Off the Needles: Hollyhock Wingspan

wp-image-722977393jpg.jpgMy knitting projects for a while have been in colors that don’t suit me.  They are lovely colors, but I look better in dark, rich colors.  This Wingspan shawl was knit in Debbie Bliss’ Luxury Silk DK (4 balls) in the Hollyhock (or Circus) colorway.  I used #6 US circular needles and it took me about a week to complete. Or would have if I had ordered the correct amount of yarn.  I had to go back and order 2 additional skeins.

An additional problem was changing balls – the yarn unravels easily and is very slippery, so I tried several different techniques.  The one that worked the best was using a fisherman’s knot with long ends that are knit in.  The knot is undetectable this way.  I tried just trimming the ends flush, but the knots tended to unravel.  Knitting in the ends without the knot also resulted in the ends working loose and being unsightly.

Next step is to get it wrapped up and put away for Christmas! I know someone who would look great in these colors!

Why I’m Not Sharing My Weight Loss Achievements

My sister-in-law posted on Facebook that she would no longer share her weight loss goals or achievements.  You know how Facebook shows you posts from previous years?  An old post where she announced a major weight loss goal made her realize she was posting for attention.  She decided that she needed to stop validating herself by sharing everything and getting excited by the number of like she got.

Instead she decided to make the changes just for herself.  She wouldn’t post her weight loss goals, her wins, her losses, but instead celebrate them herself.  She recognized that she wants to change for herself and doesn’t want to rely on what other people say.

I agree with her thinking.  While I’ll share the occasional post about methods, I’m not interested in sharing my goals or pounds lost.  I want to do this for me, not for recognition.

Living with Anxiety: 3 Actions That Are Changing My Life

Katie Coppolino posted a wonderful article about how she manages her anxiety and she inspired me to share the 3 actions that have changed my life in regards to my anxiety.

I’ve dealt with social phobia and an anxiety disorder since I was eleven, though only diagnosed at 36.  I’m now 50 and in the past two years my weight shot up alarmingly and I was having health problems: roseacea on my face, allergies, high blood pressure, constant exhaustion and intestinal disorder.  My depression was getting worse as well.

See A Doctor and Tell Them Everything

My doctor did blood work which showed a worrying deficiency in many vitamins and minerals, anemia and other problems.  As we weren’t sure what was going one, she suggested a shotgun approach, including:

  • Having a sleep study which resulted in a diagnosis of sleep apnea.  The study found I suffered from 115 apnea episodes an hour and I seldom reached REM sleep.
  • Starting a supplement regimen consisting of fiber 3x a day, a multivitamin, some additional supplements for some items I was especially deficient in (Vitamin D, Potassium and Calcium) and a really good probiotic.
  • Doing additional bloodwork to check insulin and thyroid levels.
  • Lose weight (though she has advised this every visit for 10 years).

I’m on a CPAP machine now and I love it!  For the first time I sleep all night without waking.  I sleep so deeply that, on waking in the morning, my arm and ear are sore from lying in the same position too long!  After 3 days on it I had more energy and decided to start Weight Watchers online.

Change Your Eating Habits

Between depression, sleep apnea, work and pure laziness I was overweight.  310 pounds which I hated myself for.  After the CPAP treatments started and I joined Weight Watchers a profound shift in my thinking occurred.  Suddenly I wasn’t on a “diet”.  Instead I chose to eat like a healthy 145lb person.  Now I have been on every diet under the sun: Nutrisystem, old Weight Watchers (in the 80’s), Slimfast, Atkins, Metabolife, Medifast you name it.  On Atkins I actually lost 100 lbs, but it came back as soon as the stress in my life increased.

With the new Weight Watchers I can eat whatever I want, as long as my food intake stays at or below the daily point level.  There are also some weekly points which you can use or not and cover splurged, like the annual 4th of July party at my friend Kristi’s house.  I still lost 2 lbs that week and didn’t feel deprived at all!

Additionally an answer to a Quora question changed my complete outlook on food.  Those rich people who look so slim and fit?  They eat tiny portions of high-quality food.  So simple, but so life changing for me.  Instead of spending $10 on a bagel with cream cheese and a large mocha when I want to eat out for lunch,  I spend it on a half salad and ice tea at Panera.  A fraction of the calories and so much healthier. I even use this at our local dive bar which has wonderful, cheap burgers. Two grilled fish tacos and a side salad was far more satisfying (and left me enough points for a gin and tonic).  At Famous Dave’s, where my parents took us for dinner, I ordered the roasted chicken with mashed potato and broccoli.  I ended up taking most of the chicken home – after about 3 ounces it was just too rich and I didn’t want any more.

At the store I buy the pre-cut melons and mixed berries in the produce section.  It is actually cheaper for us this way because it gets eaten fast, whereas fresh fruit that we have to wash and portion ourselves tends to sit.  Since I know this about me and doubt it will change (I’m lazy, remember?) buying fruit this way makes much more sense.  Plus the fruit is always really ripe and delicious.

After 5 weeks on Weight Watchers I’ve cut my portions by at least half and don’t feel deprived.  In fact I feel pampered.  I don’t crave anything because if I really, really want it I eat it,  just in a small portion.  Even pizza!  Our local theater serves dinner and I had their delicious naan bread pepperoni pizza.  Actually I had half an order with a side salad.  The 3 pieces of pizza were about 3 inches square and I figured they equalled less than 2 pieces of thin crust pizza.

Be Creative With Movement

Starting to exercise after being sedentary is awful, so instead I decided to break up my 30 minutes of walking into 10 minute increments.  I bought a Garmin fitness tracker that notifies me when I’ve been inactive for too long.  I then go and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes.  This was easy because anyone can do something for 10 minutes, even if unpleasant.  Pretty soon I was walking faster (I started at 2.2 mph).  I checked my heartrate and found I had to up the speed and incline each session just to get my heart into a moderate range.

After 2 weeks I changed from 10 minutes 3x daily to 20 minutes 2x daily.  I get sweatier, but I work at home and the dog doesn’t care how I smell.  Yesterday I told myself all day that I just wasn’t into “working out”.  Come 5:00 I got on the treadmill, listened to music, and ended up doing the whole 40 minutes.   Today when I did my first 20 minutes I felt like I could go longer, but I held back.  That way the second round will feel good too.

I’m also slightly OCD, so having a step tracker encourages me to meet my daily goal.  I actually get a buzz when I see “goal achieved”.  I’ve even gotten on the treadmill for just 5 minutes to meet my goal before bedtime.

Where I live it isn’t safe to walk the neighborhood, plus right now it is too hot, but on cooler days I do go to local parks and walk with the dog.  Getting her keep going and stop smelling the doggy news makes the walk go really fast.

For years my husband has parked in the hinterland of parking lots, forcing a longer walk.  Now I’m doing the same thing.  Less problem getting in/out and extra steps!  Totally worth it!


I’m only six weeks in, but I’m feeling so good and so different that I’m pretty sure I can keep this up.  My roseacea is much better, almost cleared up.  My blood pressure is stable and in a healthy range.  I haven’t had a panic attack for 5 weeks, which is a huge change, and my depression seems to be alleviated.   I get to buy new clothes soon because mine are getting loose.  I’m not on a diet, not doing an exercise regime.  I’m changing my life and it feels great.


Weather Widget

Click on image to view demo

Click on image to view demo

Displaying the weather on your site is almost required if you are in the hospitality or recreation business.  Get your customers outside (or inside) with your current weather conditions straight from NOAA!  This widget is different from others because you can choose the data to show and format it however you like!  You can even use custom images for the different weather conditions!

Need Checkboxes? Use Toggles!

Click image to view demo

Click image to view demo

When using checkboxes for Yes/No, On/Off or other two-option items use a toggle instead.  It adds a nice look to the page and it somewhat easier to use that small checkboxes.  I like them because they are easier to scan and read – the positives stick out.

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