Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset - 2010 Gains and Losses

As the sun sets on 2010 for the last time, I thought I'd take a moment and share with you my greatest gains and significant losses from this year.  A post providing all the details would  take way too much time, but just know that there is a story behind every one of these things that have made the lists.  Many of you have shared them with me, others you'll learn more details as time goes on.  Thanks for sharing your lives with me through your blogs and comments.  And my heart fills with gratitude that you find mine worth coming back to again and again.  Happy New Year to each of you.  I count you all my FRIENDS!
Sunset through my eyes - Gulf of Mexico, Venice, FL
December 31, 2010

Losses:

5)   Margie - Margie Mallin was my first "follower" when I began this blog last May.  She blogged here and we found much in common.  Although she and her husband, Bruce, lived on the opposite coast from me, we were already making plans to meet.  Tragically, she and Bruce were killed in October, by a suicidal driver, while on their morning walk.  This post of mine was written in response to this one Margie had written a couple of days earlier.  It was one of the last posts she wrote.  I wrote this post after hearing of her death honoring her in the best way that I could.  I think of her every day and just writing this brings tears to my eyes again.
 
4)   Travel - Since Mr. B is a college professor, we have lots of time to indulge our passion for travel during his breaks.  Due to the illness of his father, we did not take an extended summer trip this year and we both felt that loss keenly.  For us, it is more than just vacation, it is a time of reconnection, education and learning.  Without it, we both feel a sense of loss.

3)   Weight Loss Momentum and dream of reaching goal by year end - Between January 1 and August 19, I lost 16 pounds of the 30 I needed to reach goal weight.  This momentum came to a abrupt and unanticipated HALT on August 19.  I was never able to get it back and by late fall gave up my dream of reaching goal by year end.

2)   My health - This is one that needs a post all on it's own, but in summary......I have a chronic illness that was diagnosed when I was 28.  For years, it has been in remission, but has decided to rear it's ugly head again.  Am in the process of working with my doctor to determine if a change in meds is needed or where we need to go from here.  It is not something that will kill me, but unless gotten back under control, could substantially hinder my ability to hike, bike or do most any sort of strenuous physical activity.  This would be devastating to my mental state.

1)   Pap - No one who has read this blog for any length of time will be surprised by this.  My precious father-in-law who loved me like a daughter, died on August 19 after a slow onset of advanced dementia, but then a very quick and sudden decline.  We are so thankful that what could have gone on for years, ended quickly and painlessly, but our hearts still miss him so.  Should you have missed this and want to read more, most of my August posts talk about this.

 Sunrise from Mt. LeConte - GSMNP
September, 2010

Gains:

5)  Greater level of contentment in all circumstances - I can't really explain this, but as the year ends, I feel a sense of peace and contentment that I haven't felt in a long time.  Reading back over the course of this blog, I believe getting to this place is reflected in the posts.  It is my sincere desire that it has been a process leading towards a breakthrough year in 2011 when many things in my life will come together.

4)   Hiking goal reached - A very aggressive goal of hiking 300 miles was set and achieved.  I am absolutely thrilled to have reached this goal. 

3)   Ended year at lower weight - I did not reach my goal weight in 2010, but I am very happy to say that I am starting this year 10 pounds less than I started 2009. 

2)   Closer walk with God - This, of course, is very personal and private, but it has been a breakthrough year in learning how my relationship with God affects every moment and relationship now and coming to a greater acceptance that this life is only a preparation for the next one.  My purpose in being here at this place and time is not to be "happy," but to make God smile.  And that is exactly what I want to do!

1)   My Blog - This blog is without a doubt, my greatest GAIN for 2010.  I had absolutely no idea what to expect on May 14 when I hit publish for the first time and this appeared in print.  I had no idea what a "follower" was or why in the world anyone would want to "comment!"  Thank goodness, I learned!  I love writing this blog, I have lots of ideas for the future of it, but mostly, I love that you stay with me through thick and thin.  You continue to read when my posts are too long and rambling!  You practiced tough love when needed, but also gave me the tender care I so desperately needed when my heart was breaking and my appetite raging.  I cannot thank you enough for all you've become to me.

I wish for all of you a 2011 filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, humility and self-control.   Happy New Year!

Sunrise, sunset 
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laden with happiness,
And tears!
from "Fiddler On The Roof"


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Help Me Explain!

 Along the Venetian Waterway Bike Path - Venice, Florida
December 22, 2010

You are about to get a sneak preview of my 2011 New Year Philosophy.  Rather than making New Year's Resolutions this year, I decided to adopt a new philosophy, then develop monthly strategies designed to help me along in the shift.  But I've run into a problem and I need your help!  

Mr. B and I have taken some long walks this week and he has done a lot of listening.  I began early this week trying to explain and clarify my new philosophy to him and ask for his support.  The problem is - he can't see it.  No matter how I try to explain and give examples, he tells me he sees no difference between the two statements - they say the same thing to him.  

I believe that once you read this statement, every one of you will smile, nod and agree that you know EXACTLY what I mean and the difference between the two lines.  So I'm thinking maybe you can say it in a way that I can show him that will make it "click" in his mind.  So how would YOU explain this to a normal eater at a normal weight with a normal appetite and no desire or tendency to EVER overeat? 

FOOD WILL NO LONGER CONTROL MY LIFE.
MY LIFE WILL CONTROL FOOD!

Here are three approaches I've taken trying to get him to understand:

1) When you ask if we can have friends over for dinner Friday night and I say "no," you think it's because I don't want to put in the time to clean house, plan menus, go to the grocery store, etc., but that's not it at all.  I don't want to have friends over Friday night because I am currently "on-plan" and don't want to deal with the temptation or take the risk of messing up.  That is food controlling my life, NOT my life controlling food!

2)  When we get ready to take a weekend trip and you ask if just this once, can we be spontaneous instead of planning every meal ahead of time and lugging a giant cooler, and I say "no," you think I'm being cheap.  That's not it at all.  I don't want to deal with restaurant temptations and portion control.   I want to have all the "control" I need in that cooler.   That is food controlling my life, NOT my life controlling food!

3)  In 1982, when the American's With Disabilities Act was first passed, I was the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for a bank in our town.  In training for understanding the ramifications of that act, we were taught that a disability is anything that "substantially impairs any one or more functions required to perform routine tasks necessary for daily living."  (Please don't quote me on that - it's close, but that was a long time ago!!)  My last ditch effort at explaining to Mr. B what this meant was to tell him that according to this definition, my relationship with food could be classified as a "disability" because it substantially impairs my ability to perform normal tasks and have normal relationships.  Every decision I make and every thought I process is somehow related to food.  That is food controlling my life, NOT my life controlling food!

He is not being obstinate.  I've been married to him for 33 1/2 years - I know what obstinate looks like and this is not it!  (Obstinate was when we got in the car at Adcock Pecans last week and he pulled out that box of "Turtles" he bought while I was in the restroom!)   No, he truly doesn't get it and I need for him to understand before I have any hope of being successful - he is my cheering section and greatest supporter, but he has to know what he's cheering for. And he has to truly "get" that it's a whole lot deeper than just "stop eating."  People like us (me and you) don't just meet a friend for coffee at Panera and are so excited about seeing the friend that we don't even notice what's in the bakery case, do we? 

But I'm getting ahead of myself!  This post is not about HOW I'm going to get to this new place - that will come in a couple of days.  In fact, this post wasn't even intended until we got back from our walk a few minutes ago and it occurred to me that maybe one of you could explain in a way that would break through the mental block I seem to have created in his head.  Would you at least give it a try?????

BTW,  I'll give you one hint as to exactly HOW I plan to accomplish this shift of philosophy........................
Endangered Gopher Tortoise - Venice, FL
December 22, 2010

VERY SLOWLY AND QUITE DELIBERATELY, JUST LIKE THIS TURTLE!

Any suggestions, examples, feedback will be greatly appreciated.   Maybe there will be a grand prize of some sort for the person who provides the comment that makes it "click" with Mr. B!   Thanks, friends!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Simple Sunday Random Thoughts

Venice Avenue Bridge Over Intercoastal Waterway - Venice, Florida
Taken from the Venetian Waterway Park - December 24, 2010

I hope you've had a most wonderful Christmas celebration with family, friends and a healthy dose of self-restraint!  If not, I wish for an even healthier dose of self-forgiveness and the ability to put poor choices behind you.  It's a new day!   Breathe deeply and move forward!  

Our holiday has been strange to say the least.   Neither Mr. B nor myself had any idea that being away from our home over Christmas would affect us so deeply.  We always travel over the holiday (usually to Florida), but have never left until two or three days after Christmas.  As I've mentioned in earlier posts, it was our idea to spend this first holiday without Mr. B's dad away from all things familiar and bring MIL along with us.  She has expressed several times how much easier this has been for her, so we believe coming to Florida was the right decision.  We just didn't anticipate the degree to which we would miss OUR traditions with church and our friends.  I couldn't begin to tell you how long it has been since we missed the Christmas Eve service at our church and I can now see that the season seems incomplete without it.  We spent a very quiet day yesterday reading, playing games and going for a nice long drive yesterday afternoon.  

On Christmas Eve, Mr. B and I rode the linear bike path called the Venetian Waterway Park which runs approximately five miles from downtown Venice along both sides of the Intercoastal Waterway.  It is absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed the ride immensely.  Today's picture was taken near the start of the trail and here a couple of others we took along the way.

 I love this mural which was at the start of the trail.   You may or may not know that Sarasota, FL (just north of Venice) was the home of John & Mabel Ringling.  Sarasota was where the Ringling's spent their winters and Venice became the winter home of the circus.  This mural depicts the circus train and is a true work of art.   We plan to visit the Ringling Mansion, museum and art gallery later this week.
 Hot and Sweaty Biker Babe!
In today's picture, you can see the Historic Venice Train Depot beyond the drawbridge.  It has been beautifully restored and is the starting point for The Legacy Trail, a rail-trail that runs from Venice to Sarasota.  We will ride it later this week.

I do not know what possessed me to step on the scales this morning (yes, my scales go with me everywhere) because I had planned to not weigh until January 1.   I think I just woke up thinking that NOT knowing would be worse than knowing.  In my self-visualization, all those "turtles" and numerous other indiscretions were solidly packed on my backside.  I fully expected a significant gain, so imagine my surprise and utter delight to see no gain at all.   In fact, a loss of a few ounces since I last weighed.   Maybe it was a stronger force than I who led me to the scale because although I'd been encouraged by a couple of healthy eating days, you better believe that gave me the renewed determination that I needed.  I am believing and confident that I can still post a good loss for 2010.  Not what I'd hoped for by this time, but far better than what I expected a month or so ago. 

Today, we are experiencing the Florida version of yesterday's snowstorm in the south.  We are getting it in the form of extreme wind and thick clouds.  Sustained winds are around 27 mph with gusts up to 40.  Kind of spooky, but I'm starting to get a little stir crazy and wanting to walk.  Probably will exercise good sense and refrain.  I'm already showing signs of sinus congestion, so even walking with ears and head covered probably wouldn't be such a smart idea!  Not in this howling wind!  I can see the headline now - "out of state tourist injured by flying palm tree!" 

I think tomorrow's plan is to head down to Ft. Myers and visit Thomas Edison and Henry Ford's winter estates.  I've been before, but neither Mr. B nor MIL have.  They'll both enjoy it as will I!  

Thanks for reading my Sunday ramblings.   Your friendship, blogs and comments mean a great deal to me and I'm anxiously awaiting Christmas updates!


Friday, December 24, 2010

Flowers and Fruit

This is in the front yard of my home until New Year's Day!
Venice, Florida - December 22, 2010

If you've seen the movie "Chocolat" (one of my personal favorites), recall the scene where the priest finally caves in to the temptation he has so pridefully resisted throughout the movie.  He is seen in the window of the Chocolate Shop comatose from hours of binging on all the chocolate.  Well, that visualization could be me except I am happy to say that my coma would be fruit-induced, not sugar, although for a few days, I was concerned that the sugar-induced coma might take place.  Pioneer Farm Market in Venice, FL smiles when they see me coming because they know it's going to be a big sale!  Gotta stock up today because they are closed until Monday!   LOL!  

But I had enough sugar in me that the transition wasn't easy and the "turtles" haven't left me completely.  I totally loved Ann's comment on my last post that she only saw a dolphin in the bottom of that pool, NO TURTLES!  That dolphin actually ended up saving me from a few turtles!  Hey, I'll take inspiration any way I can get it!  Thanks, Ann!

Speaking of temptation, the Bible Study I've mentioned numerous times continues to provide amazing insight to me these days. I refuse to chalk that up to coincidence and I'm going to pass a bit more of that on to you in the hopes it may sustain you for the next eight days and into 2011.  As I've said before, I know everyone does not follow my belief system and I respect that, but I don't believe anyone can deny the wisdom of these Biblical principles.

I want my journey to a healthy weight and lifestyle to be much more than a story of pounds lost and kept off.  I want it to be a story of growth and character building.  For me, character building and growth is displayed when I produce a different kind of fruit!  Those fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, humility and self-control.  These fruits, just like the to-die-for oranges, grapefruits and strawberries I've been binging on, mature VERY slowly!  The older I get, the more I realize that these fruits are often developed when I am allowed to experience circumstances in which I am tempted to express the EXACT OPPOSITE quality.  For example, we learn more about loving others when some quite "unlovely" people are placed in our paths.  It's easy to love the "pretty" people who are kind and loving to us!  We understand true peace, not when everything goes the way we want it to, but on the other side of chaos and confusion.  Patience is learned in the looooooooooooong check out line with the nasty clerk or when children push that last button!!  But every time we defeat a temptation, we grow and our character builds.

Temptation is a process that begins with a desire.  My tendency is to blame the "desire" on external circumstances, but that is not true.  ALL temptation begins within!  In your mind, not in your surroundings.  Without the internal desire, the temptation would not attract you.  Every one of you can think of something with which other people struggle that is simply not a problem for you.  The internal desire just isn't there.  "Normal" eaters don't struggle with the desire to binge.  The internal desire just isn't there.

Doubt and mental deception follow the desire.  Ever had this discussion with yourself?  "Just one won't hurt,"  "It's the holiday's, I'll start tomorrow," "This isn't bad, no food is bad, I can have anything I want in moderation," "I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by refusing the food they've prepared," "I just can't be around all this food and not eat it, I'm addicted, I can't help it," "these people should be more supportive of me, how can they do this and not care what I'm going through?"  Yada, yada, yada!  All are negative statements designed to justify the "desire" which has already taken hold.  

Then there is the final step when the temptation becomes the reality of giving in!  We finally act on the "process" that we've been toying with in our minds since the "desire" was planted!  

Here are some additional suggestions for overcoming temptation to go along with those in my last post:

1)  Refuse to be intimidated - Understand that reaching a weight loss goal and years of successful maintenance will NEVER, EVER totally free us from temptation.  You can ask any one of my friends in BlogWorld who have been maintaining for years!  They will tell you that there will ALWAYS be periods when the fruit is peaceful and self-control is easy.  They will also tell you that the "devil" raises his ugly head when you least expect it and haunts you with a vengeance.  

2)  Recognize your pattern of temptation and be prepared for it - The time to stop the process is when the "desire" from within speaks!  Know what triggers it, understand your personal vulnerabilities and know your plan of attack!  

3)  Ask for help! - Yeah, you knew this one would get in there!  It always does!  And why would that be?  BECAUSE IT WORKS!   I ask for and gladly take help from any source I can find!

I have already decided that 2011 will be, for me, a year of expanding my orchard!  I have a lot to learn because I've never been a very successful gardener!  But I have a master teacher, lots of study material and a universal support system. I think I better begin with growing some self-control!   Will you join me?

Things have settled down a bit here in Venice and we are having a lovely time.  It took us a few days to establish a routine that worked!   For the last 26 years, we have lived close to both sets of parents so visits were frequent, but never for days at a time.  You quickly learn a lot about someone else's routines when you are with them 24/7!  Let's just say the "patience" in my orchard should be more fully developed by the time we return home!  Gentleness and kindness are needing some fertilizer, but we're working on that!

But the weather couldn't be more perfect and I am provided every opportunity to walk and/or take a bike ride any time I need to "go away" for awhile!   Once we got past the "turtle" episode, much more respect has been displayed to me with respect to the eating choices I'm trying to make.  That whole thing was very out of character for Mr. B and I think had more to do with "I'm with my mama, I'll do anything I want to do," than any intentional act toward me.  I'll blame it on the "only child" syndrome!  

I have no plans to take any blogging breaks over Christmas or New Year's.  It may not be every day, but I'm most definitely here!  Every last one of you are special to me and I love reading your stories.  I wish you all a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  

May it be filled with Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Humility and Self-Control!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Defeating Temptation

My backyard for the next two weeks!
December 21, 2010

I've gone back and forth for the last five minutes trying to determine whether to title this post "Defeating Temptation" or "Ahhh, Sweet Warmth!"  As you can see, temptation won.   And yes, that's a play on words.   Because yesterday temptation won, but today it has been banished to the bottom of that pool.   But I'm getting way ahead of myself.....................

We arrived in Venice, Florida yesterday afternoon following a long drive from Macon, GA where we had spent Sunday night.  We do not have a huge car and although we have our travel routine down to a science, adding a third person to the mix was interesting.  There wasn't a inch of room to spare and let's just say that your turn in the back seat wasn't something you got real excited about.  But we made it and all was forgotten the moment we walked into our beautiful rental home for the next 12 days.  It is in a gorgeous section of Venice Beach and we are thrilled with the layout of the home and it's amenities.  Right now, Mr. B is napping in the bedroom, I'm in the den that has huge picture windows overlooking the pool and lanai, MIL is in the living room pretending to be reading, but I suspect, she's examining the inside of her eyelids!  

We took a walk early this morning before heading to Pioneer Farm Stand and Publix Grocery Store.  BTW, Publix, PLEASE come to East Tennessee.   I need you SOOOOOOOO badly!   Pioneer Farm Stand has been serving the Venice area for more than 30 years and I truly thought I was going to weep with pleasure the moment I got out of the car.   I was like a kid in a candy store and their selection was amazing.  I now have in my arsenal fresh sugar snap peas, a giant red pepper that is so fresh the dirt is still on it, sugary grape tomatoes, ruby red grapefruits picked yesterday, fresh green beans and broccoli!  Oh, and a head of butter lettuce just picked.  Oh my gosh, I almost forgot the STRAWBERRIES - fresh Florida strawberries!   I truly didn't realize how much I have missed freshly picked fruit and produce from a true farm stand.  

Grocery shopping at Publix was just as enjoyable and I'll have to say, we'll not be suffering in the food department while here!   There is a Whole Foods in Sarasota that I'll be visiting in the next day or so.  I think my MIL is a bit bumfuzzled by my fascination with grocery stores.   She just isn't able to see the difference in quality and/or quantity of healthy eating selections.

I have been on one quite lengthy walk, then Mr. B and I took a long bike ride after lunch.  The weather looks perfect for our entire stay with only a couple of cloudy/rainy days.  That is perfectly o.k. as half of the lanai is covered, we've got lots of reading material and a great selection of movies.  

I had not realized how much difficulty I was having with the extreme cold weather, ice and snow we were experiencing in Tennessee.  Normal December and January temps I can deal with because they are actually good hiking conditions, but I'd been cooped up for over a week and that was playing havoc with exercise and in turn, messing with my mental state of mind.  

Where does the defeating temptation come in you might be asking?   Well, please permit me a bit of a vent with the understanding that this part of today's post may be deleted at some point.  Mr. B does read the blog every once in awhile and my putting these complaints in would not please him.  He knows I haven't been posting as frequently, so he hasn't been reading much!  On the other hand, it might do him good to read what I'm about to write.

He and I had a lengthy discussion prior to our starting this trip.   I begged for some compassion and help with respect to continuing my healthy eating plan while we were here.  His mother doesn't even begin to comprehend the concept of healthy eating (she thinks fruit is fruit cocktail from a can!) and although neither of them have ever had a weight problem, both are sugar addicts if I've ever seen one.  Mr. B promised to "help."  I first knew I might as well forget it when we got back into the car after a rest stop at Adcock's Pecans in Tifton, GA.  We stop there often as they have a wonderful selection of pecans plus nice clean restrooms.  Once we got back on the road, Mr. B pulls out a bag of Chocolate Caramel Pecan Turtle thingies which he had purchased while I was in the restroom and his mom pulls out a huge box of peanut butter fudge.  They both thought this was oh so funny - me, not so much!   If there is any one single "sweet" that I simply cannot pass up, it is "turtles."   That is a lethal combination of my favorite ingredients and I knew I couldn't (wouldn't) resist.  And I didn't!

Do I expect either of them to refrain from treats that they can handle?  No, I don't - I really don't!  But I would've appreciated some more consideration from Mr. B in what he chose to buy.  He could've gotten something a little easier for me to resist especially after our having that conversation and his agreeing to "help." 

Fast forward to this morning and my daily lesson in the Bible Study I am working through with my friend.  I had to laugh out loud when I turned to Day 27 and the title of the lesson was, "Defeating Temptation."  I know not all of you have the same belief system I do and I respect that, but my gosh, could GOD speak (yell) any louder??   

Here are the four suggestions from the lesson that were a reminder and huge source of encouragement for me.  There is no new groundbreaking material here, but I thought they might be helpful reminder to all of us as we approach these final days leading up to Christmas and the New Year.  Most everyone is struggling to some degree and along with me, let's grab these suggestions and resist the temptations!

1)   Refocus your attention on something else.  Did you know that every time you try to block a thought out of your mind, you drive it deeper into your memory?  By resisting it, you actually reinforce it.   To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees!!!  Do whatever is necessary to turn your attention to something else.  When the chocolate comes out, I'm going for a walk!

2)  Reveal your struggle to a godly friend or support group.  No explanation needed.   I have you - you have me.  Let's hang on to each other!

3)  Resist the Devil  Yes, I believe with all my heart, that the devil is real and he is much better at arguing than I am.  You may not believe in THE devil as I do, but I bet every one of you can name your own personal "devils" and those are the ones that need to be resisted in whatever strategy works for you.

4)  Realize Your Vulnerability  I'm not sure that any of us would consider ourselves cocky or overconfident right now.  We all know how vulnerable we are to getting off-track and how dangerous that can be.   I, for one, have been amazed at the cookie baking fests and other baking extravaganzas you've been participating in and posting about.  How you can do it and NOT lose control is beyond me.  I realized my vulnerability when I saw that I was cooped up in an enclosed vehicle with Chocolate Turtles and no escape.  It didn't work yesterday and probably never will.   I will always be vulnerable and need to make every conscious effort to stay out of tempting situations.

Yes, there is still lots of fudge and several turtles way back in the pantry.   And I refrained from even mentioning the trip to the Ice Cream Parlor last night.  But I have my own arsenal now, and quite frankly, are no longer interested in anything except my "candy" from the market.   It, you and sunshine are all I need to get by!!

Are you coping?   Please don't give up!   Can I help encourage you in any way? 

Friday, December 17, 2010

This Was The Week that Was!

Bote Mountain Trail - GSMNP
December 4, 2009

 I remember pushing "publish" last Friday and thinking that once I got through last weekend, things would calm down considerably and I'd have lots of time to plan, read and BLOG!   As with all of you, many other things are demanding my time and attention, so the planning, reading and blogging remain in the background temporarily. 

Last weekend, we had dinner guests on Friday evening and Sunday evening, then had my family Christmas gathering all day on Saturday.  With those three events behind us, I am happy to say that the party celebrations are over for me.  It helped that all those events were held at my home, so I had some control over what food items were served and I made sure healthy options were available.  For the most part, my eating remained under control.

Mother Nature has shown her ugly side this week in East Tennessee.  Monday morning brought enough snowfall to bring the city to a halt and then Thursday morning, we woke up to almost an inch of ICE.  Of course, ice is a nightmare because it means impassable roads, falling trees and significant power outages.  Mr. B has been in finals and the weather has just played havoc with everyone's schedules.  But all that is in the past and the upcoming forecast is much more tranquil.

I am hiking tomorrow and if all goes according to plan, I will meet my 2010 goal of hiking 300 miles.  I am so proud of this and glad I set the goal last January.   The young lady whom I talked about in this post is hiking with me tomorrow.   She and I are involved in a Bible Study together that is taking a lot of time each day, but I believe is being beneficial to both of us.  She is very excited to be the one with me when I meet my hiking goal!  BTW, the time I spend doing the daily prep for this study is the time I normally spend writing blog posts, so hopefully, when this study is over on January 1, I'll be able to resume a more normal posting schedule.  The Bible Study was my idea and I've been through this particular study before.  I did not recall it taking this much time, but she is hungry for growth and we get into some really neat discussions.  A new perspective is helping me grow as well. 

We leave for Florida on Sunday afternoon.   We normally spend some time in Florida between Christmas and the day Mr. B has to be back to school, but we've never been gone on Christmas Day before.  This will be very different!  We discussed the circumstances and between Mr. B, his mom and myself, decided this particular year, our first without Mr. B's dad, might be better if spent doing something radically different.  So we presented the idea of spending Christmas in Florida thinking she'd probably say no.  We had to laugh when she was saying, "yes" before we could finish saying Florida.   So we are headed to Venice, FL on Sunday and will be there until January 1.  We have rented a house near the quaint little downtown area and within walking distance to the beach.   We will be able to ride our bikes directly from the house to TWO different bike trails.  Temps over the next 10 days are predicted to be in the low 70's.  We are so excited!!  Only a few ever-so-slight qualms about spending 14 days, 24/7 with MIL!  We have a wonderful relationship, but some quirks (I'm sure I have NONE that irritate her!  LOL!) of hers drive me crazy, so there will be some patience required.  I was lucky enough to find a house with master bedrooms on opposite sides of the main living areas.  There will be plenty of room for all of us to get away from each other.  Not to mention some LONG walks which my vigorous exercise program will require!

My eating has not been perfect this week, but it has been o.k.  I have lost some weight, but am still coming at it from a relaxed standpoint and although I know I have lost some weight, I am not revealing any numbers until January 1.  Have been doing a lot of soul-searching about 2011's healthy eating goals.  What, if anything, am I going to change in my approach?  How can I keep myself totally focused and on-track?  When will I forgive myself for getting derailed after FIL's death and then failing to get back on-track?  Can 2011 be the year I reach goal weight AND become a "normal" eater?  I think it can. 

This Week's Hot 100 Update:

1)  Reach my goal weight of 138 on or before February 28, 2011.  I have lost weight this week. 

2)  I will eat nothing containing white sugar, white flour or trans fats. Not perfect, but very close!  Given three dinner parties, I'm quite satisfied with what I did this week.
 
3)  I will walk 10,000 steps every day or an average of 10,000 steps over seven days   Done!
 
4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m.  Done

How many more challenging parties or other events do you have before Christmas?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Games People Play

High Above Abrams Creek Trail - GSMNP
November 20, 2010

I am so behind in responding to those that "tagged" me when the game was all over BlogWorld a few weeks ago.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading every one of your responses to the questions that were asked of you and don't really have an excuse for getting my questions answered so late in the game.  Thanks to each of my blog friends who tagged me and so here goes with probably more information about me than you really care to know!!

 Sheilah

1. What is your favorite holiday and why and how do you celebrate it?  This might be a bit unusual and sometimes I think it's the radical in me just wanting to be different, but my favorite holiday has always been Valentine's Day.  Many years ago, Mr. B and I settled into the tradition of choosing really nice Valentine's Day gifts for each other and it's a lot of fun. 

2. Do you relish time alone and what was the last thing you did when you were alone for 24 hours?  Yes, I absolutely love being alone and never have any problems finding things to do.  24 hours alone would always be spent in a combination of reading and preferably, hiking.  If not hiking, walking!

3. What is your favorite type of ethnic food and when and what was the last time you ate it? My favorite is Japanese, but truthfully, it's easier to say the only kind of ethnic food I DON'T like is Indian.

4. Who was your favorite teacher in high school and why?  My high school years were the worst years of my life, so I can't say that I had a favorite teacher.  I was going through a horribly rebellious stage and hated school.  I can't even remember the names of most of my teachers and I sincerely pray that they have no recollection whatsoever of me!  LOL!   Now college is a different story...........................


1.  How do you silence that bratty little voice?  I'm having the battle of a lifetime with that bratty little voice right now and if ANYONE out there knows how to silence it, please let me know.  Death threats between me and it are NOT working.
 
2.  What is your favorite exercise/work out?  Hiking, of course!

3.  What is your Thanksgiving indulgence, if any?  My MIL makes a cranberry congealed salad with a cream cheese topping that is just delicious.  Unfortunately, it is full of sugar and she knows how much I love it, so it seems to appear on the table for every holiday and many times when no holiday is in sight!

4.  What is your favorite holiday memory?  Oh my, there are so many, but two come to mind. 1)  My grandparents lived in Cleveland, Ohio, a long, long way from East Tennessee especially in pre-interstate days.  To minimize the stress of traveling with young children, my parents would let us get to sleep, then bundle us up in our PJ's and blankets, deposit us in the warm car and we'd travel all night long to get to Grandma's for Christmas.  Since my middle name has always been "go," I was much too excited to sleep and I can remember peering out the car windows as we'd drive through hundreds of little towns with their different Christmas decorations.  To this day, there are some towns through Kentucky and southern Ohio that I can tell you what decorations lined their Main Street in the 60's.   2)  When Mr. B and I got married in June of 1977, I already knew that he had never had an electric train.   He is an only child and how it happened that he'd never gotten an electric train, I'll never know! That's what I got him for Christmas the first year we were married and 33 1/2 years later, I can still see the look of sheer delight on his face when he opened that gift.  Although we finally gave it to the child of some good friends, that train wound it's way around the base of our Christmas tree for at least the next 20 years.

Deb
1.  What is your favorite thing about the holiday season?  Music

2.  What are your top 5 favorite artists of all time?  That is an impossible question to ask a musician!!   I'll just name a few of my favorites:  Felix Mendelssohn, Edvard Grieg, Claude Debussy, Steve Green, Amy Grant, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Sandi Patty, Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman.................this is impossible - I could go on forever.  I just love MUSIC!   (BTW, my favorite other kind of artist is Robert Tino, a local guy who does amazing mountain scenery pictures)

3.  Who are the inspirations in your life?   Jesus Christ, Mr. B and the Senior Pastor of my church

4.  What is the one thing you wish you would've know when you were younger?  It's o.k. to march to the beat of a different drummer. 

Dawne
1. How do you feel about weighing yourself? How often do you weigh and why?  Since 2006, I have weighed myself every morning and entered the weight onto a Excel spreadsheet.  The weights are averaged at the end of each week and the average is what I focus on.   My weight fluctuates dramatically so a 7-day average keeps me from becoming so discouraged with the wild fluctuations.

2. What is your favourite, healthy snack?  Almonds

3. What's the craziest diet tip you have ever tried?  I've never been one to latch onto crazy fads, so I can't recall any really wild diet tips I ever tried.

4. What is the biggest change you have made in your life in your journey to a healthy weight?  Eliminating Diet Coke from my diet.  Although they have no calories, I was totally addicted to them and in response to a challenge with Mr. B several years ago, I agreed to give up Diet Coke for three months and he agreed to give up real Coke.  We both finished the challenge - I stuck with it permanently and with few exceptions, so has he.  I am working towards the goal of completely eliminating white flour and white sugar.

Please forgive this extremely long post, but I wanted to get these questions answered and hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about what makes me tick.  
 
Here is my Hot 100 Challenge Update for this week:
1)  Reach my goal weight of 138 on or before February 28, 2011.  I have changed this goal from December 31 to the end of February.  I hope to show a good loss by December 31, but it is really important to me to reach goal weight by end of February and have a couple of months to settle into maintenance before we leave for Prague in early May. No loss this week, but no gain.  I am holding steady!

2)  I will eat nothing containing white sugar, white flour or trans fats. Not perfect, but o.k.
 
3)  I will walk 10,000 steps every day or an average of 10,000 steps over seven days.  Haven't done so great on this one.  Bad weather and lack of a hiking partner kept me off the trails and I was just lazy a couple of days.  Rare for me not to get my walking in, so I'm letting it go!
 
4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m. Done six days, but attended a party Sunday night after our Choir Program at church.  Let's just say I fell off the wagon!

I'm not going to "tag" anyone specifically because I want all of you to answer one question and it is this:  What is your favorite Christmas or Holiday song?
 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dizzy

Along the Little River Trail - GSMNP
December 3, 2010

Well, well, well, Blog friends of mine............Determined December has turned into Dizzy December.  For those of you old (don't shoot me!!) enough to remember Tommy Roe's 1969 hit song, "Dizzy,"   and the rest of you whom I'm sure can appreciate some Wednesday morning humor, here's what I mean:
Dizzy, I'm so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's You FOOD makin' it spin
You're making me dizzy

First time that I saw You FOOD, I knew that I just had to make You mine
But it's so hard to talk to IGNORE YOU with PEOPLE BRINGING MORE IN  all the time
I want You for my sweet pet, AND YOU KEEP CRYING "DON'T LEAVE ME YET!"
I'm going round in circles all the time

I finally got to talk to You and I told You just exactly how I felt
Then I held You close to me and kissed You and my heart began to melt
FOOD You've got control on me,cuz I'm so dizzy I can't see
I need to call a doctor for some help

Dizzy, I'm so dizzy my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's You FOOD makin' it spin
You're making me dizzy
my head is spinning
Like a whirlpool it never ends
And it's You m FOOD making it spin
You're making me dizzy
you're making me dizzy
 
I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning with this song spinning around in my head. The dizziness started Sunday evening (at a Christmas party, of course!) when I looked around at the spread being served and realized that this was just the beginning.  There's no need to spell out all the gory details - my circumstances are no different than most of yours.  Mine is only complicated by the fact that my husband is the much loved head of a small department of a close knit community college.  What do college age girls, who have little money to spend on gifts, or the mother's of college age boys do for their Choral Director at Christmas?  Why of course, they make goodies!   Lots of them and large boxes of them.  Mr. B informed me last night that he had two boxes of chocolates, three plates of cookies and a cake in his office.  And their concert, where most of this stuff magically appears, isn't even until Thursday night.  Believe me, there will be more - MUCH MORE!  He knows better than to bring it home, but classes end on Friday and sharing amongst the students will stop!  They are gifts to him and I can't expect him to NOT bring it home!   Oh my, this is making me DIZZY!  BTW, don't spend your valuable time giving me suggestions of what to do with all the goodies.  Believe me, I've experienced 12 years of this - there is nothing you can suggest that I haven't already thought of or done!  And like I said and each of you well know, that's only the tip of the iceberg that ALL of us are facing.  Are any of you dizzy?

At one point on a very depressing Monday afternoon, I came very close to saying I'd just forget it and with the rest of America, start over on January 1.  But there was that little matter of Friday's post and Determined December.   I don't WANT to forget it!  I don't want to start over on January 1.   I am strong, I am invincible, I am WOMAN!   See, I'm so DIZZY, I don't even know which song I'm singing. 

But I do know without a shadow of a doubt, which one I'm ending with.   And it's this one:
I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an' pretend
'cause I've heard it all before
And I've been down there on the floor
No one's ever gonna keep me down again

You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin' arms across the land
But I'm still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained (LOST)
If I have to I can face anything
I AM STRONG, I AM INVINCIBLE, I AM WOMAN

Talk to me friends!  How are you today?  Are you Dizzy or Determined?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Determined December

Creek Crossing on Cucumber Gap Trail - GSMNP
December 3, 2010

Do you see the other side of that creek?  That's the trail!   And I'm happy to say that I'm looking BACK across the creek I have just finished crossing.  On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, our area had a record breaking rainfall total and several inches of snow in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Put those two factors together and you have gorgeous water throughout the park, but treacherous creek crossing that are normally simple rockhops.  There were six of us in my little hiking group today and between the time we arrived at the edge of the creek and the time all six of us were safely across, I'd guess 30 minutes passed.  It was slow, it was deliberate, but it was DETERMINED! 

After the group moved on and I hung back to snap this picture, all of a sudden it hit me.  There was never any question in my mind about making the crossing.  I was DETERMINED to do it.  But above all, I was determined to do it step-by-step, safely and slowly.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  That's the same determination that has held me all year.  It's the same determination I've written about repeatedly since beginning this blog last May.  It's the same determination that really DOES care and cares a LOT!  And many of you called me out on that statement in my last post that I really didn't care!  I thank you for that!  You know that I do very much care.  I care about my body, I care about my health, I care about my mental and emotional well-being and I care about this blog! 

I am determined to finish this year at a lower weight than I started.  Even it's just a few pounds, I'm determined to record a loss.  I am determined to have made some progress towards lasting weight loss that will serve me well when I begin maintenance.  As subtle as it seems, I'm seeing signs that this is happening.   My moments of overeating are becoming more conscious than unconscious.  In year's past, I'd find myself with an empty box of Triscuits in my hand and have little or no memory of getting them out of the pantry and eating.  I'm finding that doesn't happen so much anymore.  Every step of an overeating episode is clearly recognized and even when I make a poor choice, I'm well aware that I've made that choice.  That may seem overly simplistic, but to me, it signifies a step in the right direction where I become aware of what I'm doing and actually make the choice to head it off before it gets started.  And that too, has happened a few times.  

I have made some great progress both in tangible ways and mentally towards the overcommitment dilemma I wrote about earlier this week.  A few things on the list, I've eliminated.  A couple of them will be behind me after this weekend.  Others I've addressed with the person involved and we've reached a compromise.  I'm feeling much, much better about that whole situation.  

I also mentioned that I haven't been feeling well and after a doctor visit on Monday, I have a better understanding of the underlying issues there.  That's a subject for a whole post on it's own, so I'll let it go at that.  But just knowing what's wrong has relieved a lot of internal pressure because I had identified about four things that could've been going on all of which would have involved a different doctor!  How thankful I am to have gotten some answers from doctor visit #1.  

Today's hike was the crowning jewel for this week.  This was a group of women with whom I've just begun hiking and I dearly love their company.  We have similar hiking philosophies and time with them includes lots of laughter and lots of fun.   Just what I needed!   It also includes lots of food and I'm happy to say I excused myself from this week's "apres hiking" gastro delights!  They were headed to a little diner whose specialty is Fried Macaroni and Cheese.  Thankfully, I had an errand to run in the opposite direction.  Got me off the hook gracefully!

I owe five of my blog friends an apology and a promise!   Five of you have tagged me over the past several weeks and I promise I will get around to answering your questions.  I love reading YOUR answers when you've been tagged and learning more about you, so hopefully, you'll feel the same way.  I've got the questions all saved and answers are forthcoming!

Here is my Hot 100 Challenge Update for this week:
1)  Reach my goal weight of 138 on or before February 28, 2011.  I have changed this goal from December 31 to the end of February.  I hope to show a good loss by December 31, but it is really important to me to reach goal weight by end of February and have a couple of months to settle into maintenance before we leave for Prague in early May.  I am still struggling with losing, but I have not gained any weight in two weeks.  I still showed a gain for the month of November.  Bummer!

2)  I will eat nothing containing white sugar, white flour or trans fats. Not perfect, but o.k. Have been sugar free since Sunday.
 
3)  I will walk 10,000 steps every day or an average of 10,000 steps over seven days.  Done
 
4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m. Done
 
If you are interested in comparing pictures, take a look at today's picture compared with this one.   Both pictures taken at the same place except on opposite sides of the creek.  If you look at the picture taken one month ago, notice the first tree on the left - the one that's kind of bent.  Today, we had to hold on to that tree to get out of the water and I was standing right next to that tree when I took today's picture.  Pretty neat, isn't it?  
 
What word are you using to describe your December?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Girl!

View from Sugarland Mountain Trail - GSMNP
November 27, 2010

Oh yeah, I was a Happy Girl on Saturday morning when two friends and I set out to hike the Sugarland Mountain Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  To avoid an extensive shuttle in a crowded National Park on a holiday weekend, Mr. B graciously rolled out of bed and took us to the trailhead at the top of the mountain off Clingman's Dome road.  This road closes for the season on November 30, so this was my last opportunity this year to hike this new-to-me trail.  For those who might not know, a shuttle hike is one that requires two vehicles because the trail does not start and end at the same place.  Without Mr. B's help, we would've completed an 11.5 mile, then had to drive all the way back up the mountain (about 25 miles) to retrieve our other car at the starting point.  It was a cold start, but the day was perfect and the views limitless.  It was a day I needed!

I find myself in the midst of a struggle and that's not where I want to be at this point in time.  As a Christian, the season we are entering is one in which I want every act and activity to remind me of the reason I am celebrating.  It is not even December 1 and I confess I'm already feeling overcommitted  and tense.  The introvert in me wants to make a hasty retreat to a place where I can "be still," but things I've agreed to do keep me from finding that place. 

For example:
  • The young lady about whom I wrote a couple of posts ago eagerly agreed to a Bible Study with me.  The study lasts 40 days and takes about an hour a day.  It was my bright idea that we begin on November 23 so that Day 40 would fall on January 1.  So where did I think I was going to find another hour a day when I've already mentioned that my own personal devotion time was slipping!
  • Our Christmas program at church is Sunday night.  In the past two weeks, there have been three extra rehearsals with a 3-hour dress rehearsal this coming Saturday morning.
  • MIL has re-entered the picture making some unspoken, but very real demands on my time and for the first time since FIL died in August, has begun talking about how hard things are and making it through the holidays.  She has also asked that I help her with her shopping.  For the first time, I'm feeling just a bit "put upon" to use a southern cliche.  She has been running all over town by herself - she doesn't need my "help."  It's just a reason to be with someone else and I happen to be that person.
  • My own shopping has to get done sometime. 
  • Mr. B's schedule is relentless until he finishes school on December 17.  
  • I'm trying to get a trip to Florida planned that this year, will include MIL.  That requires some venturing into less familiar territory as she isn't exactly interested in the same kinds of activities as we are.
  • My oldest niece will graduate from the University of Tennessee in a couple of weeks meaning more parties, activities and company that weekend.  
  • I have not been feeling quite up to par, so have several doctor appointments scheduled over the next couple of weeks.  Nothing serious, just some nagging fatigue along with some aches and pains that could be caused by who knows what and therein lies the frustration.
  • I really, really, really want to write a blog post more often than once a week.  All these thoughts are floating around in my head and I simply can't sit down long enough to get started.  
All these things, plus several others = FRUSTRATION!   Overcommitment, feeling backed into a corner and the frustration that causes will most often lead to disaster for me.   And it has!   I knew the "eat when hungry" and "stop when full" wouldn't work for me long term and it didn't.  Surprisingly, I didn't gain any weight over the holiday, but I have gained since last month.  And unfortunately, that was also a gain from the previous month.  And here's the scariest part of all - in all honesty, I am in a phase where I just don't care. 

How I wish I could go back to August 21 and NOT take that first bite of the yummy congealed salad that was brought in after FIL died.  It had been weeks since I'd eaten off-plan and the scale was starting to move following a lengthy plateau.  But once it started, the snowball effect took over and three months later, I'm still paying the price for that one single bite!

So there you have it!   And as I was debating whether to lay all this out or just type up a quick post about my wonderful hike last Saturday, Martina McBride's Happy Girl  came to mind and I found myself singing the lyrics................................    
And i've come to know
That the world won't change
Just 'cause I complain
Let the axis twirl
I'm a happy girl
 
AND I AM!!

Headed into what's normally perceived as the "busiest" time of the year, are you feeling overcommited, pressured or handling things pretty well?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair!

Grotto Fall on Trilliam Gap Trail - GSMNP
November 22, 2010

Husbands!!   I wouldn't trade mine for anyone else in the world (there was a time, I'd have traded him for Richard Gere, but even Richard's beginning to show signs of aging)!  And then, Mr. B comes out with something like he did this morning and I just want to sing with the South Pacific cuties,  "Waste no time, Make a switch, Drop him in the nearest ditch!"   

As Mr. B was walking out the door headed for work, he turned around and quite innocently said, "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but................"    Now anyone with a lick of sense knows that those words are NEVER followed by anything you WANT to hear!  In his case, it was followed by, "I've lost five pounds!"  If I'd had a cast iron skillet close by, I probably would've thrown it at him.  He eats all the time.  He eats not so good for you stuff most of the time.  He eats crackers and peanut butter or bowls of ice cream EVERY night before bed.  How could he have LOST five pounds?  To add insult to injury, I gingerly asked, "on the old scales or the new scales?"  

You see, I haven't even told you about this yet, but I had suspected for some time that my scales, which are digital but very old, were weighing between two and three pounds LIGHT.  I confirmed this by running by one of my doctor's offices a few weeks ago, taking my old scales with me, weighing  on his very expensive calibrated physician scales then immediately weighing on mine.  Suspician confirmed!   There was a 2.8 pound difference.  Yikes!   I bought a new scale that day and decided to bite the bullet and start recording on my personal spreadsheet what appears to be a larger gain than actually is!  

Of course, his answer was, "the new scales."   As I was contemplating what to throw at him, he was excitedly telling me how much he loved the bright red numbers on the new scale.  Me, I don't love them quite so much!!  LOL!   So, in reality, he's lost between seven and eight pounds which I can tell that he has lost and that he doesn't really need to lose!  The whole scenario is just frustrating beyond measure!!  Why is it so much easier for men than women?   And just for the record, I am proud of Mr. B and the way he looks.  He has always taken great care with his appearance and his weight does matter to him.  He watched his dad get bigger and bigger around his middle as he aged and repeatedly told me he'd never allow that to happen to him.  I believe he means that!  Just wish I could get him to be more mindful of WHAT he eats!

I am back in losing mode and very happy with the four pound loss mentioned in my last post, BUT put in proper perspective, that was four pounds I'd gained and I still have some to go before being back at my October 1 weight.  I couldn't even bear putting the November 1 weight on my sidebar.  It shall remain forever between me and the OLD scales!!  I'm planning for a successful remainder of the year and a 2010 loss I can be proud of to record on January 1.

Yesterday's hike to the summit of Brushy Mountain was so beautiful.  Who would've ever thought I'd hike to an elevation of almost 5000' on November 22 and spread out on the rocks in a tank top and shorts!  How thankful I am for that.   Grotto Falls, shown in today's picture, is the only waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in which the trail literally passes BEHIND the falls.  I'm not the world's best photographer, but here's what it looks like from behind....................

.........................how cool is that??

Prime hiking season is in full swing and I have hikes planned for Saturday, Monday (with a new blog friend - I am so excited!), Wednesday and Friday.   Can't wait!

What was the last thing your hubby or significant other did or said that made you want to "wash that man right outta your hair?"

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Blue Moon

Abrams Falls - GSMNP
November 20, 2010
One of the most popular waterfalls in the park. 

Hello Blog!  Remember me?  I'm Sharon.  I used to spend lots of time with you almost every day, but lately it seems I only visit you once in a Blue Moon.  Lots of people have asked about me and I kind of feel like one of these...................................
..............because I've neglected you for so many days, but on the other hand, I've been "gaining" and "losing" and having a wonderful time.  So thought I'd drop in and tell you what's been going on and promise you that I'm right here, I just needed to "gain" some perspective and "lose" some pressure and I think I've done just that. 

Here are some things I "gained" this week:
  • 8.4 more miles toward my 2010 hiking goal of 300 miles (I'm at 263.8)
  • fun time at water aerobics
  • attended a nutrition class with a friend that included a full thanksgiving meal using no sugar/gluten free
  • spent a day with MIL
  • spent an afternoon on the Nina and the Pinta which were docked in my town.  (oh, so you don't believe me.........check it out!)
  • spent my first waking hour each morning doing my personal Bible Study
  • finished three books and started another
  • asked myself  "are you hungry" and "what are you hungry for" before every meal and snack.  
  • completed grocery shopping for Thanksgiving (yes, it's at our house) and "gained" the joy of having to go nowhere near a grocery store any day next week!
  • completed at least one hour of walking outside every day
  • FREEDOM that it's o.k. to be me even if "me" marches to the beat of a different drummer!
Here is what I lost:
  • FOUR POUNDS
  • a pit that had been forming in the bottom of my stomach for which I had no explanation
  • some pent-up frustration with Mr. B
  • some guilt within some other friendships
  • the FEAR that it's NOT o.k. to march to the beat of a different drummer!
In the midst of all this, I totally forgot to post my Hot 100 Challenge Update.  That's o.k. - I don't feel guilty about that either.  My hike Saturday was very long and involved a lengthy drive just to get to the trailhead.  We were leaving very early and my Friday evening was spent getting everything prepared.  I did not remember that I'd forgotten to post my update until about halfway through the hike on Saturday afternoon.  I'm going to post it anyway even though I'm no longer eligible for any of the prizes.  That's o.k. - I was doing it more for the friendships and the accountability anyway.

1)  Lose some amount of weight between now and December 31:  I lost four pounds last week.  
2)  Eat no white sugar and no white flour:  Still doing fairly well with this.  Not perfect, but o.k.
3)  No eating after 7 p.m.:  Not as good on this one, but when I did, it was because I had no choice.
4)  At least 10,000 steps every day:  Done 

I am hiking again tomorrow, spending Tuesday with MIL and quite possibly hiking again on Wednesday.  Will check in when I can, but I know these gorgeous fall days are numbered, being out in them is giving me the gift of calm, so when you go for a few days and don't hear from me, just smile and know I'm spending time building "gains" and "losses" in my real world!

What did you "gain" and "lose" in the REAL world last week?   What are your plans for tomorrow?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Splish, Splash I Was Takin' A Bath

Spruce Flats Falls - GSMNP
November 12, 2010

For some unknown reason, Mr. B and I have always been drawn to "mentoring" or "spiritual journey" relationships with the early 20's age group.  He, eventually, became a college professor and turned his calling into a full time job.  I, on the other hand, have kept these relationships one-on-one and have been humbled by the fact that they seem drawn to me as well.  We can only attribute this to the fact that our early twenties as naive newlyweds, were some of the happiest years of our lives and it seems so much has changed for this age group.  Things that were clearly wrong for us are considered the "norm" now and I won't even get started on how technology has changed everything!   I just love today's picture which I took last Friday on a hike to my favorite (pretty much unknown) waterfall in the GSMNP.  The young lady in the upper left corner is a dear friend who has just endured a painful breakup with a young man whom she thought was the ONE.  She is a gorgeous young woman with a heart for God, but life has dealt her some curveballs that would make your ears curl.  In dealing with these "issues," her neediness probably drove the BF away and she recognizes that, but it makes it no less painful.  I watched her stand there for several minutes and then she turned making her way back down to me on a large rock just meant for sitting.  We spent some quality time together and I hope it was meaningful to her.  I am meeting with her again later this afternoon to present an idea for an ongoing study that I hope she'll agree to do with me between now and January 1.  She is an EXCELLENT hiker and we sometimes hiked twice a week last fall/winter while she was looking for a job.  Since HE came along, funny how she wanted to hike with HIM instead of me.  Can you imagine??  LOL! 

She is a fun loving individual who will try anything and is one of the most inclusive souls I've ever known.  Believe me, she's taught me as much as I hope I've taught her!  She has some health problems and a chiropractor suggested she try water aerobics as the impact of regular aerobics would be too harsh for her back and shoulders.  She asked me if I'd go with her to a class and being the "friend" that I am, how could I say no?  It was only later that I had that "what was I thinking" moment of despair!  She is drop dead gorgeous, has a body tinier than I was when I exited the womb 55 years ago and thinks cellulite is something she saw under a microscope in biology class.  And of all places, this class was at our Downtown YMCA where all those other 20-somethings go after work to "exercise."  OMG, they were ALL going to be in the dressing room laughing at my ugly purple bathing suit which I had to dig out of the back of a drawer and my gosh-awful purple water shoes.  Well, what can I say - at least they match my bathing suit and after all, I did tell you my favorite color was purple!

We met in the parking lot of the YMCA, she gets out of the car and the first thing she says is, "don't you dare laugh at my bathing suit!"  I promised I wouldn't if she would promise not to laugh at me IN my bathing suit!  So, in we went and after I'd paid my $6.00 fee to the current heartthrob at the desk who dropped my money while he gasped in utter adoration at my gorgeous friend, we entered the dreaded dressing room. 

Now, I'm going to cut this story short because you get the picture and I'll leave it to your imagination as to how I got my things put in a locker, out of my clothes and from the dressing room into the pool without my friend ever seeing me in the bathing suit without a towel (this would be a BEACH towel) wrapped around me.

But then, things changed!  The music started, the teacher started warm-ups, I looked around the class and noted that, of the 10 people, only two appeared older than me.   I also failed to mention that I did a water aerobics class three mornings a week for a couple of years back in the early 90's. I knew exactly what I was getting into unlike my friend who had never done an aerobics class of any kind.  Let's just say, I totally rocked!  I did every movement, every moment and only the leader of the class outdid me!  Let's hear it for those 10-mile hikes and thunder thighs!

And you know what else?   When that class ended, I was the first one out of the pool and I strutted around for five minutes before ever making it back to the towel rack.  Even then, I didn't immediately put the towel around me.  Unfortunately, I have to admit the reason for that is I was having a severe hot flash, but none of THEM knew that! 

As we made our way back to the locker room, my friend looked at me and said (and I quote!!), "well, alrighty then - that's the last water aerobics class I'm EVER doing with you!" 

(watch the video, it's a scream!!)
 
Long about a Saturday night
A rub-a-dub, just relaxin' in the tub
Thinkin' everything was alright
Well, I stepped out the tub, put my feet on the floor
I wrapped the towel around me and I
Opened the door, and then I
Splish, splash... I jumped back in the bath.
Well how was I to know there was a party going on?

They was a-splishin' and a'splashin'

Reelin' with the feelin', movin' and a'groovin'
Rockin' and a'rollin', yeah

Bing bang, I saw the whole gang

Dancin' on my living room rug, yeah!
Flip flop, they was donin' the bop
All the teens had the dancin'
But there was lollipop with a Peggy Sue
Good Golly, Miss Mally was-a even there, too!
A- well-a, splish splash, I forgot about the bath
I went and put my dancin' shoes on, yay...

I was a rollin' and a strollin', reelin' with the feelin',

Moving and a groovin', splishin' and a splashin', yeah!

Yes, I was a-splishin'' and a splashin'...

I was a-rollin' and a-strollin'...

Yeah, I was a-movin' and a-groovin'
We was a-reelin' with the feelin' We was a-rollin' and a-strollin' Movin' with the groovin' splish splash, yeah!
 
So, have you "taken a bath" lately and it turned into a huge NSV?   Tell me about it?