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On to Plan B

Friday, July 18, 2014

I worked with a dear friend who was so good at turning a frown upside down. It was a big trip on the rail cars so we brought him in to be chef and I served as his sous chef along with my on board services management duties.

It was one of those trips when the challenges occurred at an ever increasing rate. This was not uncommon on these trips. Using vintage rail equipment comes with almost guaranteed mechanical issues and schedules are seemingly merely suggestions. While prepping for the first breakfast of the trip, I had gone to another car to pull something from a freezer. When I opened the freezer it seemed as though things were not frozen hard, I could hear it running and didn't have time to investigate thoroughly at that moment and thought that perhaps the bartender had been in the freezer looking for ice and hadn't closed the latch tightly. I closed the box and made a mental note to come back as soon as possible to check on it. As it happened, on my return to the kitchen I was working in, my husband stepped in having the dining room ready for business and a few minutes to spare. I asked him to go to the other car with his temp gun and see what he could see....Sure....you already guess it, the freezer wasn't working right, low on refrigerant or something and it was functioning as a simple icebox, holding what cold it could since it was filled solid with frozen food......food that was fast working toward un-frozen. Time to start breakfast service so I assigned two of the other crew members to go pull all the meat out of that freezer and haul it to other cars and other freezers (this of course meant that food is totally scattered among the cars and every prep job was an adventure.) I also had them note those things where the thawing was advanced and bring those things to our refrigerator in the dining/kitchen car. After breakfast service was completed and lunch prep begun, my friend and I sat down with the week's menus to discuss what needed to be used first. This sequence seemed to be repeated over and over again when air conditioning failed and we decided to create lighter meals than had been planned, and of course the refrigeration and freezer issues were found to be a recurrent theme. Days when we were supposed to be tied up over night with passengers supposedly free to eat out on their own never happened. Joey and I would sit down to come up with another plan. Every time we sat down to plan, Joey would say...." where are we...Plan F or are we plan S?" or something equally amusing as we worked our way all the way through the alphabet.

I've been thinking about my pal as I have been needing to move through my own alphabet of plans.

I had been doing the 28 day bootcamp DVD and trying to keep very closely to the subscribed plan. I got 2/3 of the way through the program before I felt that maybe I needed to make some adjustments for my personal age, abilities and needs.

Of course, I first was feeling disappointment at what seemed to be failure on my part. I reasoned with myself that Coach Nicole always encourages a person to do what they can do well and stay at a level if that is right, but it still seemed as though I should push on. I did for a while and continued with my fairly intense cardio routine, but encountered a day when I had to admit I might be over training.

I took a day off. Got back on schedule and again was having a rough time. Another day off, then a day when life got in the way and now I was two days off. I went for a scheduled run and had a lot of breathing difficulty. Was another allergen making an appearance? I had backed off of some of my allergy meds when I thought the worst of the allergy season had passed. I had neglected to take my inhaler with me and my run became driven by heart rate and pulmonary function. As I struggled through the run, I mentally questioned if I had forgotten a dose of my medication for my heart rhythm. I take this med every other day and though I usually portion out two weeks of meds at a time to insure that I don't forget, it sometimes happens. But no, I shouldn't have gotten off schedule. It doesn't feel as though I'm having rhythm issues and usually if I do, my HR reads lower than it is rather than running high. Do I perhaps need to increase my meds to a daily dose? Is something else going on?

Or, is it just one of those runs? And do I really need to re-think my exercise regime?

After the run, I take my BP and continue to check my BP and pulse intermittently over the course of the next couple days. I check the allergy index and Yikes! the mold count is very high...a known allergen for me, guess I need to go back on the other meds. sigh. And I continue to think about plans C,D,E,F................LOL.

Yesterday's run was much better with the additional allergy meds. I didn't note any rhythm issues over the last several days and with the exception of the day when I struggled with my allergies, my BP is consistently far too low to increase those meds anyway, so good thing. I am left with the conclusion that I need to pursue a less aggressive ST program considering my unique cardiovascular situation.

Go with the flow...........on to plan B!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANET552 7/19/2014 7:56PM

    Ah, all reasoned out. Good for you and I hope you find the Plan that is made for you.

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MNTWINSGAL 7/19/2014 1:41PM

    I agree with our SparkSisters who think you're a smart cookie to figure these things out. You know your body well, and I know you will figure out what's best in the long run. (har-har...get it?) But don't feel like a failure if you abandon your latest goal -- after all, it's not worth risking your health for. You'll come up with an even greater plan, even if it's necessary to get to plan Z and then start over at AA, BB, etc.

And I loved glimpsing into your life working on the railroad too!

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WASCALLYWONE 7/19/2014 1:03PM

    Wow! I didn't know you had all THAT going on. And yet you go on. And on, and on. Donna, you have perhaps prescribed your regime for the long term. As Cat said, you are a smart girl!

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CATANTIGO 7/19/2014 8:34AM

    You're just so smart. I'm glad you got it all figured out.

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A Monster Lurks...............

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

It's early morning. As I walk through the kitchen this morning I am filled with dread. I know, based on many other mornings, that a monster lurks in my home.

I approach with caution. Tentatively nudge the sleeping beast with my toe and it comes to life. Sigh.... Carefully, and most warily I step onto the back of the beast....hold my breath....Eeeeeeeek!!!!!!!!!!!!! There it is! The monster snarls.....and I crumble.........
You guessed it...the monster is an innocent appearing glass platform that sits silently until I coax it to tell me what I don't want to hear. It is my scale.


And then......................................

I realize that the monster is not that innocent glass platform.

The monster is in my mind. The negative thoughts and verbal self abuse are the real monsters. They contrive to cut me to the core. If I allow it to happen I could soon be driven to cower in the corner, ready to give up.

Luckily, I have fought this monster before. I know the weapons I need to engage.

Take that! You will NOT make me think in these negative terms! I can kick those thoughts aside with positive words and I have a team of dragon slayers who are fighting the same brave battle. We will conquer the monsters with the might of united effort.

I've drawn my sword..............monsters beware!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 7/13/2014 7:35PM

    The scale is a forlorn character, maligned, loved or hated but it just tells us the truth-what we weigh. Now that number is affected by many different factors-but the numbers are that. Take the tape measure, it too is rife with numbers we can use them as a tool or worry about what it reports. I'll use it as a tool to help me stick to my program-when I'm sticking and understand that it's not the scale or the tape measure it's my failure to stick with "my program". I'm not to beat myself up, just pick myself up and try again...
Yep we all have struggled with negative thoughts and reactions and we all have to work at keeping that MONSTER out of our lives.
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JANET552 7/12/2014 11:10AM

    Clever girl!! You own that scale in more ways than one.

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CATANTIGO 7/12/2014 8:44AM

    It's only a tool. It's only a tool. Just keep saying it. And remember those shorts.

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WASCALLYWONE 7/11/2014 12:10PM

    What creative writing! And the message is clear: Your monster lurks in your mind, behind the seemingly benign knowledge that you are smarter than it is. Would wine help? (Are you drinking all your water everyday?)

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PATRICIA4472 7/10/2014 6:47AM

    I'll remember this blog the next time I step on the scale! Take that, negative thinking!! emoticon

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DEBBIECK 7/9/2014 2:33PM

    Well done, milady! You have slayed the beast!

Now on to a positive celebration of self :)

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TERI-RIFIC 7/9/2014 12:32PM

    emoticon Very insightful. The scale is just a tool and you can decide how to use it.

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BRAINBENTT 7/9/2014 10:09AM


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Wednesday, July 02, 2014

We can leave the past behind us but the past will not leave us...Robert Timmens, Larkrise.

Every month I set goals for myself. This month I have decided to spend time each day working on forgiveness.

Starting with myself, as we can only forgive others if we first forgive ourselves.

Forgive myself for being human with faults and strengths. For mistakes I have made and those I will continue to make. Forgiveness for those things I have done with intent and those things I never meant to do.

I will also give thought to forgiving my parents for their human frailties. I loved my parents and I miss them every day in many ways. My parents were not perfect, they did the very best they could given who they were and what their circumstances were. Did my parents fail at times in the job of nurturing or guiding me and my siblings? Perhaps, but everything they did was done in love with the best of intentions in a world that looked at families and parenting in a much different way than today.

I will also give thought to forgiving my siblings for hurts I have felt with and without intent on their part. I understand that my own being has always been a part of any interaction with my brother and sisters and my perceptions are/have been at the heart of how I received those interactions. They are also human and in so being have not always been without their own frailties.

I will spend some time every day thinking about the many other contacts in my life who need and deserve my forgiveness.

I have no expectation that this forgiveness will change anyone except myself. Peace from within. And should I be able to accomplish this, I know I will have given myself a great gift.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANET552 7/3/2014 11:34AM

    This is such an excellent goal. There are things that are hard to forgive and yet we need to move past them for our own peace of mind. I wish you tons of success in achieving the goal(s) you've set for yourself this month.

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GINIEMIE 7/3/2014 10:21AM

    Hey Donna,
We should have expectations that our efforts will bear fruit, we may not know all the ramifications but if we get inner peace we have a great gift.
I spent Lent this spring working on Forgiveness. I chose to use "EVERYBODY NEEDS TO FORGIVE SOMEBODY" one of the books our church was encouraging us to use during the Lenten season. It is by Allen R. Hunt. I found the stories in it helpful and since forgiveness sometimes has to be done more than once not so much for the one forgiven as the person forgiving, as we humans with our frailties want to grab back the hurts and the hurtful memories.
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CATANTIGO 7/3/2014 8:29AM

    I think this is a bigger challenge than what it appears. We are truly a product of all our past feelings. And forgiving is such a hard thing to define since it is truly something for ourself. And it's natural to feel selfish when doing something just for us. But definitely an important exercise in being our best.

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ONMYMEDS 7/3/2014 7:31AM


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DEBBIECK 7/2/2014 9:18PM

    A worthy goal:) Although I take issue with the beginning of your last paragraph. Just as our reactions and perceptions are our own to forgive, by doing so we change the reactions and perceptions of others. Your peace from within will shine out and touch those you love.

Be kind to yourself.

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Stop That!

Saturday, June 28, 2014


In a blink of an eye, a good day can go bad or a bad day can go good. More often than not the impetus for change is an emotion.

The other day, while taking a walk, one of those stupid exchanges happened between my husband and myself. I had been talking about a book I am reading, something another person asked me to read as it relates to the lake and our efforts to maintain it's health and beauty. I found the writing style of the author annoying at times which made reading this book tedious but nearly done the other day, I was sharing some of the insights and my feelings and opinions of the content and the style. As an aside, related to the subject matter, I also spoke of some of our lake residents and their actions over the years.

Now, I am a verbal individual. My husband is not so much. I know that but he also is my best friend and also the one who is always there to be my sounding board....sometimes, against his wishes.

As I spoke, he started to have that demeanor that should have warned me that he was not in the mood for my conversation. But I persisted. sigh

Finally he said something in the line of "that's enough".

My reaction? Anger. No, I'm insulted. No, it's really hurt.

When I settled my mind ever so slightly, I said "Ok, what do you want to talk about?" To which he answered "Nothing! You keep talking and you drive me over the edge!"

That helped with my emotions! Now I really am hurt. He wasn't tired of listening to me go on and on about the topic but he was tired of hearing me talk at all!

Now I share this, and I apologize for sharing, simply to demonstrate how emotions flare and in a split second everything seems to change. It was a totally stupid exchange and my reaction....over reaction, was equally stupid. Look, we've been married for 42 years and together long before that. We've had this same argument before and we also have continues to enjoy our conversations and our roles as sounding boards for each other....most of the time. LOL

I can proudly report that my coping mechanism when my emotions flared was to speed up my walking (he hates when I walk ahead of him telling me I always walk too fast) not to anger him, but to work of the steam and since we weren't going to talk to each other I may as well walk alone. Yeah, a bit childish I know, but a quick pace helped to move me past anger, hurt and insult to normalcy by the time I got home.

Action is the antithesis of emotions.....at least it can be.

Why am I thinking or talking about this this morning?

Well, I finished the book that got me stirred up in the first place this morning and then as I headed to the necessary room and my bathroom scale, I was again blasted with an emotional burst.

Groannnnnnnnnnnnn......another day with no weight loss posted. WHY!!! I'm angry! No, I'm insulted! I've been working so hard and I'm hurt to think that all that effort hasn't produced ANY results!


Ok, big glass of water. Walk around the house quietly while thinking about this.

First, it's not about the weight really....well, yeah it is but it's more about fitting into those shorts that got too tight and being fit and energized.

The shorts are still tight but not so tight that they can't be worn.

My last run was actually faster than the last time I had done that route. My last long run was completed much more easily than I expected. I have moments of feeling energized along with moments of unreasonable fatigue which I attribute to the heat humidity and continued allergies.

Finally, write this diary of emotional thoughts...my action to blow off the steam.

In the blink of an eye, I feel better now. sigh

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SABLEFYRE 7/2/2014 10:51AM

    You are an example to all of us. I'm glad you were able to work through your emotions in a healthy way, and remind yourself that not all evidence of progress is gained through the scale. emoticon

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JANET552 7/2/2014 10:35AM

    I had to chuckle over your tiff with Steve. I chuckled because John and I are the same only I'm the quiet one. Sometimes I just want quiet but John loves to talk. When I get up in the middle of the night to use the BR, he comes and talks and talks so I often am too wakened to go back to sleep. Opposites do attract. I suppose two talkers would never listen and two listeners would never talk.

I'm proud of you for not eating those feelings from the argument or from the scale. That alone is reason to celebrate. You'll fit in those shorts. I just know you will.

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PAYLAY1 7/1/2014 7:17PM

    Why do so many outspoken women marry men that are quiet? I have done the same. So much better to walk faster and workout feelings then eating them! emoticon

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WASCALLYWONE 7/1/2014 7:16AM

    My take-away from your story? You are honest, you have emotions, you have the strength to "carry on!" LOL! I can't count the number of times, lately, I've had to say to Dave: "You weren't listening to me, AGAIN." On the other thumb (Janet reference) --love that your running is a positive for you. Hope today is brighter!! emoticon emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 7/1/2014 12:00AM

    Boy, does this ring true for most of us and our SO's, or what? Although I might have allowed my hurt to escalate into a full-blown argument. I can learn from you, my friend!

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CATANTIGO 6/29/2014 8:30AM

    Thank you for sharing such private feelings. I'm glad you were able to walk off the hurt and not start eating. Those shorts WILL fit, but just not meant to today.

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DEBBIECK 6/28/2014 6:53PM

    Are you SURE we aren't related??????

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Friday, June 20, 2014

I decided this morning after reading a friend's blog post on intuitive eating that I should make all my bites today a creative effort so that my dining satisfaction starts during the prep and continues through the appreciation of the appearance, aroma and taste.

Thanks Janet for giving rise to this thought.

Of course my first meal which happened to be fresh strawberries stirred into Greek yogurt wasn't very creative nor did it require any artistic cooking ability. LOL It was visually appealing in the pink creamy result and tasty as always. Many times when I stir fruit into yogurt I also add a sprinkling of sliced almonds or granola but I had awakened at 2 AM with a dry throat that water didn't relieve (a gift from my allergies) so I had some fresh diced pineapple. I didn't want to add additional calories to my breakfast and I know that all this fresh fruit supplies me with some fiber and balance of carbs.

It's a gloomy day here and when I asked my husband if there was something he would like to eat today he quickly replied "meatloaf!" He said he was dreaming of meatloaf. LOL Now, I won't let my vanity be crushed that his dreams were filled with my meatloaf instead of me, since I know it's MY meatloaf he craves. LOL

So, I have him retrieve the ground beef, turkey breast and breakfast sausage from the freezer. I need to thaw the meats in the microwave and while that is being accomplished, I start to dice some yellow, orange and red peppers. This where the zen begins. The simple act of cutting these beautiful colored peppers into first strips and then small dice is like a meditation for me. When I move that to the outer corner of the cutting board and switch to mincing some onion, I add aroma to the pleasure factor.

Mixing the thawed meats with the oats, egg white and my own seasoned bread crumbs and these prepared vegetables and herbs is a tactile exercise. There's something about digging in with my hands and massaging it all together into a cohesive melange that is very satisfying.

The meatloaf is in the oven. The house is fragrant with the aromas of this blend as well as some herbed garlic toasts that I multi tasked since the oven was going and there were dinner rolls I wished to use up.

When it comes to plating this lunch, there may not be much artful presentation. It is meatloaf after all! A most humble offering. I'll serve it with a blend of green & wax beans with carrots which will be a nice color accent. Potatoes will provide the starch.

The art of this meal is in the zen of preparation and it is true, I am already feeling some satisfaction. LOL

My scale was again up a little this morning. As I mentally review the possibilities for this, I come to the conclusion that my elliptical session yesterday may be the culprit since my legs are telling me I followed a harder program yesterday.

Ah, the value of using a pair of shorts or slacks to monitor progress!

Before I dressed for the day, I pulled out those too tight shorts and gave them a try.

I "could actually" wear them though they still are tighter than I would like. I suspect if I walked out into the other room, my husband would say, "Those are a little tight, aren't they?" He doesn't make comments like that often or in a hurtful way but rather as a full length mirror. A little like my " That blue shirt would look better with that" comment that I might make as we prepare to go out. In this case, I had already looked in my full length mirror from all angles and didn't need to look for his critique. I KNOW they're still a bit too tight but scale aside, they are less tight than they were a couple weeks ago. OK, progress.

Half the day is nearly elapsed and what have I done to show for it? If it's exercise I've logged....NOT MUCH. But life is made up of many things, exercise is only part of the picture. However, that being said, I need to get up and get moving!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAYLAY1 7/1/2014 7:29PM

    Loved the Zen of meatloaf, makes me want to cook one. Janet's blog on mindful eating also got me thinking. My new goal is mindful eating. Life is too fast not to appreciate the small things and feeding ourselves and our family is so important.

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MNTWINSGAL 6/23/2014 1:49AM

    I loved reading this blog, Donna. You really have found your zen in the kitchen and listening to you describing your actions is relaxing for me as well. Who knew??

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JANET552 6/21/2014 10:49AM

    Thanks for taking us along for your meditative meatloaf. It is filling just to listen (or read in this case). Congrats on the shorts!!

I have been reading Prevention magazine lately and the theme across issues seems to be to take things more slowly. They've praised the value of yoga in weight loss and most recently talked about the effect stress (read cortisol) has on our abdominal fat (which is harder to get rid of as we age). I think way too often we (or is it just me) rush here and there doing this and that and forget that it isn't just about the end result. Time to move more slowly just for the enjoyment!!

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PATRICIA4472 6/21/2014 7:33AM

    Meditative Meatloaf.... Great blog and a good reminder. Now I have to go read Janet's blog!

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GINIEMIE 6/20/2014 3:56PM

    Intuitive eating started this process! I read Janet's blog and realized that I need to plan ahead that relying on my intuition helping me spin wheels when I want to walk my behind off.
I love meatloaf, but couldn't eat yours-sorry Donna, but I don't eat green peppers and the others in very small doses. They hate me, not me them. I used to be able to eat a whole green pepper raw or cooked-now I'll be sick for a day or two. I do love meatloaf though.
Glad the shorts are starting to fit better. You're getting there.
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WASCALLYWONE 6/20/2014 2:51PM

    You are a sculptor, massaging that meat mixture, and an artist, combining all those colors for your meal. Wish I were close enough to drop in for lunch!

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CATANTIGO 6/20/2014 2:24PM

    Thank you for letting me enjoy making your meatloaf with you. I can smell it from here. emoticon

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DEBBIECK 6/20/2014 1:42PM

    Donna, the process you are talking about is exactly what I teach in my classes! I have long believed that the process is as important as the consumption:). My daughter and I will pour a little wine, turn on some music and simply enjoy the process. I often find I am not as hungry when it is time to eat because I have fed my other senses:). Great post!

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