18 January 2010

Bits & Bobs

  • I finally got around to taking a couple pics of the Turkish socks. Except they're not Turkish, but Bosnian, and Don bought them from a woman who insisted they were mittens, even though they're clearly socks, with a heel rather than a thumb (and I think you were right, JJ, about it being German cast-on). See for yourselves.



    I'm thinking the woman may have been Elbonian.

  • On my way in to work yesterday afternoon, I heard an interview with Arianna Huffington about an initiative she's involved in to encourage people to move their banking away from large banks and toward small local banks and credit unions. They've put together a clever little video:

    My preference for the past 20+ years has been to use credit unions wherever I could. As member-owned institutions, credit unions have a strong incentive to a) keep their money invested locally and b) look out for the best interests of their members, since an account holder is quite literally a shareholder.

  • I started a major cleaning task on Saturday, clearing out the kitchen alcove which has nominally been my "home office" space, but which has really just been a dumping ground for all sorts of crap for far too long. In the process of cleaning, I went through a stack of mail that had been tucked away for, well, about 8 months. In that pile was a copy of the bloodwork I had to have run when I applied for life insurance.

    Because I'd never seen this envelope, I had just assumed there were no issues with my cholesterol, even though it's something I've been a bit concerned about and have mentioned here before. Turns out I should have been worrying more. My HDL was up, which was an improvement but still not good enough, but my LDL was even more up. In fact, it was kind of scary high. Since my weight is actually slightly higher than it was then and I know that my cholesterol actually varies with my weight, I'm a little afraid to think about where it is currently.

    Anyway, it was a good reminder that I need to lose some serious weight, ASAP. So I started looking around online for resources to help track caloric intake, activity, etc. I've used ediets.com in the past and have looked at Weight Watchers, but they both cost $18/month, which is a bit much when you really need to be economizing. Then I ran across FitDay, which has tiered access - a free site for entering foods eaten and tracking calories, weight loss, etc., and a premium service that's ad-free and offers more tools for tracking nutritional goals and health. The premium option was only $5.49/month billed for a full year, and $65 sounded like a much better deal to me than $216 so I went ahead and sprang for it.

    So far I'm liking it. It doesn't do meal plans or try to sell meal plans like the other sites, so you're expected to set your own goals in as much or as little detail as you'd like. They do have a calculator that tells you what your approximate daily caloric usage is and what caloric deficit you need to lose weight on a desired schedule, but you can decide what your target is for the proportions of fat, carbs, & protein you want to meet that caloric goal. It's also fairly customizable, so you can track the measurements that are most meaningful to you.

    Of course, a tool is only useful if you actually use it, but seeing those cholesterol numbers was a pretty big wake-up call. My goal is to lose 41# in the next 5 months, which is entirely doable. I just need to keep reminding myself that it's my ticket out of a whole lot of badness.


Chris said...

*snickering about Elbonia*

Ugh, bad news about your cholesterol, but it sounds like you're off to a good start getting it under control.

Anonymous said...

1. Hurrah for credit unions! We have banked with one in Minneapolis for 20+ happy years. Smokey had to open a (free) checking account at Wells Fargo a couple weeks ago (boring story) and the service person tried to get him to move all his banking to WF. He blistered her ear.

B. Thanks for the FitDay link -- gonna go check that out. I need to lose some weight, too, for health reasons.

Lisa/knitnzu said...

"Elbonian" (snort).

We were talking just yesterday about moving more money into the credit union. We have some paper from them that says 4% on a checking acct! The cds don't even get close to that.

Molly Bee said...

Hey Mel! Try Spark People dot com! Its awesome and free! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I don't often comment on blogs, but I relate to your dilemma. I am using the "Dr. Talburt Fat Cat Diet". Dr. Talburt is our vet. When I took my fat cats in he said "If you want a 10 pound cat, you feed a 10 pound cat".

I pondered that for a while (months)and when I had a lab value that motivated me - I wondered why that wouldn't work for a 130 pound woman.

So I figured out the basal metabolic rate for a sedentary woman my height who weighs 130 pounds. That gave me my target calorie count. The really nice thing about it is that I will never have to go on a "maintenance" diet - I'm already on it.

I have lost 30 pounds so far and it really has been pretty painless. Good luck with your weight loss and congratulations on wanting to be healthier.


Anonymous said...

Try dailyplate.com

Java said...

It makes sense that a person from Elbonia would think those were mittens.

Miss Trudy said...

Damn, you actually went and made the socks! They'd look great with dark gray hiking boots. Like the small banks idea. I am for going local and small. Clearly big and impersonal hasn't done much good, if any. How much can it hurt to try something else? Something more sensible?

Sheepish Annie said...

My insurance company used to have a nice, simple calorie tracker but then they changed it and now it's too messy to even begin using. I should try that link!

Michelle M. said...

I remember the Elbonia episode when Dilbert was an animated series.

My husband has high cholesterol. He's in good shape, so we think it's mostly genetic. He eats pretty healthy, but notices a rise in his LDL level when he cuts back on exercising. It also helped when he cut back on eating meat to once or twice a week (not that that's a factor for you). Good luck with the diet (eat oatmeal and almonds), squeeze in some exercise and stay healthy : ).

that's J-O-S-H said...

I'm in love wiff those sockz! They remind me of Beetlejuice! Yay!

Justin said...

Those ARE nice socks.

JOSH -- I *LOVE* Beetlejuice!!!!

"Elbonian" -- heh :-)

Thanks for the heads-up on the weight-loss site. I've used sparkpeople and weightwatchers (their online version as well as the old-fashioned way). I'm always very good at losing weight when I put my mind to it but not so good at keeping it off (nothing new there) :-)

I, too, have low HDL. My LDL used to be low too but has steadily crept up as I've aged. :P

Anonymous said...

The money video is great and I will be forwarding it to many friends. Most of my money is in a cooperative bank since local banks don't exist in France where I live. I loathe the big banks and have had bad experiences with them though I never asked them for money - I should since they keep losing mine by cutting corners to save money that cost more in the end (as in no guards at the bank during renovations, safety deposit boxes fractured and robbed !)