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

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.................... 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:
  • 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?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Feelin' Groovy

Hannah Mountain Trail - GSMNP
November 13, 2010

Feelin' Groovy ..........well, of course I am.  Who wouldn't?  I've just arrived home after an incredibly relaxing massage, it is POURING rain outside, I've got the evening all to myself and please don't tell Karen after today's post at Waisting Time, but it's just after 5 p.m. and I already have on my purple fuzzy robe and PJ's.  To top it off, my beloved Lady Vols play their first televised basketball game tonight, so who could ask for anything more?   Maybe a pizza delivered right about tip-off time???  Nope, not even going there!

Mr. B and I enjoyed  a wonderfully relaxing Sunday after his marathon concert schedule Saturday and my 10.3 mile hike.  Our youth choir was singing in the service yesterday morning so having no responsibilities at church, we elected to attend via the televised version.  We rarely do that, so it was a treat to attend in the now famous fuzzy purple robe and PJ's!  Late yesterday afternoon, we did go out for a long walk, but headed right back in as the rain we are now experiencing was already trying to begin.  It has literally rained all day long and we look forward to more of the same tomorrow.  Thankfully, it isn't very cold so we aren't experiencing anything other than rain unlike our friends up in Minnesota!

I had a gorgeous hike on Saturday with one of my favorite hiking buddies.  We are unofficially trying to hike all the 900 miles of trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Since I do not backpack, there are a few I'll never be able to do, but it's fun to mark them off the map with a yellow highlighter as I hike them for the first time.  Saturday's hike of 10.3 miles was 7.6 miles of new trail and 2.7 miles of trail I'd done before.  And it's also fun to help out my friend who DOES backpack and is much closer to hiking all the trails than I am.  I cannot describe that feeling that arrives about a mile or so into a hike, but it is such a sense of well-being and knowledge that I'm exactly where I'm meant to be at that point in time.  It must be similar to a runner's high.

Friday evening, I was faced with one of those difficult situation that you finally just accept the impossibility of it and move on.   We were invited, along with four other couples, to be the guests of some friends celebrating an achievement at The Melting Pot, of all places.  If you've ever been to one of these, you know that's it's a gastric feast of gigantic proportions.  Our host asked if he could do the ordering and I swear, I think he ordered one of everything on the menu.  This couple are dear friends and to have been picky or arrogant about my eating would've been rude, so I just chose to go with it.  I stopped at appropriate times during each course and am happy to say, I was not overly stuffed when we left.  But there was the little matter of the Flaming Turtle dessert course.  Put a warm vat of melted milk chocolate, caramel and pecans in front of me along with a plate of goodies to dip in above mentioned vat and what in the heck am I supposed to do??  

This is one of those weeks when Mr. B has something every night including Friday and Saturday.  Please don't tell him, but I'm looking forward to a week of singleness!!  Tomorrow evening, I'm attending a Aqua Aerobics class with a friend and Thursday evening, a class on nutrition with the same friend.  If we like the Aqua Aerobics class, it may be something we begin regularly on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  

I'm incorporating several new things into my eating plan to try and shake things up.  I am ready to admit that I just plain got bored with the whole thing and forced myself to try staying in the box for a few weeks too long when my stronger self was shouting, "try a new shape - get out of the box."  I'm almost afraid to write this down, but the intuitive eating thing is kind of working right now.  Probably not for long term.  I know me and I need more structure, but it's o.k. just for today.  

So, here's how Simon and Garfunkel finished off Feelin' Groovy.   It works for me just fine..........

Got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morningtime drop all its petals on me...
Life, I love you,
All is groovy

So, how's your Monday been?   Has it been a Feelin' Groovy kind of day? 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hot 100 Update

Cucumber Gap Trail - GSMNP
November 2, 2010

This will be a very short post for the purpose of reporting my Hot 100 Challenge progress this week.  It's been an easy going week with respect to my goals and my eating.  I have eaten in a healthy way, but I'm well aware that I am eating more than I can on a regular basis if I expect to make any headway toward my goal.   I also believe if I continue in this way, I will eventually begin to gain.  

Here are my goals and my report:

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.

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.  Done
4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m. Done

I am hiking tomorrow and really looking forward to it.  Our weather has been incredible this week.  I was up in the mountains today with a friend and saw that the trees in the lower elevations are still quite beautiful.  The hike I am doing tomorrow is 10.3 miles and is a trail I've never done, so I'm excited to add some new miles to my logs.  This hike will put me over 250 miles toward my goal of hiking 300 miles in 2010.  Only 50 more to go!  Pictures to follow......................
What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Color Purple

Taken in the Orchid Room at the Garden Conservatory - Biltmore Estate
Asheville, NC - October 30, 2010

"I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it."
Alice Walker Quote from "The Color Purple"
From early childhood, shades of purple and lavender have been my favorite colors.  My room contained every shade of purple that existed and I am always amazed that I never grew tired of it.  To this day, although many colors have been added to my list of "favorites," shades of lavender always draw my attention.  In 1985, the movie, "The Color Purple," had a profound impact on my life in many ways, but the above quote from the book and the movie, is one that became a mantra and remains that even to this day.  It is rare that I walk by anything that is in the purple family without taking notice of it.  
For the purpose of clarification, let me emphatically state that the God I love, know and serve does not become "pissed" off, but I believe he is saddened in a way we rarely understand, by the lives of those he created as they rush, grab, hurry and frantically meander their way through days in which they fail to "notice" ANYTHING!  
How could you walk by this..............................
 or this.....................................
and not, "notice?"

I've written before (see this post) about our season passes to Biltmore Estate.  One of the joys of having those passes is the opportunity to go with little agenda in mind and just observe.  On this day, here are some of our observations regarding most people's failure to "notice."
  • An overwhelming indication that the day contained no joy of any sort.  Evidenced by observed interaction within their group or family unit, body language and verbal communication. 
  • Physical inability (or refusal) to walk to the gardens from the mansion.  Evidenced by the observation that most of that days visitors were extremely overweight.  The gardens and conservatory are a VERY short walk from the mansion and as I waited near an information desk for maybe three minutes while Mr. B was in the restroom, I heard "can we drive" and "is there anything to eat there?" 
  • Allowing far too little time to visit the Estate and becoming frustrated when forced to hurry.
  • Spillover from pent-up frustration in everyday life evidenced by shoving, horn-blowing, impatience and rudeness.   
I just wanted to cry or scream or something, "people, people, it's SATURDAY, this is a LEISURE activity.  Enjoy this beautiful place, notice the people you are with, learn what life wants to teach you today, slow down, pay attention, get a grip!" 

But I didn't.  I took Mr. B's hand (we hold hands a lot!!) and said, "thank you."  Thanks for loving me through the gains and losses of every pound, through every idiosyncrasy I have (and there are many!), for loving the simple life we have created and for the positive way you have taught me to NOTICE

I am afraid to weigh!  This reprieve has been sorely needed and caused me to deeply examine the pressure I have put on myself to achieve results by a certain deadline.  Being the goal oriented person I am, that has worked in the past, but perhaps the lesson I'm needing to learn right now, is one of change or at least, adjustment.  I cannot describe the sense of relief that washed over me late last week, when I just "let go" and said, "I'll get to goal when I get to goal."  It has been wonderful and I have eaten healthy.  But I know that my jeans were a bit tighter when I slipped them on last night - the "intuitive" eating approach does NOT work for me long term and I will have to return to a "plan" at some point in time.  

Here is what I am NOTICING today:
  1. Be willing to change.  I must be tired of what I'd been doing.  My "plan" needs to be different.
  2. This is very personal so not much detail, but my "quiet time" has suffered at the hands of time in BlogLand.  This cannot continue, but don't worry, blogging is a priority and I will work it out.
  3. I am still working on some boundary issues within some friendships.  This is going well.
  4. I did not panic when the jeans felt tight.  
  5. The time change, although I love the earlier morning light, is still messing with my nights and my eating.  I'm hungry at all the wrong times!
  6. Today, I feel happy, content, settled and calm.
Today is November 11 (thanks, Veterans!!!) of our No Nonsense November.  Let's ramp it up a bit and take the remaining 19 days as the No Nonsense November in which we fail to NOTICE NOTHING!!

Please take a moment to think about this.  I'd love your thoughts, but mostly, I just want you to think!  What have you FAILED to NOTICE lately and what will you do to make sure you are more mindful about NOTICING today?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Dickey Knob Trail - Mt. Rogers National Recreation Area
Troutdale, Virginia - November 6, 2010

That date is correct.  This picture was taken on Saturday's hike.  We spent the weekend in Abingdon, Virginia presumably to bike the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Trail.  When we woke up to this on Saturday morning, biking seemed somewhat impractical, so a nice hike became the order of the day.  We were not disappointed!  The hike to Dickey Knob was 5.2 miles roundtrip and involved quite a bit of a climb.  The snow was powdery soft and temps were well above freezing, so it was not slippery and we were never cold.  The reward for the climb..............................

View at end of Dicky Knob Trail

When we returned to our cabin, Mr. B made the first winter batch of his wonderful Chili which we enjoyed with homemade tamales from a source we've had for years.  What a wonderful way to end such a beautiful day.  

Being the extreme morning person that I am, I absolutely love it when the time changes.  I wake up on my own between 5:45 and 6:15 every morning.  So of course, this morning I woke up at precisely 5:15 (new time).  What a way to start the day!!  I just love watching the world wake up.  Mr. B (and probably you too!!) thinks I'm nuts, but that's just the way God wired me - I've ALWAYS been this way!  Of course, the downside is that it is currently 7:20 p.m. and I'm more than ready for bed!  Put together the time change, a 19 mile bike ride today, another delicious dinner prepared by Mr. B, a hot bath and what can you expect?  Yep, when it gets dark, it's time to go to bed!  LOL!

We rode the lower portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail today beginning in Abingdon and riding to Damascus for a total of 19 miles.   It was a bit chilly in the beginning, but we quickly warmed up.  This is one of the many trestles crossed as you make your way along the trail.  

I knew you'd want at least one of Mr. B's famous "butt" shots to make this post complete!!  At 529 feet, I believe this is the longest trestle on the trail and it sits at the confluence of the South Holston and Watauga rivers.  It was a beautiful ride on a beautiful day.

I cannot remember when I've been so relaxed about my eating for an entire weekend.  It has felt very comfortable and other than the dessert I had the first evening we were here, there have been no extra indulgences.  Just good, healthy choices and no overeating.  It will be interesting to see what the scale has to say when I weigh on Tuesday.  It was a huge step for me to leave home without the scale.  It normally accompanies me everywhere I go. 

We will leave Abingdon early in the morning and get Mr. B back for his classes.  My sister is in town and we are planning a hike in the mountains for tomorrow afternoon, so the outdoor extravaganza continues and I couldn't be happier!   

Do you love or hate the new time?

Friday, November 5, 2010

On The Road Again

Little River Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
November 3, 2010

Mr. B and I are on the road again, so I'm coming to you tonight from Abingdon, Virginia.  Abingdon is exactly two hours northeast of our home and is another of our favorite weekend getaway spots.  It is home to the highly acclaimed Barter Theatre and is also the end of the 34-mile Virginia Creeper Rail Trail.  Our usual plan is to ride the Creeper trail over two days.  There's way too much to see and do along the way to make it into a one day sprint.  However, given the extremely cold temps that have come our way and the fact that Whitetop, where the trail begins is expecting 2-4 inches of SNOW tonight, I suspect we'll find something else to do tomorrow.  There are many miles of beautiful hiking trails and Virginia is a lovely place to just get in the car and try to get lost.  We had dinner tonight at one of our favorites, The Wild Flour Bakery, and yes, I had dessert.  A pumpkin roll that was to die for!!  

It has been such a relief to allow myself a week to relax and not spend every moment focused on food.  It has been a long time since I've done that and even Mr. B has remarked at how calm I've been.  I have not lost any weight, but neither have I gained any weight.  I think I just became burned out with the whole thing and am thankful that I caught it before I did any damage.  I've still got some assessment to do with respect to how I plan to proceed from here.  As I've said before, staying here is not an option because I know how good my body feels at 138.  However, resting here for a couple of weeks feels very right and I am content with that.  Because I am so relaxed, it doesn't seem so daunting.  I actually enjoyed making good decisions at dinner tonight that left me room for the dessert.  We took a long walk around town after dinner and now I suspect it'll not be long before that big comfy looking bed is calling.  Mr. B thinks he's reading a magazine on the other side of this sofa, but I can assure you he's studying the inside of his eyelids and has no clue what's on the page of that magazine!!

On to the Hot 100 Challenge update for this week:
1)  Reach my goal weight of 138 on or before December 31, 2010. Still have not decided what to do about this goal.  I'm not taking it out because I want to post a good loss by December 31.  But it needs to be reasonable and this one no longer is.
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.  Done
4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m. Again, not perfect, but did o.k.
All in all, this has been a good week, but in a weird sort of way.  I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend here in Abingdon with Mr. B and some time to talk, make some plans and just enjoy each being together.  I am so thankful that even after 33 1/2 years, we still enjoy just quietly being in the same room together.
Have you seen snow flakes yet this year?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How Long Does It Take?

National Cathedral in Washington D.C.
October 19, 2010

While in the Washington D.C. area, Mr. B, Tish, and I enjoyed the Behind The Scenes tour of our National Cathedral.  It was a wonderful opportunity to be taken places within the Cathedral that one can only imagine when standing in the vast expanse of the main hall.  The very first time I visited the National Cathedral in the late 1970's, I remember that it was not yet complete.  When the final stone was laid in 1990, it had been more than 83 years since the foundation stone had been laid on September 29, 1907.  It remains Washington's longest-running construction project!  Don't you imagine there were a lot of people tired, impatient and questioning the whole project?  I suspect there were a lot of amateur contractors full of advice on how to speed up the process.  Few people, if ANY, who were present when the foundation stone was laid, lived to see the grandeur of the completed project.  In fact, the project outlasted three architects!

Why did the Cathedral take so long to be constructed?   The simple answer is that the Cathedral was built as funds were given to finance its construction.   When enough money was in hand, the next phase of building would commence.   When the last stone was laid in 1990, the fully completed and totally paid for National Cathedral was finished.  What an accomplishment, but what an exercise in vision, patience and dedication.  But oh my goodness, what an awesome treasure we have.  Its beauty rivals any Cathedral and yet a close-up investigation reveals intricacies found only decades after the work had begun.  For example, our guide revealed that the builders were given permission to make the lowest level of gargoyles on the roof "personal." Some reflected a love of fishing and others indicated the builder had been a hunter.  All these touches combined gave me a whole new appreciation for the finished product.  It also taught me that the Cathedral is not "perfect," yet I would challenge you to find some imperfections that I now know exist!  

How long would it take to build the National Cathedral?  No one knew and to those intimately involved, it really didn't matter.  The most important thing was that it was done correctly and built to stand tall and proud for centuries to come.

How long will it take for me to reach my goal weight?  I don't know, but to those who care about me and are closely involved, including myself, it really doesn't matter.  The most important thing is that I do it correctly and learn the lessons needed to make me stand tall and proud for the remainder of my days on this earth. 

I hope it doesn't take me 83 years (laughing hysterically!!), but one look at that Cathedral tells me that I want my body to be as strong and healthy when it is "complete" as the Cathedral that stands on the tallest knoll in the District of Columbia.

So I will continue to make progress when the time is right and my "bank" is fully funded!!  I will graciously consider all well meaning advisors (this has nothing to do with my advisors in BlogLand!!), but challenge myself to remember that only the "experts" knew how to build a Cathedral and the best "expert" for knowing how to build the Cathedral of my body is ME.  

What a great object lesson I encountered on that day.   What was your most recent object lesson? 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Get Your Head Out Of The Water!

"The wild gander leads his flock through the cool night,
Ya-honk!  he says, and sounds it down to me like an invitation:
The pert may suppose it meaningless, but I listen closer,
I find its purpose and place up there toward the November sky."

-   Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1855, I Celebrate Myself, Line 238

I am well aware that the mallards in the reflecting pool on the Mall in Washington DC and the wild gander Mr. Whitman wrote about in the above quotation are two totally different types of fowl.   But oh, the analogy that jumped out at me as I recalled this post already half written while Mr. B and I watched the perfectly formed "V" of the wild gander leading his flock high above the expansive grounds of Biltmore Estate.  Then to find this quote actually contains the reference to the November sky screamed loudly to me that November will be a month of meaning for me.  The coincidence of all these things just to eerie to not sense something about to happen.  

I'm a simple girl trying to lead a simple life and it doesn't take much to entertain me.  We watched these mallards ducking their heads and sticking their tails up in the air for well over half an hour.  We laughed till we cried at how they were able to accomplish this totally in sync with each other.  (This all happened of course AFTER Mr. B tried to entice me to run fully clothed through the reflecting pool yelling, "Forest, Forest"....i.e. Forest Gump)  At the time, the mallards were just funny.  It was only after I looked at the pictures did I notice how much it reminded me of the avoidance tactic, "if I can't see it, it doesn't exist."  Just stick your head under water and your tail up in the air.  Or perhaps, in the case of the geese, just mindlessly get in line flying south in perfect formation and therefore avoid the cold, harsh impending winter. 

As Mr. Whitman says, the "pert" may find all this meaningless, but I choose to believe that in the great circle of life, all things are connected and I can find much meaning, purpose and place under the water, in the sky and during the month of November.  The mallards don't STAY under the water, the geese COME BACK in the spring and a very determined Sharon chooses to do the same in November.

November is a month in which we focus on gratitude and giving thanks.  I refuse to begin this month on a tone of discouragement as discussed in my last post.  On the other hand, I refuse to be anything less than honest by telling you that I've had a complete turnaround and a whole new start.  

Instead, I will say these things.  My head is out of the water, but I will not fly south mindlessly following any particular leader who with one "ya-yonk" orders me into a particular place in the formation.  I've always been one who marches to the beat of a different drummer and pretty much does my own thing really never caring if the crowd agrees with me or not.   There are some areas in my life far away from BlogLand in which I'm having to establish some new boundary lines and that is uncomfortable.  It is affecting my weight loss journey in a way I'm determined to change.   And where the change must begin is in my refusal to make excuses for poor eating that leads to discouragement.  It just doesn't have to be that way.   Diane wrote an excellent post this morning on Emotional Eating.  I know that in some instances, I overeat in response to certain emotions.  But I also believe it is deeper than just saying, boredom, anxiety, etc.  This is something I'm exploring right now and am certain that doing the hard work to pinpoint this particular emotion will open up some much needed insight into my current discouragement.  So, today, as neurotic as it may sound, I am much encouraged within the face of my discouragement.  Progress is being made and that's why this blog remains such an important part of my journey.

My long term goals remain the same and I am particularly grateful to those of you who forcefully reminded me that I have lost 45.5 pounds and maintained that loss for three years.  The remaining 20 will come off at the right time and my job for the month of November is to lighten up and focus on the successes while learning new lessons about appropriate eating, proper boundaries in relationships and coping gratefully with gains and losses as I see them through my eyes!

So get your head out of the water, your tail out of the air, your wings out of the "V" and come along for the ride.  Let's all march just a little bit differently than everyone else.  That's what makes each of us unique!  I am so thankful for every comment you take the time to post.  It means a lot and gives me courage to continue with both the writing and the weight loss. 

My November is going to be NO-NONSENSE!   What's yours going to be?