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Back in the swim ... at the pool

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Cooked spaghetti arms are typing today's post. I checked into the pool after work last night and swam laps for 15 minutes. Oh La! I had completely forgotten how lap swimming uses every single muscle in your body - neck, arms, forearms, the stuff hanging off your shins... toes... everything is telling me "hey!"

Mind now - nobody is complaining - those muscles are just surprised as heck. I guess they thought I had no more use for them. They were planning to pack up and shrivel away.

I've always loved swimming and I still play in the river in the summertime - but river swimming is not the same thing as laps. River swimming ends up being a few strokes out or some serious treading to keep from floating away with the tide. Lap swimming is .. well - you know what it is and the part of my brain that likes calesthenics also likes laps. but in 2005 I hurt my shoulder and neck very badly in a serious fall and it wasn't till this spring that I began to suspect I was getting full range of motion back. Recent diagnosis of osteoarthritis in my spin at both the neck and lower back explains some of the issues I've been having with my regular workouts and my doc suggested swimming, so, though I'm also sensitive to chlorine, I gave it a go yesterday and WOW - that's all I can say.

The pool was mildly unpleasant with it's chemical scent. I'm going to be careful that, in typical Bess fashion, I don't overdo it right from the start - but boy oh boy - it was wonderful to see that I can do a good crawl across and back, that 15 minutes of it burned a heckuva lot of calories, and that I can now tuck this refreshing form of exercise back into my daily life.

Especially since it's going to hit 103+ today. that's 39 for my celsius friends. Tomorrow we're expecting a cold snap of 91. It hasn't rained real rain since the first weekend in July. Drought is tough but drought plus days and days of temperatures in the triple digits means we've lost the corn crop. The only money we'll get from that is from the crop insurance. Late beans won't even germinate. I suspect they've been cooked in the ground so rain probably won't help them either. But we need the rain. My beech tree has lost almost all its leaves, as has the redbud and dogwood. Poplars will be next and the sweet gum is already turning red.

So. Lord - send us rain Please!

hugs to you all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMSMILEY88 7/7/2010 9:16AM

    My pool doesn't smell of chlorine, either. And, I have a salt-water pool in my backyard. Too bad yours smells!

I am sorry to hear about your drought! I was just "complaining" that the rain is causing me to miss another workout in the morning. But, I'd rather have the rain than the drought. I will send up a prayer that you get some rain soon!

And, congrats for getting back in the pool! I have only swam once before (in 2003 when I was going to do a tri - I took lessons once a week for 8 weeks). Anyway, I've now been swimming laps for about 3 or 4 weeks. Trying to get 3 days a week in, but with my runs and the weather, I'm getting 2 or 3.

emoticon emoticon

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LILPAT3 7/7/2010 8:10AM

    Good for you! Did you know that a proper chemical balance in a pool leads to a pool with no chlorine odor! Wish you could come swim in the pool I work at.

(((Sending SKINNY Vibes)))
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Fake or real?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Beyond the very busy schedule I've been living the past month, I've been wrestling with the dark side of my weight issues. And my opponent is a pretty formidable adversary. She knows my weak spots and she has weapons in her arsenal. Her name is doubt. The 4th of July really hit me hard with the truth that I am pretty much the same weight I was 6 months ago. I have to ask myself: Is my desire for weight loss real or fake? Am I serious about this or do I think it's just something I'm supposed to want, something I'd sorta like ya know if I didn't have to work too hard at it.

I'm not trying to beat myself up about this what I really want is to live my life as honestly as I possibly can. I don't want to write inspiring pieces about healthy living while choosing too much of the wrong food or lolling about instead of strengthening flabby muscles. I also don't want to give up on myself when the going gets tough. What I really want to do is be honest, encouraging, flexible and patient with myself, just like I'd be to any friend who was having a hard time reaching a goal.

There are some real issues and perhaps I ought to admit them up front.

First off, I'm not at some sort of plateau. I'm not doing everything right and being tripped up by some unknown metabolic issue. I'm eating too much food and exercising too few minutes. I pretty much like how I look. At least, I like how I think I look. This is largely because I live in the rural south where I am comparatively smaller than more than half the women around me, and maybe 3/4ths of the women my age around me. It's so common for us to look like the world around us dress like they do, fit into the mold. In my world, the mold is very roomy. I have to want the change a lot and be willing to fight the tide to achieve it, and as far as looks go dress size, appearance, the outside stuff, I don't really think I do want it enough at least, my behavior for the past year hasn't demonstrated that I do.


I have arthritis in my spine at the neck and the lower back with a disc that is trying to slip out from between the vertebrae. This really limits my ability to exercise, especially in ways I'm use to. Careful change is required but it also makes exercise even more important than ever before. Besides, the extra weight hanging on my skeleton is putting stress on my spine. 20 fewer pounds would make an enormous difference.

And doing nothing is going to leave me more and more crippled till I can't move, can't stoop down and pick up something from the floor, reach high and get something off a top shelf - sleep through the night without an aching back. Mobility really is a motivator. My dear crippled mother, almost bedridden now, is the warning I should heed.

I think the biggest issue for me, though, is portion size and speed-eating. Deep down I know I should not be eating dinner in front of the television. It's a routine my husband and I have gotten into and it's really taking its tole on my efforts. I eat too fast. The food is gone before I'm ready for it to be. I miss the taste of a lot of the food on my plate so it's not uncommon for me to eat more, looking for the taste I missed.

So. It looks to me as if the desire is real, but it's the desire to be strong and mobile, not slim and fashionable. A first for me, I believe as I have loved the outward appearance all of my life. I still do love it, but more important, I love the freedom of choice I have now, and resent the impeachment of that freedom that has begun to creep in. It's time to fight back.

As a first step I plan to wean us from the dinnertime television hour. For this week we'll eat every other dinner on the porch or anywhere else that is TV-less. Next week we'll see if we can add to those days. Who knows by August we may not even want to eat any meals there. Let's see if this baby step will help me get a little more real with my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 7/6/2010 6:45PM

    YOU CAN DO IT!! I have total faith in you! I think your plan to do baby steps is a great one!! Best of luck to you!

I will miss you when I am away...I will be MIA for about 2 weeks and will not be reading any blogs, please try and keep me updated on your progress by Sparkmailing me or leaving me a comment on my SparkPage!

Wishing you a great couple weeks!!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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LMSTRAW 7/5/2010 1:05PM

    I like that you are being honest with yourself. I didn't loose weight for vanity purposes, although, at a younger age, that was my motivation. I did it for my health and well being, and to get me mobile again. You don't have to worry about your looks. I too live in the south and we were all raised on grease! It's been a real challenge to me to make food taste good without fat back meat, bacon, lard, and all the horrible stuff we've used all our lives.
You can do it. But, you're right, you have to make up your mind to do it! I wish you luck and send you love.

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JLITT62 7/5/2010 1:02PM

    For me, it's most definitely more about my health than my looks. Yes, I like how I look now too.

We don't eat with the tv on. Period. Which makes for some nice fights when I want to eat after DH is done with his lunch (or dinner, for that fact) & he wants to watch tv. I am adamant about it. It makes a HUGE difference.

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SHEILA1505 7/5/2010 12:54PM

    Hi Bess
Working on your health and strengthening your body to protect your spine is great motivation and far more important than any amount of vanity.

Strength hugs and love

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GREENAMETHYST 7/5/2010 12:45PM

    I think you are on the right path to changing old maybe not so healthy habits. Just the fact that you are honestly acknowleging habits that you know are not the best is progress. Self awareness is the first key to change! Keep up the good work! emoticon

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/5/2010 12:23PM

    I think that is a good idea that you are doing some soul searching about your desire to change your life! I know sometimes I have the best intentions, but then I don't put the actions into practice! I think that is the hardest part is actually doing the work! I used to tell my doctors I was doing the "best" I can to loose weight! I was doing "MY" best, but not the best I can! There are going to be days that aren't so perfect, but you have to ask yourself, "AM I WORTH IT?" Of course the answer should be, "YES YOU ARE". You have to make time for yourself in order to live a happy, healthy life! We are here to support you, but you have to do the rest!
I am proud of you for wanting to make changes! emoticonNow it's time to do the work! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MERALO 7/5/2010 12:23PM

    I think the desire is definitely real. But your slump is too.

First up - are you perhaps at a weight that your body is comfortable with and that you are comfortable maintaining? Maybe you don't need to LOSE anything but just get yourself moving and break a few bad habits? Just asking because I found myself deciding on an ideal weight back in Jan and it took a lot for me to accept that my ideal weight is actually heavier than the calculators and books say it should be...the thing is, I'm a big person and no diet is ever going to change that...I don't know your stature but could that be a possibility?

From my own experience, the exercise has been my biggest ally in the war on weight - on days when I don't eat well (and there are many!), or when I actually pig out, or the alcohol that forms a big part of my social life gets consumed - the one thing that's kept me on track is the exercise. And that you need to get back to pronto...before anything else.

So, my last comment - JUNEBUG suggested the official 10 minutes daily exercise team and it's a GREAT concept. For you, where you are now, I'd recommend you start there until you build momentum again.

And don't get down on yourself, you kept the weight off for 6 months too you know!

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Bess goes to the spa

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The past 2 weeks have been crazy busy. Besides it being the end of the fiscal year ... where you have to spend all your money, but at least as much as you got last year, and not more than you got, and not more than you'll get next year while also paying all the bills ... it is also the beginning of the vacation season so all the children are out of school and their mothers are looking for something to do ... and the vacationers are showing up wanting beach reads while they're at their cottage. Oh. And yes. We had the last of the school tours, because ... the children didn't get out of school till last week. Yup. crazy busy.

And as I wound things up, hit my targets, got my summer staff settled in - the lure of a real reward ... a Spa Day reward grew way beyond my ability to resist. I have some good things to talk about and share that are weight related, and I will, with another blog post, but this reward was for a job well done in my whole life and here's the Cook's tour.

We began here, in a shady parking spot at the Williamsburg Inn in my favorite tourist town: Colonial Williamsburg. Nothing anybody ever says about it being a reconstruction (It's fake! It's not real) will ever dim the delight I find in this wonderful brick covered bit of Virginia, and American, history. I seriously heart this place and visit it every chance I get.

My gf S and I always enjoy a shady walk among the glorious gardens.

These fabulous wisteria vines inspired thoughts of knitted cables.

Cool fountains tempted us to linger outdoors

Obviously we weren't the only one enjoying this lovely garden.

Inside everything was all cream and tan wood

My locker came stocked with goodies and I quickly took advantage of them.

I had never had a massage before and this was a sampler massage - 60 minutes of the different types of massages the spa offers. My favorite was the hot stone massage and I will go back for a full hour of those, but the reflexology massage was a close second.

I've been fighting off a sinus infection (with anti-biotics) - had even considered postponing this because I was pretty tired, but after a glorious salad and lots of fruit infused water, Juanita came to get me for my facial. I mentioned my sinus issues and she worked an acupressure miracle on my head. By the time she was through with me I could feel everything opening up inside my head. In fact, I am so over that sinus infection I'm beginning to wonder if I never really had it. Thank you Juanita - I know where to go next time one of these things comes along.

Well. durn. Somewhere on this computer are edited photos of before and after bess - but I can't find them. emoticon the unedited ones are too dark to see. The visible shots are up on Facebook, though, so you can have a look there if you need visual proof.

Well - you'll just have to take my word for it. I felt fabulous - totally pampered and detoxed. And I'll write about that later.

The coming week is going to be similarly crammed - heck - the whole summer will be - but I can think back on this sweet day of relaxation whenever I get stressed out and maybe, come fall, I'll treat myself to another one.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/27/2010 10:12PM

    Glad you enjoyed yourself...sounds heavenly!!

Have a great week!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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EDWINA172 6/27/2010 1:49PM

    Sounds like you had a lovely time. Well deserved! Enjoy your summer.

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SHEILA1505 6/27/2010 1:26PM

    Oh Bess - you can also have a Manual Lymph Drainage facial and that clears the sinuses wonderfully well.
I am so glad that you enjoyed everything - also love the Hot Stone and the Reflexology sessions. I am not a spoiled brat though - I go to two of the best local beauty schools where treatments are a fraction of the cost of salons - and I get a pensioners discount too. Sometimes (as earlier this year) I am invited to participate as a "model" for exams or for research projects - 10 sessions of non-surgical face lift - worked wonders but I wonder how long the effects will last.

I hope you manage to commit yourself to a treatment once a month - you have earned it!


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WEDDWT 6/27/2010 1:23PM

    Go for it! Schedule one for the Fall season now!

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DEBNICU 6/27/2010 11:39AM

    How fantastic that you gave yourself that wonderful reward. I need to think of a reward. I just reached the 30# gone mark and when I lose another 6.7# I will be in onederland.
Way to treat yourself.

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JKTENTATIVE 6/27/2010 11:13AM

Sounds heavenly....think it is getting to be spa time for me too!

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JLITT62 6/27/2010 11:13AM

    OMG, how have you lived this long with a massage? Sadly, it's been a really, really long time since my last professional one (like a couple of years), but I just love massages. My mom doesn't like them -- doesn't like to be touched -- I don't understand!

Glad you had a good time. Looks heavenly.

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SLIMTHICK2 6/27/2010 9:23AM

    I was treated to a spa once totally enjoyed it. Yours is so much better. I loved the outdoor photos. Good that you treated yourself.

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SANDRAFIVE 6/27/2010 9:12AM

    Since I only live 20 mins. from Williamsburg you got me to wondering why I haven't been there in a while. Thanks for the reminder, it is a great place. emoticon

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crazy busy so I'm in a holding pattern

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I live in a vacation area and summer is my busy time. We get extra summer help the way stores do at Christmas time. It's go go go all day long, especially this week, when we start up our special programs for children to keep them reading all summer long. This always coincides with our little town's summer festival and this year I was helping with that, as MC for the beauty pageants for just about every category of cute little child and pretty young girl you could imagine. This is small town america and every girl got a crown or a ribbon or flowers.

I know there are folk who hate beauty pageants but my own condemnation is reserved for the kind of thing where mothers doll their daughters up like prostitutes and tell them to shake their booty. There is another sort of pageant that isn't too different from playing dress up - where girls put on their prettiest dresses and come show their grandma and - call me shallow - but a cute child in a pretty dress will always make me smile. I think they are all the prettiest which is why I am not asked to be a judge. Since half of them have been through my story hour program for toddlers, they were pretty comfortable with me and 100% of the parents were sweethearts, though I hold out my own first place ribbon for the daddy who brought his 2 year old up on stage with balloons for all the little ones and spent the next 10 minutes leaping to the top of the tent to bring them back down, after wee hands had let them go. Talk about a melt your heart moment. Think Lake Woe-begone and you'll have an idea of what Saturday morning was like.

Of course I had to take in the fair afterwards and since the weather was the ubiquitous hundred degrees in the shade the town council must order up every year for this street fair, I was utterly wiped out on Sunday. Did nothing but eat watermelon and blueberries and drag myself one shady spot to another. it is Hot Hot Hot here in Virginia 2010 and if we make a corn crop it will be due to genetic experimentation to make a strain that grows without water. We haven't had rain in 10 days and each of those 10 days has kissed the 100 degree mark. Even wire grass is crisping beneath this relentless sunshine.

Barely back on my feet again Monday morning I was gearing up for the kick off program for our summer reading club. We always start the program with a magic show, if we can find a good magician and yesterday's was a real treat. He not only managed to use books from our collection in his program but let slip how good he thought the collection was - an unexpected little compliment that topped off a stellar program with a capacity crowd. You know you're doing something right when you forget to put the advertisement in the local paper but still get a sell out audience.

Today it's all about pirates and the audience is 6-10 year olds. There will be stories and a pirate song and a pirate craft and a treasure hunt in the library that requires reading and using the catalog. And there will be a treasure chest waiting for them when they get back to the meeting room. Tomorrow is the wee ones story hour that goes year around. And by golly, after that I am going to crash.

Oh - yes. and some of my staff and I are doing a self conducted drawing class on Monday's at noon. I work in a really really fun place. Oh. I am the boss in a really really fun place. A job really doesn't get better than that.

So where has that left my whole grain high nutritional eating plan? Well. Hmm. Not too bad. Last week there was chinese food for dinner one night and a white bread sub sandwich at a business working lunch meeting and crab cakes on white buns at the festival. There's a penalty to pay for eating the more processed flour products, at least, for me there is. I had some sugar cravings throughout the week. And who would know that eating half a watermelon, albeit a small one, was THAT many calories. Ahh well - no weight loss - but no weight gain.

This week I am doing a little better because the truth is - I prefer these whole grains. My order of whole wheat pastry flour arrived and if it ever cools off enough to crank up the oven I will bake some breads and see what recipes I like the best.

Yes. It's crazybusy time for me and in a week or so the company will begin arriving. Then it will be crazier busy time. And here I sit, with a huge smile on my face, because, obviously, I like it.

Hope you are liking your summer projects.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/22/2010 3:50PM

    Sounds like you are enjoying life...what a great thing! Keep up the great work, and don't worry about the weight loss...concentrate on making healthy choices and establishing healthy you are...and the weight is bound to come off eventually!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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250STRONG 6/22/2010 9:26AM

    What a great write up. I'm so happy to have stumbled onto it. It is wonderful that you enjoy your job and it sounds like you are making the best of a busy time. Hope you get some cooler weather.

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CRAVE_FREE 6/22/2010 8:58AM

    Wow it sounds like so much fun! I have to say I am envious of you. Of course you are worn out from it all, but what a fun way to get worn out! I'm impressed that you have continued your conscious eating and trying for whole grains during the craziness. It shows that you have made the commitment to a healthy lifestyle!

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SHEILA1505 6/22/2010 8:21AM

    No wonder you are looking forward to your Friday massage - and you will have earned it


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JLITT62 6/22/2010 8:04AM

    I am tired just reading what you're doing! Glad you enjoy all the activities; sounds like you're doing great.

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Good visit with my dr.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

who agreed with me that I can cut my BP meds in half and if, after a few months, I'm still smack on target, I can go off them. That has to be a plus. We caught up on a lot of other old business with the upshot that I will be working with a physical therapist in about 2 weeks, to help me with some exercise therapy. I suffer with loose long floppy ligaments. I don't get stiff muscles ever. But I do tear and injure because, as a friend of mine said - I can do it wrong 40 ways. The goal is sustainable exercise without issues - like last week's sciatica flare-up.

In other less cheerful medical news, Himself, who has struggled with detached retinas in both eyes the past few years, is bleeding from his good eye. We're back to the doctor today for him. All prayers for his stabilizing and continued vision are Most Welcome.

We're having unusually hot weather this month and it's sticky hot too but yesterday and this morning have at least brought some good showers. Corn around the edges of the fields is stunted but the bulk of it will flourish with this welcome and necessary rain. Early beans are sighing in relief too. Bracing ourselves for the return of Hot Hot Hot tomorrow.

I fell off the whole grain wagon yesterday - due to circumstances, not temptation - but only at lunch and don't you know - the sweet craving was back instantly. I was pawing the shelves for sweet last night. I found 12 ... what a joke! ... yup 12 chocolate chips in a little twist of a bag among the baking things. And I ate them too. but what WAS I thinking to not use up those last 12 chips in whatever it was I was cooking .... unless Himself has been snacking too.

Anyway - It's nice to see my "theory" confirmed - that if I eat refined grains I will probably snickersnack on sweets and not count them because ..."It was only 12 chocolate chips!!" And that's what i want to get a handle on.

In to work early today. Counting on being back here again, tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIMESSA 6/22/2010 3:44PM

    Just catching up on my blog reading...

So happy to hear of your good news from the doctor...and I wish you and Himself the best in all your health issues!

As always,
Stay Strong!!

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WEDDWT 6/16/2010 1:11PM

    for reducing your Rx - emoticon
for DH's eyes - prayers offered up

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250STRONG 6/16/2010 9:42AM

    Sounds great. Congrats on lowering your meds!

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EARTHSEAME 6/16/2010 9:38AM

    emoticon on reducing the blood pressure meds and emoticon for your husband's vision.

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SHEILA1505 6/16/2010 8:27AM

    Well done, you, on getting good feedback from the Doc.

Hugs and strength for your DH's eyes. Thinking of you with love.

Now that you have cleaned out the choc chips you can't eat them again - so back on the whole grains!


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JLITT62 6/16/2010 7:41AM

    Absolutely prayers for continued good vision!

And next time you find yourself in the throes of a search & destroy mission (hey, just thought that one up -- I like it, really describes it), you can have it as long as you drop & give me 10. At least that's what one of my spark buddies told me. So far it's working for me!

I am hoping I can ingrain the habit firmly enough before TOM rolls around again, because that's when the S&Ds start for me.

I think there's a blog here . . .

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