Monday, January 28, 2008

Valentine's Day

Eric is such a romantic! Where those things that I lust after are purely functional, he's always looking for little luxuries to make my life easier. He says he's made it his personal goal to get me to be comfortable in accepting less than practical gifts.

He has a long way to go to achieve it, though. I live a somewhat spartan lifestlye at this point, offset by some very nice pieces that I managed to obtain while I was still a member of the traditional working world.

All the same, during our trip to Costco last weekend, I saw something that I wanted. Lusted after. A combination of form and function, it would be perfect to store the piles of beads that were out of control in my living room.

A seven drawer organizer cart. In chrome!

I really wanted that cart but knew that, with my impending surgery, that I didn't have the finances to buy it on the spot. But Eric, ever sensitive and generous, offered to buy it for me as a Valentine's Gift! And although I would normally turn him down because he is way too good to me, my sense of greed took over and I accepted. And so I became the owner of a shiny tower of baskets!

Eric offered to help me assemble it, but I made the correct assumption that any idiot could do it, so we went off to do other things. But that didn't stop me from immediately pulling it out of it's box immediately upon his departure.

A quick count of the parts enclosed, determining that everything that was supposed to be there was, and I was off. No thanks to my dogs, though. Sunny laid directly by the project and slept.
Cosmos at least kept his eyes open, but had parked himself on the sofa to silently supervise. I suppose I should at least be grateful for the silence.
The basic assembly was completed shortly.
I attached the wheels. Yes, on top of everything else, this cart can be rolled around! (Sorry about the sideways picture.)

Baskets inserted, it was ready to be put into service mode. It's now parked in my living room. The beading table is much more managable for this organizational system, and I'm trying to figure out when I can afford a second.

And, with my beads organized and accessible, I found the motivation to complete the front of an amulet bag that I have been working on. I still need to stitch (with beads) the lining to the back, attach the front to the back, and then add fringe and a necklace, but the major and detailed work is done.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night...

Ah yes, I know today's title is the standard for every "terrible first paragraph" contest ever created, but it's also a fact here in Tarzana (Los Angeles Suburb). Rather than a normal storm, tonight feels more like somebody is standing just outside of my window, throwing buckets of water against it. The weather forecasts all predicted a 20-year rain event tonight through tomorrow; it seemed impossible this morning as it was bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky. But apparently, Fritz (Coleman from NBC) got it right.

Dogs are not in favor of rain. I think I've blogged about it here before, but it stands repeating. They don't like it at all. It's become a real battle of wills to get them outdoors to take care of business when the sky is misbehaving. Tonight was no exception.

Cosmos, who used to be my bad boy when it came to the issue of being fully housebroken, has been somewhat docile about the affair. Once outside, he gives me a glance over his shoulder through the screen door, and then proceeds down the one step on my patio and makes his way to my small patch of earth. Takes care of business, and then is ready to come back inside.

Sunny, however, is a different matter. This is the first year that he has vehemently objected to going outside in inclement weather. I don't know if it's because he's old (so is Cosmos) or whether it's more to be blamed on his lack of undercoat. He decided, mid December, that it was a great time to shed. I have to physically force him out the door, then he huddles against the screen without doing anythng at all until I let him in. He won't even let Cosmos under the overhang when he's there.

Once inside, both wet dogs proceed under their own volition, directly to the "Dog Drying Station." Cosmos, this year, seems to be the dog with more of a sense of humor. Sunny is just miserable; standing by in a huddle until I take a towel down and remove the offending water from his back.
I love drying Cosmos off with a 101 Dalmatian towel. It's a pity that it's threadbare and doesn't do a very good job.
Tonight's storm is supposed to hang around into Monday, then we are expecting warmer weather until Wednesday when yet another round of rain is predicted.
Wet dogs are miserable and misery loves company. Now that everyone has been "processed" and are only damp, they've put themselves into my (our) bed for a good roll on the down comforter and a nice night's sleep.

And me? I left an internet chat about 30 minutes ago because the lights have been flickering and I'm afraid of a power failure while I'm on the computer. I suppose I should really sign off now and power down. Gather my candles and matches. Take a hot bath. And call it a night.

Good night!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Making Plans

Apparently, I remain suggestable. Despite myself. When I would love to just do my own thing, especially where my weight maintenance, and hopefully loss is concerened, I am in situations where everyone wants to help me. And help me they do, despite my announced intention to the contrary.

On Tuesday, I went to my regular weight maintenance class at HMR where the unit, since the new year began, is on getting back to basics.

It has been the perfect unit for me since, in December, I let go of food sheets for the first time in several years, and not so coincidentally, gained four pounds. That on top of the weight that I had been slowly gaining over the prior six months. An eight pound increase.

I did a lot of things right in December, though, including continuing to go to exercise class, going to my weight maintenance class (where - ahem - I had a perfect attendance record all through November and December), and weighing myself every single day. Despite the fact that I did not like what I was seeing on the scale. Also, I not only did not hide the fact that I was failing to keep records, but I made sure that both Lucy and Richard were aware. Both encouraged me to pick them back up again, but wisely did not press the point.

I truly believe that being honest with myself, and with others, was what made it easy for me to start over right after Chritmas.

But keeping food sheets has proven to be only half the issue. I actually needed to address the problem eating areas that was driving my weight up. It started with purging my home of all the junk and processed foods that I had collected. That has proven not to be enough, though. While I've stopped the weight gain dead in it's tracks, I've only dropped a couple of pounds and, with my impending knee and foot surgeries coming up (my friend Wendy refers to me as "At Wounded Knee." Thanks, Wendy - lol!), I need to get more agressive. After all, the exercise is going to grind to a halt during recovery.

So what to do? I'm not good at limiting myself at foods, nor am I good at making food plans. "Decisionless days." Lucy calls them. As soon as I lock myself into a set menu, I revolt (against who or what, I don't know) and deviate. So I've been very resistant to the idea.

The thing is, though, that pretty-much everyone who advocates weight loss says that a plan is essential. Richard reiterates it over and over again. Lucy promises us that weight loss is not very likely without one. And in the face of this pressure, how do I deal with it?

Well, Lucy has seemingly come up with an idea for her class that may do the trick. Last Tuesday, she suggested that we not plan every bite that we are going to eat that day, but instead figure out what we were going to do for exercise, how we were going to get our minimum five fruits and vegetables per day into our diet, and - for those who participate, not me - how and when we were going to take our meal replacements. She had us pull out our HMR Food Journals and commit these plans to paper. The idea being that 1.) we are way more likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle if we commit to it in writing and 2.) we are way more likely to displace bad habits by crowding them out by good than by just saying no.

I did not want to write anything down, but I humored her and did so.

Surprisingly, I did not have much trouble keeping the plan. I was resistent to the idea, though, and did not do them yesterday. But then woke up this morning and thought "Why not? I'll give it a try."

The results were startling. Except for not making a salad to go with my dinner because I was not hungry enough for it, and not using tomato sauce on my baked spaghetti squash because when I pulled it out of the refrigerator, it looked like a science experiment, I kept to the quasi-plan perfectly. I ate other foods in addition to my written record, but pulled my day in at a net calorie level (food intake minus exercise calories burned) of 1150 calories. Wow!

So when I got home this evening after Richard's class, I decided to try it again tomorrow. Wrote down my exercise plan, which by the way, included the 25 abdominal crunches and the four push ups that Richard, this evening, implored us to do on a daily basis. Came up with a plan to get more than my minimumly prescribed roughage, and included a Benefit Bar treat in the mix. And I also sketched in an outline of an exercise plan for Saturday.

Now, I don't pretend that my troubles are over, that this new form of less-commital weight loss plans is going to be the panacea for all that ails me. But I'm willing to give it a try.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

On Being A Dog: A "Cosmos" Post

I love to Blog (I have a much wider audience than by e-mailing my immediate friends). There are times that I must Blog about my Mom, especially when she makes a fool (I almost typed food) out of herself.

I am a dog and being thus distinguished, there are some things that are simply apparent.

I will eat any food so long as it is not fruit or vegetable.
I like to sleep a lot.
I like to go for walks every day. They give me opportunity to pick up my pee-mail.
And I enjoy passing copious amounts of gas.

The thing about people is that they think they don't like my gas. Mom included. She complains of course, but underneath her negative commentary is a sense of relief. You see, she passes gas too and thank God for me. She can blame it on me when her friends are over.

Last night, she thought she really had me. She ate curry in her dinner and was thus affected. She tooted and tooted the whole night long. I overheard her laughing about it with her friends, and I even heard her say that she got "revenge' upon me.

She just never get's it. She doesn't understand. I am a dog. I love all things disgusting.

I live for curry farts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Doh! (Slapping the forehead a la Homer Simpson)

I'm really missing my camera. That being said, the fortunate thing is that I have a huge bank of pictures available to publish along with the pics that interest me on the internet.

Yesterday morning, I got up early and filled out all the paperwork to have it - the camera - repaired. I found the receipt which Eric printed out for me last Sunday. Located the original Fuji FinePix box and taped the address label onto the front. (Did you know that if you print a barcode out on an address label, the Post Office claims that they will deliver your package one day sooner?)

Found the bubble paper that I had lovingly stored in my hall closet instead of popping it as I would have been more inclined to do had I acted on my impulse. And, after a lengthy search for the actual camera, packed the whole she-bang up. Weighed it. Stuck a bunch of stamps on. And laid it out in the entryway to be taken to the Post Office.

My intention was to drop the package off during the same trip (by car because of the rain) in which I was to go to the market. But silly me, being distracted as usual, I forgot.

When I got home, I was quite upset with myself, but I looked at the clock. 4:30. One half hour until the last scheduled pick-up.

The Tarzana Post Office is an interesting place. Tarzana, a suburb of Los Angeles, actually was named for Tarzan. Burroughs lived here when he wrote the series. They have a whole display of Tarzan memorabilia in the lobby to view while waiting in line. And I enjoy walking there since it's maybe 1/4 mile from my front door.

4:30pm. One half hour until the last pick-up. One half hour until I was due in Richard's Monday night chat. I could make it.

I quickly changed into my walking shoes and, ignoring the dog's pleas for an early dinner, grabbed the box and headed out the door. A quick right once outside of my complex, and a left at the corner. Through the pedestrian-only underpass at the 101 freeway (it stinks in there) and, upon emerging at the other side, I am at my destination. And confused. Where normally there would be a lot of traffic and tons of cars parked in the lot, there were only a few people coming and going.

I thought to myself "It must be the rain" and hurried along. But realized, when I burst through the front door, that "Doh! I am not always the brightest gal in town." It was Martin Luther King's birthday and the Post Office was closed.

The rain has begun. It's supposed to rain pretty heavily for the next week or so, and so I have set up the dog-drying station just inside of my front door. (Sorry. No camera, no pictures.) 100% of the dogs surveyed disapprove of the sky dropping water on their backs.

Both dogs do enjoy their walks though, and in a last-ditch attempt to lose measurable weight before I am forced to have my knee surgically fixed, I'm walking them rather extensively on a daily basis.

Thank goodness that the rain and walking are not mutually exclusive. Both dogs could appear on a fashion runway. Both dogs own raincoats.

Cosmos shows off his 'designer' duds. Yes, it says "It's Raining Cats and Dogs."
Sunny, in his preferred more rugged look.
Cosmos: "Who is this sky that drops water on me?"
Sunny: "Walk! Walk! Walk! Walk..."
Do you like Pina Colada? Getting caught in the rain?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Who am I becomming?

Tonight, Richard led a chat about Peace in honor of Martin Luther King. It was a rather profound subject for me, one of self revelation.

Of course, he turned the concept of MLK's peace around to a discussion of inner peace. "Are you at peace with yourself?" he asked. And my immediate response was "no." I have all sorts of issues in my life, some of which make me very upset.

He asked us to rate our level of peace on a scale of 1 to 10. I gave myself a 5. I was going to give myself a 2, then realized almost immediately that I wasn't being honest. I've been at "2," I'm not there now.

As the chat went on, I thought about what was upsetting me. Family. I can't really do anything about it, right? Not really. The people who I am unhappy with are struggling with their own demons. I have removed myself from the situation, at least for now. I have not removed them from my life, nor do I intend to. But like they taught us in "Junior Life Guards" at Camp Lakota way back when I was in my early teens, when you're dealing with a drowning person, the first thing is make sure they don't get a grip on you and drag you down with them. That's not going to happen. Not anymore.

Then, there is the other thing. Richard's "Sweating To the Oldies" DVDs came out at the beginning of the year. Pleased that my picture was picked up on the packaging, I was even happier that his "Love Yourself and Win" motivational program was a bonus disc inside. We filmed it in September of 2006; I was proud to be a participant.

The thing is, though, that I was horribly ill at the time of the taping. Only a month out of medical crisis stage, my participation was questionable right up to the very day. I must have driven them crazy with all of my special requests to make that appearance happen. I remember asking to have a later call time than the rest of the cast because of fatigue; permission granted. They allowed me to lay down on the sofa in the lobby when everyone else had to be in place in the studio, only requiring me join them at the times they were actually filming. And I was allowed free access to the facilities in deference to my medical situation, despite the fact that nobody else was allowed to leave except at specified breaks.

It was hard. In fact, looking back I have no idea how I got through it. I talked about "Practicing Patience," a subject with which I am intimately familiar, given my situation. I remember how weak I was... Richard had to help me up the stairs onto the stage, and then down again at the end. They told me, after my segment filmed, that I could go home, but I chose to stay. I was so weak that I was only able to sit up in my chair by leaning on the table next to me.

And after the filming was done, I went home, went to bed, and was too tired to come out of my condo again for a full week. No exageration.

My recollection, though, was that I had done pretty well in the interview. That I looked OK, even though Adele later told me that in my picture with Richard (taken right after we were finished), my body looked great but my face was awful. That it was clear how sick I was. I didn't think about it again after we were done with the conversation. Until this past weekend.

Well, the DVD came out, and I finally got a copy. I was about to put it in my player when Eric unexpectedly showed up, so we watched it together. Or should I say, he watched it. After the first 10 seconds, I couldn't look anymore.

Everything about that go-around of illness came flooding back to me. I looked absolutely awful, like death warmed over. Moon faced (from ultra-high levels of steroids), and almost incoherent. I turned my face into the pillow on the sofa and cried. Eric insisted that I didn't look so bad. "Just bloated and nervous." But he is looking through the eyes of love and also, this matter falls in the same category as "Does my butt look big?" so I wouldn't expect to get a bluntly honest answer.

Later that evening, I went over to my good friends, Sandy & Christiane's home and brought the DVD with me. We played it; they reacted with horror. "How could he have filmed you in that state?" was their question. "Why on earth did you do it?"

Well, Richard was pressed and I certainly wouldn't blame him. And I try to keep all commitments that I make, regardless of my personal situation. Poor Richard... the emphasis of this recording was about living well, feeling well, and looking great, and he had ME on there like a zombie from hell. I have been so upset about it.

I couldn't pinpoint exactly what I've been upset about. Certainly I'm not upset with anyone in particular. Nobody is to blame here. Not Richard, not me. But I've been bordering on a level of hysteria all the same. The person in that DVD was not me as I really am...

So fast forward back to tonight's chat. As Richard asked question after question. As I reflected on the answers, I realized that most of my responses belayed a level of security and lack of anxiety that I don't think I've ever felt before. And then it came to me as an epiphany.

I don't need to be upset about the DVD. It is what it is. Richard had the power to edit me out... to edit somebody else into that place I occupied had he wanted to. There were a number of people who participated that day that did not end up in the can at all. Any one of them could have been put in my place, their comments cut and paste to sound like they were answering my questions. So if there is damage done by the way I looked and sounded, it was by choice.

And even though I hate the idea that the 'monster' who appears on that DVD will probably haunt me for some time to come (people are ordering that set and watching it), I did nothing for which I can feel anything but pride. I have lost weight. I looked like what I was at the time. Somebody who had just survived yet another round of near-death experience. Who, had I been at my old weight and health level, might not have made it. I made it through that day as a symbol not of illness, but as a testament that anything that does not kill you makes you stronger.

Am I completely at peace with myself now? No, not really. There are many things which I would like to resolve.

I'd like to be healthy, once and for all.
I'd like to lose the 7 pounds left from the holidays, and maybe even a little more than that.
I'd like to have my surgery done and over with, and be able to walk without pain.
I'd like to be financially stable, and maybe even a little bit affluent.
I'd like my life to mean something, rather than just be a day-to-day existence.

Without these stresses, though, I may not feel compelled to evolve and grow. And that is paramount over all other things.

And when I look at what I do have, what I have achieved, physically, mentally, and emotionally, I realize that I am more at peace with myself than I thought. Maybe an "8." Things could be worse.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Perusing with the Pelicans

Eric & I made a day of it today. I wish I had my camera to record it but, alas, it is broken and on it's way back to Fuji for repair or maybe even replacement. The good... wait, great news is that it was still under warranty. Now, I have no doubt that something I did caused it go go bad because that is my history with anything mechanical. I'm hard on stuff that way. But the fact is that I never dropped it, never put it through the laundry via my pants pocket, never did anything that could be considered directly abrasive to it. So I'm figuring that they will honor the deal. Especially because I live in California and apparently this state is tough on things like that.

All that being said, again, it hurts not to be able to photograph what I am actually seeing on my adventures. The good news is that we went to a local tourist spot - the Redondo Beach Pier - and there are a lot of pictures of it on the internet that I can grab and insert here. Yes, it really looks like this:

Without the writing in the sky, of course.

The funny thing is that these guys were really there today, walking on the pier. We could get right up to them... within touching distance. As wild pelicans, they do not approve of being pet, of course, but people were able to make contact and they didn't try to fly away. They did try to bite, though.

Pelican. Fresh from the sea. I wonder if they taste like chicken or just like Chicken of the Sea?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Everything's Coming Up Roses

It's the dirty little secret that Los Angelenos won't tell you. About the flowers. When, in other parts of the country everything has gone dormant for winter, the roses are blooming here. So you can imagine how it hurt today when I finally came to terms with the fact that it is January. Time to trim the garden.

Truth be told, the plants had become a little wild, even for my taste. I like my garden unkempt. It's fortunate that I feel that way as I am a somewhat lazy about trimming them. Not crazy about bringing the ol' pruners out, I'd rather let things grow a bit bushy before addressing them. But things had gone too far, even for my sense of decorum.

The big rose bush which had bent over sideways after the last rain, never straightened out. That meant that it was tangled in with my Privet, directly across the yard. Forming a barrier that nobody could cross... not me in pursuit of the water spout, not the dogs in search of the perfect place to - ahem - take care of matters.

The hedge roses were growing over and obstructing the patio, while the basil by the front door had become so bushy again that it entwined in my wind chimes and kept them from ringing, even in the high winds of two days ago.

My mint, dormant for the winter, looked long and scraggly and just awful. And my spices, which I actually do use directly out of my garden, are overgrown.

So with a reluctant heart, I picked up the pruning sheers, found a pair of leather gloves that were not so shrunken from repeated exposure to water and the rain that I couldn'tl get them on (think O.J.), and went to work.

The big rose bush went first. I had forgotten, but was soon reminded, that it has thorns of the most vicious kind. Ironic, since it is named "Peace Glow."

While I was carrying out the trimmings to the garbage dumpster, I impaled myself several times - drawing blood - and got quite the stare from one of my neighbors passing by in the opposite direction. "It bites!" I advised him. And he was careful.

The hedge roses were next. And soon they were nothin' but nubs in the ground.

And I started on the Privet, but soon realized that it is quite mature and the clippers were not going to do the trick. I need to get to Home Depot to buy a small garden saw.

Next was raking. The Privet drops leaves. A LOT of leaves. And so, in a patch of dirt no bigger than 10' x 10' and probably smaller, I took up two full garbage bags worth.

The garden is not complete at this point. I have decided to transplant my mint plant into the ground. I'm thinking that I might do the same with m spider plant, which is thriving and has terribly overgrown it's pot. I'll put some of the herbs, which have also outstripped the capacity of the pots they're in, into the bigger pots that will be vacated. And maybe, finally maybe, I'll plant some of the lettuce seed in the smaller pots that will be emptied.

My patio-garden looks so much bigger for the trimming, and the light coming into my living room is brighter. It's clean outside, and it smells better for the removal of decaying leaves.

But it's so sad to me too. The space has been benuded. Stripped bare. Is down to the foundation. Fortunately, spring is around the corner, and with it, renewed life.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Note from Cosmos

Hello. My name is Cosmos and I am the Dalmatian who owns Mom.

She and I live in a condominium with my stupid brother Sunny. He is a great big mutt and we are only brothers by adoption. I do appreciate him sometimes, though, because he runs interference for me when Mom doesn't understand what I am asking for.

I have never posted on a Blog post before, but I've seen my Mom do them a lot I'm not sure exactly what to expect, but Blog rhymes with Log, and Log goes with Cabin and I really like pancakes with syrup on them. So I'll see what happens as I go along.

Mom goes to something that she calls "Exercise Class" several times a week. I am ambivilent about this activity. I do not approve of it because she leaves me at home when she goes. I require constant care, attention and feeding or my spots might fall off. If she is gone, I don't get fed.

On the other hand, when she comes home from this "Exercise Class," more often than not, she is in a good mood. Additionally, she is usually hungry. That means that she will make some food and that is an opportunity for me. You never know when she might succumb to my sad puppy-dog eyes and give me a treat. You never know when she might turn her back on something she is cooking that is good to eat like chicken or pie crust and give me an opportunity steal it.

But tonight, she came home full of complaints. Apparenty her friend and mine, Michelle, was very sneaky in class. Instead of staying by the lobby doors where Michelle usually exercises, she suddenly turned up directly behind Mom half way through the class, scaring her in the mirror.

First of all, I do not approve of mirrors. When I look in one, invariably, there is another dog that is looking back at me. If I stare that dog in the eye, it stares back at me. It does not know when to back down, either. It raises it's hackles when I raise mine, and it growls and barks at the same time that I do. So that being said, even though Michelle and I are very close and have had a long-term e-mail relationship, I do not approve of her jumping into the mirror.

Now comes the question of motive. There is two sides to being sneaky. Of course, I disapprove of the sky and all it's sneaky activities. It was at it again last week, you know. Here I was, just going about my business without a care in the world. Then, the sky threw clouds over my home and dropped water into my world. It also dropped water on my back. I am not in favor of baths and I am not in favor of sky showers either.

The sky also sometimes bangs on our ceiling in an activity that Mom calls "Re-roofing the Condominium." It hangs helicoptors over my home and sometimes throws planes too. And the activity that I find even more insideous is that of flashing lights into my home and banging drums outside of my window. Sometimes I go outside and try to bark it into submission when it does that, and it throws chunks of ice at me. The sky is a terrible, sneaky thing.

On the other hand, sneaky can be a good thing too. For example as I mentioned above, if Mom turns her back on food, I do enjoy taking a taste or if I am very lucky, the whole thing. You have to be fast and quiet to get away with that, though.

Also, there are times that I like to leave Mom gifts on the TV room or bedroom carpet. She protests, saying that it wasn't necessary and that I should have just left them outside, but I know that she loves me and I want to leave her something of me that is memorable.

So Michelle's activity tonight begs the question, why was she being sneaky? Is she related to the sky and did she want to scare Mom? Was she hungry? Or did she just intend to deliver a present?

I don't know. I will need to think about this. After my next meal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Stunned - in a good way

This past week has been like riding a merry-go-round.

Up - I've lost 9/10 of a pound in the last two weeks.

Down - My clothes are still snug.

Up - Richard's "Sweatin' to the Oldies 20th Anniversary Collection" released and I'm getting some very nice e-mails about the "Love Yourself and Win" Bonus DVD.

Down - Some of those e-mails have had some less than flattering remarks about other cast members who have struggled more than me and it's sad to realize that their issues have gone so very public and are subject to harsh judgement, especially by people that I would have hoped would be more emphathetic.

Up - My Physical Activity. I decided to do a concerted push to increase it this week and was successful.

Down - I need knee surgery.

Up - Lucy at HMR clearly really does believe that I am her "star" student (Maintenance / Nutrition class) and it feels good.

Down - I know how many people are watching me and my weight, and it's really hard to know that I am not responsible only to myself anymore. That I am a source of 'inspiration' to others and that yes, they are watching. My weight is still up seven pounds from 'goal' since the holidays and it weighs heavily on me.

But then there's what happened a few minutes ago as I parked my car and came into my condo.

Richard's Infomercial for Sweatin' is clearly running. I've been recognized and stopped twice in my complex and once at the Vet's office. And I suppose that John - who lives with his family directly across from my unit - must have seen it too. Not that he said that he did.

But today, we both arrived home and parked at the same time. And he commented to me that "I look great." The Fab 4 would be very proud of me, because despite knowing that my weight is up and not feeling my best, I gave him a big smile and simply said "Thank you." Hear that, Claudia? I said THANK YOU. And did not mitigate it with explainations or negative words.

And then John looked at me and said "I mean it. You look great. I know how hard you work at it."

I was stunned. This is the very first time anyone from outside of my immediate 'theraputic' circle has acknowledged that I work hard. Really hard. That my loss and maintenance does not come naturally. (Even within the Slimmons and HMR communities, a lot of people don't believe that I don't have the weight issue whipped.) And the source of this comment was especially surprising. John is a tall-dark-and-handsome beanpole of a man, very athletic, appearing to be thin naturally. He noticed? Oh my!

I don't know why his comment means so much to me. But it does. It kind of validates me, my work, my lifestyle change, the hours and hours and countless more hours that I've spent in the kitchen learning how to cook and make healthy meals, and the even-more hours that I've spent exercising, despite illness and pain and ongoing health issues/crisises.

Because this isn't easy. Even if it was just me, it isn't easy. And to know that I am public, even in the small way that I am, makes it even harder.

I don't think you (John) even know that I have a blog, nor do I think you read it if you do know it exists. But I said it a few minutes ago, and I'll say it again.

Thank you, John.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

TNNA, Long Beach

Eric and I attended TNNA in Long Beach, a show put on by The National Needleworks Association. It was a lovely event held for the trade industry only. We ran into several friends of mine while there... next year, I would like to spend several days at it and maybe take some classes too. Eric, on the other hand, was a very good sport. Not much of interest to him, but he never complained. Not even once.

The Long Beach Convention Center is a very pretty place. I didn't try to take pictures inside because I had a feeling that they may frown upon it and it was a forum in which I'd rather not get in trouble.

It was a gorgeous day today in the greater Los Angeles area... 80 degrees and sunny. After finishing up at the show, I was really glad that I had packed us a picnic lunch. Yes. In a pick-a-nick basket, but sans Yogi Bear. Egg white salad on a Low Carb pita with tomato, onion, and mixed herbed greens. An apple for dessert.

We found a park right on the water that overlooked the Queen Mary. And that is a Carnival Cruise Lines ship behind her. Yes, this is exactly where Richard's Cruise to Lose will depart from next April.
We also had a beautiful view of the skyline of Downtown Long Beach...
And in the distance, the Port of Long Beach, part of the greater Port of Los Angeles.
Ah... today was far too short. And yes, I stayed on food program. Again.

All in all, a good week for weight loss

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Book Game

Here are the rules:

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the 5th sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next three sentences on your blog along with these instructions:
  5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in you closet. I know you were thinking about it. Just grab what is closest.

Check it out... it's really fun. Here are my results:

Dino was very good at fetching the stones his master threw for him, and knew how to beg for a lump of sugar or a piece of meat. And Queneau adds, quite simply, "The other regulars at the hotel looked at us, or rather looked at me since Dino did not exist." This trip in the company of a dog that does not exist is the entire subject of the story.

Personally, I'd rather travel in the company of a dog that does exist. They keep the bed warmer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Eating my way to Thin

Now that I've returned from the hell of holiday eating, I'm reminded of how good it is to eat well. In fact, last night at exercise class, others were noting how much more energy I seemed to have. My immediate response was that I've started eating healthy again. And I realized that it was true.

Upon getting home from class, it was time for dinner. First I "Pam" sauteed mixed vegetables. I had Asparagus which I cut down into 1" pieces, broccoli, red bell pepper, carrot, onion, and celery. I did add - for the whole pan - 1 TB of lemon flavored olive oil, salt, and pepper for taste. Because Lucy at HMR has clearly taught us that cooking al dente allows more nutrients to be passed from vegetables into our bodies, I didn't cook the veggies limp as I am normally prone to doing.

By the way, brussels sprouts (I half or quarter them depending on their size) are also excellent in this pan mix.

Vegetables cooked, I allowed them to cool just a little, then added mixed fresh greens. I love to buy various lettuce mixes from my local farmers markets, but I have to say that Costco carries a one that absolutely rocks!

Then, no more than 2 TB of dressing is added (choose I use full-force dressing and that is my fat for the day)...

And toss the mixture. You do not need a whole lot of dressing in this salad because the vegetables carry so much flavor in and of themselves.

Then, out came the ol' George Foreman Grill.

And filets of pre-marinated Orange Roughy Filets were cooked.

Add 1/3 cup of Cous Cous to this meal and voila! A well balanced dinner which kept me full and satisfied for the rest of the night.

Although Cosmos spends all night with me in 'his' bed, after he leaves in the morning, it doesn't take Sunny much time to jump in and keep his spot warm.

It's hard to believe that this dog is my tough boy.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Mr. Tea

Well, I've finally done it. I've started drinking tea.

I'm not sure exactly who the enabler was. Or who they are. I know that a lot of people around me drink the stuff. Vennie... who had me bring it into my home during the Fab 4 retreat and then did not use it. Eric, who has recently taken it up in lieu of some of his coffee breaks. Adele, who uses it to warm herself up during her 'nutrition' break at work.

Maybe it was Shelly, my teacher at Stitch Cafe, who's last unit before we took our holiday break was china painting and we made a mug.

I succumbed to peer pressure. I kept hearing and hearing and hearing about tea. And it was in my home. So I tried it. "Good Earth" tea. With 1 tsp raw sugar. And it wasn't disgusting.

I can't say that I'm wild about it at this point. I can't even say that it fills me up. But it gives me an excuse to use a little sugar. Operative word being little. Enough to take care of a sweet tooth while, at only 20 calories per tsp, not enough to do any damage to my diet. And so I guess I'm now a tea drinker.

At least I don't keep cats too. At least yet.

Boy, I've loved getting feedback on my posts. Hearing what you have to say is reassuring, gratifying, and at times absolutely hilarious. If you're reading and don't know how to reply, it's easy. Just put your cursor over the word 'comment' just under this post and double click with the left mouse button. You will come to a page that you can put your reply in and send it back for the world to hear.

And then, there's the e-mail function. Did you know that the white box to the right of Comment stands for e-mail? If you see a post that is particularly pertinent to somebody's life, think it's funny and good for a giggle or three, makes you mad and you just want to blast me to pieces, or whatever, all you have to do is click the button and send it to your receipient of choice. For Free!

If things go best case, your friend will be really happy with you for turning her/him on to something that relates to their life and I will get a new reader. Win Win Win! So go on, give it a try. What could it hurt?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bar Mitzvah!

Well, today was not usual business for me. Normally on a Saturday, I would get up, stumble around the condo for a little while (somewhere in there getting the dogs outside and fed), fall back into bed again for 20 more minutes, then get up, showered and dressed for exercise class.

Leave around 9:30am for the 10:30 class. Would be at Slimmons through around 12:30, then come home and putter around.

But today was special. I was going to a Bar Mitzvah.

Now I can't say that I was particularly excited about it. Having skipped the whole kid thing into my early 50s, I suddenly find myself involved with Eric, the single custodial parent of 4. Ages 6 - 13. That means that they are of an age that their friends are being Bar Mitzvahed. And he is expected to attend. Now that we're serious and 'out,' so am I. I wasn't exactly grumbling about it last night when he stopped by for dinner, but I still let it into the conversation that if he questioned that I loved him, he was to remember that I was going to this thing today.

You need to understand. Today's event was in honor of Jason, the son of Lori & Bob who I had Thanksgiving with. They are exceptionally nice people, but this was only the second time I've met them. So let's see... both meetings on very significant days. Oy. And I barely know them. Oy. But I actually didn't have an issue with it, surprisingly enough. I'm starting to recognize my role in all of this, and also, I did make Eric that bolero tie to wear.

The ceremony was nice. At Lebec, I immediately recognized their parking lot as the overflow parking for the Getty Center. I had no idea that it was anything other than that though. The synagogue was nice. As most synogogues are, it was furnished simply. I did choose the right outfit for the event which was a relief. What do I know about Bar Mitvahs and dressing for Jewish Events? And when I would press Eric about what was appropriate, all he did was moan about how he was required to wear a suit.

I was intrigued by the Ark. (Where the Torah is stored.) The area was enclosed by a set of floor-to-ceiling double doors and when the torah was revealed, the lighting inside was such that it looked like God himself beaming down. They opened and shut the doors to the Ark a couple of occasions. What I really want(ed) to know was if the light worked like a refrigerator light. Did it go out when the doors were closed? And if yes, how do you know for sure? I certainly hope it didn't work on a switch. It just seems like it is wrong to be able to turn God on and off so simply.

The reception was classically Jewish. That is to say, extremely nice and well done. At Duke's in Malibu, it was a pleasre that the rain that was forcasted for the whole day disipated and we could enjoy the ocean view. I did pretty well in the food department. Yes, I'm over on calories for the day, but not nearly so much as I could have been, so I'm happy. And the official season of eating has now drawn to a close.

The best part, though, was maybe a 45 minutes into the reception. There were the opening speeches and everyone (almost, except Eric & I didn't although Garrett did) danced the Hora(ble). Then, when that was over, the DJs called the "old people" onto the floor so that they could teach us a dance that "all the kids would already know." I went out immediately, and when I caught Eric's eye (he was with - I think - Lori in ernest discussion over something-or-other), I crooked my finger and made it clear that I would like it if he joined me. And he, being the good sport that he is, did!!!!!

I explained the dance to Beth this evening on the phone.
  • Take 3 steps to the right.
  • Take 3 steps to the left.
  • Take 3 steps to the back.
  • Hop twice!
  • Do the Cha Cha Cha.
  • Wiggle your butt!

She tells me that it's the Charlie Brown, whatever that means. What I do know for sure is that my man is a winner and it's not just me that thinks it. At the end of the dance, which he did the whole way through even though Garrett was on the sidelines alternating between an open-mouth gawk and hysterical giggles at his father wiggling his behind, the DJ's had taken notice. Pulled him out in front of the entire crowd (a really big one) and gave him a prize for being the most 'outstanding dancer' on the floor!

The price was a miniscule flash player for computers. Antiquated equipment that was awarded to the CIO - Director of Technology at UCLA - lol! But it doesn't matter. That wasn't the point. The point was that he won.

Eric won. And I have given him his marching orders. He won a prize... a trophy so to speak. He is to take that flash player home and put it on his mantle because everyone knows that when you win a trophy, you need to display it prominently on your mantle for all to see.

Here is my man wearing his bolero and holding his prize. I'm so proud!

Post Script # 1 - Within 45 minutes of arriving home, it has started to pour rain.
Post Script # 2 - I have talleyed my caloric intake for the day including the vegetarian salad that I just ate for dinner. I really didn't do badly at all, all things considered.
Post Script # 3 - As I came into my patio gate, I learned that Cosmos was not only willing to now sleep on the living room sofa in it's new position, but had figured out that he could stand on his hind legs with his front propped on the window sill to get a really good look at what is going on outside of his window.
Post Script # 4 - We stopped at Home Depot on the way home from the Bar Mitzvah. I now am the proud owner of a 'Badger 5.' That would be a new garbage disposal. Of course, it still needs to be installed and it may take another week or two for me to call Robert.... that will be for another blog post.

The Sky is Falling!

The sky was foreboding. Rain was in the immediate forecast. I walked the dogs and fortunately made it home before it began.

I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but in my condominium complex, even the trees seem to sense when the weather is about to change. They huddle in on themselves.

I sat down to make Eric's bolero tie for tomorrow's Bar Mitzvah. And when I looked out my window, realized by the fact that my rosebush was standing on it's side that the rain had begun.
Cosmos, ever suspicious of the sky's activities, had to be let out to inspect the situation.
"Where is the sky who dares drop water on my back?" he thinks. "This is unacceptable."
And once he had formulated the thought, realized that if he came inside, he could proceed immediately to the dog-drying station.
Where he would receive a nice terrycloth massage.
Sunny, jealous of the attention that Cosmos was getting, thought about going outside to get wet too, but then thought better of it. I gave him a brief massage so that he wouldn't feel left out. Since his hair is so much thicker than Cozie's, he emits quite an odor when wet and I don't want him in the elements unless he really needs to be.
Cosmos, always a fan of the TV newscast and especially the weather report, proceeded directly to the studio where - to his pleasure and delight - they were broadcasting almost continual weather reports. Except, of course, for the Brittany news, but even from that remote location, it was raining so he was happy.
"Hmmmm," he thought. "It looks like the sky has just begun it's unacceptable activities. They are saying that there is more water coming in from up north."
"Who cares about Bakersfiend and Fresno? The sky is misbehaving right here outside of my front door!"
"The sky is going to blow air at me too? This is truly unacceptable."
"And by the way, where is Fritz when I need him? Who is this substitute weather person? Fritz would have tamed that naughty sky."
"Mom may need a spiritual advisor to tell her of her future, but all I have to do is consult my 'magic window' to know what the sky is going to do. Now I need to go and tell it off."
And while Cosmos was outside once again, barking at the sky that was certainly throwing water at him, I stood back and admired the bolero tie that Eric will be wearing at tomorrow's event.
Hmmmmm. I do good work if I have to say so myself.


Related Posts with Thumbnails