Tuesday, April 29, 2008

There Was a Little Girl...

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Several folks lately have been posting photos of themselves as wee ones. I think it started with a challenge from Felicia. I couldn't resist getting in on the act! Luckily, my dear cousin Kristi gave me a scrapbook for my 50th birthday last year, which contained several photos to choose from. The one above is me circa 1958.

I heard that poem recited to me from the time I can remember. Yes, I have naturally curly hair, which was the bane of my existence most of my life, until I got smart and realized it was a gift. And guess where I got it from?

Yep, that's me and my Mom, in a photo taken by my Dad. He was an amateur photographer and we were his favorite subjects. No wonder: there were a lot of curls between the two of us!

And then I started to grow up...

This was me in 1963, at the ripe old age of six. Hey, I think that cardigan is back in style again!

I've been thinking about Hanlie's comment on her post with her childhood photos, wondering what she would say to her younger self if she had the chance. I know I would like to somehow reach back in time, hug my little self, and say, "Yep, you're a little chubby. Don't worry about it: you're a terrific kid with so much to offer the world!" I know it's a tough lesson to teach a child, but some how I'd like little me to understand that she was good enough just as she was, extra pounds and all.

When I look at that photo in retrospect, I know there was such a rough road ahead. I really internalized the cultural message that being fat was not ok, which meant that I was not ok. As I grew older, anorexia became more prevalent. I remember thinking when Karen Carpenter died, "You mean, women would rather die than look like me? I must be disgusting." I wish I could somehow help mini-me to understand that I was not my body, and that I was a talented, funny, loving and compassionate girl. I think had I been able to understand and accept this about myself, instead of hating myself for being fat, I may not have had the need to eat to fill up the holes in my very young heart.

But who knows? Maybe I would have over-eaten just because it all tasted so good!

What I do know is that being an overweight child, young adult, and grown-up person has formed the woman I am today. It's like the wrinkles on my face: every one of them came from an expereince that has shaped who and what I am. I still battle those extra pounds, and probably will for the rest of my life. But at least now I know that I'm ok, that I am good enough just as I am.

Until next time...

Monday, April 28, 2008

For the Birds

A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song. ~Chinese Proverb

Hubby and I were doing a little yard work yesterday, including cutting off a few branches from a bush that was in danger of falling over. As we were putting the debris into the bin, I noticed something fuzzy on one of the branches.

It was a hummingbird's nest, pictured above.

Isn't it an amazing creation? It's so tiny! I placed the penny next to it just for a sense of perspective. There were no eggs in the nest when I found it: I can only imagine how little they must be.

I love birds and bird watching. I'm kind of crazy about them, actually. I have several feeders and a birdbath, all of which my dear husband takes care of and refills because he knows the pleasure the birds bring me. I think he secretly enjoys them as much as I do, although he probably won’t admit it! Here's a photo he took through the blinds of an Oriole outside our window...

I guess I'm getting old, but I find it so enjoyable to watch a Robin frolic in the bird bath, or two Gold Finches fighting for space on their feeder. I get a sense of the circle of life when the Grosbeaks come back year after year, or when it's time to put out the feeder made especially for the returning Orioles, who winter elsewhere. It reminds me that we are part of a larger world, and that we're connected to all creatures through the web of life.

Now if I could just convince Boo Boo of that interconnection, so she'll leave the birds alone!

Until next time...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The iPod Shuffle

You can't possibly hear the last movement
of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow!
~ Oscar Levant
(explaining his way out of a speeding ticket)

I’m stealing this from Hanlie, who in turn filched it from someone else… we’re just that kind of blogger gals!

The rules are simple: hit the shuffle on your iPod, then answer each question by hitting 'next.' No cheating! However, I have a lot of classical music on my iPod, and those titles made NO sense in answer to any question, so I skipped ‘em. Some of the songs that shuffled up are downright uncanny!

Q: What does next year have in store for you?
A: I Sill Dream – Boney James and Al Jarreau

Q: What does your love life look like next year?
A: Down on the Corner – Credence Clearwater Revival

Q: What do you say when life gets hard?
A: Who Are You? – The Who ... yeah, I do get a little introspective when things are tough

Q: Song that reminds you of good times?
A: Accentuate the Positive – Bing Crosby & the Andrew Sisters ... could this be more fitting for me?!

Q: What do you think when you get up in the morning?
A: Still in Love with You – Brooks & Dunn

Q: What song will you dance to at your wedding (or silver wedding anniversary?)
A: Dancing on the Ceiling – Lionel Richie

Q: Song that reminds you of your first kiss?
A: How Do I Live Without You – Leanne Rimes

Q: Your favorite saying?
A: I Wanna Shoop – Salt N Pepa ... I don’t word it in quite this way, however ;-)

Q: Favorite place?
A: Footloose – Kenny Loggins

Q: Most missed memory?
A: Letters from Home – John Michael Montgomery ... or emails from home, in my case

Q: What song describes your best friend?
A: Crazy Love – Poco ... this sort of fits her! Plus, we both used to love this song

Q: What song describes your ex?
A: Hiding Inside Myself – Kenny Rankin ... oh boy, this one really fits. Brian, you have to hear it!

Q: Where would you go on an important date?
A: I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – Rolling Stones

Q: Drug of choice?
A: Physical – Olivia Newton John ... I guess need to get myself addicted again!

Q: What song describes yourself?
A: Since I Fell for You – Al Jarreau

Q: What is the thing you like doing most?
A: Keeping the Faith – Billy Joel ... and staying positive!

Q: The song that best describes the President?
A: Theme to Rocky (Gonna Fly Now)… let’s hope it's soon

Q: Where will you be in 10 years?
A: Celebration – Kool and the Gang ... I like this one!

Q: Your love life right now?
A: Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow – Alan Jackson

Q: What is your state of mind like at the moment?
A: This is a Song for the Lonely – Cher ... it's the Weight Watchers theme song!

Q: How will you die?
A: No One is Alone – Mandy Patinkin ... I’m not making this one up!

Until next time...

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five - Flowers

When you have only two pennies left in the world,
buy a loaf of bread with one,
and a lily with the other. ~ Chinese Proverb

First, thank to everyone who contributed a favorite quote to last week’s Friday Five. I think that for every mood we humans experience, there is a quote to express our feelings, and I'm sure grateful for that!

Since it’s finally spring here in the United States, I thought I’d honor the season by making this week’s theme nature related. I must admit to “borrowing” all these images off the Internet. I’m also hoping I can get all five to upload, since seeing this week’s five is pretty important (if I could only figure out a way to do “smell-a-blog,” that would be even better!) Thanks to Wanda over at Exuberant Color for her guidance on uploading images.

So, without further ado, I present for your pleasure:

Pattie’s Top Five Favorite Flowers!

1. Casablanca Lilies (pictured above.) Ahhhh! These beauties are certainly magnificent to look at, with a pure white bloom the size of a dinner plate. But it’s their heavenly scent that places them at the top of my list. If you want to lift your spirits, buy yourself a single stem, sit back and enjoy. They’re intoxicating!

2. Lilacs. Another flower I love for its scent. Plus they’re a great way to welcome Spring into the garden!

3. Delphiniums. These guys aren’t scented, but they sure are beautiful – tall and grand and lovely. I have yet to try planting them in my California garden.

4. David Austin Rose. I was just introduced to this variety only a month or so ago, and it was love at first sight. Believe it or not, I’m not a huge fan of roses, but this old-fashioned blossom and heavenly fragrance just stole my heart. If I ever decide to plant a rose, it will be this one.

5. Hydrangea. I’ve fulfilled a life-long dream and have planted not one but two hydrangeas in my yard! One is a lace-cap variety like you see here; the other is the traditional “mophead” variety I keep in a pot so I can adjust the pH to keep it a lovely shade of blue.

So that’s it: my five favorite flowers. How about yours? I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me your favorite blossom, and may it bring to mind images of Spring!

Until next time…

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Do You See?

Could we change our attitude,
we should not only see life differently,
but life itself would come to be different.
~ Katherine Mansfield

I received the nicest email from Terry, a fellow blogger who creates the most amazing quilts. I hope to one day be half the quilter she is! Check out her Quilt Nut blog to see the incredible work she produces.

I asked for and received her permission to share her email on my blog. She said:

I love your positive attitude and it is something I work on everyday. I was born a pessimist and am trying to become an optimist with a positive attitude. I have made progress but it is hard. I fight it daily. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

First of all, thank you for your kind words, Terry! I am very proud of you, and those out there like you who work hard to look at things in a positive light. It isn’t always easy, but choosing to see things differently is half the battle.

I am by nature a fairly optimistic, positive person. I’ve even been accused of being perky (there are much worse titles to wear, in my humble opinion!) But those who know me well know that optimism is something I’ve had to hone over the years. I have down times when all I can see is the darkness and the sadness in life. I wouldn’t be human if that weren’t the case.

Twelve years ago, I was married to a wonderful man who was my best friend. We’d been married for sixteen years when he came to me and said he could no longer deny the fact that he was gay. We spent about a year trying to work things out, each of us in therapy, to accommodate what he needed and what I needed. At the end of that time, we knew our marriage was over and we split. I’m now happily remarried (to a delightfully straight man!) and my ex and I are still dear friends to this day.

I make it sound so easy, don’t I? It wasn’t – believe me.

He was my other half, my soul mate, my dearest friend. The thought of losing him as my husband brought thoughts of suicide, and even of a sex change (hey, if it meant not losing him, I was game! Thank goodness, his saner head prevailed!) My ailing mother was living with us at the time, and my marriage was literally falling apart. I was searching for ways to feel like I had some control over my destiny.

One day at the gym, I heard a new song being played overhead by an artist I didn’t know. It was Alanis Morissette singing, “You Learn.” Her lyrics caught my attention…

I, recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone…
I, recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone…
I, recommend sticking your foot in your mouth at any time…

You live you learn, you love you learn
You cry you learn, you lose you learn
You bleed you learn, you scream you learn
You grieve you learn, you choke you learn
You laugh you learn, you choose you learn
You pray you learn, you ask you learn
You live you learn.

I immediately ran out and bought her CD, and listened to this song over and over.

It was at that time that I started to look at my situation through different eyes. I decided that I could either become bitter over what happened, or I could become better. I could live the rest of my life the way some people do after a painful event (angry, hurt, sour on life.) Or I could grow and move forward, learning what I could from the experience. I realized that I couldn’t change anything in my situation – except my attitude.

I lost my husband, and my sweet mother passed away. We sold our home and I moved on with my life. It was an incredibly painful time, and boy, did I learn a lot about myself and what I wanted from life.

It’s about choosing to look for the good in life, choosing to find the lesson in every hard thing that comes our way. Lord knows, I’m not perfect at it. I can get on my pity-pot and really feel sorry for myself some days. But overall, I believe my life is a positive experience and because I look for the positive, that’s what I draw back into my life. It’s that whole Universal Law of Attraction idea.

So Terry, and anyone else who’s trying to be a more positive person, my advice to you is to stop the negative thoughts as soon as you’re aware of them. Ask yourself instead, “What can I learn from this?” As corny as it sounds, try to find the silver lining in everything you experience – one kernel of something positive in even the most negative incident.

I think cultivating an attitude of gratitude also helps. You can’t be grateful and negative at the same time! Look for things to feel grateful for every day. Write them down so you can visually see your blessings. This isn’t about being religious: it’s about looking for what’s right in your life, instead of what’s wrong.

Finally, remember that there truly is little in life we have total control over. We can’t control the weather; we can’t control the price of gasoline, we can’t even control how our family behaves most days! But we can control how we respond to the world, and that makes all the difference.

Always remember that Attitude Changes Everything!

Until next time…

Monday, April 21, 2008

Waiting to Hear...

Worrying is like a rocking chair:
it gives you something to do,
but it gets you nowhere. ~ Glenn Turner

I'm on pins and needles these days, waiting for the phone to ring.

Way back in January, I applied for a position as the volunteer coordinator for our city library. I didn't hear anything for quite some time, then one day got a call to come in for an interview. Then a few weeks later, I got a call to come for a second interview. Last week, after a few more weeks had gone by, I got called again.

Turns out, there were seventy applicants for this position, which is why the winnowing process has taken so long. I've made it into the final four. Yep, I'm really proud of that fact, regardless of the outcome!

At last week's meeting, I was given a tour of the library and its branch here in my neighborhood (who knew both places were so big??) They also took me to lunch. That gave me the chance to ask questions and get to know the woman who supervises this position. She's a great gal: funny, bright, articulate, and very warm. I'd love to be part of her team, and told her so.

Now the waiting begins.

Through all of this, I've kept the attitude that if this is meant to be, it will happen. I've built a life I love since I stopped working in November 2006. I do volunteer work, I quilt, I take classes and participate in a book club. My life is full and I'm blessed to be in a situation where I don't need to work, thanks to my very dear husband. But when I saw the job announcement for the volunteer coordinator, it just felt right -- and that feeling grows stronger with each interview.

So, send up a little prayer or positive thought for me, if you would. I'll be at peace no matter their decision, but I sure would like the opportunity to dig in and give that position my all!

Until next time...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Friday Five - Quotes

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are,
as standing in a dictionary, how potent
for good and evil they become in the hands
of one who knows how to combine them.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

First, I have to thank everyone who took time last week to cast a vote for the most handsome male celebrity. That post received more comments than anything I’ve done so far. What does that tell you about all of us, my friends? LOL!

This week, I thought I’d move away from beautiful men, and instead look at beautiful words. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m crazy about quotes. In fact, for the two years prior to starting this blog, I emailed almost daily a motivational quote to subscribers, along with a few words from me. The positive words of others have helped me get through some pretty rough times in my life. I know – and still know – that I’m not alone in taking strength from others’ experiences.

I’m not going to make any comments on these: I think the words speak for themselves. So today I’m sharing with you my top five for this week:

The Five Most Inspirational Quotes

1. It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot

2. Your mental attitude will lead you into the light or hold you in darkness. It will lead you to hope or despair, to a glorious success or a miserable failure, and it is entirely within your own power to choose which it shall be. ~ Orison Swett Marden

3. We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~ Joseph Campbell

4. Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. ~ Veronica A. Shoffstall

5. When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it's time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught to fly. ~ Edward Teller

How about you? What’s your favorite quote?

Here’s to all of us who are learning to fly!

Until next time…

Thursday, April 17, 2008

But It Was On Sale, Dear

When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping.
Men invade another country. ~ Elayne Boosler

I ran into a sale yesterday.

Normally, I can bypass the BUY ME! BUY ME! urge, but not this time. It was quilting fabric, you see. On sale. That's kind of rare in my neck of the woods, where we normally pay about $10 a yard. My quilt shop had a small selection on sale for half off.

It was that darn paisley on the left that sucked me in. Isn't it gorgeous? It called my name! And of course, it can't go home alone... it needed some complimentary fabrics to keep it company (or so I tried to explain to my husband.)

I have no idea what I'll do with it, although I plan to add a few more colors from my stash of fabric: some greens, golds, and a black or two. I'll have to think about a design.

But first, I have to finish a quilt I'm working on for a dear friend in Salt Lake City. But that has to wait until I finish the blocks for the class I'm currently taking. Then I can play with the paisley.

So much wonderful fabric, so little time!

Ah, it's good to have a passion other than eating. :-)

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Behavior is what a man does,
not what he thinks, feels, or believes. ~ Anonymous

I'm doing my Healthy You Check-In a day late because my weigh-in is Tuesday night. I guess I'll always be behind the rest of you, but better late than never, eh?

I'm down another two pounds! That makes four toward my mini-goal of losing 10.6 by July 1st. I'm a happy camper.

But I know this was an undeserved loss. You know what I'm talking about: the scale shows that you're down but in your heart, you know your behavior didn't warrant the results. Usually we feel that way when we've worked really hard and the scale shows only a tiny loss, or even a gain. But I'm feeling this week like I got away with something.

I'm not putting myself down: I'm being real. I did some things right, but not enough for two pounds. When I look at my behavior this past week - journaling only part of the time, no exercise, forgetting to write down the things I'm grateful for each day - I can see that the loss was a fluke.

And part of me is breathing a sigh of relief: I'm much rather see a loss than a gain. I am human, after all!

What this brings to mind for me is how we all give so much power to that darn scale. It can make or break our mood in the blink of an eye, and we forget to trust ourselves and in our behavior. If we know we're doing everything right, everything we need to be doing, why do we allow that stupid little gizmo to make us lose all confidence in ourselves?

Learn to trust in yourself and know that the scale will catch up to your behavior (good or bad!) in its own sweet time.

Until next time...

Monday, April 14, 2008

ABC Meme

The Internet is just a world passing around
notes in a classroom. ~Jon Stewart

Ok, it's Monday and my brain is menopause fuzzy-mode, so I'm taking Cammy and Rebecca up on their Über-tag to do the ABC meme.

A is for age: 51, just barely.

B is for booze of choice: A margarita on the rocks with salt, thank you.

C is for career: Various postitions in the non-profit world: PR, membership, marketing. What can I say - I like working for a cause.

D is for your dog’s name: Jenna, our 100-pound lab-mix grand-dog (no grand-kids as of yet!)

E is for essential items you use/love everyday: Coffee pot, computer, sewing machine (a 1960’s Singer), my car and its CD player

F is for favorite song(s) at the moment: Hooray for Love, an oldie by Johnny Mercer (Listen)

G is for favorite games: Smart Ass (sort of a Trivial Pursuit game); Balderdash.

H is for hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah.

I is for instruments you play: Guitar; a veeery tiny amount of piano.

J is for jam or jelly you like: Strawberry

K is for kids: Four step-children. How blessed am I!

L is for last kiss: This morning.

M is for most admired trait: Kindness.

N is for name of your first crush: John Cowsill of the Cowsills (remember them?) As for a real guy, his name was Parley…

O is for overnight hospital stays: Three: one for tests when I was in 8th grade; the second in high school, to remove a cyst; the third when I was 19, knee surgery. Funny, now that I’m a semi-old fart, I haven’t needed to be admitted over-night!

P is for phobias: The feeling of falling (no thank you to roller coasters, etc.!)

Q is for quotes you like: It’s never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot.

R is for biggest regret: Not giving birth to a child of my own.

S is for sweets of your choice: Crème Brulee; Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups.

T is for time you wake up: Between 6:00 and 7:00 AM

U is for underwear: Yes, please.

V is for vegetables you love: Broccoli; fresh tomatoes

W is for worst habit: Snacking too much and too often

X is for x-rays you’ve had: Mammogram every year; knee, chest…

Y is for yummy food you make: I’m told I make the best tuna sandwhich around!

Z is for zodiac sign: I'm a Aries. Aries Greatest Strength: Your courage to overcome fear. Aries Possible Weakness: Not finishing things you start. Yep – that’s me!

If you haven't yet done this meme and need something to blog about, consider yourself tagged!

Until next time...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life is Too Short

Time is the coin of your life.
It is the only coin you have,
and only you can determine how it will be spent.
Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
~ Carl Sandburg

First, thanks to those of you who added to the list of sexiest male celebrities. Wasn't that a fun little exercise in silliness? We need those once in a while! And you know why?

Life is too short.

A friend of mine had a heart attack on Friday. He was taken to the hospital where the doctors found a major blockage. They did an angioplasty, and inserted a stent to keep his artery open. He's doing very well, his prognosis is good, and his spirits are as cheerful as ever. He's a remarkably positive person, and I thank God he came through this as well as he did.

Life is too short.

A few weeks ago, I was driving down the freeway to meet a friend for a movie. I had a semi on one side of me and a car on the other. In front of me was a pickup truck with a small load of lumber. We were all driving about 75 MPH (don't tell the California Highway Patrol!) The wind picked up a 2 x 4 from the truck, turned it end over end and sent it flying toward my windshield. I had no room to swerve, since I was boxed in. It happened so fast, but I swear I saw that board break the glass and hit me head-on -- so much so that I ducked down in my seat. When all was said and done, the board hit the hood of my car, right in front of the windshield, then bounced off the frame of the driver's side window. Lots of scratches to my car, but not one scratch on me.

Life is too short.

We all know this. We've all lost loved ones or had an event happen that changed our life in the blink of an eye. But we get complacent and go about our business as if life will go on as it is forever and ever.

I think it's important for all of us, me included, to remember that our time on Earth is finite and we'd better make the most of life while we're free to enjoy it. We each need to find what's important to us and spend our days doing things we enjoy, things that make the world a better place. And for heaven sake, each and every day, let's tell the people we love that we care about them.

Life is too short, so let's make it sweet while it lasts!

Until next time...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Five

I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty
being only skin-deep. That's deep enough.
What do you want - an adorable pancreas? ~ Jean Kerr

I'm starting what I hope will be an ongoing blog project: the Friday Five. It will be a list of my top five in random categories: some serious, but mostly silly. I have to admit to "borrowing" the idea from an old blog I ran across while looking for a photo of the gentleman above.

So, the theme of my inaugural Friday Five is:

The Five Most Handsome Male Celebrities!

1. George Clooney. He's got it all, in my book: he's handsome, funny, has the most soulful eyes, seems like a throwback to the charming movie stars of old -- and did I mention that he's handsome?? He's at the top of my list.

2. Johnny Depp. From serious roles to Jack Sparrow, I think he keeps getting better and better. And cuter and cuter!

3. Matthew McConaughey. How can anyone resist those blue eyes and those dimples, not to mention that soft southern drawl?

4. Tom Selleck. Ok, I know I'm dating myself with this one. I mean, Magnum P.I. isn't exactly on the list of current tv programs. But he stole my heart way back then, and keeps doing it today. He just gets better with age.

5. Russell Crowe. He's tall, dark and handsome - and has that cute little roll of curly hair across his forehead. I love the he-man roles he plays, but when he does comedy, my heart just melts.

So there's my first Friday Five list, just for the fun of it. I wish I could figure out how to upload more than one photo to each day's post. I found some really handsome shots of the other four men listed above. But one sigh-inducing picture of George will have to do!

Now - who would you add to the list? :-)

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Attitude of Gratitude

We often take for granted the very things
that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, it was a real challenge this past week to make note of three things I was grateful for every day. Not because I’m not grateful, but because it’s hard to remember to do it! But it was a good lesson on staying conscious of all the positives things around me.

Here are a few things I was grateful for last week:

* How good a hot shower feels.
* That I have a patient quilting teacher who believes nothing is a mistake, only a learning experience.
* That my husband made it safely home from his business trip to France.
* How fabulous fresh blackberries taste.
* For the United States Attorneys who present cases to us every Friday, for defending what is right.
* The love of my husband.
* For the high-school-aged bagger at the grocery store who told me that he tutors other students in math (there is hope for the next generation!)
* My friends in AAUW, and in the Master Gardener program.
* For a cat who adores me (our dog adores my husband.)
* A warm bed on a chilly night.

These are just a few of positive things I noted (sorry, some are just too private to share!) Even now, typing them out here makes me feel incredibly lucky to be living the life I live. I am blessed!

How about you? Do you think it might help your outlook on life if you started to focus on what’s right in your life instead of what’s wrong? It’s easy to come up with a long list of everything that makes us unhappy, including our own behavior: I know I’m really good at making a mental note of the mistakes I make. But how about the things we do well?

Why not start now? If you leave a comment, make note of at least one thing you’re grateful for today. Let’s develop an attitude of gratitude in Blogland!

Until next time…

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Heathier Me

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams
to someone else. ~ Erma Bombeck

It's been a pretty good week, overall. I journalled every day, with the exception of the court-day melt down (see previous post.) As suggested at the bottom of that entry, my journal for Friday says, "It's a Vegetable!" Then I moved on... back on track the next day, as if it didn't happen.

I'll be accountable when I hand in my journal and weigh tonight at my meeting.

I didn't meet my activity goals for the week, so that's something I'll need to focus on more in this coming week.

My goal of writing down three things for which I'm grateful each day was surprisingly challenging. What a good lesson that is! It really makes me stop and think about what went right that day, instead of the things that went wrong. I'm also learning to write things down as they come to me, rather than waiting until the end of the day (menopause memory, you see.)

But you know the biggest surprise this week? I did not meet my goal to do something intentionally self-nurturing. Wow! Frankly, I'd forgotten I'd even set this as a goal, which tells me I REALLY need to focus on this area! Isn't it amazing that we get so busy doing and caring for others that we forget to do something nice for ourselves?

So, onward. Here's to the progress made this week, and an even healthier week to come!

Until next time...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

If You Fail to Plan...

How am I going to live today in order to create
the tomorrow I'm committed to? ~ Anthony Robbins

Boy, did I blow it yesterday.

I had jury duty in Los Angeles, and I was running late (one too many hits of the snooze button!) I debated for a nano-second about making something healthy to take with me, but decided against it. Maybe today would be a short day, I reasoned, and I could come home early to fix myself a good lunch.

That didn't happen. It was a very long day in court.

It was also a day when several of us brought goodies to snack on. There were bagels and cream cheese from two fellow jurors, granola bars from another, chocolate Easter eggs from yet another. Luckily, I had brought apples and string cheese for the gang.

An apple and a string cheese just aren't enough to get through the day.

So you can guess what happened. I started nibbling, thinking, "just one won't hurt." I even kept track, mentally calculating how many Points I was consuming so I could write it all down. Five chocolate eggs, one granola bar, and apple and a string cheese. Not too bad. But not enough.

When they finally released us late in the afternoon, I was that dangerous combination of tired and very hungry. When I got on the freeway and found wall-to-wall traffic, I added "anxious" to my list of feelings. All during the 1 1/2 hour drive home, I kept reminding myself that I had stuff at home to make a lovely salad: chicken that I had precooked, spinach, an apple to add in along with a little feta cheese. So yummy!

But the more I sat in traffic, the more I thought how much easier fast food would be, and where I could turn off soonest, and what could I eat in the car.

Long story short, my tired, anxious hunger won out and I stopped at Taco Bell.

I share this with you because I know you've all been there. We "give in" and then we beat ourselves up and cry, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I be strong, like every body else? I'll never be able to do this!" Well, guess what? We're not weak, nor do we lack self-discipline. It's not about being strong: it's about planning.

One of the biggest lessons I learned when I lost weight the first time was to never let myself get too hungry. If I do, then all reasoning goes out the window. Our bodies need fuel every couple of hours, and I didn't take time to plan for that fact yesterday.

The good news is that it's over. It's behind me. It doesn't matter that I blew my Points: that was yesterday. Believe me, guilt over what we ate in the past ends up costing so many more calories in the long run, if we let it.

So, as a very wise former Weight Watcher colleague of mine used to say,

Count it as a vegetable, and move on!

Until next time...

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear,
but around in awareness. ~ James Thurber

Diana at Scale Junkie tagged me today, to write a Six Word Memoir. Holy smokes - only six words?? I could go on and on and on.

But perhaps that's the point. Boiling down the essence of our lives into six words really makes you focus on what's important, what you're all about. So I sat down with a cup of coffee, and came up with my Six Word Memoir:

Life keeps bringing me amazing lessons!

Want to play along? Here are the rules, from Diana:

· Write your own six word memoir
· Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want
· Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
· Tag at least five more blogs with links; and
· Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

I'm officially tagging Grumpy Chair, Lora, Steph, Rebecca , and Janet (check out her gorgeous quilts!)

Even if you don't play, or you don't blog, think about it. What would be your Six Word Memoir?

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No More Wishing

A goal without a plan is just a wish.
~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Well, well, well… I believe that I’m finally ready to tackle this weight loss journey once again. It’s time. I’ve spent the last year depressed and cynical over gaining back the weight I worked so hard to lose. I no longer want to carry that burden, both figuratively and literally.

I’ve had flashes of this feeling occasionally in the past year, but something feels different this time. For one thing, I feel ready to take an holistic approach, which I know is a critical element to being successful at losing weight. It takes changing what and how much I eat, becoming more active, being accountable to someone else by weighing weekly, and finding ways to nurture myself that don’t involve food. The process can’t work for me unless all four of those elements happen, and I feel that I’m finally ready to tackle all of them.

So, here is my plan:

My first goal is to lose 5% of what I weigh today by July 1st. That means losing 10.6 pounds in 13 weeks (Ok, go ahead and do the math if you have a burning desire to know how much I weigh. I’m not telling!) This is very doable and who knows: I may even lose more. But for now, it’s enough. I’ll set another goal on July 1st.

In order to reach this goal, I need to have a strategy, which is:

1. Write down the food I eat everyday, and its Points value.

2. Exercise. I’ll start by walking three days per week and going to the gym two days per week. I’ll gradually increase this over the three-month period to walking six days per week and going to the gym three times per week. I have the time: I just haven’t made exercise a priority – until now.

3. Accountability. I’ll weigh every Tuesday night at my weight support meeting.

4. I’ll do something good for myself that feels self-nurturing at least once per week. Geeze, that feels weird to have to write it down like that! But I know that if I don’t commit myself to doing it, I’ll let other people and other tasks take priority over me. I need to make sure that I feed my spirit and my body with something besides food.

5. Finally, at the bottom of my food journal, I’m going to take time every night to write down three things for which I’m grateful. I believe that having an 'attitude of gratitude' helps keep the focus positive as we go along this weight loss journey. It’s not about diet and deprivation and struggle. It’s about choosing to get healthy. There’s a huge difference in those two ways of thinking.

It’s all about attitude and as we all know, Attitude Changes Everything!

Until next time…

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I Did It!

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We should be taught not to wait for
inspiration to start a thing.
Action always generates inspiration.
Inspiration seldom generates action. ~ Frank Tibolt

Guess what I did yesterday?


I know some of you are probably going, "Ho hum - I go to the gym all the time." That's what I used to say, too. But I haven't been in almost a year. I was afraid the roof would collapse when I walked through the doors. :-)

Things have changed since I was there last, of course. But I was happy to note that all my favorite machine were still there. I did a five-minute warm-up on the treadmill, then worked all the major muscles in my body. Nothing strenuous, and I used light weights. It was hard to start over, but it felt great!

I am on my way once again to becoming a calorie burning machine.

Can I put on my former Weight Watcher Leader's hat for a minute?

If any of you out there are looking for a way to ramp up your weight loss or to change the shape of your body, please check into strength training. Unlike popular notions, you will not end up looking like Mr. Schwarzenegger. We women just don't have enough testosterone in our bodies for that to happen. The women you see who are body builders, with large, chiseled muscles, have to work out a LOT to make that happen, a lot more than you and I ever will.

Muscle burns calories: it's as simple as that. Increasing your muscle mass is the one true way to boost your metabolism. If I could find a way to bottle that benefit, I'd be a rich woman!

And let's quell another misunderstanding, one that stops a lot of us from strength training: muscle does not weigh more than fat.

I know -- you read that everywhere you turn. But think about it: a pound is a pound is a pound. A pound of lead and a pound of feathers both weigh a pound, right? The difference is in the volume, the space they take up. A pound of lead would fit in the palm of your hand. A pound of feathers would fill a room.

It's the same with muscle and fat. A pound of muscle is very tight and compact, but it still weighs a pound. A pound of fat is very loose and takes up lots of space on our body, but it still weighs a pound. That's why two women standing side by side, both the same height and both weighing 200 pounds, can look very different. One can even wear smaller clothes. The 200-pound woman who looks smaller has more muscle mass, so she's more compact, even though she weighs the same as the woman standing next to her.

Yes, there can be some small weight gain when you first begin to build muscle. It has to do with the water held by the muscle cells, or some such thing (this is where my knowledge ends - I'm not a physiologist!) Don't let that deter you from strength training, however. It will go away and you will become a much more efficient calorie burning machine.
* * * * *
Ok, I'm going to take off my Leader's hat now, and speak as the humble, overweight woman that I am to tell you that it feels SO good to have gone to the gym! I have lots of information in my head about how to lose weight. It feels good to have taken action. As my friend Eve says, we need to get out of our heads and stop thinking so much, and just do it!

Until next time...