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The kitty-toy shopping mall...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You and I know it by another name: it's called a Christmas tree. But my kitties think of it as a toy shopping mall. It is under construction in my living room. After they knocked off the first three ornaments, I have made some decisions about which precious ones are NOT going on the tree this year.

If it's wood, acrylic, or metal, it's probably OK. Worst they can do is bring down the tree on their heads. But those pretty little crystal angels? Not likely!

The goofy snowman cookie jar that started its life in my household as a white elephant gag gift is out on display, having grown into a family tradition. The nativity set as well.

Have a wonderful Sunday, all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 11/28/2011 9:37AM

    emoticonI LOVE the Snowman Cookie Jar. I think at my house he would be out on display all year.
emoticonWe stopped having a Christmas Tree after we got cats. Even if they didn't break anything, they did 'undecorate' the tree on a daily basis. Plus the youngest kitten climbed the tree, stepped over onto the recessed lighting shelf near our living room ceiling and could not figure out how to get back down. DH had to get a ladder and go up there after the silly thing because he kept sitting at the edge howling and crying, LOL!!

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KARIDIAN1 11/27/2011 9:30PM

    You are brave. After one tree 35 years ago and antique ornaments destroyed by both our cat and dog that was the last tree we ever had.

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WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 7:02PM

    My Christmas decorations will go up as usual 1 week before Christmas at the earliest and come down New Year's Day . . . not unusual for a Canadian, but judging from what I' reading here on SP, the "up for Thanksgiving" pattern seems to be pretty typical of the American approach! And certainly there are Canadians who are more holiday oriented than I am, so it's also just a bit more of my general lack of domesticity probably.

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KNITLEIGH 11/27/2011 4:50PM

    I remember the first Christmas after I was married. The cat climbed the tree in the middle of the night and tipped it over. We had some company so my husband and I were sleeping on a mattress on the living room floor! What fun! Your snowman is so adorable!

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MNTWINSGAL 11/27/2011 2:54PM

    I'm decorating today too....a little behind schedule, as I like to have it completed by Thanksgiving weekend, and I'm far from that point. But I so love the holidays and don't want to rush through it. We do a white elephant exchange too...I'm busy looking through my treasures to see if there's anything I'm done with!

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MSLZZY 11/27/2011 11:58AM

    Love that snowman jar! What would life be without kitties undecorating the tree?

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_LINDA 11/27/2011 11:45AM

    Too cute!! Getting in the spirit of Christmas! We don't bother with a tree usually. I imagine Mom's cat would be very interested if we did put one up. Wouldn't be able to use icicles on it that is for sure.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/27/2011 11:43AM

    Our cat, Lloyd, is having a ball with the tree, too. I always place the ones I won't mind losing at the bottom for him to play with. Luckily that seems to work, as they never break. Thankfully, he doesn't clime up into the tree like our other (fat) cat did.

Love the snowman -- so ugly he's cute!

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It's got to be the best workout of the year...

Friday, November 25, 2011

You know the one. The one you couldn't wait to get to! The one AFTER the big holiday... or AFTER a vacation.

Truth to tell, I skipped several workouts earlier in the week, getting things wrapped up and ready for the holiday. So this morning, after dropping off the recyclables at the center... the gym is "right next door"... I went and found my fellow gym-rats doing the same thing.

I had no clue what kind of workout I was going to do: swim, bike, jog/walk? Nope, the card with the trainer's "programme" called me... and after a ten minute warm up on the elliptical, I pumped iron, pulled cables, and stretched elastic bands to her specifications. I sweated and grinned, and felt quite pleased with myself. And regained some confidence that I have NOT given up on myself, just because I took a few days of "reverses."

Yes, the scale is above what I'd like it to be in maintenance. Yes, the size 4 pants from last Spring are definitely NOT fitting well right now. But if I can keep on keeping on, they will again conform to my new normal.

Because I am a person who can be modest in a gym towel... that was my giggle point for today... this would not have been true 75 pounds ago. We can do this, Spark buddies. And we shall. Because we're worth it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 11/26/2011 2:08AM

    Thatīs the spirit! Loved he part of being modest in a towel...I am most certainly NOT!

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KARIDIAN1 11/26/2011 1:06AM

    Sounds like a great workout and day.

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WATERMELLEN 11/25/2011 8:26PM

    You have not given up on yourself.

And I know exactly what you mean about that "modest gym towel": so nice that they wrap all the way around!!

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COMPUCATHY 11/25/2011 7:17PM

    It's so true. The holidays and days off make us take an assessment and question whether we can do this and get back on track. We can! I've been thinking about that a lot today. I'm digesting the resume C25K...and I AM looking forward to it! I have been really sweaty for over a week and I miss it. And my spirits could use the lift, too. Can't wait! Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! TGIF! Have a great weekend! Spark on! emoticon

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GOHUSKERS2 11/25/2011 6:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/25/2011 5:08PM

You're not the only weight lifter to ever fall off the wagon. The key isn't that you fell off; it's that you climbed back on!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/25/2011 1:20PM

    Way to go, Barb! I missed my elliptical yesterday because it's in my son's room and he's home and was sleeping in. So I put on my shoes and took a nice walk. My hip didn't like it, but I sure enjoyed it. How easily we forget how much we enjoy something when we don't do it for a while. I was back up on the elliptical again today and, like you, felt really good to be back "home."

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_LINDA 11/25/2011 1:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I envy your lively workout!! I didn't eat heavy, carefully keeping in the range of no exercise calories -but personally, I rather eat a bit more as I really miss my ground pounding, heart thumping workouts!!
Keep up that momentum!

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MSLZZY 11/25/2011 11:57AM

    emoticon emoticonYes, we are worth it! HUGS!

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Toddler Barbie goes to Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I have long maintained that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is not wrapped up in expectations of gift-giving. It is wrapped up in gratitude for what we already have!

But there is a part of me, looking back at yesterday's entry, who wonders about how the demon comes out this time of year. Mary (CookMe123) gave me great advice about taking on the role of the compassionate observer and seeing what the little girl inside me is missing in all of this!

Well! Some of you already have been introduced to "Toddler Barbie", my inner child. She wears patent leather shoes, lacy socks, a red velvet dress with a lace pinafore. Her hair is done up in red-gold curls, a-la-Shirley Temple. Believe it or not, this is how I see her. The red-gold curls match what my Aunt and her step-mother in law did with my hair when I was four years old. Which is the age I think of her being.

She is a wilful little cuss. Greedy? You betcha! She never wants to stop doing what she's doing to go do what Mom says we need to do now. She's having too much fun. And somehow, she knows there will never be enough. She has to have it ALL... all the attention. All the love. All the toys. All the food. But, she is afraid to ask for anything, because all the grownups around her tell her this is BAD.

Toddler Barbie both seeks attention and shuns it. Toddler Barbie wants to be good, and wants to be known for being good. But that often means not getting what she wants, giving it up for someone else, because their needs have to come first... that's what "being good" is all about! And when it brings attention, she feels guilty at the same time as feeling she deserves the merit. Toddler Barbie is one messed up little girl. emoticon But isn't she charming?

The funny thing about Toddler Barbie is that once she sucks it up and does what mommy says she needs to do... she feels virtuous and right with the world and her Maker. She has won over the wilfulness. But sometimes it takes a tantrum to get to doing what mommy said.

Yesterday's blog was about the tantrum. Today's blog is about how good Thanksgiving feels... now that the table's being set and memories attend each preparation step. Procrastination is over. The real grateful in your heart recognition of the season has begun.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sparkfriends! Inner children and outer ones... may your day be filled with memories... old ones, and new ones in the making... and especially memories of gratitude. Without each day of our lives, good and bad... would we be us?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 6:54PM

    Oh, yes: you've got me thinking about Toddler Ellie for sure!!

And: love your brother's "weigh in" -- how nice for you to have family members here too!

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MJMONE 11/25/2011 9:03AM

    Hope you have/had a terrific thanksgiving!!


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SUNNY1432 11/24/2011 8:03PM

    I hope you and your inner child had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDI571 11/24/2011 8:03PM

    It's funny, I never thought I had a Toddler Barbie in me, but as I read this, I could see her peaking around. Very insightful.

I also liked the idea of Thanksgiving being not being wrapped up in gift giving. Just lots of love, fun and laughter.

Words of wisdom Barb. emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/24/2011 5:06PM

    I was too young to remember 4 year old Toddler Barbie, but I remember an older Young Barbie.

I remember Young Barbie always being disgustingly thankful at Thanksgiving, regardless of what was really going on. I never felt that way, and found Young Barbie kind of annoying at times. But life goes on, life changes, and people change.

A few decades later, I realize that Young Barbie, and her older counterparts who continued to be that way at Thanksgiving, were right. There is so much to be thankful for that it can't all be listed, and life is much better when I have an attitude of thankfulness.

I have no traditional family Thanksgiving dinner this year. I have no large list of guests, and I am not a guest at anyone else's Thanksgiving dinner. What I did have was several hours with my daughter, before and after running a 10K. We both had the post-race fare, and I was able to feed her a salad before she left to continue with her own life. She talked a bit about learning to run, and entering the Race with Grace next Thanksgiving. She can't do most road races, because she works weekends.

I think it is likely that the talk of running is just talk, but it warms my heart. It shows that she respects me and thinks about being like me. But she could surprise me, and it's possible we could enter as a father-daughter team next year.

I don't have much family locally; my daughter is it. But she's turned out far better than I expected, and far better than I deserve. For this, I am very thankful.

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LJCANNON 11/24/2011 3:42PM

    emoticonVery good insight!! Thank You!!

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KARIDIAN1 11/24/2011 2:38PM

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Allow Toddler Barbie to come out every so often to play and vent for you.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/24/2011 11:24AM

    Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving, Barb! So glad you were able to get in touch with (and make peace?) with Toddler Barbie. Enjoy the day today with family!

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DEBRITA01 11/24/2011 8:29AM

    You have a good understanding of your self. Use that information to go into this Thanksgiving ready to enjoy it with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving...Life is Good!

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MSLZZY 11/24/2011 8:28AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Have a great day!

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_LINDA 11/24/2011 8:21AM

    Interesting concept! Thanksgiving is a great non greedy holiday. I am thankful for all my Spark friends who have crossed my path, my wonderful Mother and Step dad, and especially glad to have met you to enjoy reading your thought provoking blogs!
Have a special Thanksgiving!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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There is a demon within...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

some days the demon wins. Some days I do.

The demon is compulsive eating. emoticon The demon tries to tell me that she is the real me. The demon uses many tacks, and knows the cracks in my armor all too well.

Yesterday the demon told me that since my co-worker brought in home baked pumpkin cheesecake, even though I'd had a rocky week, it would be a crime not to have a taste. The demon told me it was OK to have the whole slice.

After work, the demon told me it was OK to skip my workout, because I needed to come home and relax since I'll be "invaded" by guests on Thanksgiving day. Then it told me I needed to have "just an ounce" of the cheddar cheese it had convinced me to buy to make my famous baked cheese balls... and then another, and another, and another. The demon told me I needed something sugary and chocolate next.

The demon is best at kicking me when I'm already "down". Not sure when the demon will be gone, I kind of gave it free rein... the demon gives false promises that it will leave if I just let it stay for a while.

While it hangs out and I let it, it wrecks my house (body), leaving work to be done when I finally manage to kick it to the curb or put it back in its cell. Where it waits for the next opportunity to worry at a crack.

It strikes in isolation, before and after holidays more fiercely than at the gatherings and events themselves. And it does NOT deliver what it promises or leave when it said it would.

To all my fellow Sparkers who deal with demons... may today be a day when the demon loses, and WE WIN! We're worth it, no matter what the demon tries to tell us.

emoticon emoticon Every day is day one, when you live with a demon within.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 11/27/2011 6:58PM

    Totally identify with this . . . especially the cheese, actually! It is quite difficult to plan menus, shop for food, prepare food, serve food and . . . not eat(too much) food.

And my solution which is only very rarely to entertain and to cook the "same" things over and over (omelettes, soups, salads) is not necessarily optimal. Although I did actually prepare two dinners this weekend, and did not exceed range either . . . amazingly.

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ANDI571 11/24/2011 8:04PM

    Ah crap! I should have read this blog before I ate today. emoticon

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TISHTOES 11/24/2011 3:42AM

    Very good blog! Great explanations.

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LJCANNON 11/23/2011 7:44PM

    emoticonI have to BELIEVE that the longer we are on this Journey, the weaker the Demon gets. And we become better at recognizing his deception.
emoticonAs long as we stick together the Demons don't have a chance. After all, as you said, they always strike when we are isolated. With Spark Friends all over the World in all different Time Zones, we NEVER have to be alone!!

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DEBRITA01 11/23/2011 7:34PM

    We all have our share of demons that resurface when we least expect them. You know the demon, you won't be fooled. You are strong and are in control. God bless...

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MSLZZY 11/23/2011 5:22PM

    And the demon is very real. Nothing imaginary here. It works until you are no longer able to fight back. But fight back we must. I wish I knew what it would take to keep the demon at bay.
Just do the best you can. We all have our own private demons but today, I win.
Tomorrow is another story.
Stay strong and have a Happy Thaksgiving! emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/23/2011 12:26PM

    Those darned demons. I feel for you and understand completely. Do you have a copy of JC's touchstones? Listen to the one about being the compassionate observer. Your demon is not trying to manipulate you to do bad things. She's rearing her ugly head because she needs something. She feels threatened. Have you been cutting back too much on some of your favorite treats or indulgences? It's all about balance. (I know, easy for me to say.) I'm hoping you're able to make peace with that little demon -- picture her as a very little girl who fears she'll never be allowed to have anything "good" again. Love her and comfort her (in moderation) and give her the peace she needs so she can settle down and relax.

Happy Thanksgiving, Barb. Enjoy time with your family!

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CEHALLA 11/23/2011 9:41AM

    My demon is sneaky, too. And it likes to put me on auto-pilot where the food just comes into my mouth like I don't know how it got there.
I'll be working hard this time of year too, working on remembering other holidays where the demon was in her cage and I didn't let her out. That is the best feeling I want to have again, rather than the disappointment after poor choices.
Thanks for exposing the demon for what she is. Have a great Thanksgiving!

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FITFABJENN 11/23/2011 9:05AM

    Nope, my demon is not going to beat me. Uh, uh. Keep on fighting, friend. You are stronger than any demon.

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VALERIEMAHA 11/23/2011 8:29AM

    Hahaha...I know that little guy only too well! I spoke the other day of my ego (demon) vs. my higher self in relation to whether or not I would get my strength training done...who would win.

Well...two days ago it was higher self, 1, ego, 0. Today is another strength training day...let's see who's in the driver's seat today!

Thanks for the insights,

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DEBRA0818 11/23/2011 8:21AM

    Ugh! Do I ever know what you're talking about. Doesn't it seem when we're on track and feeling great that these days will never come again? And, yet they do. The Freudians used to joke, "Under stress, we regress," and I can completely testify that I'm usually very stressed around holidays and family gatherings. It's a very small step from those feelings to "Well, this only happens once a year." Except in my case, if I let it, it would happen every day, all day. I accept that I will always be vulnerable to this demon and I pray for strength daily to resist its blandishments. We're always doing the best we can do and we just hope for better.


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CONCHA77 11/23/2011 7:44AM

    Great Blog, Barb. I definitely can relate. Have a great Thanksgiving! Hugs.

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Trends are a tool, too

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I have learned, gradually, over time, to not "freak out" over a bump up on the scale. However, it is important to pay attention to trends... and the past couple of months, the trend is not looking so great.

I am still "within range", so I can rationalize my way around the regain... it's only a few pounds, right?

Rationalization will get you back to where you started if you're not careful. With the holiday temptation season ahead of me, and knowing the kinds of "episodes" I've had on weekends lately, I need to be paying attention. I promised myself I was going to blog it all, even the bad news, because although I have many, many records of success at losing, I have NEVER recorded what was happening during a regain.

Why not? Because in my head, regaining is still a shameful event, a failure. This is NOT reality, though. Regaining is a normal part of the cycle of survival. In the primitive, there were times of feast (regains) balancing the times of famine (losing). There is no morality associated with the physical phenomenon.

Oh, yes, I can point directly at the behaviors and the days where the calories were well in excess of the range. What I'm trying to do NOW, in my self-pep talking, is to make this regain season a SHORT one, and maintain my way back to center to low end of the range. Goal weight is NOT a line in the sand. It's a range of good health.

Here's to living ONE good day at a time. Today. Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 11/23/2011 1:27AM

    Interesting and very true - thanks!

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DEBRA0818 11/22/2011 11:27AM

    That super vigilance is a key element in making the choices that make this time different. Having a sane attitude toward body weight, food and exercise is a full-time job, or at least a very busy part-time one!


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 11/22/2011 10:25AM

    Yes, rationalization can be a huge issue. I've rationalized myself into gaining several pounds over the years. Tracking what's going on is my new tool. When I disappoint myself with eating behaviors that won't get me to my goal, I'm writing it on my electronic calendar. Perhaps that will also show a trend/triggers.

Good blog -- keep tracking and try to stop rationalizing.

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BREWMASTERBILL 11/22/2011 9:05AM

    I would say trends are THE tool, a single measurement is just a data point.

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KALIGIRL 11/22/2011 8:47AM

    I'll bet some the 'extra' weight is muscle mass, with as much working out as you're doing.
Do you think your trainer could give you a fat baseline? (Sorry - don't know the proper term...)

Family coming in, so if I don't 'see' you before - Happy Turkey Day!

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KATHRYNLP 11/22/2011 8:34AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 11/22/2011 8:18AM

    Goal-a range of good health! Now, that is a winning attitude! HUGS!

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