Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dangling The Carrot

This week I officially kicked off my new healthy lifestyle. I've always struggled with my weight but I am not going to struggle anymore. I am going to beat obesity. An old leg injury is causing me to become very unhealthy. I have shrugged my shoulders and given up because of it and I am not going to do that anymore. About 5 years ago I took a spill and injured my leg terribly. Since then I have had great difficulty doing activities that involve being on my feet. When I fell, I hyper-extended my knee, bending it the wrong way at nearly a 90 degree angle. I tore my ACL, my PCL, fractured my Tibia vertically and sustained 4 fractures in my kneecap. In a matter of seconds I went from able-bodied to wheelchair-bound. It was devastating. Once I was healed, I literally had to learn to walk again. During my fall I also injured my ankle causing me to have to wear an orthotic insert for my shoe for a few years. Ever since then I have had issues walking more than a block. I get pain in my ankle which spreads to the bottom my foot. I then realize that my toes are numb. It is difficult for me to even accept this. All of this will be taken care of soon, as I am going to make an appointment to see a podiatrist. I need to get my exercise goals on track.

I also need to get my eating habits back on track. How am I going to do this? Well, it is a combination of a few things. I have 2 high school friends who have recently inspired me. Celeste inspired me to start thinking about my own goals through her honesty and willingness to share her goals, struggles and achievements that she has made with Weight Watchers. She shares the most wonderful healthy recipes, and I LOVE recipes. Also, on Sundays, she prepares servings of food in containers and baggies so she is prepared for the week. This careful planning keeps you from just grabbing any unhealthy snack in reach when you are hungry. This has inspired me. I AM going to do this. By her willingness to share her excitement and her accomplishments, Kendra has inspired me to return to the SparkPeople website to give it another go. I joined the site over a year ago but never really did anything with it. Now I am using it to get meal suggestions, to track my meals, to track my exercise and to connect with others who can offer encouragement and advice.

Today I had a realization about myself. I am driven by rewards. There, I said it. LOL I've always known that I am not driven by money, status or public perception. But today, while reading the blogs on SparkPeople, I realized that I am driven by reward. THAT, my dear, is how I am motivating myself on this new path...with a carrot. Not an actual carrot, but a reward for each milestone, like the carrot dangled in front of the horse's nose. I am compiling a list of things that I want, which I will receive when I hit certain milestones in my weight loss journey. As a motivator for me, this is brilliant. I have things that I want which may be trivial things, but I am going to earn them. I also have things that I have longed for that I am going to earn. I haven't quite set my list in stone but here is a preliminary list.

Pounds Lost

10 = New keyboard for computer

20 = Good Neighbors series DVD's

30 = what do I put here???

40 = Engraved Anniversary ring

50 = Hotel stay

60 = Digital video camera

70 = New sewing machine

80 = New computer

Monday, March 22, 2010

FW:, FWD:, FORWARDS...good grief...

Do you read all those Forwards sent to your email? I am sorry. I may love you dearly. You may be the coolest friend I have or my most cherished loved one; but if you send me 10 emails at once that all start with"FWD:" chances are I won't be reading any of them. I truly love encouraging prose and cute pictures that tell me how much you love me. But I just can't bring myself to wade through all of those emails and line after line of other email addresses and pesky line breaks >>>> to find the ONE that will change my life. If you send me something once in a while, it's very likely that I WILL read it because I know that you have taken the time to decide if it really fits me. But if you send me every forward that hits your Inbox, chances are it may go unread. My dearest Uncle, Daddy Bill, sends me the most wonderful and thoughtful things. THOSE I read. I also read forwards sent to me that are not technically "forwards" at all. What I mean is they have been copied and pasted into a new email. If I open an email and see 20 lines of other email addresses that's it. I'm done. It's gone.
Aren't I terrible?? LOL

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We Now Introduce "Snow Goose Season 2010"

I am not necessarily the same woman I once was. Once upon a time I was a very "indoor type of girl". Now I am a fisherman's/hunter's wife. I can fish with the best of them. I cast my line farther than my husband. I have a very accurate cast - thanks to hours spent with my Poppy in his side yard with a fishing pole, a lead weight and a bucket. I bait my own hook, take off my own fish and even clean fish. I butcher deer with such perfection you would think that it had been done at a professional meat locker - thank you, Mommy for teaching me that. I hunt small game and turkeys. I don't care to hunt with people other than my family and my husband though. He hunts with his Minnesota friends during the Spring Snow Goose hunt. During this time I would rather take on other hunting party duties. Maybe someday that will change but for now I am happy that my current duties offer me more opportunities to photograph birds than to hunt them.

With our recent warm weather and heavy rains, the snow drifts and frosty white fields have disappeared to reveal ponds, heavily flooded fields and ditches. To humans this is a mess. To Snow Geese this is Heavenly. The Northward movement of the "snowline" is a signal to Snow Geese that they can migrate to Canada to start breeding. The goal of the Snow Goose hunting season is to reduce the population thus minimizing damage to crops. "Snows", as they are commonly called, do not travel in small flocks like Canadian Geese. They travel in huge flocks with other geese called "Blue Geese" ranging from 500 to as many as 100,000 birds. Yes, this is hard to imagine, but it is incredible to see. It is estimated that there are 4.5 million Snows that migrate back and forth each year. During their travels, Snows in mass, will pull up rye grasses by the roots and clear out wheat fields with ease.

Since the day I saw my first Snow Goose migration I have been in awe of this wonder of nature. It is amazing to see these huge flocks assemble into a mesmerizing spiral of birds in multiple layers of the sky. The sound of thousands of Snow Geese is unnerving at first; it somewhat resembles the sound of the movie The Birds. But as you watch and listen the sound is simply amazing. The landing formations of Canadian Geese - or "Honkers", as they are known - and Snows greatly differ. Honkers stay in their straight formation, set their wings and land. Snows are much more dramatic and beautiful. In unison, the flock swells and swirls like a white tornado, swooping and rising, always together as though tightly choreographed. When they take off it is equally exciting. I LOVE to photograph a "fly out" it is incredible to see 100,000 birds get up, all at once, like a cloud of black and white confetti rising from the field.

During Snow Goose season I am chauffeur, navigator, scout and photographer - oh, and cook. I always send the guys out with a warm breakfast - breakfast burritos are a big hit with hunters - and have warm soup or stew ready in the evening during the big weekend hunt. Today was the start of my Spring Snow Goose duties. The first flocks of Snows have begun to migrate through South Eastern South Dakota. Each and every time I find it amazing. My husband and I set out this afternoon to "scout" for geese. We spent a few hours searching for, following and observing the incoming flocks. During this scouting time we determine the common "flyway" that the birds are following and make note of any large concentrations in particular fields, ponds or other locations. This information will be of great use next weekend when my husband's friends from Minnesota come to hunt. Due to the extensive flooding we have in our area it looks as though the guys will not be able to set up in some of the locations they usually use. But we have noticed new fields and areas that the geese are feeding. This will definitely benefit the "Great Hunters" next weekend.

This is a mounted Blue Goose my husband shot last year.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Yes, I Am A List-Maker...And In Love with My 2720SL

Now that Spring has sprung I find myself spending more and more time making lists of things I need to get done, have to finish or would like to do once it is warm. Yes, I am a list maker. I believe it must be hereditary because my Mom is a list maker as well. I started making lists when I was in school. Back then it was lists of assignments, social events and household chores I needed to attend to. These lists were color-coded; a different color ink for a different type of list. Now that I am grown I have lists everywhere.

I have a sheet of paper in front of me, at the computer, at all times now. On the current piece of paper I have 3 different lists. I have listed bills to be paid - each one has been checked off as I paid it. I have a list of errands I need to run on Saturday. I also have a list of books I need to buy or find at the Library- OK, I don't NEED to get these books but I really WANT to. LOL

In my kitchen, I keep a running grocery list. This list is organized just as my Mom's list would be. In fact, if you walked into her kitchen right now, you would find her grocery list to be very similar to mine with food items on the left and other items on the right. My siblings and I laugh about the fact that my Mother's list has always started the same way: Milk, Eggs, Oleo... yes, it has always been Oleo, not margarine or butter. However, since we have been teasing her about this she has changed it to Milk, Eggs, Butter. LOL

On the end table next to my chair, in the Living Room, I have a list. This is my Spring/Summer list. These are things that I want to either accomplish or enjoy once warmer weather comes. This would include things like working on my flower beds, pruning the apple trees in my back yard, planting a small garden, take the boat out for some fishing and go camping.

Topping that list is CAMPING, of course. I am so excited to get our camper out this year. We have finally paid off the loan so she is all ours. I want to have that "home away from home" out on the road as much as possible this year. Of course, this will be at the mercy of our work schedules but we are definitely going to get to camp this Summer. I absolutely love our camper. It is a Trailmanor 2720SL. What is a Trailmanor? A Trailmanor is a fold-down pull-behind trailer similar to a Hi-Lo. A Trailmanor is the lightest and one of the easiest towing travel trailers. It has hard walls like a conventional trailer - no canvas - but it folds down like a tent camper for easy towing. Because of it's low profile, it only takes about one extra gallon of gas to tow a Trailmanor 100 miles. When my husband and I started out we were dedicated tenters. We spent many weekends, and 1 full week, each year camping in our tent at various Minnesota State Parks. Then we came to a realization: every time we go camping it rains at least one day. I believe this to be my personal curse since this has happened to me ever since I was a kid who camped with her parents. We grew weary of trying to dry out our supplies and bedding after each rainfall. We then graduated to a Napier Sportz tent that attaches to the bed of your pickup truck. This was unique, got us up off the ground, but was very limited in space. Because the Sportz tent only had room to put an air mattress in it, we still had to set up our old tent to use as a supply tent - which still had some damp spots when it rained. **Sigh** We then purchased a very old pull behind camper. This camper was waaaay back in the weeds on a farm and this baby needed WORK. But we pulled up our sleeves and dug in. My husband and I put new linoleum in, repaneled the ceiling, replaced the windows, made new curtains and sealed the roof. We LOVED this camper. We still needed to replace all the water lines and get the bathroom to work but it was so nice to have a place to go when it rained. We were loving the camper life, then we saw it...the Trailmanor. We were on our way home from New Ulm one day and saw this camper on a used car lot. It looked like a Hi-Lo but was priced MUCH lower. My husband had wanted a Hi-Lo for ages but they are very pricey and we just weren't financially ready for a commitment like that. After taking the tour, making sure the price listed was correct and finding out how easy it was to set up and take down I desperately wanted this camper. I NEVER make impulse purchases. NEVER EVER. But I was ready to drive to the bank right then and there. We told the fella we would contact him in a day or so. We immediately went home and hit the internet searching for information on this strange brand of camper. We had never seen a Trailmanor anywhere before. Since they are built in the South, that is primarily where you will see them. I have to say that I have only seen 5 other Trailmanors up here. I found out during my investigation that the price listed was incredibly lower than what this camper was worth. It was a steal. The next day we were proud owners of our Trailmanor and have been loving it ever since.
For the past few years we have not been able to get out in the camper very often. I had a terrible leg injury that prevented me from enjoying the camping life for a few years. Then our work schedules were pretty crazy for a while Also, a year ago we moved to another state and had too much going on. But this Summer will be different. This Summer we will discover new State Parks in a new state. We will walk and bike on new trails that we have yet to see. We will visit historical sites that we have never been to. I can't wait to set up the camper, put out that tacky green indoor/outdoor carpeting under my awning, hang my dragonfly twinkle lights, set out the lawn chairs and start the campfire. I long for those fun filled days and quiet evenings by the lake staring at the fire. I so look forward to those nights of stargazing and long uninterrupted conversations and laughter. I even look forward to those rainy days where my hubby and I can sit in the camper and play cards and board games. Summer 2010 here I come.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I have recently come across a great website with some Church-based comics. I just had to share this one with you. You can access these comics at http://www.zorowski.com/.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My Mother, My Best Friend

Since my post about my Cousin becoming a mother, I have been thinking quite a bit about my own mother. My mom has taught me many lessons throughout my life. Obviously when I was a young child she taught me the basics of life. However, as I got older many of the lessons that I learned from her were not "taught" per se, but more of observations on my part...observations oh how I should live my life in order to be a good person. She is an incredible example.

My mother has always been the most loving and unselfish woman I know. She has raised 3 kids and always thinks of herself last. She has always had to be thrifty. She made us clothes. She could make us a good supper out of virtually nothing in the cupboard - hence, our love for "toast and goo". She was always willing to sacrifice any little bit that she had to for her children or to help someone else. She is the type of person that would give away something that she loved just to put a smile on someone's face. She very seldom sat down to rest because we always needed something - or at least we thought we did... I remember, as a child, how she would put an extra blanket on my bed in the winter, even if it was HER blanket. I remember so many times, when we were children, she would make sure we had warm coats or new school clothes even though she needed a new coat herself. She has instilled this in me, I now see, as I too find myself putting things back, in the store, so that I can buy things for others.
To this day she knows the exact way I like my scrambled eggs - she makes the best "milk eggs". She would either buy or make us a new pair of slippers every year even though we may not have outgrown our old slippers. Actually, she made us all slippers again for Christmas - and I mean ALL of us, her children and their spouses, her husband's children and their spouses and all the grandchildren. As you can see, she unselfishly gives of herself to each of us even now that we are grown. Even now, my mom lives her daily life showing love to those around her. She unselfishly gives of her time, her resources, her luxuries and sometimes even her sleep. Without any second-thoughts at all, she gives, not wanting anything in return except to be loved back. She doesn't always get that love in return but it does not stop her from giving.
My mother delights in making us and those around her feel special. This, for me, goes way back to my school days. On the first day of school, each year, my mother used to make us "smiley-face toast" and it meant a great deal to us. I recently did this for my husband on his first day at his new job, it really is a delight to do this. I am seeing more and more as I grow older that the actions that fill my heart with joy are actually things that my mother has done before me. Somehow, this woman actually taught me to be a kind, loving, selfless person simply by being my example.

My mother, along with my two grandmothers, taught me manners. I was taught manners that don't seem to exist as much as they used to. Not that kid, and some adults, don't' have manners now...they just aren't the same or maybe they just aren't as important as they used to be. Now that I really think about it, I wasn't taught only manners...I guess it was more about etiquette. I learned many of my manners from our family dinners and outings in public. We had to say please and thank you, have napkin in our laps, chew with our mouths closed, wait for everyone else to be at the table before you start eating and do not talk with food in our mouths. Yes, these are table manners. I also remember being told things such as; a lady does not slouch, a lady does not put her elbows on the table, don't' swing your feet in church - that one really irked my Grandma Waters - , don't put your lipstick on at the table, address your elders with respect and in an appropriate manner - Mr. Smith, Pastor Scott, Grandma Watkins, Uncle Bill; yes, I'm 38 years old and I still wouldn't dare call my Uncle Bill just Bill, that's not respectful, personal grooming is done in private - I recently witnessed a 17 year old in a restaurant cutting her fingernails at the table...good grief - and ultimately "Always be polite, as manners are how we show other that we have respect for them." I would not say that my mother or grandmothers would rival Hyacinth Bucket ~that's "boo-kay"~ in her efforts to "keep up with appearances" - that's a British comedy reference for those of you who follow. I would just say that my mother has good manners and wanted us to be raised to be respectful, respectable and polite.

My mother has always been the best friend I could ever ask for. Even as a teenager, I never really had a rebellious phase. I generally did what I was told, even today. Mother knows best, but that doesn't make me a pushover. Instead, it makes me someone who respects the advice of both my mother and my best friend who are one in the same. A mother's love is unconditional which isn't always the case with best friends. I can choose my friends, but I can't choose my mother. Ours is an everlasting bond. If I didn't often say I love her...well, I don't really know what would happen because I always tell her that I love her. She's my mother, my best friend.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Welcome Isaac Matthew / Not Everyone Can Be A "Poppy"

Sunday, February 28, 2010 my Cousin Katie had her first child. He is a beautiful baby boy named Isaac. After church, my husband, Rick, and I drove over to Sioux Falls to meet Isaac and to visit with my cousin, her boyfriend and my favorite Uncle who I have called "Daddy Bill" since my brother started calling him that when he was about 3 years old.

Isaac Matthew came into the world at 12:45 am weighing 8 lbs. 6 oz. and measuring 20 3/4" long. He is absolutely beautiful. He did not cry once while we were there. According to his mommy he did not really cry when he was born nor did he when given his Hep B Vacc. Katie has been blessed with a good baby.

It was so good to see my Daddy Bill. I don't think I have seen him since the Memorial Service for my beloved Aunt Chris, 5 years ago this April. He is my absolute favorite Uncle. Daddy, Daddy Bill, Poppy - those are the names he goes by now-a-days. He's very good at all the duties required of all of those titles. Not everyone can be a "Poppy" in my opinion. My cousin Jamie - often called "Jamie John" by the family, just as I am known as "Joy Jean" by the family - and I started calling our Grandpa Waters "Poppy" at a very young age. He has been known as Poppy by all of his wonderful grandchildren ever since. Our Poppy was a wonderful man. Poppy was loving, patient, kind and dependable. He is my hero and I hold him in the highest esteem possible. I once thought nobody could ever be another "Poppy." But now that I see Daddy Bill with his children and grand children I stand corrected. Only certain people will ever be able to fill the shoes of an actual "Poppy" and my Daddy Bill is more than qualified.

I have been really struggling with some sadness since we went to meet Isaac. I feel that I'm not exactly entitled to these feelings. These feelings should be Katie's, as Aunt Chris was her mother and I'm just one of the cousins... I wish Aunt Chris had been there. Oh, I know she was THERE and probably had been since Katie checked into the hospital on Friday night. Kate is sure her mother was with her the whole time. But I wanted her to be there in body. I wanted to see her hold Isaac. I wanted to watch her hold Katie's hand. I wanted to hug her. I wanted her to put her coat on and leave with us, riding down in the elevator, walking across the parking lot with my Daddy Bill.

I miss you Aunt Chris and I love you dearly. By the way, Isaac looks a great deal like you in his face. He is definitely your grandson.