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a wake-up routine

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I just loved today's Best of Spark People article about morning routines. The suggested one is below with my own thoughts added:

1. Wake up to music rather than an alarm.

I don't use an alarm - I'm a naturally early riser while Himself is a classic night owl. He's retired now so he sleeps as late as he wants. Of course I am a kind wife and don't really want to wake him, but more important than that, these early morning hours are MY time in my house, quiet and alone. I wouldn't give them up for a kingdom. Still - if I were going to have a wake up sound, I would choose music over an alarm.

2. Don't get up right away. While breathing deeply, loosen up and stretch your limbs out, from your fingers to your toes. Pretend you're a cat waking up from a nap.

Oh man - I am gonna start doing this. I do tend to leap out of bed and get go-go-going but I once had a physical therapist tell me to do exactly this. As my body ages I think it's even MORE important to stretch my body and breathe deeply before I actually go upright. So. Add this to my routine.

3. Think of the most positive thing you'll be doing that day.

WHAT a good idea. I'm usually actually upright and moving forward before real mental activity begins but if I give myself a few moments to stretch I bet the brain will kick in too. And I love the idea of plucking something wonderful out of the coming day to contemplate before I'm even out of bed.

4. Get out of bed slowly. Ease into it.

Well. Erm. I almost have to do that anyway - there are enough creaky joints and bulging disks and floppy ligaments in this body to make that an essential ... but there is something sweet about allowing myself to do what my body wants me to do anyway. It is ALWAYS good to give yourself permission to do what's good for you.

5. Turn on more and more lights as you go through your routine, until every light you see is on.

Oh I like this idea too. I love the idea of flooding myself with light - and often I don't bother to, leaving only one lamp on beside the chair I'm sitting in or just using the glow from the computer in the morning. Before I even logged on this morning, though, I did turn on the lights in all the rooms I passed through and I do feel brighter for it. another permission-to-do-what-feels-good item. cool.

6. If weather permits, step outside for a minute. Sunshine is one of the strongest ways to tell your body to wake up.

ha! that won't be possible much longer since we're heading into winter but I do at least open up the door every morning to let the dogs in. I could take a moment to step out into the beautiful outdoors, bathing myself in daylight. I actually do that frequently already - might as well just make it part of the routine.

7. Do 3-5 minutes of easy activity. Emphasis on easy.

Okay ... I like this too. Movement just for the pleasure of moving. Maybe a walk out to the fields to watch the light change, some very gentle yoga poses - not "exercise" so much as a little movement. Yup. I can add this one too.

8. Eat breakfast! Foods low in fat and high in protein, fiber and carbs provide energy that lasts a long time. Try yogurt, fruit, whole wheat breads, and skim milk.

Well there - I don't eat breakfast till Himself starts moving around, closer to 8 o'clock. If I am really hungry I will, of course. I don't believe in making a fetish out of any routine. But we do like to share breakfast together so that's usually around 8 o'clock. Normal for folks who get up at 7:30 - a bit on the late-ish side for us larks. But that is one routine change I am not about to make.

anyway - I thought the article was particularly good and I can't wait to try these new little steps.

Happy Hump Day to you

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEBROWNSON 8/25/2010 10:34AM

    I liked this article, too.... I'm a lark as well, and I already do most of those things, except before breakfast there is the hour I spend at the gym, and the feeding of the animals. But there's nothing like a good cat stretch before you jump out of bed!!!

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DIFROMWYOMING 8/25/2010 9:22AM

    I do some of these but I totally do NOT do the positive thought thing, which I think is a good idea to add. And stepping outside? In Wyoming in winter? thanks!
I'll just stand at the window and look at at the cold, sleeping world instead.

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EDWINA172 8/25/2010 8:17AM

    I also love the early mornings to myself. Quiet and peaceful. Have a great hump day too!

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SHEILA1505 8/25/2010 7:49AM

    Lovely Bess - Can I add just one more little one - I think it would be numbered 3.a. cos it is the one where we decide how we are going to face the day - isn't it going to be a fantabulous day where we are going to shine and be happy because everything is going to slip into place because we have planned it that way and got all the elements in place

Just a thought
Love it - lots of hugs

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The joys of Day 1 - because it's always fun to visit a favorite place

Monday, August 23, 2010

Thanks girlfriends, for your encouraging words. I do feel ready to move ahead and while I wish I had made more progress this year with the scales, I actually feel I made a lot of progress in other areas and after all - I am not Just a Number on a Scale. For example:

YOGA - I know a lot about yoga and my body now. I understand how much I slump forward and how important it is to Not Do That - and I can tell if I'm standing up straight if the area across my breastbone feels open - as if energy were pouring into my body. It's a wonderful feeling.

I also understand more about my feet and how to plant them firmly when I am walking instead of teetering only on the heel portion. for years I've sprained my ankles with horrific regularity and my husband would say "you're not using your whole foot to walk" but it took yoga to show me and 'feel" me how to use my whole foot.

Man - those are fabulous advances towards a healthy self.

WATER - I drink a lot of water most of the time now. There are some days when I don't drink enough, but they are few and I can always tell by the way my body feels that I am thirsty. I've also almost eliminated sodas from my life. In a year I've probably drunk 10 of them - but maybe fewer than that. I actually go months between drinking sodas. Now - if I could go months between overeating I would be in perfect shape.

SWIMMING - I actually love lap swimming and it's good for my poor back - and it is not that hard to buy the right equipment.

Great tools to take with me into a Brand New Day 1.

Yup. why not. Why not start today as if it were a brand new journey. After all, I take trips to a favorite place over and over - I frequently go to richmond to see beloved friends and family. I would return to the Atlantic Ocean every summer if I got a chance (and if I make the plans to do so). I can't wait to go back to New York City in October and visit our friends B&M. Why not start out on another journey to a fit healthy body?

Can you tell I'm feeling inspired?
I hope you are too on this fresh bright rainwashed Monday Morning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUEANGELLK 8/23/2010 8:57AM

    Glad to hear you feel inspired! It is a great feeling. You sure have learned a lot! Isn't it great how the more we learn, the better choices we can make?

Keep up the great work!

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August assessment

Sunday, August 22, 2010

With TheReunion, it always feels like summer is over. Oh - there are a few weeks left before my BirthdayMonth rolls around (be prepared - I celebrate the whole month) and there will be some swims and some company and maybe even a little trip or two between now and Labor Day but for all intents ... summer is done. And with the end of summer, my SP anniversary looms. I joined the first of October 2009 and I thought I'd do a quick peek at how I'm doing, goal-wise and otherwise.

My January Goals
Long Term Goals, edition II

1. I want to wear THAT dress at the Ginormous 160 year old family reunion in August 2010
2. I want to get an assessment of 100% from my doctor at my June 2010 checkup Ė and maybe get off some of these medicines.
3. I want a BMI of 25 by Memorial Day 2010 (that means 150 by the end of May)
4. I want to feel confident around food all the time
5. I want to always be hydrated
I'D SAY 75%
6. I want to feel unhurried ... all the time AND, when I don't ...
7. I want to have a deep and readily accessible well of reserve strength and energy whenever I need it
8. I want to get very good at Yoga Ė good enough to eventually become a teacher so that
9. I want to share what I learn with others ... see above

So. Not a complete looser, but not all that great a job, either. If I want things to look better by my SP anniversary I better think about what I'd like to achieve and map out a better plan. I've been reading James A Ray's book HARMONIC WEALTH and he urges you to state your goals in the present tense and call them intentions. I think I'll do that and see if a little attitude shift can make a difference.


Here are the Long Term Intentions a.k.a. goals, edition III

Long Term ďintentionsĒ, edition III

1. I love being the woman who gets an assessment of 100% from my doctor at my January 2011 checkup Ė and gets off the rest of these medicines.

2. I am excited about strengthening my core muscles and eliminating the pain in my lower back

3. I am grinning at just the thought of having a BMI of 25 by New Years Day 2011 (that means losing just a tad over 1 lb a week)

4. I always give myself enough time to completely eat my food Ė that means savoring it's scent and sight, tasting every bite and pausing every few bites to see if I've, maybe, had enough.

5. I love water and always drink enough

6. I'm having a wonderful time growing into a fitter stronger me

(got to admit it ... writing them as if I'd already achieved them gave me a little thrill.)
Happy Intentions to you all

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 8/22/2010 4:57PM

    I also work with intentions frequently. I write them, I try to visualize them as I fall asleep -- only I fall asleep so darn fast most of the time I don't get to work on them that much!

Never beat yourself up for what you didn't achieve. Celebrate what you do achieve. Have patience -- and never, ever give up!

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SHEILA1505 8/22/2010 10:53AM

    I think you've cracked it this time Bess - you are more specific and your intentions are great!


Love your background sketches too :) Clever girl

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That Dress - and TheReunion - and a bit of reflection on GOALS

Monday, August 16, 2010

I feel I owe it to y'all to admit that I did NOT wear ThatDress to TheReunion this year. In fact, without admitting it, I gave up on that goal last May. I'm not sure how I feel about this - because of course, I've wanted to wear ThatDress for several years - but evidently not enough to do all the right things to be able to.

TheReunion has come and gone. The house filled up with people and then suddenly emptied!/album.p

and once again mid-August has it's End-0-Summer feel to it. There will be a few more weeks of swimming weather. Himself and I are going to take a little mini-vacation to Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay this week. But the days are already noticeably shorter and it won't be long before my birthday month is here. I celebrate the entire month of September rather than just the day itself. One day can't hold all the minutes I need to express my pleasure at being alive and here on earth.

But I am a little concerned at my lack of ability to set a goal and then reach it. It isn't as if I haven't reached milestones that represent the culmination of solid good steady work. It's almost as if when I set a goal it's a guarantee that I won't make it. But that isn't true either. I would have a new library building. I would have a real house of my own. I would learn how to spin yarn. I would make a 6 piece weekend wardrobe, including a lined wool jacket, in 2 days.

Why is it I decide and reach certain milestones and others I don't. Is it because I don't really want them or because I don't believe I can reach them. Hmmmmm. For goodness sakes. I certainly don't want to look like I do in some of the dreadful reunion photos and I certainly don't want to have an aching back or pulled muscles.

Hmm. I wonder if it is something to do with beliefs. I also wonder if the constant visual stimulation of a community full of very fat people. Understand, I live in the rural south - the fattest part of america - Just take a look at this:

And I can promise you the only reason Virginia isn't a darker red is because of Northern Virginia where all those government folk from slimmer parts of the country have to come work part of the year. And darlin's when 25% of a population is obese - that's not a good image to see constantly before you.

what I do know is that whatever I believe is true eventually becomes true for me. And I tend to believe that if everyone else can do it, so can I. (a Librarian Curse. "It's in a book - anybody can do it. the instructions are right there")

I think I have to spend a little more time developing that belief that I can be fit and healthy. Not quite sure how to do it but I do believe that .... if other people can, so can I.

Hope you are all having a sweet Monday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARTCHICK1957 8/16/2010 8:17AM

    You can do it! emoticon Maybe your problem has been that you set impossible goals for yourself or you don't give yourself time to attain them. I know because I have done that myself before and been discouraged because I didn't reach my goal. Or in the case of weight loss I have reached a plateau and been discouraged and gave up. But recently I wanted to get in a particular dress for my granddaughters wedding. When I was in Fl. last spring my sister-in-laws, 4 of them were visiting and they decided to take me shopping to get a dress for the wedding. If you know me you would know that is my worse thing-I HATE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES FOR ME-and I am on a fixed income so we went to a lot of consignment shops. I ended up buying two dresses. I could barely get into both of them. One I really didn't like, the other I loved but it was smaller and uncomfortably tight. So much so that it didn't look like I ever be able to wear it. The only reason I bought it was to satisfy my sis in laws, I was tired and I wanted to go home. I had been on a plateau for months. Going up and down 3 or 4 lbs. Not really getting any where. Well I came home to NY for the summer. I was determined to finally get off the plateau and I showed the 2nd dress to my granddaughter. She okayed it for the wedding. I became obsessed with getting into it comfortably, I told everyone I was going to wear it, but right up until a few weeks before the wedding it was still kind of tight but I kept saying I was going to wear it. And I made a real effort to track my food and exercise. I really worked hard because-I DIDN'T WANT TO GO SHOPPING AGAIN-and believe it or not I lost a few more lbs. toned a lot more and I WORE THE DRESS TO THE WEDDING, A SIZE 10. THE ONE I AM WEARING IN MY PHOTO. I still can't believe it and I am still losing. I am only 5 lbs from my goal of 45 lbs I set several years ago. YES YOU CAN DO IT! YOU CAN! DON'T GET DISCOURAGED. SET MINI GOALS, AND TALK ABOUT, LET PEOPLE KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. THEN GIVE YOURSELF TIME BUT SET A DEADLINE! YOU CAN DO IT! WE ALL CAN. emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/16/2010 8:25:39 AM

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EFELL123 8/16/2010 7:58AM

I can really relate to your blog! I am getting a ten year service award on Wednesday and I was hoping to look much thinner by then.

I need to get it together and quit fooling myself about my health and how I really look!

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The Hoskins Reunion 2006 - warning - loooooong post

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And so another reunion has come and gone, punctuating the year, while moving time forward a notch. If you begin with J. T. Hoskins, the founder of this spreading brood, the reunion reaches back to 1817, the year of his birth. Hannah Elizabeth Ware was born some 20 years later; his second wife, mother of The Sisters. There were two boys of the first marriage and two from the Hoskins-Ware union, but it was The Sisters who really embody the reunion, and were, I suspect, responsible for this wedding anniversary celebration getting off the ground. They, of course, are long gone, and of the cousins, as that next generation are called, only 93 year old Joe Pollard is left. Not even an ancient widow remains since Elvira Henley died last year. With the passing of Charles Warner and Elizabeth Tribble, the next generation is beginning to peel off. They were the oldest of my own BDís generation and he is one of, if not the youngest. Fourth cousins of my son are now parents of children who will be going to college in a week or two. It is just a matter of a few years before we have sixth cousins coming to this reunion as wee tiny babes.

At least, thatís what I hope and thatís why I have shouldered what little responsibility I do have for seeing that this gathering continues. This is Virginia, where venerable old traditions are still alive. There are still folk who say "Pawpa said ..." and "Thatís the way itís always been done" and until world domination by the Random Access Generation is complete, I suspect we can count on hearing them offered up as fine reasons for just about anything. As I said, this is Virginia, so something this old has a right to keep on keeping on, merely because it is this old.

Happily, the weather gods were in the mood to bless this family with what I used to call "California Weather": dry air, bright sun, lamb-like puffy clouds and sweet breezes. Iím responsible for keeping up the mailing list and getting out invitations. I also provide all the paper products for about 100 folk and enough lemonade and tea as well. This way, I donít have to cook, something I almost never want to do on your typical Bermuda High Virginia August weekend. We canít count on California Weather, we can only be grateful for it. The other responsibility I share with BH is setting out all the paraphernalia: the name tags, mailing labels, and such, and directing all the food arrangements. We are the de facto hostesses and this has sometimes been a delight and sometimes been a burden. Itís always a joy afterwards, but for the past few years it was not one we eagerly anticipated. We just accepted it as our duty. A duty Iíve been about ready to pass on to someone else, in fact, bowing out of responsibility, not even caring that much if that person dropped it.

How glad I am that I began, about 10 days ago, to start tinkering with my soulís joy-0-meter. By the time I was driving out our lane with BD, who canít understand why I like to get there (anywhere) so early, I was prepared to have a splendid time, to not be upset about a thing, to greet them all with glad smiles and to just have one heck of a time. And thatís what happened. It was so breezy and cool we threw open all the windows to the church, letting in sunshine and crisp air for the first time I can ever remember. Folk came in so slowly that I figured weíd have a small crowd, and alas, none of the North Carolina nor Eastern Shore cousins came, but happily, my favorite William besides my own, was there with his darling mother and sweet natured father, his way-cool Aunt Mary and her beautiful daughter Katherine. As BH and I say, they are our kind of people, and I didnít have the slightest qualm about telling them of my friend L, the past life hypnotist, who is visiting tomorrow.

Our favorite cousins pulled in fairly early and lent willing hands to everything. These are the Bedford cousins who put me up for 3 days last April when I taught spinning and told stories at the Sedlia Fiber Festival. They had brought word from my darling niece R who was too far away in Chicago to make it this year. Cousins came from Texas. Cousins came from Arizona. They came from Maryland and NoVA and a whole lot of cousins came from Richmond. There were Henleys from King and Queen and Hutchinsons and Hailes from Essex. 75 to 100 altogether, with enough food to feed them all, even if there wasnít quite as much left over as some years. Somehow it all worked out as if planned by the best of caterers.

There was chicken, of course, mostly fried. There was some barbecue and of course, that southern staple, ham biscuits, though this was yankee ham, not the thin, chewy salty Virginia Ham. Iíve been the one to contribute real ham on beaten biscuits in the past, but as I said - I donít cook in August if I can help it. There were any number of corn puddings from creamy to speckled with fresh off the cob kernels. Fresh garden vegetable dishes tumbled from a cornucopia of kitchens. On the last table the regal deserts held forth as supreme reason for dining. I love to lean down and whisper to a wee child that here itís okay to eat desert first, so save room on your plate. The offerings were proof of a maxim I resent, but have to believe - that itís not desert if it isnít chocolate. And chocolate was there in plenty: brownies, cookies, chocolate whipped cream pudding, meringues, and a frosted Khaluah cake that Cousin Anne always brings from Roanoke. Even though my favorite thing there was a molasses pie, you can be sure I had a slice of that cake. For me, the meal has to end with chocolate, and if I donít get any, I find myself eating and eating and eating, looking for the flavor point that says it's time to stop, that period at the end of the meal. Who would have thought TheQueen was a chocoholic?

Tables have always been set up inside the church hall for those too old to sit long in the heat but I never like to dine inside. For one thing, itís too crowded and for another itís too noisy, but the main reason is that once youíre at a table you donít get to visit with anyone but your immediate neighbors. I far prefer to eat outside with the picnickers, usually younger cousins with children, drifting from one blanket to another, from one sister's greatand great-great grandchildren to the next. Saturdayís glorious weather made people linger much longer than usual, talking, sharing, gathering in clusters to be photographed, breaking up into new arrangements of kinship for more snapshots. For the first time I can remember, weíd done all the clean-up and driven off before the last of the visitors were ready to part.

Though BH and I do the artistic arrangements and the small personal details, we donít do any of the heavy setting up. For years the Henley boys did all the work, with a little help from some of the other young men in the family. But someone has to linger at the church to lock up and that lingering can turn into excruciating patience when ancient great aunts who havenít seen each other in a year want to chat a while in the cool before getting into cars and parting for another 12 months. At last, they rebelled and their mom backed them up. The first year I accepted the role as co-hostess I didnít get out of that church till nigh on to 5 oíclock and I was almost screaming with frustration. Now we pay someone to do the heavy stuff and nobody has to be a victim.

Only 4 households gathered at our house in the late afternoon, for swimming and boating and dining again - yes yes - we do eat dinner on reunion day even if we already had our daily caloric needs met at lunch time. The Bedford cousins bring us peaches every year, white and yellow, succulent and sweet. There was ice cream and there were popcicles, and of course, any good house has a couple of bottles of champagne to celebrate with - just in case you have a celebration emergency. Conversations flowed from porch to dining room to upstairs bedrooms to back yards. Croquet was set up on the back lawn, favorite toys were spread out on the floor by 6 year olds, little girls gazed lovingly at teen aged boys. Just your typical family reunion core group, catching up on the details of all the news weíd shared in letters or emails or phone calls.
It was a loving end to a long day. It glowed for me all of its 24 hour hours.

The next morning was a softer version of the night before. Weíve cut our beautiful family tradition from the same pattern for 13 years but it's made of knitted fabric; flexable, stretchy. A teenaged boy is married and has his own house now. Little girls who were not yet in school that first year are now in college. A little boy who once wept when he had to leave drove the family car home this year. The reunion is different every year, even as so much stays the same. It spans almost 200 years of living to know and talk about, for stories about old J.T.Hoskins are still shared as if they had happened just last month and when he got here you could tease him about them. Itís a precious thing to know this much family history. I guess I can keep on as steward a little longer.

The weather stayed deliciously perfect. No sooner had the cousins driven off than BDís brother drove up and the visit on the porch was as sweet as itís ever been. When the silence of his departure settled over the house, BD and I took the three mile walk out to Robertís Landing, savoring happy memories, anticipated delights and present joys. The late afternoon sun felt tender on our skin and the patches of shade had a coolness that carried with it the hint of fall. As we strolled past the west woods a harvest cricket began its autumnal song, that shrill cry that speaks of morning glories and tickseed, early dusk and sweaters. The dogs jumped a buck along Farmerís Hall Creek. Still in velvet, it looked more like a reindeer with its huge antlers. It crashed up the bank and disappeared into the cornfield, Jack in hot pursuit and Priss yipping as she dashed past us.

There is no denying it. That great wheel of time is turning turning turning. Summer isnít over yet. But it almost is. It always is. After The Reunion

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELLENB10 8/14/2010 7:44AM

    What a lovely occasion and a lovely essay. I hope your family tradition lasts for many generations

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