Friday, July 30, 2010

Food and Money and Bad Behavior

Before I forget - I loved reading everyone's thoughts on comment moderation.  Another thing I wonder about is that so many of you talked about getting a lot of spam without the CM.  I don't think I get any.  But then I have to wonder if I'd know spam if it hit me in the eye.  Oh, I'd know Spam, but maybe not spam?  I suspect if I got any I'd know it.  It makes me laugh and reminds me of how obsessed I was with followers for awhile until I finally moved the gadget way down out of my daily field of vision in the sidebar.  Now when I happen to see it, I often have a couple new folks!  Today it occurred to me that even the spammers don't bother with my blog!  Just kidding...I have plenty of followers and am grateful for each one.  But writing this blog helps me whether another soul sees it or not!

I'm looking forward to a new challenge that Tammy is going to start (no idea what it will entail), as I'm feeling ready and able to again make some goals (not all food and weight oriented either) and follow the guidelines of a challenge.  I dropped out of Deb's Freedom Challenge because my brain was too muddy to do the updates.  I haven't dropped out of Biz's 100 Days of Summer Challenge but haven't updated to her in awhile.  Maybe tomorrow I will.  BUT - I certainly have been keeping in mind my basic goals of minimum 30 minutes exercise 5 days a week plus eating less, with the intention of losing 10 pounds by Labor Day.  I really need to get back crackin' on those major components.

My weight was 210 today - same as last time I posted it I think almost 2 weeks ago.  In that time, I've been as low as 206 and as high as 211.7.  Just not acceptable.  I'm really tired and embarrassed by my ongoing struggle, but I can't let embarrassment keep me from being honest.  The emotional component to my eating far outweighs the hunger piece.  My understanding is that any eating that isn't for hunger is emotional.  Karen at Waisting Time had a great post last week about the debate over emotional eating and what it really is, and  she linked to a post on another blog about it that was excellent.  This is where Karen's actual post  and the other link can be found. The comments and discussion were excellent and enlightening. 

I'd talked awhile back about trying OA again and sort of made a commitment to check out one OA meeting per week for awhile.  I haven't done that yet and have HUGE resistance to it.  The most convenient meeting near me is on Saturday mornings during the time when I have a long set ritual of an AA meeting and then breakfast with friends.  I don't want to give that up.  It's one of the highlights of my week.  I can find another mtg, , but if it isn't close by and early in the evening (no later than 7), I'm not sure I'm willing.  And now I seen that a lot of meetings are denoted as "A/B", meaning for anorexics and bulimics.  This limits the availability of plain old compulsive overeating times.  Is it arrogant to say that there is really nothing I haven't heard and don't already know about all this eating disordered stuff and addiction?  If it is, I am.  Oh well.  Never giving up.  Not "starting over" because I haven't "stopped".  Don't want to be a poster child for "Don't let this happen to you!"  I'm a peace-seeker.  Peace With Food, that is.  (I seek world peace too, believe me - but peace begins with me!)

This morning I did something I haven't done in a long time....I made coffee at home.  I've gotten in the very ridiculous and expensive habit of buying coffee at a local convenience store, WaWa, (which is all over PA and now Jersey and Maryland too, I think) every single day.  I get 20 oz. cup, and their coffee is GREAT.  Personally I like it better the Starbucks, and it's cheaper.  My cup is $1.44 each day.  Not terrible until you multiply it by 365 days in a year (yes, they're open on Christmas), and it adds up.  And yes - literally EVERY DAY I do this.

We're not in the greatest financial shape these days, with still one year left of a top tier private college tuition plus hubby's business having slowed down in the last 2 years curing the financial crisis (happy to say it's been picking up a lot in the last 6 months, but still) and persistent house maintenance know - everyone is struggling a bit.  We also have some credit card debt that we're working hard to pay down fast, which Suze Orman would cringe at.  Anyway - I'm guilty of a lot of ridiculous and unnecessary spending everyday and have been "intending" to knock it off, which you all know is different from doing it (like my intention to lose 50 pounds...).

Yesterday on Oprah, the rerun show was about families who are way more strapped financially than we are and how they are cutting costs all over the place.  It was very inspiring and re-raised my consciousness which is why I made my coffee this morning and will from now on.  Each day I will take the 1.44 saved and put it in a jar.  This kind of goal is one I know I'll keep.  Now I still might get an occasional afternoon Sbux with a friend, but limit it to a small coffee and not one of the pricey designer beverages.  I'm also going to do my best to not throw food away, and to use up what's on hand before wantonly buying new stuff.  Another way I carelessly throw money away that if stopped, may even help my battle of the bulge.

Have a great weekend all!  May

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sweat equity

Am I the only person who's noticed that the word verification "words" on blogger have gotten longer and MUCH more annoying recently?  For a couple of days, some of them were so bizarre that I was keeping a log and going to include them in a post.  But they're annoying enough without making anyone read them again, so I'm sparing you, oh fortunate bloggers.  Plus - almost everytime I type one in when going to comment on a post, I have to do a second one because it tells me in angry red type that the letters I entered did not match the letters I copied.  "Yes hell they did, you stupid Blogger!"

Well, that was a meaningful rant, wasn't it?  Feel free to contact me whenever you need enlightenment. 

I'm going to be very brief today, as I am often NOT. 

I'm having a good week with food and exercise, having missed one day of exercise only on Tuesday when I was getting the left "girlfriend" scrutinized.  The happy dance of relief over good news that day did not include a gym workout.  It occurred to me it should...but nope.  Of course it did include eating 4 cookies.  I DO know how to celebrate.  4 is better that a whole sleeve, or box, or bag, or batch - all of which are in my portfolio of errant eating behaviors.

Yesterday I did a brisk 3 mile walk of the dog with a friend after work.  I know the walk was good exercise, but can I tell you that my tee shirt was literally HEAVY with sweat when I was done, and I was thirstier than if I'd crossed the Sahara on bare feet.  It was only about 94, yet more humid than the ocean.  My friend had just a few adorable dots of perspiration on her nose.  I've always been a heavy sweater (not in the winter garment sense).  Back when I played low level competetive tennis, there was one other gal who sweat like I do and we were glad for each other's company, as the other gals always looked merely a trifle moist and as though they'd just stepped out of a salon after playing a hard 3 tiebreaker set match.

I used to hate my sweat-tendency, but I've come to be grateful for it because I know my endurance is always been aided by my body's ability to cool itself.  Of course staying hydrated is vital when one is a heavy sweater, but that isn't usually a challenge.  Yesterday though, I set out without a water bottle because I didn't want to have to hold it while dragging the dog away from trying to pee on every blade of grass in Wallyworld, PA.  Also, it didn't feel that oppressive when I walked out the door!  Live and learn. 

BTW, I'm not one of those people who sweat all the time year 'round - thankfully.  Just when it's really hot or I'm really moving!  So today, I have my clothes packed to hit the air conditioned gym after work for the requisite exercise experience du jour.  I'll sweat, but it won't be buckets, and I'll have a treadmill to hold the water.  Have a good day.  Stay cool.  Drink plenty of water.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Glad to exhale, and for lessons learned

*All is well*

On Monday I wrote that I had an annoyingly busy week ahead that included a doctor appointment for a minor concern.  It wasn't exactly minor but since my daughter reads the blog (hi Jean!) I didn't want to say anything until I had a resolution to the matter, or at least some real information and not just rambling and irrational fear. 

I found a small lump in my left breast Saturday evening.  When my hand first grazed over it, I immediately felt the other side to "make sure" I had the same thing on the right, rendering symmetry which translates in my mind to "nothing to worry about".  The right breast was mockingly and alarmingly absent of the lump, so I started manipulating the left side trying to assess what was up.  It was superficial, which seemed good, and very small, but I couldn't capture its entirety between my fingers.

I literally felt bursts of adrenalin into my system, starting me on a slow burn to panic.  I got up, walked around, felt it again and again, deemed it not a fixed lump but knew that I was going to have to have it checked.  Can you spell A-N-X-I-E-T-Y?  I've never had a breast lump or call back for further films on a mammogram - nothing.  I really had to work on tamping down my panic response and not letting my brain fast forward to which hospital I'd have my biopsy done, and then treatment, and then and then and then and then.  Useless.  The mind making up scary stories that are not reality based

This has been a really difficult issue in my life, I guess because of early visions of my dad getting carted out in the middle of the night on a stretcher when I was 8 with no one saying much to me about what was happening.  Talk about fear!  Of the unknown, and quite frankly of death.  In fact, of all the fear-based issues I've dealt with over the years, this has been the worst and the most persistent of my living a fear-based life.  The spirituality I've acquired through my years in AA, therapy and simply living has replaced so much of the free-floating anxiety I've known over the years, but the fear off illness and death has been the most stubborn. 

After an hour or so of obsessing, I sat and practiced some meditation, trying to quiet my literally vibrating mind and body.  And I DID calm down and was able to set my fear aside, stop "mashing" the lump, and just read my book.  Folks, this is huge for me...that in the face of unknown major shit (at least in my mind, but a breast lump does carry the potential of some major shit) I was able to calm myself and realize that until Monday morning there was NOT ONE THING I could do about it.  Other than ruin every remaining moment of the weekend writing those scary stories and worrying about them. 

I told only Tom and a couple of friends, all of whom were appropriately concerned but not alarmed, and just validated my plan of setting things up Monday morning to do the next right thing.  See, I even can get frantic when I hear panic or grave concern in someone else's voice, so I'm very selective about who I tell stuff of this nature.  I've heard nurses and doctors say things to people that would send me into apoplexy.  My own sensitivity in this has greatly informed how I talk with patients and clients as a nurse. 

Anyway - I knew that seeing my doctor first would be futile as I was overdue on my mammogram (though I'd had a very thorough manual exam in February with my GYN).   So I scheduled a mammo and was told the doctor needed to write "diagnostic" rather than screening on the Rx, because I had a "finding".  Then I called my doc's office, relayed the info to the med. assistant, and she got script written and sent accordingly.  I was set. 

With a diagnostic mammo for a lump or other symptom, the radiologist has to be present for the test, so they only schedule them on the days when the doc is there.  Luckily for me, Tuesday (yesterday) was the next available day and they worked me in.  All day Monday I was really able to keep my racing mind at bay and stay calm about the upcoming test and not fret endlessly.  I even slept great that night.  But yesterday at work, knowing I was having the procedure at 2, I was really back into full throttle anxiety, and could not even eat one bite of food.  At all.

I left work at 1:30, picked up Tom and went on to the medical imaging place.  I was honestly vibrating from nervousness.  The technician was nice and kind, which was reassuring.  In addition to the full mammogram, she also did views of just the lump area and then asked me to have a seat while the doc reviewed the study.  Not 5 minutes later she was back and said he wanted an ultrasound.  GULP.  "Now I'm really panicking," I  murmured, to which she responded with a smile and an assurance it wouldn't be too long.

The US tech retrieved me from the waiting room and was as nice and kind as the mammo-taker.  These women must see all levels of fear, terror, heartache, worry, bad results...and they really know how to just be quietly present.  The ultrasound tech responded to my confession of great fear saying, "this doesn't look like anything bad", which relaxed me a molecular amount.  She had me point out the lump, squeezed on a bunch of gel and mushed the device into the gel over the lump.  I had my head turned away from the screen, and she said, "Mrs. Erickson, look at this" - to which I said, "I don't wanna".  "No, look - see how this area is all solid black?  This is a cyst only - no solid mass."  I looked at her skeptically and she said, "This is very good."  The relief I felt was immense.  Ultimately the doc came in and said ,"you're fine", and it turns out I don't even need follow up other than my annual next July.  And finally I fully exhaled for the first time since Saturday night.

Obviously I'm ridiculously grateful for how this turned out.  I'd never had a cyst, though he said maybe I had and didn't know it.  At my age, I thought hormonally mediated cysts probably didn't happen, but he said they do all the time.  Also caffeine can play a role - which I do enjoy a fir amount of.  All this is stuff I'd heard before but never really took it in until it became personal.

Probably many of you have been through this and much more.  I know that I was lucky in every possible way - from the rapidity with which I was able to get everything scheduled to the positive end result.  But I feel lucky for other reasons.  I have a much greater understanding of how terrifying it is to find a lump.  I could "imagine" it, but to have gone through it even at this easy level increased my empathy and compassion for the scary journey that medical uncertainty of any kind takes us on. 

Mostly, I see that I really have had a lot of healing of my deep seeded fear of medical uncertainty, cancer, and death.  I only had a few days of it this go round, but my spiritual grounding and faith really came through when I sought them out.  Residing within my soul is now a deep knowledge that no matter how this turned out, I would be okay.  I could handle what came next.  And I know I can handle whatever comes next a day at a time.  All of us feeling scared of unknown entities of all kinds. I'm not a bad person or all screwed up because I get scared when scary things happen. I'm human.  I may not want what comes along, but with prayer, faith, love, friendship, asking for help, not isolating, and mostly AA, I can negotiate whatever the universe sends my way, learn from it, and be a more compassionate human.  Quite an unwarranted gift to discover that feels even bigger than getting a positive test result.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mellow Monday

I had a good weekend on the journey-to-lean front and found myself down 2 pounds on the scale this morning!  My next official weigh in that I'll post is Friday.  I have a lot of stuff going on this week in the medical arena, including a mammogram and a doctor visit for a pesky concern.  My obvious hope is that I will report after the fact that all is well and have no reason for further for concern or follow up.  I'm not really worried or anything but know that if I don't address things pretty quickly, I start to obsess and ruminate and drive myself CRAZY.  Obsession and rumination are not on the to-do list for living serenely!  Sometimes being an adult and taking care of myself is annoying. 

In lieu of the gym I'm going to take the dog for a nice long walk this afternoon, since the weather is beautiful and moderate today!  Finally.  By tomorrow we're supposedly climbing back into the 90s, but the humidity is supposed to stay low, so that should help.

I mentioned Madmen yesterday and how excited I was to see the 4th season premiere last night.  Would you believe I freaking fell asleep after the opening music and graphics.  I "came to" around 10:20 and saw certain familiar characters but just couldn't summon the ooomph to sit up and watch.  DAMN!  Someone who commented today on my yesterday's post asked what I thought of the episode.   ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, that's what I thought, dammit.  I'm going to try and watch it on line, or it will probably rebroadcast this week sometime.  No wonder my family makes merciless fun of me about my nodding off tendencies...Mark said several times last week when I was loudly anticipating this show, "You know you'll sleep through it, Mom".  "No way, not for this!" I said with serious certainty.  I absolutely hate when he's right! 

Okay - here are a couple questions for you food-oriented bloggers:  !) What is the very favorite appliance (or food prep aid) you use for cooking?  and, 2)  Is there another appliance out there you're dying to have?

That's it on a slow Monday.  Have a good one!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rambling and meandering

Very quick post today.  Not much to report, except that I've been to the gym 2 days in a row now!  Having my request to terminate denied has helped me work off a total of 520 calories so far.  Maybe the Master of the Universe, and the money-mongering gym manager are in cahoots to help Leslie Lose Lard.  I'll take it!  I hadn't been in over 2 weeks (maybe 3? yikes...).  Amazing what a little contention will do for grouchy old me!  I have to admit that it felt really good to be back there amidst the fit-seekers.

We're having a nice storm right now that is supposed to FINALLY usher out the 18 day heat wave we've been enduring.  Good riddance!  I don't mind heat and humidity, but this heat has been HOT - high 90s, and the humidity has been HUMID, and just going from one air conditioned venue to the next can render one soaked with sweat in no time flat.  Outdoor activity has really been almost impossible, unless you get out before the crack of dawn, which I haven't even though I'm up then.  I don't usually mind heat and humidity, but this has been extreme, and made all the more memorable by the 3 days and nights without air conditioning!  I'm happy to say the new $7000+ system is doing an exemplary job keeping Leslie cool.

Finally - a few months back, I broke down and ordered PB2 that I'd read about in several blogs.
It's real peanuts somehow defatted and powdered to be a much lower calorie and purportedly equally delicious version of traditional peanut butter.  I'm a peanut butter fiend and have to handle it with GREAT CARE because this girl has been known to eat 3 or 4 big spoonfuls of regular crunchy peanut butter as an addition to whatever amount I'm using on a "measured" sandwich or piece of celery.  I LOVE IT.  Yes, it's protein, but no one needs the amount of protein I ingest when I partake.  Nor the fat, heaven forbid.

One of the issues with this product is that the smallest amount you can order is 4 jars!  That's a sh*tload of shady powdered quasi-peanut butter when one has yet to sample it.

Perhaps I've not used it in enough ways to give it a fair trial; in fact I've only stirred it into oatmeal and tried mixing it per the directions on the back of the jar with warm water and tried it on a cracker like "real" peanut butter.  I have to say I'm UNDERwhelmed.  It's not bad, but definitely not good enough to warrant having to buy 4 jars at a time.
 You may recall from when I did my bag giveaway a couple months back that I also gave away 3 of the jars, because I was already pretty sure I wouldn't miss them, to say the least.  The gals who "won" the PB2 were Tammy, Loretta, and Katie J.  I haven't gotten verdicts from them on how they like it.  I still have over half my remaining jar left and am wondering (TJ? I know you use this) if any of you have tried it and what you think.  Also, any more creative ideas than putting it in the oatmeal?  I have to say that the expense was excessive for the product.  I have no doubt that it is impeccably well produced.  I just wish I liked it better so could enjoy peanut butter more often.  I really have to stay away from the "real thing" most of the time.

Finally, any Madmen fans out there?  I'm so excited that the 4th season premieres tonight at 10 on AMC.  It's a great show.  I spent a good bit of time when I was recuperating from my knee surgeries watching the first 3 seasons and got totally hooked.  I've been "jonesing" for the new season since March.  Enjoy the diminishing remnants of the weekend, fellow bloggers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vicious Cycle

The czar at my upscale gym denied my request to break my contract (like they'd going under without my monthly fee for the next 6 months), and truth be told, I'm glad.  Vickie of Baby Steps V commented yesterday that if I "had to" keep the membership, make it worth every cent, and that's what I intend to do.  I'm dressed and ready to go do some biking and treadmilling.  I'm also going to talk to them about the fact that when I signed this contract, the gal who worked with me said I had 6 free sessions with a trainer, which I've never pursued.  So - I'm going to claim my gym-right to this service.

When I joined this gym, I came in through a franchised program they sponsored called Healthy Inspirations, so I didn't have to pay the hefty "initiation fee" (what a crock that is!).  They've since dropped their affiliation with the franchise, which is why I ended up signing on for the full gym package.  In the HI program, there was a delightful sprite of a trainer who worked with all us gals, designing our programs and periodically updating and changing them around after quarterly assessments of our progress.  She was an energizer bunny in every sense, including positive attitude. 

The one problem - she really pushed me (and now I hear others) to perform the various strength assessments, and I've come to think that my first torn meniscus was the result of leg pressing 250 pounds (with her cheering me on), as well as some lateral skating type moves on discs for toning abductors and adductors in the thighs that my orthopedic surgeon said were not the best idea for 50+ knees.  Now I was gung ho and felt fully able to do all this stuff, and before increasing or adding new moves, Trainer Jess always asked if I had a history of "issues" with whatever body part was being targeted.  I'd never had even a twinge in either knee, and really didn't until after the fitness test that included the 250 leg press.  A day later while jogging up to Starbucks,  the L knee *suddenly* hurt enough for me to not be able to continue the jogging.  It continued to hurt for several days of resting it, so I was finally seen by an Orthpod...and discovered the torn meniscus.  It's been a long slow downhill of exercise for me since then.  My apologies to you who have heard this tale of woe before - guess I need to splat it out yet again.  I had arthroscopy to clean up the shredded cartilage, and had a rocky recovery from returning to work to soon.

I did PT after the first arthroscopy and once I was sufficiently recovered, began gingerly returning to some modified strength training moves - only to promptly tear the R meniscus and within 3 months have it scoped as well. 

I'm certainly recovered and able to swim,  walk up to 5 miles and do some biking, but both knees truly aren't the same as their pre-injury statuses as the arthritis that was in place before I ever knew it or had symptoms has been "awakened" from the 2 surgical procedures.  (The surgeon told me this is very common in women my age.)  This has since played with my head, frustrating and discouraging me.  I also see that my knees' "new normal" has become a solid reason an excuse for me to gradually back off from exercising and totally omit strength training.  The decreased exercise (that besides helping my body also helps my mind) has further contributed to my sliding away from keeping my food in check.  I've added pounds, which I feel when I DO exercise.  The old vicious cycle.

SO.......I'm taking the denial of my quest to sever the gym contract (for the $ reasons) as a  kick in the ass major jolt from the universe that I'm supposed to be at that gym on a regular basis.   I'm going to attack it with new zeal that will include insisting on the new trainer to which I'm entitled, at least for the free sessions. 

I'm really hating my return to soft mushiness.  Not that I'd left that territory entirely, but I was well on the way and more toned and defined than I'd ever been.  I could even flex my biceps and get a little bulge, which was just electrifying for me!  Why I haven't continued with upper body (as that wouldn't affect my knees for Pete's sake) is beyond me. 

Off to the gym I go, and then to the salon for a cut and color which I desperately need.  I'm feeling the need for an upgrade to my better self, on the way to my best self.  Gonna get started right now!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow

Inspired by Deb yesterday posting a quote by Emerson that she read on Katie J's blog a few weeks back, I'm going to post something that is written on a green card put out by the S.E. Pennsylvania Intergroup Association of AA.  It's a card that has several different nuggets of spirutual sustenance that can help AA members stay sober a day at a time.  But the wisdom goes far beyond the scope of not picking up a drink, as you'll see.

Yesterday - Today - Tomorrow

   There are two days in every week about which we should not worry; two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
   One of these days is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.  YESTERDAY has passed forever beyond our control.
   All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY.  We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said...YESTERDAY is gone.

   The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible adversaries, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance.. TOMORROW is also beyond our immediate control.
   TOMORROW'S sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds-but it will rise.  Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW for it is as yet unborn.

   This leaves only one day...TODAY.  Anyone can fight the battle of just one day.  It is only when you and I add the burdens of these two awful eternities...YESTERDAY and TOMORROW that we break down.
   It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad-it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.  

Being the endless control freak and wanting to be sure you "get" this, I have to add that this isn't about kicking back and only literally considering the day we're in.  Of course we make plans, have intentions, work toward goals, etc.  But the actual living can only take place today.  If I cloud my consciousness with remorse over a piece of cake I ate yesterday or the piece I will be presented with tomorrow, it affects how I am today.  It takes up space in my head and my heart that effectively blunts the real life goings on of THIS day.  This isn't only about not drinking!
I'm trying to get my food back in place.  Yesterday was better and I got in the the first 2 mile walk of the week because the humidity was lower thereby decreasing the sizzle factor of outdoor activity.  I haven't yet talked about this on my blog, but this week I've gone into my gym to see about terminating my membership due to our financial situation.  I belong to a cadillac gym that runs $80.00/month.  There are plenty of places I could go for substantially less money, and things being as they are in Hubster's and my collective pocketbook it seems a prudent measure.  I do love this gym and the substantial amenities offered for the Gold Card price, so I'm mixed about this.  My contract goes through February 2011, so if  "Sean", the membership czar who was supposed to get back to me 3 days ago and still hasn't, issues an edict denying my request, I'll not take it to the papers or hire a lawyer!  I'll just have sanctioned use for 6 more months.  But the $480 bucks would sure come in handy elsewhere.

That's it for today.  Tomorrow's temp is going to be 99, with humidity that will render the heat index at 110.  Not as bad as the dry west, but I'm thinking it will definitely be an indoor treadmill and pool day.  Stay cool.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

HB to moi

Turns out 2 other bloggers share this same birthday...JBS and Tami!  Happy birthday to both of them, and to the mother ship, which is me.  I think this was also Red Skelton's birthday too.  JBS probably never heard of him, being a sweet young thing.  Tami probably has - she's also a sweet young thing but has some years on JBS.  I'm the old broad of the bunch.  Don't care - I'd rather be here than not, and I love a good birthday.  Now I've officially lived to an older age than my mom did, which I've written about recently.  A long held belief of mine (since she died at 56 when I was 23) that I would also die at 56 has been disproven.  I'm grateful and wish I could talk to my mom about it all.  Hopefully in the next realm.

The actual celebration of this birthday dinner at the Dining Establishment of my choice (which WILL be good and WILL be pricey), will be delayed until next week as Hubster took off this morning for a 2 day business trip, and offspring #3 who's home for the summer has to work from 3-9 tonight.  So my party is postponed.  It's okay.  It's not like I'm 5.

I was very delighted and honored to be given the Versatile Blogger award by 2 different gals: Liana and First Steps.  Both of these gals are fairly new bloggers and are beginning to walk this walk with the blogging community, so check them out.  Both have a lot of good stuff to say.

The rules:  share 7 things about yourself, then pass on to other bloggers.  Again - ever being a renegade rule bender, I offer it to all the bloggers on my blogroll who don't already have it.  I literally love all the blogs on my roll, and countless more that I haven't taken time to add.  PLEASE feel free to grab it for yourself if I've ever commented on your blog - and boldly say I gave it to you, because it's the truth.

1.  My favorite flower is Foxglove (digitalis).  It is incredibly beautiful when in bloom.
2.  (#&*%#ing blogger won't let me get the cursor back to the left after adding the image, dammit)  I'm seriously considering buying a Kindle for myself.  Opinions?  My query about this yesterday remained unanswered.
3.  My first care was a red volkswagon beetle that was rusty in places and faded down to primer over her "haunches".  Still my favorite car ever, though it was not airconditioned and I had to fold up like a pretzel to get in.  But heck, I was skinny and 18.
4.  (why does blogger do this...centering everything after the image?) I didn't get my Bachelor's degree in Nursing until I was 48.  I went to an old fashioned 3 year Diploma program and became an RN in 1975.  The degree has made no difference in my salary, and my experience over the years taught me much more than the classes required for the degree.  This led me to term the BS in BSN as bulls**t.  Still glad I got it.
5.  Expecting to have my first meet and greet with another blogger, Tammy of From Fat to Fab in August when we take our son back to Atlanta for college.  Can't Tammy to death, and she's been a great friend to me over the virtual expanse.
6.  I have a magical thinking thing that one day I will walk to the mailbox and find either a huge check, or notification that I'm going to receive a huge check (think at least 5 figures) that was left to me by a relative of one of my deceased parents I never knew about.  And if it happens, and it's a WHOLE LOT, I will share some of my windfall with loved ones.  (so keep the nice comments coming!)
7.  A favorite but rarely avaible vegetable of mine is okra.  Kath at Kath Eats Real Food has blogged about them lately, and has roasted them to eat as fries!  If I can find them, I'm gonna try it!

I hope every one has a nice Thursday.  And if you have any idea why blogger does this centering thing every once in awhile, let me know.  Doesn't happen all the time, but always when I try and list things with numbers.'s not easy being a technoboob.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Wackiness

****Added 5 comments in because i forgot to put it out there in the post***** Do m/any of you have a Kindle or other electronic reader?  Which one?  Do you like it?  Why?  I'm thinking of getting myself one.

After my long whiny post yesterday, I admit to experiencing a bit of "post post-anxiety" .  I know I can go back and edit anytime, but I already had some puffy heart comments from dear sweet blog friends expressing kindness and "keep your chin up" sentiments, so to go back and write something really perky and upbeat 7 comments in could provide a sort of schizophrenic experience for people like me who not only read the post, but then the comments already up before mine!  Wow, that was an exhausting sentence to think out.  It's murky territory up yonder in my cranium. 

Mainly I wanted to acknowledge that I needed to whine, but much prefer the posts where I'm reporting pounds lost, miles walked, laps swum and my long-awaited arrival at perfection in all realms.  Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, and I have indeed had plenty of times where I've been able to ennumerate my progress in this weight loss arena.  Admittedly not lately (other than my loss before San Antonio because I actually adhered strictly to my goals), but there will be more soon.

That reminds me of one of my wackiness items...a confession that after descending into some unplanned stupid eating last night (cookies, chips, lite string cheese, and probably more stuff than I can recall), I woke up with solid determination that today is going to be clean.  And immediately the thought bubble above my head said, "But tomorrow is my birthday, and there will be cake (there damn well better be), so maybe I should wait until after that."  SHUT UP HEAD.  I took a figurative pin and pricked the figurative thought balloon and watched those sorry letters drain out and waft down to the floor.

Tomorrow is tomorrow.  I can eat clean and sugar free today and still have cake tomorrow.  Such disordered thinking still persists for me.  At least I caught this faulty thought thread before it lingered long enough to install into my hard drive.  The level from which these F-ed up notions generate is really deep and entrenched.  A week of clean eating isn't going to erase it.  And as we've all said a million times,  I expect a lifetime from this moment  of clean eating isn't going to either.  I will always have to negoitiate the beast.  As so many of you successful bloggers have assured me again and again.

Not that I have even one clean day on the books right now, given yesterday's indiscretions.  Yes, I was stressed.  Yes, we spent another night without AC.  Yes, we have some money issues.  There are a million excuses for deciding at some point in a day "to eat" (in the way I'm speaking, not 3 squares and a healthy snack), but there are no good reasons.  (And let me add that I mellowed waaaay out after I had a few blond telling is that?) I feel like living in the abject heat and humidity is making me retain even more water than the shitty eating is causing (is that possible when I'm sweating buckets hourly?), but I haven't been drinking as much water either. 

Anyway, my weight this morning was 210.  About where it was when I started this blog June of 2009.  Can you say "ANTI-PROGRESS?"   Truly anti-progress, because I was making great progress until my knees wacked out in the winter, and it's been a slow burn backwards since.  And yes, that is an excuse.  Thanks for pointing it out.  The only thing that makes me feel better is that I have no intention of giving up.  Also, there are bloggers I've followed for a long time who've struggled mightily - maybe more than me, but are now finding genuine life changing weight loss.  The main one who comes to mind is Lyn at Escape From Obesity, who has found the right mix of program, exercise and attitude adjustment that has her experiencing solid steady weight loss, and she is over-the-moon pleased and excited, as well she should be. 

I know I can lose weight and exercise.  I do not have a metabolic condition that prevents my body from repsonding to eating less and moving more.  Seeing someone like Lyn who really tried and worked hard at finding the right mix of all the components required for weight loss and fitness for years finally hit the mark (a day at a time, of course) is not only inspiring, it's hope-generating for all of us who are still fighting the fight rather than maintaining the success. 


To update yesterday's air conditioning drama...turns out the welding option for our ailing heat/cold exchange was ruled out, as I wrote yesterday.  So, husband is not happy, but at peace with chunking out the extra 2800 bucks on top of the 4200.  I'd gone home at lunch time yesterday and basically had a melt down about not being able to take one more hot night....(no pun intended but a cute one, yes?) and other related miseries.   It was quite a performance.  But spend another hot night we did.  Only I'm starting to get the hang of it.

Last night upon retiring to sizzling upstairs where mere mortals dare not tread unless armed with a spritz bottle filled with icewater, I first took a cool/cold shower.  Then I stood naked between 2 strategically placed fans to dry off (apologies for the scary image), put on extremely skimpy jammies - boxers and a tiny tank top (more harrowing imagery) and then laid on the clean crisp bottom sheet with the top sheet rumpled down at my feet.  It was so not hot I almost needed to cover with the sheet, because the fans were on each side of the bed, set on high and directed to exactly where my body was set to languish.  When hubster came up and laid next to me I lovingly said, "touch the fan and die."  He left it alone, but when he turned on his side in the night, he blocked a bit of it's breeze, leaving me only to sense the fan on my own side.  Being the sweet wifey, I didn't kick him or push him back over; I let him sleep.  If that's not love, what is?

Well, I had much more flotsam and jetsam muddying up my mind that I was going to dump tell you here.  But the "matter" has settled enough for me to get up and start doing my job.  Don't you hate when work gets in the way of blogging?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

STRESSED - spell it backwards

Yeah - we all know that "stressed" spells "desserts" backwards.  I've had a pretty good few days with food, but the stress in my life seems to be increasing exponentially by the hour.  So far I've not reverted to the inverse of "stressed", but it's sounding like a better idea as the hours pass.  I had a good healthy lunch of vegetables (zucchini and tomatoes) and chicken breast about 45 minutes ago.  Plenty of food.  So how crazy is it that my stomach feels hungry?  Honestly...I feel hungry.  But that is possibly being affected by my starting to have binge thoughts - or at least sweet/salty/creamy/crunchy thoughts. 

I'm telling myself that intellectually I know I've had enough to eat.  My stomach feels a little empty because I've not been overeating for several days, and I always feel this was a few days into NORMAL eating.  Also I know the intensity of my reaction to the various stressors of the last couple of days is likely due to the absence of stuffing my psyche/body is used to.  A couple of days in and things (feelings) start to get raw. 

But let me at least rattle off a few of the things that are rankling me right now:
1.  Internet service at my house is still sporadic...seems to be most functional in the mornings while I'm at work.  Thanks, Comcast.  It seems to be a heat related problem, and others are affected.  At least we're not alone, but there is NOT comfort in numbers in this case.
2.  Our central air conditioning officially died on Sunday afternoon.  It was last gasping all weekend I think, because when I'd come in from the sweltering outdoors, I didn't get the usual humidity free blast of refreshment.  Husband kept saying he didn't notice it, and I kept pushing the thermostat farther down.  Finally Sunday around 6:15 I walked in and it literally felt tropical in the kitchen.  And why not, as it was 88 degrees in the house downstairs.  It felt at least 10 degrees hotter upstairs, where the bedrooms are.  Hubby's various and sundry jury rigs machinations were not able to resuscitate the unit.
3.  Fairly substantial money concerns - the compressor of the AC needs replacement, along with other adjoining parts (about which I know nada).  The grand total was stated to be $4200 which was a cough, but not a gasp.  The gasp came today when hubby called me at work and left a message informing me that an additional "issue" was found in the "heat/cold transfer" that was going to be another $2800.  We don't have it lying around, nor easily accessible savings.  It's going to be hard to figure it out.  The AC guy told Tom that maybe the small slit in the place it shouldn't be slit could probably be welded, therefore negating the extra $2800.  We're waiting to hear on that.  Pray, pray, pray.
I'm just home from work and can now finish the above post.  Tom has informed me of 2 developments:  the welding fix is a no go, so the AC is going to be a little over $7000, and the internet has been out a lot of the day.  Happily it must have sensed my harsh return to the home front and came back.  Anyway, the whole money things is tough, but we will be able to do it.  But in general this is going to force us to look at our financial situation.  There are a number of ways I can lower my monthly spending and I intend to start working on that.  But we have a 3rd night in a row with no air conditioning and what is feeling like relentless torrid conditions.  Last night I didn't sleep well at all and my decreased coping ability is likely sequela of that.

Now that so many hours have passed since I began this post full of angst driven fervor, the list of my "ranklers" that could have numbered with the stars has diminished.  Funny because when I started writing at work between getting called away countless times, I was thinking I had at least 6 different items about which to pontificate.  I guess I've mellowed a bit.  Had a couple of decent talks with hubby and a with a good friend, both of which served as a pressure release valve for all that pent up stuff.  Seems I can't sustain the fever pitched irritability and frustration for as long as I used new "baseline" serenity that I attribute solely to sobriety and spiritual grounding (which I work on every day) just won't let me wallow too long in my misery.  I know this is a good thing and I'm grateful for it, but the high emotional energy serves as an excellent muse for writing.  I've run out of steam for this post, but have written too much to not submit it!

I think when I get so off my beam, an unconscious problem solving and plan changing strategizer activates that begins to help me reorganize priorities and activities in a way that will help me return to equilibrium.  One thing became clear this morning...when I started looking at others' posts and wanting to comment, realizing it had been a few days since I posted, and recalling I had 2 challenge updates to catch up on, I stated feeling tense and overwhelmed and the thought came to me, "this is all too much".  ???  "Really, Leslie?  You love blogging and reading others', attaining valuable inspiration and motivation and support.  What's really going on?"   And it came to me that I was stressing over responding to challenges when I couldn't even remember or recall my goals.  Actually I recall the main 2 of both challenges, but I had a few smaller items that I could remember.  Bottom line - the summer has turned much busier and crazier at work and home than my life usually ever is, and something's gotta go.  It's not gonna be blogging, but it is going to be challenges.  NOT the intention behind the challenges, which includes a 10 pound weight loss by Labor Day and 5 days a week of 30 minutes or more of exercise.  Just the reporting in and remembering when to do what! 

It feels like this must be the most disjointed and tangential post I've ever written because each paragraph was written at different times over the day.  Sorry for the somber tone.  As I sit here now with rivers of sweat pouring down between my girls and trickling down my neck, I don't even have the oomph to proof this.  So I hope there are no horrific typos (I did pick up one as I wrote it a few paragraphs up...left a certain letter out of the word "count" to leave a word I definitely would not write or even say!  Maybe you can figger' it out.  Anyway - I'm hoping to keep the food clean and lean.  So far so good.  And by this time tomorrow we will allegedly be air conditioned again.  Woohoo!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Another form of crack

Do not bring this product into your home.  It is highly addictive with low nutrional yield.  There are 2 other equally dangerous varieties of the same brand.  This warning must not be taken lightly.  Failure to heed may result in serious consequences. 

I oughta know.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Close Encounter of the Drinky Poo Kind

Good morning friends!  Fridays are alright with me :)  (Does anyone know how to put a smiley face or frown or whatever on a post that isn't done with punctuation marks?  Just curious - some people do it a lot and I can't figure it out.  Not that it would add anything to my scintillating ramblings)

As always, I got the best comments from my speedwritten post yesterday.  Thanks all for affirming both the mixed emotions related to being whatever age we are...and claiming youthful attitudes and minds in spite of it all.  Tammy cracked me up noting how I wrote about PF Changs and diarrhea in one post.  Nurses are earthy creatures, I suppose.  I remember going to lunch when I worked on a med-surg floor in a hospital many moon ago and we'd all be discussing the most disgusting things going on back in our unit while simultaneously shoving in the chow! 

I'm glad to report my GI tract seems to be settling down to almost it's usual cast iron status.  PF Changs turned out to be a mixed bag for me.  My friend wanted to pick me up a little after 6, thereby putting our arrival time around 6:30.  I warned her the place would be mobbed and we'd have to wait for awhile if we went that late (I know it's really early but at PFC's it was equivalent to a late arrival), but she was okay with it so it was fine with me.

When we got to the parking lot, we circled for 5 minutes just to find a remote space.  We entered to claw our way through throngs of people already waiting.  The noise level of clanking dishes, talking voices and pinging of glasses was already considerable.  The hostess cheerily welcomed us and when we said "table for 2", she said it would be 30 - 40 minutes for a table but that we could sit at the bar and still get the full service menu.  She glanced back and did a Vanna White sweep with her hand to indicate the beautiful dark wood bar that spanned the entire back of the caverous space, and further noted, "You'll love the bartenders!  They're very entertaining!" 

Recall I'm a recovering alcoholic (like you could forget that if you've read me more than once!)  who never met a bar she didn't love - dives, hole in the walls, sleek jazz piano bars, English pubs, preppie country club bar scenes, garden variety watering holes...think comfort zone of the past.  Schmoozing and making nice with the barkeeps and fellow imbibers.  Think Leslie as boozy broad who came alive when plunked down in any alcohol purveying establishment.  Including my own kitchen.   But Not Anymore.  I gracefully wrinkled my nose at the suggestion of the bar (knowing it would play with my head the entire evening), and my friend would have been more than willing to go somewhere else (neither of us wanted to wait), but it was too much hassle to do anything other that staying, so I just said it would be fine. 

The entertaining bartender assigned to us was the affable and glad-handing Jason - who greeted us by asking our names and shoving the very extensive bar menu into our hands.  2 sided, 8 1/2 x 11 laminated document listing every possible booze conconction available.  I immediately handed it back, noting I wouldn't be needing it (whether or not I was drinking I wouldn't have needed it) and asked for a diet coke and my friend got iced tea.  Jason then inquired as to our history at PFC's, and as it was my friend's first time, he regaled her with a list of what he considered to be "the best of the offerings".   We settled on his #1 recommendation which was the Oolong Sea Bass, along with splitting the lettuce wraps for an appetizer. 

The food was great - honestly it might have been the best sea bass I've ever had.  My friend was swooning over the food, but like me was finding the "ambience" a little challenging.  People seated around us were well on their ways to being 3 sheets to the wind...loud, obnoxious, trying to engage us in conversation when Diana and I were clearly having a deep conversation of our own.  One guy sidled up to the bar carrying a large jar of green olives.?  Not sure why, but apparently it was a hit as many of the bar scene folks were dishing out spoonfuls of the olives to put on their napkins and pop into their pie holes (I hate that term but it fits).  BYO olives?  I guess I've been out of the scene too long.  It was very loud with people leaning against the backs of our stools and Diana got elbowed solidly in her shoulder blade while trying to negotitate a lettuce wrap.

Now given my kneejerk aversion to this whole scenario of loud and tipsy people, just underneath the surface I was also looking at the bottles and glasses, the shiny wood of the bar, the glistening within tall Pilsner glasses of exotic brews, and thinking, "I could totally enter back into this life."!!!  WTF?  See, a bar is no place for this recovering alcoholic, because no matter how long it's been since the last drink the allure is still there and my inner alcoholic inevitably stands to attention when the magic elixir (anything with alcohol) is within arm's length.  I almost never even think of a drink, but when sitting center stage in a bar, what else is a self-respecting alcoholic going to think of?  Which is why I don't go to bars.  Or cocktail parties.  Or out to dinner with people who drink when I'm the only non-drinker.  It feels like I stuck out like a sore thumb back when I was drinking, and I stick out like one now when I'm the only one not partaking.  Best to leave it out.  "When in doubt, leave it out."  Yes.

And how surreal is it that during part of this experience, while I'm talking to my friend at one level while thinking about drinking from a different place in my brain, I was telling my friend about the AA International Convention!  Weird city, man!  And then, on the way home while I'm telling her about 60,000+  recovering alcoholics gathered for this convention, she asks, "So do these people have a drink or 2 with dinner, do you think?"  WHAT???  NO!!! The whole evening became a close encounter with alcohol of the STRANGE kind.

Well here I go turning a perfectly nice little weight loss wannabe blog into a rant about alcohol in society!  Thanks for enduring, if you did.  If you didn't, I understand.  Also, please know I'm not one of those recovering types who thinks everybody that drinks is an alcoholic.  Not at all.  The only person I assess regarding alcohol is myself, and that's how it should be.  I wouldn't give anything for my sober life today and I want to keep it that way.

Back to weight loss...rather weight stagnation.  As I predicted, a 2 pound gain showed up on the scale this morning from the PFC food, but I know it will flush away quickly.  I'm dousing my innards with water in hopes of mobilizing the dampness within, thereby rendering my weight back to where it was the day prior.
Any my overall take on PF Changs - not that you asked - is that the food is good, esp. the sea bass.  The lettuce wraps were rife with fat and chemicals...I could taste them.  They tasted great, but I just know they're a caloric and health seeker's nightmare...other than the lettuce!  The bass was awesome but also tasted quite salty and seasoned.  Given the noise, the crowd, the bar and the whole atmosphere, I think it'll be a long time before I go back.  Just not a good fit for Leslie today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ins and outs and ups and downs

For some reason, I have had a day of pretty substantial GI disturbance at the lower end of the tract...translate: many trips to the ladies room.  Now of course this has in no way interfered with my appetite, and I feel completely fine.  So far I have kept the food totally on plan and am feeling pretty confident that the way things are "going", my weigh in tomorrow will be pretty decent.  No massive loss like the 9 pounds in 6 days prior to my trip to Texas, but I've done okay this week, even before this day of...evacuation.

EXCEPT...I am going to dinner with a close friend tonight to...P.F. Changs.  Just typing the letters makes my myriad cells start to take on water.  I'm hoping that the fluid retention effect of the nouveau Chinese cuisine will be offset by the day I've had where virtually nothing that has been ingested has stayed in the system very long.  Isn't this a delicate way to dance around describing a day of diarrhea? 

I've been eating tons of fruit and salads all week, and often when I do that my wittel tummy rebels.  Not like it isn't made of cast iron, but after so much fruit and produce for so many days, sh*t happens.  Hahaha...I do crack myself up...hey! No pun intended!!

Not much else going on this week except our home internet connection continues to flicker between on and off with increasing lengths of time in the off category.  Comcast has been here no less than 4 times, and each time (according to Hubby who works out of the house) they have found significant f-ed up aspects of our connection and allegedly fixed each.  I'm actually using wifi in the house for now but fear it could go at any second.

My exercise has been okay this week, but I can definitely tell that the heat and humidity really affect my knees...they've been stiffer than usual.  I'm at the 5 month mark from my R knee arthroscopy and 8 months since the L, and they have yet to return to their pre-meniscus-tear statuses.  Harumph!  For awhile I was almost without any pain or stiffness, but summer has caused some of those unwelcome symptoms to return.  And since my 5 mile walk on Sunday at the hilly park, my R hip has also felt a little off.  No pain - but minor soreness and weakness.  Man...this being 50-something (alright dammit, 55-something) is not for the feint of heart.  Until the cartilage tears in my knees this past fall, my body still felt pretty normal.  And I'm just enough of a magical thinker to still hope for a return to that status.

Finally, speaking of being a woman of a certain age, cough cough, just yesterday I passed a new development of really beautiful town homes that finally has put up their sign that advertises "Luxury Senior Living for Ages 55 and Up", and I felt like I'd been socked in the stomach.  The age categories of demographics almost all stop at "55 and Up".  Now senior communities have "lowered" their requirements?  Gheeeesh, here I've been excited about my upcoming birthday (next Thursday), and certainly I'd rather be this age than not.  But I am in no way a senior citizen.  It's hard to believe that I'm where I am chronilogically.  That being said, I really hope to be around long enough to hold and spoil not just grandchildren, but GREAT grands too.  So I'd better get used to being a used up old broad! 

Wow - this was a rambling and disjointed post...very much in keeping with where my head is today.  Now I'm off to get ready for my dinner out.  Beat the heat, blogging friends.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Life Is Good, even on Monday

I'm very delighted to have been given this award not once, but twice...just yesterday, Julie passed it my way, which jolted me into remembering and responding to the fact that dear Deb also gave it to me at the end of June, just before my trip to Texas.  Me forgot all about it until this morning when I read Julie's comment telling me about it!  Thank you to both of you for this.  I am eternally thankful and blessed to believe fully in my heart of hearts that life is, indeed, very good; so this is perfect for me to ponder, answer and send on to other bloggy friends.

Here are the rules: This award requires that I answer the following 10 questions and then pass it on to five other bloggers who demonstrate that life is good!  Here goes:

1. What would your perfect day consist of? 72 degrees all day long, clear blue sky, being in a sunlight filled cottage near the beach with my husband and kids.  Outside alone, walking just before dawn - 4-5 miles on painfree knees.  Then coffee outdoors while in a lounge chair reading.  A gathering of friends a little later for breakfast at a beachside restaurant, sitting around laughing and sharing for hours.  Family time in the afternoon - walking the beach, coming in later to watch a movie, out to dinner (of course :) to a vegetarian restaurant.
2. How would you describe yourself if you were an item of clothing? Danskin exercise clothes
3. What hobbies are you currently working on?  I'm always knitting, and always reading.  Currently on the needles: a Celtic sweater for my daughter, and socks, which are about my favorite thing to knit.  Currently reading The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg, with To Kill a Mockingbird on deck.
4. Walking in the woods in wellies or bare foot on the beach?  Barefoot on the beach.  Hands down.
5. Have you ever hugged or sang to a tree? I love trees, but never hugged or sang to one.  My dog?  Yes to both and on a daily basis.
6. Growing your own veggies or nipping to the supermarket? Both - tomatoes and peppers in the garden, farmers' market for the rest.
7. Have you found anyone exciting in your family tree? Just myself.
8. Slap up meal in a posh restaurant or fish 'n' chips from the wrapper? Posh meal in posh restaurant.  I love eating out - esp. when it's a GOOD place.
9. Which element do you most resonate with, Earth, Air, Fire or water?  Can I resonate with 2?  Yes I can since this is my blog :)  Water and earth.  Earth because I'm striving to always keep both feet on the ground - "figuratively" at least.  (With my knees, "literally" makes sense as well.)
10. Do you believe in fairies? No, but I absolutely believe in miracles.  I see them every day.

Now - to pass this on...
Tammy at From Fat to Fab
Stacia at Swimming it Off
Splurgie at What a Splurge
Roxie at Gravel and Rust
JBS at Journey Beyond Survival

I hope I didn't duplicate give it to someone who's already received it and I could and would give it to every blogger I read because I love all your blogs...anyhow - thanks again.  It was a fun exercise!

Speaking of exercise, that 5 mile walk I did at the park yesterday is evident in my thigh muscles today!  It feels good, but tells me how quickly I can "go soft" in the strength building arena...I walked a ton in San Antonio, then none for a week, and yesterday's walk (admittedly very hilly and I was clipping right along) really seems to have affected the quads!  My food was pretty good yesterday...the one thing I'm thinking of adding to my 2 summer challenge goals is that I need to stop eating after dinner - say by 7:30 at the latest.  Nighttime eating is my bugaboo!  I can be so clean all day, but after dinner, girlfriend's mind turns to snacking.  I was reading Sout Beach Steve's post today and how he has a goal of not eating after his evening post.  I don't know what time he posts, but I get the sentiment.  I know evening eating is a common "brand" of overeating...that I wish I didn't have a propensity for.  So - I'm committing to not eating after 7:30 p.m. tonight - maybe earlier.

Have a good Monday, folks!  Only 4 more days until the weekend!  And don't worry, I'm still living one day at a time and not in fast forward to Friday mode ;) 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Serene Sunday

Uber quick post today.  I confess to never getting to the gym yesterday (for several legitimate reasons), but I just got back from briskly walking the 5 mile loop at Ridley Creek State Park and am pumped!  I'm also icing my R knee because it's hurting a bit after the walk.  My tee shirt is drenched and my hair is matted with sweat under my baseball cap...I look like a sweaty heap, but I feel good!  Now I can have a guilt free afternoon of leisure engineering. 

I also got a ton of produce at the local farmers' market early this morning before my aa meeting, which I hadn't done since I got back last Sunday.  So in between my extended periods of relaxation and rest today, I'll be doing some food prep for the week, which I never mind doing.  Nothing beats summer produce...nuttin', honey!  I realize that part of the drudgery I experienced last week was due to not having the usual healthy stuff I stock the kitchen with when I'm working my plan.  It's amazing how making marginal food choices, even if I'm not bingeing, can affect my mental and emotional status.  Do any of you experience that?  Irritability, impatience, vague angst...all these states are greatly heightened when I'm eating highly processed foods.  And sugar literally can morph me into a raving lunatic just under the surface.  I'm setting myself up for a much better week.

The rest of this post will be some pics from my walk, plus an amazing rainbow that materialized Friday evening during a pop up rain deluge where one half the sky was black and ominous while the other half was brilliantly sunny and clear.  Weather is way cool!  The pictures definitely don't do the rainbow justice, but you'll get a glimpse of it.

Thought I'd stick in one of the men in the gamily from a couple of weeks ago when Chicago based son (in the middle) was home for a week.  Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I AM a weight LOSS blogger!

After all my stream-of-conscious musings and trips down memory lane, I'm starting to feel again like I want to be a weight loss blogger...emphasis on LOSS!  I've whined and recalled and confessed and all sorts of other keyboard ramblings since returning from my Mountaintop Weekend last Sunday.  What I haven't done is recommit and reapply myself to the journey down the scale and the climb up the exercise ladder.

I reported that I gained 3.5 pounds upon returning from SA which didn't upset me too much, but I haven't been on the scale since.  Guess why???  Come on - you know....I've been crap eating and not exercising at all this week.  I have a laundry list of excuses reasons for my floundering.  All you have to do is look back to my posts this week - no internet, wah wah;  my job sucks, wah, wah;  my mommy didn't meet all my needs and then up and died while I was still young, wah wah.  There are a ton more totally valid reasons that I will spare you from hearing.  Bottom line - I've been lazy, moody, irritable.  And it comes as no surprise that as I typed those words, the thought rapidly followed that clean eating and daily exercise would have helped those "conditions" of laziness, moodiness and irritability!  Sufferin' succotash, why didn't I think of that sooner?

So this morning, with the unexpected gift of continued working internet access, I've caught up on a lot of blog reading and commenting.  Seeing others' progress, victories and achievement of weekly goals has produced the desired effect of kicking my a$$ back into gear.  So many people are just chugging along, meeting weekly goals, losing bits of weight each week, moving more.  The whole reason I've entered this community has manifested great results just from my hour reading and commenting.  I'm ready, willing and definitely able to resume what I was doing for that week before my trip to SA - eating less and moving more.  That week of doing what I've intended to be doing for a long time but hade been not doing yielded some pretty fantastic results.  I liked posting a big weight loss and coming back to all those "congratulations" and "wow!' comments. 

So I'm heading to the gym since it's raining buckets and is supposed to keep doing so most of the day.  I'm going to restock the fruit and vegetable stash I usually keep on hand, and do some food prep for the next week so lunches and dinners are partially done ahead of time.  This always works well for me, so if it ain't broke, why not keep doing it? 

In my heart of hearts, I want to free my inner healthy slim woman from the bondage of overweight, sluggishness and the prison I create for myself in my mind because I'm not where I want to be yet.  I know I can do this because I've done it.   I'm glad to feel my enthusiasm and desire back. 

Friday, July 9, 2010

Orbiting the planet

This is long, but it seems I was ready to share some of my baggage today, though it wasn't on my planner to do so.  Feel free to fast forward if serious isn't your thang...

This has been a wonky week in the life of this blogger.  And what does that mean??  Merriam-Webster on line defines wonky as:  unsteady or shaky, from a British derivation of the German term wankon, which means "to totter".  While these definitions don't specify it, I expect they refer to a physical state of being.  I, on the other hand, am referring to my emotional state of being.  It's been a weird week in several realms of my life...overall I have felt sort "off the beam" in my day to day activities.  The uncomfortableness of this is heightened by my mountaintop experience last weekend at the AA convention.  I came home literally walking a foot off the ground.  Clear, optimistic, deeply peaceful and spiritually connected.  Well, as they say in AA, keep your seat belt fastened, because the sober journey is the ride of your life.   Actually LIFE is the ride of your life!  And you may quote me on that.

I mentioned in my last post that work has been experiencing major suckage in my mind, and in the minds of most with whom I work.  There is a huge renovation underway in our building (an o-o-o-o-old school) that is including asbestos abatement, creating new windows and doors in classrooms, and so on.  It seems that our administration or whoever calls the shots have been at the pinnacle of their endless ineffectual operations in the planning of this huge endeavor, and problems and drama are the rule of each day.  Yesterday when I pulled into the parking lot, there were firetrucks with flashing lights, police cars, other first responders...and many people milling about. 

Turns out there was a weird smell and haze in the bldg that caused one of the first people to walk in to have a major asthma attack, so as a precaution, all these special responders and technicians were called in STAT to assess the air quality in every inch of the place.  This was as large vans were pulling in to deposit clients for the day and staff were arriving.  The way it played out...we stood outside (92 degrees by 8:30 a.m.) until 10:15 when the building was deemed safe by the powers that be and we were allowed to enter and start the day.  I could detail this to the n-th degree, but suffice to say that this latest shindig managed to shave off the last veneer of morale and respect for the place any I (or anyone else) was clinging to.  People. Not. Happy.  Lots of complaining and grousing by the masses, of which I was one. 

Why am I droning on about this?  Hell if I know...this stuff just exuded forth through the digits.  The work event was surreal, which is how things are seeming this week.  Bizarre and dreamlike.  Maybe it's the heat and humidity, or the inevitable crash that follows a mountaintop experience, or even the fact that this is my birthday month and though my "new age" is not significant in the sense that it will end with a "0" or even a "5", it holds huge significance in my personal journey and evolution.  This birthday has been looming in my emotional landscape for a very long time.

I'll be 57.  The reason that this is so laden with emotion and meaning for me is that my mom did not live to be 57.  She died at age 56 years and 9 months of age.  I was 23, an only child, and had taken a leave of absence from my real life (that included living with my boyfriend of about 6 years at the time and a new job as an RN on a Pediatric Oncology unit at the University of Florida's teaching hospital) to go home and care for her during her last 6 weeks with metastatic cancer.  She died January 15, 1977... 3 months and 2 days before her next birthday.  That whole year became one that made me extremely happy to say goodbye to it on New Year's Eve going into 1978.  It was hard, sad, lonely, and life altering.  I began questioning everything I thought I knew.  It occurred to me that the only person in the world who had any blood relation to me and allegedly "loved me" was gone (even though my boyfriend at the time loved me; my friends loved me...remember, feelings aren't necessarily rational).  It was a year that I walked into a community mental health center several months after Mom's death fearing I was losing my mind.  Daughter's first therapy ensued.  Rough year.

My relationship with my mom was charged...I never doubted she loved me, but I knew at some level that she didn't necessarily like me.  I've always said she wanted a daughter but that I didn't think she wanted the daughter she got.  I'm not going for sympathy here, folks.  Rather I'm recounting my feelings and my "truth" then, and to some extent, now.  She was also an only child and her dad was a tough and mean man.  He was mean to me...I can only imagine what went down for Mom.  She was afraid to confront him about things.  The only grandmother I knew was a step grandmother, his second wife.  Even when I was too young to get all the connections, I never liked her nor warmed up to her, and neither did my mom (which I'm sure influenced me to some degree).  So Mom clearly had a rough go of it herself.  But at the age of 23, while she was still here and before she got so sick, I wasn't all that interested in or cognizant of that.  I never asked her about herself the way I would now.  The way I've always been SINCE I GREW UP.

Anyway, my mom and I became closer in my late teens and early 20s, but always our relationship was always strained, and she didn't trust me to do things like drive.  I did get my drivers' license at 16, but she NEVER let me drive her car, claiming I didn't have the sense to drive attentively.  Hmmm, the Florida Department of Transportation didn't have any problem issuing me a license the first time I tested for it.  But she'd never let me take her car, even after I was an RN, home taking care of her while she was dying..lifting her into the bathtub, cooking, giving her shots for pain.  There was at last a morning where my own car was being fixed, and we needed something for her, and she said, "Just take my car."  "Really?" I asked.  "Go ahead," she replied.  And to myself I thought, "She's going to be dead within the week."  She was.   She couldn't let go of her notions about me until close to the end, when she realized I'd be the one sorting through her life after she passed.  But with the consent to driver her car, I knew at a deep level that she was giving me a nod of love and acceptance after watching me and being with me those last 6 weeks when I became her private duty nurse as well as her scatterbrained daughter.

Anyway, I know she had very low self esteem, was quite a drinker, and always searching for "something" that I don't think she ever found.  She had a razor sharp wit, and great sense of humor.  Readers may or may not realize that in many ways, I'm a lot like her.  But I finally have found what I was looking for all those years in bottles, cupcakes, cigarettes and even drugs for a bit.  Yet within our similarities lies the rub of my spiritual itchiness as I approach my 57th birthday.

Even though my life has unfolded very differently than did hers in a thousand ways, our similarities have led me to fear that her essence permeated me so completely that I'm destined to live HER life.  Sounds crazy, and in my head I can enumerate countless ways that our lives have been and are entirely different... I always vowed to never have an only child...once my daughter was born I was on a mission to have another child so as not to repeat the pattern.  I got sober and have an incredibly full rich life.  I've stopped a probably long cycle of distant parenting by doing a hell of a lot of work on myself.  I could go on and on about how and why we're different.  But in my heart and soul, the fear has remained that I'm doomed to live it out as she did.  Which means...not living to see 57. 

This is a very old story of my life, and I assure you all of this material (of which what I've written is but the iceberg's tip) has been examined and discussed and felt and contemplated and therapized for many years.  I'm really okay now - I think I've turned out great, and better yet, my family does too.  MY family,  that is different entirely from the one I shared with my mom.  I'm blessed, lucky, and have received unwarranted gifts that my mom didn't have.  I've also had to do a lot of hard painful work.  And despite all the work and immense healing, vestiges of the murky past have lingered long past their welcome. 

I think my mom and I would have become good friends had she lived longer.  As I got over being an obnoxious teenager and a know-it-all twenty something, I might have become interested and able to hear her story.  But that's not how my own was written.  As I'm now within 2 weeks of hitting 57, I'm believing it might really happen.  That maybe I'm not destined to buy the farm at too young an age when there is still much living left, like there could have been for her.  Maybe I'll get to see my children marry, have kids, spoil my grandchildren, travel with my husband the way we've always planned.  I'm not sure if I have survivor's guilt or simple gratitude for my life being as it is. Mixed with sadness at not being able to reach out to my mom the way so many wonderful folks have reached out to me over the years, offering kindness, love, and an interested and listening ear.

Ah forgiveness - self and others.  I hope it's not too late to offer it out even to those who've already gone to the next realm.  Best to practice it fully while I'm still in this sphere.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Whiny Wednesday

I almost need to do a rant post about my job and the endless serious problems that are surfacing, but you dear blog friends don't deserve to hear that kind of thing.  You're innocent and blameless.  Suffice it to say I'm starting to look around for different employment.  I have a great deal here with my hours, salary and benefits.  I also love most of the people with whom I work and our clients.  But there are big problems at the administrative level that are causing extremely low morale among staff, and the directors of my part of the program just can't firmly stand up in the face of admin. and represent us.  Wah, wah, wah.

The main thing I want to say today is that our Internet has been down at home since before I left for San Antonio, so I can do no blog reading or writing or anything else online, for that matter, when I'm home.  I have a laptop, but there is a limit to how long and how many times a day I can hit Starbucks and have a serving of WIFI!  This means that my blog reading is down by about 90%, and therefore so is my commenting.  I try to catch up on my top 10 or so, but I'm even struggling with that.  So I want to apologize for not being as consistent a reader and commenter as is my usual style, and hope that on Friday when the Comcast guy comes FOR THE 2ND TIME, the situation will be remedied.  Gheesh!

Is it me or is the world going to hell in a handbasket right now?  I think that's why the San Antonio trip was so internet problems, no work crap, no grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, no news watching to witness endless more barrels of oil torpedo into the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.  I actually "forgot" how complex and difficult life can get at times.  I guess that's part of the definition of a true "getaway"...being removed from the day to day intensity. 

I haven't been able to get to the gym since back and won't again today because of other commitments like visiting a friend in the hospital who broke her pelvis.  And we're having our 2nd day in a row of 100+ temps and high humidity, so even a brisk neighborhood walk seems treacherous and ill-advised.  They said on the news this morning that we'll get a "break" tomorrow, as the temp is only going to the high 90s.  Really?  That's a break?  Seems once you hit 95 with humidity, it all feels oppressive.  But the ozone warnings will be lifted, and I won't feel like I'm going against medical advice to venture outdoors for longer than the time it takes to get from one air conditioned venue to the next. 

I can hear myself sounding like a negative Nancy here, so I'm going to sign off.  Actually things aren't so bad, and once I leave work, they'll get a lot better in a hot minute!  My food was pretty good yesterday and so far today.  I'll be back on my Friday weighing this week and hopefully things will start moving in the right direction.  Stay cool kids!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Re-entry complete

Nothing like being back at work and having a hundred total bullsh*t problems arise because of other people's awfulness and incompetence human mistakes to jolt one back to reality from the Nirvana of a mini vacay that was not only a blast, but spiritually grounding, informative, inspiring and loving.  When I posted yesterday, I was literally still walking around on Pink Cloud Nine (translate: better than just a pink cloud or cloud nine which are both pretty darn good) and feeling so filled up with WHAT I NEED that I was wondering if blogging would still be necessary to my optimal contentment and functioning.

Well here I am - back to it and happy to be here FOR REAL!  Loving your comments, thrilled that I got my first comment ever from blogging rockstar Miz!!!!! (Hi Miz, I didn't know you knew I existed!), and happy to have this slate upon which I can carve my reality as it unfolds a day at a time.  I do have so much to talk about after being filled way beyond capacity with energy and enthusiasm for AA, not to mention a zillion things I didn't know and more of that old time AA wisdom than I knew existed.  Don't worry, I won't write a 475 paragraph post boring you to death telling you the minutiae of the whole experience.  Rather I expect it will percolate up and out through my fingers over time.  That seems to be how I on a topic that reminds me of something that sends me down another path, which then pries loose some other wannabe brilliant thing...repeat as tolerated. 

I'll recount one quick story of my life as a tourist in San Antonio where I'm glad to say I wasn't alone in the decision-making process of what we were going to do Saturday afternoon.  3 friends (with whom I hung most of the time) and I had gone to a huge AA meeting from 11:30 to 1:00, and had the afternoon spanning out full of promise and time.  We of course wanted to see the Alamo, plus the adjacent historic Menger Hotel where one of the gal's sponsor was staying.  Also on the agenda was a meeting we all wanted to attend at 3:30 (on Building Character, which turned out to be awesome!).  Time was tight, and there was the not unimportant matter of lunch that we were all Jonesing for as well.

We first went and zipped through the hotel, which was clearly grand and beautiful in its day but smelled of the stale and nasty smoke of the millions of cigarettes and cigars that had been smoked there over the 151 years of its existence, cough cough.  Just across the street was the Alamo, the grounds of which we entered through the side and into the back yard where there are beautiful gardens and lots of huge gorgeous old trees.  As we wandered around the to the front of the building, we saw 2 IMPORTANT things...a l-o-o-o-o-ng line to get into the actual Alamo, and a Haagen Dazs store on the opposite corner.  Enter SERIOUS TIME MANAGEMENT PROBLEM..  We were all hungry for real food.  We wanted to see the Alamo but the line was going nowhere.  Fast.  We wanted to go to the meeting back at the convention at 3:30 and it  was already about 2:35.  And Haagen Dazs. 

It took this group of 4 recovering alcoholics about 20 seconds to decide...Haagen Dazs first (we'd get real food for dinner), then walk back for the meeting and catch the Alamo next time in San An.  And it all turned out great.  We got a coveted table with 4 sticky chairs upon which to perch while we moaned in ecstasy as our various ice cream confections slid down our parched throats.  We ran into several folks from back home as we walked back to the convention center.  And as mentioned above, the meeting we attended was just incredible.  Victory scored for the Pennsylvania 4!  We laughed as we ate our ice cream over how once the Haagen Dazs had come into focus as we stood on hallowed historic ground, we each silently thought (and it turns out simultaneously) that we should just chuck the Alamo in favor of more fleshy pleasures...or flesh producing pleasures. 

Finally for today - I did get on the scale this morning and was 207.  I was 203.5 the morning I left for Texas.  So a 3 1/2 pound gain, part of which I likely incurred yesterday back on home turf.  Given my remarkable talent for packing on a ridiculous number of pounds over a few short days, this did not upset me at all.  I'm back on track today and glad to be.  The overall renewal with which the trip gifted me finds me feeling strong and solidly back to wanting to whittle away at this weight loss now.  So re-entry has been smooth, after a rocky start yesterday where I was emotional, tired, and not sure I was ready to be back.  Now I'm glad to be right where I am.