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Good or bad, gotta blog

Monday, November 29, 2010

After all that recognition of the success of the year, I must have got "cocky" yesterday, because I ended up baking another pumpkin pie. Ostensibly for my son, who likes my pies and only gets them this time of year. However, he didn't come over to pick it up, and... well, I hadn't tasted the first one I made him back on Veteran's day... and the holiday weekend was almost over... yep! Indulged. Not crazy about what the scale says this morning, but also not surprised.

BUT... the important thing about this whole deal is not that there are "slips" now and then. Perfection is not required. Diligence IS, however, and there are way too many opportunities to slip this time of year. I have to be careful about choosing when I indulge and in what. Yesterday I recognized that I was probably going to crave that pie until I *did* try a piece. And it tasted wonderful... and yes, she says with a little puff of pride, I still have my touch for the flaky crust!

I am glad it is Monday and I have a structured day and for that matter a whole work week. One choice at a time. Today is a new day. Today is a normal day. And I don't have to go into that whole perfectionist martinet voice verus rebellious voice thing, now do I? emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 11/29/2010 11:16PM

    No good deed goes unpunished?

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REJ7777 11/29/2010 10:46PM

    "Perfection is not required. Diligence IS, however."
That's the secret! I fell flat on my face yesterday. I just could not get my act together. I goofed up like I haven't goofed up in months. I find it a bit disconcerting, because I'm not sure what happened. I thought I was beyond what happened yesterday (snacking all evening long, and not moving my butt one little bit). But, today, I'm back on track. Ate on plan and got my 10,000 steps in.

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BESTSUSIEYET 11/29/2010 9:32PM

    Well said. Well done. Keep up the diligence! And glad son came to take away the rest of the pie. emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 11/29/2010 4:06PM

    Great blog about getting things in proportion - and keeping our bodies in proprtion too!

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PATRISNA 11/29/2010 1:26PM

    Glad you had your pie. I agree with Buggys comment. Aslo some of the others. We really need to get over labeling foods good or bad. You did good Barb!

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DEBRITA01 11/29/2010 1:06PM

    Diligence...I like that and will strive for that over the holiday season. Let's all stay determined and keep those slips to a minimum...we can do it.

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BUGGYS 11/29/2010 11:15AM

    I don't think we have to deprive ourselves of anything and if you wanted pumkin pie then you should have had it...MODERATION is key and if you go off track a bit you need to curb the calories, exercise more and just be kind to yourself! Diligence is going to be my word this holiday season and if I am diligent then I won't be sorry or bummed that I slipped!

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ANDI571 11/29/2010 10:49AM

    I like the statement, "Perfection is not required". I think if we would adopt that attitude, then one piece of pie, or chocolate would be enough instead of eating the whole thing then feeling guilty over it. Then guilt turns into oh well, might as well keep eating.

Good for you!

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SAMI199 11/29/2010 8:31AM

    I hate pie-lol (I wish) What's done is done. I humbly start again-Love your page & your Holiday pic.-you look lovely!!!

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KATHRYNLP 11/29/2010 8:24AM

    Let it go. it was good... so now just get back on track.. That's the best thing.. emoticon

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CONCHA77 11/29/2010 8:07AM

    I also had a piece of pumpkin pie after my Thanksgiving feast. Thanksgiving, in my opinion, isn't the same without it. Now on to Christmas!
Happy Monday, Barb.

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FITAT50 11/29/2010 7:46AM

    As we choose our battles, we choose our indulgences too. I'm just wondering, what did you do with the rest of the pie? I made my "incredible" apple pie for Thanksgiving, I had one piece and I feel fine looking at the leftover still in the fridge. Not all years are like this though, I'm keeping my fingers crossed my determination lasts through the Holidays.

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KASEYCOFF 11/29/2010 7:05AM

    I was saying to Christi that I purposely did NOT bake a pumpkin pie this year because I just knew it would be too much temptation - and besides, the Brits don't seem to care for it (which is complete nonsense, as I make a great pumpkin pie, lol) which means I would've had even more of the pie insistently calling my name--! I hear you about the slips, and I hear you even more about diligence. I'm with you, kiddo - Choices R Us, ain't? :-D

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Candle light and star light

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This morning my home is full of the scent of lit candles and the sound of Handel's Messiah. It is still dark outside, it is that time of year, and the bright stars stand out in the clear sky. Since the weather has been mild over the long holiday weekend, many neighbors have outdoor lights up and lit. What a difference from last year when we were already being socked in my slick and snowy weather by now.

A long weekend gives me more time to think about many things, and this weekend one of the things I was thinking about was goals and how they change. I went back over the photos from the past year, and was surprised. You see, last January, I met my original goal of 150 (on the JC scale). I had no expectation that I would be sitting under 125 (on the home scale) now. What I wanted to do was maybe lose another five pounds (adjusted goal) and then maintain for a year.

I was very proud of this photo, my starting picture, taken last New Year's Eve:
I'm still pretty proud of where I was then. I worked hard to get there.

Here is today's version, as it's the end of a month again:
As proud as I am of where I was a year ago, and that I was "working on it"... I'm even more pleased with where I am today... not because of body size, but because of health. I like feeling good far more than looking good. I'm big on comfort... and one of those oddities of life is that what you think is comfortable in an immediate moment doesn't always lead to long-term comfort.

Exercise may seem like a big commitment, but those ten minutes you work out in front of the TV? Lead to so many benefits! That walk you take away from your stressful job for ten minutes? I can't even begin to say... it leads to better decisions as well as better health.

And then, eleven months later, you gaze at the tree lights, the candle light, and the star light, feeling good in your own skin and recognizing the absence of pain... and an amazing thing called JOY and an internal thing called PEACE.

It's not always easy at the moment of decision... but for each little healthy choice... today I am truly grateful! And to each Spark friend who has posted in good times and bad... that intentionally or not encouraged me to make the next healthy decision? I have a huge debt of gratitude to pay back (or forward).

As so many say, "If I can do it, so can you!" Seriously, is my life so different from yours? Aren't you worth that ten minute decision? Isn't feeling good worth it?

We CAN do this! And... we are worth it. Never give up... that's the only rule.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 11/29/2010 9:36PM

    Oh yeah ... You have much to celebrate! Enjoy each day of feeling great! And keep encouraging us ... Together we are stronger! emoticon

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FITAT50 11/28/2010 9:33PM

    Great blog, you look fantastic! Does JC stand for Jenny Craig? I was on JC for two years and lost of my weight but then didn't want anymore processed food.

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ANDI571 11/28/2010 11:52AM

    Wow, what a difference a year makes. I have been thinking about my goals also. I wanted to be 155 by Sept. 1st, and didn't make it, then by Thanksgiving, and still didn't make it, but close.

I was 155 when I graduated. I've never been able to get under 148 whenever I have lost. I am trying to wonder, am I settling for 155 (I really would like 150), or is that a good weight for me.

I know before, I would always say 5 or 10 more pounds. I was never satisfied. Did I make it hard on myself and finally gave up and then gained back. Something to ponder.

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JUST_TRI_IT 11/28/2010 10:05AM

    Inspiration is a two-way street! Your phrase " amazing thing called JOY and an internal thing called PEACE." really rings sweetly.

Here's to the cold nights with clear stars!

and... congrats on your transformation... QUITE fantastic!

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KALIGIRL 11/28/2010 8:52AM

    "an amazing thing called JOY and an internal thing called PEACE."

May we all find our peace and joy along our healthy journeys.
emoticon for serving as such a fabulous role model.

PS - love your profile picture!

Comment edited on: 11/28/2010 8:54:29 AM

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JHADZHIA 11/28/2010 8:48AM

    You look amazing!! That healthy glow really shines through! So glad you are feeling no pain and are enjoying life so much!
Keep up the great work!!
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BEEKAHBUG 11/28/2010 7:38AM

    That is awesome!!!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!!!!!


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Four week countdown

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Yes, people, it's four weeks 'til Christmas... for those of us who celebrate it. And for those who live around us and have to put up with the cultural effects of it. emoticon

My personal countdown clock began on Thursday, as I hugged one of my nephews good-bye at the Thanksgiving family gather. He asked, "Christmas eve at your place?" I responded, "Yes." What's weird about this is that I may be the only person there who considers herself Christian.

Back a generation from mine, my mother's sister could never wait 'til Christmas day to open packages, so their tradition was to open the gifts around the tree that night.

In my growing up years, this tradition continued. It involved a soup supper, followed by Dad reading the Christmas story from the Bible, ending with the magi presenting their gifts. We were not well to do, and there were five of us kids, so the gifts we gave were small ones: a candle, a pair of slippers, a new spatula for mom's kitchen. It was usually something a body needed. Nowadays, what were our gifts would be advertised as "stocking stuffers" if they were advertised at all.

The joy of being together was the big deal. This Christmas eve, which was the "real" family Christmas for us, was followed by trips to the two grandmas houses, 60 miles distant, for Christmas breakfast with one grandma, and Christmas dinner with the other, and the car ride home, under the stars, singing in the back seat, led by mom, who could not carry a tune, but it didn't matter.

By the time I moved back here, the venue for Christmas eve had changed to my older sister's home. Mom was gone, Dad was better with going there, rather than trying to host. By this time, my brother was far away, and of the three sisters left in town, two had converted to Judaism. But we still gathered together as a family on Christmas eve, had our soup supper, and my sister would read from the family Bible, ending with the story of the magi, and the phrase "And that's why I give gifts at Christmas".

My "before" picture that I posted here on Spark is from one such gather:

This is how my Jewish nieces and nephews have learned about the faith of their relatives and the traditions of the family. When my sister acquired a grandchild and started flying out to spend Christmas with that family... well, things changed again. One niece mournfully asked, "What will we do on Christmas eve?" This was last year... at the last minute, I acquiesced, and Christmas eve moved to my house.

Our religiously eclectic family will gather, I will read the Christmas story, and there may be a few small gifts to pass out, but the latest Christmas tradition is the announcing of what charities I have chosen to donate to, in lieu of giving gifts.

In the meantime, my home will start getting its holiday look, and I will fill it with Christmas music. Yesterday as I put up the tree and focused on the memories each ornament held, it was Handel's Messiah. I have gathered about ten or twelve albums over the years, and will change them and light candles and have moments to myself each day, soaking it in.

I choose to spend the next four weeks in the thankful frame of mind we just nurtured with the American Thanksgiving holiday... what a great way to arrange things!

My Spark friends (for whom I am grateful)... a wish for your Holiday season: may you consider yourself among the recipients of gifts, and give to yourself the gift of living in the moment. Soak it in. Love it. There's a reason for the season. Be kind to yourself, physically, mentally and emotionally. We are worth it.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 11/27/2010 7:13PM

    Barb-you are as always-an inspiration!

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WALKINGANNIE 11/27/2010 4:27PM

    Thanks for sharing your memories of Christmas.

Your new profile photo is awsome - and what a change between Then and Now Barb!!

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REJ7777 11/27/2010 10:59AM

    Many of us have been blessed with many happy childhood memories associated with Christmas. Traditionally, our Christmas get-together was held at my parents' home. Now that they're both in their mid 80's, we rent a hall so that as many of the children, grand-children and great-grand-children as possible can be present. emoticon

"give to yourself the gift of living in the moment" - Thank you, I think I will! emoticon

When I look at that "before" photo of you, the change is absolutely amazing! You don't even look like the same person. emoticon I know you worked hard to get were you are. emoticon

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ANDI571 11/27/2010 10:26AM

    I loved your blog. My daughter has a boyfriend now, and we were discussing changes last night. She never has been one for change and it is hard on her. I told her as she gets her family, she will keep some of our traditions, but needs to tweak her life so she can have her own. It's just the way it works. I know I have made a lot of changes since leaving home 34 years ago.

We also read the Christmas story. It started the year Kel was born. But the 3 of us wait until Christmas evening after everyone has went home, we then head to the movies. We come home, eat a snack, then read the Christmas story before we open gifts. It is such a peaceful time. 29 years ago, I started reading the story, and now Kel does.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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MNTWINSGAL 11/27/2010 10:13AM

    It's great to step back from the commercialism and remember the reason for the season. Thanks for the timely reminder.

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LJCANNON 11/27/2010 10:10AM

    I grew up with 'Stocking Stuffer' Gifts too, and most of the time, that is what we still give.
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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 11/27/2010 9:47AM

    Enjoyed reading about your family's traditions in transition over the years. All are family oriented with meaning. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas season this year, dear ONEKIDSMOM. emoticonAnd yes, the good advice is taken to heart.

Comment edited on: 11/27/2010 9:48:09 AM

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JUST_TRI_IT 11/27/2010 9:36AM

    What a peaceful blog... filled with hope and lessons about the gifts of value. THank you emoticon

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CONCHA77 11/27/2010 9:35AM

    Great Blog and Great Advice. emoticon

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FITAT50 11/27/2010 8:57AM

    I really enjoyed reading your Christmas Eve tradition and how it has evolved over the years as families change.

I thankfully accept your "gift" may you have a blessed Holiday!

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 11/27/2010 8:36AM

    Wow - I followed your link - we could have been twins!!

It is sad, I never understood as I was growing up, Christmas has become commercialized.

We no longer exchange gifts unless they are "token" "stocking-stuffer" gifts.

Great blog, thank you very much!

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MSLZZY 11/27/2010 8:12AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Done with my personal version of NaNoWriMo

Friday, November 26, 2010

I felt it appropriate to end the mystery on Thanksgiving Day... it's almost the end of the National Novel Writing Month, and I'm afraid the mystery got far beyond the "outline" of a genre I originally envisioned. But yes, Annie, it was therapeutic to write it.

Where I left it, aside from the epilogue reflection, was more than seven years ago. In fact, all three versions of "my search for health and fitness" were written to cover different periods of a life-line.

There are lessons we all learn from living over the decades. One fresh reminder this morning is that this isn't about the number on the scale. I nibbled too many leftovers last night, fully conscious that I was doing so, and owning the decision... and this morning I'm feeling bloated and not hungry yet, despite the number on the scale.

Perhaps this is yet another lesson... this is what maintenance is all about: yeah, behaving badly at times, but recognizing it right away and getting back to the healthy habits again. Today is a day to put my own advice into practice: treat myself gently, and move on!

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving day and move into a healthy and happy season.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 11/26/2010 2:25PM

    I'm just back from a family visit where internet access was very limited so I've read the last few of your blogs back to back. I'm glad that the process was therapeutic and feel that I know you much better now.

Thank you for sharing your experiences so openly and for writing about them with such sensitivity. Ultimately you have worked hard to find solutions that work well for you. The events that you have described have made you who you are today - a resilient survivor with compassion and empathy.

Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

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PATRISNA 11/26/2010 1:59PM

    I am not quite to the maintenance point of my journey, but I agree with your point about recognizing problem days. We constantly need to keep working on our healthy habits.

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REJ7777 11/26/2010 1:27PM

    "... this is what maintenance is all about: yeah, behaving badly at times, but recognizing it right away and getting back to the healthy habits again."

That's very much the balance that I'm trying to learn on my journey to goal this time, so that afterwards, I can succeed at maintenance.

I agree, be gentle with yourself and move on. emoticon

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LJCANNON 11/26/2010 9:31AM

    Congratulations on finishing your Writing!! And with a few days to spare.
Maintenance is definitely a Challenge, but it is worth it!!
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MSLZZY 11/26/2010 8:32AM

    Great advice-thank you! HUGS!

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The mystery: Chapter 13 - Salvador's miracle

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chapter 13:

Salvador Son slept through that fateful Saturday morning. His parents had argued before. Sleeping for 16 hours at a stretch, their arguments were just part of the background noise. But this time, when he awoke, the world was different.

Salvador knew a few basic things: he knew his body hurt, but he'd been observing the effects of the various treatments they had tried. He knew that while he had some very low times when he had wondered whether it was worth going on, he had found reasons that made living worth it. He knew that his mother had struggled with and made a difficult choice: no, two. He felt it was time for him to start making some choices, too. He couldn't stay in that basement forever. And he knew that he did NOT want to live his life the way his father did.

The morning after the big split, Salvador came out of Helen's basement and announced, "Mom, get your coat, we're going to go join a gym." He then proceeded to select a personal trainer. He was following through on the advice of Dr. Special!

Helen had to drive him to the gym, and that didn't hurt HER stress levels a bit. While he met with his personal trainer, she worked out herself. Working out gave her the motivation to also eat healthy. Helen had a couple of follow up appointments with Betty Balance to discuss what had happened, and she bubbled a bit: Salvador was indeed doing what Betty had said. He was figuring it out for himself.

Betty and Helen bid one another "good-bye". There wasn't much more Betty could do for Helen. Not that Helen didn't still have things to work through, but she had already made two major changes in her life, and had learned some skills to deal with what was to come.

Over the next year, working with that personal trainer, Salvador lost weight and became fit. The following Summer, he tackled learning to drive and got his license. Then his GED. He signed up at a community college and chose to study psychology. He joked with his mom that he chose that field because both his parents were "crazy".

How healthy did Salvador become? Healthy enough to reject the initial diagnosis: you don't get "better" from what they had labeled him. There were no signs of that any more. Healthy enough to pass the Army physical fitness test before going to basic training.

Looking back, Helen saw the whole thing as a miracle. She saw the hand of God working even when she was angry with God. She saw that God had worked in Salvador's life even when he said he didn't believe. Her heart was full of gratitude.

Even the epilogue for Harried Husband (now ex-husband) has some bright spots: once Salvador Son got some of his training behind him, he was able to talk his dad into getting some help. That story is still unfolding.

What about the mystery we started with? Was it ever solved? Who were the evil antagonists who were stealing Helen's health? Were they stopped forever, and jailed? Did they reform and stop punishing Helen?

Well, they still inhabit Helen's life... but there's a new voice in the mix: Helen herself has found an identity separate from Carrie Careerwoman, separate from Polly Perfectionist, separate from Debbie Denial. Helen has become more astute about recognizing the difference between her own thoughts and these so-called friends. She weighs what they say... and makes her own choices. She owns her decisions.

And that's about as good as it gets.

- the end -

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 11/28/2010 7:39AM

    I've been busy with Thanksgiving guests and events - and did not get to read this final chapter until just now. It's good to see the mystery resolved --and with a happy ending. Thanks for sharing the story.

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PATRISNA 11/26/2010 1:51PM

    Thank you Barb. This was a great story and I loved the ending. I hope you had a wonderful holiday.


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REJ7777 11/25/2010 3:02PM

    How very appropriate that this last chapter is published on Thanksgiving Day!

I believe that God is at work in our lives, both when we see it and when we don't. I'm so glad that things have worked out as they have for both you and Salvador Son!

I was listening to a CD by Stephen Covey on the Habits of Highly Effective People. He was talking about making deposits in people's emotional bank accounts. He said one of the best deposits we can make is to "see" things from the other person's perspective. If we don't understand another person's perspective, we might make a withdrawl while intending to make a deposit! (I think he's the one who says that we don't see the world as it is, but as we are.) You did an excellent job of communicating this story from the perspective of the three main characters!

I often wonder about my worldview, and the things I'm SURE of. I think about different people and how I see them. And I wonder. We would indeed have a lot to talk about if we could have a coffee, or take a walk, together!

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend! emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 11/25/2010 9:40AM

    I have enjoyed each installment, Barb. And because I'm a Barbara Brightside, I love happy endings!

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MSLZZY 11/25/2010 6:59AM

    Such rich detail and such a moving story! I am truly blessed to know you and I admire your honesty and dedication. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! HUGS!

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