Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Babble and Dhammapada

The rain does something to me.  It opens me in grand ways, makes me feel really alive, creative, refreshed.  It rained all weekend and I have to admit I loved it.  In contrast to the grey sky, everything looks so vibrant, even in the post-snow haze of variant shades of brown grass and mud, it was so refreshing to have a gentle rain with some warmer temps.  I reminded myself several times, that if the temperatures had been a little lower, we would have burried in snow.
My energy was low this weekend, with Ma Monthly coming on strong, so I decided to listen to my body and just take it easy.  I feel guilty when my husband wants to go do stuff and I don't, but I just didn't have much gas in my tank.  I felt like writing but spent a good deal of time on my phone, mostly looking at Facebook, joining in multiple threads on an optician group I belong to, and commenting about some local stuff too.  Nothing earth-shattering at all.  Sometimes that is what I need. 
I did cook tacos for the family, and it was OK.  I think I had too many taco salads this spring, I am still not a huge fan of the beef substitue I have been using.  While I figured I could just make that my dinner this week, I have a feeling I will end up using refried beans as my protein source.  The thought of eating more of the beef sub is not appealing to me right now. It is a texture thing, it tastes fine. 
Oh, did I have some active dreams over the weekend, too.  I'm the type of person who believes there is a purpose or meaning to most things if we look deep enough, so I have been stewing on them.  My husband gets really deep messages in his dreams, but he has a proven system of analyzing the symbolism from dreams, so he is quite successful.  I asked him a few questions about how to get started developing my own system.  He is not one to freely guide someone, he would rather have you find out things on your own.  It frustrates me because I am the type of person who, at the very least, likes guidance.  I can waste a whole bunch of time reading books I don't agree with or that don't speak to me, but I would give up way before that.  So he gave me one little piece of advice, to deepen my study of Buddhism and see how that feels as a system.  So I am going to do that.  I am reading a small piece of The Dhammapada each day, and using that to focus on as a thought or concept for my day.  The smaller pieces are easier for me to focus on and remember, to get the meaning from. 
Today was the first day, and the first little piece of wisdom is this:
     "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think.  Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follw the oxen that draw it."

I had experience with this on Friday.  A customer of mine is losing her vision to Macular Degneration.  She and her husband are understandably upset, but they have a very caustic way of expressing it.  They have yelled and sworn at me, and assumed that I have made the glasses wrong and that I "Don't know what the Hell you are doing."  When they'd come in a couple weeks ago, having had a history with them that goes back from before I started working here 6 years ago, I tried to be polite, but when they began to get accusatory and degrading, I had had enough and I did not let them talk to me that way.  I started talking back to them, telling them the way she kept twisting and moving them around she was the one causing them to get out of adjustment, and when he told me I don't know what I'm doing I said, "Oh, and you do?" 
The husband was complaining that her glasses were not adjusted properly and that's why she can't see.  He knows she's losing her sight and it has nothing to do with the glasses, but he made a big scene and threatened to sue if we didn't give his money back.  I aThey returned this past Friday to have the doctor double-check the prescription.  She affirmed that the prescription was not only unchanged in the chair, but also that the glasses were made correctly.  This must have frustrated them further.  They complained and complained about me to the doctor and her nurses, and the doctor would only say, "That doesn't sound like our Amy."  So after they left her office they decided that, while she felt her glasses were improperly adjusted, they do not want me touching them, and they only want to work with the manager.  So, while I was fully preparing myself to just suck it up on Friday and handle it the best I could (by being silent and ignoring their drama) I ended up not having to deal with them at all, and may never have to deal with them again for that matter.  I wanted to be really happy about it.  It was Friday and I didn't have to deal with these unreasonable people, but it chewed at me all day as I stewed in the previous shouting match.  Their condescending attack on my skill level took me to a childish place.  I chewed on their emotions and spit them back at them without any consideration of them as human beings.  She is losing her vision.  They are very upset about this and want someone to blame.  I, they thought, was an easy target.  I did not give them satisfaction, nor did the doctor or her staff.  Yes, it is ultimately their burden to bear.  Handling it the way I did didn't make me feel better.  Even though most people who meet me find me pleasant and warm and easy to work with, it's still really hard for me to accept when people don't feel this way about me.  I am well-qualified, licensed, nationally certified and have 16 years experience behind me in this field, but that doesn't make me handle situations like that with grace.  And, everyone who has mentioned them has not had nice things to say about them, so I know it's not just me, they are just the type who need to complain, they are miserable so they want everyone around them to be too.  But, if that's all the farther we examine things/people we never get anywhere do we?  Why are they like that?  Has life handed them shit-pie?  Have they had horrible parents or no parents?  Are they sick and know they don't have much time left and feel bitter about it?  Maybe it's not for me to find out.  I'm OK with that.  I'm not saying I want to work with them and get to know them and run through a field of daisies with them, I just noted it on Friday, that not having to work with them didn't mean I didn't stew over the whole situation anyway, and it didn't make me feel better. 
Maybe the message is as simple as the passage above.  I created my suffering by looking at their situation from my own perspective and allowing myself to become so emotionally attached to it that I acted unprofessionally and incompassionately.  I'm not sure where the invisible boundary is between being a compassionate person and standing up for myself, but I know I am the type of person to put my gloves up a lot quicker than people I respect, who handle things with more grace.  So there is one instance that proves to me that I need to continue growing. 
As far as my plan to do things that make me feel better, I did a LOT of stretching over the weekend, it had been way too long and I was really stiff.  It took so much more time to work out some of the really tight places like my hips and lower back, but it felt really good!  I also did a light upper body strength session with a resistance band.  It was a perfect place to start because my muscles felt warm from getting the blood in them but not murdered, weak and shakey.  I only used the resistance band because since our move, I can't figure out where I put the dumbbells we have.  lol.  It felt good to do something, and I did it in a tank top so I could see my arm muscles.  I have always wanted to have a nicer upper body so watching my arm/shoulder muscles working usually inspires me.  I think it will be enough to have me sore tomorrow, but it's a good kind of sore.  Maybe tomorrow I'll work my lower body.  Also, there are other things that make me feel good that don't have to do with exercise, like painting my nails, facials, baths, writing, reading a good book, meditation, interacting with my kids or dog or husband...the list is endless really, but almost all of them involve getting my face out of my phone, which can be entertaining but is also a huge time waster and also makes me detract from my world instead of engaging in it. Plus, as a bonus, I realized over the weekend that I really enjoy being outside.  Don't you think their is a much richer sensory experience outdoors?  Then again, ask me once the bugs and bees return.  haha. 
So it's Monday and I am feeling OK.  Ready to see what this week brings. For me, a rock concert and dental work and I guess I get to make the rest up as I go! 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Proclaimation of 'Nothing Else'

My husband and I have this thing we do at night before bed.  Not every night but at least a few times a month, we'll watch The Office on DVD.  We have the whole series and have watched it many times over, but for some reason, we just never get sick of it.  One night, while we were deciding which season to watch I told him to just pick the disc that was already in the player, sure that we'd enjoy any of the episodes on it, "Path of least existence" I mistakenly added.  And we both laughed at my Freudian slip. 
Indeed, I do tend to seek out the path of least existence.  I don't like conflict.  I don't like exerting physical effort.  I don't like pain to any degree.  Maybe I'm just a powerderpuff.  Maybe my coping skills for that sort of thing just never got developed.  When I do exert myself I feel fine, good even, especially mentally, and truth be told, even physically to some extent. 
The kicker is this: Not doing anything physical makes me ache too, just in a different way.  I feel stiff, my muscles complain at the mere onset of doing something physical.  I feel weak and old.  I think that probably feels worse than muscles being sore after a good strength training session, but it's been so long I can't remember!  Sheesh!  I feel like the Tinman before he got his oil. 
So, while I realize I'm the only one who can change it, there is a delicate balance and a mental fencewalk that must be resolved.  Not getting set back into "diet" mentality but trying to make healthier choices because it'll make me feel brain is hard-wired for one or the other, on or off, good or bad; caring all the way or not at all. 
I think I have made great progress with the food demons and I feel like I have a fairly normal relationship with food these days.  Sometimes I completely forget what it felt like to be so food-focused all day every day, and that is a HUGE statement right there.  I can have sweets and goodies around me and actually forget they are there!  Coming from where I was, that would have been a huge stretch of imagination to think that could ever happen, but here I am.  I have every opportunity to eat all of that but I don't even think about that kind of food that often.  And when I do, like twice a month when my hormones are whacked out, I simply have what I want and move on.  One moment or one day or one meal doesn't lead to more.  In fact, if I have a sweet treat or overindulge in fatty/salty stuff, I usually end up feeling bad physically so that the next thing I eat tends to be the complete opposite.  My body knows what it needs, I just wasn't listening before; I was feeding my emotions not my body. 
I think the tricky part is in the ideals and how I need some kind of boundaries but not so structured or stringent that I will judge my actions as innately good or bad.  That's what got me in trouble in the first place.  Example of my idealistic thoughts, I am eating pretty good, but if I wanted to really be "good" I should be eating kale and broccoli.  I'm not eating those things so I am not the best little eater I could be.  I am not good.  I am bad.  This type of thinking has gotten me nowhere.  Over-complicating things does not work for me.  Neither does eating things that I don't like just because they are healthy and good for me.  I can do it for like, 2 days tops.  So if I begin to do better things for my body/health, I have to make sure they come with an internal reward, not just a pat on the back because I did something someone else would approve of.  Exercise should not come with bragging rights, but I feel proud when I do it, like I did "the right thing"so people won't judge so harshly for being fat because "I'm working on it." 
Maybe I'm too hung up on the mental stuff.  Maybe I should just shut up and do it and move on.  I know I would feel better, not that I feel superawfulterrible but I could feel better.  I have a lot of excuses that I allow to get in the way of that.  I am, perpetually, seeking the path of least existence and it's not really all the rage.  Taking care of myself, in multiple different realms, needs to be more of a priority than it has been recently.  I can't be good to anyone else if I am always drained or trying to numb myself or stressed to the point of not caring. 
So there is a proclaimation if nothing else.  I am good at both the proclaimation and the 'nothing else' part, but maybe, just maybe, if I keep my focus on my needs for a bit, I can take one step outside of that path of least existence.  My only plan is to start, nothing more defined than that, nothing structured or given a value of goodness or badness.  I will make an effort to feel better than I do right now.  Maybe that's all anyone needs to do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Message to Open my Eyes

It turns out yesterday's crabbiness was nothing compared to the amount of stress I had at work.  Not like horrible things happened, but it was again so busy that most of the afternoon I had 2-3 people waiting to be helped constantly.  Before I could finish with one person, two more would crop up.  I got so overwhelmed at one point that my brain seemed as if it short-circuited and people speaking their phone numbers to me wouldn't process to write down the number as they were saying it, and I gave a wrong quote that could have cost me a big sale.  Luckily, everyone was friendly and patient, seeing that I was working alone.  I began thinking about an after-work drink shortly after my lunch break! 
Once I left work, I had to pick up a prescription at Target so I decided to see what kind of alcohol they have.  It is strange to walk through Target with a 6 pack, but that's what I did.  I found some Crispin Pear cider.  It is only 4.5% alcohol and they actually had a nutrition lable, so I decided 14 sugars was not bad considering some of the alternatives.  I had two with my dinner, they are really mellow and tastey, didn't make me have cottonmouth or anything.  It helped me chill out for sure. 
Later, when my husband and I were relaxing in the bedroom, him burried in a book and me still chasing down ancestors, I looked at the framed picture of my great grandparents on my dresser and told him, "I don't know if I'm getting much from them."  I haven't had any more spiritualistic experiences that I know of and the more I learn about my great grandma, she was kind of a pill.  He told me (he is very much more versed in all things spiritualistic than I) that simply talking to them is not enough, that there has to be a way for me to receive messages other than hoping for a sign in my dreams.  He asked if I wanted him to do a tarot reading for me and I agreed, heeding what he said, that it wouldn't tell me who is trying to reach me, but the general message they are wanting me to understand.  I didn't know what to expect really, but my husband is really good at making sense of things that look totally foreign to me.  He has heavily studied multiple religious and occult systems and knows much of the symbology.  He used his own spread with 3 cards to represent my ancestors and three to represent me.  My ancestors' cards showed failure, dischord or stagnence in relationships and ultimately, a problem or unrest with the mind.  He explained, this is what they endured.  They faced failures either financially or emotionally or in their health.  This put a strain on their relationships and led to their minds being unhealthy.  Thinking about multiple layers of my family, even down to my own parents, this seemed fitting.  Many of my ancestors, particularly the immigrant ones, struggled, working hard on farms, having so many children and losing them, many themselves passing from cancer or heart problems. I began to tear up a little and explained that this could be any one of my ancestors. 
He went on to explain that the cards that were to represent me do not necessarily represent me as I am now, but my potential, and what they want for me.  My cards were a completion or completeness, wealth, and finally, the card I've gotten in every reading he's done for me, the Chariot.  His interpretation is that they want me to find completeness, and that will be acheived by the wealth.  Wealth not necessarily in riches, but in a cycle ending which would open the doorway to new beginnings, and those new begninnings are the wealth that would bring me completeness.  He pointed out that the Chariot card is especially meaningful in this reading because it shows a powerful woman and it seems as if she is pushing straight foward, moving on.  I was in tears by the end.  what a timely and meaningful message.  My ancestors don't want me to try and validate them or help them, they want me to let go of the things that are standing in the way of me feeling good, happy and healthy. 
I thought back to the stress and irritability and even judgements I have passed recently and how they aren't serving me, and they definitely are not helping me "be strong and move on".  In some ways I have gotten past little bumps in the road, the little things like not obsessing over food, but in many ways my head is still unhealthy, and I haven't devoted nearly enough time to trying to change that.  The last time I had my nails done (February) the man who was doing my nails gave me a hand and forearm massage and I could tell he was struggling and he kept saying, "Relax. Let the tension go." I thought I was relaxed but he said it a few more times, continually massaging my hands, then said, "You have trouble relaxing, don't you?" I bashfully said, "I guess I do, I didn't notice that until right now."  I have been more aware of it, the stress that sits on my shoulders, in my jaw, as if I have my boxing gloves on and my hands up to my face at all times.  I need practice relaxing.  I need practice letting others do some stuff instead of feeling like I must do everything or I'm a failure. I need practice at compassion instead of judgement, and in nuturing the relationships of the people closest to me instead of resisting it.  I don't think I'm cold but I am definitely tense and sometimes gaurded.  I just need to spend more time focusing on the things that have the potential to make me relaxed and happy more. 
So that was my sort of heavy day and night.  I slept like a baby.  Today is much better.  Every day has the potential to be better.  I want to make my ancestors' wishes a reality; its as if they are giving me permission, begging me to let go of past hurts, let go of the burden of other's painful experiences, and move on to a place that will make me happy and whole.  Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out where you are falling short.  I'm grateful for the input. 
And hey, maybe next time I get my nails done I will surprise them and fall asleep in my chair. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Self Love and Do-Overs

Today is one of those days when I wake up knowing I am in a funk and probably will be most of the day.  Yeah, Ma Monthly is about to rear her unpleasant head and cravings and moodiness are abundant this time.  Still better than full-blown menopause I presume so I will grin and bear it. 
I have found that even this little bit of restricting I need to do for my antibiotics, wherein I cannot eat any dairy within two hours of taking it (before or after, so 4 hours total) is causing me to rebel.  I don't like being told I can't have something, it makes me want it more.  This morning I said screw it and had a bagel with cream cheese and coffee with sugar-free creamer.  Not like it was some magical wonderful meal (despite what my brain was trying to convince me of) but in my own little way I felt like it was my own little way of throwing myself a bone on a day when I was already crabby.  Dog didn't poop, kids didn't sleep, dog didn't poop the second time, take the boy to school, dog finally pooped just in time for me to rush off to work.  Boss is crabby, coworker is crabby both dumped some stress on me that wasn't mine to begin with.  I will survive, this is just normal life.  Still, I wish for that middle path, so to speak, less of the ups and downs, more just right in the middle. 
So food is a strange thing with my quasi-restriction because I rely so heavily on dairy for protein.  I have found myself opening and closing fridge and cupboard doors over and over, looking for something to have other than what I planned for my meals.  And, then I end up eating the planned meals because everything else has dairy or meat or carbs.  I am eating more salad this week, one with berries and one with bacon.  It works.  I don't dislike salad but sometimes I really just want a warm thing to eat.  I'm weird that way.  A meal feels more substantial and hearty if it's warm.  It's a mental thing I suppose. 
I have been getting images in my head lately, of pushing myself physically and feeling really good.  Am I the only one that visualizes a fit lifestyle without ever following through?  In my visualization, despite looking healthier, my focus is on how good I feel, sweaty and strong, moving with ease as I take in how good it feels to have the blood flowing through my body making my muscles feel warm and good.  I have had strong images like this before.  They come and go and most of the time I just tell myself, someday.  I am not in any mental position to proclaim I will start a change now, but I know the longer I procrastinate the harder it is going to get. 
Lately for some reason I have been exposed to more unhealthy people than usual.  People who are morbidly obese and labor to walk or sit in my chair at work, or get up from said chair.  People who don't look that much older than me but are on oxygen, people who are in wheelchairs or motorized carts asking others to tend to their every whim.  I am always pleasant to them, but in my head I do find myself judging them and I feel aweful for having that gut instinct because there have probably been people who've looked at me that way.  Everyone has their own struggle.  It is so much easier to look at someone else and think, if you just work out a little bit you could probably walk again.  Sometimes I think it is my inner-bitch showing when I think these things, but really I just would love to see someone change for the positive, to feel really good and move freely and show everyone what they're made of.  So, why don't I want that for me anymore?  I say I do but I don't prove it.  It may be only time that separates me and them from being in the same boat.  Part of me feels like my own mother, making threats to try to scare myself into doing something.  That never works for me, I'm too much of a rebel, and in the past, I have gotten away with things that I shouldn't have, such as not getting cavities despite being really inconsistent with, winging my way through school and getting passable grades, even eating whatever the heck I want for most of my life and somehow not turning into one of those people that needs to be lifted from their house with a crane for a doctor appointment.  So maybe the fear tactic is just not strong enough.  What does work is establishing boundaries for myself, not allowing people to treat me poorly just because they need someone to be crabby at, and probably most importantly, making time for myself, not just to burry myself in the past, in my ancestors, but to focus on where I am now, and in what state, and what I need in life to be whole and content.  We all have times where we focus on other stuff, and I think that is more true for women, who tend to try and juggle everything at the expense of their own sanity and inner peace, but to take that back is a true form of self-love.  It takes focus, not on the external but the internal.  It takes quiet and stillness and boundaries.  I know I need it right now, because it sure sounds good!  I never made good on my attempt to find five minutes at the end of the night to sit quietly and just relax, breathe, maybe try to meditate.  I think I will try again.  That's what life is all about isn't it?  Do overs.  Luckily, there's no limit, you just ante up and try again, clean slate. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A little Morning Magic

This morning I was extra zombified as I climbed out bed.  My room, warm and tropical thanks to the humidifier I run all night long.  As I brought the dog outside to the frost-kissed conservancy the grass sparkled like diamonds in the morning moonglow.  It was magical, and suddenly I was awake.  These small, delicate, remarkable moments are so filled with wonderment and joy that it's like someone gave me a gift.  I'm happy I was awake enough to notice.  Sometimes you have to feel something is magical before your mind believes it. 
The sleep, she evades me, a little bit this week.  Once because I had the sensation that something was crawling on me at 3:30 am, and other times because I have a nasty sinus infection that has filled up my cheek and is sitting on a nerve making my teeth on the entire right side feel like they are open nerves.  I get really tired of sinus stuff!
Alas!  After two weeks of suffering and trying everything I could think of over-the-counter and home remedy, I resigned myself to it and headed to the walk-in clinic.  The sweet young lady who helped me made it sound like I didn't have a sinus infection, that I should have a runny nose or a cough.  I explained that I get this cheek-syle of lovliness at least twice a year and antibiotics are always needed in order to resolve it.  She sweetly obliged and I was on my way to get some Doxy.  I am allergic to penicillin, which annoys anyone who has to see me for sinus infections, but the Doxy works.  It has some dangerous side effects like swelling of the brain and permanent loss of vision (!) but I have been in so much pain I was wondering if I had an absess tooth so... 
The good news from my visit is that my weight dropped under 190 (187 to be exact) and my blood pressure was lower than it's been in a while!  That made me feel good.  I started this nutty change of lifestyle at 216 pounds at the end of September and have not exerted or killed myself and the weight is coming off.  I could be dramatic and worry about the speed it's coming off, I mean, 19 pounds is not an amazing feat.  No one has noticed or said anything.  It's not a dramatic difference.  I'm not "beach ready" or buff.  But still, knowing I can elicit change in my body by just being more aware of why I'm eating, and staying away from sugary sweets, is a big deal.  And in the scope of things, 19 pounds is nothing to scoff at.  I'm sure my 216-pound self would be ecstatic at the thought of dropping 20. 
Now, I am eagerly waiting for warmer temperatures and sunnier days which will put me in the right mindset to be a little more active.  In my mind's eye I can see Summer being a time I do some positive work, maybe getting the dog out for walks or just walking myself.  But sometimes I have to stop myself from thinking that way, from delaying what needs to be done.  Now that the sun is staying out later, I could go for walks after work.  It would be a great stress reliever.  The only sticky thing during the school year is that I get home around 5:30 and depending on how much homework my kids have, a good chunk of my night can be taken up helping with that.  But I can see that for the excuse that it is.  Priorities and compromises are a part of life.  I may have to give up a little geneology time at the end of the night in order to get a walk in.  Right now, it's been so cold out that it doesn't even sound inviting, but I'm sure when the temperatures get in the 40's and 50's I'll start to get in the spirit.  It is tough overcoming my dislike of winter.  Maybe some year I'll find a better mindset about it, but this wasn't the year. 
So that's about all that's new today.  I'm hoping these antibiotics kick in quickly so I can start feeling like my teeth are not disintegrating in my head, I'm happy that I am continuing to lose a little weight here and there, and I am looking forward to warmer days ahead.  How's your day going?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


This week I am making lemonade.  Figuratively, at least.  Over the weekend I finally stopped procrastinating and went to get a much-needed haircut.  Let me tell you about my seeminly incessant issues with getting a good haircut; I get it that I don't have the easiest cut, and inverted bob with an undercut, but this cut has gained popularity recently and even if it hadn't, a bob is a classical cut that any stylist worth their salt should be able to make happen.  I willl further grant that I usually put it off so long that I just end up going to a place that takes walk-ins.  Most places do take walk-ins.  You know who doesn't take walk-ins?  Places that know what they're doing. 
So I go to this place in an old mall, I've been there before and gotten a great cut.  It's a little pricier but I'm willing to pay it for a good cut.  I get another errand done while waiting for my turn, then as soon as I get back to the shop a man takes me back to start my shampoo.  He barely speaks and seems irritated or upset about something.  I try to make small talk, which he ignores and argues with a coworker who thinks he inappropriately booked appointments.  I feel a little stressed out just getting my shampoo done, but figure, the last few times they have not cut it as short as I want and it ends up feeling heavy and sloppy, so anything has to be better.  I show him the picture I've taken from Pinterest of the exact haircut I want, which is pretty close to what I've already been wearing, just a little shorter on the sides. 
Cute, right?  I always get a ton of compliments on my cut.  Let me tell you, this man took out all his frustration on my head!  I've never had a comb hurt me like that, as he carelessly slammed it into my head again and again.  Then the scissors.  Oh lord, the only word I have for what he did to me was "hacking".  He hacked the $#*t out of my hair, making short, choppy layers around my face and wierd uneven cuts to the back.  Thank all that is holy he at least did the shaved part with some control!  By the time this man was done assulting my head, I barely had any hair left on one side.  He didn't ask if I wanted assymetry (I did not) or which side I part my hair to (he got it wrong and now I have go against the way my hair is trained and try to get the longer hair and the choppy short face layers to stay pinned down on the opposite side, which happens to be the side I habitually use for the phone at work).  I whined to my husband over the weekend, that it was a total butch cut and I felt really UNfeminine.  As the weekend drew closer to the end I wondered if calling in sick for bad hair was a legit excuse.  But I mananged to go to work and suck it up.  I forced my hair to the "wrong side" and spiked it up in the back and gave it one little curl in just the right spot and I think it looks kind of cute anyway.  I am still going to let his supervisor know because if I were less patient and understanding, someone would have gotten totally chewed out already. 
So, my lemoade is that.  There are so many worse things in life than a bad haircut.  I am just really happy I have really cute glasses to make up for it.  And, luckily my hair grows pretty fast.  When I was thinking about how the last time someone cut layers by my face (which always ends up sticking out funny because of my glasses) it took more than a year for it to grow back out to the point where they blended into the cut how I wanted, I was really upset, but I reminded myself that there were many points along the way where I made it work and it still looked cute enough.  It's not cancer.  It's not a horrible car accident.  It's not a loved one being sick, it's freaking hair!  I still make it look pretty OK, and that is my lemonade. 
This month's ovulation is tougher than usual, making me have cravings and draining me of energy.  The Butterfinger mini's I got for my kids are talking to me from the high shelf in the cupboard, but I know I am only listening because they are there, not because I truly want them.  The desire for a Butterfinger did not come on it's own, but because it was in the house.  Any other sweet treat would have had the same pull. I haven't had any and don't plan to, but I noticed the cravings more, and it's been a while since I've had to deal with it.  I kept myself busy, and when I got hungry I munched on peanuts or nut butters, the extra fat helps me feel satisfied when I'm wanting sugars. 
So that is my brief, not-very-weight-related post.

Friday, March 10, 2017


Another lapse between posts, what's new, right?  Not a lot really, which is good.  Things are smooth and easy right now, at least where food is concerned, and I like that it's just easy.  We need something to be easy from time to time don't we?! 
I am not stressing out about food, and in being more relaxed I find that I don't want the foods I thought I wanted when I was restricting carbs.  It is so strange to me and seems backwards, but that is the truth.  There has been carmel and candy and cookies and chips in my house and I other than a couple palm-sized servings of chips, I haven't had any inner conflicts or desires to squash.  And maybe sometimes it comes down to, there are so much more important things in life to worry about than food!  Most of my life I wouldn't have believed it if someone said it because food took up a huge space in my life/mind/day.  I used to be so stressed about judging myself for what kinds of foods I was eating, evaluating if I was good or bad depending on whether the food I was eating was good or bad.  Maybe I just don't have patience for that anymore.  And while my "diet brain" tries to creep back in from time to time, I think my last experience with restricting was a valuable lesson that strengthened my understanding that restricting actually works against me in the long run. 
So I'm back on an even keel with food.  I have allowed the caffeine to slowly creep back in, though I do switch between soda and iced-tea at work instead of just having all soda.  I am OK with it, it feels like a treat and when I take it away, instead of feeling like making a healthy choice it feels like restriction and then my little rebellion-brain shows it's colors. 
I haven't been exercising either.  That's just plain laziness, there's no other way to say it.  I enjoy it when I do it, but the actually thought of exerting's not my strong point or I'd already be fit. I do think that warmer weather and the days staying brighter longer will help, and I think about getting my dog out for a real walk after work for exercise and to relieve the stress of my work day.  It has been pretty cold lately though, and I am just lazy so I bring him around the complex. 
Where is the motivation?  I have been able to be pretty motivated by my doctor in the past.  I have always been a little nervous of being scolded by any doctor, (because I have been in the past) for being overweight.  I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol in 2008, and when I saw a new doctor, instead of making me feel bad, he wrote me out a "prescription" on his pad and it said, "South Beach Diet or the Zone Diet"  When I finally stopped rebelling against him telling me I am fat, I follwed his advice and lost some weight and dramatically improved my numbers by following South Beach Diet.  I wanted to impress him because I knew I'd be facing him in another couple months, so I did good and he was pleased.  It has been a roller coaster since then, but I do seek the approval of my doctors.  I will be due for another physical exam in December, which seems so far away right now, but really it's only a little more than 8 months away.  While most of the health measures taken last year were good/fine, I do want to improve my HDC (good cholesterol) and my blood sugars, that's my goal for my next exam.  Is it strong enough to motivate me to exercise?  We'll see.  I make no promises!  I think in the past I was also very motivated by my appearance changing, but in the end, that was not a strong enough motivator to keep me from eating junk when I was stressed or sad. 
So it seems that I have some invisible limit, the amount I can handle at one time while still commiting to something successfully.  I can be OK with food but struggle to exercise.  I can cut down on caffeine but have a hard time with food cravings.  I can exercise but then I want to eat everything in sight.  I used to get down on myself and think I am being weak, babying myself but now I know, for many many things in life, picking our battles is the only way to make things work.  For me, for now, low-carb, non-stressful eating, allowing caffeine and very little exercise is what is working.  It's just enough control to make me stay sane but not so much that I want to rebel.  I did discover recently, that I've been crossing my legs more often and then it dawned on me that it is not a challenge at all.  They cross.  Like normal people, not with me having to hold them or force them.  That was one of the things I was looking forward to when I started this, it was one of the things I missed when I fell off the wagon, and it is delightfully, wonderfully, back.  I didn't have to kill myself or diet hardcore, I didn't restrict or rely on willpower.  I just relaxed.  And it feels good.  That is all.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Here's to things that don't Suck

Well, there goes another weekend!  What weekend, right?  Mine was very underproductive.  How underproductive you ask?  I didn't even get my hair cut, which has been long and shaggy for a couple weeks now.  I don't know why I have such a tough time convincing myself to get it done on the weekends, but I procrastinate until I can't stand the sight or feel of it anymore, and then I finally get it cut.  I'm almost to that point. 
Other than the usual chores, laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, taking the dog out, I really did a whole lot of loafing and eating this weekend.  It's not even crazy-eating-day time (PMS for those who are new to my blog).  I just got this wild must-eat-food feeling while grocery shopping on Saturday and it just lasted all day Saturday and half of Sunday.  It ended with  me having some severe stomach cramps and discomfort which made me realize that giving into my bratty brain had a direct (negative) effect on my poor body. 
I had a general feeling of blah all weekend too.  I felt like a blog so I ate more, and eating more made me feel worse about myself.  The main difference now is, my "eating more" is a lot smaller than it once was because I simply can't fit as much in me.  For instance, when I got home from shopping Saturday, after eating a Luna bar on the drive home (that was actual hunger), I ate a couple handfuls of different assortments of chips, then two cookies and I was full to the point of not wanting to eat more.  I did eat more, before I was physically hungry, and I ended up feeling pretty bad, bloated and full, and mentally I felt bad too.  Even if I was eating less crap volume-wise, I was still eating crap when I wasn't hungry.  Not sure what that was about.  I have gotten out of the habit of examining why I am eating when I'm not hungry because for a long time it wasn't happening.  I was hoping it was just my hormones whacked out due to perimenopause, but who can tell.  Since it was accompanied by feeling "blah" I think maybe something else was going on.  It was like I didn't want to be seen or even talked to.  I was definitely hiding and numbing, though I can't say anything bad happened that I am consciously aware of.  I guess it's something I have to give more time and thought to. 
Today the weather was pretty nice for this time of year, and a little overcast, which I like.  There were so many birds out singing, I decided to take a walk before work.  I walked about 2 and 1/2 miles.  I had to walk faster than I normally would in order to stay warm because I underestimated the wind, but it was a good walk.  I thought about the weekend and how I'd felt a little down, and I realized that I had done nothing to make myself look or feel good.  I didn't get any fresh air or exercise, didn't do my hair or wear something flattering, I just hung out in my same old comfy clothes and threw my hair back.  While I'm not one to be super high-maintenance, I do notice how caring how I look and caring how I treat my body go hand-in-hand, so when I start not caring how I look, it's usually pretty certain I am also not eating healthy or exercising.  It is what it is at the moment, but the whole thing makes me feel worse about myself.  So today, going for the walk wasn't about getting skinny or torching a bunch of calories, it was to try and kickstart myself back into caring about myself enough to make an effort.  How easily we slip off what we once felt was secure.  I think the restriction of the keto thing really messed with me and made me go off the deep end once I reached a point of fed-up.  It compounded the stress I was already having and put me back into "good food, bad food" mode.  It made me feel shameful for eating a handful of tortilla chips or a couple cookies.  And while the weekend wasn't a full-on binge, it was an unneccesary caloric consumption in the hopes of soothing something that I didn't want to delve into at the time. 
I feel better today, the walk helped my mood and it helped me not want to put more junk in my mouth today.  I am eating sane again.  It also helped that the horrible stomach pain I had yesterday turned out to be a side effect of eating all those carbs/junk so I wanted nothing to do with it today.  And I do want to be able to walk up those stairs at some point, and not be self-conscious that I am huffing and puffing a little bit. 
So I'd like to think I am back on track in a good direction.  I am making a point to eat on purpose and not just be swept away at the thought of food and just start shoveling things in because they are near and look tasty.  On the other hand, I think I need to return to the mentality that I can have whatever I want whenever I want it, so that I don't feel the draw of certain foods.  I ate way less of the counter-productive stuff when I was on a free and open mindset compared to when I am trying to restrict carbs or eliminate soda. 
I've been having strange dreams lately, maybe I need to pay closer attention to them, maybe there's a message there.  Maybe they are telling me I need to stretch more (I do) and strength train (I do) and not take life so seriously.  Amen to that!  It's a delicate balance between too much freedom/restriction and not enough, but taking everything so seriously makes it so much less enjoyable.  And for something to be sustainable long-term, it has to not suck, right?  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  At least I can stick to something. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Decisions and Goals

I don't want to jinx anything but my work has been much more sane the past couple days.  What a gift it's been to be able to get caught up on things and clear some of the clutter both literally and figuratively! 
Yesterday I woke up feeling refreshed and happy and even started thinking of new ideas for displays for the salesfloor at work.  I was right when I said having a little bit of peace in my head would help with other areas, I didn't even think about food in a longing way.  I did have a mini bag of Skinny Girl hint of lime popcorn and it was really good, way less salt and grease than typical micowave popcorn. 
Yesterday was a getting-things-done kind of day for me.  I rescheduled two upcoming appointments and made a new appointment for myself, one that took some courage, with an endodontist.  My dentist referred me to him to do a root canal on my molar that cracked.  I was initially considering just having it pulled because I was thinking it would be less hassel, but I was never fully happy with the thought of doing that.  So after researching a little bit on-line I made the command decision that I was going to try and save the tooth.  I am worth it; I'm worth the time off that I'll be asking for (because I might also need a different specialist to reshape my gums in that area in order to have the crown fit right) and I am worth the extra money it will cost. I'd rather put this effort and financial investment in now than live 40 more years with that tooth gone.  Just making that decision and setting up the appointment made me feel better.  I sure will be glad when all my dental issues are fixed and I can just maintain.
I have also been making a little time to just sit in peace.  I let it envelope me and try to get my thoughts focused on how quiet it is.  I've been lucky to have some quiet time to appreciate the past couple nights.  I did come up with an idea though, that when I get to my car after work at night, I can use the time that it takes to warm my car up, to sit quietly and enjoy the peace as a way of creating a mental separation between where I am leaving and where I am going.  I can do the same thing when I get to work, before getting out of my car, because mornings are stressful trying to get my kids ready and to the bus on time.  So maybe making a practice of "separating the stresses" will give me some grounding in between, enough to help keep my head on straight. 
So I have been thinking about focus and goals, since an arbitrary number on the scale isn't really driving me right now, and I came up with one.  At the clinic where I work, my office is in the basement, which means that I occassionally have to trudge upstairs for something.  There are 23 stairs from the basement to the main floor and by the time I get to the top, most days I am huffing pretty good.  And if I have to go up more than one flight?  Don't ask!  Yes, we have an elevator, but I always feel silly using it since my legs are fine, I'm just overweight.  So, my goal is to get to a point where walking up that one flight of 23 stairs is breezy and I'm not breathing harder.  The only way to make that happen is cardio.  I have been totally slacking on it.  I've been super lazy for too long and I think setting a goal might help.  I am interested how long it will take to acheive.  I go up those stairs at least every Monday and Tuesday night so I will be able to measure on a weekly basis, though I don't know if I will.  Maybe to make it easier to assess I'll take my pulse. 
There it is, a new goal, no scale or bathing suit involved.  Here goes nothing!