Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In & Recap: 1/28/14

DateWeightB.F. %Steps

Health and Fitness-y stuff
As evidenced by the significantly increased step count the past couple of weeks, I've made a few changes. I finally stopped letting myself make excuses about running. No more of this, "I'll just wait until I can run outside." Or, "I'll do it in 10 minutes." I pulled out my Nike t-shirt, looked at it, and just did it. My general fitness isn't as great as it was a few years ago, but I'm still able to do at least 10 minutes without stopping. As of last night, I'm back up to 18 minutes without taking a walk break.  Within the week, that should get up to 20 and from there, I'll add slowly back up to 30 minutes. It feels good to be running again, even if it's slowly on a crappy treadmill.

I've also been trying to avoid the 'must decrease calories to lose weight' mindset. I was being too restrictive with it which just caused me to want peanut butter and chocolate even more. It's only been a couple of weeks but it seems to be working. I don't want to jinx myself so that's all I'm going to say for now.

Recap Things
I received an IKEA gift card for Christmas because, well, I asked for one. I know IKEA is renowned for it's cheap furniture made out of the crappiest particle board on the earth, but sometimes you just need some cheap furniture to fill a space. Specifically speaking, I needed some items for what will be my craft room. Eric had never been to an IKEA before so we decided it was time to make the hour drive out there two Saturday's ago.  Eric's first impression? IKEA looks like an airport. I'd never really thought about it before, but he's totally right. It's even complete with a crummy cafeteria!

We both have pretty short fuses when it comes to dealing with overcrowded stores filled with people who don't grasp the basic concept of traffic flow down an aisle. So it was an achievement when we got in and out with speed and no rage on our parts. Now my craft room looks much better:

Power tools made the assembly of the coffee table way easier. I still want one more piece of furniture, a small armchair, to go in the corner where I stood to take this picture. Then if my mom and I ever have our craft skills exchange day (it's been canceled 3 times now!), we'll be able to sit and sip coffee while knitting.

Random Junk
One of my coworkers and I were discussing Steam's trading card system last week. Originally, I'd had no idea what the purpose of the trading cards in my Steam inventory, but now I understand. And now I'm totally hooked on it. Apparently, collecting trading cards allows you to assemble little profile badges and get rewards like emoticons, profile backgrounds and coupons that steeply discount games that may or may not be crappy. I put $5 on my Steam account and went to town buying Don't Starve trading cards so now I have three different emoticons and a new profile background:

Steam certainly knows how to capitalize on people's desires, or at least my desire, to collect things.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dining Room Facelift: Part 2 - Stripping Paint Sucks

Before Eric and I moved into the house, we decided we wanted to have it cleaned since it wasn't all that clean. There were hairball tumbleweeds rolling along and there was a fine layer of dust all over the floors. I tried desperately for a week to get a professional cleaning service come but we had waited too long and no one had any availability. My mom and I ended up cleaning the entire house top to bottom. Charlie helped by eating the paper towels:

It was a long day but in retrospect, I found it enlightening. I noticed several aggravating details I missed during the inspection:
  •  The stove hood which vented to the outdoors that I was thrilled to have because our cheaply built apartment just vented back into the kitchen (so useful, right?) still had its plastic on it. Yup. The plastic was still on it. It was installed with the plastic on it. It took about a half an hour and three people but we managed to get the plastic off without too much issue.
  • There are tiny bits of plastic varnished to the floor in the kitchen. I don't get how this happened but it's really obnoxious to me. Especially when I'm trying to use my Swiffer mop.
  • There are paint drips everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. They're on the floor. They're on the vanities. There were some on the mirrors in the bathrooms. It's a sloppy, sloppy paint job. Clearly the painter wasn't friendly with a drop cloth.
Now, speaking of sloppy paint jobs, we can move onto the real point of this post. In addition to getting paint drips everywhere, the trim was poorly painted a high glossy white. It has obvious brush strokes and there's hair and paintbrush bristles in it. As I was scrubbing the window casing trim around the bay window in the dining room, some of the paint started to peel off. I looked a little closer and I realized that the surface was never properly prepped. The polyurethane below the paint was completely intact and the paint had extremely poor adhesion.

This annoyed me.

A lot.  

A lot lot.

If it were just a single room, I think I could have gotten over it. Maybe. Probably not. But that doesn't matter because it isn't just the dining room. It's the whole house. That meant that when I started my work on the dining room a few weeks ago, I did so with the intent of fixing the trim. I figured stripping the paint would be the easiest way to get my trim to the state where I could repaint it properly. Thus I did a good amount of internet research and bought a sample of Peel Away 1 by Dumond Chemicals. It produced some decent results:

Unfortunately, it cost a lot more money than I was willing to invest. Thus I set out on a trip to Lowe's to find myself another paint stripper and the tools to finish the job. Amongst the array of options, I ended up selecting Citristrip because it was low v.o.c. and proclaimed to smell like oranges. I also picked up a cheapy chemical respirator because I didn't really want to die of orangey-paint-stripper fumes.

It was a messy, messy, stinky week but I got it done.

Paint be gone!
And I'm never doing it again. Ever. Jeez, what a huge pain in the butt.  I can't survive another week (or even a day, really) like that so I've enlisted the help of my parents and their tools to install new trim. I'm pretty sure that it'll be cheaper and easier in the long run. And so, it looks like part three of this new and ongoing series is going to be trim removal.

Stay tuned!

Part 1:  The Chair Rail

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In and Recap: 1/14/14

DateWeightB.F. %Steps

Fitness and Food stuff
I'm struggling to find the motivation to get back into a workout schedule lately, and my step count definitely shows that. I ran on the treadmill last night, which helped, and also made me so exhausted I fell asleep almost as soon as I got into bed. I actually think that that might be enough motivation to get me back into exercising. I've definitely struggled with sleep for the past couple of years.  I really believe this is mostly because my body feels like it has so much energy left in it from not working out that I thrash about and can't shut my brain down. I miss the days when I was running regularly if only because it helped me sleep better.

Recap things
This weekend was pretty boring, because it was dedicated mostly to this little beast:
He's cute but he must be at least 10 feet from his favorite human at all times and that can get annoying after a while. He also wasn't fond of me playing computer games instead of playing with him. I'll give him a pass since I think he was just feeling unsettled in a surrounding he doesn't remember.

Random junk
Speaking of computer games, I'm totally hooked on Don't Starve. The goal of the game is exactly what the title is, don't starve. It's a simple premise and executed well. There are tons of different ways to die in the game (from starving to freezing to death) and it's a challenge to see how many days you can survive. If you're into that kind of genre, check it out, it's worth it!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What I'm Watching

Or more accurately, what I’m recording, because TV shows aren’t good when you can’t fast forward through the commercials. And also because I can hardly find the time to watch the recorded episodes each week, let alone find the time watch live.


I’m thoroughly enjoying this season of Grimm. I love the developing relationships between the characters and having the Captain be an active player in the story line is great. It's giving me some Buffy the Vampire Slayer vibes and that's definitely a good thing. Let's just hope they don't introduce a Dawn.

Almost Human
I enjoy relationship between the series' two leads. I highly doubt that the series is going to become a regular and may not survive to a second season. SciFi like this just isn't mainstream enough to survive.

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I love this show. But I'm a huge Marvel dork and I love pretty much everything Joss Whedon does, so it was pretty much a given. I'm hooked right now because I'm just waiting on the proof that Skye is May's daughter.

Once Upon A Time
I'll admit, this season had a slow start. They spent way too much time in Neverland, but I kept watching it because of Hook. They renewed my interest with the midseason twist, so I'm excited to keep watching now.

Guilty Pleasures
Castle  & Bones
These are totally guilty pleasures because both series are extremely formulaic and neither are isn't pushing any boundaries. They're just something fun that Eric and I can watch together.

I enjoy the clever twist of making important (and previously male) characters female. It's definitely not a groundbreaking series but it's a fun filler series.

 I liked Haven a lot when it started. It felt new and interesting. The troubles were basically unwanted magical powers with profoundly negative consequences and that's not something I see or read about very often. I almost wish the series had just ended with Audrey going into the stupid barn last year, so I wouldn't have had to drop it. It's completely lost my interest and so it's come out of my DVR queue.

Sleepy Hollow
Ehh...it had it's moments but it lost me. I just stopped wanting to watch it so I dropped it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dining Room Facelift: Part 1 - The Chair Rail

This is probably going to be a several part series because it'll be easier to break down all the work I'm putting into it.

When we first toured our house with my friend and real estate agent, Margie, I professed my hatred of the chair rail in the dining room. I also told her that if we bought the house, that chair rail was toast. Don't get me wrong, I think chair rail can look fantastic when it's paired with wainscoting but when it just runs a line around the room? Ugh, it's just an eyesore because it calls attention to itself by looking completely out of place.

So, I took it down.

And beneath it, I found the ugliest wall-paper ever.

I suppose that when the house was originally built it looked suitably colonial with the two patterns separated by a piece of stained wooden chair rail.

Except that the house was built in the late '80s and that wallpaper was in the wrong century. I guess one set of previous owners realized this and stripped the wallpaper from above and below the chair rail. Fortunately the wallpaper was easy to remove. It was the kind that can be peeled off and any remaining bits damped and scraped off.

The previous owners then painted the room a strange orange color that I personally think looks like puke. And then, then they decided to paint all the stained and varnished trim a high glossy white latex. Poorly. Removing the chair rail made fixing that part of the poorly painted trim situation easy.

The rest isn't quite so simple and will be part 2.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In & Recap: 1/6/2014

DateWeightB.F. %Steps



I am totally a zombie today. It's my first day back at work this year. We get Christmas Eve to New Year's Day off and for the grand total of 3 days of PTO, I had two full weeks off. Two full weeks for my shoulder to heal up (yay!) and my sleep schedule to go straight to hell (boo). As evidenced by my abnormally low step count, I didn't exactly move around a lot either. As enthused (not) as I feel about returning to work, I'm appreciative of the return to a normal schedule. This transition day sucks though.

Today's going to be a gym day, the first since I messed up my shoulder, and I'm wracking my brain trying to plan a simple workout that won't result in a setback. I'm thinking the stair climber machine for cardio combined with some body weight exercises for strength should be simple and effective enough. Normally I'd pick the treadmill but the gym is bound to be overrun with resolutioners today.

I spent most of the vacation working on my home improvement project, which will get posted tomorrow.  I'm doing a lot of work in the dining room, so if you're interested, you can check it out tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Happy New Year! :)

I'm not really big on resolutions, but I do think that New Years Day is a good time to pause and reevaluate. It's always nice to have a general guideline of tasks to work towards before the end of the year. Especially for me, because I'm a pretty achievement-oriented person. I like the sense of accomplishment that achieving a goal brings. That being said, I know I can get ahead of myself a lot of the time. I'm constantly starting new projects and not finishing them. Or I take on something way too large without realistically thinking about whether or not I can finish it. I think even I have a blog post about this problem of mine in the archives from a couple of years ago. So this year, I've taken the time to critically analyze each of the goals I've set. They have to be realistic, achievable and instilled with a sense of purpose. And so, without further ado, here they are:

Keep doing Reformer at least twice a week
I've been stuck in an injured state a lot over the last couple of years and after two full courses of physical therapy, I'm pretty sure I know why. I have a crummy proprioceptive sense and unlike most people, I have to be taught what normal and correct feels like for many of my joints. Reformer class with Elena does exactly that. I leave every single class feeling more comfortable in my own body, feeling like I know how to move it through space correctly. At nearly $22, it's an expensive goal but the benefits are beyond worth it for me.

Be more mindful of food waste
It's a recurring theme with myself and Eric, we find ourselves throwing away uneaten food that's gone bad. It makes me feel wasteful in several regards, so I think it's time to crack down on this behavior. I haven't come up with a clear strategy for this yet, but I think a good place to start is with a reminder sticky note on the fridge door.

Clean up all my unfinished knitting projects
I have a lot of unfinished projects scattered about. They've been this way for years now, so I'm pretty confident they're never getting finished. I will take the time to frog (knitspeak for undoing all the stitches) them back to yarn balls.

Knit a Beekeeper's Blanket
Since I'm going to be have an abundance of tiny yarn balls from the previous goal, I'll have to find something to do with them. I was poking around Ravelry when I came across the Beekeeper's Blanket, which will suit my purposes just right. I like the fact that each tiny hexagon can be knit and finished quickly. I'm horribly bad at long projects...that's why I have to clean up all the unfinished projects to begin with.

Knit a pair of toe-up socks
I knit a sock once. Yeah, that's right, a single sock. The sock gnomes did not steal its counterpart, because it just never existed. On one hand (foot?), I'm impressed that I actually finished said sock, but it's not like I can really use it. I knit it top down (cuff to toe) and I wasn't too fond of the method. I think that this year I'd like to try to knit a pair toe up. I've seen plenty of methods on the internet that should help me do this.

Fix up the dining room
This should really be more, "Finish fixing up the dining room" because I definitely already started. It's been an exhausting process so far, and it definitely won't get left half done. I'd never be able to invite people over to my home to eat! At least I waited until after Thanksgiving to do this. I'll have to dedicate an entire post to this in the future, because right now I just don't want to waste words on it.

Build a raised bed garden and actually have a garden this year!
Can you tell I'm excited about this? At first I had grand ideas about how to do this. I was all but sold on building an 8'x12' deer proof garden. Then I realized I have a million other projects going on and I do not need something that is so big or extravagant. No, I think a 3'x6' raised bed garden will suit me just fine. It's by far cheaper ($335 vs. >$1200) and more maintainable since time is always limited by the fact that I have a 40 hour work week higher in the priority list.

And there you have it. My goals for the year of 2014. It seems like a lot right now, but fortunately I have a whole year to work on them. What about you, readers of this tiny little blog, what do you want to achieve this year? Leave me a note in the comments!