Friday, January 23, 2015

Cooper Family Slumber Party

Tonight we had a Cooper Family Sleepover. When we got home from school and work, Bryan and I told the kids our plan, and Tayan wanted to know what the special occasion was. I told him it wasn't anything in particular, just something me and Daddy thought would be fun to do. He barely believed me, thinking that there must be some occasion we weren't admitting to him.

We all got in our pjs, ordered pizza, and watched Into the Woods in the livingoom. We had fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, too. After the movie, we all headed up to the attic for the slumber party.

After a brief freak-out episode of Zene crying because he had already fallen asleep during the movie and was convinced he wouldn't have ANY fun and his FIRST slumber party was RUINED because he was too tired to stay awake and we tried to re-assure him and tell him to get up out of bed and/or drink another orange Fanta and/or eat some Doritos. Eventually he sat up and ate some Doritos and got a second wind.

While Bryan and Tayan played Punch-Out and Gauntlet, me and Zene built an amazing wall-coaster which almost had a loop de loop, but that ended up not working out. It did, however, have an amazing set of steps, some cool turns, and eventually a completely flat track that made the marble come to a complete stop before falling off of the end.

(Floyd was banned from the sleepover for peeing all over the floor near the front door because he was too excited to keep chewing his bone to go out and pee).

After all that excitement it was about 10:30, which is about as late as Zene has ever been up. We layed in bed and watched a funny Youtube video, then Bryan, Tayan, and Zene talked about favorite sleepover memories from the past, and other conversational fare... while I typed this.

It was an epic Cooper Evening, and reminded me how very special it is to have bright, happy, healthy kids. These years are so few, and we spend too few hours like the hours we spent tonight, enjoying each others' company, laughing, and loving life.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Bring on 2015

2015 is going to be a great year. I felt it on New Years Eve as we were surrounded by friends in our house having a great time. I felt it even more on New Years Day when I awoke feeling an underlying energy I hadn't felt in a long time. Changes are coming for me this year; some of them I'm already aware of, some of course are unknown.

One change I am hoping for is visiting this blog regularly. The time when I was regularly writing here was some of the most personally productive time in my past. I was physically in the best shape of my life, and had a great confidence in myself.

In the 2 years since, I've been productive in another way. I've developed my career to the point where now, I'm about to embark on a chapter that is beyond what I ever thought I would achieve. It's been a tumultuous couple of years getting to this point, and it's taken its toll on me both physically and emotionally. I believe this transition is coming to an end, and feel like I'm about to emerge on the other end of this tunnel.

So, bring on this new year! I'm ready for a new leaf, and eager at the opportunities and challenges that await me.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Drink the water?

(See my update below after calling EPA)

 Check out this great article written by Ken Ward, entitled How do they know water's safe at 1ppm?

The above article led me to give American Water a call last night to ask them if they think  my water is safe to drink now that I've done the flush per their instructions. They said it is, and I asked how they know that, and the guy said he doesn't know, hasn't been given the current concentration of MCHM in our water. He gave me the number for the EPA. I called them and they don't open 'till 10AM today. I'm calling them back at 10. 

It's just, there isn't any research out there that explains why 1ppm is a safe level for this particular chemical. The only research on it was done by the company who produces the chemical, and wasn't published in any peer-reviewed journal. Research that isn't peer-reviewed should never be used to make decisions on human health; that's just a no brainer. 

As it is, we are using the water right now for some things... used it to wash some towels... I guess I'm going to take a shower in it, because I can't imagine an alternative. Don't want to use it on my dishes just yet. I think I'll wash them with the clean jug of water we brought home from Bryan's mom's tap. We're brushing our teeth with and drinking bottled water, using purchased ice. 

We ordered a new filter for our fridge last night (they're sold out in all stores around here), and when that comes in I guess we'll consider the filtered water drinkable? I'm still not sure. 

Seeing that Cincinnati stopped sucking in Ohio River water for the next few days due to our flush so far upstream from them of course doesn't help my confidence in our water here about 2 miles from the affected water plant. They said the concentration in Huntington in the Ohio River is close to 1 part per BILLION, and I can only imagine how low it is in Cincinnati--probably undetectable. I would do the same thing if I were responsible for water down there though. Just wish I didn't have to deal with being expected to DRINK it at ~1 part per million.

**update after calling EPA hotline**

Waited about 20 minutes to reach an operator on the EPA hotline, which is neither surprising nor bothersome to me. When I got an operator, I stated that I live in Charleston, West Virginia, and would like to know if my water is safe to drink now that I've gone through the proper flushing procedures recommended by American Water. They said they are a national hotline and do not have local data. They further stated that they're surprised that American Water would recommend I call them for this information, as they do not provide local water quality data. After checking with others around the office, the operator stated that if American Water told us it's safe to drink then it must be at the 1ppm level.

So I asked how they arrived at the conclusion that 1ppm is safe for drinking. They said it's based on their standard. I asked if their standard is based on the one lethal dose study that was conducted by Eastman and apparently never published in a peer-reviewed journal. And if this is the case, how do I really know my water is safe to drink?

They took my phone number and email address and said they would “Reach out to the subject matter” and call me back. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hot coffee: yum!

I've been annoyed by my annoying posts lately. Here's an anicdotal one... there should be a lot more of these, proportionately. I'll work on that.

A few days ago at work in the morning I was feeling groggy and in need of coffee. Got out my cup, put creamer in it, and went across the hall. Found a nice full pot of coffee there, and filled my cup. As I walked away, wondered briefly why my cup didn't feel hot. I figured it was just because it takes a few seconds for coffee to heat up a ceramic cup.

Went back to my desk, sat down, took a sip, and it was COLD, from the day before! I spit it back in the cup. Me and my office mate laughed. Since then when I hold a hot cup of coffee I laugh at myself; how could I have ever not realized I had cold coffee?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Goonies Never Say Die.

So, it's like I forgot--or forgot to mention--that I had a pretty major vacation coming up in October. We went on our annual fling to Universal Studios, staying at Hard Rock Hotel. We have a great time there, and eat things like popcorn, beer, pizza, beer, free cookies, free breakfast, and free evening "snacks" accompanied by free beer. Somehow, even though you walk for miles at an amusement park, mysteriously you never lose weight while there. I can't figure it out (did I mention "free beer")?

I don't know how I thought I was going to eat basically Zero Sugar through the month of October with that on the horizon. Needless to say, I ate sugar--lots of it. And when I got back, I didn't stop. I was feeling pretty durn bad about myself a couple of days ago, starting to think things like "maybe I'm just a fat person at heart... maybe this is just who I am and I should stop fighting it... maybe I'm happier this way."

But of course, I wasn't happy at all. After a long, difficult, stressful day at work, my natural tendency has become to come home and either 1. lay down on the couch, 2. lay down in bed for an actual nap, or 3. start drinking beer. Seriously, are these the actions of a happy person? Somehow I had convinced myself that since this was the path of least resistance, it was the best I could do.

What I had forgotten about was momentum. Now, momentum is caused a little bit by eating right (which I've been doing off and on for months), but what really gets momentum going is exercise. I had decided that I needed to get to eating right consistently before I would add exercise, because that's what I did such a long time ago when I succeeded in losing 70 pounds. Turns out that's not the best idea, because I wasn't getting the momentum--physical momentum caused by endorphins that charge up your psyche and leave you wanting more--and emotional momentum caused by knowing for sure that you can physically achieve something.

When I woke up yesterday morning I decided the only way I would definitely get to the gym is if I asked somebody to make me go there. There's a guy at work who goes to the gym every day at lunch (free gym in our building), so I asked him to drag me along. Didn't care when it was, but when he came to tell me to go I would go. And I did. It was awesome, and it changed my whole day. I sweated, became exhausted, ate lunch, had energy, and kept having energy all the way until it was time to go to bed. At home, I did dishes, played drums (haven't done that in months), joked with the kids, folded laundry, and had a great evening with Bryan. At around 10 o'clock I could feel my legs and my whole body being really tired--for all the right reasons.

Now, I know I will continue to ebb and flow, and sometimes I'll ebb all the way down to complete misery, but... the difference between me and a truly miserable person is that I will never stop trying. I won't give up. I don't quit. I might go a week where all I eat is Twix and I hate myself, but that week will come to an end, I will come to my senses, and I will get back on the right track. Goonies never say die.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Going Strong

One week into Brain Enema Fall 2013, and I am going strong...

I've stuck to my rules very well except for one or three teensy things here and there, which I think is a huge win! I find that if you don't have teensy things here and there that take you out of Diet Perefction, then you are either:

  1. lying, or 
  2. being too strict.

My teensy things were: 

    a.   some homemade croutons made with white bread on an otherwise perfect-choice chicken salad
    b.   few bites of a Chocolate Pot du Creme practice batch
    c.   a Diet Coke at a sub shop where I did not order a sub; rather a chef salad
    d.   a large biscuit perched atop my Chicken Pot Biscuit dinner Saturday (but that's cheat meal anyway)

And then of course I had my planned "cheat" on Saturday, which was half of a Chocolate Pot du Creme, which was absolutely heavenly. I even avoided eating the rest of it the next day, since it was no longer my "cheat meal." 

I'm feeling great about this plan. Of course, I have had a few moments when I wanted to throw the tv out the window for showing me the new Papa John's chocolate chip cookie pizza (totally evil), or people eating pie (dastardly). But, it's all good. The tv and I both survived.

I had plain strawberries with whipped cream on them for dessert last night. Nominal sugar, some fat, and it made me feel full and happy. 

Oh, and I'm down from hovering at 205 for quite awhile now to 201 this morning. And my pants are a little loose. Woot!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brain Enema

"This town needs an enema." 

This Laura needs an enema--of my brain more than anything. I've had a lot of blockages in there, not necessarily related to problem-solving and critical thinking, but along the neural pathways that cause me to make good decisions for me. One of my newest motto's is "be kind to yourself," because I certainly haven't been for at least a year now. I'm going to change that.

I've decided to accomplish this clean-out of my neural area by laying down some good old-fashioned diet rules... I tried this a couple months ago, and it went great. I lost something like 7ish pounds in the week that I stuck to it really well. I'm going back to it, and I'm committing to do it for ONE MONTH. For the month of October, I'm following the following rules:

  1. No calorie counting and/or logging food into a food-logging app (I find this distracting, time-consuming, and lately just a recipe for failure). 
  2. No sugar in greater than 5-gram quantities per serving (which allows creamer in coffee, Silk on cereal, etc), except once on Saturdays
  3. No white flour products (stick to whole grains, the more fiber the better)
  4. No sugar substitutes (aspartame, sucralose, etc)
  5. Acception: FRUIT. Unlimited on fruit intake, but staying away from super high carb fruits like bananas.
For now, I'm not incorporating any required exercise to go along with this. I've had a hard enough time starting one thing and finishing it, so I'm just going to focus on this for now. 

In order to accomplish this I'm going to focus on protein-rich snacks, as well as vegetables and fruits. When I feel a craving, I will have a piece of cheese or handful of fiber-rich crackers, or grab a piece of fruit. Even if I get hungry at night... because eating after a certain time is totally allowed on this plan. 

Who's with me?? Who's up for a brain enema?!