Day Nine and more adventures

Day Nine of the Gina, Azzie and Odin adventure!

It was warm, but not too bad this morning (cooler than yesterday) so I decided to take the dogs for Odin’s first walk in the Wald 🙂 We headed out from the parking lot up near the Blick and headed off on one of the slightly shorter walks, just to take it easy for him initially. He had a blast. I did let him off lead when we stopped for water, but he kinda wandered off and got a bit nervous so I put him back on and he was fine. I think he feels secure on the lead when he is in new places.
Dogs were all awesome. All pooped – all good. Odin’s a little soft, but not awful. Maybe too much marrow bone 🙂

And since Odin appeared to be quite tuckered out by the walk (it was only 45 minutes, but a lot of walking and sniffing) I decided today was the day to start his separation training.

I breezed around the apartment, acting like it was all normal, and closed the bedroom door just in case. Then I got my stuff together, put my slip slops on and got the dogs their jumbones – this is a signal to the girls that I am going out for a little while so they clearly conveyed this message to Odin because I gave him his, he settled on Gina’s bed (shame, not sure where she ate hers, as Azzie was on her bed and there was nowhere else really to eat it) and I left! Made no big thing about it, just said “bye guys, I’ll be back later” and headed out.

I asked my neighbour to keep an ear out, just to see if Odin carried on a bit (he does make a strange whine/howl noise for a few seconds when I take the other dogs down in the mornings and evenings, and when I go feed the stray cats – but it only lasts a short time) after I left, but she said she didn’t hear a peep the whole time I was gone. I was SO proud, and such a huge weight is off my shoulders now too. I didn’t push my luck of course – I was only gone about 30 minutes, max, including driving time – but it’s a good start and promising for the future. 🙂 I know my girls had a good deal to do with Odin’s relaxed attitude to the separation, and that makes me really proud of them too.

I took loads of photos on our forest walk this morning, so I will go through those today and post some later.

I have a house to clean too as my husband comes home soon – of course not sure of when, but it will hopefully be “soon” 🙂

I lost some more weight as well, so I’m feeling pretty awesome today.

All my pants are now falling down on me – which, while annoying, is pretty DAMN COOL! 😀

And all this weight loss just from my regular walking exercise with the dogs, and cutting my portions down. That’s it. Hard work, but so worth it. I have energy, my knee doesn’t hurt anymore (I mean I wasn’t OVERWEIGHT or anything – I was still in my BMI region, but at the top of it – but even just the weight I’ve lost has made a difference to that, so I cannot even imagine what a difference it makes to someone who is heavily overweight) and I sleep better at night. My hip doesn’t hurt as much either – but that could be the warmer weather, more than any weight loss. I can’t wait to start running again and see how THAT affects my weight too.

I had a “wow” moment last night: I realised I turn 40 this year. I really don’t feel like it, and I know that I don’t look it (generally) so I won’t act like it 😀 40 is the new 20!! Right?!

 

I also just moved my laptop back to my desk, so I am no longer sitting on the couch in front of the tv. This forces me to sit up straight so I can see the screen properly and use the keyboard without hurting my wrists, and it will help me focus on my tech courses as well. I’ve had plenty of time to veg out watching my tv series etc. When my husband gets home he will be in my place there on the couch, I’m sure! And rightly deserved after his time away.

I’m also working on a menu for the week, so I can shop for exactly what I need, and nothing will go to waste anymore. I’m tired of wasting food and buying things and not using them for what I bought them for! I’ll get some suggestions from his lordship as well. One of my ideas is a “something new night” where I take a recipe from one of my many awesome cookbooks and make that – something completely new. If it works and we like it, it can be added to the menu rotation. I’ve got enough meals for 2 weeks, including the “something new” night.

 

WoRMS and walks and ribs

Was reading an article about the WoRMS catalog (World Register of Marine Species) (http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31851525) on the BBC, and while I am quite happy about their achievement (finally sorting it all and finding out what was duplication and what really is extinct) I was quite sad that the catalog dropped nearly 50%. I personally do not think that that is everything to find in the oceans. There are still so many places they’ve not gone, because at the moment it’s just not feasible (pressure/depth/light/etc) that I think there’s still so much out there still to discover. Humans need to keep exploring.  Space. The oceans. We are a curious species.

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We also need to TAKE CARE of what we have already discovered :/ But that’s a whole different rant.

This morning was another awesome walk in the gorgeous German countryside. We walked with our buddy Ciara and her pooches and it was ICY cold to start. We had a rant, a chat, some conversations about things that only _we_ get. Dogs were brilliant – well behaved. I think they enjoyed themselves – the company. Their “mini-pack” of awesome. Sun shining, with a few clouds every now and then, crunchy frosted ground, an ice cold breeze, a good brisk hike.

and now – my weird totally NON-body-dismorphic-disorder moment (I don’t have issues, seriously) this morning: I found that, finally, after this latest (HEALTHY) weight loss… I can feel/see my ribs along the BACK of my body now as well. This might seem like a weird triumph, but when you’ve been “just slightly overweight” for a year or more it’s quite a warm and fuzzy moment. And I can see my vertebrae too, at the top of my spine. It’s not skeletal, it’s just there now, when I stretch or bend. It makes me feel like all the hard work is finally paying off and is becoming “visible” and that makes me feel good. This is how I _used_ to look – when I was fit and thin. I’m not bulimic, anorexic or anything else up that alley – I love food, i have a healthy relationship with it. I’m neither scared of it nor angry with it. It fuels me, fills me and keeps me going. Sure, I sometimes eat too much chocolate and pasta is STILL (and always will be) my food-nemesis, but I’m in control and I will never “give up” food. 🙂

 

Have a nice day!

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A New Year

So. 2015 huh? And still no flying cars.

Tesla’s are cool, of course – but they don’t fly…. yet.

ISIS are making a concerted effort to f**k the world up.

America slips deeper into idiocracy. (That movie is a scary warning, which unfortunately no Americans seem to take seriously)

My home, South Africa, begins to twist into “new Zimbabwe” thanks to Zuma and the ANC “gang” – with farm attacks and “reallocation of land” and load shedding and all that fun stuff. Apparently Zuma blames the “white colonials” for all the trouble they (the black people) are having now in South Africa. Yeah. Because it was so rosy before they arrived, right?

Dogs are doing well (although G is having a bad tummy morning – but I know the reason why and I have taken steps to sort her out)

Husband is still away. They extended his mission time.

So there went our Nordic dream trip. Yay army.

One good thing came of all that mess – in trying to sort out a shengen visa to travel around Europe, I discovered that because of various factors (foreigner, married to a US military member, living in Germany on orders) I can actually get a kind of residence permit, which will allow me to travel Europe without the need for a visa! Yay!

So this afternoon I’m off to see Mr Kupke at the “government house”  (not the Rathaus, he was quick to clarify) and begin the paperwork for that.

I just let Gina out on the balcony for the 10th time this morning, and 7 seconds later she was at the door, asking to come back in – I timed it. Seriously. She’s worse than a cat. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with this in and out and in and out and in and out every 2 minutes, so she can now sit there and chill until I feel like opening the bloody door again.

UPDATE: there was a reason for her restlessness – she is quite unwell. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea. So I rushed her through to the vet. No parasites or Giardia, thankfully. But she will have to fast for today and see how she does tomorrow with a little bit of chicken or something. Danke schon, Doktor Dehn.

Been a few months now as a vegetarian and I’m doing well. No anemia, no weakness or issues. I’ve been using an app called “MyFitnessPal” which helps me count calories etc and I have been slowly and steadily losing weight. I’ve lost 10lbs now, and while I have hit a slight “rut” now, hovering around a weight, I just need to be disciplined and stick to it and I am sure I can lose some more. I’m close to my goal weight. I just need to stay on track.

We’ve had loads of snow, but I think it’s now petering off a bit. We’re heading into March (it’s Gina’s 6th birthday tomorrow!) and it’s starting to warm up. Then again, Germany (Baumholder especially) likes to keep us on our toes when it comes to the weather.

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Queen of Excuses

I am the queen of excuses.

Sometimes they are valid, but mostly they are just pathetic attempts to make myself feel better for being lazy/clumsy/fat/uninspired.

So yesterday, I finally kicked my own butt, and made an effort. I signed up to Livestrong Women and got the “MyPlate” app for my phone as well.

It has a calorie tracker. I set my current weight, my goal weight, my age, my sex, my height and my activity level and it told me how many calories I should try and consume a day to help me lose weight.

I thought – that looks easy! And then I started actually putting in the things I was eating and wow do those calories add up quickly! Luckily, I saw that a nice easy dog walk a few times a day helps a GREAT DEAL – so imagine how fat I would be if I didn’t have my girls to keep me active?!

So today, I am feeling much better about it all – I know I _can_ go through the day on the calories I have to consume, without feeling hungry, and as long as I keep up with the dog walking, I will manage to lose some weight. Of course, I need to get a scale to actually see if I’ve lost anything!

One of my many excuses for not running started out as a legitimate one: while at the dog park, one of the dogs (not Azzie, surprisingly!) slammed into my knees and popped my right knee back very hard. It was swollen and bruised for over 2 weeks and I could barely walk, much less run. So I gave it 4 weeks to heal. That was 6 weeks ago. So. No more excuses. I MUST RUN! If dog walking takes off anything from 97 to 170 calories, imagine what running can do?! Come on, biatch, get your fat butt in gear.

I must just ignore the guilt I feel for leaving behind two perfectly good dogs while I go off and do stuff on my own… right?

It’s hard. They do everything with me – they are with me nearly 24/7 (only times they are not is when I have to go into a shop etc, so I leave them at home – I don’t leave my dogs in the car if it’s even vaguely warm outside – and if it’s cold, I still only do it for maximum of 5 minutes) so it’s difficult to leave them behind and head out the door in my running shoes. I know it’s all me! They don’t care, as long as I come back! They were the only ones worried the one night that I went for a run late at night and got locked out of the gate I went through  and had to run an extra 4km to get home… I was gone nearly an hour… my husband had no idea, but the dogs went ballistic when I got home!

I love them so much, these two silly fluffy butts. They are just getting healthy again, after so many months (years, in Gina’s case) of being unhealthy and not quite “right” at all. They are (besides my husband) my everything in this world.

But it has to be done! I REFUSE to turn into a fatty before I’m 40! It’s no excuse! Sure I’m getting old, heading into middle age… but I know women who are twice my age and they run marathons, for goodness sake! I’m HEALTHY, got use of my legs my body my mind – I have NO  excuses left.

And the yoga, too – I need to do that more. The dogs settle after a few minutes of flopping all over me and climbing under my Downward Dog, so that’s not an excuse EITHER!

Vegetarian thing is going well – I’m settling in to my routine and menu nicely, even when tempted by other food that I loved before. I just think about where it came from, how it got there… and my mind is set. I feel healthy, despite the weight I’ve gained (and I know I have, thanks to the wobbly bits and the bits that fight me when I put on an old pair of jeans) I just need to drop the fat now, and tone the muscles that I know I have underneath!

Doing the 30 Day Ab Challenge (Livestrong Women) and I WILL FINISH IT. No giving up.

another hodgepodge

I’ve been doing all these “things” to try to (almost) force myself to blog more… I added myself to a website “circle” all about sewing, I added an author link on G+ and I linked my blog to some other web groups as well…

I’m also still trying to keep the “blogging tribe” experiment going… I did warn them that I am a sporadic blogger, but I really want to be a more consistent one. Not necessarily daily/scheduled but at least more than once a month!

Thing is, I don’t really have that much to blog about – my daily life is routine: get up, take dogs down, come back, make breakfast for dogs, me, husband, get dressed to go, walk dogs, come back, clean house, feed dogs, do laundry, walk dogs again, do more household Domestic Goddess stuff, feed dogs again, chill for a bit, walk dogs, make dinner, chill, take dogs down before bed, then off to bed… and the next day I do it all again.

Right now, husband is away for a few weeks, so I have even less to do, but I am trying to keep up the schedule, for the dogs and to stop myself from vegging out.

So I have set myself a few goals for these 3 weeks of “alone time” and I will do my best to both blog about it and also complete said goals. Or just blog about not completing them. Failure is always an option. I’m a starter, not a finisher.

This hodgepodge post is to “catch you up” to where I am right now: sitting at my awesome (and quite neat at this time) desk, with dogs lolling around in their spots, licking ice cream from their sweet white furry lips. All the fans are going, as it’s heating up already. Going to be pretty warm today (29C) despite the fact that it’s already August and it should be cooling down rapidly. *shrug* Germany has not exactly been “normal” as far as the weather goes, this year. We had snow and negative temperatures, in May, so I’m not really counting on this “summer” to end too soon. The whole week is going to be a scorcher. So husband left one of our air conditioners (the big one) up in the apartment for me, and of course there’s the kiddie pool downstairs and the bath upstairs, to keep the pooches cool. I really need to invest in those cooling mats. I think the dogs would like them. Or a cooling vest. They did well this morning on our walk, though – we stuck to the shade, took lots of little breathers under trees, and I gave them lots of water. Azzie is on the bed – it’s her new favourite place. I worry when it gets quiet though – she really is like a toddler… you’d rather there was noise… or you know they are up to something!  I’m going to go check on her in a second, when I am done with this post.

The Dog Food Adventure is going well. I’m going to bake some eggshells today, and grind them up – a major source of calcium and other nutrients – I’ve gathered quite a large amount. The girls LOVE their “meats” in their meals now. Gina loves the ground beef (93% lean) and Azzie loves her chicken. Azzie eats anything I put in her bowl, but I have to be sneaky with Gina. She has, however, been eating her veggies (carrots and green beans and a small amount of potato) in the stews I’ve made for them. I’ve also ordered something called “Longevity” by Springtime Inc. It’s a powder that you put on their food, once a day, which apparently is so good for them that there are now 19 year old herding dogs running around like 4 year old pooches, amongst other success stories. The Bernese Mountain Dog group that I am on swears by it – especially for big dogs like ours, so I am looking forward to that arriving. It helps to heal previous damage as well – so I am hoping it will help Gina’s back left leg to heal properly. I want to start running with both of them.

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As for my running – I ran a proper race! Only 5km, but it was my first actual race (for myself, not for my school) in over 20 years. I was pretty proud of myself. I ran 95% of the way – only walked (briskly!) up the very long, steep hills, and only for a minute each time. I finished in a time of 33 or 34 minutes (not too sure, as I was so excited about actually doing it that I forgot to start my stopwatch until I was at the end of the first street!) which was a pace of around 6:25 or 6:35… either way, I was pleased as punch for actually DOING IT!  My husband was proud of me too – but he laughed at my time 🙂 That’s ok. My goal was to just FINISH it and finish strong. I sprinted to beat another runner, at the end. Unfortunately my husband didn’t see my epic finish, as he was standing off to the side with the dogs, because they were worried about me “running off” without them. Silly girls. Next time, I will take them with me! So we all need to get fit again. Apparently you can win a prize too, if you are the first to cross the line with your dog!

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My sewing has had a pause again – I did complete 95% of a black micro suede wiggle skirt, but I made a miscalculation on the amount of fabric I needed, so it was shorter than planned, and I have to still do the kick split at the back. I will post photos when that’s done. One of my goals in this “alone time” session is to make something new. So I’m looking at my patterns, and my fabric and trying to decide what. I might make a nice comfortable top, or maybe some yoga pants.

I haven’t done yoga in weeks and weeks. Makes me sad. It’s almost impossible to get down on the floor to do anything, without the dogs getting all excited and literally climbing all over me. Gina crawls under my Downward Dog, and Azzie thinks my Bridge pose is so she can sit on my chest. So it’s been complicated. I really do want to get back into it – and that’s another goal for these 3 weeks.

They are doing construction outside our buildings right now and since yesterday we’ve had to move our cars to parking places across the road and quite far down. Annoying, but hopefully it won’t be for long. Thankfully the buildings where I am parked are not full, so there are free spaces still. I left a note on my car windshield so that anyone whose bay I am in can come find me if they need me to move one of the cars. I’m polite like that. Can’t say the same for the rest of the people around here. There is a serious lack of respect for others, sometimes. And, as you know, don’t even get me started on the dogs stuck inside all day. *deep breath* *counts to ten*

So that’s a catch up, for now.

Try Something New

My husband and I make a point of trying something new whenever we can.

Food is a large part of our lifestyle – we both love good food and we are always trying to maintain a balance between healthy food and tasty food and of course, new kinds of food!I do my best in the kitchen – I love to cook – and 95% of the time, my “concoctions” come out really well. There are quite a few experimental dishes that are now my husband’s firm favourites and I make them at least once a week. Shrimp and rice (with garlic and olive oil and lemon juice and a dash of cream) or couscous. I prefer rice (brown or wild) to plain white now, and so does my husband.

We also eat wholewheat pasta and wholewheat/wholegrain breads.I’ve changed my husband’s eating habits quite dramatically over the last couple of years, and now that I am living with him and cooking for him every day, even more so. I’ve cut his salt intake drastically, upped his vegetable portions and introduced him to leaner meats. We tried out some bison burgers the other day (80% bison meat, 20% beef) and also got some ground bison. One of my husband’s new favourite dishes is a simple one that my mother often made (and still makes!) for dinner – with ground beef (which we substitute with bison as often as we can afford – it’s a very expensive menu item change!) and chutney (not Mrs Balls, unfortunately – a beloved local favourite and ingredient in almost every single dish made by South Africans! ketchup and some soy sauce (low sodium, of course!) and well fried onions and sometimes some mushrooms and green bell pepper.

Through trial and error, I also discovered a type of fish that is sold at the commissary, called tilapia, which tastes remarkably like hake – which is another firm favourite of South Africans. I made beer batter and nice chunky oven chips to go with it. I also throw in some PEAS – which are not my husband’s preferred vegetable, but are definitely mine!These are all things we would never have discovered if we didn’t both have the “I’ll try it once!” attitude.

So next time you are wanting a change – try something new! Most of the time, it works! When it doesn’t, you simply learn from your mistake and move on! I’ve made quite a few culinary woopsies and my wonderful husband just says, “Well.. maybe don’t make that again…” or “Not your best, babe.”I take it in, and I look for something new!This afternoon, for a snack, I tucked into something different: an Oriental Pear. I didn’t know what to expect (I hadn’t read anything online about them) and I was rather pleasantly surprised! They have the consistency of an apple, but the delicious flavour of a pear. There is also a very faint tang of anise or something like it. I’ll definitely be getting them again – perhaps next time I will grill them (or as the American’s say “broil”) with some honey and nuts?

Try something new! Open your mind! Broaden your horizons!