Monday, January 30, 2017

Weekly Review #183

Oy, wimpy week. Still feeling under the weather. A solid week of sick. Not "sick" sick but motivation to move has been missing. At least my appetite was affected a bit. NUMBERS: Up just a little for the official weigh-in (.4). Average down a titch (-.27 to 179.46). Average intake 1943. Average daily burn 2274. Over by 393 for the week. 

10243 average steps. 
My brother emailed the family ... ;)
I didn't make it to Zumba once this week. I did go to the church on Tuesday, as Marian said she might be a little late. I made sure the door was open and lead the first song, attempted a couple more and then ducked out. I just didn't have the energy (and had three basketball games that evening I was still going to go to. Trying to conserve and rest up!)  I did get in my hour of elliptical three days, but fit a few more 10min sessions instead of my regular 20min ones. A couple other days I still got 40min on the elliptical, although not quite my hour (on Friday, I wanted to catch the most recent "Grey's Anatomy" ... it did motivate me to get down to the gym that day!) No weights, bike or treadmill. 

In addition to falling down my family fitbit list, I'm definitely down on my Fitbit friends list, #12 (my One) and #16 (my Charge) when I'm generally in the top 5 or so. I do have more challenge from my friends than family, where I'm usually in the top spot.   I like to have over 100K on steps.

Day by Day ...

  • Monday (0123): Managed my hour of elliptical, but not much else. Wasn't very hungry. 13494 steps, 2486 burn, 1400 intake.
  • Tuesday (0124): Just 40min elliptical ... I wasn't going to hit Zumba, but did end up going over to make sure the doors were open and class started on time, but then I ducked out. Three basketball games in the evening (3:30, 7:00 and 9:00).  12122 steps, 2361 burn, 1700 intake.
  • Wednesday (0125): Did my hour of elliptical. Got in some shopping steps. Made some muvees. 13651 steps, 2454 burn, 1800 intake.
  • Thursday (0126): Hour of elliptical but not a good day. Dragging and down. 14618 steps, 2528 burn, 2300 intake.
  • Friday (0127): Might have skipped elliptical today, but I wanted to watch last night's Grey's Anatomy, so I did ... 40min elliptical. No basketball games today. 9445 steps, 2190 burn, 2000 intake. 
  • Saturday (0128): No exercise today. Three basketball games (3:00, 4:00 and 9:15). 5280 steps, 2003 burn, 2003 intake (I usually round up my intake, but I thought it was funny that they came in EXACTLY the same as burn). 
  • Sunday (0129): No exercise ... didn't even leave the house. Turkey dinner that Hubs prepared. 3093 steps. 1893 burn. 2400 calories. 
 Five Featured Photos ...

Hubs made a fluffy cheesecake pie. Just cream cheese, cool whip in a graham cracker crust, but it's been a HUGE hit with the family. I'm not really a cheesecake gal, but I liked this. He also made an ice cream pie Saturday night. That was delicious too. Monday, January 23 was National Pie Day (although there is also a "pie day" on 3.14, March 14. I guess we'll just have to celebrate then too!).

... all the remaining photos were from Saturday!

Nope ... not exercising. Standing still watching an exciting basketball game! 6th grade game, but still ... 10 seconds left, we were down by two. Three pointer for the win! Whew!

#2 had been asked to the school Sweethearts dance ...

I think my anxiety and HR skyrocket again whenever we go to THIS middle school for games. Seriously, there is so little spectator space. I groan whenever I see this school on the schedule :(

I know they are all just estimates ... but intake and burn were EXACTLY the same for Saturday. Over ... because I'm supposed to have a deficit if I'm trying to lose weight.

... and of course on basketball highlight. My #2 passes for a DUNK! 

My video got picked up by the local news and was featured in their Top5 plays of the week.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Confident Choreography Clash

As I attend different Zumba classes ... at times I'll come across clashing choreography. Zumba puts out a couple different official versions, and then people come up with their own steps, or tweak moves. Sometimes my brain really battles the changes if I've gotten used to a particular presentation!

Here's a look a two different routines for Demi Lovato's song Confident ...

I was first introduced to this song last summer. Melanie was subbing for Marian at Mountain View and she brought in a lot of new material. Fun songs and steps. I really enjoyed this number.

(they mention a Melanie in the into ... not my instructor Melanie)

I remember the first time the song came on in a different Zumba class (MZL) ... my brain registered that this was one I knew. But then I didn't! Totally different choreography! The moves here were pretty simple and straight-forward though, so I was able to adapt pretty easily.


Melanie has gone on to start teaching her own classes. They are a little further away, and I'm a little stuck in my rut of my own routine, so other than the times she pops back to MountainView to say hello, I haven't had much chance to do her steps to the song. I LOVE when I can find the routines on YouTube though, to refresh my recollection.  Not that I have either routine committed to memory ... I still need to follow and instructor for either one!

Is this song part of your Zumba class repertoire? Are either of these routines "routine" for you, or are there even more options for class choreography out there?  Which one "wins" in your opinion?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Weekly Review #182

I seem to hold okay during the weekend ... until Monday morning. Seriously, two pound jump from yesterday to this morning? This was a bad weekend, I'll admit, although eating wasn't a huge issue. I was great Thursday, when I went to bed that night, I felt a little tickle in my throat. Sleep wasn't great, and Fri/Sat/Sun I had no motivation to move. I think it's just a cold. I haven't really had a fever, although I've had hot/cold spells. Unlike the flu of 2014, which took away my appetite completely (the one and only time ... scale shifted 10 pounds in that week) I've still been eating. Not hungry per say, but I feel the need to have something in my mouth, hoping that the act of swallowing will ease the irritation or something. No luck there though. Mon/Tues the kids were out of school, which throws my schedule off some too ...

NUMBERS: Official weight up .1 to 181.4. Average weight down .7 (179.3). Crunching numbers, I logged a small deficit this week (-600). Average intake for the week was 2057. Average burn 2496. Step average 14380.  FITNESS: I got in my hour of elliptical four days, hour of Zumba three days, got in a session on the bike and treadmill one time each, and I did WEIGHTS! Just one 40min session but still. 515/525 cardio minutes, 47.81 exercise miles.

  • Monday (0116): No school, MLK day. Just an hour of elliptical for exercise, but attempted to keep calories in check, even with making scones. Lots of carpooling kids around today. 14786 steps, 2559 burn, 1900 intake.
  • Tuesday (0117): No school for end of quarter. Got in my hour of elliptical, and Zumba with Marian. Basketball games in the evening. I hit the sophomore and varsity games, while Hubs took #5 to his 8:00 game. 20114 steps. 2819 burn. 2200 intake. 
  • Wednesday (0118): I skipped Zumba with MZL but I did do an hour of Zumba on my own, and even got decent stats! Also did 80min elliptical and WEIGHTS. Quite a bit of running around too (grocery shopping, carpools, ortho appointment). 26476 steps. 3218 burn. 1800 intake. 
  • Thursday (0119): Active day! 80min elliptical. Zumba at MountainView, I was in charge today and got great numbers. Also got in a session on the bike and a treadmill walk. Basketball practice for #4 in the evening. Foggy driving! 27533 steps. 3229 burn. 2400 intake.
  • Friday (0120): Not feeling great. Got the kids off to school, I don't normally drive middle school anymore, but did today. Didn't feel up to exercise, just tried to get a few things done around the house. Went to the varsity game in the evening - exciting end! We won. 3901 steps.. 1887 burn. 1800 intake.
  • Saturday (0121): Not sick enough to need medicine, and still went to the boy's basketball games at 1:00 and 4:00 ... but didn't get much else done. 4341 steps. 1899 burn. 2300 intake.
  • Sunday (0122): Hubs did Sunday Circles for breakfast and Pot Roast/Mashed Potatoes for dinner. Not cooking because I'm sick ... he just does these all the time! I did still attempt to help with clean up. Finished up FAFSA with #2 and completed a couple highlight videos. 3480 steps. 1859 burn. 2000 intake. 

 Dang Cold Sore! Still!

Hubs bought me new cordless noise-cancelling headphones!
I wear them to games - Audiobooks while I watch.

Good stats from Zumba on Thursday!

I didn't make it up to the sophomore game on Friday,
But still got to feel like I was there.

Those same boys on Saturday supporting a buddy competing in the 
National Xbox Madden tournament.

... and a quick video clip of the excitement Friday night at the varsity game.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stories of Shared Souls ... and light blue book covers

Time for a RECENT READS blog post ...
I've laughed a little to myself, and my "multiple personalities" ... I feel my life has three divisions. Family and Friends, Health and Fitness and then Basketball Mom. I have separate social media accounts for each "personality" and it works out perfectly.

It's been a bit of a theme in my recent reads too. I reviewed "The Body Institute" back in September, and then read The Hybrid Chronicles and the Starters/Enders series ... all completely different in storyline, yet they all had a similar feel, with more than one person in one body (and their covers all have a similar light blue look too!)

The Starters/Enders series had a different cover set too ...
Starters/Enders is a two book series. While the world setting was different (here, a virus has swept the globe. A vaccine was given to the most vulnerable, the children and the elderly, and they are the only ones to survive). Whereas in "The Body Institute" ... the mind of one (someone motivated to exercise and eat right) was inserted into an overweight body, here, Prime Destinations, called "the body bank" entices young people to loan their bodies so that the elderly and once again experience youth. Very similar premise. Contracts, agreements between parties, one mind "stored" while another takes over.

I experienced this as an audiobook. Not the best narrator, she was a little dry ... but I enjoyed the story. In addition to the "mind swap" similarities, I've read several books where the post-apocalyptic situation was similar (although in "The Girl Who Owned a City"  "Kahayatle" "Gone" and "Night of the Purple Moon" it was all just kids who survived. No adults. Here, the "grandparents" were still able to keep the world running more smoothly than in other apocalyptic reads. 

There was one little moment that caused me to laugh out loud though ... one of the older gentlemen was talking and says "remember when we could travel? Now Mexico built that wall to keep us all out!"  I just thought it was pretty funny considering the current political situation!

I really enjoyed "The Hybrid Chronicles" ... and I loved their covers! The consistency throughout the three books, the duality represented visually, the Me, We, Us emphasized in font and title. And such a unique idea! Everyone is born with two souls within them. For the first few years of life, both "children" are part of the family. As the child grows, it's expected that one soul will be dominant, and the other, recessive soul, will fade away. Can you even imagine? Even sharing one body, as a parent, having a child you knew you were going lose? It's just the way it is. There is a small, private mourning, then it's not really talked about and life goes on. It's NOT normal if one of the souls refuses to fade. Here, with Addy and Eva, Addy is the dominant soul and Eva is almost gone. No one but Addy knows she is actually still around. Eva is only a voice in Addy's mind, a presence. She can't take control of the physical body or speak ... until someone guesses that Eva is still there and works with the girls to help her regain those abilities. There are other "hybrids" out there but they are viewed with suspicion and taken for "treatment" ...

I listened to the first two as an audio download from my local library. Great narrator. Unfortunately book three wasn't available at my library in anything but a physical printed book. The thought of having to go to the library, pick up an actual book, lift the heavy thing to read it, turn pages, lug it with me ... what can I say? I'm a complete digi-convert! I actually paid $10 to buy the final  book (couldn't quite justify the extra cost of audio, although I did miss the narration). I'd recommend this series and think back on it very fondly!

Parts of it reminded me a bit of The Tripartite Soul, which I also read last year. In that one, three different people have their own separate bodies (and one of them is a dragonish creature, not a human) but their consciousness is linked. As Addy/Eva could leave to "leave" to give each other a bit of privacy, so could the characters in this story build walls to attempt to shut each other out a bit.

The blue/white covers reminded me of another series ...
I also read "The Clone Chronicles" last year ... unlike the other books in this blog post, this is not two minds in one body, but two identical bodies (an original and a clone), with their own individual souls (although the clone isn't encouraged to think that way).  But again, you have the idea of coming across this person and thinking "who is it really inside?"

I have NOT yet read this series ...
It sure matches the light blue cover theme doesn't it? I guess there are so many stories out there, that there are going to be similarities in covers and ideas. I'm sure there are more I haven't mentioned ... yet to discover. So much reading left to do ...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekly Review #181

So ... technically down a pound, but that's also within general fluctuations. Still, glad to be not quite as high this Monday morning as I was last Monday morning. I think I like the switch to Mondays. It feels like more of a representation of my week. Knowing I had the official weigh-in after the weekend helped a tiny bit... maybe? Weekend wasn't as wicked as it could have been. 

Still, I was hoping for a little more "return to routine" with the kids back in school. I was hoping for my "Motivated Monday" and weekday energy ... I had a couple good days, but I still feel like I'm dragging on a daily basis.  NUMBERS: Official weight was down 1.1. Average only -.02 (180.43). Intake average for the week was 2371. Burn average was 2675. An overage of 1074.  Step average 16404. Still no weights (I KNOW, I need to get back to that), 580 cardio minutes, 62.03 exercise miles. FITNESS: Got in my hour of elliptical four days this past week, two Zumba classes, hit the bike twice, and one time on the treadmill.

Oops, I'd been such a good girl and got my post up Monday morning, forgetting that my weekly Fitbit report hadn't come in yet. It popped up in my email, so here it is updated. This week was better than last week, with increases in every area. My treadmill walk on Sunday didn't register (I got the steps, and really should have received 7 days exercising ... although okay, it was just a walk, not really "exercise" per say, so ....). 

The Fitbit stats and MY stats differ a little on a couple of points ... cardio minutes is what I calculated (I always just input an hour of Zumba, whether it was 57 min or 65 min). Sometimes I'll get some extra credit from Fitbit as I walk away from a workout, whereas sometimes it won't count a bike ride (not a lot of "steps" in cycling). Fitbit's active minutes are usually higher, but not always. Miles ... I'll note down what my machine (treadmill, elliptical, bike) says for each workout, and I use the Fitbit estimate for Zumba to get my mile estimate. Fitbit takes the total steps (exercise and regular daily activity) and just uses the generalized "a mile is a bout 2000 steps" to get their estimate. With all the extra non-exercise steps, Fitbit's mile number SHOULD be higher, except for my bike/elliptical. An 8 mile ride on the bike will only credit about 1 mile per Fitbit (usually about 2000 "steps" register for those 30minutes) and my Elliptical says I've gone two miles in 20min, but the Fitbit will register just over 2000 steps. I really don't care much on the miles numbers ... just interesting to note how they change week to week.

I didn't grab my Friends List until I updated this post ... when I first looked this morning, my JenB profile was actually in 1st place. It sure can change quickly, depending if someone has updated recently (and if that included a good/bad day to impact the standings). Christa (#1 spot) hadn't been able to get hers to sync, and it finally did (so she popped up to the top).

The Day by Day ...

  • Monday (0109): Back to routine, but not back to Zumba. Got in 80min elliptical and a session on the bike though. Stayed busy with carpools, grocery shopping, dinner and a FunShot competition in the evening. 20924 steps. 2942 burn, 2400 intake.
  • Tuesday (0110): Got in 80min elliptical and Zumba with Marian. Basketball games in the evening. Three games, I was only able to get to two. 23919 steps. 3040 burn. 2400 intake.
  • Wednesday (0111): Managed my hour of elliptical in the morning, but that was it for exercise. Had to make a store run, prep dinner (soup, breadsticks, cinnamon rolls) and then had a dental appointment. 16363 steps, 2771 burn, 3100 intake (oops!)
  • Thursday (0112): Zumba with MountainView, 90min elliptical and a session on the bike. Good active day! Basketball practices in the afternoon/evening and Hubs is home! 25839 steps, 3421 burn, 2400 intake.
  • Friday (0113): Slow start morning. Only 30min elliptical today. Basketball games - two OT wins. 8917 steps, 2212 burn, 2200 intake.
  • Saturday (0114): Got in 30min elliptical again today (finished up "The OA") and the littles each had a game (one loss, one win). 11018 steps, 2311 burn, 1800 intake.
  • Sunday (0115): Did an easy walk on the treadmill, 1.5 miles. Sunday Circles for breakfast, smoked brisket for dinner. 7848 steps, 2027 burn, 2300 intake. 
Five Featured Photos ...

 Tuesday night game was at my old Alma Mater ... 
Cottonwood High School

 Pictures of my #2 from that Tuesday game. Got the win.

Hubs upgraded me to the iphone7 .... 
I forgot the little adapter for my headphones (I wear them at the games). 
I have it set up now.

 Wednesday's soup ... chicken veggie.

Hubs smoked brisket for Sunday dinner.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thrifty Thursday - 2016 Reward Reviews

In the past, I've written several different Thrifty Thursday posts featuring different reward programs. My Achievemint Update Update has overtaken my Fitbit post for my most frequented blog. I think this has to do with the changes introduced to the program last year. People are hearing about Achievemint, Googling it,  and finding my reviews ...

I still love Achievemint. It's just an easy, no-brainer one. Sign up, link your device, and forget about it. Check it once in a while (I've signed up for weekly emails) and then redeem your reward.  I have mentioned ... my family has abandoned their Fitbits. As my husband got an Apple Watch instead, he was still wearing his Fitbit (a clip-on Zip) for me. I told him he didn't need to bother and he did stop, although he asked "don't you earn points for it or something though?"  Yes, yes we did. And not that he's been getting a lot of steps in, but it adds up after a while. Unfortunately, the Apple Watch is not one of Acheivemint's connected apps. But, I happened to log onto Hubs account ... and he had enough points to redeem $10! And boy were they quick! Unlike in the past when we had to wait weeks, this time turnaround was in a flash!

I'm still earning points for Achievemint ...
As 2016 ended, I decided to cash out my Pact earnings. 

 I'd earned just over $113 in 2015. I'd been a bit wimpy in 2016, only committing to four days (both fitness and food tracking) a week. In those two final weeks of December, I even took a break from that (and tried taking a break from my calorie counting on My Fitness Pal). As 2017 began, I restarted my Pact ...

I still really miss FitStudio (Kmart/Sears ShopYourWay points). Since FitStudio closed up shop, and my local Kmart closed too, I really haven't paid much attention to the program. I still get some emails (I haven't opted out) but I admit I rarely read them. Perhaps I should have. I was glancing at one this past weekend ...

 $13 at Sears, $7 at Kmart ... there isn't a Kmart nearby anymore, but we do still have a SearsGrand close, and I can often shop online and have an item delivered to that store and not incur any shipping costs. That would have been some almost free stuff! I had glanced at the email and for some reason Jan10 stuck in my mind as the expiration. I logged on Monday morning (the 9th) ... and I was too late. Even without FitStudio, sometimes there are still deals/coupons coming through that are worth investigating.

That's all for now! 
Check back for more Thrifty Thursday posts in the future!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Entertainment ala International Espionage

When I first started exercising in my home gym, music was my motivator. I did have a TV/DVD in the room too, and I'd checked out "24" from the library. In order to get through the disks by the due date, I figured I'd better watch while working out ...

That was my first exercise entertainment ala espionage. 

I LOVED the action while I exercised. How could I not absorb the energy as Jack Bauer saved the world? How could I think I was tired on my little machine, when he was running for his life? As each episode ended on a cliff-hanger, I couldn't wait to get back to my gym for just one more session/episode to find out what happened next.

I've watched all the available seasons of 24. I know there is a new edition coming out, and I'll probably watch (although I think I'll wait until the season is complete rather than attempting the week to week). But there are other action/espionage shows to keep me entertained while on the elliptical. 

I just finished up Madam Secretary (season 1). Seasons 1 and 2 are available on Netflix. Season three has aired but isn't available yet.  This show had really high ratings, and I've always liked Téa Leoni, so I figured I've give it a try. I'm not super into politics, but after this last year's presidential election, it had been hard to stay in my little non-political bubble. While absolutely understanding that this is fiction, it was interesting to see the inner workings of the White House portrayed. To see how the US works with other countries. I also really enjoyed the family life included here. It wasn't quite "on the edge of my seat" action, but I liked it a lot. 

I'd also given "Strike Back" (on Amazon Prime) a try. I really liked it too. I was a bit confused at the start. Right at the top, we are introduced to captured agent "John Porter" and there seems to be a back story there. Apparently there is a "Strike Back" before this one, although the one I was watching is labeled Season 1 and is the start of this series. This comes from Cinemax, and it is very cable (profanity, sex, violence). I swear ... the one fellow gets laid almost every episode! While I started this downstairs myself, when Hubs wanted something new to watch, I mentioned it to him. We ended up watching together upstairs (although it was a good energy for exercise!). Seasons 1-3 are available on Prime, and we watched those. You have to pay for Season 4 (we have not watched it, it was about time for a break from all the blowing up of everything anyway) ...

 A while back, Hubs and I caught ...
I've generally liked AMC productions (The Walking Dead, Humans, The Killing, Breaking Bad) so when I saw this miniseries with some big names (recognized quite a few of the actors from other shows/movies), I figured I'd give it a try. It was quite "James Bond" ish, especially the intro song while the credits roll. A little cheesy. Honestly, I wasn't overly impressed with this one.  I had a hard enough time following it watching the episodes back to back ... if I'd had to wait a week in-between, watching other programs while waiting, I think I would have lost interest completely. But it was short, so I finished it up, but I was rather glad when it was over.

 What else?

While "24" was the first action show I exercised to, I'd loved Alias airing years before ... although I admit, I did stop watching around the third season I think. Hubs and I also watched Homeland and thought it was good. I've watched the first few seasons of The Unit. Army Wives doesn't have a lot of international espionage, but is a bit of a counter-point to The Unit which features the men and the action, with the wives as back stories. In Army Wives, the spouses and their daily lives are front and center, while the men's army careers add the action on the side (although still not a ton, more of a soap opera, not quite as heart pumping for working out, but I liked it and finished the series). I watched Last Resort on DVD (as it never hit streaming on Amazon, Netflix or Hulu). I am currently caught up with Designated Survivor, which premiered this fall.  

What action/espionage series have you enjoyed?

I did a post a bit ago on "End of the World" TV series ... and while I read a ton of post-apocalyptic stuff in addition to watching it, I really do NOT read action/espionage stories. I'll watch them, and love them, but they just don't really appeal when it comes to my book choices.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Weekly Review #180

It's 2017.

With the new year, and the fact that I hadn't completed my Weekly Weigh-In post last Friday, I thought "I wonder if I should switch my official weigh-in?"  Now, a Monday morning weigh-in is CRAZY, because that's almost always my high, as my exercise/eating slip Saturday/Sunday (Friday too).  But maybe, knowing it's coming, that might inspire me to be better with my food/fitness on weekends? Probably not ... but in my head, my week starts Monday, ends Sunday. My "weekly posts" here always felt just a little off as with my Friday weigh-in, my weekly report ran from Friday through Thursday ...

So, I thought I'd switch up the schedule ...
Unsurprisingly ... I'm up. Although the scale was holding (even went down) Saturday and Sunday. Monday mornings though. I hit the same high after last long weekend (Tuesday morning).  NUMBERS: Official weigh-in is a 2.7 increase. Average also up .72 (179.73). I tried to get back to tracking after taking a couple weeks off. Intake average 2370. Burn average 2394. Step average for the week was 12405. 491 cardio minutes, 39.18 exercise miles. I hit Zumba classes twice, and got in my hour of elliptical four times.

Another benefit to shifting to Mondays, is my Fitbit tracking runs from Monday-Sunday (this is a personal preference, you are in control of the setting).  I get a report each week. Currently my goal is set to 22k per day. I might switch it to 10k (which is what it is preset too, I had bumped it up, but ... my steps have slipped of late!) ...

I don't always look at this report ... it comes in my email and I move it to my "Fitbit" folder. I think I'll include it here on my weekly report though. My "burn average" estimate listed above is a bit lower. My miles listed above are only "exercise" miles, while the number listed here comes from the complete step total (so it will always be higher)... although THIS week, my totals above have three extra days included (Fri/Sat/Sun from the week before as I made the scheduling switch). I get this report from my ChargeHR account too ... I grabbed the three bottom tiles from that report, as they don't get calculated with my One device.

I still love my Fitbit(s) Feedback ... *Ü*

Day by Day ...
  • Friday (1230): No exercise. Hubs had the day off, but #5 and I were off to a couple games with his basketball tournament. Christmas cleanup. Dinner in the evening with my folks. 8497 steps. 2142 burn. 2400 intake. 
  • Saturday (1231): New Years Eve. Did one 20min Elliptical session. I got a new iphone7. Spent some time getting it set up. Hubs and the boys went to the Jazz game, then we had my folks over for games to ring in the new year. 10734 steps.
  • Sunday (0101): No exercise. Annual pastry wreath gathering. Popcorn and movie (DVD) in the evening. 13535 steps, 2489 burn, 2900 intake. 
  • Monday (0102): Southziders was taking the day off (New Year's observed), I did 20min Elliptical and shoveled snow. With #2 back home, we moved him from the upstairs bedroom to the downstairs one, completing the room rearrange. Hubs smoked tri tip for dinner. 13360 steps. 2455 burn. 2800 intake.
  • Tuesday (0103): Return to the routine. Got in 70min elliptical total for the day. Zumba with Marian. Watched/videoed Sophomore and Varsity games at  Hunter in the evening. Dominos for dinner. 23809 steps. 3141 burn. 1900 intake. 
  • Wednesday (0104): Got in my hour of elliptical in while getting the boys off to school. Zumba with MZL, but dragging! Made muvees of the wins last night, then technical difficulties had me frustrated! 22189 steps. 2932 burn. 1950 intake.
  • Thursday (0105): Not a productive day. I did get in my hour of elliptical, but no Zumba, as there was a funeral at the church. Still struggling with software, and had a dental exam/cleaning. Team dinner for the older boys, practice for #4. 13577 steps. 2474 burn, 2000 intake.
  • Friday (0106): Slow start ... and no exercise at all. So frustrated with the video editing issues. but downloaded a new program and got a couple highlight reels done. Early out for #5, and off to a birthday party. Sophomore and Varsity games in the evening. Finally got my customer support for my Muvee software and stayed up late making a highlight reel of the awesome OT win! 5381 steps. 1976 burn. 2200 intake. 
  • Saturday (0107): Busy basketball day. Dropped #3 at the school at 9:30 and didn't pick him up until after 8:00. Games at 1:00, 3:00 and 4:00. No exercise. 5478 steps. 1988 burn. 2000 intake.
  • Sunday (0108): Slow Sunday ... although I did a treadmill walk (2miles). 7492 steps, 1929 burn, 2650 intake.
Five Featured Photos ...
 New Year's Eve

Monday Snow Shoveling ... 
Hubs bought a snow blower later in the week.

Finished up the three bedroom switch up for the boys ...

Back to school ... Back to making lunches!

 Pro pictures (Tribune) of Friday's OT win.

... a couple video clips too.

A video posted by BlackhamBall (@blackhamball) on
Tuesday - my #3 got some playing time and made the most of it! 

Insane OT Friday night! 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Books Stats (2016)

I read a lot of books last  year.
I mean ... 137. Most people would agree that is a lot of books, right? I read 102 in 2015, 108 in 2013. My biggest year yet! I don't know if that's something to be proud of ... or embarrassed by! I mean, while reading is looked upon as a good thing, there are other items that need to be accomplished too. The addition of AUDIO BOOKS to my repertoire was new this year and that made a huge difference. It started out as an option while I waited for my basketball boys at practice. Practice was an hour, depending on the local, going back home and coming back just wasn't worth it. So I'd stay and read while I walked. Just listening was easier than actual reading. Once I started on audiobooks, I incorporated into every possibility. In the car, while cleaning the house, while sewing, while taking walks (all my duck/canal walks during the summer), while watching the boy's basketball games and going over their video highlights. Lots of listening!

Is listening to an audio book considered the same as reading a book? I would never say watching a movie is the same as reading the book, but movies and books differ. A lot! An audio book is exactly the same. You are just consuming the book through your ears rather than your eyes. I'd put off audiobooks. Disadvantages include getting distracted (which is SO easy to do), not being able to highlight words/phrases, not being able to quickly flip back and skim sections as needed ... and I read faster than most narrators talk. Many audiobooks do have speed options, and of course you can rewind or jump forward as needed, but it isn't as easy or appealing. That being said, I've learned to love audiobooks. I love being able to multi-task and do two things at once (as I often feel guilty spending so much time "just" reading). Good narrators can really add to the experience, especially with accents or voices my imagination may not have produced on it's own.

Back to the audiobook debate ... one of my pet peeves on Good Reads is that most audiobooks entered do not have page numbers listed. I love looking at the amount of pages! It's a barometer at times... I can read a 500+ page book that goes quickly, whereas a 250 page book can feel like forever. I need to see the number of pages listed, compare them ... add them up at the end of the year.

As I looked back over my books ... 85 books "read" and 52 were audio. ALL digital I believe. Seriously, the thought of reading an actual physical book? Arrgg! I only gave five books top ratings (5star), four and three star reads stood at 61 each, with 10 two star. I HAVE given a one star rating before, but it takes a lot, and didn't feel deserved for any of my 2016 reads (even though I had a few  DNF this year ... did not finish). I've always tried to just finish books before ... but there are so many new novels  waiting for me, why keep reading something if I'm not enjoying it? You can check out more details of my 2016 Goodreads books too ...

The majority of my books were borrowed (digitally) from my library. I did initiate the Kindle Unlimited trial, and I read several books (they also had audio options) during that 30-day span. I also tried to take advantage of my Amazon Prime perk, borrowing a book a month from their lending library. I only bought a couple books ... it's hard to justify when I have so many (library list/kindle cloud) available already.

It was interesting, as I went back and looked at the books from this year ... the audio books really stand out in my memory. For most, I can remember listening to them. I can recall what I was doing (oh yes, that book was while watching the boy's basketball, I remember mowing the lawn with that one, ahh ... cleaning the basement while listening to that). The narrator's voices have stuck in my head, especially if accents were involved. A couple times, I went from an audiobook to actually reading (several series had audio for some but not all the books) and would still read with the same "voice" or inflection I'd experienced thus far. Switching from reading to audio ... that doesn't always work well for me, because I've already formed voices (and sometimes name pronunciations) in my head, prejudicing me against audio in an established series.

I don't have shelves indicating the book topics ... that would be interesting to track too. I'm sure a majority of my reads were post-apocalyptic in premise. Then there is the supernatural ... vampires, mermaids, aliens, werewolves, angels. Several science-fiction and quite a few fantasy. Time travel came up again and again too. Not much (if any) realistic fiction (other than re-reading "To Kill a Mockingbird").

Monday, January 2, 2017

Medical Monday - The Last Half of 2016

Medical Mondays aren't a regular monthly post here on my blog. That's a good thing. Generally, there just isn't that much going on, and I'm okay with that! I'll just add "Medical Mondays" here and there as issues come up (and this blog is my journey, so I need to include it all). Here's a look at the last little bit of 2016 in our home ...

I had to go to the Doctor and the Dentist in December.

I pop a pill everyday for my thyroid. My bottle was empty with no refills left. I was NOT looking forward to my annual physical. No reason really, I was just really not in the mood. That is why doctors hold prescriptions hostage I guess though, right? To force reluctant patients in? So I went. The visit itself was fairly uneventful. A longer wait in the lab for a blood draw. Urine sample did have an issue (an infection?) so I'll have to come back to check that, once I get my known infection take care of ...

One of the doctor's questions is about dental health/last dental visit. Yes ... that's another one I've been putting off. I actually had a problem, a back tooth, broken off so just the roots remained. It was infected. I was so afraid I'd have to go to an oral surgeon, but my dentist was able to take care of it, with antibiotics for the infection. I'm still scheduled to go back for a cleaning and a little more work.

As for the family ... we had an allergy issue!
Poor #3 ... we KNEW he had allergy issues (#1 and #5 too).  Unlike his brothers, he hadn't had any accidental ingestions over the years as the other boys have. It's nuts! What they are allergic to I mean. He'd "experimented" a bit of late, and seemed okay with Nutella (hazelnuts) and a BananaNut Muffin (walnuts) so he decided to try a cashew (actually a few ...). Still reacts to those! Normally with our boys, it isn't a life-threatening allergy (although we did end up overnight at the hospital with #5 when he was a toddler). There is swelling, itching and misery, but it doesn't quite get to where it impacts their breathing. #3 was miserable though. His nose wouldn't stop running, spots all over, itching all over. His slips and eyes were swollen. Of course we gave him Benedryl immediately. An on call doctor gave us a prescription for Prednisone and an EpiPen ($700 for that!). A cold shower seemed to help too and he moved from the angry itching phase to the drunk Benedryl phase (have you seen the movie "Hitch" ... many similarities this night). We were a heartbeat away from the ER if he indicated any breathing issues. He fell into a deep, exhausted sleep ... but I kept checking on him all night long! No worse for the wear in the morning (still a bit swollen around the eyes) and NO MORE cashews or other experimenting!

Hubs has unfortunately had a few Menerie's attacks this month too. He hasn't had any for a while (since June I think) and these weren't as bad as some (no vomiting) but each one still lays him out for a few hours each time. They are just so hard, because you just never know when they will hit.

As far as feet ... there's been a touch of Athlete's foot on a couple of the boys (#3 and #5) and #2 has what I think is an ingrown toenail (or two), but we can't really do anything during until basketball season is done. Feet issues aren't really anything new for our family unfortunately (The Agony of DeFeet) but at least these aren't as bad in the past ... but I'm keeping my eye on them!

So I still have some follow up with the doctor and dentist. 
Wish me luck!

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