Saturday, December 31, 2011


Yup, that's me.  Being me.  And wishing you a Happy New Year, but also yelling, "RICKY BROWN!"  He hates when I do that when I see him.   But sometimes I can't contain my excitement when I'm racing and see his familiar face in the crowd. It's my gut reaction.   HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my friends.  It's New Year's eve and I'm trying NOT to reflect on what was, what is, and what will be.  I like the now.  Thinking about what was generates way, way too many rambling thoughts of good and bad and it makes my head hurt.  Thinking about what will be is equally painful.  But the now... now THAT'S painless.   No head swimming in thoughts, no random wanderings and what-ifs, and no little monsters in there saying do this or do that.  Right now is where you want to be.  Today.  This second.  Doing what your gut (and heart) is telling you to do.  You're reading this which means you too are in the now and you aren't worrying, wondering, or contemplating anything.  Just calmness...and no thinking going on and on and on. Doesn't it feel good?  Ha.... I made you smile too.   So I think I'll attempt to live the upcoming year in the present moment as best I can.  Definitely no new year's resolutions, no random thoughts of what if this and what if that and none of the worry or baggage that comes along with those random thoughts and contemplation.  The present moment -- the now -- it's the only place you can be absolutely certain of peace.   PEACE!  I like that. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Riding Road on the First Day of Winter

I haven't been on a bike in a llooonnngg time (months??) and Rick and I decided to take advantage of the 57 degrees and do a 20 mile road ride to Millersburg yesterday.  We did it to save money (obviously!) to pick up our van at the garage.  Rick said the day before he hated to "waste" the money to go down there to get it.  (We typically do all of our shopping/stops in one trip on one day -- this would have been an extra, not-needed trip that would have cost us about $5.00 in gas round trip, two vehicles.  Yes, retired people have every cent accounted for!).   It took us two hours!  But we were on our mountain bikes so that's partly to blame for the slowness.  Neither of us were in any kind of hurry though.  We talked almost the entire trip.  We talked about the goats, the trophy buck, the Amish barns, the chickens, the bridge that's closed, my old homestead where I grew up that no longer has the outdoor oven (I'm thinking I want to build an outdoor oven), our sore butts, how far we have to go, coasting, standing, and anything else that came up along the way.  It was awesome.  I love being retired with Ricky Brown. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Bubbly" Hubby

For those of you that know my Ricky Brown, you'll get a kick out of this post.  For those of you that don't know him, suffice it to say he tends to be sort of laid back, relaxed, and easy-going.  In other words, he's not busting at the seams with energy like some of us (he's also not stressed like some of us!).  His favorite thing on the bike is coasting. (Truly!).  If he starts to sweat on the trainer, he stops.  (Truly!) Now that we're retired, we like to workout together.   We had our little routine that we do with weights, then we either walk, hike, kayak, or sit on the trainer.  Yesterday, for some crazy reason, Mr. Brown was bouncing off the walls.  It was near impossible to focus on the task at hand.   He was jumping, running in place, dancing around (to "I'm sexy and I know it" no less), singing, laughing, poking fun at a certain exercise by going real fast and exaggerated and just being a Ricky Brown I normally don't see.  I couldn't even hardly do my squats from cracking up.  Every time we'd go to a different exercise, he's start doing something crazy.  It was a riot. I told him to "calm down!  Would you act like that at the YMCA?  We made fun of people who acted oddly -- like the mirror monkeys."  Then he imitated a mirror monkey.  "HEWYOUGH!!"   I believe he had some pent up energy that finally needed released.  You go Ricky Brown!  Today now, he's not out of bed yet.  I wonder if his workout yesterday had something to do with it?  It was funny.  Nice workout Ricky Brown!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ban the Wheat Belly!

A gal at work gave me this article, Eight reasons Wheat is Making You Gain: Doctor Says Whole Wheat Packs on Belly Fat - And Has a Lot in Common with Opiate Drugs.  Dr. William Davis, MD and cardiologist, claims the compounds found in "modern" wheat are responsible for appetite stimulation, rises in blood sugar, and release of endorphin-like chemicals than get the brain hooked on breads, pastas and crackers. He claims blood sugar rises more with wheat than with a snickers bar and the excess sugar gets stored as fat. "Modern" wheat is defined as the industrial processing and genetic seeds manufacturers use to create what folks call "wheat" in most pre-packaged and processed foods.  If you look at a grocery store loaf of bread that claims to be 100% stone ground wheat, it usually also contains a whole lot of other unknown substances. Many times, high fructose corn syrup is in there and that has been known to increase appetite.  So wheat is bad now the good doctors say.  This article, courtesy has this to say: 

It’s all about blood sugar

Here are the basics. When you eat, your food is converted to fuel for your body. In order for your body to use the fuel (blood sugar), it needs insulin. Some foods cause rapid increases in blood sugar and also insulin. The repetitive highs and lows -- a roller coaster -- causes fat to be stored. Wheat is at the top of the list of foods that causes this rise and fall of blood sugar and insulin levels. Dr. Davis has documented his patient’s blood sugar levels before and after eating wheat and the results are astonishing! "Wheat increases your blood sugar more than that Snickers bar," says the cardiologist. And don’t think relying only on whole wheat flour is the answer. Though whole wheat flour is better than white flour, both are from the same plant. "It’s like [comparing] filtered cigarettes to unfiltered cigarettes," notes Dr. Davis.

Ironically, the Eat to Live way of life (#3 top seller on and # 5 on the NY Times list  I might add) that I've been thinking about doing again (was successful in 2009) excludes most grains by default.  The diet (to lose weight) is 3-7 servings of fruit a day, one pound of raw vegetables (mostly leafy greens, excludes starchy veges), one pound of steamed vegetables (excluding starchy vegetables) 1 cup of beans or legumes (including tofu), 1 ounce nuts or seeds, 1 tablespoon chia or flax a day, 1 cup soy or almond milk daily, and here's where the grains come in: 1 cup daily of EITHER starchy vegetable  (i.e., sweet potato, white potato, corn, squash) OR 1 cup of whole grains (i.e., oatmeal, bread, quiona, millet).   No dairy, animal products, white flour, sugar, oil or salt.  Looking at my choices, bread (thus WHEAT!) would go first.  Donna mentioned this wheat thing about a year ago and at the time she was trying to eliminate wheat and was feeling pretty good in the process.  There just might be something to be said for what the doctors are claiming here.  Ban the wheat belly!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm A Loser - Again

A little over two years ago, my work had it's inaugural Biggest Loser contest with 40 folks competing to lose weight.  We're thrilled the gal who ran it two years ago wanted to do it again with a start date and weigh-in of January 4.  And of course I'm in on the fun and festivities the 2nd time around since I successfully lost about 8 pounds last time around. There's something about being on a team that is very, very motivating.  It just works!  It's a little bigger this time with teams of 6 and so far we have 6 teams signed up with others waiting in the wings until the last minute to sign up.  My team name is the "Chubublicans."  No, we're not all republicans (that's part of the fun of the name!).  It was between that, Mission Slimpossible or the Kankle Wrangers.  We're six females sick of trying to squeeze our butts into too-tight pants.  The one girl is doing the 17-day diet and another has been successfully losing with Weight Watchers.  Another is doing some sort of exercise video P-90?  Can't recall the exact name.  Me?  I'm sticking to my tried and true calorie counting focusing on 1500 or less AND will pick up the running/exercise.  The big motivator for me is the $10 buck entry fee I had to pony up. I want it back! And some! Each person had to pay $10 bucks and will pay another $1 for each pound gained in each week of the 6-week weigh-in period.   Our entire team is pretty serious... as is all the others entered.  It's SO much fun to do this thing at work.  Everyone is buzzing and chatting already.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cal Pro Ir Carb Fat Calc Fib

Those seven little truncated words are my 10-year habit I can't seem to shake.  It all started in 2001 when I bought a mountain bike and realized I was too fat to ride it further than 5 miles.  Thus, a life change that is obviously too instilled in my brain now to give up.  I track calories. And Protein. And Iron. And Carbohydrates.  And Fat.  And Calcium.  And just this year, Fiber (old age!).   I started digging in my training box for the years I lost weight (eating less than 1500 calories a day and ate a lot of yogurt, chicken, peanut butter, and eggs), and discovered I started doing this in February of 2002.  I had no friggin' idea 10 years have past.   Eat to Live is a diet that claims you don't have to track a single calorie and I tried it, but found myself cheating and writing calories down.  Go figure!  So I'm back on the tally again and write every morsel of food down.  Some habits are hard to break.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Crazy Week and Checking Out the Mega

It's amazing how life can get turned upside down and inside out with a single phone call.  My dear old dad calls last Saturday evening around 6:00:  "Mom was washing dishes and she turned to sit down and her hip gave out.  I called 911.  She's in terrible, terrible, pain."  Mother broke her other hip and had hip replacement surgery #2.  She now has two new hips so no more can break, right?!  I spent Saturday evening in the emergency room, Sunday morning with the bike club retrieving a bridge, Sunday afternoon at the hospital, Monday at work and visiting mother at lunch, Tuesday at my parents doing wash/cooking/cleaning for mom and dad only to get a phone call around 11:00 that mom was coming home THAT day... so off to the hospital we go after lunch to pick her up but only to stop off at Rick's 93-year old mother's to do HER wash first (my dear hubby helps too).   I had to work on Wednesday so father helped mom on Wednesday, and I've been helping mom every day since.   I'm doing little stuff, but to a person that can't do things on their own, it's big stuff to them: washing dishes, going to the store, going to the butcher (ugh... I really, really hate going to the butcher), running the vacuum, changing the cat litter box, etc.  TODAY is the first day I'm getting out - finally.   I'm heading to Weiser State Forest to do an 8.5 mile run/walk.  I've been doing early morning weights and the occassional trainer ride, but it ain't nothing like the out-of-doors.   Rick wanted me to paddle with him and I probably would have if I could have gotten into the woods earlier this week to run (hunting prevented that from happening).  Perusing sites for Ultra trail runs has me anxious to get out.  This one, the Megatransect, is intriguing me the most.  It's based just outside of Lock Haven, and is a little over 26 miles -- the marathon I'm itching to do!  The timing is perfect next year in September after a spring and summer of slowly building miles to the 26 big miles.  It's also a hugely popular race that sells out in 48 hours.  I marked the calendar for January 1 when the registration opens up to get registered.  I haven't officially decided if I want to do it, but maybe.   Trail running, here I come.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I'm Working Again, Damn It

This week was the beginning of a three-day work week for a couple months and it's screwing up my exercise routine!  This past week was messed up because I worked three days in a row for my first week back; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.   I chose those days to try to make it as "normal" a schedule as possible for those I have to work with.  It turns out I'll have to switch some of those days with Mondays to accommodate meeting schedules, but I like the idea of a day in between working to run.  I've been trying to get back into a regular running schedule working towards an every-other-day run of what I feel like between 4 and 7 miles.  The 4-miler would be hilly and faster and the 7-miler would be endurance-paced.  Starting in January, I'm going to pick up the pace on the shorter runs and lengthen the longer runs.  This will get me faster for the March 3 Humdinger run and of course I need the distance for the April 23 Hyner View Challenge.  So I NEED to adjust those work days.  And the beauty of it is I'm in charge of my schedule and can change those days however I want.  But the "professional" in me (that bitch) sides with working with others and being flexible.  I should stop being nice... that's what got me back working in the first place!  Actually, I'm happy to help out.  The State of Pennsylvania's business assistance programs and laws are complicated as hell and it would be overwhelming for a new person and she/he would run off in a week if they didn't have someone to show them the ropes.  And there really isn't anyone else other than my boss to mentor a new person and he certainly doesn't have a second of time to train someone.  And I might be staying a little longer than Spring.  My boss comes up to me on Wednesday and says, "Jill, we'd like you to stick around a little longer (than after my replacement comes on board in a month or two) to help out the Executive Office with something coming up."  NOOOOO, I thought.  But then the two days a week ran through my head and I thought I can handle that.  He said we'll see how it plays out.  Again, flexibility.  Speaking of flexibility, I've really been slacking on stretching.  Just call me slacker... on everything!  Life is a little upside down at the moment.