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17 June 2014

Tuesday hmm? My mind is whirling and I don't feel like organizing my thoughts so much like clearing out that 'kitchen drawer' - you know the one.. that has everything from batteries to thermometers in it... I'm just going to dump out my thoughts and move on. Every time I try to think of trying to write something with a flow I find myself staring up at the walls so here goes.

The biggest thought I'm having right now is that I am still a fraud. I feel empty inside. Crazy I know with the business, Blondie & crew, travel, trade shows, photography, gardening, painting and more. Feels solicitous to even write that. But I still feel this big hole inside me.. one I've carried for what seems like my whole life. Broken. Faulty. Unfinished.

I know my life is NOW.. not waiting for it to begin. I know that. I cannot waste today thinking tomorrow or next month, next year or whenever is going to finally 'be it'. But I do. Like something better, something fulfilling is out there for me and will close off those gaps and I'll stop feeling shattered all of the time as I have for so very long.

Last night I decided grief counseling may help. Maybe not so much the loss of Cutty but the loss of my own life that I feel so often that I've wasted .. and I just want to patch it and redeem myself. The paper listed it as meeting at the local library but that was incorrect. So instead, I sat down with one of Geneen Roth's books off the shelf and began reading. I cannot remember the title nor did I read past a few chapters but usually with her, recently, that's all it seems to take. She seems to write to my soul. My inner thoughts.

In her book she admitted that despite everything she writes about, giving up dieting, blah blah, she realized she was still an anorexic at heart as she recognized her 'wings would flutter joyfully' (paraphrasing) whenever someone commented on her 'teeny weeny size' or even her doctor accusing her of putting rocks in her pockets to weigh because she looked thinner than the scale revealed.

I got that. Of course, my helter skelter way of reading didn't lead to me checking out the book for the ending... I am constantly living that way - maybe that's part of it? Like, when I was watching 'The Borgia's' on Netflix.. I wouldn't watch the last four episodes for months. I didn't want to know how it ended. I prefer my own conclusions... the same when I read.

But I recognized how I swing back and forth between knowing who and what I am ... to feeling like I have amnesia and it's weight related. When I am morbidly obese.. I am my staunchest supporter. I can list and rattle off my talents and virtues with machine gun cadence. It's a well polished speech that goes along the lines of, "Okay, so I'm not a size 2. But I'm highly intelligent to the point that I'm eligible to join Mensa if I so choose. A college graduate, honest citizen, good wife (had to adjust that to 'was a good wife') and Step Mother and I pay my taxes, hold several jobs, pay my bills,..... " and on and on. I can recognize that EVERYthing I AM is greater than my SIZE.

But when I lose weight... it's like all that goes away. No, I'm not cheating on my taxes or kicking puppies. It's just .. I get so focused on being 'the woman who lost weight' that I forget the rest of me. I forget who and what I am.

SO NOW... as I'm taking this weight loss so much deeper and farther than I've ever taken it in the past by focusing on more than that scale or tag on the jeans... I'm wondering... and I know this sounds so freaking cliche'd it even makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little... I wonder:

WHO AM I????

I've spent my life so far trying to defend myself when I'm obese and protect myself when I'm not. I feel like a stranger in the house of my body. I walk around my house PERFORMING. As if someone is watching me.

I know some of it. Being abused as a child.. I am the ultimate chameleon. I will be whoever YOU want me to be. I can do it in the blink of an eye. I can be soft or tough. Funny or quiet. I'm am the consummate entertainer, people pleaser, whatever it freaking takes for you to NOT HURT ME anymore.

I'm also a master manipulator to control every situation and I think I've manipulated myself to a point beyond recognition.

But ... WHO AM *I*????

I don't know. And that brings tears to my eyes right now as I type it. I hate that I'm still a stranger to myself after walking this earth over 5 decades. I can't figure out if I do things because people EXPECT me to do them or if I really enjoy it. I'm trying ... dear God I'm trying.

So for the purpose of journaling HERE at FatSecret...what does any of this have to do with All things food and health? ALL of it. I so identified with Roth last night. Being the fraud. Saying over and over 'I'm trying to eat what I love and love what I eat' but then RAGING inwardly when I feel my stomach is expanding.

Is it just a shift in blood sugar... blah it brought on by the increased 'iced coffees' I'm enjoying during the day but not eating food. My rings still fit. My bracelet still hangs below that freckle on my left forearm. My blouses still fit.

Why in the WORLD am I staring at my belly in the mirror and feeling bad?

So I rant... or cheer.. .or whatever mood it could be where I rage against my focus with defense. "You are way healthier than two years ago. You can walk without complications. You can stand. You can lift and do and aren't on the verge of a stroke. You've never had a bikini body ... and who cares if you did. Be grateful for everything you do have today! TODAY! Not next week, month, etc. "

I need to find ME. The me I am at any size. The me that knows who I am, accepts the things I cannot change, finds the courage to change the things I can, and the ability to know the difference.

Another thing she wrote about is that she recognized 'just because something was true 'then' doesn't make it true 'now'. Just because she could eat 'these things then' doesn't mean she'll always be able to eat them.

Ok... yeah. I get that. And with that I recognized something else.

Just because I am 'here' talking about all things food and health... I still have a history of EATING DISORDER that is different than just wanting to take off a few unwanted pounds.

This morning my thoughts took me to the analogy of all the different type people who are in AA or NA. There are some there who truly have a problem and need the support of the group. There are other's there who are court ordered because they really don't have the problem but had a little too much to drink one night and did damage.

I'm not in the latter group. I have an issue. Eating disorder. I absolutely refuse to weigh right now because if I see that number I will freaking lose my mind and make it all about the scale. And I know the tricks I can do to bring that number down. I just don't think I'd survive it one more time.

So am I in denial? Or am I finally in acceptance. I am what I am. I am eating healthy for at least 99% of the time. That entire concept varies depending on which diet guru is on and which book you read. I stay away from processed food and get my water and make the effort to be physical every day and exercise 3 times a week. I'm doing all I can.

My body... will be what it will be. I have to find the peace with that. I have to. I really don't want to die miserable and full of regret.


Weigh-in: 180.0 lb lost so far: 105.0 lb still to go: 0 lb Diet followed reasonably well

15 June 2014

Happy Sunday. I’m home today and am now sacked out on the bed with Mushy snoozing beside me after a morning spent enjoying the backyard then cooking turkey, dressing and gravy. It was my ‘Father’s Day Meal’ for one. Well, two if you count Mush. So, two.

Food and health - I did it again this weekend… fell asleep AND woke concentrating on ‘breakfast is served at 7:30 in the hotel’ although for the life of me do not understand ‘why’ as I rarely eat breakfast at home lately. I didn’t eat breakfast this weekend either - just don’t understand why it seems to consume my thoughts. I carry tuna, cheese and peanut butter w/me to the trade show for when I get hungry so that I don't resort to 'snack bar' food or the free donuts.

The trip and trade show were fine - uneventful. AS I buy and sell I think I bought more than I sold.. I haven't looked in my money bag yet.

I’m really enjoying the GPS - so much better than driving around gripping a printed mapquest in my hand. I swear at one point when I turned a block earlier than instructed I could hear Bond sigh in exasperation. “Gahhhh… after ONE mile now, make a left and go in a circle you twit...’ It’s kind of fun. I like to pretend NSA is munching popcorn and watching me on the satellite... 'Fred...look at this... she's making yet another U-turn' when all I'm doing is trying to see just how accurate 007 can be.

I do believe I ate ‘better’ this weekend alone despite challenges. Friday night I picked up deli food at the grocer and it was .. BAD … as in very dried out hard to chew Turkey and a less than satisfying antipasto salad. I went to the hotel pantry and got some chicken noodle soup and chex mix - even it was not that good so more discarded food. Hungry though I was grateful I’d picked up an apple. That helped. I felt it was a good step back toward healthier than many other choices.

That’s really about it. After the big adventure last week - and thank you all for stopping by, reading and commenting on it - this week pales in comparison. Ah well, something to live for. I’m going to go on a ‘wine tasting tour & dinner with BCF’ this weekend, mystery dinner theater w/Blondie next weekend.

My sprained ankle has healed enough to try to get back on the treadmill tomorrow. For now, I’m going to turn on a movie and check my eyelids for pinholes.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend in your world.

13 June 2014

10 June 2014

Date: June 6th thru 8th
Random Destination: Hot Springs, Arkansas
Rules? Only one: Events, food and lodging must be different and specific only to local surroundings
Statistics: 500 miles driven, 52 hour trip (total), 5 pit stops, 4 restaurants, 2 tanks of gas, 6 hours sleep total, 2 women, one dog, one state line crossed.

Highlights: Town full of bikers, a gangster museum, sleeping in a historical (and haunted) hotel, a carriage ride tour, a sprained ankle, boiling my hand in the natural spring, wagering, a magic show, ordering at Starbucks for the first time, shopping, a deer in the parking lot, hundreds of stairs, a palm reader, several antique elevators, a pawn shop, Etouffee, a diamond ring and a mountain tower tour.

Food and eating? Ate too much. Every. Single. Meal. I like to think the walking and stairs helped combat some of it and yesterday my eating returned to normal. Doc visit this morning proved everything is going well and even she agreed good health 'outweighs' (haha) BMI.

So that's the highlights. As I just don't have the energy or attention span to maintain multiple journals, etc., I've written a detail of the trip below. Read, don't read.. there are some photos ... browse as you wish. In summary - I had a wonderful time.

Thanks for stopping by to visit with me.

We departed Friday afternoon but before we could actually leave the city limits I had to stop at Grace's Church Rummage sale. Yes, I’m the woman who hauled three boxes of stuff all the way to Hot Springs, Arkansas and back.

The evening drive was relaxing and uneventful sans the huge ‘woohoo’ hollered when we actually crossed the state line. We christened the GPS TomTom and decided within a half hour from home the sound of Dennis Hopper whining ‘Oh Man’ was going to have to go. This is how Mushy asks 'are we there yet?'

I am happy to report it was quite accurate and Blondie even liked the little point of interest with phone numbers feature. So we switched to Bond, James Bond, as our road guide but there wasn’t much conversation from him as it’s pretty much a straight shot for most of the drive. The little speed limit alert was interesting for a while. Blondie had me silence it when she began driving. If only I could do the same with the seat belt alert.

Reflection yielded this was my third state line in less than 30 days - exceeding the previous six annual counts by two. I’m starting to remember myself. To remember what it’s like to just ‘do something’ without massive planning and coordination. To be able to toss an overnight bag in the car and just ‘go’ without reservations of any kind.

On one stop at a ‘Stuckeys’ in Arkansas (HAD to do that … I worked at a Stuckey’s in High School and nothing says ‘road trip’ like a pecan log) I bought ten lottery tickets. Blondie scratched them and we won six dollars. Not bad but a reminder of why I never play the lotto.

With no rules other than whatever we do or go ‘must be something unique to the area’ which excluded any chain restaurants or lodging we were basically winging it but an hour outside Hot Springs my ‘maturity’ kicked in and I wanted to be sure I’d have a place to lay my head and phoned two of the local hotels I could recall from previous trips: The Austin (where I have stayed several times) and The Arlington (very beautiful historic hotel where I’ve always wanted to stay).

Both had vacancies and required no reservation. It’s been a while since I phoned anywhere and received a ‘just come on in, we’ve got plenty of room’ type welcome. That was way cool. The operator informed me ‘There’s a Hog Rally going on here this weekend’ as in Davidson. Harley Davidson. Thousands of leather clad, bandana wearing, tail pipe blasting way cool riders and their bikes lining the streets. Totally awesome. I knew right then and there my packing of casual attire was a blessing; we were going to fit right in.

Driving up Highway 7 into downtown was a trip up memory lane for me; a fresh interesting perspective for Blondie. I’ve been riding those roads over four decades as my Mom would dress me up back in the day to look like an adult so she could sneak me into Oaklawn Race Track. No wonder I was so good at math; I was handicapping thoroughbreds before I hit puberty.

Blondie would repeatedly comment ‘this is so not what I’d imagined.’ I believe she was thinking of it in terms of ‘Palm Springs’ and was expecting a hot, barren desert. The tree lined mountains of Hot Springs are anything but hot and barren. It was probably ten degrees cooler than Texas and a third of the humidity.

We pulled into a hotel on the lake and walked around on their pier a little but something nagged me. I’d stayed there before plus it was a chain. I didn’t care if it had a lakeview. I wanted ‘The Arlington.’

On the way up Central Avenue to our hotel Friday night I noticed a building housing a Palm Reader, all lit up and open. I joked ‘I should go there, haven’t been to one in nearly 15 or 20 years. See what’s next in my life.’ I got the ‘are you out of your mind?’ look from Blondie but I was too tired to find out my future right then anyway.

The Arlington is the largest hotel in the state of Arkansas and this third building (the first two burned down) still standing since just before The Depression is filled with history, beautiful ornate fixtures and legends. A beautiful resort offering healing spring water baths, massages, fine dining, live music, pool, majestic surroundings and more. The locals like to share with you that it was Al Capone’s favorite place because his suite gave him a perfect view of the street as well as a rumored underground tunnel to travel throughout the city out of sight. His suite is reportedly still preserved as it was back then and available for lodging. We did not get to see it this trip; maybe next time.

The first thing I loved about the hotel was they had actual keys, not cards. Now that takes one back. I also thought it was very touching that our room was my wedding day. We’d honeymooned in Hot Springs. Here I was 25 years later in a room with that date on the door. The rooms carry a very old feel to them from the wallpaper to the tile floors. Our window view of the side street off Central Avenue presented a fabulous view of the park and Magnolia Trees. I did not get one of the ‘healing baths and massages’ this time but plan to return for a longer trip next time that will allow one.

After dumping our stuff on the bed we hit the streets. We window shopped walking miles until Mushy just plopped down on the sidewalk and refused to move. So we turned around and decided to get some dinner at the only place open that late: The Ohio Club.

I do believe that’s the shortest cover charge they ever collected; by the time Blondie had paid the doorman I had already walked in and turned around. Too loud and crowded for my choice. I told her to go on, live it up, just bring me a glass of water for Mushy. We sat on a bench outside next to a plaster life size cast of Al Capone.

I’m always intrigued by how people behave with statues. They love to have their picture taken with it especially sitting on his lap. I have a statue of a Pirate I will sometimes stand out on the sidewalk during Halloween and people practically climb it trying to pose with the Pirate. I should charge a fee.

So we sat and watched the bikers and their rides while Blondie did the leg work. We shared a Patty Melt and a coke while visiting with the crowd outside.

Blondie was inside ordering food and simultaneously being ‘felt up’ in the crowded club when the woman sitting outside beside me on the bench received an invite to join ‘Jello Wrestling’ at another ‘joint’ up the street. She scoffed ‘do I look like I’d do that?’ and I had mixed emotions when I said ‘well, they didn’t invite me so I guess you’re still hot!’ So no one wants to see me wrestle in Jello. Oh well.

While sitting on the bench Blondie and I met some guy who’s apparently so famous there they post his birthday in the newspaper. I still can’t remember his name. He pointed out that the last time he ‘shot up’ was in ‘that room up there’ as he pointed. I love local folks.

After that we returned to the hotel; she stayed outside visiting as one of the carriage ride guys gave her information about the town while I showered and tried to settle down for bed. At 2am in the morning I was at least five hours past my bedtime so my body was reacting like a child who’d missed it’s nap. Evidence includes eating half a bag of trail mix in bed while trying to get some sleep. Between the bikers and what we both concluded to be the ghost of Al Capone rattling the walls we got very little sleep.

Saturday morning was leisurely. I served Blondie coffee in bed for her leg work at the Ohio Club the night before. We finally dressed and visited the Venetian Room in the Arlington for breakfast. I was surprised to find it was ‘buffet only.’ Well, I don’t think it was officially ‘only’ but our waiter, Josh, seemed insistent there was nothing else on the menu that you couldn’t get on the buffet. So my plan for a Bloody Mary and Eggs Benedict faded but the buffet was filling and adequate. It was indeed a beautiful room and pleasant as we enjoyed more of the Magnolia trees.

After breakfast we checked out of our room and left our bags with the valet instead of lugging them up to the third floor of the parking garage (valet parking was full on check in). We started walking and window shopping but Mushy was so hot and uncomfortable I decided to skip the dual gambling and wax museum in exchange for finding another hotel. I left her with Blondie out walking while I returned to the Arlington to get the car and bags. I retrieved those and after picking her up we parked and toured the Gangster museum.

Very interesting guided tour with videos. Wonderful artifacts about the history of Hot Springs. Legend or rumor is that because of the natural heated and healing qualities of the springs the town was considered a neutral zone for Native American tribes to visit without rivalry. Eventually the legend of lightly enforced laws made the rounds so that ‘gangsters’ began visiting here as well. This was also the original site of ‘spring training’ for baseball teams. The springs were considered a way to ‘boil’ the ‘toxins, including liquor’ out of the players before the season began.

So much more history, hidden doors, great features and a very informative tour. And a little personal spice: the tour guide, an older man wearing wing tip shoes, seemed to stare at me the entire tour. I finally asked Blondie later, ‘was it my imagination’ and she said ‘Oh no, Mom… we may have all been there in the group but that guy seemed fixated on you.’ That was flattering. Or creepy. Hey, I may not be invited to wrestle in jello but I can catch the glance of an old man. I'll take it. Afterward we returned to the car and drove up Central and decided on The Hot Springs Hotel and checked into another room.

This hotel was not so insistent ‘no dog left in the room’ and I was relieved the people in the room next to us had a yapping yorky as that indicated I wouldn’t get complaints if Mushy whimpered as she’s started doing when left in hotels. I may have to start carrying her crate.

The room showed signs of wear but the the lobby and shops were very nice. I was very comfortable and really enjoyed the balcony overlooking Central. We were on the fifth floor and the breeze was nice and especially enjoyed the cool breezes against the backdrop of the luscious mountains in view.

After tending to Mushy and making sure she was comfortable in the room we decided to get some lunch at Fat Jack’s, a very cool old restaurant about a block away that featured SeaFood and Mexican. It’s a local place but very casual and almost ‘anything goes’ including allowing the patrons to write on anything and everything, including the ceilings. I had a layered bean dip and most of Blondie’s nacho’s; we both had two Margarita’s mixed from a very generous pourer so they had the punch of four. Each.

Once back out on the street I wanted to stop back at The Arlington next door for some photos. The hallways there so reminded me of the movie ‘The Shining’ and repeating ‘RedRum’ every time we walked them comically freaked Blondie out. That was fun. In effort to combat some of the food I’d over consumed I took the stairs except for when we tried to reach the very top tower. Good thing too as it was closed off to visitors for insurance reasons ~ they did not want to disturb the architecture of the building just to make it ‘jumper proof’.

Finally, I decided to try my hand at the hotel ‘Starbucks’. While this was on the border of violating the ‘no mass chain restaurant’ rule, it squeaked by due to the fact that I’ve never had the nerve to order at a one. This was my weekend. If I can drive to a destination with no hotel reservation I can conquer my fear of the barista, by golly.

Sitting in the lobby sipping my iced coffee as I tried to remember the quick ‘Starbucks learning lesson’ delivered with my beverage I had this ‘flash’. Now, when I originally threw the virtual destination dart at Hot Springs on the map my thought was ‘no casino’ as often (and successfully attended) recently. I’d actually forgotten the Oaklawn Racing Track has put in many ‘electronic games of skill’. See, gambling is not legal in Hot Springs. You merely visit to test your skill.

I told Blondie ‘let’s go try our skill’. She asked ‘did you have that feeling?’ as she’s well experienced in watching my ‘freaky luck’ and I answered, ‘sort of … it’s mild right now.’ As we drove up Central toward the track I commented ‘Oh, look, how convenient, a Pawn Shop right across from the track.’ Blondie responded, ‘we should go there’ and I answered, “I know, right? I’ve only been to one Pawn shop in my life.. maybe time for another. Hey, if I win enough.. I’ll stop in there and buy one of those huge diamond cocktail rings!’ I said, laughing.

The Race Track building is being expanded another block. Obviously the games of skill are as lucrative there as anywhere else… for the owners. I decided ‘what the heck’ and vowed to only wager about $100 max and not stay long. Especially when the security officer checking ID at the entrance made me discard the last of my Starbucks.

I messed around a bit on a quarter slot machine.. up ...down.. up.. down… then on a dollar machine ...small winnings but nothing was happening other than this really strong feeling of ‘it’s here.. I just need to bet more to win more… where are the $5 machines?’ I took off across those rooms like I was storming the beaches of Normandy and finally found a machine that took a $5 bet. The title of the machine WAS ‘Bet More, Win More’. I took it as, “The Sign”.

On first spin I cringed when I realized despite the name of the machine it was a ‘Double Diamond’ machine and I’ve never won anything on those. Ever. They’ve been around since long before I went to casino’s and were always considered the kiss of death for me.

My luck has changed. On first spin those wheels stopped to reveal three double diamonds in a row yielding a jackpot of $1600. I was stunned. The attendant arrived and took my ID cards as anything over $1200 in Arkansas is taxed but unlike Oklahoma they take the taxes while you’re there. But like any other casino it takes a while. As I was waiting I kept staring at the Wheel of Fortune machine. A player was sitting at the one drawing my attention. I told Blondie to stay by machine for when the attendant returned and walked over to the machine next to him. I could still feel that ‘feeling’ I get when I am around slot machines that reward me.

I’d won $400 when the attendant returned with my winnings from the first machine. In fact, it was dinging another $200 pot in the background as they paid me. Then I won another $200 and more and finally cashed $900 out on that machine as the one next to it was open. I moved over, put in $100 and immediately received a bonus spin and won $1000. I have never been one of those screaming shouty people in a casino. Until then. I was on fire!

The following two machines proved not so lucky so I said ‘that’s it.. it’s gone.. let’s get out of here.’ As my tradition holds, I stopped in the gift shop and bought a T-Shirt. I always do that when I win $500 or more. Let’s see.. that’s three T-Shirts in 30 days. My closet is stacking up.

On the way out of the building I walked into the glass door. I thought it was open. The security guard who’d made me discard my Starbucks hurried over to me to ensure I wasn’t hurt; he thought I’d hit my forehead. I told him it was my knee and promised to not sue and we left. The shuttle bus ride back to the car was hilarious as Blondie kept repeating my defense of the injury. “No, I didn’t hit my head.. I was already a ditz....’ The entire bus was laughing.

As we pulled out onto the street I said ‘whoops… there’s the pawn shop… a promise is a promise’ and I made an illegal U-turn, barely missing the curb, to pull into a ‘non-parking space’ ( a weekend of driving has given my dear daughter the most intensive cardio workout of her life) and we went in. As this is a pawn shop, not a jewelry store, and I was using my winnings from a not-casino, I wanted to pick out the biggest, gaudiest diamond cocktail ring but ONLY buy it if it fit. That's usually an easy out for me as I have fat fingers. Damn. They had one. So another first for me. Buying my own diamonds.

On the way back to the hotel I saw the Palm Reader building again but it was growing late and I wanted to get to the hotel so Blondie could swim. We were racing against a rain storm though. And when we got to the room the pool had a family of screaming children so the allure of swimming was out for her right then. She’s now taken her swimsuit across state lines and has yet to remove it’s tags.

So we took a carriage ride instead. The night before she’d been advised to ‘be sure to get the driver wearing the top hat’ as he was the best and they played with her heart strings that he gave the money to a children’s charity. Turns out that part was a scam but it was still okay. Nice relaxing ride up a side street and being told a few things that we’d not heard by then. More interesting spots of intrigue making us want to return to visit the town again including ‘Tiny Town’ a miniature train village made completely of carved items all with working moving parts.

Blondie would repeatedly say ‘this is so not what I’d expected.’ On the winding road drive up Highway 7 she was commenting ‘I could live there.. and there.. and there...’ pointing at little houses out in the middle of nowhere nestled among the trees. I’m a city rat by nature despite living so much of my life in the country. Once we hit the city limit’s she said ‘oh, yeah, this … I know...’ comparing it to our small town of cement and buildings. But that was because we’d not made it ‘downtown’ yet, where everything is happening. She now seemed in love with the hustle and bustle of downtown Hot Springs and wants to return. She wants our little sleepy town to be like this. She now understands why it held such allure for me.

Our top hatted driver ‘Bud’ told us about the ‘springs’. The average temperature of the water bubbling out of the ground is over 140 degrees; there is an open spring in a park across the street and he said people often sit there and soak their feet there. That sounded like heaven after walking around in sandals all day but it was not happening. Way too hot. Even sticking my hand into the water for a few seconds felt like it was scalded. Someone was walking their huge dog around and it took a drink. It didn’t jump but I felt bad for the dog.

We were on our way to take Mushy back to the room as she’d pottied and was tired again when I remembered it was time for the live Magic Show to start. I had the feeling Blondie wanted to keep walking and shopping but I wanted to see the show.

I told her to go ahead but she went with me. We were a few minutes late arriving for Maxwell Blade’s show but it was entertaining and enjoyable nonetheless. The show was a mix of magic, music and comedy. It was very relaxed and interesting and Mushy finally cooled off and stopped panting. At one point she did her classic full body shake, making her tags rattle, and it echoed throughout the auditorium. Maxwell heard it and commented. But he didn’t complain. He just paused and asked if ‘his’ dog was in the audience. And he told us afterward, on exit, that he loved my dog and that I brought her to the show.

Everyone loves Mushy. They always do. There’s this inescapable connection though where beyond ‘what a precious, cute, sweet, fat, well behaved, friendly, beautiful dog’ comment people seem to have to tell us they ‘had a pug too’ but it ‘died, got run over’ and more. Except the one guy at the gas station; he made a point of telling Blondie that Pugs were considered a delicacy. Yikes.

After taking Mushy back to the room we started looking for a place for dinner since it was after eleven o’clock. And to get even for the ‘RedRum’ Blondie took pride in the fact that she’d kept me up past my bedtime two nights in a row. Odd that such a happening town with so many bars shuts down the kitchens so early. We went back to the only place still open, Fat Jacks. I had a fabulous Etoufee and even Blondie tried it and liked it. I like this emerging adventure from her.

I was exhausted and as my back was aching, I think from my first weekend carrying a backpack, I wanted to go to the room. I told her feel free to go walking, window shopping, whatever she wanted to do. But she didn’t. She said she didn’t feel comfortable without me. I showered and crawled my aching body in bed after taking a boatload of her Tylenol and Ibuprofen. And at 3am I made her go to bed. Yikes, that child can stay up late. I remember being like that but it was a long time ago.

The sounds of motorcycles and a huge thunderstorm served as snooze alarms ~ I doubt if I ever slept more than 15 minutes at a time all night. Every little sound made Mushy sit up. She’s still sleeping today; has been doing so since returning home. Poor little watch dog is exhausted.

Woke to a rainstorm Sunday morning and it was so pleasant. I pulled back the drapes to reveal the entire window and let the fresh breeze flow into the room as I adjusted my travel bag. I finally called out ‘Wakey Wakey’ to get Blondie on her feet as she wanted to go see the Mountain Tower; a landmark structure standing over 1200 feet above sea level, and it opened at 9am. We’d also commented the night before we were waiting too long to eat and by the time we were settling somewhere we weren’t eating ‘well’. So I truly considered having breakfast at the Garden Room where they offered Eggs Benedict as part of their brunch but wanted to do the Tower thing first. Plus, as this was the view from my room... I was also wanting biscuits... for some reason...

Though the sidewalks of Central Avenue are mostly flat and easily traveled, the side streets remind me of San Francisco with their very steep inclines carved into the mountains. On the way up to the parking lot Blondie spotted a deer at the edge of the street. We both stopped and assumed the innate primal stance of a deer hunter. Step, step, and pause. I quietly pulled out my Nikon as she clicked away with her phone. As my camera has a wide range and zoom I caught a gorgeous picture of the deer.

On the return to the car, I slipped on a rock and twisted my ankle. This was the same ankle I twisted in April. I have to start wearing sensible shoes some day. Fortunately though it wasn’t as bad a twist as before and I was able to walk okay until we sat down in the car for the ride home. That was when the swelling got worse and I let her drive.

Bud had led Blondie to believe we could walk to the tower. As we drove what felt like MILES up that winding one way road I think she was relieved we hadn’t tried to hike that. From a distance it appeared it would be accessible from ground level like the Reunion Tower in Dallas. Wrong. At least half an hour driving upward (or so it felt) we finally arrived.

The intermittent rain was creating a lot of hanging fog and we were warned visibility was poor but it was still quite nice. The kid selling the tickets gave me ‘the Senior Discount’ (great … I saved a dollar because the kid thought I was older than I am) and it was really nice being so high up and viewing the town. The floor beneath the full open viewing was closed in and filled with more historical information. Very interesting.

Returning back downtown we walked a bit more and had breakfast at ‘Granny’s’, a nice little old fashioned dive. And yes, I had biscuit and gravy and it was G-double O-D good! The food and service was great and I said ‘we need to get going ~ I’ll take the car and check us out while you shop.’ I’ve been so many more places than her so the local souvenirs don’t hold the appeal for me as they do her but I understand that so it’s fine. Other than my T-Shirt I bought a nice lounge dress from one of the shops and a bag of rocks at the Tower. I plan to make a stepping stone for my garden with those as a memory of the trip.

So I checked out of the room, put the bags and Mushy on the cart and wheeled her downstairs. She has been such a good travel companion. So sweet. It can be limiting traveling with a pet but there’s no other way to do it. I’m not about to leave her in a kennel nor do I know anyone who could watch her for a few days.

On the way out of town, planning to take the ‘bigger highway’ down the mountain instead of the winding road we were instructed to ‘turn left’ by Bond. I pulled into a gas station to fuel up and right there, beside the station was that darn Palm Reader. Again. I asked Blondie to sit with Mushy while I went in for a quick read.

I’m still on the fence as to the validity of this practice. I went to one years ago and everything he he said was true and it involved things that were specific to me including names. He even made me aware of things going on that I never suspected (a colleague at work) but confirmed the following week to be true. And he made many predictions for my future that seemed so off the charts odd that I laughed yet they all came true.

I wondered what this read would bring as I now find myself at a crossroads. A widow. I am finding myself again, now older though, as I felt my entire identity for over a quarter of a century slip away with the last breath of my husband.

I find it odd that even though I did slip my wedding band back on my left ring finger walking over the reader immediately said ‘you are alone … ‘ and began telling me there was a man in my life long ago who loved me and was still out there. She did not make any references to my husband as she continued to assure me that ‘love was waiting for me.. but I had to stop pushing people away with the wall I’d built around myself.’

Of course, my paranoid, or rather, cynical mind, was racing a mile a minute to filter out ‘yeah, well, everyone feels that way at my age..’ but she then said ‘your health… you were on your way to being very sick up until a few years ago but you turned it around.. and you’re doing better. Keep it up… and you’ll live a long life.’

Now… is that vague enough … ala.. people that don’t know they were sick will think they just dodged an unknown bullet? Is that it. Odd. She also told me that I was ‘not’ doing what I was supposed to be doing. That I was supposed to be in the business world and working with women and teenage youth.

It was intriguing. Being told I had a brick wall preventing people from helping me. That I was twisted and in pain. That my life had been on hold for far too long now... does everyone my age feel that way? Was that so general that it could fit anyone? For twenty dollars.. that was my reading and it provided some interesting conversation for the ride home as well as retrospective interpretation for today.

Bond did not fare so well on the return trip. He predicted a four minute delay due to construction that was more like an hour. We inched along the highway and watched the trip arrival time recalculate. But we were safe, injury and incident free, and that’s all that matters. As Blondie was driving I amused myself taking photos of the sky:

I’m exhausted, sore, and burnt out. It was worth it. I had a wonderful time. So much so that I’m considering reserving a condo for the family for Christmas.

To anyone who read this .. bless you. Hope you enjoyed it. Thank you, Bells.
Weigh-in: 180.0 lb lost so far: 105.0 lb still to go: 0 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   (13 comments) on diet Make Peace with Myself   steady weight

06 June 2014

So yeah.. another fake weigh in just to give the FS weigh in reminder a rest over the weekend and update my challenge. I did pull on my snug jeans this morning and they buttoned... so yes, I'm relieved. BUT, before I pulled them on I said, "Ok.. rule is ... if they don't button... I'm STILL going to have a wonderful day and weekend. If they do, well, that'll be pretty dang cool. Agreed?'

So.. pretty dang cool to start the day.

Especially after homemade chili last night. I'm not sure if the challenge is still open to join but I'm doing one about 'Well Fed vs Fed Up' and the administrator began the forum with a post of the 'ideal pantry'. Mine was ideal last night because I was craving chili and ALMOST walked over to the market to pick up a can. Yeah. Me. Thinking about eating canned processed crap. When did that happen?

But instead, I checked and had all the makings, including chili meat in the freezer. Yum.. good good.

Mindful eating.. it is interesting how it DOES take my stomach about 30 mins to realize 'yeah, Stop it.. we don't want anymore' even though my tongue is saying 'thank you Ma'am.. may I have another?'

I'd had about 12oz of chili (probably about 8oz of it was just the broth .. that's always my favorite part) and wanted 'another spoon or two' but told myself 'go ... shower first... do a couple of things.. see how you feel in a few minutes.' And by golly... the tongue and stomach finally caught up with each other.

Which made that 1/2 cup I had just before bed even more enjoyable. Yum ditty yum.

Road trip this weekend. Destination unknown. Blondie riding shotgun, Mushy stretching out on the back seat. Time to christen my new GPS "TomTom". I may even download the voice of Roger Moore. Wild woman I am.

I packed this morning with the plan that whereever the road takes us will require casual attire ... I basically loaded my 'weekender bag' with whatever came out of the clothes dryer making less for me to hang up. In the scheme of Thelma and Louise.. I'm both. Once I pack the kitchen sink.. I have to go back and wipe down all the countertops.

So everything's packed ... I just have to get thru the next few hours and hope I do some freaking business today ... I was 5 mins late this morning and had a customer banging down the door. Now that I'm here I can hear the wind whistling and am waiting for a tumbleweed to roll in front of me.

I'm not even taking my laptop with me this weekend...and I can't get on FS from my KindleHD ... cannot log in from the web. Not sure WHAT that's about but solving that I guess gives me something to live for, right? In other words.. let me wish you all a wonderful Friday and fantastic weekend. Celebrate today ~ we only get this one once, you know :-)


My rules this weekend:

I think I may start doing this... even keeping some in the car just to get the post mark ... something like 'had a great time here .. glad we came..'



To be Remembered:

Weigh-in: 180.0 lb lost so far: 105.0 lb still to go: 0 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   (19 comments) on diet Make Peace with Myself   steady weight

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