Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eyes on the Prize: Weekend in Seattle!

January has turned out to be a busier month than I would have thought.  Maybe because so many things have to be signed, completed, redone, or otherwise changed or dealt with in a new year - but I feel like I haven't stopped this entire month!  Not to mention Republican debate madness that has taken so much of my time.  I don't know why, but I am just compelled to watch the craziness develop.  Perhaps because it changes daily?  I don't know but it has me glued to the radio, internet, and TV.  So unlike me.
Today was busy from start to finish.  A 7am conference call started me off.  I sat through that like a zombie, wrapped in a big blanket to keep warm.  Unlike most weeks, though, I actually had an interest in a part of the agenda today.  Usually I have no idea (or interest really) in what most people are talking about.  I am going off the principle that one day I, too, will have a clue as to what's actually going on beyond my little corner of the Education Department.  Right now, all this talk of budgets and GL accounts makes me want to duck and cover.  So for now I stay silent, keep the mute button on so no one hears me eating breakfast, and pipe up with a cheery "No!" when asked if I have anything additional to contribute.  It's a paycheck, folks.
After the call I worked for a little bit, and then got ready for yoga.  It's a good thing that class is at 10am because if it were any earlier, I would have such an easy time talking myself out of it.  I was quite sore from yesterday's class, and was dreading what Tannis would do to us today.  Her class is the hardest one I have all week (and sadly, she considers it a "soft" class...) and I didn't know how I would be able to do much.  But Advil is a wonder drug, and by 10am I was ready to go.  WOOT!  It was a "wall class" today and we spent most of the hour and a half with our feet up the wall stretching this way and that.  But then she/Tannis did manage to slip in the dreaded "Dolphin pose."  Just hearing the word "dolphin" makes me break into a sweat now.  I'm sure it's easy for some, but I have little or no upper body strength, and it's like doing down dog, but you're holding up your body with your forearms.

Looks easy?  Try it.  You'll be sweating huge drops like I do and shaking like a leaf.  I have to rest my forehead on the ground, but you're really supposed to be up enough that your head "hangs loose."  HAH!  But you know what?  I couldn't even lift my load when I first started, so.... baby steps.
Came home.  Jumped in the shower and hosed off.  Worked and worked.  At 2:00 I had an eye exam for new reading glasses.  I'd picked up L's new glasses last week, and while I was waiting I had a little look around and found me the CUTEST pair of Kate Spade frames.  Kind of roundish and librarian looking.  I love them, so I made my appointment and ordered them today.
Back home, worked some more and finished my day.  In 3 days (Friday) I am getting on a plane and spending the weekend with my best and oldest friend Marion, in Seattle.  I'm insanely excited to go.  I've been watching the weather and it's been almost solid rain.  The day I get there and, at least until Saturday, it will be sunny.  I had to laugh when I saw that.  The last time I was there - a couple of years ago - it was also bright and sunny, and everyone kept saying how weird that was.  I have yet to see the daily downpour there.  It's not too late to change, though!
I don't know exactly what we're going to do, but Friday night we'll stay in Seattle and have dinner there at a place that specializes in seafood/salmon.  Very excited about that.  I hope we'll go to the Pike's Marketplace again - I really enjoyed that.  The rest of the time we will be in Olympia, where Marion lives.  It doesn't matter what we do.  We are the kind of friends who never grow apart.  We just pick it up again.  She has been my ally and best friend since we were 11.  We met in 6th grade, and there's been a lot of living for both of us between our 11 year old selves and the wonderful women we are now.  And we are wonderful.  She told me she has lost her waist in the last year, and I say it's about time.  I don't know when mine went, but it's definitely gone, and not likely to return - not in it's original form, anyway.  But no matter.  We will laugh, we will cook, we will shop, and who knows what else.  We will stay up past her bedtime, and when she can't stay up anymore, I will read my Kindle book ("Killing Lincoln" is the latest) until I'm sleepy.  It's going to be a glorious weekend where we can just be 2 girls together, catching up on the last two years apart.  L was so wise to send me on my own - it's going to be fun, hilarious, and poignant all at once.  A weekend to come home and savor.

Pictures will be forthcoming.  I'll take the camera, and do my best to document.  We are a long way from those girls we used to be (in many cases, THANK GOODNESS!)  Here is Marion in all of her 9th grade sophistication sporting new desert boots and cords and velour top:
And then there's me, around the same era, give or take a year.  Oh, how I wished for that long, straight blonde hair and the sultry beauty.  But no.  It was not to be.  Here I am feeding Marions duck - Phoebe June.  (Yes, that beautiful girl had a duck AND a lamb, Waldo Wigglesworth.  And a dog and 2 crazy cats.)

I was, as my mother so unappealingly put it back then "pretty in my own way."  Definitely not the way I wanted to be.  But we grow and change, and high school looks and confidence don't matter so much anymore.  We have come into our own after life's knocks and bruises and successes and triumphs.  But underneath it all, we are still like these two little girls (Lexi and Mia) when we get a change to get together and whoop it up.  So happy to be there enjoying the heck out of ourselves, and loving every minute.  Old friends are the best.  They know where all the bodies are buried and they love us anyway.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Politics, Cousins, and Namaste

I'm up to my neck in Republican debates.  I think I need an intervention, because I've become obsessed.  I used to listen to Radio Paradise (internet radio) in the background while I worked.  The last couple of days I've been horrified to find myself listening to *gasp* Rush Limbaugh and others on the radio, spouting their opinions, while I'm trying to form mine.  I've always hated Rush Limbaugh.  But all of a sudden I think he knows things I don't, and so I listen.  So far, though, he doesn't.
Politics, for the most part, confuses me.  It always seems to be one lie, after half truth, after a wink and a nod.  Often times, the person with the prettiest speech, or the debater with the most drama and fireworks doesn't really seem to be the best candidate, after the cameras are turned off and you have time to really think about what was said.  And it's disheartening to realize how much most of them twist the truth.  I think one of the candidates is a cute but crazy little Mister Magoo.  Another one I just loathe.  Not so much his ideas or policies, as I just don't like him.  He's smug and self righteous - at least that's how he comes off to me.  A third one is brilliant but scares the crap out of me.
So I think I know who I like, but now its the angst of listening to all of the pundits and critics out there, and the roller coaster of wondering who will come out the winner.  It's not like me to be so involved, but I think this time we really have a lot at stake, so I'm trying to be as involved and informed as I can be.  And it's driving me a little bit crazy.
My kids all got together recently with their dad in Colorado, and everyone had a great time together.  My daughter Katie was able to snap a few pictures while she was there - about 500 of them, to be exact.  Now, while I don't expect to see all 500 right away, I was happy when she sent me the first batch of little cousin pictures.  Do you remember being a kid, and the fun of playing with your cousins?  Well, this was that same joy.  I hear Mia cried all the way to the airport and beyond when it was time to leave.  So this is what distracts me from politics - thinking about all of these little sweethearts, and planning my next visit to see them.
Cousins in their jammies: Lexi, Mia, and Matthew

After jumping on the bed...
Can't forget about little Skylee - the happiest baby since her daddy!

Matthew, Lexi, and Skylee - the Denver cousins

Miss Lexi

And Matthew - Mr GQ himself

You may notice that Hayden was not represented in this group of pictures.  I am told she was taking a nap.  Heaven knows that sometimes Mommy needs a little respite from the "Girl Who Says NO" so we will all have to wait for another group of pictures to catch a glimpse of her 2 year old sassy self.  I am impatient, but Katie has been down with the flu since returning to Massachusetts (damn you, airplane!), and it wouldn't be nice to badger her for more pictures, I'm thinking.
The diet is going well.  The weight isn't budging much, but the diet is going well.  I'm feeling a little better, which translates to the yoga isn't kicking my butt as hard as it was the first 3 weeks.  I actually had a good class this morning.  I felt improvement for the first time.  Stronger, like I was actually getting somewhere.  I held the Warrior I pose like a champ.  My forward bend is as good as anyones (I can place my palms flat on the mat!)  And to reward myself, I got a new yoga mat.  I tend to work up a sweat in yoga.  I haven't yet reached that stage of good yoga where I come out looking fresh as a daisy like on the yoga videos - or like my instructor, for that matter.  I look pretty dampish and destroyed, actually.  Today my bun came all undone onto my sweaty face.  And to do a downward dog on a mat when your palms are sweaty - well, my friends, you just SLIDE.  Comedy and danger all at once.  So my new mat is sticky on the bottom so it won't slide on the floor, but the top is kind of carpet-y.  And I don't slip and slide during downward dog.  My arms and shoulders shake, but I do not slide.  And THAT is progress.  Today we meditated, and let our hands roam freely with the music.  I keep my eyes closed.  I do not want to see what others are doing, and I definitely don't want to see what I look like, swaying and meditating.  It can't be pretty, is all I'm saying.  But at least it keeps me from thinking about Republicans and the next debate.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rainy Days & Soup and Scones

This week I've gotten back into cooking.  The last few weeks have been spent recovering from the holidays, celebrating our anniversary, and simply winding down from all of the excitement.  I still have a trip or two up my sleeve, but for at least the next week and a half, I can get down to business and start cooking healthy meals again.
I haven't been doing great harm - it's just that we've either been out of town, or we've plain old eaten out too much.  It seems that once you start doing that, it's a hard habit to break.  Every night becomes another night where you just don't feel like cooking.  Or I'd not get my grocery list done.  Or... well, you see what happens at our house.
Yesterday was cold and rainy.  All day long the rain came down.  Sometimes it was a good downpour, like in the morning when I went out to my yoga class, and at other time it was more of a gentle but steady mist. We don't see a lot of rainy days here in Southern California, and I love them, as long as I don't have to drive around too much.  And I didn't have to go anywhere but yoga yesterday, so it was warm and cozy in the house while I sat at the window working and looking out at the rain coming down and splashing in the street.  After awhile, when the rain let up a bit, I took the camera outside and took a few practice shots with my 50 mm lens.
The raindrops clinging to fresh green ficus leaves

My last juicy sweet orange on the tree, washed clean from the rain

Raindrops on patio furniture

I love a rainy day

Well, the crisp, damp outdoors led to thoughts of baking, so around 3:30 I went downstairs and mixed up some Lemon Blueberry Scones.  I patted the dough into a circle and divided it into 12 triangles.  Before baking I brushed each triangle with heavy cream and sprinkled it with sanding sugar for sparkle and crunch.  Honestly - I fully intended to have a couple of them ourselves, and then send the rest with L to work.  He wasn't having it, and they're still sitting down on the counter, waiting for him to get home and snack on them.  And I have to admit, I did have another one with my eggs this morning.  *sigh* I love to bake.  There's something so satisfying about mixing up dough, throwing in some hand grated lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, and a container of fresh blueberries, and baking the whole thing up.  It makes me feel capable and safe, and gives me the illusion of a life rich in abundance. Even if the abundance is in the form of scones bursting with blueberries and lemon flavor.
What they lack in beauty was made up in their Blueberry Lemon flavor...

Tonight, the abundance took on the form of homemade Roasted Tomato Basil Soup.  It's still on the stove simmering away, waiting for L to get home.  We'll have them with smoked mozzarrella paninis.  I got the idea on this blog, and I couldn't get it out of my head.  It took almost no time at all to do, and it's filled the house with this incredibly rich aroma of oven roasted tomatoes, onions and fresh basil.
I guess my point is how much beauty and enjoyment good cooking can add to a hard day.  I can have the hardest day ever, and as soon as my work laptop turns off, or I take a break to go to the kitchen and get started with the dinner prep, I can feel tension leaving.  And as the sights and smells starting layering into another delicious meal, I can't help but feel that I'm living the good life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Anniversary and a Funeral

Back from our whirlwind anniversary trip to Las Vegas - it all went so fast!  We arrived late Sunday afternoon and got settled into our SUITE.  I love suites.  I love feeling like I'm in a small house, and where the bathroom has an area for makeup and hair drying that is separate from the sinks, and all of that is separate from the shower.  It was perfect even before you factored in the huge shower with the equally huge shower head that hit you with water pressure that was... ahhhh...well... perfect.  And guess what else we had?  A great big hot tub!  It was right in front of the windows so you could look out at the view while you soaked and let the jets massage your bones - just like in those Viagra commercials, only it was inside instead of in front of a lake.  It was awesome.  And then there was a big living area outside the bedroom that was also surrounded by windows with a nice view of the strip.  I loved every minute we were in it.
We had a nice dinner on Sunday night and then took a Sabbath walk around the place.  One thing I discovered, is that the older I get, the more annoying all the noise of the casino is.  New York New York is kind of fun because it's very theme-y with lots of fun restaurants and little bistros.  But the noise, and crowds and smoke soon drove us outside to look at the view from the bridge that leads across to the MGM.   I snapped this picture with my i-Phone looking north up the strip.  You can see the Paris Hotel waaaay off in the distance.

L and I both decided that Las Vegas is a city best seen at night.  The lights are flashy and even a little beautiful in a tawdry sort of way at night.  But in the daylight it all seems a little bit tired and like it's trying too hard.  But that's just on the strip.  I can honestly say I haven't really had much of a chance to see where the real people live, in real homes - rather than the gorgeously decadent Bellagio or the sleek Wynn and Encore resorts.  Anyway, after a short while we'd had enough of the hustle and bustle and sparkly manic tourists.  We made our way inside, up the elevator in the New York Tower and down a hall to our room.  Our suite.  And the rest of that night, my friends, stays in Las Vegas.


The next day - Monday - was kind of special.  To back up, a few days earlier I heard from an old friend that their oldest daughter had passed away suddenly.  Tahna had been one of my kids' favorite babysitters back in the day.  She was fun and sparkly, with a wicked sense of humor.  I can't describe the essence of her spirit, but she was the kind of girl who made you laugh and smile just being around her.  She was bright and articulate and enthusiastic.  Life, as so often happens, had not always been kind, but things were looking up and getting better.  And suddenly she was gone, taking her light and her sparkle with her.  She lived in Las Vegas with her husband close to another sister, and so her funeral was held there - coincidently on the same weekend we were there.  I couldn't stay away from such a momentous occasion, and I was glad I'd taken the time to go.  Her family is incredible.  Absolutely rock solid, these people, with unshakable faith that they will see their daughter and sister again.  It was inspiring to spend time with them, and I left with a good feeling in my soul.
Our next stop that day was the LDS temple in Las Vegas.  It was closed, but we wandered the grounds and communed with the spot where L proposed to me so many years ago.
YES - this is the very bench where said proposal was offered!

On that evening 12 1/2 years ago, we wandered the same grounds, and wound our way through the walkways, coming to rest on this bench that sits next to a pool of water.  Yep - that's where my sweetheart went down on one knee and asked me to spend our forevers together.  So it's kind of a sacred spot to me.  It started this whole crazy ball rolling.
The day was a pretty one - blue skies, but with a crisp, cool breeze blowing.  I couldn't help thinking of Tahna, and feeling strangely comforted in this spiritual place.  Seriously, even the grounds of our temples have a beautiful feeling surrounding them.  L and I soaked up the atmosphere of The Bench, reliving our memories, and wandered around taking other pictures.  Here are a couple of the better ones:
I always love the Angel Moroni blowing his trumpet - a beautiful sight for miles around.

A side entrance that shows off the unusual architecture

And finally, the last picture that shows the bare branches of the trees set against the bright blue sky, the steeple of the adjoining church off in the distance.

When we returned to the hotel, we were a little tuckered out from all the emotion and communing with spiritual and sacred memories, so we decided to watch a movie.  Puss in Boots was just the thing.  Lighthearted.  Fun.  We really are a couple of geeks.  But we are a couple of geeks in perfect harmony, at least most of the time.
Later that night we went to visit an elderly aunt and uncle of L's, (a sister of his dad's) along with a couple of cousins.  I'd never met them, and so it was a quick, fun visit that will be another good memory.  So on our little adventure we had a night of romance and fun that was just for us, and then we had a spiritually fulfilling Friends & Family Day.  Both days had more than a little bit of emotion added to the general equation, but I think that the most memorable times in our lives are always tied to great heartfelt emotion.
Our last morning started early with a 7am conference call for me for work.  I was able to catch up on some work while listening, and so it wasn't for naught.  Afterwards, we jumped into some comfy clothes and had breakfast downstairs at Al Forneio.  *contented sigh*  It was delicious: Omelette al Fornaggi 
(4 cheese omelette), breakfast potatoes, pancakes, and orange juice.  We breakfasted like kings, and when satisfied we went back up to Rm 1234 and packed up to go.

It was a good weekend for this boy

and this girl.

Sorry for the sunglasses, but the sun was BRIGHT!

It was a weekend that somewhat mirrored our lives - a little bit of everything thrown together in a bit of a pleasant mishmash.  Not your traditional anniversary weekend, you say?  Probably not.  Not many people celebrate 12 years combining hot tub romance, a funeral, and a visit with the elders in one trip.  It wasn't all about us.  But I'm finding that the best things in life rarely are.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Celebrating our 12th!

Tonight we're just kicking back.  L had a crazy day at work being on deadline before a big trade show, and everyone wanting their printed material designed.  Today.  He was a little bit frazzled when he got home.  And me?  Just a typical Friday the 13th.  I'd been registering physicians for a little meeting called the Florida EP Summit.  Thinking, you know, that it was a meeting for EPs... in Florida...  One of the company faculty called me in a huff today wondering who the idiot was who'd registered 2 docs from Kansas and New York.  Um... that would be me.  Because I didn't realize it was a meeting for Florida EP's.  ONLY EP's from Florida.  Not from Kansas or New York.
Well, after I'd stumbled over myself about 15 times, we ended up having a good laugh over it, because he knows I don't know nearly all the ropes yet, and frankly, trying to know all the ropes in this company's education department is like herding cats.  It's a constantly moving target.  And we both knew it, so all was forgiven.  This time.  Then, at the end of the day when I was trying to complete my big weekly report, I lost all access to the key website I need.  And apparently, it was a problem in Minneapolis at the Mother Ship, so I just turned off my laptop and began my weekend.
L made dinner tonight - chicken tacos!  They were so delicious - more so because I didn't snack at all this afternoon.  And this is week two with no sweets.  Am I awesome or what?  Even better: I've dropped 4 pounds!!!  And while I realize that by telling you, the Internet, that I've lost four pounds I've effectively shot myself in the foot and jinxed the whole thing, maybe... just maybe I've actually got a handle on this self control thing.  That would be very cool indeed.  I still fantasize about eating chocolate, but it's getting so it's more fun thinking about doing it than actually doing it.  Well, that's what I tell myself, anyway.
This weekend is L's and my 12th anniversary.  It's been a great run, just jam packed with living.

I'm not sure if he knew what he was getting himself into.  We've seen 3 kids graduate from high school, 3 graduate from college, 4 kids married, and now we have 5 grandkiddies.  We've nursed each other through sickness (but I have still not thrown up when he was home to hear it - HA!) and we've had a ton of fun in times of health.  We have grown and changed in ways we wouldn't have dreamed of, and we're better people because of it.  Through it all we are still each other's best friend.  It's great to snuggle each night and wake up each morning with the person who has your back every minute of the day.  He gives me confidence and calms me down.  He vacuums and dusts.

I do the laundry, and I bring him boldness and teach him that there really are brighter and prettier colors than gray and navy blue AND that they're totally wearable.  He taught me how to maneuver through airports by myself, and that it is NOT okay to eat a hunk of cheese or spoonfuls of peanut butter when dining alone.  I must make balanced meals, even if it's just for me.  Maybe especially if it's just for me.  He likes it when I respect myself like that.  I like it when he lets me rub his feet and legs, and take care of him for a change.  He's always so busy taking care of me, and I am always so busy enjoying it that sometimes he doesn't get his fair share, I think.  But I try.  We are just two old geezers who have a good time hanging out together, usually making fun of anything and everything.  He is very funny - wickedly so - but most people would never know that upon first observation as he likes everyone to think he's very serious and dull.  But he didn't fool me, luckily.  I would have missed out on 12 years of crazy love.

We are going to have a little weekend in honor of our anniversary.  We're returning to the scene of his proposal to me: Las Vegas.  I know - it doesn't scream romance, does it?  But I'm telling you, 12 1/2 years ago on the grounds of the LDS temple in Las Vegas one summer evening, this incredibly sweet man (who had been as jumpy as a cat all day, I might add) got down on one knee and asked me to be his true companion for all eternity.  And it was ROMANTIC.  I'll never forget it.  So if you want to find us this weekend ( and please don't) we'll be at New York New York in a SUITE!  I'm so excited to get away for a couple of days with my sweetheart.
Katie called me yesterday and said it was snowing in Massachusetts.  She and the girls were having a snuggle day with movies.  One of the movies they rented was Shirley Temple in "Heidi."  Does anyone remember that one?  Does anyone remember the Shirley Temple movies every Sunday afternoon?  I used to love those.  And "Heidi" was one of my favorites.  I wanted to eat toasted cheese sandwiches and drink my milk out of a bowl just like Heidi.  I was such a dork, but I didn't know any better.  And I hope that Mia is a dork and wants to drink her milk out of a bowl like Heidi too.  Katie snapped a picture of her in the snowfall.  There's nothing like a child to capture the look of pure joy, is there?

You all have a lovely weekend.  I'll be with my homeboy in Las Vegas.  Living it up in our suite. *wink*  And hopefully I will keep those 4 pounds off.
Yes, I know... those arms are going to need months and MONTHS of yoga...
But look at the LOVE in our eyes!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Eating Well and Yoga Excess

Since I'm trying to lose some poundage, and avoid carbs, naturally all I do is think about food, and what I'm going to eat next.  *sigh*  I'll be glad when this phase is over...  But I have some good news for all of you that are in my camp.
To back up, one our sons and his wife sent us a lovely gift from the store in one of Chef Mario Batali's restaurants.

It included 3 types of pasta, and 2 different jars of pasta sauce.  Since I'm trying so hard to avoid carbs, this gift has caused me to look in the pantry more than once with a heavy sigh.  But here's where the good news comes in.  A few days ago I was finishing my breakfast and watching the Today Show.  They had a nutritionist on talking about diets, helpful hints, etc.  Normally, anything they say during these types of segments I never do.  Either they don't work for me, or  - well, they just don't work for me.  But this time it was different.  She talked about a serving of pasta being 1 cup, and she suggested replacing 1/2 cup of that serving with spaghetti squash.  In doing this, not only do you eliminate the carb equivalent of 5 slices of bread (in my world that is more than 2 1/2 days worth of carbs!) but you gain all kinds of vitamins and antioxidents from the squash.
Well, tonight was the night.  L was home early and he made some killer meatballs.
yeah... they looked just like this.  Mmmmmm...

We threw in fresh oregano and fresh thyme, freshly grated Parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, freshly ground breadcrumbs, and anything else we could think of to make them tasty.  The jar of sauce we chose was a basil tomato sauce.  It contained just that: tomato and basil.  It needed some help so we added some seasonings (salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic), some heavy cream (just a touch!) and some diced sauteed onions.  The squash finished baking and we served ourselves 1/2 cup of that, and 1/2 cup of pasta (well, I did anyway - I don't monitor L's portions!) We served ourselves some of that new, improved sauce, some meatballs, and threw more freshly grated Parmesan on top.  {{HEAVEN}}  I have to say that I didn't miss that extra portion of pasta in the least.  In fact, I could probably do 100% squash if it were just me - although the pasta gave it a nice texture - a little more full.  Now bear in mind that we dumbed down the health factor a little bit by adding the cream to the sauce - but I love me a creamy sauce, and it wasn't more than a couple of tablespoons.  And a girl's got to live a little bit, right?
Today I'm feeling a little bit self righteous as I attended a (for me) REALLY DIFFICULT yoga class this morning.  So difficult that I had to take a nap at around 2pm.  Seriously - it wiped me out that much! And then at 3:00, L moseyed through the door all hot to go bike riding.  So off we went.  It was nice to have a nice ride with my sweetheart - I got him gabbing like a girl and I enjoyed it thoroughly.  But holy cats I am sore tonight!!  Not from the bike, but from freaking yoga.  I need to go take about a bottle of Advil and collapse.
Anyway - I felt I could have a little bit of pasta after all of that.  But do try the squash substitution - just half and half until you see how you like it.  I liked having a little bit of pasta mixed in as the texture was better that way, but you may find you like just the squash.  Like I said, I think I could do either.

What are some healthy tips and tricks that you've tried?  I would really like to know if anyone has a good idea for when you hit the wall and just want something sweet or carby.  Today was like that for me - after that class I came home and had a good high protein lunch but about 1:30 I was dying again.  My body hurt, and was craving sugar (probably for a pick me up?)  I compromised and had a few pieces of dried fruit.  Kind of high carb, but better than candy or something starchy.  It was the best I could come up with in my addled, achey frame of mind.  But I'd love to know how some of you handle that situation.
That's it for today.  I'm exhausted - or as a neighbor of my daughter's says: I'm "dishausted." I'm off to wash my face and fall into bed.  Tomorrow is another day, and another yoga class - which, unless the Excedrin and Advil really do their jobs and I'm feeling a lot better I think I'll ditch out on.  But just for tomorrow.  A day of rest, in respect for my body, and I'll be as good as new.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Self Discipline? Yes Please...

Reporting in on my New Year's goals.  Doing well on the eating better part.  Ditto on the drink more water part.  I've really been conscious of ditching bad carbs (which includes everything I love) and going for more protein.  The Christmas treats are all gone - eaten or given away.  Except for one thing.  A secret thing.  There's a 1 pound box of See's Candy - nuts and chews - that never got eaten or gifted.  I put it in one of the drawers of my armoire in my office.

Until today I barely even thought about it.  But this afternoon it started calling to me.  I think it even screamed my name a couple of times.  And do you know the only thing that's really stopped me from digging into it?  It's still wrapped in the See's Christmas wrap.  I know.  It makes no sense.  I just know that if the box were open, I'd have mowed through it by now.  The fact that I'd have to literally break through a seal of sorts just stops me.  For now.
I worked all day today not 10 feet away from it's hiding place.  It whispered to me of it's chocolate goodness.   It's caramel and nutty crunch.  When I was fresh back from yoga class, I laughed it off and got to work.  I had a high protein lunch of roasted turkey slices.  I was satisfied.  But about 3:00 I wasn't laughing anymore.  And it wasn't whispering anymore.  It was taunting me.
So I kept in mind that L and I are having ourselves a weekend in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks for our anniversary.  I want to feel good, as in not bloated.  A couple of weeks after that, I am flying up to Seattle for a long weekend visit with my friend Marion.  She is cute and darling.  I want to be cute and darling too - as in smaller belly.  A couple of weeks after that, I am flying to Scottsdale, AZ to help with an education program for work.  The two ladies I am helping are beautiful blonde Swedes.  I can't be that, but I can at least try to be a few to several pounds lighter.  My quick wit will have to kick in to compensate for the rest.
I have gone to yoga class every day this week.  It made me very sore at first.  My quads are still a little whiney, which is a little surprising to me because of all the bike riding.  But I guess they've been used in a different way with yoga?  Today we did all kinds of ab poses and leg lift poses that also worked abs.  My stomach is sore.  But I'm excited to see - in a month's time - how much stronger I'll get.  And I don't want to think that all of that hard work has gone to waste because I couldn't resist a box of See's candy.  Or a box of anything.  I've always been able to do the hard work, but I haven't always been able to resist undermining it with sweets and carbs.  So that is my goal this year, my friends - to see what happens when hard work and healthy eating and a little bit of self control all combine into one mighty effort.  I was watching a bit on losing weight on the Today Show yesterday, and they said you had to have a plan (I do) and it was a good idea to announce your intentions to make it a reality.  So I'm doing that now, in front of you, the internet.
I know a lot of you are also trying to do the same thing, or something similar.  We'll support each other, cheer each others' successes, and talk each other down from the edge of sugar insanity.  I know from going through it before (and not by choice) that it takes only about a week to lose your sugar craving.  It happened to me when I had my first baby.  I'd had a C-section and at that time they put you completely out.  When you got your first meal, it was started slowly with a soft diet, and they brought you along gradually.  My room was directly across from the nurses station.  I could see that it was filled with doughnuts, pies - all kinds of deliciousness.  I kept thinking that if I were very quick, maybe I could just sneak in there and grab something.  The cravings were terrible! But with a sore belly, I certainly wasn't quick, and I definitely wasn't brave enough.  (Pity my conscience wasn't bothering me about possible thievery, but that's a story for another day.)  So I sat in my room and craved sugar for about 4 days.  I got to go home on the 5th day, and I found that sweets didn't tempt me the way they had been.  It had only taken a few days to get it out of my system.  It lasted for a few weeks, and then I caved in and ate some See's candy someone had given me (do you see a pattern here?) and that was that.  You can NOT let the devil back in once you've shut the door.  He just gets meaner and more manipulative.
So that's my little sugar story.  And now, almost 35 years later I am FINALLY serious enough to give it my best effort.  When I was younger I could lose weight just by wanting to.  These days, if I just look at a piece of bread I gain a pound or two.  Carbs - especially yummy sugary ones -  are not to be trusted and must be eaten (by me, anyway) only in very limited quantities.  It certainly sucks a lot of fun out of life, but at this point, I think I'd rather feel lighter and not so thick.  I want to see some results from the workouts.  I want to be a goddess.  *mulling that over*  OK, OK - I just want to feel lighter and not so thick.  Let's keep the expectations realistic.
This is day 2 with no treats.  I have at least 2 or 3 more to go before it gets a little easier.  Wish me luck, send me high fives, give me a virtual WOOT WOOT.  And I will certainly do the same for you.  Whatever the monkey is on our back, let's all gird our loins, hitch up our britches, and keep our eyes on the prize.  Because we are awesome.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Putting In The Miles

End of the bike trail today in Huntington Beach... ocean directly ahead.

Happy New Year everyone!  Did you all have an exciting New Year's Eve?  We didn't, but it was nice all the same.  L and I got on our bikes and rode 14 miles - all the way to Angel Stadium and back.  It was really fun while we were doing it, but I was so tired after we got home - nothing that a nice hot shower didn't cure, however! I took some time after washing my hair to curl it and then we went out and had a little dinner at our favorite little Mexican restaurant - Mi Casa.  It's funny - it's not so much my favorite because the food is like no other.  The food is good, but not great.  What I like is that it's very neighborhood-y - that "come as you are" kind of place where you can look really nice, but you'll be just as comfortable in jeans and no makeup (which is how I usually go there).  We had a quiet little dinner and found our way home before all of the idiots got on the road after partying.  About 8:30 I caught Katie on Face Time (just before her New Year came!) and was able to visit with her for a few minutes.  We watched a little TV and rang in the new year with a Cold Play concert on PBS.  Homeboy and I gave each other a kiss at midnight to ring in the new year and went to sleep.  For an hour.  Then I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep until about 2:30 - after I'd made my next move on Words With Friends and read a little of one of my Kindle books.

And oh, my friends - 9:00 church came early on New Year's Day.  But luckily! - I had washed and curled my hair the night before and it still looked good so it was a jump out of bed, 5 minute shower, quick makeup and out the door kind of morning.  And when we got back home after church?  Why, L and I treated each other to a 2 hour nap!  Ooooh that felt good.  And then the real fun began.

TAKING DOWN THE CHRISTMAS CRAP.  Yes, yes - it was THAT dreaded weekend.  Although, in all reality, I was kind of looking forward to it.  And now, with the house looking spare and zen, my seashells back up on the mantle. and everything freshly dusted and vacuumed, it feels very, very good.  Light and bright, if you will.  Moving on into 2012.

Today, again, was yet another day of holiday/no work.  I was thinking it WAS a work day, though, and I started in at about 8am - until I realized (by looking at who was available on Instant Messenger and realizing NO ONE WAS WORKING) that I wasn't supposed to be working yet either.  So I quietly turned off my laptop and rejoiced.  Sang a quiet hallelujah in my heart.
We watched the Rose Parade on TV for a little bit.  A Palomino horse in a group of riders got excited, reared up, and actually fell over in the street.  I've NEVER seen that happen before!  His poor rider didn't seem to be hurt (luckily!) and led him alongside the rest of the group by the reins.  We turned the TV off and it didn't go on the rest of the day - not even for football games.  I read later online that Oregon won the Rose Bowl game - go Ducks!

L and I went on another good bike ride.  This time we started down in Costa Mesa and rode a little more than 5.5 miles to the beach.  Right onto the sand.  It was about 82 degrees, sunny and gorgeous.  We parked the Explorer in a strip mall parking lot and hopped on the trail at Segerstrom Street.  It was beautifully maintained and it was so enjoyable to look at different scenery from what we've been used to.  The trail led us past neighborhoods, a little greenbelt park, and then ran alongside a canal that led to the ocean.  About a mile out we could smell the ocean and salt air.  Once we got there, we sat on some rocks and rested, drinking some water while we watched the waves in the distance.

And then we hopped on our bikes and pedaled back the way we came.  The way back was a little more difficult, being slightly uphill and against the wind.  But we did it!  We figured the distance was about 11.5 miles, and on such a beautiful day it was a treat.
On the way home we were starving so we stopped at In 'n Out for a hamburger and fries - and a Diet Coke!  I know, I know... that pretty much neutralized any benefit gained from riding the 11 miles.  But I don't remember when a hamburger tasted so good!  When we got back home, after putting the bikes away L took down the rest of the Christmas lights and I cleaned out the closet in my office.  So now everything fits, and it's nice and neat.  You can actually find what you're looking for now, and all of my boots fit on the top shelf.  I do love a neat closet.
L went for a haircut, and after that we ventured out to our newest fascination: Home Goods.  It's like TJ Maxx for furniture and, well... home goods.  Besides furniture they have lamps, mirrors, shelving, artwork, throw pillows, decorative items of every sort, shape and size, a bedding department, children's section, and heaven help me, a kitchen section - which I did NOT visit tonight so as to keep my focus.  We went in looking for some new sleeping pillows.  We found those AND a perfect shelf to put my Hummels on, AND a dress form.  I know.  That's random.  But I saw one in a bedroom in the Restoration Hardware catalog, and it looked so pretty standing in a corner.  I have it wearing my 3 long necklaces - you know, the ones that are usually tangled up in a box.  This way, they stay nice and straight.  And I threw an ivory pashmina scarf around it that I never wear - it's an acquisition from back in the day when I worked for Frette - an Italian luxury linen store - and we were required to wear these scarves for a store event.  I've never worn it since.  I guess I'm not much of a scarf person - probably because it's rarely cold enough here to wear them.  Love the look, but when I get them on, I feel all hot and sweaty.  So I keep them for that random day that happens to dip below 60 degrees.  Or when I go to the movies, because heaven knows those theaters are FREEZING.
Speaking of movies, on Monday L and I went to see Hugo.  I didn't know what to expect - the promo clips don't really tell you much.  Again - I loved it!  It's a pretty long movie, so I don't know if toddlers or even children under 8 could sit through it, but otherwise it's a movie the whole family can go to.  Directed by Martin Scorsese (is that how you spell it?) and the cast ranges from from Ben Kingsley to Jude Law to Sasha Baron Cohen (BORAT!) of all people.  Really good.  Go see it.  I think I might like to read the book as well.
So that's the new year wrap from our house.  We are boring old geezers, but we have a good time together.  Tomorrow it's back to work (which, luckily, is just down the hall from my bed), and the routine goes back to normal.  One new thing - I decided to go back to my yoga studio.  I find I'm not able to get a long bike ride in on a daily basis, and I need to move more to offset the 8 hours of sitting at a computer every day.  So yay! - yoga and cycling for 2012!  We'll see if I can make some of those extra pounds budge.  (please, please, please... )
I can hear L in there turning on the TV.  Time to settle in and relax.  And I think I'm just tired enough tonight to sleep like a log.

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