Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Over the past few days the subject of courage has nudged it's way into my consciousness. My own courage, or lack thereof, is my weakest attribute, followed closely by procrastination. It's a lack of courage that keeps me from starting a lot of things that I think about doing. It's the fear of failure. It's the fear of setting expectations in other people that I may not be able to maintain. It's the fear that I'll make someone else angry and then won't have the mental adroitness to defend myself. It's the fear of finding out the fantasy activity isn't so hot after all and now I don't have my mental escape destination any more. Fear - followed by procrastination - "I'll think about it tomorrow - at Tara"
Mind now, I'm not afraid of all sorts of things. I never fear getting up in public to speak - which is supposed to be the #1 fear of the general population. Nor am I afraid to a new hobby - especially if it's an art genre. (and thank you for those compliments in my last post. Worry not - I don't sell my self short. It's just that I had to learn it all - none of that drawing came naturally to me)
But I am afraid of stuff. I'm most afraid of being caught up in a wrangle. And of cruel words. And last week I knew I had to beard a lion in her den (do female lions even have beards?) The moment I thought about it I quaked and had to drag my brain back. I even promised myself a reward as soon as I did this daunting task. I told myself that once I'd made the phone calls, gotten the confrontation over with and done my best, I could buy that lovely neutral red jacket I'd found at Macy's on my Monday shopping foray. It was even on sale! All day Friday I kept pricking myself with reminders to "make that call". By closing time, I'd chickened out.
I spent an uncomfortable weekend knowing that Monday I would have to do the unpleasant task I put off on Friday. And on Monday we had wet slushy snow that threatened my ability to even go to work and do this daunting task. But the snow quit, I got to work and I put on my big girl panties and tackled this confrontation.
Only to be deflated and elated by finding out that everything I asked for was going to be given to me. Unlike last year, when the whole process played out in a humiliatingly public arena, this year I need only be present. I may slide into home plate unnoticed! It was all I could do to keep from reeling. In fact, once I was out of the building and down the block on my way back to my own office, I did a skip and a shout and then a happy dance!
Facing fears is an important part of winning this weight battle. Facing fears often reveals misconceptions about reality that block our own natural courage. Facing fears also lets us know exactly where we stand. If things had turned out differently for me yesterday, at least I would have time to regroup. recruit my support and step back into the arena. I may even have suffered a complete defeat - but I would not have died. I would only have had to make a new plan for how to live within a defeat. And sometimes, like yesterday, facing fears shows me that things are different this time. Things will go my way with ease and grace. and truth to tell - I'm still glad I wasn't in that public arena when I did my little happy dance. That sort of thing is a private act and deserves to be witnessed only by blue skies (or snowy ones) and the neighborhood cats.
Facing fears is part of a healthy life every bit as important as eating nutritious food and exercising your muscles. And it must be a topic of interest to many because not only did Pixilicious post about it today but Oprah made it the lead topic for her April issue of O magazine. Yesterday I ate within my calories/points, I got in lots of exercise and I faced my fears.
and you betcha - I ordered that jacket. I already know it's a perfect fit and it fills a serious gap in my wardrobe.
Be bold my friends and face your fears. You'll feel so much better.
Sunday, March 24, 2013
I come from a very artistic family. All of us were involved in some form of art and one of my sisters actually makes her living as a commercial artist. My arena was music for all of my childhood and my early 20's but I work as a librarian - custodian of the arts. I talk too much and don't like night work and wanted to live in the country - none of those traits work as a musical performer and since I learned to play violin so young - I never really knew how one played a violin - so I could never teach. Besides - I ended up in the perfect profession for me.
My mother was almost morbidly afraid of sibling competition so she deeply discouraged us from taking up the art form a sister was already studying. Big sister was the dramatist, I was the musician and next sister down was the artist (she's the one who stuck with it). When Baby sister came along, well, she was the baby. She got to do anything she wanted. Fortunately, I was not jealous or threatened by her - I was glad to have a partner - so when she picked up the violin we just played duets. Worked out fine.
But I always always always yearned to be able to draw. I didn't have the natural ability to see what artists see and since mama was so afraid to let me learn to draw and my school only let us take one extra curricular class - I never got any drawing instruction.
Fortunately - I am a librarian and all librarians think that you can learn ANYTHING - if it's just written down in a book. And it's true. Especially with drawing. My goodness! We all learned script handwriting - what is more complicated than that? I knew I could learn to draw. Perhaps one can't learn learn to be a great artist but from among the many drawing books I've learned how to draw.
And from the many conversations I've had with people - almost everybody yearns to be able to draw. They just don't give themselves permission to make enough awful drawings till they begin to make good ones. Last August, for the entire month, I joined forces with a girlfriend to commit to drawing 20 minutes a day. Each day we'd draw and then photograph what we drew and emailed it to each other. We both grew so much by this process.
This was my favorite drawing from last summer.
While looking for some pens in an art catalog I heard about ZentangleŽ and was immediately drawn into it.
They all ended up looking like fairy landscapes and soon I had to put fairies into them.
And now I'm beginning to hear the stories these fairies want to tell me. Do I see an illustrated children's book in the future? Who knows. Maybe.
Happily I will have all afternoon to play around with pens and ink and paper - but happier than that was the joy of taking my little broken legged dog on walks again. Here she is the day after the surgery to repair her leg and here is another of her playing outside yesterday.
Now the serious puppy watching has to happen because now she thinks she's almost fixed - and now is when she might hurt herself if she dashes after a rabbit or a squirrel and then tumbles. Her walks will be on a leash for the next 2 weeks. But it's good to see her on the mend. All this care she's needed has resulted in the two weak links in the chain, the spoiling dog owners, Himself and me having to discipline her much more ... and she will be the better dog for it.
It was a glorious day yesterday - so pretty I could hang out clothes. I never think of laundry as a chore - it's a joy - even if I do have to do it every week. It's not really hard work - and it gives me a chance to get out in the sunshine - and everything smells so good - and it's one of the few things that I enjoy when it's done. Love me some air fresh laundry.
And for those of you who need a little spring pick-me-up - here are the daffodils, singing along the lane, saying "hurry springtime - hurry fast! We're ready to play"
But slushy wet snow is in the forecast for today. It's very cold outside this morning. I'll have to get going soon to get in a walk because I don't like walking in wintry rain but I will spend the afternoon drawing.
May your Sunday be sweet and joy filled and may you make healthy choices all day long.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Okay my Spark friends - I'm going to work this out in public on my blog because I have to work it out on paper anyway and I don't mind sharing the process. I also don't mind comments about this either. It's ALL a work in progress - it's life!
Fridays are my low exercise day. I have no workout I do, though I like to be active. I often do the big grocery shopping on Fridays and that's a nice long walk around the store. But I definitely don't do anything specific.
It is also supposed to become part of my routine - my daily routine - to take a short walk with my little dog in the morning. About a mile - only 15 minutes - but I'm supposed to do that every day unless it's raining and yesterday it was not raining and I didn't do it. Instead I played around on the computer.
It's also a kind of laid back day at work. We don't open to the public till 1 o'clock so we can get paperwork done - and these days paperwork definitely means sitting in front of a computer. Of course I'm also supposed to get up and move around every hour but .. i didn't. I hunkered down and sat from 10 to 12
I did take a sweet one mile walk at lunch time. That's good.
I ate my packed lunch - healthy, fruit filled, high fiber, low calories.
Thought about a cup of coffee with cream as I walked past the 7-11 but decided I didn't really want it and to buy one gratuitously seemed stupid.
Didn't get as much work done as I should have - due to slight case of Friday goofing off-edness - and felt guilty all afternoon. Now - Really. I mean. If one is going to goof off one ought to CHOOSE to goof off and leave the guilt behind .... much as one CHOOSES to eat things even if they are not healthy. Mindlessness and its attendant guilt is a sick way to live. And the goofing off really was prompted by being afraid to do something I need to do. And being afraid is stupid because for goodness sake. This isn't a war zone. It's just a county job. What's going to happen? somebody will be mad at me? Sheesh. STOOPID. I have been making monsters out of something that's just a SITUATION. It may not be a pleasant situation but it's just something. Not ... not life threatening. Ugh.
Well. I see a whole lotta cowardice on the part of my Right Brain who is supposed to be helping my Left Brain deal with emotions. RB really let her down. Crumbs.
Okay ... where in the heck did THAT come from. anyway - altogether it was NOT a healthy afternoon. Bad. Oh - not in the food and exercise arena - but here is where bad food choices slip into my life. Keep on running away from stuff and I'll run right back into 187 lbs.
I think this makes
Picked up girlfriend and took her to the wine tasting at the local wine shop. Yum. And fun. And I always make them give me only 2 sips per wine. I have to truly only taste it since I will have to drive home afterwards. Which I did. and I only ate about 50 calories of pallet clearing bits. Since I had planned to go to this tasting and I also tasted moderately, and I counted these tastes in my tracker, it is neither a + or a - but a neutral.
Bought wine and came home to Himself and made a pizza for dinner. Yes. The real thing. this is something I planned about a week ago as a treat for Himself. I love a pizza. I love it with wine. I also know that if I have 2 pieces I'll be fine and if I eat 3 pieces I will be sick. The pieces are about 5" x 5". It's a cheese pizza - I figure it at 8 points per piece or 360 calories ... yes. 720 calories worth of pizza - half a healthy day's worth of food.
Is my pizza healthy? Well. not particularly. Is it unhealthy? Definitely it is if I eat too much. It's heavy on the dairy, the crust is white flour crust, I do use olive oil. I would say it's firmly in the TREAT category - and that means it is only unhealthy if it's used as a substitute for nutrition. And yet - a treat is also a healthy thing if it's treated as a treat. LOL
I'm really undecided about this. and so I will make this also a neutral - neither a plus nor a minus. But ONLY because I planned it, I limited it and I followed my limits.
I also tracked it - and everything else I ate yesterday.
I ate about 250 calories over my average daily limit - which would count as a minus except that I am still well within my WEEKLY calorie limit. More neutral stuff here.
so - it's a win for the healthy day after all.
And because I thought about it so much and did so much planning and I'm working it out here on this blog for anyone else's benefit ... I am going to say it was a mindful enough day to be a winner and I am now going to go change my status and say I still lived a healthy day yesterday ... in spite of the pizza.
I should have call this post CAN YOU FIT PIZZA INTO A HEALTHY DAY?
Friday, March 22, 2013
It's true. I am a clothes horse and I have been since I was about 2. I remember being so utterly proud of my blue and white checked suit that I wore to church. It was just like what grown up women wore - and I felt like I looked like I was at least 22 years old. So proud. there's even a photo of me wearing it somewhere around here.
then there was that green voile dress that was my Dress Up Dress when I was 5 years old. I remember weeping into my mother's lap when I realized I'd ruined it by filling the skirt with blackberries on a visit to some unfamiliar relatives. She stroked my hair and said "Don't worry honey. You were outgrowing that dress. That's why I let you wear it to play in".
There was another voile dress - this time in a delicate orange print with a crinoline pettycoat that itched around the waist. The itching was worth it, though, because the skirt puffed out like a bell - it was a real princess dress.
And then came the teen years - oh my. My father, who had superior taste in clothing and loved all well dressed women, bought me my first Seventeen magazine. It was the one with Twiggy on the front and it was decades before that first impression of the fashionable body was finally expunged from my consciousness.
I learned to sew when I was 12 and was a natural. The teacher saw it at once and instead of making me plod along sewing aprons and a-line skirts she let me free with a matched gingham plaid dress with set in sleeves that had plackets and a button on the cuffs. This demonstration of applied geometry was soon followed by a passionate delight in the algebra of a mix-n-match wardrobe of separates in 3 neutral colors. Wow. Imagine owning only 7 items and being able to create 21 outfits! Cool.
Sadly I wore a uniform to high school - and an unfashionable one at that - saddle shoes and bobby socks when the style was mini-skirts and Papagallo flats. But I drooled and dreamed over having a massive wardrobe and my last year in high school I transferred to a public school and as I remember - I went 30 days wearing a different skirt every day - one, of particular horridity was made of brown fake fur. the 1969 version of fake fur - that felt more like a rug than fur. (But remember - a mini-skirt for a teen used maybe 3/4 a yard of fabric and the zipper only cost 35 cents. I made each and every one of those 30 skirts)
The ladies who ran the fabric shop next to the department store where I worked in my way early 20's would hold special fabric aside for me and got half my paycheck every week. I made a polk-a-dot pant suit that looked like the one Katherine Hepburn wore when she was a newspaper reporter. I had a pair of wide legged trousers I made, inspired by Goldie Hawn in that movie Dollars (a.k.a. The Heist). I made a bunch of prairie dresses in my Mother Earth stage and there was a weekend when I made a fully tailored suit, a pair of lined wool trousers and a silk blouse to wear to a library convention being held at a fancy schmancy resort.
And I read the books. Oh yes. I read Color Me Beautiful, by Carole Jackson (and learned that my mother's artistic sense of color always picked the colors that worked with my skin and hair). And Always In Style, by Doris Pooser - and the wonderful Dressing Rich by Leigh Feldon. Recently, Stacy London - of the TV show What Not To Wear has written a marvelous book, The Truth About Style - wherein she spiffs up women of all sizes, shapes and ages. Check it out. From your library! LOL
But as I began to put on weight in my early 40's, I didn't want to get to know that body. And clothing began to become cheap while fabric and zippers got expensive. Eventually I traded in sewing for Other Things. When I graduated to the Plus sizes I could still find something nice to wear ... even if I did look matronly in them.
Up to a few years ago I could outfit any woman from size 10 to size 18W from my attic but lately I want a leaner existence. I'm winnowing out everything, from magazines to dishes to the attic clothing shop. I want to own only what I wear and what fits into my wardrobe space - which is about 3 feet of closet space and 6 dresser drawers. I lugged 3 Lawn-n-Leaf bags' worth of clothes to the Goodwill last fall, and one LnL bag of the really good stuff to a shelter for battered women. This was after letting my cousin go through the heap and pick out things she wanted. A week ago I pulled out more Good Stuff which I took to my sister, who is not insulted when I offer her things I don't wear any more.
This doesn't mean New Clothes won't be coming into my life. Here are the flowered skinny jeans I bought on Monday.
But the action plan is - one new thing in? 2 old things out. Till my wardrobe is just like that algebraic dream wardrobe of 21 outfits from 7 garments. Well. Maybe 41 outfits from 14 garments. LOL. You get the picture.
I will always love clothes - but I am only giving them expensive real estate in my bedroom and attic if I actually wear them.
Happy Friday to you all.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I took Monday off to go to the city and reward myself with retail therapy so you can imagine my emotions when I got up and saw thick wet snowflakes falling onto a slushy yard. Ick. Fortunately it warmed up to a nice raw cold rain - so I went anyway.
First stop was a visit with my mama - the artist - who lives in a skilled nursing home where she is superbly cared for. She hasn't had even a cold now since she moved in. There is a devoted daughter (my sis) who lives closer than I and there is me, the non-custodial daughter. We both bring different gifts to her care and we're never resentful about what the other one is not doing. We just love that cutie pie of a mother with all we have in us.
I took an old diary of hers, written in 1960, and read it to her. That year my big sister was 12, I was 7, going on 8, and The Babies were 2 and 3. My mother's New Year's Resolution for 1960 was to lose 10 lbs. She was horrified that she weighed 130 lbs! I have a loooooong history with the weight issues.
Sister and I met for lunch at a shopping mall where I knew I could look at a lot of clothes. The plan was to not buy but to try on and formulate spending plans. I might have spent more anyway except that I'd pulled out about 1/2 my warm weather clothes on Sunday and realized there isn't too much I need to buy. I have a TON of clothes.
I clothes. Always have. Probably always will. But I own too many clothes - too many for my life and too many for the space I have to put them. And of course, in too many different sizes. I have 6 dresser drawers and about 3 feet of closet space to store my clothes and the goal is to own no more than fits in that space. Last fall I did a major wardrobe weeding and tried to be firm about what I put back into the attic but I still have too much stuff.
I tried on and tried on and tried on clothes - and fell in love with many garments all over again. I sorted out everything that wasn't perfect for me and made a pile of it to offer my sister. It's still too cold to bring most of these clothes downstairs but I kept a few of the brighter, lighter things to cheer me up as the sun creeps higher in the sky. But I know I'll have to do this wardrobe research again with the other half of my warm weather clothes before I do any real shopping. It looks like what I need is a good basic neutral blazer ... and I know I'll need a good chocolate brown slightly longer top to go with some of my favorite flowered skirts. But before I put down the big bucks I want to be sure I know what I need.
Another reason I didn't buy much was because I had such a late start and the weather was getting bad again so I felt hurried - which I know is a really BAD time to spend money. I did find a blazer I liked at Macy's. It fit perfectly and I can always order it on-line.
But lest you think I came home empty handed - fear not! There was retail therapy. I'm really fond of flowered skinny jeans and look what I picked up at WalMart of all places. A perfect fit.
A perfect 10!
Happy Healthy Tuesday to you all.
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