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04 June 2014

Sleep was interrupted several times last night but still managed to have a very vivid and interesting dream about my Grandmother and her home; almost a revelation and a release. I pray that theme continues instead of the alternate I've had about that for over 15 years.

I consider it a blessing as I emotionally had the wind knocked out of me when I stupidly opened the drawers in Cutty's bathroom to reveal his grooming items still present. I'd redecorated the walls and visible shelves more to my style, to define 'things are different' but forgot the drawers. Interesting metaphor, no?

I thought of how I have no desire to rid my home of his possessions but I have clung to the most basic of items. I could no more discard his cologne than I can his recliner in the living room nor his house shoes still perched beneath his bed. The walls may be covered with art now when he preferred them bare. The scent of candles and cooking fill the air when he requested there be none to interfere with his breathing. But he's still here. His presence. His territory marked. I gently pushed the drawers shut with the tips of my fingers to avoid disturbing them.

If only there were an easy mathematical equation ~ X number of months grieving for Y number of years married. But I've already experienced how that math doesn't work with weight loss... I cannot show a pound lost for every 3500 calories deficit. How would emotions be any easier?

The sixth month marker of his passing was Memorial day. I've been trying to create a heart shaped stepping stone using some mortar in the store room and one of his personal items (a small antique bottle) including stirring some of his ashes into the mix. The first attempt was a failure; the second is still curing. I don't think it's going to set and hold either. I may get some spray paint and leave it forever in the 'pan' so it doesn't fall apart.

Food and weight? Still no scales being utilized in my life; clothes fitting the same. Sans a short weird 'chocolate craze' yesterday I am eating well. It's ironic of all things I do agree with in Roth's writing I am not making 'eating at the fridge' special. I get the analogy and am treating myself quite well but right now I'm just satisfying hunger and that's not needing making a production of every meal. I'm aware of the 'bites from the fridge' and being mindful of the nibbles and cravings.

I think about how I rejected May's theory on portion control the same way and it had the biggest impact on me once it soaked in. But I feel I've been incorporating the 'grand gesture of eating' for a while now. Time will tell.

And while I've yet to have that euphoric 'high' during exercise ~ I have noticed ... go ahead.. hoot at me if you must.. that I am able to move better and faster since reincorporating the treadmill three times a week. I walk to errands about town as much as I can but noticed I'd slowed... so while nothing is changing on the 'outside' I think some of my strength and stamina had taken a hit. So YES... it's HELPING. As mindless as it feels... I've managed to find a decent series on Amazon ('Suits') and it's holding my interest for a good 45 minutes walk incorporating varying speeds and inclines. And I won't watch it anywhere but there. So if I want to know what Mike and Harvey are doing.. I have to lace up (my sneakers).

Massage therapy this evening. EVERY time I leave there I feel SO much better than I think 'maybe time to start reducing the visits .. every other week...?' and then by the following Wednesday I'm so 'oh.. I'm so glad THAT is today!"

Recognizing this emotion.. there really isn't a lot of routine things I look forward to; I remember DREADING every time Yoga rolled around and began casting about for excuses. My body seems to be running it's on Ponzi scheme on me in that just about the time I decide to back off the 'massage investment' it gives me a nice little return so back I go ... 'Thank you Ma'am.. may I have another'.

More than the decrease in the physical pain being yielded by the weekly therapy ... I truly believe it's helping with the mental. Last night after the 'drawer' incident I soaked in the spa tub and it set my memory bank on fire. I was having flashes of all sorts of past stress pop into my head. I was working a Sudoku puzzle on the bed trying to make my brain relax and bing-bing-bing this thing from work, that thing from that person, like the flashbulb of a camera.

Where does this stuff come from? Stored in that muscle.. housed in that nerve... all moving along like a vagabond hitchhiker. NOW I cannot remember a single one of those flashes specifically. So I pray they went out of me, into the universe, instead of resettling back in my own shell.

A lot of rambling today. Bless you for sticking with me and reading this far. Hope you have a most wonderful day and celebrate your life. It's the only one we get. Make today count.


02 June 2014

This morning I celebrated another half dozen gardenia's blooming as well as a couple of dozen rosebuds flowering. I'm inspired reading the journals of my buddies here pulling out the good china, wearing their dressy clothes and more. I wish I were responsible for the theory but it came to me via Roth's book but wasn't the first time to hear / read it either. Just great to get the reminder. So I'm wearing one of my new blouses - even though it's white! - and am very dressed up and wearing a little both Dior and Chanel.

AS for the 'winnings' bragged about in my previous journal - yes, that was twice in May (flipping calendar over, finally today) but really 'not' new for me. I have always been incredibly lucky with slot machines - I consider it the after effect of working all those years surrounded by computers; a 'one of us' sort of payback.

About ten years ago when I worked in NM there was a casino w/in 3 miles of my corporate apartment and I went out there about 3x a week and always won. Well, almost Always. About 90% of the time. Weird. It became more like 'going to work' than 'winning'. Weird but true.

I'm a terrible 'gambler'... I can't count cards, have no poker face, and seriously cannot follow a game of dice if my life depended on it. Slots are easy and have always rewarded me.

BUT, I don't EVER count on it, rarely go to a casino more than a half dozen times a year at most, nor gamble more than I can afford. Fortunately, in a way, food still continues to be my 'last man standing' vice of over indulgence. IN the world of so many other options, I suppose it's the tamest.

I'm making my weekends 'Be Kinder to Bella's Body' days. During the week I wear my posture bra and body slimmer. I do this to remind myself to sit and stand straight, hold in my stomach to hopefully recover SOME memory in those muscles and it's just a general 'hug' and reminder when I eat.

It's not for vanity because I still wear a 'big shirt' over all of this. I really like my body in the mirror reflection of how slimming a longer shirt makes me appear. It goes against all fashion rules.. I think.. but I like the look. So I go with it.

On the weekends though, I don't wear my 'under armor'. And yet, I still received the comment Saturday evening 'you look as if you've lost more weight'.

And my body is enjoying the 'kinder' weekends and rewarding me. Not with a scale because I've still not stepped on one. Not with another size down because I'm just wearing what I have.

But with ... happiness. I woke happy. Yesterday I had a great 'country breakfast' (bacon, egg, biscuit and gravy) and then made cinnamon rolls in the waffle maker - iced with cream cheese frosting.

I nibbled on them, not logging them in and freaking out at the calories. I didn't eat all of them.. I probably did eat more than one but not three... and I enjoyed the taste. Once I was finished.. I threw them away because I know for now the 'visual' of them still there would tempt me although the physical craving for them was gone.

And I didn't do math all night in bed... I just .. ate, stopped when I no longer wanted to .. and painted. And played in my garden. My day was wonderful.

I have the body armor on again this morning. Sitting straight. Breathing. Smiling.

And another week is in progress.


01 June 2014

So I journaled yesterday that I was celebrating Saturday and it just continued! Mushy and I walked down to the hoity toity boutique so I could use my ‘25% off for your Birthday’ coupon before it expired. Bought two really pretty blouses as I’ve heard there’s no such thing as too many blouses.

Walking home we passed the local pub owned by my friend. She’s expanding it to outdoors and was sitting on the patio and invited us to join her. She was sipping coffee and eating what looked to be like a slice of the most fabulous coconut cake. It made me wonder about one of my friends here … who’s GF sent HIM a coconut cake yesterday. Hmmm. Small world.

Ironic though - she didn’t offer me any. Nor did she, the owner of a pub, even offer me tea, beer, water. Mushy was panting and she still just chattered. Weird. Not sure what to think about that. Oh well.

When I returned home I felt restless. I’d dreamed of my Grandmother (who passed away nearly 20 years ago) three times this past week - she was alive and living in Las Vegas. What?? I don’t think she ever even WENT to Vegas. What was that about?

I decided to 1) take it as a good omen and 2) work on breaking free of my ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ a little more. Something happened over the years where Cutty grew more and more concerned of my going ANYWHERE alone and especially anything spur of the minute. Just a simple day out took weeks of planning akin to launching rocket ships. I phoned two different friends to invite them to ride along to a casino with me.. no answer. So I just buttoned up my courage and did it alone!

I know.. sounds really silly. I used to hop on planes and travel all over the U.S. for work but it just got so skewed that going somewhere for leisure was ‘just asking for trouble.’ But I didn’t have any (trouble). Moreso, I won over $3k. Way cool. I was able to replace the money I spent on having my A/C repaired last week as well as some renovation being done to one of my commercial buildings. I was thrilled.

I came home; had dinner (bacon & eggs) and then Mushy and I went for a short bike ride to check on the renovation progress. I’d offered a bonus if they finished by Saturday night. (This is my Son In Law, Blondies crew - who owe me money for having to repair THEIR air conditioner as well). But as they’d rather SLEEP than get up before the crack of noon and earn extra money, I won’t be paying out the bonus. People and their choices.

Eating last night - off the charts weird. A biscuit with homemade cream gravy followed by chocolate chips & cashews in bed. Twice. Then pickles. AS I said: weird.

Another sleep challenged night so I’m feeling a little hungover today from trying to chemically manage the insomnia. I think I’ll take a nap… when I wake, I think I’ll walk down to the vineyard and have brunch.

Here’s to celebrating another day. Sunday!

Hope you’re celebrating in your world too.


31 May 2014

After pounding all of those thoughts out of my head into my journal yesterday I returned to Roth's book and the chapter on celebrating even the little things seemed right in line with my decision to make positive drama every single day I have left in my life.

She wrote of a friend of hers who uses all the good china and drinks champagne 'just because'. I loved that reminder. EVERYDAY should be a celebration, shouldn't it?

I know we share our Non-Scale Victories here and that is truly important as well but for me I AM going to make it a habit to celebrate every day. So I won't be stepping on ANY scale for a while because that truly just messes me up.

So I began by sending Sunflowers to Grace. I had the florist sign the card 'just because'. Why wait for a special day to send flowers? I'm not ... not anymore. I am going to do things that make me happy on days I think about it.

She sent me a thank you card this morning (electronic) and contained within was the following quote: Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; They are the charming gardeners Who make our souls blossom. Marcel Proust

Beautiful thought isn't it?

After a most fantastic massage (my NECK even cracked... meaning... she has finally reached a point where all of that massive spasm muscle crap finally loosened to the point I could look over both shoulders) I stopped in at GNC to pick up the Isopure Carb Free protein beverages I enjoy. Another celebration because I picked up three bottles and the sales person actually said 'buy three, get one free' and even went to the back to get it for me. I love free stuff. Especially surprised free stuff. Celebration!

When I returned home I began preparing my dinner: marinated salmon with a vegetable blend and tortellini all pan seared in olive oil.

While it cooked I danced in the kitchen to 'Bye Bye American Pie' ~ and sipped a glass of red wine. I have a shelf of mini bottles of wine ... bottles I accumulate.. waiting... for who? If *I* am not special enough to crack open a little bottle of wine, why should I expect anyone else to know just how darn special I am??

Dinner was fabulous. I went to bed happy. I was awake several times throughout the night but that's normal. And this morning, my Gardenia plant bloomed. I love it. Celebrating Saturday here.

Thanks for stopping by to visit with me. Have a wonderful Day.


30 May 2014

Second Journal:

Two small light bulbs glimmered this morning ~ one regarding exercise and the other regarding self esteem.

Translation: long journal. Standard caveat: read, don't read, whatever you please. I'm just working some crap out here.

Physical Activity
The Roth book I'm reading suggested being physical NOT because of the exercise or weight loss, etc., but because 'moving is fun' and referenced 'remember how much fun you had moving as a child'.

No. I don't. I don't remember skipping or jumping rope or running or anything physically fun.

Now, I will concede that many of my childhood memories are well hidden from me to protect me ~ and probably the 'gee, this running around thing is fun' got tangled up in that. Short of extensive and expensive psychotherapy I'll probably never untangle that nor am I feeling the revelation will release me. But then, again, I don't know. I'm just journaling about it because I'm curious.

I remember working when I was young. I can remember standing on a step stool to reach the stove to cook bacon and eggs for my step-grandfather as young as five years old. I remember driving a hay truck as young as seven. Bussing tables and washing dishes as young as eight. And I was probably the only girl in the sixth grade who got a McCullough chain saw for Christmas so that I wouldn't have to trim limbs off trees with a hatchet anymore.

But no where in those memories do I recall 'running and playing'.

The earliest memory I have of failing at 'just pure activity' was probably junior high.. one of those 'obstacle course, can you run so you can at least get ONE PASSING GRADE this year' things... and I remember trotting around the entire track in last place but then stopping within 10 feet of the finish line. I even remember the P.E. Coach's sign of exasperation... 'Come on, Bella.... really?'

Now, I still played sports. Basketball and volleyball. I tried to be part of the crowd. I wasn't the 'oh, no, I can't do P.E. today because I have my monthly' girl. But I still sucked at it. I don't remember I just remember bus rides and bench rides despite doing countless laps around the basketball court, duck walk and jumping jacks.

So whatever is locked in there.. and it's in there pretty deep because I walked on the treadmill an extra 20 minutes this morning just 'free thinking' and talking out loud trying to make 'some connection'... whatever it is taught me that 'physical activity is to be reserved for work'.

Because I am indeed happy to dig holes in my yard and I'll get downright indignant when someone tries to help me haul my cases of water in from the car now. At the grocery the other night the MANAGER of the store said to me.. as I pushed six cases in my cart (150lbs) thru the store "Next time you need this much water, Ms. Bella, let me know and I'll load it for you.' I politely thanked him and explained I considered this one of my favorite workouts.

Plus I'm totally looking forward to Monday - that customer who can't lift the heavy inventory is coming ... so I'll get to throw heavy bags at him again.

I pray gratitude that I can walk around town to run errands but to just 'walk for the sake of walking' or even when I'm riding my bike ... I am most content when there's a task involved.

So whatever 'it' is ... it revealed to me why *I* am not getting that addiction and euphoria so many of you experience regarding exercise. At least, NOT YET. I'm not ruling it out. I just feel good to get a glimpse of the answer. Until then.. I'm grateful for Netflix. It's the only thing I can mindlessly zone out to while walking 3 miles on a treadmill only to end up in the same spot as I began.

Self Esteem
Back to the book, Roth explains that we sometimes have this negative talk going on inside because the DRAMA of it makes us feel alive. I totally GOT that because my Ah Ha moment connected with how many times I've commented that to be happy WHERE I am right NOW feels like I'm compromising. Settling. Giving up. Giving in.

All of that ... for me ... equated to 'death'. Or at least.. NOT ALIVE. And it was so .. I dunno... releasing? Revealing? Soothing? Reassuring? I'm running out of adjectives. It was GOOD to read it WASN'T just me or else Roth wouldn't have been writing about it in her book.

Sure, there's GOOD drama. Winning the lotto... getting a promotion... finding $5 in the pocket of an abandoned jacket. But obviously it became so much easier to keep the negative drama going on in between the positive drama that it becomes a very easy 'go to' on a day to day basis. Writing this now I'm realizing I need to reread the chapter on that and I will but I thought about it this morning and decided I am going to start making my own good Drama daily.

Whether it involves shouting in glee at the latest rose bud that bloomed or a GREAT cup of coffee... I'm going to find my happy drama.

And ... as I have long lived the quote 'Insanity is doing the same thing but expecting a different result...' well, I KNOW I am not finding happiness in a scale .. the size of jeans.. or being OCD about my intake. So those options are OUT.

I AM happy to be able to move more than I did two years ago. I AM happy to be able to walk to my errands and I'll eventually find a way to put an errand with the bike ride but until then I'll just ride for the idea that Mushy needs the fresh air. I am happy that I do feel better with the better nutrition I give my body now compared to two years ago.

Just as Roth wrote of herself... I too MUST realize I've done horrid things to my body... all for the sake of weight loss or just trying to be in control. The excesses and deprivation have taken their toll and I'll NEVER .. no matter how well I eat or don't eat or exercise or not exercise... I'll never RECOVER to have the body of a 20 year old. I am .. a living, breathing, aging, walking, talking organism. Time takes a toll. And I added much tax to this body and it's still with me.

Today... I'm happy. With myself. With what I can do. With what I choose to do. Today.

If that's a compromise akin to death ... so be it. Better than dying in turmoil.

Thank you for reading.


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