Put on your quarantine pants

Put on your quarantine pants

What is it about suddenly having time that makes me think I can do anything? And I do mean anything. For instance, I’ve started making my own homemade yogurt (BLECH!) as well as Amish Friendship Bread.

So far, I’ve thrown away more starter than I’ve used to make bread. I just can’t seem to get it all straight…like, is this day 6 or 7? Is this the day I feed it? Or is this the day I stir it? It’s all very confusing. Of course, I don’t think it would be nearly so difficult if I didn’t start THREE at the same time…as in, three separate jars of starter.  Why?  Because I went online to buy the jar recommended by the person on the Amish Bread site and thought, “If one is good, wouldn’t three be even better?” 

The answer is no.  No, three jars is unnecessary.  Three starters in three jars is ridiculous.  Three is not better when one is more than I can handle.  Come take a look in my freezer and you’ll see. I’ve frozen approximately ELEVENTY THOUSAND bags of starter!!!

But this isn’t a story about how I had so much starter last Saturday that I decided to make FOUR LOAVES of Friendship Bread. Because that day was TERRIBLE. No, this story is about my pants. 

Sometime around the start of the quarantine, I was very stressed. I didn’t handle it well, the way things were changing every day, and so I bought clothes. Lots of clothes. Like, four new pairs of jeans and three new shirts and even a new pair of tennis shoes, even though I already have two perfectly fine pairs. 

But even though I sent one pair of shoes back, I liked the pants.  One pair, in particular, was really cute. I wore them twice before the rip that was created by the manufacturer, well, it ripped more. Only instead of horizontally, it took off vertically. It looked really stupid. In other words, the fashionable people who wash their new blue jeans with rocks until they look worn, then cut them intentionally, would know that mine accidentally ripped and think I was…gauche.  I guess that’s what I’m saying.

So what’s a girl to do? I wasn’t sure, so I set the pants aside for oh, a month or four. Until I decided it was silly not to just sew up the rip. How much worse could they look?

(FYI, never ask that question.)

(Also, if you’ve ever read the book, “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,” you will probably see what’s coming.)

So what do I do when my new jeans have an unintended rip that needs to be repaired? Well, first, I think about whether or not I should just stitch it by hand. I could do that since I’ve done a lot of hand-stitching in my life, but blue jean material is thick and I knew it would hurt to push the needle through the cloth. So sewing machine it is!

Next, I have to find my sewing machine. Easy enough – it’s in the guest bedroom closet. Only that’s now Brad’s home office. So there was a long delay while I tried to decide A) where to put the sewing machine and B) when to get it so it doesn’t bother Brad.

During that delay, which lasted at least a month, I rediscovered Pinterest. And for reasons I can’t quite recall, began searching up pictures of under-the-stairs closets, and how people have used them. As I searching Pinterest, I came across an article in which someone turned part of their under-the-stairs closet into a sewing closet! Hurrah! I have the solution to my problem!

When I approached Brad with my idea, he remembered a cheap little shelving unit we had in the attic from when we were first married! I think it was a hand-me-down from my sister, but I’m not certain. Whatever the case, it was the perfect size for the space – just wide enough and deep enough to give me space to sew and still be able to fit a chair.

I delayed again after that because I still hadn’t figured out when to get my sewing machine, plus I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough light. Then, one day, I mentioned to Brad that I needed my machine and he went immediately and carried it into the closet! On Sunday the last two pieces fell into place as I went to put a tower fan I had bought Brad for Father’s Day in his home office and saw there was a lamp in the way. It took me a little while to put two and two together, but I eventually realized where I could put the lamp, and it turns out it’s perfect next to my machine and VERY bright! Then I was in our media room and noticed a little desk chair set back against the back wall. We have six recliners in that room, so I grabbed the chair and put it in my closet. (Of course, as soon as Samuel learned what I had done, he told me that was his favorite place to sit and watch his brothers play video games.)

Finally, my sewing closet was ready, so today, when I got sick of working on our budget, I decided to sew up my jeans in my new space! 

As I sat feeling very industrious and smart stitching up my pants, I had all sorts of glorious thoughts about starting my own sewing business! Or taking in clothes that people need repaired! Or creating something with my sewing machine that no one had ever seen before!  

And then I took my pants off the machine and realized all I had really done was create for myself a pair of quarantine jeans that will never see the outside of our house. 

(I might have over-estimated my ability to sew.)

Which is fine, since I rarely see the outside of our house, either.

I Finally Thought Of A Post

I’ve been experiencing writer’s block, in case you haven’t noticed.

That’s not entirely true.  I’ve had lots of ideas cross my brain but not enough time or energy to create an actual post from them.  So, sort of like writer’s block, only not.

But I have fodder, I have time, and I’ve had coffee this morning, so here goes!

Last night, I went to the mall to make some returns and decided to see what was going on in my favorite plus-size store – the Encore part of Nordstrom.  It’s pricey, but I only buy a few key pieces and can usually get them on sale.  Anyway, what I really needed was jeans, so I took the size 20W and 18W back to try on since I didn’t really know what size I was anymore.  Prior to joining UB, I was wearing some 22W, but they were tight, and I probably needed to be in 24W’s.  So I tried on the 20W, and they were a little big.  I put on the 18W, and voila!  They were beautiful!!!!  I went ahead and tried the 16W, and they zipped but were pretty tight, so I decided to wait until I was actually there to buy anything in that size.  But then I started trying on tops, and to my amazement, I fitted into 16W on top!  I am still in shock – I haven’t seen these sizes – anything in the teens – for probably 9 years.

Here are some pictures I took during my shopping session last night – just for comparison’s sake, I’ve included some pictures from Thanksgiving a year ago.

Looking at the old pictures reminds me of the pain – emotional and physical – I felt during that trip.  The 8 1/2 hour flight was the most miserable I’ve ever been in my life, mostly because I was squeezed into my seat like a sausage.  Everything we did required physical strength I didn’t have, so I was grouchy and exhausted the whole time.  But mostly, I was just sad that here I was in Hawaii, and I wasn’t fully enjoying it because of my size.

So today is Thanksgiving, and I want to say that today I am grateful for UB and what they have done for me.  I have my life back – and I owe it all to Trish and Corey, the 8:30 class.  You know who you are.  🙂


I have no idea if that is the correct spelling of that word or if that is even a word.  I just know that I’ve heard my children say it (kind of like the Marines) and Heidi said it to me at the gym this morning.  And it is a perfect expression of how we both were feeling after our workout today: BOO-YAH BABY!!!!  FOUR WEEKS ARE D-O-N-E!!!!!!!!!

So.  Let’s assess the situation.

20-week membership – 4 completed weeks = 16 weeks left.  Eh, not so encouraging.  Especially since we are probably looking at TWO 20-week memberships in order to lose all the weight I need to lose.

100 pounds to lose – 5 pounds lost = 95 left.  Ugh.  Not encouraging at all.

Getting dressed after my shower in my old(er) jeans and seeing them fit more loosely.  VERY ENCOURAGING.

Having lunch with a friend at Chili’s without blowing my diet.  VERY EXCITING.

Feeling my muscles when running errands today.  WAY BETTER THAN EVERYTHING ELSE ON THIS LIST.

Because to me, feeling sore means I am pushing myself.  And I have not pushed myself physically in a looooooooonnnnngggggg time.  So that’s a huge victory.  I could feel myself holding my head up higher all day today, and in general, had a better attitude.  So to me, that’s the payoff.  Yes, I’ve still got a ways to go, but hey, FOUR WEEKS is FOUR WEEKS!!!

We made it!  We’ve survived the bicycling through the mud backward, the double-speed crunches, and lower-ab scissors.  We’ve crab-walked and run jogged around that building too many times to count.  We’ve lifted weights to strengthen our arms, our abs, our legs, and even our shoulders.  We’ve done squats, jumping jacks, squats followed by jumps, lunges, push-ups, full sit-ups, crunches, planks, one-handed planks, and more that I’ve forgotten.  I’ve never been so exhausted in my whole life.  And I’ve never felt so exhilarated.  Something is happening.  Something is changing in me, and I LIKE IT!!!!

We Have Oxen…I Guess

Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,
But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4

So I’ve been complaining a lot lately about how frustrating it is that I can’t seem to keep up with everything, now that I’m working (that should really say WORKING) out and wearing myself out every morning.

But thank you, Lord, for giving us Oxen.

Yes, it’s true – if I had never joined this gym/bootcamp, I would have more time to do laundry and cook and all those other things. But rather than complain about the lack of time, I want to be grateful that we have a house to keep clean, plentiful clothes that require laundry, and indoor plumbing that must be cleaned.

If we had never had children, the house would be so easy to keep clean. Then again, if it wasn’t for the children, we wouldn’t need such a big house.

If we had never gotten a dog, the floors would stay cleaner. But what would be the point of shiny clean floors if I had no one with whom to enjoy them when I’m here alone during the day.

If I had never joined the gym, I would have more hours in the day, but what would be the point if my energy level just continued to decline over time?

Yes, I’m having my butt handed to me on a regular basis. Yesterday was probably the hardest day of cardio yet. However, I’m going to be thankful that I am still young enough to make these types of changes, and my body is able to be handle the calisthenics without (so far) sustaining injury.

So thank you, Jesus, for all the oxen today. Life would be simpler without them, but oh how grateful I am to have them.

Gratitude Entry

(Originally posted 9/5/2012)

I read in a Flylady email tonight that part of every evening routine should be time to reflect on everything we have to be grateful for. Flylady keeps a gratitude journal, and so I thought I would take a few minutes tonight to reflect and journal on what I am grateful for.


20120904-235632.jpgThere are, of course, too many things to mention in one entry, but tonight, I am especially for Snickers. She is such a sweet puppy. She is curled up next to me on the bed right now (don’t tell Brad – he’s traveling tonight), and just having her close is such a comfort. I know that my ears won’t be the only ears listening for strange sounds in the house, and she hears much better than I do, anyway! She is so pretty and has such a sweet disposition – especially when she’s tired or sleeping – ha! Anyway, she tops my list tonight.

I’m also grateful to the people God has brought alongside me to support me in this journey to lose weight, learn to eat healthy food, and get in shape. Heidi is my new friend who keeps me laughing during our entire hour together. Well, except when we’re in too much pain to laugh. I have told her – and it’s true – that I couldn’t do this without her. She encourages me, and I hope to encourage her – and I think we will be good for each other over the long haul.

My mom has been another source of encouragement, and I appreciate her willingness to indulge me as I talk her ear off about everything I’m learning. She’s one of my very best friends, and I’m excited that she’s making some of the same changes I am at the same time. I think we can learn a lot from each other.

Of course, Brad is the one I have to thank for helping me make the decision, despite the money it is costing us, and he has been nothing but supportive, even choosing to make his own personal changes toward getting more exercise and eating better. I love him for doing that without me even asking.

Finally, I’m grateful for my boys tonight for the way they say little things to encourage me each day. They ask – and actually seem interested – about what we did in class today. They commented on my new outfit this morning (!). And they offer to give me back rubs and let me take naps – they have just been behind me 100%, and that means the world to me.

Those are just a few of the very top of my gratitude list. I have a feeling it’s going to take all 20 weeks for me to get through everything I’m thankful for! But that’s okay – it beats the alternative! I know because I’ve been ungrateful before, and it’s a miserable place to live!!! (more…)