November 12, 2011

Why Me?

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 10:37 am by Jenn

That’s a question I could ask, but while I’m pondering and waiting for an answer that likely will not come I’d be wasting precious time.  So instead, I’m embracing this and acting today and if the answer comes then I’ll already be on my way to a healthier me.

Back in September I did a fasting blood sugar/cholesterol screening for work.  The results came back a couple of weeks ago and well let’s just say, they were not good.  My cholesterol was through the roof and my fasting blood sugar was elevated.  WTF?

After I received the results the first thing I did was call my doctor’s office to make an appointment for bloodwork.  I wanted confirmation.  The second call I made was to Curves.  The only exercise I get is walking Max 2-3 times a day and that obviously isn’t enough.  I am heavier than I’ve ever been and no time like the present to do something about it. 

Thankfully, at the beginning of October I had started taking steps to better my health.   Scott and I eat out…a lot, and we eat late.  Mostly because we aren’t home until late.  By late I’m talking 7:30 to 8:00 dinner time.  New dinner time 6:30.  I was also a breakfast skipper.  Horrible I know, but I don’t like typical breakfast food…cereal.  I like the kind of breakfast that you cook like pancakes and who has that kind of time during the week before work.  Certainly not me.  So I’d skip.  Sometimes (fridays) on the way to work I would grab a chicken and cheese bagel from Chick fil a.  Sometimes I’d get the hash browns, most of the time not.  Other times I would grab an apple from home and eat that on the way to work or once I got to work.  So really, most of the time, I’d skip.  Since mid October EVERY morning I start the day with an Arbonne Immunity Booster and I’ve made myself an Arbonne Chocolate Protein Shake.  They are YUMMY and totally vegan.  I bought myself a Magic Bullet type blender gadget at Walmart for $19.  5 ice cubes, water, one scoop of Arbonne’s Daily Fiber Boost which provides 12gm of fiber 48% of the Daily Value) and 1.5 scoops of the Arbonne protein powder.  Sometimes I add a banana, sometimes a tablespoon of peanut butter depending on my mood and sometimes I add both.  Blend and that’s it.  A yummy nutritious breakfast that I can grab and go.  I take it with me and drink it on the way to work.

So, I had my blood drawn at the doctor’s office and those results were still elevated, but much improved.  My total cholesterol was down about 55 points and my LDL (bad cholesterol was down about 20 points.  Both a relief, but still a lot of work to get them to normal.  I’m convinced that adding the Arbonne products is what contributed to the reduction in my cholesterol levels from test 1 to test 2.

If you want more information about the Arbonne protein shakes or any of their products leave a comment and I will be in touch.

My fasting blood sugar was greater than 100.  The extra weight is likely the cause of the elevated blood sugar.  I’ve been checking my blood sugar every morning since receiving the first set of test results.  The first week I didn’t have one level less than 100 (also not more than 120) but since heading back to Curves I’ve had an average of 98 which I’m taking as a positive.  My hemoglobin A1c which is a 60-90 day blood glucose average was 5.5.  Still normal, but way to close to prediabetic for my liking.  Losing weight, increasing my physical activity and eating better is going to get me to a more comfortable level.

Did you know that losing just 10% of your body weight can help to improve your blood glucose levels?  Many type 2 diabetics who lose 10% of their body weight use less insulin or can possibly come off insulin altogether.  My goal for losing weight is to prevent needing insulin in the first place.

The biggest disappointment I’ve found is that when verbalizing my goals to people I hear…”you don’t need to lose weight”, “I can’t believe YOUR cholesterol is high”.  Well folks, bad things happen to good people.  I say this everyday to my patients.

I’ve made the necessary changes, I’m sticking to my plan and I am going to beat this.  I’m not going to be diabetic, I’m not going to be on cholesterol medication and I will be 15 pounds lighter by January 1, 2011.

That being said…time to get up and get moving at Curves!

May 15, 2011

Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival 2011

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 11:08 am by Jenn

It was a fun filled day of yarn fibery goodness.  My friend Christine came in from Boston.  We were both practically hyperventilating by the time we pulled in to the parking lot.  It was a great weekend!  Here are a few pictures taken mostly on Sunday. 

April 26, 2010

Sheep and Wool Pre Festival Plan

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , at 10:38 pm by Jenn

You know you are in trouble when you have to make a pre festival plan.  LOL.  I’m sure I’m not the only one, making lists, checking vendors, planning my attack for the big day…that’s right, it’s that time of year again.  The first weekend in May.  Time for none other than the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  A knitter/spinner’s idea of heaven. 

Last year was my first experience and while I completely enjoyed myself, I was a little overwhelmed.  Partially due to the fact that I was jet lagged from my recent trip back to the US from Azerbaijan, partially due to the fact that I had been having serious fiber withdraw from living overseas and lastly due to the fact that I was walking around smelling lamb cooking, but everyone was speaking english.  It was kind of like and out of body experience.  I remember passing many booths by just because I was too overwhelmed to look at anything but yarn or fiber.  I didn’t want to be tempted by notions or soaps, or dyes or paintings.  I do remember buying some maple peanuts though and while they were tasty, that’s $10 that I couldn’t spend on yarn!  LOL.

This year I plan to get an earlier start, take my time and really get into it.  I have my must sees, but I also want to do a little gift shopping while I’m there.  Since I come from a family full of crafters this is one stop shopping for me.  I would really love to go on Saturday and be able to do all my shopping and then go back on Sunday to see the animals and take a bunch of pictures.  We’ll see, the weather is going to be the determining factor.  I really don’t want to trudge around outside in the rain.  Rain + Fairgrounds = MUD!

Here are my must sees (in no particular order).

Creatively Dyed

Brooks Farm

Tess’s Designer Yarns (home of Man Candy)

Woolstock

Cloverhill Yarn Shop

Cormo Association

Spanish Peacock

Fleece Sale – looking for a white fleece this year, because my dye pot will be here soon, Cande will be living nearby which means - lots of white fleece will be needed for dyeing….of course, grey and light brown might be interesting too…..see the dilemma I face at the fleece sale.  I really am thinking BFL!

Sheep Incognito

I’ve been dreaming about a Majacraft Wheel lately.  I love the way they look.  Of course I also love the old antique style too.  Did I mention I’ll have my own place again soon…..mwahaahaa!

Ok, time to sleep and dream of the weekend…..I’m off to count sheep!  LOL.

February 7, 2010

Snowmageddon

Posted in Journal tagged , , , at 9:13 pm by Jenn

Well today was the day.  No putting if off til tomorrow.  It had to be done.  I got out of bed, bundled up and got ready to shovel….let the pain begin.

It was bad, but not as bad as it could have been I suppose.  Last night we were lucky enough to be visited by a kind man in a front loader.  He dug out our street…..our street that usually doesn’t get plowed.  There were 4 of us out there moving snow today so it only took a few hours to clean off the driveway,  and space for the mail truck to get near the box.

Here’s a few pics of the snow

Max was bored by the whole thing.

So the driveway got finished and Dad ran out to do a few errands, you know….BEER RUN!  He also stopped by the hardware store to pick up a few things for Heather to stain her new spinning wheel.  She bought an Ashford Traveller, unfinished and is now staining it a pretty honey oak color.

She started dying fiber yesterday and that process carried over to this afternoon.  Here’s a pic of what she did yesterday.

Of course I can’t resist dyeing fiber so I got in on the act…..here’s a few pics of the process

It was a very productive day.  I even managed to whip up my borscht.  Here’s a picture of the finished product.  It tasted as good as it looks.  I’m pretty impressed with myself.  Those cooking lessons from Olga paid off!

Now I’m sitting here watching the halftime show and getting ready to do a little bit of knitting.  Back to work tomorrow.  Hopefully the nice front loader man will come and do the rest of the neighborhood tonight.  Dad said 301 was a mess so it should be a fun commute!  Note to self, remember to take some Aleve.

August 23, 2009

Scales and Arpeggios

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 4:46 am by Jenn

Yesterday Heather and I took a spinning class at Cloverhill Yarn Shop.  It was a small group, but it was well worth it and I learned a TON about my wheel and what it’s capable of.  I was really impressed with the yarn that I’m able to create.  I’m even more impressed that I was actually able to create a laceweight plied yarn!  YAY ME!  Finally!

Here is my pile of scrap/trash fiber at the end of the day

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My wheel has 4 ratios and here is are my scales and arpeggios using those ratios:

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From left to right using 64 micron Merino – the yellow is the 6:1 with brake and then no brake, the red is the 8:1 with brake and now brake, the blue is 11:1 with brake and no brake, the green is the 14:1 with brake and no brake and that white….wait for it -

that is also the 14:1 with no brake but the fiber is 80 micron vs 64 micron….what a difference the fiber makes!  All of these are 2 ply and yes folks, I can make lace weight yarn if I use the right ratio!  DUH!  I’ve been spinning on the 8:1 with brake so no wonder I wasn’t able to get the finished product that I wanted.  I’m so happy that I went to this spinning class.  Understanding what my wheel is capable of is probably the most useful information I’ve gotten in my 3 months of spinning.  Now I feel like I’m ready to tackle some actual spinning for projects!

Speaking of spinning….I plied some yarn last week and I have no idea what I did, but I somehow plied unevenly, so now I’m going to go back and add some extra twist to try to fix the uneven pieces….see

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Some of it is plied just fine,but other sections are just not good.  After I finish that task I am going to try spinning some of the fiber from the “bag of crap” that I received in the mail this week.

On Ravelry I belong to the Spin or Dye Swapping group.  Within this group is a “bag of crap” swap.  You claim a bag that has been offered and then offer to send a bag with a value of around $10.  The person who was supposed to send my crap, backed out so the crap angels came to my rescue and I received this wonderful crap from Vermont.

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The taupe colored fiber is Cormo/Alpaca, the white is East Freisien and the Dark Brown is Border Leicester/Alpaca.

Cande if you are out there I have your fiber ready to go…I just need your address : (

If you don’t send it soon, I’m afraid I won’t be able to control myself…spin spin spin : )

July 10, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , , , at 3:14 am by Jenn

Today was a fiber filled day on many levels.  My sister and I headed down to Crazy For Ewe to take advantage of the sales and shop for our Secret Pal 14 spoilees.  We met Ellen the shop owner, chatted a bit and made off with lots and lots of yarn fibery goodness.  I won’t post pictures of the items I purchased for my spoilee because that might spoil the fun for her (in case she’s super sleuthy and has me figured out).  But here is a picture of what I purchased for myself.

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On the left are 3 skeins of Noro Taiyo – a cotton, silk, nylon blend that I plan to use to make Yarnplay’s Poppy sweater.  I will use black for the body with the sleeves, top and vertical stripes in the colorway shown above.  The single skein on the right was a super lucky find and almost brought me to tears!  A couple of weeks ago Heather, Zac and I went downtown to the Folklife Festival and I lost my knitting bag.  The bag contained the second skein of yarn in this colorway, the skein I had just started to knit my SECOND sock with!  I was heartbroken.  Not only was I actually going to finish the sock, but the knitting bag was a gift from my cousin Carol (sorry Carol).  I put a lost ad out on Craigslist and filled out a lost form with the Smithsonian, but no luck – no one turned in my bag.  I also had two sets of needles in that bag one not so loved, but my favorite sock needles – my Blue Sky Alpaca – $28.00 a set needles were gone.  I’m sure someone found the bag looked inside, found no money and tossed the bag in the trash.  Somewhere out there is a homeless person with a half knit sock, expensive needles and Carol’s bag.  I hope they know how to knit!

So overall it was a great afternoon.  Ellen’s shop is fabulous.  She is wonderful and knowledgeable.  The customers were warm and friendly and stopping by to knit for a while.  We’ll definitely be joining them one of these days very soon.   I actually have signed up for a class at the LaPlata store to make the Undulating Waves Scarf -  I’m making the Heather version.  I think the class will be great.  I love knitting scarves and have been wanting to try knitting with beads so this is perfect!

Just when I thought the day wouldn’t get any better, there was a knock on the door around 6pm…UPS.

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At last it was here…remember back to my post from Maryland Sheep and Wool?  The fleece we purchased and sent off to Zeilinger’s had arrived.  Heather couldn’t wait to get the box opened and if you look really close you can see the look of a fiber crazed woman in her eyes!  Seriously.

So what was in the box that weighed 11 pounds?

Right on top was what I’ve been waiting for – the combed top that we had processed from the merino fleece that we purchased at the festival.  I can’t believe we didn’t take pictures of the “before”, but here is the “after”.

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Repeat after me….Ooooo…….Ahhhhh…..ssssoffft.  It’s the most beautiful milk chocolate brown color, approximately 3 POUNDS of it.  The fleece we turned in was 8 pounds!  I’m amazed at how much grease merino contains.  The noil weighed about a pound so that’s almost 50%.  The bag there in the center is the noil, which we really aren’t quite sure what to do with…kind of reminds me of dryer lint.

Now I really need to get to work so that I can buy that wheel!

At the bottom of the bag was almost 5 pounds of newly washed fleece that Heather obtained from her friend Gregory who owns a farm and invited the Baltimore Spinner’s group up for the day in the spring to participate in sheep shearing.

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That’s one heck of a lot of wool.  Stay tuned for some yarn pictures.  Heather is participating in Tour de Fleece so I’m sure she’ll be spinning up some of both of these TONIGHT!

So there it is, a fun fiber filled day!  I’m off to knit and hit the sack early.  It’s a DaVita day for me tomorrow!

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