Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The (Un)expected Guest

I got stood up by the bidder yesterday. After waiting for half an hour, I called and got no answer. About fifteen more minutes passed and I get a call, "I totally forgot all about you". So much for expectations. I don't know if being totally honest makes it any better. I responded with "I've got other bids lined up, if it turns out that I need another one, I will call and reschedule". Since I got the name from Angie's List, I am trying to decide if I am going to report the no-show. I'm thinking I will, but I will wait until I get this job completed. In the meantime, I heard back from several more contractors, so I have three more meetings coming up. One today, and two on Wednesday. The two on Wednesday I'm most anxious for. It's those people with whom I had a good conversation over the phone. I remain hopeful.

In other unexpected news, I stepped on the scale this morning and was shocked. I sorta keep a running tally in my head about how things are going. I hadn't been particularly food-obsessed for a week; Yes, I had a bit more dessert than was optimal over the holiday and far less exercise than I wanted, but I was unprepared for what the scale showed me this morning. I recognize and understand that it's just a number, but where the hell did it come from? While I'm not worried about the actual number per se, I do consider it to be a manifestation of behaviors and my behaviors haven't been over-the-top. Even when I was really struggling a couple of weeks ago, the number wasn't this high. Totally unexpected. I'm blaming sodium.

Yesterday was also unexpectedly busy at work. I didn't get in my lunchtime gym time, as I was buried trying to get things done before leaving for Reata South. So last evening, I spent some extra time in the gym. I'd set my intention to cover 200 miles on foot this year. Last night, I made it an even 440. Can I make it an even 500 by years' end? Something to shoot for. If I stay consistent, it's certainly doable.

And speaking of intentions, it's time to start thinking about setting my intentions for next year. My dear friend Meg recommended setting intentions rather than goals, as it seems more inclusive and less punitive. Or at least that's how I see it. I'm sure her reasons are more articulate than that - and I've been doing things this way for a number of years and the original impetus may have slipped by me.

Heard from the doc yesterday. White blood cell count is finally back in the low-normal range, after being in the cellar for months. I am, however, to take 4k IUs of vitamin D3, as those levels refuse to budge - even after months of taking 2K IU. Still need to schedule the next follow-up mammogram before year end to take advantage of having met my deductible already this year.

My plan for the day is this: pre-tracking both food and exercise. I normally pre-track food, but I thinking pre-tracking my exercise will help me get to 500. I do need to buy some more running shoes and since I'm not actually running these days, I think I can get away with not dropping a buck twenty five for Asics Gel Nimbus'. I really felt the lack of support due to worn out shoes last night. Maybe I'll try to stop somewhere on my way in from Reata South today.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Learn to deal with the unexpected.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Kitchen Sink

I'm sipping my morning coffee, reflecting upon a really lovely weekend. Probably one of the nicest holidays I've had in a while.

First off, I've got to give credit to Central Market. Our Thanksgiving meal was amazing. The food was wonderful, the pickup was a BREEZE (15 minutes in and out of the store on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - miraculous!) and the directions were clear and helpful. It still was a lot of food. It was packaged as service for 6-8 and I think it was a generous eight. I did add brussels sprouts, but we still had plenty of left-overs. Contrast this to Pebbles' experience at her in-laws, where she said there wasn't enough food and that they ran out. She was shocked, as she is used to the food orgies put on by my side of the family. Anyway, I don't know that I will ever cook a big meal again. This was just too good and too easy.

I did have a lovely time decorating the table, although I didn't get a picture of it. It wasn't my absolute best, but I let it be at "good enough". The dining room is adjacent to the living room. Bick lit a fire, so the whole area was just very cozy and festive. Mom and my sister actually showed up and seemed to have a good time. My sister is still following her eating plan and I believe she said she'd dropped either 17 or 19 pounds. All of this got me to thinking how our family traditional dishes have evolved or devolved into a calorie-laden disaster. Everything has too many add-ins. Baked sweet potatoes have exploded into almost a dessert, given the amount of butter, sugar and marshmallows. Mashed potatoes now must come with added cream cheese, sour cream, more butter, etc. Corn is now corn souffle. Green beens have become the ubiquitous casserole. And I've already given the story of the pie martyr. It's all too much. Too over the top.

We ended the day with some football and ham sandwiches.

Next day we had some errands to run. I needed to get MalibuKen inspected and to visit a Reata-South specialized supply house. I'd decided to seek contractors there at a mobile supply place. Alas, they were not open on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but it did help me get myself back in gear. I pulled another dozen names off of Angie's List and started making calls. Two people have returned calls so I've got an appointment this afternoon and another tomorrow. And because I'm continuing to pursue this, I think I've undone any goodwill I might have generated over the holiday. Still with the push-back and the attempts to focus me on other, far-less critical, but outside projects. So frustrating. Again, I will keep my focus on the problems that are mine to solve.

Saturday we went down south to this. The weather was beautiful! And while I've been there several times, I'd never been to the Fair. In my mind, I'd somehow decided this was a Christmas craft fair, but it was not. It was so much more. It was like the best county fair you've ever been to in your life! I can really bring out my inner EarthMother/Hippy Chick/Low Footprint Urban Broad here! We watched a demo on timber frame barn raising, saw a spinning and weaving demonstration. Listened to a talk on keeping bees and another on keeping chickens in an urban setting. There were soap-making and cheese-making demonstrations as well as amazing food for purchase. As Bick said, it was unlike any fair food he'd ever had - grass-fed beef! And most everything is grown organically, right there on the farm. We, along with everyone not at the mall, spent a lovely, sun-baked day (we both got a kiss of sunburn) looking at the animals and reliving a small bit of our earlier lives on the farm.

Things are not looking good for Bick's mom. She's back in ICU. It appears this will be a rough holiday season for the family.

I didn't get near enough exercise over the holiday. I did a short yoga practice, but nothing else, really. Bick is looking for a treadmill and I do hope that he finds one. I'd love to have some exercise options when I am up there and the weather is bad. I need to remember that I can buy a day-pass at my old gym, if I go during manned hours.

So there's a post that covers everything but the kitchen sink. I am hopeful that the next two days will have me picking out all the finishes I need for the kitchen reno. I'm tired of having this hanging over me.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Clean your kitchen sink.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Setting The Table

I am actually looking forward to a holiday. This may be a sign of the apocalypse. You may wish to take whatever measures you deem appropriate.

I am very fortunate to have this holiday play out like it has. It promises to be a low key, low stress, no drama affair, and other than missing Pebbles and Slater, I get to spend it with those most dear to me.

And while I do love to cook, I just didn't want to cook this meal. By ordering it all, I save time, money and leftovers. We will not be buried in food for days. We will have a meal and be done with it. This also leaves me time to do what I love to do and that is set a pretty table. If I were to completely give in to all my yearnings (and I used to do this), I would have table linens, serving platters, pitchers and sets of dishes galore - beyond galore. But shopping for more really isn't much of a challenge. How I choose to challenge myself these days is to use what is available to me in new and different ways.

What few things I do have are mostly still at Bick's. And it's been well over a year since I've seen any of it. I am looking forward to setting up our table. And it just dawned on me, I'll be using Bick's dishes this year - so something new! My plan is to raid the herb garden for greenery, raid the crisper for fruits and enjoy revisiting a few of my favorite possessions while Reynolds Wrap and a preheated oven work their magic on our meal.

Until that time, I am waiting for sunlight to get on my bike for a ride. I think I shall make it over the 700 mile mark today without too much trouble. Wow! After cleaning up, then it's time to pack up my stuff, swing by Central Market to pick up our dinner, plus the brussels sprouts that I've added to the menu and head north. I hope to get up there before I35 becomes a parking lot. Oh, and I've got to stop by Redbox and pick us up a few movies to have on hand.

I am incredibly blessed and thankful this year. The blessings and graces that I have received are too numerous to mention, but I do want to put out a heartfelt thanks to this wonderful blogging community of supportive, inspiring friends. I am thankful for you all.

It will probably be next week before I return.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Be Thankful.


pic Martha Stewart - can I say just how much I love linen anything? So impractical, but like a moth to a flame, I am always, always, drawn to it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Love Child

Yesterday, as a work-related fundraiser, we were allowed to donate $10 and wear jeans to work. I chose this opportunity to wear my jeans topped with a darling black leather moto jacket that I got for my birthday. It's adorable. And then I looked in the mirror. What was not so adorable was the K-Bob. My Kay Bailey hairdo has desserted me and yesterday I looked like the love child of Leather Tuscadero and Gene Simmons. Hell, actually, given the bad semi-permanent color job I just DIY'd, I look a lot more like pure Gene Simmons. Too dark, too harsh, too dry and too flat. It may be time for a new, softer do.

And speaking of children, I had a Free Love Child experience last night. I went to the active meditation session. Turns out, it was an "interpretive dance" meditation. Now that's different. Actually, I quite enjoyed it. There were about seven of us in a darkened room and the music gave basic instruction - flow with the music, staccato movements, follow your feet, lead with your hands, feel your breath, etc. Yea, it was crunchy granola, but it was freeing and relaxing and BONUS - another hour of enjoyable exercise. It was a total "dance like nobody's watching" experience. I'd do it again. Next week? Drum circle. Yea folks, get your patchouli here.

I did something else wonderful yesterday. We are having amazing weather - around 80 degrees yesterday. So on my way home from work, I got off the bus in the park and walked the rest of the way home through my very favorite part of the twisty trail. I'll have to remember to do this more often. It's harder to do when I have to come all the way home, change and go back out, but today, I was wearing my walking Borns and jeans, so it was perfect. I got in another mile plus walking and I got to see a professional photographer taking some family pictures of children in the fall leaves.

Food was on target and I hit the gym at lunch. No complaints here.

Bed made. Breakfast made. Lunch made. Dinner planned. Gym planned.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Love your inner child.


Comments on Comments:

@Lori - Yep, I adore Futurama. I don't have "real cable" - just the off-the-menu package that allows me to get the network affiliates, but CC chooses not to scramble their signal, so BONUS!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sisters Are Doin' It For Themselves

We have a practice in yoga that asks us to dedicate our day's practice to someone or something, like peace, courage, strength, etc. It's an opportunity to pray/meditate upon/send good thoughts to a someone we care about or to affirm. When I follow this practice, those sessions always seem to be my most "productive". I've decided to follow this advice in my daily healthy living practice. I am dedicating my practice to my sister.

I want nothing more for her than to be healthy and happy. I don't think she is either of those things right now. She has, however, started a diet. As I sometimes labor to make the next right decision for me, I find that I can do it for her. I can stand in silent solidarity with her as she tries to make these changes in her life. I will willingly do for her what I struggle with doing for myself.

When I was one hundred pounds plus overweight, I thought what I needed was a weight loss program. My problem was fat. After I lost the weight, I realized that what I needed was recovery. The same issues that had driven my behaviors were still apparent. And my recovery contains a spiritual/contemplative element and it's that element that I have been short-changing as of late. By dedicating my practice, I am engaging in contemplative behaviors and nurturing my spiritual life.

And speaking of nurturing the spirit, I attended a wonderful meditation session on Sunday. The regular leader was ill and her stand-in was wonderful. She is leading another session tonight and I am going to attend.

Sunday was another great day. I hit the gym early, attended meditation and a craft fair at church. Following that, I hit the trails. The wind was horrible for the second day running, but I did have the great fortune of happening upon some sort of cycling moto-cross thing. Hairpin turns followed by get-of-your-bike jump overs, uphills and general chaos. It was fascinating to watch and obviously for the very young and in shape. Great way to spend a bit of time on an unseasonably warm Sunday afternoon.

After church, I had run by the big box store and Central Market to buy some pansies and some herbs. Bick bought me a window box for the Sliding Door to No-Where Non-Balcony and I'd never figured out how to put it up. The rail configuration didn't lend itself to any sort of bracketing that was available off-the-shelf. So I just decided this weekend to hillbilly it up. Bungee Cord! So after my bike ride, I got to put together a beautiful flower box full of gorgeous pansies and some herbs. I am hopeful that they will last the winter.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Mind, Body AND Spirit.


pic Pebbles' first pony - Poncho. In the photo, me in the glasses, family friend holding Pebbles. On the ground, sister and mother. Circa 1987.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Big Score

It's no big secret that I've lost momentum, mojo, motivation, one of those M words. And I am doing my best not to "awfulize" the situation. Yes, I've gained some weight. No, that weight gain and my difficulties in regaining traction do not negate all the positives that have come from this journey. That kind of thinking - dwelling on the negative, berating myself, using exercise as punishment, and using my failure to be perfect as a wire-wrapped whip to beat myself up when I fall short are all mistakes I've made in the past.

What sometimes happens in these situations when slippage has occurred is that like the compulsive gambler, I would look for The Big Score. I'd try to get it all back at once. As I was riding my bike on Sunday, I started some stinking thinking - that because I wasn't out to ride a 40miler that day, that my efforts somehow didn't count. Here I was outside enjoying nature, exercising, and yet my brain was trying to convince me that it wasn't enough. I cannot get back to where I was in one day. There is no amount of exercise or strict dieting that erases the past couple of weeks - and thinking that it will only leads me to folly.

Another things I've noticed during this downturn is my bed. I've stopped making it in the morning. It used to be the first thing I did upon rolling out of bed, but that has slipped, without me even realizing it. And suddenly, my very neat apartment has turned into sort of a mess. I'm not straightening it up everyday as I have in the past. When I realized the bit about the bed, I realized a lot of things. It's not the big things, it's the little things.

Former Mayor Guiliani is credited with "cleaning up" NYC. One of the avenues he pursued was the graffiti removal from subways. NYers were exposed to the dirty, graffitied subways every day and by making that change in their physical environment, a shift in thinking happened. There were other strategies, of course, and some that I disagree with, but the city did clean up it's act in large part. That being said, I do know from my own life that my physical environment is a bell weather for my well-being. It's all a part of the system. And my unmade bed needed fixing.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. The devil is in the details.


Yea, it's a double post day. Turns out I have a lot to say.

Sunday Morning: The Too Early Edition

I had an entire day to myself yesterday. I wasn't expected to be anywhere or do anything with anyone, so I just thoroughly enjoyed myself, at my own pace. Got in about three hours of exercise, including both bike and gym. It was certainly a nice day outside, although the wind on the river bank was brutal.

I did laundry, covered my gray and generally straightened up the place. I watched a little football - watching the Aggie's beat N and scanning the crowd for Bick. He spent the weekend down south, visiting his mother, who fell again, and visiting his cousin and attending the game.

Dinner on Friday night went well, although I have got to quit buying chocolate covered pretzels. I needed to run to the dollar store for mini muffin papers and ended up grabbing that specific bag of Kryptonite. Stupid move.

In other great news, work has decided to close on Wednesday! YAY - which means another leisurely morning for me, although with the impending Artic cold front scheduled to blow in, it might not be conducive to bike riding. Which brings us to Thanksgiving.

Family still seems okay with having Thanksgiving at Bick's. He offered up his place so that we would have more room to sprawl out and enjoy our day. I am hoping for low-key. I've ordered the entire dinner from Central Market - which may be the best decision I've ever made. And I'm going to try not get myself all worked up about setting the table. I would love nothing more than to go all Martha and shop for an entire new tablescape! It's my favorite time of the holidays. I'm sure I will decorate the table, but it will be with stuff I already own or can scavenge. But mostly it will be me, Chinet and Reynolds Wrap.

I remain hopeful that it won't be a total food orgy, complete with the Pie Martyr "I've been up for hours backing 19 pies". My sister, The Pie Martyr by Proxy, has declared herself on a diet and has lost 12 pounds so far. I am hopeful that we can get through this holiday and give all of us a break with the food obscenity.

Today's plans include some time at the gym, meditation/church and perhaps an afternoon bike ride. Bick should be rolling back through town at dinner time, so I'll fix something for us for dinner.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Sleep in.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Flipping the Switch

The lesson for today: Be careful what you wish for. I'd expressed a desire to spend less time mindlessly surfing. Well, guess what? The Universe complied. Upon my return home from my business trip, my laptop will no longer recognize my wireless network at The Closet. The messaging tells me to make sure my switch is turned on! Well, I've searched that machine over and I've yet to see a physical switch. So today, while I do have internet access, I'll be googling up some info on how to restore my access!

And speaking of flipping the switch, I'm having a helluva time flipping my switch back into ON PROGRAM mode. I am still struggling and not being as successful as I would like. One of my character defects is all-or-nothing thinking. That is, if I am not being perfect, then I am an abject failure. To expose such flawed logic to the light of day, truth and reason, I will chronicle some of the good decisions that I made yesterday.

1. I chose not to eat any of the office snacks that others brought in. While I had room for a treat in my calorie count, I didn't have room for it in my head. If I'd had one, I'd have wanted many, many more. So I made the easier of the decisions - to not have the first one.

2. I went to the gym.

3. I'm having people over for dinner tonight and I need to go to the store for some things. I chose to wait until after work to go to the store, even though it will rush my schedule some because I didn't need to be trolling the aisles of the store yesterday and I didn't need to have "stuff" in the house. Again, I made the easy decision.

4. I was hungry before meeting and made a choice to get a bowl of broth-based soup, rather than something else. It was hot and spicy and filling.

5. Spent time reading Savor, a book on mindful eating sent to me by the fabulous Katie J. It was awaiting me upon my return from my business trip and I am really enjoying it.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Press the Easy Button.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Heart And Soul

I've been away at a business conference for a few days. While away, I toured Galveston, where in September of 2008, Hurricane Ike made a direct hit. The storm surge of salt water left aged Live Oaks standing in sea water and it killed many of this. Rising up from this tragedy are these carvings. Homeowners hired and paid woodcarvers and chainsaw artists to fashion something good out of what the storm left behind. The picture is of one such carving.

I'm back home. Way behind in everything. Will catch up when I can.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Have a heart.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Fish On Friday

Things with which I am pleased:

1. Ran a bit yesterday. No long, not far, but I ran. Felt pretty good. I've got to find a way to stay in cycling shape over the winter.

2. While discovering a problem in a system I am responsible for at work wasn't the best thing that's ever happened to me, I did not take it as a personal failure. As I do not work in a health-related field, no one will be physically harmed if the software has a problem. Just work towards a solution.

3. Heard a great share at a meeting last night. Really put "being willing" in perspective.

4. I am still rocking the caffeine-draw down. Coffee in the morning, a couple of diet cokes, no more caffeine after noon. Other than last night, my sleep has improved dramatically. Also, no discernible night sweats recently. I don't know if that is somehow tied together - whatever, I'll take it. I'm still relying upon the lemonade-by-the-bottle powder as my gateway beverage, but I hope to love water soon.

5. I have a plan/program/lifestyle that makes getting back on track possible and even probable.

Things that could use some fixing:

1. I'm spending too much time on the internet doing mindless surfing. Going to cut back on this and spend the time doing other things that are more helpful.

2. Continue to contact contractors. Even though their Angie's List says they will accept email contacts, I've had no responses to the half dozen or so inquiries I've send out. It's time to pick up the phone, which for anyone who knows me, knows I hate the phone. I will resume this on Wednesday.

3. Continue to ask for what I want in a clear voice.

4. Sweat just a little more. Or more precisely, figure out how to want to sweat a little more.

5. Brush and floss THREE times a day. Take my vitamins.

Weight training has aggravated my old shoulder injury that I received during my ill-fated attempt at boxing lessons a couple of years ago. I was taking it slow, but perhaps I need to fall back to some of my rehab exercises to see if that will help.

On a different note, the kids are camping (with the beast!) this weekend. I cannot wait to hear how this turns out. I've also heard mention that fishing poles were purchased. This, I cannot believe, coming from my daughter. She's been fishing a sum total of once in her life.

When she was about six, my Mom took her back home to WA to visit. Pebbles ended up staying with my paternal grandmother for the week, while my Mom stayed with other relatives. My Mom tells the story that when she went to pick Pebbles up, she didn't know who looked more disheveled, my Grandmother or Pebbles. Pebbles' hair always looked like the cats had been chewing on it and Granny didn't make her fix it at all.

Grandmother was a very devout person of a religion that didn't believe in cutting hair or wearing jewelry, make up or pants - I mean she wore long dresses all of the time - not that she went around pantsless. I don't really know of a religion that espouses the no-pants philosophy. Normally, my Grandmother would sport the Princess Leia cinnamon roll hairdo, but Pebbles had convinced her to wear her hair down so she could "fix it". And it was always Crystal Gayle-long. Not really a good look for a super senior.

During their week together, my Grandmother taught Pebbles to make pancakes and biscuits - and so Pebbles "cooked" for the two of them for the whole week. Pancakes and biscuits. Every.day. Every.meal. Pebbles still makes some killer from-scratch drop biscuits. And then there was the fishing trip.

There was a trout farm nearby where one could go, wet a line and catch a fish. The pay rate was by the pound. And it really was like shooting fish in a barrel. These fish were in ponds and it took no skill to catch them. So when Mom showed up to pick up Pebbles, she proudly announced her fishing prowess. Mom knew how this thing worked and offered to repay my Grandmother for this outing. Grandmother refused, of course, but this 6 year old's two hour fishing expedition set my Granny back about $75 dollars in 1990 money! My Grandmother insisted that it was worth every cent and I guess it was. That was the only time Pebbles ever got to see her great grandmother, but she still remembers their time together; still knows how to make biscuits and still thinks she can fish.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Believe in your abilities.


photo is of the specially prepared fish I had at our favorite restaurant in Turkey in the fishing village. The red of the photograph is due to very dim lighting.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

With A Little Help From My Friends

This week has been an especially nice one. My friends have gifted me with good things this week.

First, one of my GNO friends asked me to pick up "trash" while traveling. Wouldn't tell me why - "just pick up interesting things you see on the ground - with a baggie, of course" and while I didn't do a great job of it, I came home with a few tossed items - an extra lira that somehow didn't get spent, some ticket stubs that others had tossed on the ground, and a few other odds and ends. She also asked for digital copies of two of the most meaningful photographs from here. From those things, she made me a necklace. I'll try to take a picture of it - it began its' life as a chain belt she found at Goodwill and she adjusted and added and twisted and and beaded and wrapped and dangled things and turned it into a necklace full of the Turkish mementos, including a locket with Pebbles' picture in it. When I wore it to the office yesterday, everyone commented and asked if I'd bought it while in Turkey. Really a signature piece.

And last, but certainly not least, I met the adorable Anne!. She treated me to coffee and great company on a beautiful Texas evening. In blogger terms, Anne and I are practically neighbors, so it was about time we met in person. We laughed and chatted away like people who had known one another forever. Anne is getting ready to celebrate her signature birthday by taking a fun trip, too. She of porcelain skin and no lines or wrinkles does NOT look like she should be getting her AARP card like the rest of us. Oh, and I got a gadget lesson on how she makes her drawn art. So creative.

Anne and I were reflecting on all the gifts that blogging has brought us over the years - the people, the inspiration, the support, the fun. So just a brief but heartfelt thanks to all of you that make up the community.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Create your Village.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy "Anniversary"

What I said when we met:

I suspect this might turn into one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me or it may be the thing that kills me. Combustible chemistry. Instant zing. OMG out-of-breath meeting. Of course, I didn't let on. Evening ended with one kiss and an invitation to see one another again.

Phone call the next day when he said- "that was the best first date I've ever been on in my life. I've got to get to know you better". Nothing like - I'm falling for you or I'm developing feelings for you or anything inappropriate or troublesome - just I'd like to take the time to get to know you. And he is.

I'm still in the "one of the greatest things" camp, even with the current state of the union. I'm a better person for having met him. And I still don't know how this will turn out and I'm okay with that. We talked about it this weekend and I am renewing my lease at The Closet, which is what I wanted. I/we don't know if we'll ever live together again. We are each engrossed in our personal journeys.

Spent some more time in the gym yesterday. Thank you for the book suggestions. What I'd really like (and wasn't smart enough to find) is a downloadable podcast/thingy that will walk me through a workout in real time. I'm sticking to nautilus-type equipment for now, so surely someone somewhere has done something like this? I don't want to have to carry around a piece of paper/log/whatever in the gym. I am considering the personal trainer for a lesson or two, but I am cranky enough to want to do things my way and not adhere to whatever philosophy said PT might preach.

I plan on spending some time on a gym bike today at lunch. And perhaps some lower-body strength training. Oh, and some ab work. As the spirit moves me.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. What doesn't kill you can make you stronger.


Monday, November 8, 2010


Running Away From The E'fn Refrigerator! There's a saying in cycling - TITS - Time In The Saddle. I'll be using cycling, along with my Big List of Stuff to keep me distracted and away from the fridge. I'm not in a bad way, but I do need to bring some of my tools to bear as I move to get back solidly in my groove.

My List of Stuff To Do Instead, as reprinted as a reminder to me:







Had a nice weekend. Went to a meeting Saturday morning and then for an easy ride. It was cold! I will know to get some gloves and wear some more layers next time.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Use all the tools you have.


Extra Crunchy Monday

Some days there is nothing to do but laugh. First rattle out of the cage, I set off the smoke alarm when I was toasting my one half piece of Flat Out bread. Which wasn't so bad for me, as I was already up and around. It probably sucked for my new neighbor. Somewhere there is probably a facebook status, tweet or a blog complaining about his/her crazy neighbor. Honestly, it's the second time I've done it in about a week or so. I try to multitask and I forget that the bread is in the oven. And I have found that turning on the vent fan just makes it worse. It seems to feed the smoke directly INTO the smoke alarm. Oh, and then my coffee seemed to be a little extra crunchy this morning. Don't know what happened to Mr. Coffee, but it appears he's having a Monday, too!

Oh, and I wrote a post that I thought I'd scheduled to appear this morning, but apparently I got that wrong as well. So there will be a weird post that appears sometime this evening. Do not be alarmed. My Monday got an early start.

Back on the bus today. Will hit the gym again today at lunch - weight room first. I am seeking input for a kinder, gentler entry into weight lifting. I am not looking for anything as strenuous/rigorous as the New Rules for Women. That being said, I don't want something "fluffy", either. Any suggestions?

As will be apparent in the phantom evening post, I'm planning on things to keep me out of the kitchen and away from the fridge for the next week or so. Tonight I have a meeting to attend and sometime this week, I need to go to Dallas. Thursday brings another evening appointment and Friday I need to go to Costco. Bick, Sandy, Aloyisious plus Al's mother and sister are all meeting at my place on Saturday morning. I'll be providing (with help from Costco) a light lunch/munchies for us before we go out antiquing and then on to a local food festival for dinner. Bick and I will peel off and attend our big anniversary event. I am so excited.

And then I leave for a business trip.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Plan around your weaknesses.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Scatter Shot Saturday

I've got nothing that I can pull into a theme for today, so I am taking the scatter-shot approach. At least there will be numbers. So here we go, while in a particular order, no priority is implied.

1. Did a bit of weight training yesterday morning. Am going to continue to tippy-toe my way into some strength/weight training over the winter.

2. Did a bit of elliptical/stairclimber thingy for cardio.

3. My new makeup arrived. Pebbles and I decided to combine sundries and only brought 2 toothbrushes and one of everything else on our trip. I was in need of new makeup and I got to try out her mineral makeup (on the days I chose to wear makeup). I decided that I really liked it, so I ordered some of my own.

4. I walked to the store to purchase a makeup pencil sharpener.

5. I got out all of my makeup and makeup bags and went through all of it. I am tired of carrying around extra crap in my purse. My purse stays so heavy that it hurts my neck and shoulders. I made three makeup bags - one for home, one for office and one for car.

6. Cleaned out the car.

7. Also purchased new mascara at the store - the kind Pebbles uses. It has two wands - one for primer and one for mascara. Love it. At almost $9, it's high end for a drug store, but I like so much better than department store stuff. We'll see if I like it. I usually find myself falling back to the hot pink/lime green stuff.

8. Was amazed that I could find the paperwork that I needed. For years, I have not been known for my organization. Since coming here, I've tried to change that. I've got a filing system and I try to use it. It still AMAZES me that it works.

9. Didn't have a clue as to where I needed to go with said legal paperwork, but I somehow managed to walk into, A. the right county building; B. the right county employee; and C. she was pleasant and competent and took care of me right away. I should have gone immediately and bought a lottery ticket!

10. Went to a big box store and filled out a request for contact re: repair work. However, she was unsure as to whether they worked on mobile homes. I can't control that, but I did make yet another try at getting something done out there. It will happen, when and how it's supposed to. I shall not stress.

11. Came home and paid bills and did some more filing.

12. Bought a Thanksgiving card for a friends' six year old and put it in the mail.

13. Right before I went to Turkey, it occurred to me that I was traveling with my primary beneficiary. So I scrambled to get the appropriate contingency plans in place before leaving. There was still some more work to be done in this area.

14. Pebbles is very aware of my "final" wishes, etc as we have talked about this on multiple occasions, however, my contingent, my sister, doesn't know all of this. So yesterday, I sat down and wrote it all out - or actually filled in the workbook provided to me by my workplace. While I haven't done actual "pre-planning", I do have a plan, so that's something. Some may find this morbid. I find it to be a loving and caring thing to do, should the worst happen.

15. And speaking of mortality, I was saddened to read this morning that actress Jill Clayburgh has passed away. She was one of my favorite actresses back in the day.

16. Temperature is the the high 30's this morning, so fall has officially arrived.

17. I am going to a morning meeting and then I'll go for a bike ride. I'll be happy with 20-25 miles today. I went looking for a new local bike shop that I'd heard about yesterday, but I didn't find it at first pass. Yea, I'm thinking perhaps it's time to begin gathering information on a new bike. I'd wanted to put 1,000 miles on Cha-Cha before deciding, and I still might, but I want a lot of time to make the decision. And my first step, I think, will be to establish some sort of relationship with my local bike shop.

18. After biking, I'll snake my way up to Bick's (NASCAR this weekend will make traffic a nightmare). Sandy and Aloysius are coming over for dinner.

19. I'm picking up the camping gear, as Pebbles and Slater contend they are going camping next weekend. I scoff in their general direction.

20. I am kicking @ss on the Diet Coke Cutdown. I am consistently down to 2 a day, with none after noon. I only had a couple all the time I was in Turkey. Should have left it alone when I came home, but I'll be content and happy with my new levels.

All in all, yesterday was a good day. Exercise was good and enjoyable. Food took it's appropriate place in things yesterday and I got stuff done. Didn't make it to the shoe repair place, but I can do that today.

Got a notice yesterday to renew my lease. That floored me. I've been here almost a year. More decisions.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Doing a little something consistently can pay big rewards.


Picture is of a fishing boat on the Sea of Marmara, Istanbul, Turkey. Short walk from our hotel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gaining Traction

I'm executing another one of my steps to gain traction. I'm fortunate that my work schedule is flexible and even more fortunate that my calendar is clear today, so I am taking the day off. I had a bad night's sleep last night - awakened at 2:30 by some guy screaming at his wife/girlfriend as he slammed his way out off of this floor. Tough to go back to bed after that - and then when I did go to sleep it was filled with nightmares.

So today is the day to Get Sh*t Done. It's time to take care of more of the niggly things that play and weigh on my mind so that I can gain some traction from this post-trip let down. First up, I'm heading over to the gym for a bit this morning. Then it's a few minutes to clean out MalibuKen, followed by writing a couple of checks to pay a couple of bills. Next up, a trip to the dry cleaners and shoe repair place on my trip to the next county. I've got some legal business with the neighboring county and then I will stop by the big box stores nearer to Reata South and talk to them to see if they have any subcontractors to do the work on the place out there if I buy my new flooring and cabinetry from them.

Getting Sh*t Done helps me get unstuck in a couple of ways. First, it creates a sense of accomplishment. Secondly, it creates a sense of relief - as in "Whew, that's out of the way". But primarily the feeling of accomplishment - no, it's not really accomplishment, it's more of regaining a feeling of control, as in I have control over something, which as we all know is pretty false. I guess I can look at is as doing what I can do and then letting go of the rest. Whatever. I do know that I will feel much better after a day like this and it's been ages since I've taken one.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Get unstuck.


Thursday, November 4, 2010


I finally got in to get MalibuKen's side window replaced this morning. With the changes in the weather, the cracks were getting worse and one cold morning I would wake up to find glass everywhere as the driver's side window would just finish breaking completely. So now it's all shiny and new again. And I got myself reimbursed for most of the deductible.

Had a lovely evening visiting with Erica last night. It was so good to catch up with her and her new life in Arizona. Erica is a cyclist and she offered some really good information on what my next step should be.

Yesterday at lunch, I spent some time in the weight room. Not a lot, just a little, but I was not happy to see how weak I am in upper body strength. I'm still considering adding some strength training to my winter workouts. Afternoon work meetings and after work other meetings will keep me from formal exercise today. But tomorrow, back on the bus and back to the gym(s).

As far as the Bick comment I wrote about yesterday - Oh, I do think he was off the mark on THAT issue. And he doesn't get to choose how I should feel about a particular situation. However, I do trust his insight and if I have this tendency overall, then perhaps I should review it. It doesn't mean that I have to take his comment to heart; I have the right to outright reject it as being false, but I need to be open to hearing what I am told.

I made four calls to contractors yesterday and had to leave messages with all of them. Only one has responded and he doesn't work on mobiles, so I've got nothing. I've got a few more names to call, so I will wait two more days and call the rest of them.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Take some action.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finding The Path

You guys are pretty darned smart. I'm feeling much better. Still sleeping soundly and haven't had another episode of "jet-lag head" TM Helen. And I'm gently nudging myself back to the path of righteousness. I don't respond well to restricting and using exercise as punishment, so I'll fall back to my old faithfuls - things that bring about an easing back into the good stuff. First, I don't restrict how much I eat, only what I eat. I go back to eating clean (for me) and the quantity will take care of itself. And while my motivation to sweat has temporarily (I hope) left me, I've now put my car keys back up. It's time to walk around again. I'd gotten away from that, as the past month pre-trip had been hectic and I'd been trying to get home as early as possible to be able to get in a bike ride. Well, right now it's 1. rainy or 2. I have evening plans or 3. time change makes weekday evening rides impossible and 4. I've been having some pretty severe neck and shoulder pain if I ride for more than an hour. So I'm back on the bus.

Being "on the ground" goes a long way in getting me grounded and living in the moment and not flying off into thinking about the next thing and disregarding THIS moment. I did not really want to go to the gym at The Closet last night, but I did the "twenty minute" promise to myself. I stayed for a half an hour. As my motivation wanes, I try to find a place to hold on (walking more, more shorter trips to the gym, etc) and not lose too much ground until the mojo strikes again. Today will bring a lunchtime trip to the gym - for what, I have yet to decide. This evening brings an opportunity to catch up with the lovely Erica, who is in town visiting family.

Rest of the week is sort of up in the air. Bick's Mom is failing and he has been traveling down to be with her/his sisters regularly. So we are sort of in a holding pattern there. I may or may not have the dog.

And for Ellen, who writes beautifully about moving outside of one's comfort zone, I will be making calls to contractors to set up round two of estimates. I've effectively done everything else INSTEAD of this, including cleaning up both my office and my work to-do list. My calendar is clear - I can and should do this today. I post this for accountability, as what I really want to do is avoid this and all the stuff that surrounds it.

I also have something to ponder. Bick and I get along famously. Rarely does he become a burr under my saddle, but pre-trip he pissed me right off. And while I'd like to be both pissed and right, I have to consider the fact that he might well have a point. I was having a panic about the whole currency issue. And during a phone call, he had the nerve to say to me, just before I suddenly "had to let him go" (as to not be accused of hanging up on him - because I'm all mature like that) he said "Well, you always have to have something to worry about, I guess this is as good a thing as any." So while I feel I've turned the volume way down on my Drama Queen, apparently she, like Cher, makes many, many farewell appearances.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Find your path.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rocky Re-Entry Into Real Life

The re-entry into real life has been rocky. Goodness. I normally don't talk about my actual weight in numbers around here, as they are what they are. But in the past week, they accurately reflected a nearly week-long bender. I'm still trying to figure out what happened and why. It wasn't emotional in my usual sense - an anxiety that I wanted to soothe. Wasn't that way at all.

I came home from vacation about three and a half pounds up. I know that was from, not the baklava, as one might assume, but my horrible habit of eating JUNK food on my return trips from anywhere. Extra salty, extra large french fries at the airport, M&Ms and Pringles purchased on the plane.

I went back to my normal way of eating and within two days of return, I was back down to my pre-trip weight, which was on the high side of the new range I'd set for myself, but still within range. But something was going on - I couldn't think, couldn't function, really. Disoriented. In one case, couldn't answer a simple question. The diabetics in the office blamed low blood sugar and it did feel that way to me. So I embarked on a quest to keep my blood sugar from bottoming out - a little too aggressively, I suppose.

And before you say something, yes, I've been in contact with my doctor. I had some blood work done right before I went on vacation and upon my return to the US, at the JFK airport when I turned on my cell phone, I heard four messages to call my doctor's office. Doctor's office wanted me to re-do the labs. Doctor wasn't happy with the results. So, I'm being seen to. Had more lab work done, but haven't heard the results.

Couple this with Halloween and the office candy bowl being right outside my office door, my Mom's birthday (which was very nice) and my wheels-off eating (but my sleeping was FABULOUS - no night sweats!) the scale registered a 7 pound gain in less than one week. I do have a doctor's appointment and I am slowly returning to my normal eating habits, rather than such an abrupt transition and the extra whatever is coming back off without any apparent side effects. But my motivation to exercise appears to have disappeared right now. I rode my bike for a couple of days upon my return and have been hitting the gym, but honestly, do not want a long exercise session on Saturday.

I will (along with Doc) figure this all out. It seems more physiological than emotional, but who knows. I do know that another contributing factor is that I am damned tired of the BASS (Big Ass Spinach Salad) for lunch. It's time to change that up to something, what, I am not sure. I have ceased to enjoy it and it, for this last week, at least, has ceased to satisfy.

Take good care of yourself. Be kind to others. Do it for the health of it.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Why Istanbul?

The path that brought me (us) to Istanbul was a twisty one. There wasn't really any one epiphany, it was a series of decisions rather than a lifetime of yearing or a singular epiphany.

First there was Ireland a couple of years ago. On that trip, Bick and I saw a reality show (Top Gear, I believe)about three British guys touring Viet Nam by motorcyle. We got the itch to go to VN. Upon our return to the US, we saw another PBS travel show on Istanbul and then it became Istanbul or Viet Nam?

Then the Great Dental Bills of 2009 struck and I couldn't afford a big trip, so we ended up in Puerto Rico, instead. I didn't write about it, but it was a disastrous trip - for a myriad of reasons, most of which involved me trying to please everyone and failing miserably. I vowed never to travel with anyone else ever again.

I decided that I was going to spend a month on a Greek island and if anyone wanted to come and see me, they were welcome to do so, but I wasn't making travel plans, etc. for anyone else. So I started investigating a little more and Turkey has almost everything that Greece has, and in some cases, more. So then the plan became I was going to fly into Athens, Greece, got to an island and rent a small room for a while, then make my way to Turkey and fly out of Istanbul. Which became far too complicated - planes, trains, gullets and god-knows-what-else. And a month was not realistic for a variety of reasons. If I wanted to do all of those things in Turkey, I would need to join a tour. Well, the idea of joining a tour doesn't really appeal to me - although that may be changing. So I just decided to strike out alone and adding guides as I wanted/needed them in Istanbul. I decided not to go across the country, but to concentrate in one place and I wanted as near a "local" experience as I was brave enough to try.

But as I thought about it, while I do love to travel solo, I didn't know how I would do in so foreign a place and Pebbles has wanted to go to Istanbul since going abroad to study some years ago.

Which brings up the whole idea of foreign travel. I don't know that I would have ever considered it something that I would/could do. I mean, I loved to travel in the states, but "other" people traveled abroad. Fancy people. People with all kinds of money. And then Pebbles had to go for a summer as part of her academic program. So she went and we didn't die of starvation. And she was hooked and then international travel sort of became a possibility. And then she went back for a long semester and I scrapped together every red cent I could and went to visit. And it really was a life-changing experience. People who lived in trailer houses could travel. They could see things. It wasn't an experience reserved for others. If it was a priority, it could be a possibility. So here we are.

I asked Pebbles to join me and I bought her plane ticket. It was something that I wanted to do. When I was struggling out from under the debt, she worked very hard and maximized the value of every cent I spent on her education and graduated early. She didn't get the fancy wedding or the big high school or college graduation present. It's not like she was the match stick girl, but I was now in the position to offer this experience to the both of us. I paid for the hotel with points and her spending money was on her own (I think she spent about $350 US and I spent about $450 US while we were there). I recognize that the opportunity to spend that much time with my adult, married daughter really is special and that I am very, very fortunate to be able to take this trip. Kudos to Slater for being so supportive.

So that's the convoluted path I took to get to exotic and exciting Istanbul. It was a fabulous trip that I am still trying to take in.