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I Have Enough

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Have Enough.

Three words. This week is the first time I have been able to say them and feel their meaning as it relates to food. I know I am blessed, I know I am fortunate. But I have not always known this and I have never known what it feels like to have this feeling about food.

Growing up, I was the unloved, unwanted child, a reminder of my mother’s failed first marriage. My older brother was spared that scorn because, as it turned out, he was the only boy she ever had. Mother abused me physically, but she abused me more psychologically. Her favorite noncontact form of punishment was for me to go without food. I knew what it was to go to bed hungry, to go to school without lunch. It was not until she sent me to live with my dad and his new family that I experienced what it was to have 3 meals a day consistently. Two weeks after I met Dad, my brother died while saving another boy’s life, making my 13th summer one I can never forget. I was four and a half feet tall and about 65 pounds when I met Dad.

Dad sent me to a boarding school and, with meals and dessert and a huge aversion to exercise, I ballooned. Exercise equals pain. I did not learn to walk until I was almost four and spent most of my childhood with leg braces and physical therapy. I have yet to overcome that mindset, but I am making progress.

I shattered my right elbow right before I started college. It took five surgeries and a year and a half until I could use my right arm. Yes, I am right handed. This was before computers, too. I typed my notes after every lecture because my left hand writing was nearly illegible! I was forced to change majors partly because of this injury and found myself unable to find a job when I had my BA in English. I taught school for a private school for 3 years, nearly starving because I could barely afford rent let alone food.

Even now, decades later, I am not financially secure. I have a good job that I love (I am a paralegal at a nonprofit corporation), but my salary is below the poverty line for the hyper inflated economy of northern California.

A few weeks ago, my very long term partner chose to leave and I don’t know if he will be back. I don’t know what I want in that regard. But you ladies know what happens when the guy is out of town or otherwise not underfoot – cleaning, reorganization galore!

I reorganized the pantry and the cupboards that I can reach. All my canned goods (mostly green chili!) are together, my dry goods are collected, and condiments are all in one place. I was stunned to discover I have about 25 pounds of dry beans, several pounds of brown rice, couscous, quinoa, canisters full of lentils, long cook oatmeal – you get the idea. With it being just my two cats and me, I need only to shop for perishables – dairy and produce for weeks to come. I love looking at my neat shelves and thinking about the different food combinations I can try since my taste buds and food tracker are the only consideration.

I do not have a lot of money, but I have enough. I can put gas in my car, pay what’s due every month and handle an unexpected repair bill as I did this month.

I have no family in California. They are all over the US and the world. I was alone today, but I was not lonely. I worked a little more on the cleaning and have been reflecting on all my reasons that I have to give thanks. Truly, my cup overflows.

The newest reason is this new sense of “I have enough.” I do not need to shop to fill a void, I do not need to overeat to comfort that unloved little girl and I do not need to make poor food choices just to avoid that feeling of being deprived.
I have enough. This means I have the luxury, I have the responsibility and I have the peace inside to take my time, to measure my food, to think about my food and to eat to live. I no longer need to stuff my face when someone brings in sweets at work, I no longer need to binge because I am not about to starve. I am not going to go without. And I do not have to settle for food that is not good for me. I am many decades beyond that girl who went to bed hungry, decades beyond the college graduate who bought creamy peanut butter because it spreads thinner than chunky (I still love chunky!) and it is quite surreal to have this feeling for the first time so late in my life!

What a novelty! What a freeing realization! What an emotional idea!

What a Happy Thanksgiving!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IGSBETH 12/7/2011 10:02PM

    Indeed. Thank you for sharing.

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TEENY_BIKINI 12/7/2011 8:18PM

    God, that was beautiful.

Thank you for sharing this beautiful little piece of you.

I have enough too.

Wow!

Just amazing.

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LIBBYFITZ 11/25/2011 8:56AM

    A wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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_LINDA 11/24/2011 11:07PM

    I am happy that you have finally found some peace with your inner turmoil. Your mixed feelings and rapid clean up after your partner has left shows maybe it was time for some distance at least. At least your pantry had some healthy staples and you can make sure everything else coming is stays that way too. I am truly sorry you had to spend a holiday like Thanksgiving alone without family and friends :((
If there is nothing tying you down to living in such an expensive state now, would looking for a job near someone you would like to be close to be out of the realm of possibility? I can't see working for a non profit organization be much of a career advancement -they have to cut corners wherever they can to keep costs down.
Wishing for better things to happen for you in the days to come..
Hugs,
Linda

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K0ALACAT 11/24/2011 10:11PM

    Wow! What a reminder! Thanks for the post. I wish they had a "Rosie the Riveter" emoticon I could give you.
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WINDSWEPTACRES 11/24/2011 9:06PM

    "Enough is as good as a feast." Although we come from different backgrounds, I also know what it is like to be food-insecure, to stretch the grocery budget thin, to worry about not having what I need. So I am glad we have enough.

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CARRAND 11/24/2011 9:02PM

    You sound at peace with yourself for the first time in a long while. Hang on to those good feelings.

I love that you cleaned and organized your cupboards. That is so totally what I would do if I were suddenly on my own.

Enjoy your new found freedom.

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CHANGING-TURTLE 11/24/2011 8:52PM

    MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU. HOPE THE NEW YEAR BRINGS BETTER DAYS. emoticon

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SESKUE 11/24/2011 8:51PM

    So glad for you and what a joyous feeling to know when you have " enough" we don't need more than " enough" but we get so wrapped up in more
Thanks for sharing

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An Update

Sunday, November 06, 2011

So much is going on that it is hard to articulate it all in any sort of coherent fashion. In no particular order:

Severe depression, workload increase (good and bad), possible end of a long and sometimes turbulent relationship, financial stress, inability to cope with a pressing issue and my closer connection to St Jude's Childrens Hospital.

Depression has led to the I-don't-care attitude, emotional eating and I am almost back to where I was when I started SP nearly 2 years ago. Self-disgust and other negative feelings abound and I am not able to turn that into something motivationally positive.

On the heels of the depression is the crisis with my very long time boyfriend. We've been together off and on since Sept 1989. We are both deeply flawed human beings. He made some choices recently for which I will get to pay some of the consequences - too ugly, awful and personal to share here. I don't know what will happen here.

One of those consequences is dealing with the upcoming lot inspection knowing that my plot needs landscaping, the side porch needs repair and junk needs to be hauled away. These are things he should have taken care of and should be here to do, but he is not. I will have to have the work done. I cannot do it myself and I don't know if I can afford to have it done.

Moreover, I cannot even deal with it until next weekend, which may not give enough time before the inspection. My company received a subpoena. We are not party to the action, but the litigating parties want to know what we knew and when we knew it. So I have been working almost solely on our response for the last 10 days and have another week of this intense focus ahead. I love the work! I love the challenge! But it gives me mental exercise that leaves me exhausted and drained at the end of the day.

Madeleine has Wilms kidney cancer. She just turned 2. She is at St Jude's in Memphis with her mama. Daddy, my coworker, divides his time between the office and the hospital. I had registered for this year's "Give Thanks. Walk" back in July, long before anyone knew she had cancer (she was just diagnosed last month). I am not of compatible blood type so I cannot donate a kidney for her. I told her daddy that, if the chemo makes her lose her hair, I will shave my head and donate my hair to "Locks of Love", not just for solidarity but in the hopes that the inevitable questions will lead to more donations for St Jude and, possibly, other people becoming organ donors. I added Madeleine's name to my Walk team name. Her mom had the same cancer as a child, has only one kidney, and asked a lot of questions about whether or not her baby could have this cancer. They don't know enough about the gene connection so they told her it was very unlikely. Madeleine's diagnosis has to be like a lightning bolt!

With my boyfriend not around, I am having to do everything at home, including going to the laundromat - one of my least favorite chores. This morning, instead of reading the paper, I walking around the strip mall for at least 10 minutes. I also walked across the street to the Post Office and checked my mail. The intersection can be a bit nuts, so I usually drive over after the car is full of clean clothes, but I figured it would be an easy crossing with the time change. The walk, while short, felt great!

Then I went to work for a few hours, getting as far as I could without more input, and then came home. I thought about stopping at KFC on the way home, but realized that would be "rewarding" me with food, something I do not want to start again. I came home, cooked for the week, did the dishes, set up the coffee maker and ironed for tomorrow morning.

Please pray for Madeleine and her parents!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 11/7/2011 8:02PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about all your current troubles. I will pray for you and your friends, too.

I hope you are getting some help with your feelings of depression. Depression can make everything harder.

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NONIE_C 11/7/2011 1:30PM

    You have such a wonderful and kind heart!

I will keep your friends in my prayers, and you too.
Did you know that I cut my long hair off and donated it to Lock for Love recently? It was down to my butt!!! I do this every couple of years as a way to give and also as a way of refreshing and reviving myself. However, your plan to possibly shave is amazing and intense. You are amazing.

Sounds like amid all the frustration and hardships, you are still working to make good choices. Way to go!

I'm sorry to hear about your breakup, and I wish you the best in healing from the pain that always comes with loss, and I hope you begin to feel a sense of freedom that can only come from being on your own (I know this only too well).

I also feel you on the weight front. I am almost right back where I started from too. Very frustrating, but I won't let it keep me from moving forward. Neither should you.

Lots of love to you, my friend.

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SPARKLY-DIVA 11/7/2011 12:39PM

  YOU (and, Madeleine & her parents) are *all* in my prayers. I wish there was something that I could do to help you out. :(

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LIBBYFITZ 11/7/2011 9:53AM

    Sounds like you are going through a horrific time, and the fact that you care so much about other people is amazing. Donating your hair is a big step!

Lots of emoticonfrom "down under".

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SHERRYJVP 11/7/2011 7:46AM

    prayers for all, including you. It sounds like you have been making right choices again, even through a crises. Wish there was a way I could help.

Love yourself.

Sherry

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MISSY455 11/7/2011 1:51AM

    emoticon You are going through so much right now. Stop beating yourself up with the negative talk. Continue to make the best choices you can and keep moving forward.

I hope you find the peace and inner strength you need to persevere.

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_LINDA 11/7/2011 1:19AM

    So very sorry you are going through all this :(( So nice of you to continue to support your coworker in spite of all your own trials. You have such a generous and kind heart. Shame on this boyfriend for not helping you out at least :( The old Ann Landers question comes to mind, are you better off with or without him??
I feel you are strong enough to be your own woman and make your own decisions. You can do what ever you put your mind to..
All the best with this huge project..
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I Dedicated My Exercise to Madeleine

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10,383 steps
calf raises
shoulder presses
KB swings and lifts
a fifteen minute walk (not counting all the other walking I did throughout the day)

The negative is that I ate over range today. I had reduced my calorie range a few days ago and am still getting used to it. But I would have been over even at the older higher range.

The beauty is - I can strive to have a better day tomorrow.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 10/31/2011 9:29PM

    Woo Hoo! Lots of exercise is always a good thing.
I overdid the Halloween candy. I'm going to have to dump the leftovers.

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SPARKLY-DIVA 10/30/2011 6:39PM

  You did amazing in exercising. Way to go!!

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WONDEROONA 10/26/2011 10:45AM

    Way to go!!! I'm so glad to know you since you decided to dedicate your workout to Madeline. You are such a giving person.

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BUBLEH 10/26/2011 9:17AM

    Way to go! You should be so proud of yourself!

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_LINDA 10/26/2011 2:05AM

    Well done! Its a great start!! That is a lot -you didn't mention your foot, has that problem been solved or are you still dealing with it? It would be a lot easier to commit to regular exercise without that pain..
The unfortunate side effect of being active is that you get a better appetite going. Do make sure you get enough protein at every meal to ward off the hunger snacks..20-30g is all you need..
All the best with it, and remember, NO ONE is ever perfect at this -its the long range consistency that matters..
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Please Pray for Madeleine (Part 2)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Justin's little girl probably has kidney cancer. How can I help her more that through the St Jude's walkathon? Can I incentivize myself by setting aside money for minutes, dollars for pounds lost?

How cool would it be for me to save my life while hoping to save hers!
A dollar a pound? How much for minutes of exercise?
What about other positive life choices?

Obviously, I am not doing a good job making good choices for me. Perhaps I can do so for this little girl and her parents.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IDLETYME 10/25/2011 3:50PM

    Keep them on my prayer list and in my thoughts! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 10/25/2011 12:32PM

    So sorry to hear about this. Sending out prayers....

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ISHIIGIRL 10/25/2011 12:24PM

    So sorry to hear about your coworkers daughter. I will keep him and you in my prayers. I hope this walk keeps you motivated for your own health!

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_LINDA 10/25/2011 10:05AM

    Its awful how this disease devastates so many lives :((
It does sound like you need some serious motivation to engage in a healthy lifestyle. But in the end you must do it for yourself as external motivations fade with time. What will a health lifestyle do for you? It will make you feel better, you will have more energy, you will be able to perform mental tasks better, have less fatigue. I can say healthy eating has really kept me going through all my pain, lack of sleep, not getting sick (I can't even remember the last time I had a cold) and of course, great fuel for my workouts. Being fit really helps me cope with the constant pain and lack of sleep so that I don't get depressed. It really does boost your whole system to exercise and eat healthy. What you need to do is take a good stock of yourself and see what the barriers are from doing this and then solve them. You need to take charge of your life and not let it overwhelm you..Caring for every coworker you have ever met is sweet, but you must also care for yourself too before any healing can begin...
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SHERRYJVP 10/25/2011 8:33AM

    prayers all around

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BUBLEH 10/25/2011 8:06AM

    So sad :( I know wayyy too many people who have this nasty disease. So sad :(

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DJHS121655 10/25/2011 1:27AM

  she and her family is in my prayers

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Please Pray for Madeleine and Her Parents

Monday, October 24, 2011

I learned today that my coworker's daughter is at St Judes Hospital in TN. She had tests late last week and we have not heard yet but are bracing for the news that this just-turned-two girl has kidney cancer.

I had already signed up (July 1) for this year's Give Thanks Walk for St Jude that will occur on November 19. My focus on this walk has just gone up a thousandfold.

I cannot imagine how hard it is for Justin and his wife to be dealing with this, that helpless, scared feeling.

I wish I could do more.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IDLETYME 10/25/2011 3:49PM

    Sending prayers to your coworker and family that everything will work out for their daughter! emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 10/25/2011 1:09AM

    Was so sorry to hear about this, one so very young:((
You are such a thoughtful and caring person, your coworkers are fotunate to have such a person in their midst. That walk will do you and the cause good, so glad you have signed up for it.
Do keep us posted on the poor child's progress..
Sending soothing, healing and comforting thoughts for that precious girl and her family..
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4AMAZINGME 10/25/2011 12:08AM

    They are in my thoughts and in my prayers.
You sound like a very caring and supportive person and friend and I am sure your friends appreciate all that you are doing for them. emoticon

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MELLYBEANS0919 10/24/2011 11:21PM

    emoticon I am so sorry, that is such a tough situation for all involved. You walking for the cause is helping a lot! I am sure your friends know you care and are there for them, and that is what matters in the end. Don't feel helpless. I am thinking of the little girl and her family and sending positive thoughts their way!

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