it.

I'll be on my way up to exercise when I see that the back door window looks dirty.
The next thing I know I'm cleaning out cupboards or painting something!
Or  have thoughts like - gee - I really should try to clean out my inbox.
Does the cat have food?
Where was that article about the dangers of eating soy? 
 I need to read that again.

Case in point.
I went upstairs to get on my elliptical and have an awesome cardio workout.

As I'm starting to warm up on the elliptical - I notice that the room just seems so boring.
"This room really needs a pop of color".
"I'd really like working out up here if I redecorated a little bit".

The next thing I know I'm off the elliptical, off to JoAnn fabrics, and maybe a bit off my rocker.

I deliberate over fabric, sending photo text messages to Janie Fox.

I decide I just can't work out up there until I have curtains, paint the old dresser that has to be in the room even though I don't want it there, and find some scented candles that 'set the mood' just right.
I was proud of myself that the curtains only cost me $25 to make, and I sold that black shelf thing in the first picture on Craig's List for $25.
A no cost spruce up baby.

This willy nilly behavior towards exercise has not gone unnoticed by my body.
My weight loss has been maintained - because my motto is 'work hard at exercise - work harder in the kitchen' and really the equation of weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise - but lord have mercy, I need that 20%.

My Photo

Tomorrow I go work out with my Coach.
In real life person.
I'm embarrassed and scared.
I might puke, pass gas, or faint.
All three are highly likely, I'm just hoping they all don't happen at the same time.

My body is as lumpy as a newlywed's first attempt at gravy.
My skin - not as loose as I thought it would be - still gives my body the appearance of having a 'body within a body'.
I look decent fully dressed, but naked?
It's not pretty people.
My upper arms could beat someone to death if caught in a stiff wind.
When taking a bath in my antique tub, my breasts float - almost like they are detached from my body.

I have a feeling I'm in for it tomorrow.

I thought the dresser paint turned out awesome.  A pretty butter yellow I had hiding in the basement from projects gone by.
 The good news is that I have committed to exercise again and for the last week I've been consistent.
I tell myself 'you are doing it if it's the last thing you do' - and sometimes it IS the last thing I do, and I'm exercising at 8pm.

my yoga cat.
In honor of the late, great Jinksie - whom I still cry for nearly daily.
Oh how I loved that cat.

Today - right after I post this post - I'm going to go exercise.
As soon as I figure out where that puke smell is coming from.......