Monday, November 2, 2009

Mama's Hands Are Never Empty

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
~Spanish Proverb
Inspirational Song
Simple Gifts
Dianne Schneider

All She Had

Mom stayed an extra night so she could give me her full day yesterday. You can now see the floor of my closet! Sounds like I'm 8 years old, doesn't it? Who else could I count on to come help me sort a messy closet, but my mother? She also ironed some of my jackets. We were so tired that we ate smoothies for dinner!

I called Mom at the end my work day today to tell her how my lunch of Butternut Squash & Mushroom Risotto was with my side of Broccoli Rabe (good!) and for us to exchange once again to each other our thanks for the weekend.

After dinner I called my sister. My sister doesn't drive. She drove until my niece was born 26 years ago, but she stopped then and hasn't driven since. Every now and then she needs my mom to pick her up from school (she's a teacher's aid). Today was one of those days.

As I was talking to my Sis, she said, "You know mom can't see me without bringing me something." Do I ever know this! "So when I got in the car, do you know what she handed me?"

"What?" I said.

"A baked sweet potato." I started howling.


"She said she looked around and didn't have anything else but a sweet potato, so she baked it for me."

I was still laughing--loudly. "Did you eat it?"

"No, she said it was to add to my dinner."

"I bet she thought you'd eat it right there in the car. You should have eaten it!" I said.

"Only you would think this was funny." She told me. I think it's delightfully funny, guffawing til you cry funny.

And the sweetest thing ever.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cookin', Cleanin', & Poodles

The family - that dear
octopus from whose tentacles we
never quite escape, nor, in
our inmost hearts, ever
quite wish to.

~Dodie Smith

Inspirational Song

Sweet Southern Comfort
Buddy Jewel

Cookin' With Mama
My mom came to spend Halloween night with us. She only lives 45 minutes away but it's kind of unusual for her to come to our house without an occasion. It wasn't Halloween that brought her, though, it was the fact that she felt like I needed help. She knows I work late (I sometimes call her from my car when I'm leaving working after 7) and she said she wished she lived closer so she could help me cook ahead and bring me food.

So on Thurs. she called to see if I "wanted" her to come up and help me cook some meals ahead for the week.

Now many, many times Mama's idea of meals doesn't sync with what I need to stay on track. But this time she was really trying. She brought this sheet that a doctor had given her of meals for a week to stay on 1800 calories/day and we picked a dinner recipe that she liked.

We haven't eaten it yet (we will Monday or Tues.) but it looks good and it wasn't hard (not just because Mom basically made it!).

Asian Chicken & Cabbage

Heat 2 tsp of peanut oil and saute chicken breast strips (we just cut 2 small breast halves into pieces) until cooked through.
Remove chicken.
Add ~2 cups loosely packed napa cabbage (or savory or regular green cabbage) to the heated skilled with ~1 cup pea pods (I prefer sugar snap peas over snow peas), add 1 small can water chestnuts (drained), salt & pepper, and 2 cut scallions.
Saute until cabbage is wilted.
Add chicken back to veggies.
Add light soy salt to taste.
Add 1 small can mandarin oranges. Heat through.
Serve over brown rice.

I also roasted some beets. I'm going to heat some OJ & other items from a recipe later to put them in. And I bought broccolini, Brussels Sprouts, and asparagus, along with 5 kinds of winter squash: delicata, acorn, butternut, an orange one that had "red" something in the name, and a funny shaped green one that I can't remember the name of --starts with a K. When I cook 'em, I'll let you know.

My plan is to bring 2 or 3 vegetables for my lunch during the week. Last week I cooked some Brussels Sprouts with shallots & bacon & a tad of vinegar & brought small amounts as a "side" to my lunch--they were yummy. I know a lot of people don't like them, and I've gone through spells where I don't either. But if you cook them right (don't boil them or overcook them), they are good.

Mom wants to help me sort my unbelievable messy closet, which I've complained to her about. Part of its disasterousness is because I can't fit into things and I already have tons of clothes I can't fit in in the attic in 2 big "hanging" boxes and also in the "TV room" closet. It's funny how quickly we want to get rid of fat clothes but how long we will hang on to smaller clothes.

I've been putting off the closet organizing because a) takes forever and b) it's a way to deny how huge I am. I'd show you pictures but it's unfathomable even to me.

Mom brought her miniature poodle, Buddy. He looks like the "before" to our goldendoodle, Yeats. Buddy is ~7 years old, so the old guy, but the little guy. It's a hoot to watch Yeats lie on her belly to try to entice Buddy to play. She hops all around him, but she kind of "nips" at the top of his neck a lot which worries us a bit, but Buddy doesn't seem to react. I think they are having fun, but Mom & Hubby get concerned if either of them make noise. Sounds like playing noise to me. . .

I may try to get some pics later. . .I'm not sure I'll be able to capture the most delightful part of their antics.

(I love waking up with light outside! But don't talk to me around 4:30!)

[I just realized if I changed the order of the words of this title. . . it would sound some kind of horrible Halloween witch's brew!]

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

GoodBye Summer, Hello Fall

This wreath came down

And this one went up

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Part 2: Local Living Means Letting the Day Count


To sit
with a dog on a hillside
on a glorious afternoon
is to be back in Eden,
where doing nothing was not boring -
it was peace.
~Milan Kundera

Inspirational Song
I Love My Old Bird Dog (and I Love You)

Local Living = Making a Life of the the Daily Events

This is a continuation of the last post I made about Living and Loving Locally.

Part of Local Living seems to me to be about becoming aware of and being satisfied with the little teeny tiny successes and accomplishments and interactions in each day.

I don't know how some people do it. Like look at Sean Anderson of The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser? Each of his days are packed with events. Of course his job is one that gets him out there with the public and and at events that are at least interesting to hear about. But he can make even the most mundane of things--the things you just have to do to sustaining yourself each day--like eating breakfast, sleeping, and talking a walk interesting to read through. I congratulate him on this. . . .my life seems so quietly uneventful next to his.

Another person who does this beautifully--and very consciously--is Maria of Little Things Are Big. She gets joy and satisfaction from taking a walk with her dog and noticing the leaves changing.

I want their kind of energy and optimism about the little makings of our lives!

I'm afraid I spend a lot of my life in "stew"--in my head a lot, tumbling worries and ideas and plans around like so many chopped vegetables, so that they all that simmering blends them together in one big brown, unidentifiable melting pot.

Even as a kid, I thought of myself as too smart and too worthwhile to lose any of my time on petty day-to-day tasks like making my bed. Making the bed, in my mind, was for less creative folk. I had things to do! Books to read! People to talk to! Journals to write!

In some ways, it was a similar argument with myself in terms of deciding not to have children (not just this, but it was a factor)--who had time to spend the evening making & monitoring meals so that kids ate nutritiously or giving them bathes or taking them to piano lessons? I had my own life to tend to! My own piano lessons to take! My own worries about nutrition to solve! Of course, I'm past the child bearing years now and I'm still fretting and stewing about the same issues sans the loving connection of kids. (Thank goodness for my "steps" --all of them--kids & grandkids!)

Recently my aunt gave me a huge bunch of clothes (26's, that fit, if that tells you anything)--and she included freshly laundered--barely worn, like new-underwear. After my initial thought of gross; I found myself thinking, I wish I could fold underwear so neatly and aligned--the very kind of thing I snobbishly have placed myself above spending time on! I neglected to realize that coming in the room to see a nicely made bed or opening a draw to nicely stacked undies gives you that mini boosting surge of happiness. . . and sometimes, that is enough.

John Lennon & the Bhutanese

John Lennon said, "Life happens while you're making other plans." I've started reading The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World again (I displaced it under the car seat during a recent road trip). The writer, Eric Weiner, goes on an international search looking for places that are the most happy. While in Bhutan, he meets with a happiness expert appropriately named Karma. I found this scene memorable and thought provoking:

"Karma, are you happy?"

"Looking back at my life, I find that the answer is yes. I have achieved happiness because I don't have unrealistic expectations."

This strikes me as an odd explanation. In America, high expectations are the engines that drive us, the gas in our tanks, the force behind our dreams and, by extension, our pursuit of happiness.

"My way of thinking is completely different," he says, "I have no such mountains to scale; basically, I find that living itself is a struggle, if I am satisfied, if I have done just that, lived well, in the evening I sigh and say, 'It was okay.'"

"Do you have bad days?"

"Yes, but it's important to put them in the perspective of insignificance. Even if you have achieved great things, it is a sort of theater playing in your mind. You think it is so important, but actually you have not made such a difference to anyone's life."

"So you're saying, Karma, that both our greatest achievements and our greatest failures are equally insignificant?"

"Yes. We like to think we really made a difference. Okay, in the week's scale, it may have been interesting. Take another 40 years, I'm not so sure. Take three generations, and you will be forgotten without a trace."

"And you find this a source of comfort? I find it terribly depressing."

"No, as we say in Buddhism, there is nothing greater than compassion. If you have done something good, then in the moment, you should feel satisfied."

I had a manager once who told me that she wished that I valued more what a great skill I had communicating with people (I didn't want to be promoted in the customer service aspects of my job; I wanted the path that led to editorial promotion so I could strengthen my editing and writing skills).

Another manager told me once I was "gifted" managing other people.

I hired someone once who later gave me a card with a picture of a drop of water hitting the surface of a lake and showing the concentric circles; she said I had no idea how much my faith in her had an ongoing impact on her life and confidence in herself.

In my current job, no one is falling over themselves to compliment me in such ways, but I like to think that I make my direct report's lives just a tad more fulfilling just by thanking them for their work and respecting their contributions and putting their lackadaisical moments and errors in perspective--like I try to do with my own.

Doing that at work comes easier than doing it with the personal stuff--feeling satisfied with a day filled with the mundane . . .the mundane that basically adds up to life.

Part 1: Live & Love Local--For Tomorrow You May Die

I know the answer!
The answer lies within the heart of all mankind!

The answer is 12?

I think I'm in the wrong building.

Charles Schulz (Lucy Van Pelt in Peanuts)

Inspirational Song
Charlie Brown Theme
Vince Guaraldi

A Case for Local Living?

I got this in an e-mail from a friend and I don't know if it is really attributable to Charles Schultz or not, but it struck me as true in a bittersweet sort of way.

Charles Schultz Philosophy
The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip. You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just read the e-mail straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the 5 wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last 5 Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last 5 winners of the Miss America.
4. Name 10 people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:
1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name 3 friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name 5 people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of 5 people you enjoy spending time with.

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.
'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia (These last 2 lines are attributable to Schultz for sure.)
--Charles Schultz
Local Loving = Work Second, Family First
Of course what this means is the reverse is also true. All our attempts and dream to find immortality through fame and power are likely to result in a small poof--our real value is what we do and give and how we live on in those around us whose lives we touch.

It feels like our whole societal structure was not set up properly for this. We spend at least--and more like 10 or 12 hours a day preparing ourselves for work, getting there, and using our brain work and energy to make someone else's desires come true.

I'm even lucky enough to truly like my job. My career is my life in many ways. . .but I also see the pointlessness of it. I've left enough jobs to know that people start to downplay your value and contribution before you even get all your belongings out the door if you decide to leave (or if they decide to lay you off), and even the people who you share most of your life with now--all the day's ins and outs, the laughs, the inside jokes--they most likely do nothing to keep in touch either after the work connection is gone.

So there we are, giving our families the bits of energy we have left, struggling to re-energize ourselves to connect with them and laugh with them make a significant contribution to their spirits and psyches, without it just being a re-hash of our work day.

To remember each time we speak to them that they are the people we love most in the world. . . let them hear it in our voice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 105: I'm an Art on Metal Kind of Gal

Go ahead and play the blues if it'll make you happy.
Dan Castellaneta
Inspirational Song
Your Funeral & My Trial
Sonny Boy Williamson

Artwork Admiration

I saw this artist's work--Fleetwood Covington--at both Atlanta's Folk Fest and Northport's Kentuck Festival. His expressions are amazing. I really like his work oils on metals--huge big colored metal pieces. . . I'm note sure it's the kind of art that Hubby would choose to live with.

White Harp
Fleetwood Covington,
Oil on Metal

Little Walter Fleetwood Covington
Oil on Metal Blowin'
Fleetwood Covington,
Oil on Metal

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 101: Pleasingly Pumped


Habit is habit and
not to be flung
out of the window
by any man but
coaxed downstairs
a step at a time.
Mark Twain

Inspirational Song
Life Is a Highway
Rascal Flatts

Appreciating the Little Things

I've been doing pretty well with my food. Bringing my lunches--even when I have to punt like today. This AM I "fried" an egg and heated it up at lunch with a piece of veggie sausage and ate it on one of those Pepperidge Farm Sandwich Thins. I've had a few days where I'm a bit over my 1500 calories (because I lag on the calculations), but I am so much more on track and in charge. And I came home tonight really hungry and ate a 90 calorie bag of baked Doritos instead of just randomly munching on whatever I could grab out of the fridge. It feels good.

Exercise Ponderings
As I am planning my exercise habits. . . getting my arms around likely having to get up earlier. . . argh. . .I'm thinking about climbing a flight of stairs after every time I take a break to pee. . . got to fit it in sometime. . .

First thing to do this weekend. . .get a new battery for my pedometer.

Discipline Before Affection
Yesterday my friend--who's way more dog savvy than I am--told me I needed to get more forceful with our 10 month old goldendoodle, Yeats, and be way way more consistent to keep her off me and to not let her bite at me (it's play, but it's still teeth). And I swear I thought I did sound like I meant it before when I said off and no, but I got down more in her face and concentrated on saying it more like I meant it, and she really is listening! I feel so much more hopeful that I will be able to get her respect instead of being her romping partner. It's really annoying to not be able to walk through the gate (we still gate her off in our family room and kitchen) without her leaping on me or walking while trying to hook my toes in her ring toys! I feel so much more empowered after Christine's little speech! Thanks, Christine!

There is a brisk coolness in the air today. I love fall.

Artwork Admiration
This weekend we go to Kentuck--a folk art fest near Tuscaloosa AL. My friend, Pat, who I saw a few weeks ago with my sister called and said she wanted to see me again while I was nearby because she'd had such fun with my sister and me. And it sounds silly but her wanting to be with me made me feel so normal and healthy and pleasant. We're going to go gallery hopping together. I'm psyched.

I'm hoping at Kentuck I'll be as intrigued by the interesting pieces like these I saw at Atlanta's Folk Fest, by Robin Anne Cooper.

She does sculptures and paintings using what she calls painted canvas collage. My favorites are her dogs.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 100: Revving Up to Move

Planning is bringing the future
into the present so that you
can do something about it now.
Alan Lakein
Inspirational Song
Long as I Can See the Light
Ted Hawkins

Preparing to Plan

Do you know the stages of change made famous by Prochaska? They are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. He says that the reason a lot of people fail when they try to change is because they jump into action too quickly without giving themselves time to plan.

So instead of feeling like I am procrastinating with what I'm going to say next, I am looking at this as taking a few days to plan and get ready. I did that years ago when I successfully lost 60 lbs on WW. I talked about joining with Hubby but delayed it for a few weeks I think as we got our minds around it.

So what am I planning for now you wonder? Exercise.

I haven't been exercising. For 6 years while I maintained my 60 lb weight loss I was a regular exerciser. I walked alot. I swam. I worked with a trainer and strength trained. I biked a little. I wasn't thin; I wasn't fit, but I was a heck of a lot more fit than I am now. AND it felt great.

I see people coming back from a walk at the park a few blocks away from our office and coming out of the gym and I feel a bit envious like they are doing something I can't do. . . but the only thing really stopping me is me.

Yes, I have a really busy work schedule and it is very hard to get away. But no one is going to come to my desk and say, OK, now, Sandy, go exercise. Take an hour. I have to figure this out. And if I can't figure it out during the day then I need to before the day starts or after. . . I need to weed through each and every tiny obstacle and come up with a plan I can deliver on.

I want to feel like I can count on myself again.

What to Work Through
So I need to
A. Figure out a time to exercise
B. Figure out how to remove obstacles
C. Create motivation
D. plan for the need to punt

Obviously walking is a good first start. When I did this before--starting from 0--I started with a 20 minute walk and added several minutes every few days. Eventually, I picked up speed and more time. Later I added inclines but that was never my strong suit.

I want to do all these things again--walk regularly, bike, swim, strength train. And I want to dance with hubby in the living room, on the front porch. . . I want to dance as I cook in the kitchen and feel free swaying my body.

The other thing I want to do is come up with a list of personal successes I want to accomplish. When I broke my wrist, I created a timeline of recovery--showing how long it took to get certain movements back. I'd like to create a similar list now, recovering from inactivity and obesity. . .
There will be more but here is a taste of my list. . .

Squat on floor to work on something
Get in bathtub without dropping the last foot
Get out of bathtub without getting on all fours
Clasp hands across the middle of my back again (one hand over your head)
Not feel like I want to avoid the stairs

Thinking About a Year from Now
By this time next year, I would like to be in Acadia Maine with hubby and be able to comfortably bike on some of their trails and also canoe. Fall in Maine is amazing. A bigger bonus would be to feel comfortable to try kayaking. Maybe even ride horses. To be able to do this, I need to increase my aerobic capacity, get more skilled on a bike (I don't even feel able to ride right now), increase my upper body strength, be able to ascend and arise without difficulty, hike someand lose enough weight to fit into the boats! My plan is to come up with a plan of attack that will get me where I need to be.

I've made plans before and plenty of llofty ists. Not so much a year out goal. I feel excited and skeptical. I feel like there isn't really anything to stop me. . . I'm not feeling depressed, I like my job, I am gaining more authority at work--it's time to move forward. I hope you'll help me with ideas and inspiration and support. . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 99: Back to Feeling Proud

Doubt can only be removed by action.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Inspirational Song
Sarah Haggarty

What I've Done Lately to Feel Proud

I talked with my friend Christine tonight and she told me to stop and give myself a pat on the back. She said I was often so concerned about the future and where I wanted to go that I didn't notice now. She urged me to take notice and take pride in the fact that I clawed my way out of this recent depression to change meds and get help. And that IS good. I am feeling so much better.

Here are some other less monumental things but things of which I'm proud:

  • Made a tuna salad sandwich last night for my lunch today
  • Made a new sweet potato, chick pea, zucchini kind of stew last night for dinner tonight.
  • Ate muscadines for a snack today at work.
  • Took a 15 min walk outside in the middle of today at work today. The weather was perfect and fall like.
  • Started tracking my calories in Spark people again.
  • Read a few blogs and left comments.
  • Gave my dog a shower night before last
  • Felt really good when my friend I saw a few weekends ago in B'ham called to say she knew I was coming again and wanted to see me--and I set up plans for us
  • Connected with a dear friend who I hadn't talked to in months and really enjoyed it
  • Have had some meaningful conversations with Hubby with the TV off
  • Grabbed & hugged my 2 NC granddaughters at the same time and kissed on them. The 3 year old told me I was the best "Meme" she'd ever had! (I'm her only Meme. :) She also has a grandma and a nana.)
  • Apologized to 2 people at work after I was cranky with them.
  • Allowed myself to thoroughly enjoy my stepdaughter's peformance in a church play while sitting next to her mother (my hubby's ex)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 98: "Excited Every Moment"

You must begin to think of yourself
as becoming the person you want to be.
David Viscott
Inspirational Song
I Only Have Eyes for You
Ella Fitzgerald

Keeping My Eyes on the Prize

On this morning's Today Show, they showed the story of Kimberly, a woman who recently lost 211 pounds. After saying she'd been overweight her whole life, she also said she had never been a dieter and that this was the first time she had tried to change her food consumption. When Matt Lauer asked her if she'd had setbacks or doubts along the way she said no that she'd been "excited every moment" and "happy through out the whole thing." Once she had her moment of awareness she was anxious to get on with being able to live her life for the first time.

Such focus is inspirational, isn't it? Amazing. She lost 211 pounds in less than 21 months.

Does Thinking It Make It So?
I found something else by Googling about excitement and weight loss. David Bennett says:

Experts tell us that our mind doesn't necessarily know the difference
between what we think is true, and what is true. If we are excited about weight
loss, then we are constantly telling ourselves how we will lose weight and reach
our goal! When this excitement fades, it becomes more difficult to lose weight,
because our mind is no longer able to think as positively as when we started.

As you know, I'm no mystic, but sometimes it does seem like the more I have a weight loss mindset, the more I lose. What do you think?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 95: Could Heresy Lead Me to Freedom?

Om Namah Shivaya
I honor the divinity that resides within me.
A Sanskrit meditation as cited in
Eat, Pray, Love
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Inspirational Song
What If God Was One of Us
Joan Osbourne

My Heretical Thoughts

I know this post won't attract a lot of readers because words like heresy never do. For those of you unfamiliar with the word but loyal or curious or bored enough to come by anyway, allow me to translate. Heresy is an opinion that goes against established religious beliefs. You could use the word unorthodox, but I don't think it packs quite the punch as heresy.

As I've said in other posts, I'm not a traditional believer. Many members of my beloved family take the Bible literally. I am not one of them. When I look at concordances that show the various translations and with my understanding of how difficult it is to translate, I can't understand how anyone could think one reading is the "right" reading or that a single translation could carry the whole original message intact.

I appal my family and other orthodox believers even more by not believing the Bible is the only book that we can learn religious ideas from. I think it's really thought provoking to hear Buddhist ideas or Hindu ones or beliefs of the B'hai. Many of my traditionally religious family members are very threatened by other works and cannot hear how similar some of the ideas and teachings are or pick things up that they might be able to apply in their own life. They can only look at other religious teachings with skepticism and disdain.

And to go even further, I shock them, by letting them know if we ever get to that depth of conversation, that for me there is no "truth." There are a lot of cool ideas to ponder and consider and dwell on enough to think about how to improve myself--by being a more loving and generous person--and improve the world--by hoping my love and peace and calmness could at the least not contribute to violence and hatred even if it can't foster peace. I find it interesting to discuss these ideas with others, even if they have found a "truth" they firmly believe in. The conversation goes better if they don't scorn me, of course.

The Makings of a Parable
by 45andaspiring

I find the concept of parables--a simple story that tells a moral or teaches a lesson--a comfortable one. It allows for the sharing of a message about "good living" without too much emphasis on literalisms or mysticisms.

My studies so far in life have allowed me to play with this little parable. It's not my intent to offend or sway. It's just a little what if story that I find interesting to contemplate. I hope some of you appreciate it.

What if instead of the story being that
Jesus is God incarnate--the human form of God--
the meaning was all humans are a physical form of God?
So that the beauty of the story was not just
that Jesus was divine, but that we all are.

If that were true, then we would need to nurture and try
to reach and grow what was divine within us.

And if this divinity was specifically given to human forms,
then would not our very bodies also be part of what we
needed to nurture and enhance as the vessel and
one-time carrier of that divine spirit?

What if all the people worked on developing their inner
divinities as well as their outer vessels, their bodies?
Would that not lead to repeated swells of mass ecstasy,
with mind-blowing, trembling transcendence both
mentally and physically?

Would not this mass ecstasy allow for a greater world of
creative and positive energy--like a humanity sized climax?

And ultimately, what if the promise of eternity for cultivating
the divine within us was that all these divine spirits came
together both now when we have bodies and also later
when our bodies are no longer?

If that were true, then would not the spirits we cultivated as humans continue on in a new body-free form, continuing
to be a positive, creative, divine force in the universe?

Allowing myself to contemplate this story makes me feel a need to be kinder to myself, more honoring of my strengths. Thinking of my body as a vessel for a divinity within me helps me feel more motivated to work with my body to make it all it can be--to train to levels that allow me to transcend the limits I've let fat put on me. It helps me think of my body and my spirit/mind together as the divinity that I can experience now in this life. Thinking this way makes me feel more positive, more gentle with myself, more content in my uniqueness/imperfections, and more driven to blossom my potential.

Gentle reader, if I have offended thee, please forgive me and know that I honor your faiths and beliefs and the truths you hold dear and that guide you.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 92: Awards Are Good

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
- E E. Cummings

Inspirational Song
Pick Yourself Up

I Love Awards

Sandra of My Travels to a Better Me gave me an award! So the process is for me to answer the questions below with one word and to pass the award on to 6 others. . .

1. Where is your cell phone? Table

2. Your hair? Highlighted

3. Your mother? Loving

4. Your father? Charming

5. Your favorite food? Raspberries

6. Your dream last night? Vibrant

7. Your favorite drink? Coffee

8. Your dream/goal? Fit

9. What room are you in? Office

10. Your hobby? Writing

11. Your fear? Homelessness

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Tahiti

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. Something that you aren’t? Shy

15. Muffins? Rarely

16. Wish list item? Books!

17. Where did you grow up? Appalachia

18. Last thing you did? Talk

19. What are you wearing? Pants

20. Your TV? Off

21. Your pets? Goldendoodle

22. Friends? Heartwarming

23. Your life? Progressing

24. Your mood? Improving

25. Missing someone? Often

26. Vehicle? Imagination

27. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes

28. Your favorite store? Bookstore

29. Your favorite color? Green

30. When was the last time you laughed? 9:50 PM

31. Last time you cried? Thursday?

32. Your best friend? Hubby

33. One place that I go to over and over? Cape

34. One person who emails me regularly? Coworkers

35. Favorite place to eat? Outside

Your Blog Is the Over the Top
I pass the award onto these folks who are fairly new to my reading list--but all more popular than me! I still love many others (you know who you are!)

Debbie at Weigh to Go: Diary of a Fat Chick
Sarah at Quick. . . Save Me from Myself
Roxie at Gravel & Rust
ZaZa at The Incredible Shrinking Woman
Irene at Livin' Large
Name?? Stages of Change

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 90: Being Satisfied With the Mundane

“Diligence is a good thing,
but taking things easy is much more restful”
Mark Twain
Inspirational Song
Take It Easy
The Eagles

A No To-Do Weekend

This weekend I didn't create a to-do list and I don't think I "accomplished" any of the normal weekend to-dos, like laundry or grocery shopping. And I admit I did experience some angst about it at times.

But here are some things I did do:

  • Drove 2.5 hours to B'ham and 3.5 hours back (including dropping her back home) with my sister. She only lives 45 minutes away from me but we couldn't remember the last time we had spent time together (she doesn't drive which is a huge impediment.) I was hoarse before we even arrived. It was great. I brought the Smothers Brothers CD for us to listen to because we loved it as kids. . . but we never got quiet enough to need/appreciate it.

  • Sis & I met up with my friend who has 3rd stage ovarian cancer and who is in a clinical trial. She seemed good. Her hair was died a nice dark auburn--much filled out from her chemo from last year. She's feeling much better during this stint and her spirits are amazing.

  • We all went to the Bluff Park Art Show together. And surprise, surprise I didn't buy anything.

  • It was a lovely, lovely sunny day--great for driving and art show going--though hot in the sun.

  • Went to see a movie today with hubby! We used to go to movies every weekend, sometimes twice. But for years now we rarely go. We saw The Invention of Lying. It wasn't riotous (may have been funny with a larger audience), but it was thought provoking and enjoyable.

  • Through out all the ruined veggies and other foods from the fridge and wiped out shelves because something was stinking. . . still had enough fresh ingredients left to do the next 2 things.

  • Tried a recipe from Spark people for a nice fall soup--sweet potato with lentil & curry (160 cal). I've only taste tested it--not bad.

  • Tried another recipe of a zucchini pie (180 cal)--quite good. I think I could eat it for breakfast even! But I'm taking it tomorrow for lunch with some soup.

  • Attempted to brush mats out of the dog's hair. . .

  • Bulleted ListGot my 2nd letter of rejection for my short story, The Winter Mom Sold Don Quixote. . this time from Narrative. . . c'est la vie.

  • While I made the soup, listened to This American Life with Hubby. . . I often go off and do my own thing while he listens and listen to it on my iPod during a commute. . . but it was relaxing to be with him and Yeats (the dog) sat in the kitchen watching me. . . seeming enchanted as I chopped . . .

  • Sitting near Hubby now as he watches Inspector Lewis--something else I like but usually let him do alone. It took some mind clearing on my part to hang here instead of going up to do laundry. . . But there are still clean things to wear and time that can be taken to do a quick iron in the AM if needed because sometimes taking it easy is a healthy thing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 88: I Believe in Hugs

According to University of North Carolina researchers
one extra 20-second hug can make a huge difference in
how happy and relaxed you feel.
Inspirational Song
The Touch
Stan Bush

I saw this article a couple of years ago and it hangs in my cube right next to my Civil Treatment certificate. . . the harrassment training course our company makes us go through which says. . . no touching, no hugs. . .

A Thousand Ways to Disconnect, and Now a Hugging Ban, Too
By Leonard Pitts

"Is there anybody alive out there?"- Bruce Springsteen, from Radio Nowhere

I needed a hug. This is two years ago, outside the village of Tykocin, Poland. I was on assignment, traveling with a Holocaust memorial group, most of whom were Jewish. After days spent touring murder camps, viewing the artifacts of the dead, grappling with the incomprehensible, our group found itself in a forest clearing. There, in 1941, we were told, 1,400 Jews - all the Jews of Tykocin - were made to dig three mass graves. And then they were shot.

I swear you could feel their presence, see them ambling the path down which we had come, hear mothers soothing anxious children with soft lies. "Hush now. Everything will be all right."

For me it was, finally, too much. I'm not a guy who cries easily and I didn't then. But man, I needed a hug. Needed a human touch. I sought out one of my bus mates and opened my arms.

It is a long way, physically and emotionally, from Tykocin to a middle school in Middle America, but the moral of the story remains the same. Sometimes - times of pain, times of commiseration, times of affection, times of joy - you just need to be held. So I was appalled to read this week about a school in Texas - Fossil Hill Middle in Fort Worth - where students are banned from hugging or even holding hands. And it turns out Fossil Hill is not the only one.

From Bend, Ore., to Oak Park, Ill., to Des Moines, Iowa, to Orlando, Fla., to, believe it or not, Cornwall, England, schools are banning hugs. Some say it's because hugging creates congestion in the halls. But there are others who say these "PDAs" - public displays of affection - are a gateway to sexual harassment.

My, my, my.

Am I the only one who feels this is just the latest step in a troubling trend? Am I the only one who sees businesses, schools and public institutions moving, inexorably as a Terminator, toward the standardization and regulation of even the most mundane of human interaction? In so doing, they seek to remove the defining element of human interaction: humanity.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of punching in numbers. And talking to voice recognition software. And of self-service checkout lines. And of customer service agents who ask robotically, "Have I provided you with excellent service today?" after they have just told me they can't help me with my problem.

Ten years ago, a 58-year-old woman who worked as a cashier in a cafeteria in Washington, D.C., got in trouble because she had a habit of addressing her customers as "sweetie" and "honey." I've always thought women of a certain age who call you "honey" while taking your order were one of life's small, human pleasures. But some young person was offended.

My goodness, what robots we have become.

I understand the thinking. If you can standardize all interactions, you ensure a consistent level of quality. I'm just not convinced what we gain is worth all that we lose.

We already watch television in separate rooms. Eat dinner in shifts and on the run. Go about cocooned by iPod tunes. Now we have hugging bans. As if there were not already enough in life to made you feel disconnected, disaffected, alienated, isolated.

No one is pro-sexual harassment or, for that matter, pro-hallway congestion. But surely there are better solutions.

We're not talking about kids groping and making out. We are talking about "hugs." To hug is to reach across. It is to reaffirm common humanity. That is a powerful instinct.

Now the hug joins that long list of banned things. I guess kids who need consolation, kids primed for celebration, kids who just want to know that they are not alone will henceforth have to write text messages instead.

And progress marches on.

Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. His e-mail address is© 2007 Pioneer Press

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 85: Dear Sean, I Wasn't Trying to Mislead You

You've got to say, I think
that if I keep working at this
and want it badly enough
I can have it. It's called perseverance.
Lee Iacocca
Inspirational Song
A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Dear Sean,

I know you've been busy with your play and reaching your own aspirations and haven't been reading posts as much. But yesterday you left a comment on my blog that said, "You're almost to day 100!!! very nice, you must feel incredible my friend!!" And reading it made me feel bad--like I'd mislead you. I don't think I've been deceptive in any way, but maybe I haven't been as transparent as I could have been either. . . so I felt the need to set the record straight.

Yes, I am almost to day 100 since July 4 when I had my Day of Reckoning and decided to get serious again about losing weight. But I have not been on track every day. In fact, more than once I've considered re-setting the "dieting meter" or abandoning the count all together. Because that's how far off track I've been.

But I didn't erase the numbers because this is where I am. And the days go on whether I count them or not. And I still have hope that as I get further in my journey I will be able to have an entry that claims some dramatic amount of weight loss and say, "It took me over 80 days to get refocused, even after I claimed it, but I did, and you can too."

But I don't feel all bad, Sean, and here's why. I have depression. I say it that way on purpose because I'm coming to terms with it being a condition. If I say, I am depressed, it feels much more like something I am to blame for instead of something that just is. And during the last 40 days or so at least, my focus has really been on trying to make my way toward relieving the depression. And I am finally getting some relief so the days have not been for nothing.

And if you haven't struggled with depression, it may not be clear how key it is to be unbound by it in order to focus on other things. My hope that this will not always be true as I learn other skills and ways to cope, and have other patterns to fall back on, but right now it is.

And now, I am trying again to move on. I'd love to take the deep dive that you did--straight in, all the way, focused. But so far it's not happening for me. Instead, I find myself making smaller decisions and insights.

Like right now these are the things on my mind and in my focus:
  • I have a tendency to overeat cereal, which makes me feel like I'm starting the day out wrong. I have this kind of addiction to Honey Bunches of Oats Peach--it says 12 servings on the box, but I swear I'm through the thing in less than 5. Because of this, I'm trying to switch out my breakfasts. This is harder than it seems! It's like brushing your teeth with the other hand. But today, I had a yogurt parfait that I put together at home with a nectarine and some frozen blackberries. Yeah for me.

  • I am noticing 2 times when I feel particularly compelled to eat and working on recognizing them, calming myself, and responding to them differently. One time is when I feel rushed or kind of "put upon." Like when I move from one meeting to another at work, with no breaks, and eating lunch at my desk. This makes me feel like I'm racing and like I want to just cram food in my mouth. I am trying to figure out how to reframe this. I actually think if I could feel comfortable enough to give myself the time to do it that a brisk little walk or stretch even would help.

  • The other time I notice a strong desire to eat is when I feel this hole inside me. A disconnectedness. It can be a similar feeling as the above--being put upon, or misunderstood--like if my husband is not connecting with me or when I feel like I need to talk to someone but there is no time or no one around who I feel like I say the things I need/want to say. I am trying to just move my way through this and go ahead and reach out to people. Sometimes sharing with people makes me feel vulnerable because I say things with a level of intimacy that others don't. But really, I think this is me, and lots of people do respond to that and that's what draws them to me. So I think in the end, this hole will be less void if I can embrace this part of me without apprehension and seek the connection I desire.

Anyway, Sean, I so admire you and your family. And I truly appreciate your support and encouragement. And I don't want to feel like I am letting you down. It's a searching journey for me that is bigger than just weight--as I know you know. And it's hard to feel like I'm not failing. . . or letting myself down. . . or justifying . . .but I know I can just start from this moment, always, because that's all I have.



Artwork Admiration

This is art from Bennie Morrison. I saw his work at Atlanta's Folk Fest a few weeks ago. I loved this because it is a painting on a turtle shell! And it's so full of little details.

He also writes little notes on the inside of the shell, which I found really quaint and endearing. The note on this one, if you can't read it says:

Snapping Turtle 13" x 14"

Found in Rivers Streams Wet Lands

Caught on Jugs Traps

Trappers use the meat

4-27-07 Two Wagons Farm

Bennie Morrison

Yep! We were on the farms

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 83: Fair Skies

Acquire inner peace and
a multitude will
find their salvation near you.

Catherine de Hueck Doherty

Inspirational Song
Free Bird
Lynard Skynard

Fair Skies

I love fall. Every fall I start to make big plans to make stuff for Christmas. That's not completely true. When I've been super depressed I have not wanted to make things and I just thought I was growing out of it.

But I think this new antidepressant--Cymbalta--is helping me. I am starting to feel like my old normal self. And it's amazing. There are actually things I want to do with my time. I want to work on photography and editing pictures and put together little books and write and take more painting classes and learn more about art. I want to try once again to play an instrument. . .

If I have a near miss with a car going to work, I don't think whatever who cares? I think, Yikes! be careful! I think I have things to look forward to!

I know that must sound strange to people who've never experienced the despair of depression, and it's a strange feeling, but it's a true feeling. And one I'm glad to not be experiencing.

Anyway, Fall is the time I start thinking about stuff I can make (which I'm usually disappointed in, but doesn't mean it's not fun to do it!) and it's the season of fairs--state fairs, local fairs, art fairs, and craft fairs! I love them all. . . but I'm especially inspired and uplifted by art fairs and craft fairs.

I'm pretty eclectic--I love the arts fairs that sell fine arts and folk art and grandma's art--you know crocheted booties and trains made from lifesavers & caramels.

Artwork Admiration
Here's a creative guy's work for you to check out Joel Pinkerton make the video box big (click on that box within the box on the right side of the video player, to the left of the triangle) so you can see the expressions of these recycled silver sculptures with attitude! I love each one. . .they are so creative and fun!

This one's called Coffee Quail!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 76: Fat ETs--It's Time to Assimilate

A crust
eaten in peace
is better than a banquet
partaken in anxiety.
~Aesop, Fables
Inspirational Song
Wayfaring Stranger
Emmylou Harris
All Fat People Are Not the Same
You may or may not have noticed that all fat people are not the same. I’ve heard people say, “It doesn’t matter if you have to lose 10 pounds or 110 pounds, the process is the same.” Au contraire.

The process may be the same, but the person trying to lose the weight is different. For one thing, the person who has to lose more than 100 pounds is very likely to have been struggling much longer than the person who has less weight to lose. In fact, they are likely to have little to nothing in common with the folks who have 30 lbs or less to lose. I call those 30 lb or less folks the fat masqueraders. Simply put they are not fat. They may not even register in the official books as “overweight.”

Fat Masqueraders
Perhaps thin at some point in their life, they now find themselves a tad heavier, or they may have always carried this “extra” weight and just want to see finally what “perfect” feels like. Good for them. All they have to do is buckle down a bit on the habits that are already bred in them. They intuitively know when to stop eating and their body adjusts naturally to an occasional overindulgence. Sure, they’ll have to concentrate and feel the pain of a new way of making choices, but the transition is a small one.

They may need to exercise in a more structured, scheduled way than they have previously. And I feel for them. It’s hard to start moving for the first time and fitting it all in. I hope they succeed. But they aren’t trying to do it with the mass of a whole person attached to them like the truly fat do.

There’s no way fat masqueraders can identify with the struggle of long term obesity. But more about those long-term strugglers in a minute because first, we have to cover the group I call the Nouveau Obese.

The Nouveau Obese
The Nouveau Obese have temporarily stepped into the world of obesity. Many of them crossed into the territory after a pregnancy or two. The baby weight just never came off and they kept gaining. Another smaller lot of them are 45ish, leaning toward menopause, and realizing for the first times in their lives that they can’t eat the same things they did when they were 20. These are the kind of people who are shocked to realize that peanuts are high in calories.

I feel for the Nouveau Obese, I really do, because for them being fat is akin to falling asleep as a white person and waking up a black person in a racist world. They just can’t understand why suddenly people aren’t treating them the same way as they used to. They can’t understand why suddenly their old clothes don’t fit or why someone in their family grimaces when they take their standard chunk of cake at an annual celebration. The first time they use the word fat in reference to themselves they can barely choke it out it hurts so much.

While the weight loss challenge that the Nouveau Obese is real and can take a long time and require painful, conscientious, and even ongoing changes, there’s one thing that keeps them from the lowest of despair. The key element the Nouveau Obese lack is a history of being obese. And therefore, obesity is an “acute” problem for them.

At some point in their lives, the Nouveau Obese shopped in “normal” size clothes stores. They may have been athletic—even playing on sports teams. They probably went to prom. They’ve likely worn evening gowns or traditional wedding dresses. They have a healthy self esteem that is ready to be uncovered—that is strong enough to burst through the extra flab.

Some of the Nouveau Obese can get a good chunk of the way toward goal by trimming some calories with the ole dieting standards that in the past haven’t been part of their food pantries—diet sodas, & lower fat milk--skip the fries most of the time. When the Nouveau Obese talk about their success from these actions, I have to try very hard not to hate them. Because, you see, the group I belong to has such a history of obesity that it’s like they’re a variation on the species, I like to call them, the ETs from Obesity World.

The ETs From Obesity World
People from Obesity World have genetics that are not yet understood by today’s scientists. We have a psyche and metabolism that makes us respond differently to food than the average human. Even our personalities are different. We’re the folks who caused the stereotypes to become initiated--like fat people are funny and maternal and generous. We claim as our people John Candy, all “mammies,” and Santa Claus.

We were fat before being fat was a national trend—before it became an epidemic that everyone was being blamed for.

We’ve struggled to fit in here on planet earth, but we are always a bit apart. Thank goodness for the likeness of our kin—the majority being full, with a likeness to being foam filled. Family times made second portions and food celebrations feel normal. No one’s arms reached around the other so all the hugs were without awkwardness.

We ETs from Obesity World share the history of an obese childhood. In the comfort of our fat homes, we stayed protected. But then came the painful awareness that not only were we different but so were our loved ones—the people we admired and looked up to.
Unaccustomed to our kind, this world’s stores relegated us to basements and back of the store sections to ill named departments like Pretty Plus or Huskies. Some of us grew up never fitting into a pair of jeans—or even pants that had a zipper. Some of us had the extra shame of wearing clothes that were tailor made so they would fit us —and leaving us to look all the more alien in our fake denim or handmade replicas of the trendy clothes.

And the shame didn’t leave us in adulthood. Some of us used the shame to excel in other areas—to push harder to rise beyond the prejudiced brought by our bodies. Others sunk into poverty and helplessness.

And that’s the other big connection between us ETs—a long shared shame. Shame of the shape of our bodies—moon faces, globular upper arms, pendulant breasts, blimpie or floppy stomachs, blossoming buttocks, and lumpy thighs-- that look the same as the parents we loved and grandparents we adored and great-grandparents whose pictures hang on the wall.

A shame like smoke that infiltrated our lives and kept us from running to play, or climbing, or jumping; a shame that kept us from expressing our normal sexuality—desiring to be admired and kissed; a shame so apparent to others that they avoided us because of it, or if they didn’t, we didn’t see them because our heads were hanging so low.

The longevity of our obesity in many cases kept us from even trying to lose weight. It seemed an unreachable impossibility—not of our world—even at times a denouncement of our heritage. Still, we know nutrition better than most. Raised on fat free milk, scornful of deep fried foods, experts in cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Our tables are always set with a vegetable with our starch and protein. When we snack on peanuts, we don’t do it in ignorance—we do it with the face-on shame of knowing we are being “bad”—just like we do when we sneak back to the deep fried foods and the whole fat ice cream. We don’t know why we can’t help ourselves. . . indeed sometimes it feels like the choices come from our blood. . . a long line of genetic code. . .

It’s Time for Assimilation
But now it’s time for us to finally assimilate. We have to hold our heads high and step into our place in this world. We can no longer let shame keep us from claiming physical activity. We have as much a right to bare our globular arms as someone with freckles does or with dark skin or tattoos.
We need to claim health--regardless of our size. We need to eat well and move hard to take preventive steps toward heart disease and diabetes.
Let’s embrace ourselves so that others can embrace us. We can no longer let shame keep us from style—we need to shop in stores that cater to our size and make clothes to fit. We need to walk into stores, with our heads up and ask for clothes—we don’t need to buy online in shame.
We need to pull out our seat belt extenders and put them on in the open—just like a short person might unabashedly pull the car seat forward to reach the pedals.
The more we act like we are normal, the more normal people will treat us. And the less likely feelings of rejection will be the catalyst that triggers our fall into a vicious self-destructive cycle of eating more and doing less.

We may always be big; we even may always feel a bit alien because of our big laughs, and big hearts, and big needs for others. But we don’t have to distort these traits with excess to either prove ourselves or redeem ourselves. We can masquerade like fat masqueraders and lay claim to our most perfect selves.

Acceptance Requested
Just please be gentle with us. Don’t teach your kids to hate us—we fat folk are vulnerable to becoming like the victimized smokers who children point at and whisper about their “sin.” (I know a mother who skipped a page in The Night Before Christmas because it showed Santa holding a pipe. She didn’t want her daughter to think Santa was a bad man for smoking. Santa will be doomed if the trend continues. . .)
If you allow insurance or companies to alienate us, you’re ignoring the fact that we all have different genetic makeups, different passed down psyches and ways of responding to the world and coping with things. All of us have weaknesses and strengths. Many of us have chosen tendencies or inherited issues that move us toward costly health problems. First we’ll push out the smokers. Then the fat people. And then who will not get insurance or jobs next?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 70: When You're Lonely

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.
Author unknown
Inspirational Song
Diamond Road
Sheryl Crow

If I'm Drawn to Hummers. . .
I used to love listening to Sheryl Crow's song Diamond Road when I was at the gym. I would listen to it while I was on the recumbent bike because I could get a good rhythm to sustain me, and if no one was around I'd hum to the lines "When you're lonely, when your heart aches, it's gonna take a little time. . ."

I really do not know what keeps me from doing the things I need to do. Sometimes I think I must be comfortable living in the midst of angst. Sometimes I wonder if I am dysthymic--someone who is basically always down with periods of deeper depression. Hubby has "accused" me of being dysthymic. I don't know if this is how others who are close to me in my life see me. I think people who know me superficially think of me as bubbly and upbeat. .. but I am not really sure. I have lost perspective for how I come across to others.

My PhD in Boston told me that when it came to depression I acted like I was "guilty" of it. Like I brought it on. I do feel like I have no "right" to be depressed. I am smart; I make good money; I have a good job, a nice house, good health, a loving family. I think perhaps I started feeling down the most when my parents got divorced way back when I was 11.

. . . Can I Really Be an Eeyore?
Even before that, I was a kid who cried a lot --looking back I interpret it as being misunderstood by my parents. But I was also afraid of a lot of things. . .dogs, being alone, being willing to try new things. . . But when my parents divorced and we moved and I started a new school, I would lie in bed at night and go over my old class schedule and my teacher's names and my friends. . . afraid I would lose something. Then, I went back one time to visit and spent the whole time fretting and worrying about getting in trouble. . . they had a party for me and I ran around hushing people and picking up spilled cupcakes and such. . . wanting to make sure we didn't get in trouble and making myself and everyone else unhappy in the process. . . It was the thing I had longed for--to be back with the people I was familiar with and who were friends with me, and then I couldn't relax and enjoy them and let them enjoy me. In the middle of them, I still felt lonely.

So am I dysthymic or lonely? I revel in other people, and I am very friendly and outgoing, but I am the type who has only a few close friends. . . I can never get enough.

I can say that I eat for a lot of reasons. . .tension, anger. . . but sometimes I think maybe it all comes down to feeling lonely, disconnected, misunderstood, uncared for.

I think PhD2 has the right idea, probably, when talking about how I need to learn to fill this need for myself. Self care he calls it. Another PhD in my past called it self-parenting.

I do not like feeling this weakness. Like I cannot move past the most basic things in life. Eat only for sustenance and when you are hungry. It's insanity to think food can fill any other need. It's just not socially acceptable for me to wander to someone for a hug when I'm lonely. Or hell, to just go cry somewhere for relief. Or just to leave because I've had enough. . . instead I fill it with food, any food.

And what is it about me that makes me think about exercising, plan on exercising, even feel like exercising, and then stopping myself?

Maybe it is a "spiritual" problem. Maybe it is something in my psyche that needs fixing like Overeater's Anonymous says. I just don't like that they call it a disease or a sickness. I find it easier to admit depression is a sickness. . . dysthymia really sounds more like a personality trait, and I don't like that at all either. . . and I'm not sure telling myself I eat because I'm "sick" with the "disease" of compulsive overeating will help me get to a healthier place. Though I do think that learning to fill this void with some kind of self love could--and I may just need a some kind of "higher power" to muster that.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 66: 66 Reasons to Stay Focused


“You’ve got to
win in your mind
before you win in your life.”

- John Addison

Inspirational Song

Getting in the Mood

Brian Setzer Orchestra

Why I Want to Stay Focused

  1. Because I hate having fat wrists
  2. So I can wear my wedding ring with ease
  3. So my necklaces fit
  4. To be able to walk without my fat paunches (outer thighs) burning
  5. So the chair at my salon doesn't squeeze my hips
  6. So I can wear the smock at the salon and the doctor's office (or a man's jacket when I'm cold)
  7. So my shoulders aren't as broad as the chair
  8. So I can sit down on the edge of the pool without having to drop the last 2 feet
  9. So I can fit in a kayak seat and feel confident enough to try it
  10. Because I know that exercising consistently will start to feel good
  11. Because I know the first 15 minutes are the hardest. . .so you have to exercise more than 15 minutes
  12. Because I want to just see if losing weight gets me more respect at work
  13. So I will gladly get my picture taken next to those I love
  14. To see if losing weight makes my shoulder hurt less
  15. To have my boobs stick out more than my gut
  16. To like what I see when I'm sitting in front of a mirror
  17. So I can pull all the clothes I have in storage out
  18. So I can stop feeling ashamed of myself
  19. So I can walk at least as fast as my dog
  20. Because exercising makes me sleep better
  21. Because eating healthier food makes me feel richer and self-righteous
  22. Because I am too smart to keep living in a way that makes me hate myself
  23. Because I deserve to be respected by others
  24. To get rid of seat belt extenders
  25. To have the armrests lie flat in airplanes
  26. To be able to get up and down out of the tub without rolling over like an elephant
  27. To have my current underwear size be my pants size
  28. So going to Tahiti really feels like something I'd enjoy doing
  29. So the size of my upper arms aren't the limiting factor in buying shirts
  30. So I don't need the football player's size blood pressure cuff
  31. So I weigh less than football players
  32. So if they change the insurance plans to penalize fat people I don't have to worry about it
  33. Because it's humiliating to be fat in my job
  34. So I can play on the floor with my dog and grandkids
  35. Because I'd like to have enough endurance to swim some laps
  36. Because it would be amazing to rent bikes on vacation and not notice every small incline
  37. Because consistency makes it all easier
  38. Because I don't want to be left behind Jack & Sean & Irene & Amber like I am some flunky
  39. Because Jo believes in me
  40. To make Hubby proud of me
  41. Because my knees are already bad. . .
  42. Because menopause is coming up and that's when my mom's health numbers went to pot
  43. Because losing weight is not fucking rocket science
  44. To be able to lie in bed and feel a flat stomach and a curve in my waist
  45. To put on socks without pulling my leg up with my hands
  46. To be able to reach the middle of my own back when it itches
  47. So I can have a big party to celebrate my success with old friends
  48. To wow my cute & sweet doctor
  49. So climbing down 23 flights of stairs during a fire drill at work doesn't leave me sore for 2 days
  50. So I can help my mother more when she has pain
  51. So I can take over tasks like carrying out the recycling as Hubby gets older
  52. To get more fit than I was before when I worked with a trainer
  53. Because I have no reason not to stay focused and all the skills I need to be able to do this
  54. So I can move on to other goals in my life
  55. So at New Years I feel TERRIFIC
  56. So on my birthday I have some other thing to wish for
  57. Because I pay for 2, count 'em 2, gym memberships
  58. Because I own a pedometer, treadmill, stability ball, and hot pink sneakers
  59. Because when I'm focused I feel like a winner
  60. To see if there's any hope that my thighs won't always be like be globulous dimpled things
  61. Because if I'm going to fret this much about what I eat and how much I move I should have some payoff
  62. Because it would just be embarrassing to have a heart attack
  63. Because I'm a cool, interesting person who wants to have a future filled with writing fiction and taking & editing pictures, and seeing more art & learning about it
  64. Because I want my positive results and attitude to spur Hubby to also achieve
  65. Because if Hubby and I both achieve we are unstoppable and leave depression behind us
  66. Because it would be amazing to experience a new life.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 65: Born Under a Wanderin’ Star

I long,
as does every human being,
to be at home
wherever I find myself.
–Maya Angelou

Inspirational Song
Carrying Your Love With Me
George Strait

In My World There Is No Such Thing as The Family Home
The longest I have ever lived in one dwelling is 5 years. Hubby and I spent 2 consecutive 5 year intervals in 2 different rentals--the top floor of a 2 family house and a rented house. Outside of college, where I followed the 5 year undergrad plan and the 3 year grad plan—all at the same college--the longest I was in the same school system was 4.5 years—half of 6th grade through 10th grade. I’ve never lived in the same town as my grandparents or aunts or uncles. And as an adult, I’ve never even lived in the same town as my parents—the closest is now, where my mom and my sister are 45 minutes away. I consider this close; they still describe this as far.

Our Family's Unwritten Motto: Bloom Where You're Planted
When I was a kid, my parents prided my sister and me for being flexible and easy to move. We prided ourselves on our ability to welcome new places and make new friends. I am friendly. That is true. And I’ve always found it kind of adventurous to learn new things about a place—new places to go and things to do. I like experiencing new things and checking out the unknown.
I don’t even like to go to the same restaurants or to the same vacation spots.

But Hubby who spent all his growing up years in the same school system and the same town until he was married (to his ex) and had 3 kids, has helped me recognize some of the benefits of returning to a familiar place. He likes going to the same restaurant; he particularly likes it with the wait staff greet us and know his drink (a bourbon Manhattan straight up), and is delighted if they call him by his last name. He likes reliving meals in restaurants we’ve gone to in other towns, likes to be familiar with the routes to get around, likes to return to the same museums to review their collections again and look at the same islands and lighthouses just off shore. It took me awhile to appreciate the relaxation that can come from these reclaimed sites. And in fact, one of our most common spats is my annoyance at his reminiscing about someplace we’ve been when we are in a new place.

Reluctant to Be Regionally Arrogant
While I admit that I find a certain pleasure in trekking with my family to their ritualized events—like checking out the Christmas window at Hutson’s in downtown Cape Girardeau, and eating spaghetti at Jim’s Spaghetti House with my stepmother in Huntington, or even putting flowers on my grandmother’s grave in Pensacola—I also have to admit that I find some ties to the local routines, well, provincial. I find it simultaneously endearing and annoying when people compare their local bands or plays as “as good as you’d get in a big city.” Or when they think their little local restaurant has the “best” something. . .donuts or hot dogs or whatever.

At the same time, I lay claim to a lot of areas and things, whether I’ve spent a lifetime there or not. I claim NH blizzards and MA hurricane watches. I claim MO humidity and AL palmetto bugs. I claim the smell of wet sand in FL and the ubiquitous servings of grits in GA. I claim KY’s country music and PA’s Longwood Gardens. I claim steel mills, King’s Island, and Appalachia. I’ll strike up a conversation with anyone who claims to be from any of these places and refer to their lands as “home.”

Embracing My Inner Wanderer
Every now and then, I feel like I have no place to call home—I feel awkward when someone asks me where I’m from. But most of the time, I count on my wanderin' ways to help me make connections with people from all over and help me feel at home wherever I am.