Regulating Springtime Temperatures

Does anybody else have trouble figuring out what to wear in the Springtime?

The mornings can be cold – in the mid-30s. But daytime highs reach into the 70s, might even touch 80!

“Dress in layers,” they say. And I do have a couple of lighter-weight sweaters that could go over short-sleeves. But the jacket I need in the morning is laying in the backseat by afternoon.

And do I wear socks in my shoes, since my toes are cold? They make my outfit look so “wintry.” Yesterday, I put on a black T-shirt with a lightweight red and black open cardigan, and jeans. With socks and shoes, I looked like I was dressed for November!

I took off my socks and tossed them on the floor of the car. I rolled up my sleeves and cuffed my pants and – voilà! – I was dressed for Spring. Kinda.

I don’t really have much in the way of Spring colors in my wardrobe. I wear lots of blues, with some purples and grays/blacks. Not Springy colors like pinks and greens and yellows. Definitely not yellows, which make my skin look sallow.

What about sleeping in these temperatures? We’ve been keeping one window open at night, for the fresh air. But the room really cools off by early morning.

On my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I got a weighted blanket. They’re not supposed to be hot, just heavy. But mine came with a “minky” cover, which is plush polyester – not breathable. I got a second cover – cotton and bamboo – which is definitely not as stifling as the first one.

I’ve slept with the weighted blanket many nights since I got it. But I almost always kick it off in the middle of the night because it’s too hot. I find myself dropping it to the floor and reaching for my regular sheets and blankets. And then, come early morning, like 3am, I’m cold and want another layer. But I’m hot by 7am – probably the furnace kicking on.

Speaking of heat, I’ve noticed how hard it is to regulate the temperatures of rooms in this weather. It’s too warm for heat, too cool for air conditioning. Having the windows open is a nice alternative, but that doesn’t work at our office. And if it’s windy, all the tree and flower pollen is blowing around, which makes sneezing much more likely.

This temperature difficulty is especially noticeable in big buildings, like at church. It must be difficult for staff to know if they should turn on heat or AC. And it takes so long for a large space to warm up or cool off. I’m sure that’s a challenge for the property manager to regulate.

I sound like I’m complaining. And I’m really not; just observing the difficulties of this time of year.

The positive aspects of Springtime far outweigh these trivial negatives. The beautiful dogwood and Mountain Laurel trees, the greening grass, the daffodils and tulips. The celebration of Easter and new life. I stood underneath a huge lilac bush at church last night, just soaking in the beautiful perfume. I may not have anything to wear, but Spring is a beautiful time of year!

National Pet Day

In honor of yesterday as National Pet Day, I wanted to write a post that shared the furry friends who have been part of our life over the years.

We started with a stray cat we found under our car in our first apartment. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of Jenny before she was reclaimed by the local drug dealer in our complex!

Next came Maggie, who we had before we had children. She was our first baby, and I think she thought she was human. She was with us for 16 years.

Then we had Alex – a kitten who hid in Chris’ underwear drawer, and who was an awesome companion to Maggie.

Next came Allie.

We found Bob when he’d been hit by a car. “Bob bites” might have been our daughter’s first sentence.

Then Arthur. The opposite of Bob. Our son learned to stand by pushing off of Arthur’s belly. He was so tolerant!

Then we got Abbie and Archie, who we had for 15 years.

Next came Ella, a hound dog who stopped listening whenever she caught a great scent.

Finally, we acquired Annabelle and now Henry. They have bonded well, and keep us company all day – and night – long!

We love our fur-babies!

Calorie Count

I joined Noom, in an effort to change my thinking about food consumption. And because it was a good sale price.

The science behind the psychology of Noom is good. Lots of pointers and hints. All in an effort to modify the way I think about food. It’s supposed to be a lifestyle change, not a diet.

The program starts with the question, “How much do you want to lose, and how quickly?” And this is where I struggle.

Obviously, to lose weight, “calories out” needs to be more than “calories in.” But I get to the end of the day and go over my calorie count. every. time.

So I have two ways to address this. Less food consumption, or more exercise.

I took a nice walk yesterday, really enjoyed it. I had my headphones on, listening to music with a good beat to keep a steady pace. But I didn’t walk today, though I should have. The sun was shining, and while it wasn’t exactly warm, it was nice enough to get outside. Instead, I took a nap and read a book.

I can always find something to do that keeps me from exercise. Even though once I get out there, I really enjoy walking and listening to my playlists. It’s a matter of getting out there.

So what’s my problem? I suspect I won’t be able to reduce my calorie consumption, so the only way to lose any weight is to be more active.

If I had a dog, I’d have to walk, to give it some activity. But I don’t have a dog, nor do I want one.

I’ve started wearing my activity tracker, in an effort to monitor my steps. Which were minimal today! So where’s the incentive in that? Obviously it’s not motivating enough to just keep track of my steps.

I guess there’s another alternative. And that’s to just be satisfied with my body in the shape it’s in. And I’m mostly okay with that.

But I know I need to eat better and get more exercise to be healthy, particularly as I get older. The extra weight around my mid-section is shown to be conducive to health problems, so I need to do something about it.

I guess all of this means that I know what to do, but I’m not doing it. How do I overcome this inertia?!

How do I “Just Do It?”

Allergic to the produce department?!

Yesterday, my husband and I went “over the mountain” to spend the afternoon in Charlottesville, VA. We shopped for table lamps and a new entry light, ate at a crowded Chick-Fil-A (I love their grilled chicken sandwich), and went to Alamo Draft House – a unique movie experience.

We ordered food and drinks to enjoy while we saw Captain Marvel. Good movie! Delicious Brie pizza and champagne cocktail. A very fun time.

My main purpose for our trip to C’ville was to go to Wegman’s – an enormous grocery store with everything you can imagine! We were looking for a particular item – grilling cheese, or Halloumi – which we couldn’t find here. Not even at The Cheese Shoppe!

After wandering through the bread department, we circled around the huge cheese section – finally asking for help in locating grilling cheese. And we found it! I’m so excited, because I love the Grilling Cheese recipe we’ll be making. With grilled sweet potatoes and tomatoes and avocado. Yum!

As we made our way to the checkout, we walked through Wegman’s gigantic produce section. Everything was neatly arranged and absolutely beautiful, unless it was sold out, like the broccoli heads. We passed the stacks of apples and paused at the prickly pear fruit, right next to the yucca root. My husband picked up two cactus fruits and I grabbed a papaya. Then we checked out and headed home.

As we were driving through the fog at the top of the mountain, I noticed that the roof of my mouth was itchy. I thought it was strange – it’s too early for my seasonal allergies to start breaking through.

By the time we got home, my face was itchy. I took off my makeup and put on my pajamas. I took an allergy pill – the one I take for spring and fall allergens. But the itching didn’t go away.

Pretty soon, my eyes itched. And my head. The inside of my nose. My feet all the way up to my hips. There was no rash or swelling, just the feeling that the inside of my skin was irritated!

I crawled into bed, hoping the cool sheets would help. Instead, I felt immediately hot. After texting my sister and daughter, I knew I needed some Benadryl.

My darling husband went out into the rain to get the antihistamine from the nearby grocery store. I took two, and crawled back into bed. Then I googled produce allergies.

It turns out that food allergies can come on suddenly, and are most common in folks who have seasonal allergies. Something about being allergic to the trees, and the fruit that comes off those trees.

I thought back to what I had touched in the store – only packaged cheese, the yucca root, and the papaya that I carried. Hmm.

It was fitful sleep until the middle of the night when I woke up completely. I was still itchy, so I took two more pills. Then I went back to bed, to restlessly sleep some more.

When I got up this morning, I still had some mild irritation, but nothing as crazy-making as last night. Even now, my tongue is “scratching” the roof of my mouth.

I had a banana for breakfast – no bad reaction. I’m nervous to eat the fruits in my fridge, but may run a little experiment by trying them one at a time to see if I can figure this out.

Time for some investigative work!

New Carpet, and Books

We’re getting new carpeting today. In the master bedroom and sitting room.

The previous owner must have kept her dog in the master, because there’s pet “damage.” You can smell a whiff of it when it’s humid outside, but most of the time it’s not a problem. Still, no amount of cleaning has gotten rid of it, so even though we really like the carpeting in there, it’s gotta go.

The other room – the sitting room – we call it the Beach Room because we’ve decorated it with our shells and pictures from our time in Florida – used to be our second guest bedroom. But when we got a new couch for the living room last year, we sold the bedroom furniture and put the old couch in the room. We sit in there and listen to music and read. It’s cozy, comfortable. But the carpet is cheetah.

Yep. Cheetah carpeting. Which doesn’t go with any of our beach decor! So it’s gotta go.

Cheetah 🐆 carpet!

This same cheetah carpet is in our massive master bedroom closet, along with a chandelier. In there, it’s so tacky that it’s adorable, and we love it!

So it stays in the closet but is replaced in the sitting room.

Yesterday, I removed all my books from the bookshelves so the carpet layers can move the furniture. It was a good way to pull out books to donate, and organize the ones I want to keep.

I’ve got a little library of sorts – books on depression, grief, and prayer seem to be the main topics. I want to build this collection – particularly the depression-themed books, as topics for my writings.

I also moved all my journals – I have almost 20 completed notebooks! I began faithfully writing – almost daily, sometimes several times per day – when depression started in 2008. I’m trying to figure out how to organize the content of them, so I can use them as resources in my writing.

Once the carpet is laid and the furniture moved back, I’ve decided to arrange the bookshelves a little differently. I have many books that I own and want to read. I need to quit downloading to my Kindle and read what I already own! I plan to put all those “to-be-read” books on one shelf and work my way through them. Or sort and donate, which might be a better way to go.

The carpet layers just called – they’ll be here soon!

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Bye-bye cheetah! Finished product: