Friday, January 23, 2009

Always Steal if You Can

Last Saturday night I had my annual Winter Wonderland Party (3rd year) and in conjunction with my party, I have a White Elephant Gift Exchange.  Boy, what a blast it turned out to be once again!

24 guests showed up on that frigid night to warm my house with lots of cheer, spirits and laughter.  I have a cozy townhouse, and to have 24 people in my kitchen and family room makes for an intimate party.  

The hit of the night was the gift exchange.  Here was the instructions I gave my guests for the white elephant gift: find an item that is in new or slightly used condition that might be unsightly, ridiculous, outrageous, obnoxious, useless, or simply silly.  It shouldn't be worth much and wrap it up in anything (newspaper, wrap, a brown paper bag, etc) and don't put your name on it.

My guests were given numbers and would open their "gifts" in chronological order.  They had a choice to steal a gift (from someone who had already chosen) or pick a wrapped gift from the pile.  Gifts included a strobe light, "The Perfect Man" (a little rubber guy), a socket set, a tiffany-looking turtle light, board games, candles, a personal body alarm, a latch hook horse rug, a spiced wine, a movie I never heard of, a pink Harley Davidson hat with a black Jack Daniels hat, a latte frother, an inspirational cd, a 2008 calendar, the pancake puffer (it squeezes filling into a pancake),  and  so on...  These were all great white elephant gifts but the 'creme de creme' gift of the night was chosen by my friend, Linda.  Linda originally picked  the latch hook horse rug.  She was begging for people to steal the rug so she could pick again from the pile.  Wrong move, Linda.   Ed, my sweetie, decided he could use the rug and stole it from Linda.  Linda was giddy with excitement because that meant that she could either steal from someone else or pick again from the "pile o' crap".  I guess she was feeling adventurous because she decided to steal from the pile.  Again, wrong move, Linda.

She chose an object that many of were guessing was an album or a calendar.  My guests were speculating...could it be an old Ann Murray album or possibly some obscure band we've never heard of.  She unwrapped the item to discover it indeed was an album but not one of us would have guessed what it was.  No, it was not any type of retro or country western music was not music at all, in fact.  The album cover was baby blue and in big white letters it was labeled "SEX".  "SEX Education for Your Son", to be more specific.  My guests roared with laughter at Linda's "new" gift.  Ed looked at Linda and held up his newly acquired horse rug and said "The horse doesn't look so bad after all, does it Linda?"  Jokes continued flying non-stop for the rest of the night.  Ironically, Linda has 3 daughters (and of course the album is 30 some years old). 

Moral of the Story:  If you ever participate in a White Elephant Gift Exchange, STEAL!  'Cause at least you're going to get something that you know what it is!  (Of course, if you are one of those people who draw an early number, you have no choice but to choose from the pile o' crap!)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lemons are now Lemonade

Ahhhhh.....warmth. No, I'm not talking about the -10° outside, I'm talking about the 65° it is in my house right now. After a new inducer motor was installed and a hefty bill from the HVAC guy, I have heat! Hallelujah! I got to say it is worth every penny right now. All kidding aside, I am very grateful for not only having heat in my house but I am also very grateful for being able to afford the bill. Sure it hurt a little, but I can still make ends meet. I am thankful.

More good news. I am down about a pound and a half from my last weigh in. I've got to keep that ball in motion (downward, that is).

And, Sharkie is fixed. I took Sharkie's back tire to the bike store where they replaced the tube. I got it home and then panicked for a few seconds. As silly as this sounds, I have had very few instances where I've actually installed my back tire on to my bike. What if I screw up the chain and the gears? Truth be told, I would have taken help in a nano-second. But then, the pratical side of me thought "it's a fricken tire installation--how simple". I pretended I was in a race and told myself not to panic. I fumbled for a few minutes and reassured myself that I could indeed do this. Sure, I had ended up with greasy fingers but it really was a non-issue. I did it and Sharkie is back up and running. Note to self: I've really got to learn how to do basic mechanics on my bike.

So, all in all a rough start to the week but it's getting better. (Although I can't really say that about the weather---did I say it was -10° with a wind chill of -34°)?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Catching Up

Busy, busy, busy.

I'm a little late in saying this but...HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!

I'm not sure where all my time has been going lately, I just don't know. Funny how the days can fly by if you're not paying attention. Ok...a quick run down on what has happened in the last two weeks:

EN Winter's Run Challenge: I scored a whole whopping 11.2 pts. Between weather issues and time challenges, I managed 3 runs total. It's a start. I'm hoping I can get in at least 1-2 outside runs per week for the rest of the off-season (winter). Although the weather looks like it's going to keep me inside this week. It's blizzard season here in Chicago.

The EN Weight Challenge: yep, another that is much harder for me...weight loss. The reward is personal. Gosh how I would love to lose some extra unwanted weight. My goal is to lose 12-13 lbs by June 1 or in other terms, dropping a pant size or two or losing about 5% body fat.

To help me track my progress, I splurged on a Tanita Ironman Scale which measures all kinds of stuff including, weight, body fat, water hydration, physique rating, visceral fat, metabolic age, and . When I stepped on the scale for the first time, the results didn't surprise me. Unfortunately, the numbers were what I expected.

Weight: 148 lbs
Body Fat: 30.4%
Body Water: 48.9% (healthy is 45-60%)
Muscle mass: 98.0 lbs
Physique Rating: 5 (both my muscle mass and my body fat is average/healthy)
Bone Mass: 5.2 lbs (5.3 lbs for my weight is good)
BMR: 1404 (# calories
Metabolic Age: 36
Visceral Fat: 5 lbs (# of lbs of body fat surrounding vital organs)

I weigh in every Monday. Today I didn't--that's another story. When I weigh in on Tuesday, I'm hoping to see progress(it doesn't have to be much). I just need something in the downward direction.

Change of Plans: I could totally relate to Waddler's post on Saturday. She had forgotten her cycle shoes and therefore disappointingly had to settle with a run. As if we had a cosmic mirror I was feeling the same way. I was all set to get in a good ride on Sharkie (my bike) and burn some calories. I pumped the front tire with air and then continued on to the back. Air wasn't going in, so I popped off the pump valve to try again but broke the valve stem. What air was in my back tire went out in a flash. Dang it. I was upset; now I was forced to change my exercise plans. As I begrudgingly headed to the fitness center, I decided to run on the treadmill. I hadn't run in awhile. It didn't feel real good to me; it felt labored, really labored. And that worries me. I ran/walk for an hour finishing just 4.5 miles. How in the world am I going to do 26. 2 miles after riding for 112 miles? Oh I'm scared! I've got a long training road ahead of me.

In the Cold: Saturday night I woke in the middle of the night to some awful sounds. What is that? In my grogginess, I thought it was a lawn mower. What? Ok, that 's not it, it's winter. Snowblower? At 2 am? Then, I realized it was my furnace. It makes a lot of noise, but sounded like a cat had got trapped by the tail in the motor. Of course, I ignored and went back to sleep. The awful sounds lasted through the night but the furnace died on Sunday afternoon. I didn't want to cough up extra $$ for an emergency visit from the heating guy so I went through the night with out heat. It wasn't too bad. Luckily my townhouse is a unit that is sandwiched in between two others which helps my heat insulation. The temp dropped to 54°. 3 Blankets, a down comforter, thermal pj's and Ed helped keep the bed nice and toasty warm.

After a whole 10 seconds of evaluation, the HVAC guy states I need a new motor. Yeah, I could have told you that. Unfortunately, he doesn't carry my brand so I'm waiting out another day with out heat. It's really not so bad. I managed to raise my house's temp this evening by cooking some chicken in my oven, and using a little space heater (just blows warm air--there are no heat coils). I got the house to 60°. Whoo hoo. Back to why I didn't weigh myself today for the "great Monday weigh in"; I didn't want to take my clothes off to step on the scale. Whaaaaat? It was too cold.

I'm off to hibernate for the night.