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01 January 2015

And away we go with another year to do better, be kinder, test our limits and stretch our imaginations. Starting today I’m re-dedicating myself to visiting FS daily as I am always so very inspired by my friends here. I will make the time.

Christmas vacation in Hot Springs was very nice. The house allowed for much gathering as well as private time - it was perfect; I’ll likely never go to a hotel again for an extended stay. Christmas eve included a lot of shopping down on Central Ave - you’d think I’d never seen a boutique the way I attacked and conquered every single store.

Later that afternoon we split off so they could go shopping without me and I could go visit the psychic again (the one I’d seen when I was there last summer). I’m still baffled her accuracy. When she mentioned ‘luck is all around you right now’ for the third time I decided to go to Oaklawn (the racetrack with gaming) and, well, I guess she was right.

So definitely much more shopping. There was a great boutique with beautiful sun dresses open on Christmas day ( the owner said he had nothing else to do ) so after breakfast and gift exchange we hit the sidewalks to walk off the pancakes. Later that evening I took the family to the Maxwell Blade magic show followed by more walking. I didn’t wear a pedometer but consider my walking a ‘win’ as Blondie was complaining ‘what is this.. a marathon?’ when I outpaced her.

Friday was spa day for the two of us. For the first time I had one of the hot mineral baths at the Arlington. Incredible. Wonderful. Amazing. After the bath they wrapped us in hot towels followed by a shower then a massage. My masseuse heated her lotion before applying; it was fantastic. And for nearly a week now I’ve had no pain in my neck or shoulders so I’m wondering how to make a bi-monthly visit to Hot Springs for ‘treatment’ part of my routine.

With the New Year approaching and thoughts of ‘resolutions’ in my mind, the high priority was to abandon more fears holding me back from enjoying life and this public bath was a biggie for me. Feeling so nervous and modest about being nude in front of other women much less being bathed by someone else was so confining. I decided to let go, let it happen, with the realization ‘hey, no way I’m the first flabby wrinkled old lady they’ve seen around here’. With that release, I truly enjoyed it and have felt that same ‘let it go’ begin to affect other areas of my life.

Saturday was ‘me’ time. It wasn’t planned but was nice regardless. I drove up to the mountains and enjoyed the views. Went back to the Arlington for a pedicure and more shopping. Revisited the psychic who finally showed her true colors.

While she certainly has some ‘thing’ that allows her to comment on things (( for example, she noted within the first few minutes that I was in pain in my neck and shoulders although I didn’t offer anything about it - and then said ‘you are going to get relief from this pain within 48 hours - things like that)) I think she’s not able to let her ‘talent’ support her financially so she tried to scam me with the explanation that she has an entire church praying for me and that she needs $25 a week for the candles she’s burning for me. So my immediate reaction was ‘have a nice day’.

I view visiting her much like any other listener, talker, whether it be her, a shrink or a bartender. Just someone with whom I can share things and get a couple of comments that help me look at the situation from a different perspective. But I’m NOT going to be scammed. That’s ridiculous. I felt bad wondering how many others would fall for that.

Which leads me to a really interesting event occurring simultaneously. I do believe I’ve encountered another con artist here at home. Either a con or an idiot. Regardless, I have no room for either in the ‘inner circle’ of Bellawood.

I believe I mentioned this really nice lady I met in November; a recent widow who shared many other similar traits. I invited her to join us at tea at the Adolphus. We have had a couple of dinners since.

When we met, she gave me a long story about trying to raise money to bring her son home from Afghanistan. I considered it odd that she had to pay to do that but I am not all that familiar with the workings of the military so I just listened. No, I did NOT give her money. When I asked about his return status just before Christmas she gave me a vague answer about being in Germany, in a hotel, being reintroduced to civilization. Again, skeptical me arguing with my inner cynic, I just listened.

Tuesday night at dinner she confessed she made it all up - the son, all of it - because she had actually given the money to a stranger she met on Match. I was stunned at her being that gullible or if she thought I was; when I asked if she was going to hire an investigator she shrugged.

She then proceeded to tell me of another wonderful man she’d met on Match who paid off a $5k credit card for her though they too have yet to meet although he’s less than a 5 hour drive away.

This has ‘con’ stamped all over it. I hate that because although it’s not cost me anything financially it has thickened my shell of cynicism; ‘Trust No One’ type feelings. It’s causing me to reevaluate my manners around people to determine if I send out a ‘victim’ vibe or if my ‘weirdo magnet’ is on overload.

So food. Better since returning home but still overeating with respect to portions. Am trying to regain the ability to eat slower and STOP eating when my hunger is satisfied to avoid that ‘stuffed’ feeling afterward. That will be my biggest goal leading into the weekend.

And with that, I’ll end this journal wishing all of my dear friends here a very Happy New Year. Let us all rejoice in the knowledge that we have yet another chance to make a difference in our own health, lives, and the lives of others. Let’s leave the woodpile higher than we find it and remember the world has enough complainers and doesn’t need another.

Bless you all.


24 December 2014

Merry Christmas Eve to all.

We arrived in Hot Springs last night safe and mostly sound. The home is absolutely beautiful - it is a vacation rental home and is so well decorated and appointed I don't believe I'll ever stay in a hotel again. A three bedroom, sleeps all 7 of us (could sleep 8 if .. well.. ) with a living room, separate fully stocked library parlor, kitchen, breakfast nook, full dining room, 2 baths, patio table, grill, fire pit and wonderful fenced in backyard so Mush can potty off her leash. So much more - fully stocked kitchen with a bunn coffee maker and starbucks!

It's incredible. Not only was there a welcome note to me, there was one to Mushy telling her to enjoy the squirrels in the yard, etc., plus a small bag of treats and a basket of pet supplies (rug, potty bags, leashes, bowls, squeaky toys, etc) Again, never had that anywhere. I'm sold.

Food yesterday? Very busy in the morning and gave into a McD cheeseburger (but got the small one .. haha.. yeah, every little bit helps) around 2pm :::yet a large fries::: Hey, I drank a sprite zero (coffee was giving me acid indigestion) so that helps, right? Plenty of water on the way; some tuna and crackers late afternoon.

Dinner - had gumbo over ... get this.. 'cheese grits'! Never had that before and OMG... dangerous. Sooo good. I repeatedly allowed the other six at the table to take spoonfuls to taste so not that much left for me. A beer. Well, half a beer. Just not a beer drinker these days. An ounce of pistachio gelato to calm the ruckus the gumbo had created in my stomach. An apple and a few crackers with cheese late evening (didn't get to bed until 2am so my entire body and hunger cycle was off).

Up this morning my usual time. Mushy is curled up beside me on one of the loveseats. We're listening to the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas carols as I compose this while occasionally lifting my gaze to enjoy the Christmas decorations - did I mention they decorated the home inside and out for the holiday? I passed it twice last night thinking 'surely that beautiful lit up home can't be 'our' rental'.

Haven't decided anything specific today other than walking the shops; maybe a 'duck tour' and go see the museum of gambling.

Although the 'trip' was 'my' gift to all, I brought several small items for them to play a gift exchange. I nearly tossed that nintendo ds into the mix as I won it last year at a fundraiser and it's still in the box. But then I worried it'd make all the other gifts pale and create hard feelings. Don't need to create that.

Friday we (Blondie & I -- although she doesn't know it yet as she's still asleep) have appointments for 'the works' - mineral bath, scrub, sauna, massage, etc., at the Arlington Hotel Spa. We stayed there when we visited in the summer but didn't have time for spas. We also got to tour the 'Al Capone Suite' last night as it was vacant. That was so intriguing.

Well, I think I'll get going here. Wishing you all a very wonderful day, safe travels, great feasts and good tidings. I'm not sure what tidings are but let's hope they're good.


21 December 2014

Sunday - December 21st

So for those of you on ‘band candy chocolate bar watch’ I didn’t manage to pass out the remaining bars on my way to The Center - no stores open or folks on the sidewalks - but I did work at TC all day and never touched them. I also left them down there, yay, as I really wanted one last night. Crisis averted. Lunch was a half order of hot links and the bun from my sliced beef sandwich (I took the meat back to Mushy). Homemade vegetable soup with turkey & tortellini for dinner.

Two Days to Hot Springs. My number one plan is to eat mindful portions. I have no illusions of eating totally ‘clean’ as, well, let’s face it… Christmas candies and cakes and pies, oh my.

I HOPE to be out a lot but I will pack some tuna and peanut butter in my backpack to help me TRY to avoid hopping into a burger shack, etc., when I get a little hungry.

I painted furniture for about 10 hours yesterday at TC - some day I’ll remember to do a ‘before’ pic … I’d taken a white wicker armoire and a tall shelf and painted them multiple colors - looks really cool. You’ll just have to take my word for it :-)

I will take my laptop so I’ll be able to check in with y’all to keep me inspired to be mindful and healthy this week.

Have a wonderful week and a very Merry Christmas.

18 December 2014

So who wants chocolate? Grandson just brought a box for a band fund raiser - 58 out of 60 still in it. Bought it all as I'm the good Nana. Now I've shut the box and put it behind me and will hopefully be able to forget it until I figure out a way to give it to people in the store; then forget it again at night.

Today has been not bad. Yesterday I ordered a Reuben from across the street - ate the whole thing (instead of half when I share w/a friend) plus their homemade potato chips, which, when they're deep fried like that .. it's really just crispy french fries. They're not fooling me.

Several days this week no amount of water or hot tea would appease my appetite; really hungry (grumbling stomach, weak, hungry feeling) even when I had high protein (tuna) and fat (mayo) so weird. I would love for TODAY to be the day my mojo returns. Whoever has it, would you please let me have it back, if only for a month or so until I can do this independently for a while?

And that's really about all. Other than, saw this.. loved it. Sharing.


15 December 2014

Monday - December 15th. The countdown begins.

*8 days to Hot Springs. Blondie found a dog sitter. Asking all of my friends to keep their fingers and toes crossed that we get out of Dodge without anymore roadblocks - virtual OR real.
*10 days to Christmas
*16 days left of this year. Wow. Where DID it go?

Food and health: about the same. Good days, some progress, but no perfection. No ‘ugly’ episodes (I consider a binge ugly.. ) although I temporarily jumped off the ‘no cheese’ wagon yesterday when I truly enjoyed that enchilada. I think it’s been about 6 years since I had one.. so I should be good until about.. oh… 2021? So I’m going to continue to try to make more good choices than bad and keep the portions reasonable as we proceed with the endless food banquet that accompanies this time of year.

Activity: on my feet standing and walking about 20 hours this weekend working on the Money Pit painting furniture, staging rooms and hanging pictures, etc. It’s really coming together and I am feeling a great sense of pride in it in ways that I didn’t in the past. Another 8-10 hours of cleaning my own house (wow.. the past couple of months of depression really took it’s toll on my ambition) plus planting some pansies and white peacocks in my pitiful little ‘Winter Church’.

I’m really starting to examine the cycle of these depressions and I can’t imagine how bad things would get without the antidepressant I have been taking for about 18 months. For me to slog thru the days and not even make my bed.. that’s bad. And I am aware that the decline of eating for my health seemed to follow my ‘slovenly ways’. It is surely a ‘chicken or the egg’ thing .. the depression leading to bad eating and vice versa.

As I wrote that, I was thinking of the seven deadly sin ‘sloth’ and looked for the actual definition. Intriguing (to me anyway) that it is explained as:

Sloth is defined as spiritual or emotional apathy,... being physically and emotionally inactive… outright refusal or merely a carelessness in the performance of one's obligations, especially spiritual, moral or legal obligations.

I’m lost in through wrapping my mind around the retroactive interpretation as I apply that definition to my life the past couple of months. Sloth feels like depression to me. Maybe it’s something else?

Saturday I had a long conversation with a Physician’s Assistant who may possibly lease a section of the Pit to open their own practice. Between the yoga and PA I think the location concept is morphing from ‘Bella’s Hippie Hangout” to ‘The Healing Center’. My mind has been racing with ideas of a few kiosks throughout the open spaces for organics, oils, spices. Maybe books with healthy recipes, mindful eating, etc., for those who aren’t Ereaders just yet. Then again, to follow the techno world, brochures with weblinks.

Activity Two: I caught a good deal on a two wheel bicycle at the auction Saturday night. I got it for times when I want to go (every so often) without Mushy but … turns out.. I’m a huge clumsy chicken when I’m sober. I jumped on that stranger’s bike down in San Antonio and rode away without a second thought but I’d had two margaritas. I called BCF and told her she may need to bring me some Jose Cuervo courage. I can’t get both feet off the ground at the same time without crashing into walls… and now I’m.. well, gonna have to figure it out. But I tried. That says something.

So, onward toward a new day. Wishing you all much peace and happiness in your world.


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