Sunday, January 31, 2010
There is a tree. It's bark is gray and its leaves are cool and rustling and thickly clustered. The bark is not smooth, but layered in thick leaf-life segments, lapping over one another from top to bottom and bottom to top. There are three places on the trunk where the bark swirls together and reaches outward; gray whirlpools of wood, forming knotholes which release the inner juices of the tree and attract a variety of crawling and flying life. One of them has been hollowed out by worms and bugs and birds, stopping to refresh themselves on the tasty sap and sometimes tasting each other. The hollow is now a nursery for a litter of tiny, hairless squirrels, cared for by their mother who herself feasts from the fruit of the tree.
Swaying in the heights from a skinny branch she concentrates on that most desired treat, the pecan. She keeps one eye open for the jaybird who dives at her relentlessly when she scampers too near another nursery hidden in the leafy greenness of the tree.
The tree is old. Its roots are huge and knurled, twisting and turning below the earth, then upward again; finally reaching far, far away from the base of the tree; reaching and searching for water and minerals to sustain the life which travels up, up, above the earth, into the air, reaching for the heavens.
In the damp earth among the giant roots, an armadillo has dug her burrow and lies curled, asleep after foraging for grubs and plants with her sniffing snout.
The life in the tree is young, is the present. But the tree itself speaks of years past, years gone. Some good. Some bad. But the past is so strong in the tree that it exists also in the present and can tell of many, many things. Like the tree.
One of the upper branches of the tree grows down and out and up, away from the trunk, bowed like the rocker from a rocking chair. When the tree was young, and this branch low and supple, a small child swung from it. Her tiny hands wrapped around its narrow girth as she bravely lifted her bare feet from the warm earth and swung her legs forward as hard as she dared. Daily she whiled away the hot afternoons under the shade of the small tree. After a while, the branch was too low for her to swing from it. She had outgrown it. But she stopped growing one day and the tree did not.
Now both the woman and the tree are close to a century old. The tree is large and powerful. The woman is small and frail. She sits in its shade. Her hands and feet are knurled and twisted like it's roots; her face rough and uneven like its' bark. In her arms she holds young life, as does the tree. Her grandchild's daughter, the sole member of the nursery. There is a similarity between the women, young and old. It lies in the completely innocent look of the eyes, neither of which see anything but goodness in their view of the world. The child has experienced nothing else. The woman has forgotten all else. Their smiles too, are alike, lopsided and toothless and slightly drooling. They present no defense to the world, but sit protected under the tree. The child can only smile and play, but the old woman, like the tree, can tell of many, many things.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Well, well, who knew that eating sensibly could become a habit at my age?
This 3rd week of the Win in 2010 challenge I'm in was the easiest yet. I'm basically eating the same breakfast every day and happy with it. I don't think about lunch until it's about time for lunch, instead of dwelling on it all morning. It's the biggest meal of my day.
Dinner has been reasonable and I even told Joe I didn't want him to make popcorn last night.
I have had a few urges to eat after dinner, but guzzled down more ice water and ignored the urge to eat and it went away.
I go to bed happy each night, knowing I'll have a small gift when I get on the scale next morning.
So three weeks and the good habits are settling in; staying on plan is not as hard and the rewards are wonderful. I'm down almost 8 lbs for the year and 1.5 " smaller in my waist.
Most of all, I'm feeling good!
Friday, January 15, 2010
This week I really "got" the fact that I can eat one of those small, 1 oz bags of chips and be happy! I used to sit the giant, family sized bag next to me and munch away at it while I ate my sandwich. I cannot even imagine how many calories, fat and sodium I used to consume at those times.
Also, I realized that I have not eaten any added sugar since January first! Sugar-free gum and/or a strong menthol cough drop goes in my mouth the MINUTE I have finished my allotted food!
I always think, I'll have some chocolate a little later, but once I get the gum or menthol drop in me, I never go back for that sweet stuff. It's like a miracle, lol.
AND, I have eaten everything Joe has cooked, but I have stuck with ONE SERVING which I measured.
I haven't felt deprived at all and the weight is coming off. That is a great emotional reward, but also my body is telling me it's feeling so much better eating these sensible meals.
Who knew "sensible" would turn out to be so "satisfying" and "sensational"!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I spent most of yesterday looking at two senior living communities near me, trying to find a place for my mother.
The first place was 25 min. away and sort of like an apartment building with elevators. I spoke with two of the residents there and they told me about some of the activities provided. I was pleased.
But the 2nd place I visited is the Jewel in the Crown! A beautiful place with 1-story duplex apartments spread out over beautifully landscaped gated grounds. They have a pool, hot tub, exercise room, library, computer room, communal dining room and really lovely apartments.
I'm ready to move in myself, but I'm not old enough, lol. I met some of the ladies who live there and they are a bunch of spunky, active, fun-loving oldsters. All really great. They have Bingo night and Bible Study morning. Social lunches twice a week and pot-luck suppers often. They provide 4 rides a month to Wal-Mart or HEB - our largest grocery store. There is a program so she can get 6 cab rides a month, or 3 round trip cab rides a month, free.
So now I must learn to wade through the web of State and Federal laws, rules and regs. My mother gets housing assistance and I have to speak with them. Help her meet some requirements to be able to live in this place.
Lots of work ahead, but I'm pretty amazed at the wonderful Senior communities available out there, no matter what your income. It makes the thought of getting really old much more fun!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I'm not a person who likes breakfast. I don't really care for most "breakfast foods" either. Like everyone else, I've read and listened to much advice from everywhere that says we SHOULD definitely eat breakfast.
Still, it always seemed to me to be rather silly to make myself eat when I'm not hungry as there are very few times in my day when I DON"T want food, lol.
Recently, I found some information that makes the case for breakfast so much more than anything I've heard before. I'm convinced.
This is a link to a short video from Dr. Oz, who consistently makes more sense than all the other "celebrity" health gurus I've heard. In it he talks about the GHRELIN HORMONE, how and when it is produced in our body and what it does in reference to hunger and certain fat storage, especially BELLY FAT.
This link is a more detailed scientific article on the same subject. These two links give you a pretty good idea of what your body does when it wakes up in the morning and how it affects your health and weight.
My breakfast of choice is Yoplait Lite Yogurt with 2 tablespoons of cold-milled ground flaxseed. I now know it's important for my body to do it's work during the day.
I hope this re-enforces your habit of eating breakfast, if you have one, or motivates you to eat breakfast from now on, if you haven't been.
Our body is so intricate and works so hard to function they way it is meant to. It asks very little from us, really, considering all it does for us, even through decades of neglect. The least we can do is help it out as much as we can. The reward is pretty awesome.
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