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Thursday, September 15, 2011

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon You Guys!

I didn't plan on coming back so soon with a blog post - this one will be brief but gigantic. It's a plus size emoticon just for being there. Because yesterday I had an eleven hour day with no chance to get dinner. Home at last at 9:30 I had a small healthy dinner that included a nice healthy but favorite desert. And then, just before bedtime I found myself again in the kitchen and thinking "Oh, just this little snack ...." and the thought of not meeting my goal - and having to report back to you all that yet again I put off getting where I say I want to be - that once again, I talked the talk, but failed to walk the walk (away from the extra snack) well - I just couldn't do it. I don't want to be that person.

so emoticon again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPAL50 9/15/2011 8:43PM

    It happens...get back at it. You have a GREAT plan.

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WEDDWT 9/15/2011 8:43PM

    bigger than gigantic! emoticon

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SHEILA1505 9/15/2011 11:32AM

    Big hugs!
well done

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emoticon emoticon

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MSLZZY 9/15/2011 7:24AM

    Just keep trying and success will follow. HUGS!

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BD3269PM 9/15/2011 7:13AM

    YOU can do this! Try drinking a glass of water when an urge to eat strikes. It works sometimes for me. Stay motivated!!! You are so worth it emoticon

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What's the plan?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Deep Breath


It's time to make a plan. I've been diddling around with this weight loss stuff for long enough. I won't say "too long". Time is what it is. I'm not into regrets. This is a forward moving project - even when it's stalled.

So. First off - let's see where I am Officially - today - 163 lbs.

And where do I want to be? Officially - 150 lbs.

That's 13 lbs to loose. And while I'd really REALLY like to be there by Thanksgiving, to do that I'd need to loose more than 1 lb a week and I am not sure I can do that. There are lots of celebratory days coming up this fall.... heck. There are lots of celebratory days throughout the year. So

The Goal is to loose 13 lbs by the week before Christmas. That means just under 1 lb a week.

How am I going to get there?

First off - I'm using the new Weight Watcher program. I lost substantial weight on their original 'Points" plan but after a while I learned to sabotage it by eating too many of their snack bars. When both a chocolate peanut butter snack treat and a banana were 2 points - hey - I'll choose the candy. (That's how my brain categorized it) They have recalculated things to push you to eat more fruits and protein and fewer carbs, edging you closer to a South Beach kind of diet. But in a subtle, kind, even interesting way. I read the SB plan - my own physicians recommend it - but it struck me as very Nazi-esque. I realize that is only me - but we are only talking about me right now. I like WW's delivery So Much Better.

I also like their little blue calculator - which has turned out to really help me keep track of how much I eat. Now - when I override the daily limits - I know it. I may still have chosen to override things - but it's no mystery.

So the real task, right now, is to stop overriding my limits. Biggest weakness? Semi-mindless weekend grazing. It's not mindless because I have disciplined myself to track the eating - but it's the attitude of "Okay. I'm gonna overeat" It's making me waffle back and forth, flirting with success but never accepting it. I need an attitude adjustment.

So for this week here are the steps I plan to take:

1. 4 days each week eat no more than 29 points
2. for the next week each time I think I'll have a bite drink a glass of water first.
3. walk 2 miles every day indoors or out
4. tell people my plan and blog about my successes
5. check back each week to fine tune these steps.

So. Guess what? You guys are step 4!! Thank you!

Here is where some rewards might come in handy too. Here's my list.

1. Each week the scale is down the reward will be: $50 of play money to be posted on my Vision Board to be saved up for New Clothes in my New Size when I am At Goal

2. Each time I lose three consecutive weeks the reward will be: Cast on a new project from stash yarn, no matter WHAT else I am knitting

3. When I get below 160 the reward will be: One new garment bought at a local store

4. If I lose 6 consecutive weeks the reward will be: A sweater's worth of New Yarn.

5. When I get below 155 the reward will be: A day off from work, playing with a girlfriend in W'msbrg or Richmond

6. When I no longer have to pay for meetings (152) the reward will be: $100 of that same play money to be posted on the Vision Board

7. When I have stayed at goal for 6 weeks the reward will be: 2 yards of Munro Plaid wool for a skirt

And though I have not thought them up yet - I plan to make rewards for Staying at goal too. But that is for later. After I get there. And Yes! This weekend I will, at last, make my Vision Board.

So, guys - that's the plan. See ya next week with a report.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPAL50 9/15/2011 8:36PM

    You got it together! Great plans.

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AEBROWNSON 9/14/2011 1:31PM

    Good plan! I like your rewards, too! You can do it!

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SHEILA1505 9/14/2011 10:42AM

    Good luck Bess - It's time I made a plan (and stuck to it) too. I did buy two little bowls today that'll help me with portion control - as long as I only fill one once :D


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TYGRLILY 9/14/2011 10:19AM

    Sounds like you are well on your way to getting that goal - having a PLAN is definitely pivotal!! GOOD LUCK and will be sending positive vibes your way! :)

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KYRRIA 9/14/2011 9:55AM

    you are the same weight as me and have the same goal as me! I'm so glad i read your blog.. .I really need to lay out a solid plan for myself as well because I feel like im all over the place right now. thank you!

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JLITT62 9/14/2011 7:56AM

    Right now all my rewards are tied to weight numbers, too - but I don't do the consecutive week thing, simply cause I find hormones really do play havoc with my weight & there's really not much I can do about it. Of course, that's just me.

Stay far away from the WW products! Much as I love WW & their products are tasty, they're just not worth it. Way too addictive.

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MSLZZY 9/14/2011 7:37AM

    With that plan in place, you will be a success. Your rewards are perfect for you and you have a great incentive. Happy days are on their way! Here's to healthy choices! HUGS!

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Why I'm glad I'm not the president or prime minister or king or any other head honcho

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lawsie! I had now idea I'd be away this long - almost as if I got buried at that funeral too. Which, in some ways, I was. At least my ability to focus seemed to sink out of sight - my power to think creatively and critically and make good decisions and meet deadlines - it just shriveled up and wobbled in a corner all summer long.

Of course - when I am not coping with the loss of a parent and the loss of a beloved pet and the weeks of triple digit temperatures I am quite capable of doing all those things and by good chance, all last winter and deep into the springtime I had - so while l my brain has been on hiatus, the good things set in motion rolled forward, were accomplished and came to fruition.

Ha! Just in time for Hurricane Irene!

Okay - joking aside - I have been amazed at how difficult it's been to cope with grief and am thankful for my friends, my staff, the folks who have carried the ball for me these past months. I had no idea how often, during the day, I would save up little bits and stories, incidents and funny happenings to share with Daddy. I had no concept of how much both he and my little dog Priss defined me. Daddy was, without a doubt, the most difficult man to live with on earth. At one point this summer a girlfriend commented "I can't believe how all over the place you are whenever you talk about your dad" and I said "YES!" He sucked everything out of you and made you look at it - live with it - deal with it: joy, furry, fear, delight, confidence, wisdom, disgust, happiness, vivacity ... every extreme word you can imagine. And I managed to survive it all. He was proof to me that I could live through anything. He was proof to me that all emotions - all states were there at my fingertips - to be used and lived with and acknowledged.

And my little Priss? Ah. She was proof that at my very core I was a good person - someone a little abused dog would look at and know was her safe haven. I loved to tell "The Story of Priss" and if it sounded like I was bragging - well - I was. Because we all want to think we are good and Priss always made me feel like I was.

So this summer was pretty much a lesson in living on auto pilot. Perhaps I let myself do this because I knew things were fairly well lined up and wouldn't need much supervision. Perhaps I couldn't help it either - since I can't imagine pulling my scattered wits together and making Good Decisions on Important Matters. I think, if I dig deep into my memory, I can remember a moment when I said "In September ..." Like going back to school, In September I would start swimming forward instead of treading water.

Of course, August had one final gift for us - a massive hurricane that left us with more than an acre of downed trees, washed out our road, took the power AND phone, and closed the library for 3 days. Whew!

And then came Katia who just would not move north fast enough - she gave us another 12 inches of rain, though thankfully none of the wind. So out went the road and phone again! I have been home now for 2 days.

All this down time, though, has been very therapeutic. The quiet of a house without power is very soothing. We had plenty of water and supplies and we cook with gas, which is in big tanks in the back yard. I had books and knitting and Himself for company. Here it is looking at mid-September and I'm actually feeling like a normal person again. Last week I could actually see what needed to be done - work productively, creatively, and when I got stuck at home - everything could move ahead without me actually being there. Cool, huh?

Ah - but where am I on my journey to a healthy weight? That's okay too. Moving very slowly - but there has been very little stress eating this summer. I've averaged about .25 to .5 lbs of weightloss all summer - which is okay by me. My motto has always been Down is Down. I've found that 10 lbs moves me into a smaller size and I'm able to Shop My Closet for things that I hadn't worn in years. I'm also ready to devote attention and energy to this journey now too - a not uncommon September phenomenon. Might even set me a goal....

So - dear friends. I haven't meant to be gone so long but there it is. I'm just glad I had this summer to grieve and contemplate, asses and consider, drift away and fritter. I'm glad World Events didn't depend on me. I'm glad nobody really needed me much this summer. Glad someone Else wants to be president or prime minister or king or head honcho. Aren't you glad too. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 9/11/2011 10:35PM

    It is always better to leave the load to those who choose to be king. I am content being just
"little old me" LOL!
Sorry about the weather this summer but you have taken it all in stride. And remember,
grieving takes time and we all have to deal with it in our own way.
Hope things continue to improve and wishing you a healthy journey, one day at a time.

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WEDDWT 9/11/2011 7:19PM

    You can't rush the grieving process, it takes time, and I'm glad you took it.
I wish the water from the hurricane could have been more 'cleansing' or 'purifying' as an end to your summer.

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AEBROWNSON 9/11/2011 8:04AM

    you could have been describing my father! and its hard work to grieve! you've had a heckuva summer, but i'm glad you're back...and good for you for continuing to lose weight through it all!

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OPAL50 9/10/2011 10:36AM

    Grief is all encompassing! Take care and glad to have you "back".

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SHEILA1505 9/10/2011 9:37AM

    So good to see you again, Bess - and I think many of us have been keeping a low profile these past few months - licking wounds, cocooning or whatever might be the case

Glad to see that you are ready to face the rest of the year with renewed energy


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JLITT62 9/10/2011 7:44AM

    Welcome back. It's important to grieve on your own time schedule.

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Singing Daddy Home

Sunday, July 17, 2011

When I got in the car, last Monday morning, to drive back to the city for Daddy's funeral, I told Himself that the one thing I hoped for was to have birds singing when we were at the grave site. That happened once at a funeral for a farming cousin of ours and it would be the most comforting thing to imagine the birds singing Daddy home. Among many other beautiful moments that happened that day, there was a mocking bird who sat in one of the only trees on that windswept greensward and serenaded the entire ceremony. At the end. When we were holding on to our composure with all our might.

The funeral mass was held at the beautiful - in my mind, most beautiful Catholic church in Richmond - St. Benedict's Church. It was the church I went to in high school. It has an organ and a glorious music program and a kind, tender music director. Mama was already there when we parked on Shepherd St., dressed and coiffed and ready to participate in everything. She was a little bewildered but mostly wearing her gracious company face. We'd hired a nurse she knows to help but we kept her with us all the time.

Fabulous cousins were arriving - even beloved Haile cousins - warming my heart and sucking up some of the sadness. Darling men, who I last saw as boys, trekked the miles across state lines to hold us and hug us. And there were children at the service. I know of nothing that makes such a difference, when I'm staring at death, as the sight of youth, with its promise of a future, dressed in Sunday best, ready to participate in real life passages.

Sister B played hymns from the choir loft and in those old style churches, violin notes soar out over the sanctuary like angel voices. It's odd - in all the years I went to St. G's I was never once asked to play my violin for any service - and at that time I was very good. Funny the things that you think of when you go back to childhood haunts. But then - I remember the 'hip' masses were all Folk Masses and we all sang Michael Row the Boat Ashore to guitars. Ahh well.

There was an ocean of nostalgia beneath the surface of the whole ceremony. Father Kaufman gave a nice homily that talked about the generous heart and made no false references to my 'sainted father'... who was no saint and who might have risen from the coffin had he done so. It would have been much nicer if he hadn't used a personal microphone. That church does not need amplification and it was big enough and empty enough and made of enough stone to echo his voice back onto itself to the point that most of what he said was unintelligible - like it was to me, when I was tiny and mass was still said in Latin (and I thought the priest was offering dominoes for breakfast).

My cousin J spoke about Daddy, weaving stories of his own with tales he'd gleaned from the rest of us. He is a superb speaker and fortunately, his microphone had less reverb so I hope people could hear him better. I could. Mama could not.

After the ceremony the cortege snaked through the city with a police escort; first with a Richmond squad car and then, at the county line, with three motorcycles. Daddy would have loved that - being escorted. The cemetery is way out in the western part of the county where we were greeted by both the singing bird and a full military honor guard of 8. The heat was fierce and there was a breeze almost strong enough to be called wind. It blew so hard against the flag the soldiers had a difficult time folding it, even having to unfold it and try a second time. But eventually they were able to present it to Mama ... before everyone baking in that noon day sun was completely singed.

When all the ceremony had been fulfilled, we drove to the Capital Alehouse out on West Broad where we'd reserved the back room for the afternoon - and things fell into a traditional Family Funeral Reception - or Irish Party - whichever name you prefer. We are not a solemn sober kind of family. We are loud. We are boisterous. We are really all pretty vivid, now I come to think of it. We had a fiddler - my sister - who played the songs and gigs of Appalachia and Ireland. We had men lifting beer and toasting the Daddies of the world. We had lots of food and a signature family desert made of chocolate and whipped cream. We sent Daddy off with laughter and tears and memories and more hugs than a teddy bear. We did it right for him. We did it right in honor of him. We absolutely know that he's been reunited with his brother and his sisters, his mother and father, with Earle Corcoran, his best friend from WWII days. And without a single doubt I know
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, From the lake, From the skies.
All is well,Safely rest,
God is nigh.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAFACE 8/18/2011 8:27PM

    Bess, that was beautiful. I'm sorry about your loss. I'm sure your Dad enjoyed his life's celebration as much as you and your family did--as bittersweet as it was, I'm sure he would have been happy with the way you chose to send him off. emoticon

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MSLZZY 7/17/2011 11:06PM


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OPAL50 7/17/2011 7:51PM

    What a beautiful tributes and sentiments to your father...a real celebration while "singing your daddy home"! May you find peace. emoticon emoticon

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WEDDWT 7/17/2011 1:10PM

    May your Daddy rest in peace.
God is nigh.

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 7/17/2011 9:57AM

    Wiping bittersweet tears from my eyes. This was heart moving.

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SHEILA1505 7/17/2011 9:48AM

    Ah, Bess this is beautiful and it sounds like a wonderful Wake - just the job to make the day somewhat bearable

All love

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JLITT62 7/17/2011 9:17AM

    Woe, those last lines brought back memories of my own. Isn't it odd how a funeral brings families together? You write so beautifully about it. I hope you've found some peace with it all.

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Life's last roller coaster ride

Monday, July 04, 2011

For the past 3 weeks my sister and I have been dealing with end of life issues around my dad. She is the primary caregiver - I jokingly call myself the non-custodial daughter. We each bring special gifts to the table - her's are more visible, more practical, though I think of myself as a pragmatic sort of person. It's just that she's the one who lives there and I come in from out of town - but I have an intuitiveness that picks up on things that someone who's been dealing with an overwhelming number of burdensome facts might miss. Together we have juggled the care of two elderly, difficult, demanding and beloved parents with ease and grace and much success.

Of course, nobody ever did anything with Daddy that didn't carry with it the threat of his ungovernable temper and as he's aged, his hold on language and fury has not abated a whit - only his physical abilities have diminished. Remember - this is the same daddy who disinherited me last September, tearing my picture out of the family calender and banning me from his sight forever. He forgot about that after a while and thankfully, I know it didn't matter what he said. It was the ravings of an old terrified man. It hurt a little while and then went away. Most of the time when he throws his tantrums I just laugh at him and say too bad. We're not the ones in a wheel chair and besides, our turn will come when our kids boss us around. Right now, it's just his turn.

Now, though, things have sunk pretty low. He went into hospital 2 weeks ago with a kidney infection - then his heart began to fail - then a lung infection - I've been up to see him every day this weekend. We called in the far-away sisters who are arriving today. My son has been with me all week and has made even more trips to see his grandfather and another grandchild got in last night.

Ours is not a cozy cuddly family. One sister won't speak to another. A third sister never sees me without complaining 'mother loved you best'. I doubt all of us could gather anywhere other than a neutral location like a restaurant - or a funeral home. It's too bad. It's also the way it is.

Sister and I went to the funeral home yesterday to pick out things like prayer cards and flowers - all the things that we'd really rather not have to decide later, when we're weeping. And we got an itinerary so we know what the next steps are. And the price. It feels good to not have to worry about those things.

So. Now we are waiting. And I am driving a lot and trying to decide if I want to drive back over to the city today and witness the tension between siblings. And participate in it, if I'm honest. There's a part of me that would like to see all my sisters and hug them and feel warmth and remember. And there's a part that asks myself "what makes you think that would happen?". What I really think is that I'd have to drive 75 miles to get to the hospital, then miles around the city to visit one sister and then miles more to visit the others. I haven't decided yet. It may be that I'll do the ostrich thing and bury myself down here, in the safe little cocoon of home.

and the food thing? How am I eating through these endless hours in a car, eating at restaurants, sitting in hospital rooms? Not too badly, actually. I've been going a little overboard with the ice cream at night. Mr. Ice Cream Box and I have a longstanding relationship and usually we treat each other with great respect. It's only when a visiting son brings in Karl's Frozen Custard, all the way from Fredericksburg, that my careful portion control goes out the window. I don't like most full fat ice cream. It's too rich for me. but Karl's .... well. Well. that's an entirely different matter. If you are from Virginia, you know this.

I haven't officially weighed in with the WW guys in 2 weeks because I had work commitments last Tuesday, but the home scale is encouraging. Actually, it's been complimentary. To stay within my weekly food budget I need only eat a normal day's worth of healthy food and the kitchen is loaded with the best white peaches I've ever eaten - from Crozet, Virginia, not 50 miles away, and as sweet as sugar.

So that is where I have been this crowded and challenging month. I hadn't intended to stay silent so long but time whizzed by and now it's July. Hangin' in there, down on the farm.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAFACE 7/5/2011 6:09PM

    Bess, I had no idea you were going through this. My thoughts are with you, your Dad, and the rest of your family. It's even harder to deal with these things when your family doesn't all get along. If you need anything, please let me know! I'm not that far away. I haven't been in your exact situation but I do have experience with the death of close family members and dealing with ones that you don't get along with. Great job with your eating, although it's understandable that it's the last thing you want to worry about right now.
Even though I only live 15 minutes from Carl's, I haven't been there in ages. I'm not patient enough to stand it that line!

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AEBROWNSON 7/5/2011 3:29PM

    This is a tough time...I've been through it, too as the non-custodial daughter. I remember feeling guilty I wasn't there more often to help, but was fortunately in a position to contribute monetarily, which helped. My thoughts and prayers are with you, as you go on this part of your life's journey.

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WEDDWT 7/4/2011 9:38PM


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    Sorry for your situation. I lost a grandfather this year and my family laughed awkwardly through the whole process--but then, we're very strange. I envy the strength you posses that helps you face these issues head-on with head held high and still continue to eat mostly well. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

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JLITT62 7/4/2011 10:13AM

    So sorry for all that's going on. My prayers are with you.

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OPAL50 7/4/2011 7:44AM

    Difficult days...I hear you are realistic about expectations. This time in life brings out the best and worst in all of us. Take care...HUGS and Prayers! emoticon emoticon and eventually Peace. emoticon

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EDWINA172 7/4/2011 7:38AM

    Wow. You have your hands full. I am sorry that you have to go through this right now. I have one sister and had a very similar situation when both of my parents passed away. Why does it seem like strangers are more kind than our blood relatives? Family just push our buttons. They should be the ones who love us unconditionally, but they don't. They judge. Sad.
I am sending love and hugs your way. You will be a stronger woman after this.

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MSLZZY 7/4/2011 7:36AM

    Sorry for what you are dealing with but you are strong and keeping things in perspective.
Make the most of the time left to you with your dad so there are no regrets later. HUGS!

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