REVELATION? MORE LIKE (FINALLY) SUMMER!!

The weather — suddenly, the way things happen locally — turned warm and sunny today. I’m itching to get outside and shoot some pictures, but my husband made a date with someone (he’s late and I wonder if he’ll even make it) so I don’t know if it’s going to happen. But we are moving — finally — into summer weather and I’m itchy to be outside. So I guess this is when I realize that I’m going to write a little less.

My writing crew has moved to summer mode. The Curley’s are out on their boat. Rich is off on vacations. Garry is just being Garry. We aren’t going anywhere — I wish we were, but the money isn’t there. Nonetheless, we aren’t glued to our keyboards.

Is this the revelation of summer? It IS summer. Time to do something . I think I’ll pick up a camera and see what’s going on outside!

We got sprayed again and the past few days of rain may finally have (I hope, I hope) moved us past caterpillars and into some good days, though it will be too hot for comfort before I swirl around twice.

Next time I see you, I hope I will have pictures!

NOTHING’S LIKE IT USED TO BE

A couple of weeks ago, I needed some new nightwear. Nothing fancy. No lingerie. That’s for display, not sleeping. I’m talking about the ubiquitous cotton sleep tee. For years, I bought them from L.L. Bean. They were comfortable, loose, soft. Lightweight in summer, heavier, long-sleeved for winter. Then, L.L.Bean stopped making them and offered only heavy flannel or pajamas. In ugly colors.

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I don’t want elastic while I sleep. I want soft, loose, breathable, comfortable. Priced so I can buy more than one. Colors other than flaccid pink and dainty floral on white.

When L.L. Bean stopped making what I wanted, I switched to Land’s End. I’ve been wearing their sleep tees for more than a decade. But with each passing year, the fabric has gotten rougher, and the cut skimpier. The neckline has gotten tighter to the point where it’s hard to get your head through it. The price keeps going up. I gave up. While the price has risen, the quality has dropped to completely unacceptable. I found quality sleep tees on Amazon. Not as good as the old ones, but at least affordable.

Have you ever tried to find someone to help you in a real store? Shops have cut staffing down so low that there’s no one to help you and they did this long before everyone started shopping on line. They decided they didn’t need to offer help, that we could all fend for ourselves. We did. We just didn’t do it at their shops. When online became available, it was an easy switch.

Then there’s the whole “changing brands” without regard for what people want. Did “new Coke” bring new customers to Coca Cola? Or did they give Pepsi a huge boost? Did Windows 8 improve business at Microsoft … or did it move huge numbers of computer users to Apple?

A while back, I decided to go buy a book and I went to the mall. There’s a huge Barnes & Noble there. Did you know that Barnes & Noble booksellers — their brick and mortar stores — charge 30% more than Barnes & Noble online? For identical merchandise. If you want a discount card, that will cost you more. Even with the “discount,” their stuff still costs more than it would online.

When asked why I should bother to buy at the store, I was told the online and “real” stores aren’t run by the same organization and have different price structures. That’s not an answer.

Original Coke came back. Windows 8 passed into oblivion — to no ones regret. Windows 10 is into its third round of updates and the Windows world has settled down. Amazon is opening its own brick and mortar stores. What goes around apparently comes around. I’m waiting for the same thing to happen with the presidency. Even DiGiorno’s is selling pizza with “original” sauce. Vote with your shopping cart and get out there for the next elections and maybe we’ll get a government we can live with. It worked on Windows, so why not on the federal government?

Yet, I’m pretty sure I’ll never fully trust Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, or the U.S. government. Sometimes, when you break a trust with enough brutality, there’s no going back. You smile when you  meet, but you don’t really mean it.

What’s the price tag on trust?

LOSING THE EXTRA 10 POUNDS

Sometime between the end of last Autumn and my birthday this year, I gained almost 10 pounds. I’m not sure how, exactly, but it might have had something to do with the pies.

There was an apple, a custard, a mince and possibly, but I’m not sure, pumpkin. And the cookies. My daughter-in-law makes these special Italian cookies with a hint of anise that go down like magic. They don’t seem like much, but if you eat half a pound of them, they do what cookies generally do. And I’m pretty sure that someone sent me chocolate. Or maybe they sent the chocolate to Garry. He’s not a chocolate eater, so it’s possible I had to eat it, to prevent it from going bad.

By the time I went in for my spring checkups — regular doctor plus the oncologist, with the cardio guy later this month — it was a bit alarming. The doctors were not alarmed because it wasn’t considered a big weight gain. These days, no one is worrying much about my weight. I haven’t worried about it either because it had been rock steady for years, but that extra ten pounds made me uncomfortable. Being as arthritic as I am, every extra pound I carry puts more strain on my unhappy spine and joints. I felt I needed to do something.

I don’t eat a lot at any given meal, but I can pick all day long. In total, I usually eat just a couple of hundred calories more than the 1200 calorie amount recommended for dieting. This make dieting very slow. I have no metabolism either, so any dieting will take time. On the positive side, that’s the best way to do it. It does, however, require patience and  recognition that a relatively small loss will take a couple of months.

I set myself up on a 1200 calorie diet and five weeks later, managed to lose 7 or 8 pounds, more or less. I say “more or less” because I’ve got one of those scales that never seems entirely clear about the reading. You can get on it five times and get five different weights. So I know I weigh less than I did, but exactly how much less? Not sure. I suppose the next trip to the doctor will tell me.

I do know while I was showering yesterday, I realized I was a bit thinner. A little tighter there, a little less puffy here.

I’ve got another four weeks to go, though there’s not much reason to take a break since this is a very easy diet to maintain. Really, all you need is some kind of tracking software so you know how much you’ve eaten and be consistent. Don’t eat sweets, go easy on the carbs, try to get some exercise here and there. Skip fried stuff. Get very enthusiastic about salad, melons. You can eat a ton of watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew and consume virtually no calories. Also berries, especially strawberries. They are so low in calories, you don’t even have to count them. This is assuming you aren’t loading them up with whipped cream or extra sugar. You knew that, right?

Slowly, you lose weight. If you were eating a lot to start with, you’ll lose weight faster. If you were only eating a little more than the diet amount, it’ll go more slowly. But that’s good because you bring your regular eating habits under control and can continue to eat that way pretty much indefinitely. You can buy special diet food — I got a bit — but mostly, you need normal, healthy food and good calorie tracking software.

It’s working. Who’d have thunk it? This is the least traumatic diet of my entire life. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?