Monday, October 31, 2011
First a bit of background: I live in a 200+ year old house out "back of beyond". I believe I have ghosts, or whatever you want to call them - all benign, helpful presences - in the house almost all the time. The house has seen lots of births and deaths and everything in between, and with the exception of my daughters, everyone in my family and my husband's family has passed on, so there are plenty of contenders for "spook of the hour."
Last night at about 11:30, I was upstairs in bed reading when I heard a noise. It sounded like a, "Whoop! Whoop!" followed by a sort of grumbling noise - not a scary growling, but the sort of sound a big dog makes when it settles down. We have plenty of coyotes and other wildlife, but while the sound was sort of familiar, it didn't sound like coyotes or the town's resident wolf (we'll discuss that another time) and besides, it sounded like it came from the downstairs hallway. Lucy, our midsized couch-potato dog, was of course sound asleep, and Kona, our ancient collie, passed away last summer after a series of increasingly debilitating strokes.
The sound didn't seem threatening and I don't scare easily anyway, so I kind of pushed it out of my mind and went to sleep.
Kona, in his youth, used to have these streaks of exuberance where he'd race through the house, round and round, knocking over tables and people and anything else silly enough to stand in the way of an 80 pound dog having fun. I was thinking the other day (when I had to drag Lucy out of bed at 4:00 to go take a walk with me) that Lucy had never done anything like that, even as a puppy. Coincidentally, last night at supper time, Lucy, quite uncharacteristically, had grabbed her bone and then gotten down in that front-down, hind-end-up posture that means "let's play!" and then taken off in her first around the house zoom, an unprecedented three loops.
This morning I figured it out, and if you've ever owned a collie, you've probably figured it out, too. Collies are known for having a very wide range of vocalizations, and the reason I didn't recognize his "Whoop! Whoop!" was because it was his youthful voice, not the raspy, breathless voice he had in his last couple years. Apparently his spirit had been around all day, influencing Lucy and inciting her peculiar exuberance.. And that grumbly sound was, indeed, the sound of a big dog settling in, right at the foot of the stairs where he always slept, still keeping an eye on his household.
Friday, October 28, 2011
And now fall to your knees and thank God that these aren't your next door neighbors.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Never stay up until after 1:00 a.m. stripping wallpaper in your two-hundred year old house, while the tv in the next room is showing stories of Hauntings, all of which seem to begin,"The family was happy in their home, until they started to RENOVATE..."
Friday, October 14, 2011
" If you don't care what you eat and you're willing to snag a couple apples and call it a meal, how come you got so danged fat?"
I can explain! Really! I don't particularly enjoy cooking, so I tend to make what's fast and easy, and if it makes a huge pot of whatever, I'll happily eat it all week long. During and well after college, I worked in a lot of restaurants in many different capacities, so I know how to cook big, fast and delicious but not in the least healthy.
The difference is the flip side of the apple thing - I'm alone now. (Not tossing a pity party - just explaining.) A few years ago, when I had a husband and a couple of kids and their friends and a couple workers around, I felt the same way I do now, only the result was different - huge pots of carbonara or Alfredo, a couple pepperoni pies, strombolis, beef bourg with lots of potatoes, lots of sausage with anything, and always, at the end of the day, having a couple beers with the guys.
At the same time I was making all this food, in the beginning I was working as a landscaper, so I burned it all off, and more. Then, gradually, circumstances changed but my cooking didn't, and over time, slowly - literally like ten pounds a year, but for six or seven years - it started to pile up. I didn't notice, and if i did, I didn't care - too much other stuff going on.
And that, my friends, is my story. I should probably put it in my introduction.
Friday, October 14, 2011
~INDYGIRL, who's lost over 150 lbs and is an inspiration to us all, said something this morning that made a great deal of sense to me: "Planning is good for some, while for others, it causes undue stress and binging. "
Like so many others, I've been through the mill recently financially and personally. I've found that I do best without detailed planning. I've lost a few pounds by simply not buying crap I don't want to be eating, and filling the refrigerator with decent choices. Since I'm usually too worn out to make a fuss about eating, whatever I grab for a meal will at least not be too damaging. I've got apple trees in the back yard, so I snag one or two of those with a hunk of cheddar for breakfast, use a bag of ready-washed salad for lunch and dump some beans on top for protein (or for a hot meal, good ol' baked beans - vegetarian, straight out of the can - on whole wheat toast.) I buy the little thin-sliced bread or the round sandwich thingees so if I want a tomato sandwich, it's mostly tomato and not so much bread.
Exercise is the same way. I don't plan an exercise session, but I do make sure I go out for a walk - Ive convinced myself that my dog needs the exercise, and like so many, many women, I'm more willing to take care of someone/something else than I am to take care of myself, so out we go for a walk. Maybe not a fast walk or a long walk, but at least we're moving our legs and getting some fresh air. I leave dumbbells lying around the house, so when I'm staring into space wondering what in the hell I'm going to do about X, I do a few curls. (Yes, I do occasionally trip over them. Consider it an exercise in self-control when you want to swear.)
When we're already spinning as many plates on sticks as we are, just what I *don't* need is the pressure of hitting a set list of exercises or having to make a week's worth - or a day's worth - of menus. It just sets me up for failure - even as I'm making the lists, I know I won't be able to abide by them. It's taken me a long time to realize that this isn't a character flaw - it's just part of my mental make-up.
For other people, menus and lists are soothing - they give a sense of control in an out-of-control life and take away the pressure of on-the-spot decisions. That sense of having everything ordered and planned is calming, and I understand that. But too often i think we of the other variety of human hold these guys up as examples of what we should be doing, too, and then when we can't do it - because it's not in our nature - we beat ourselves up.
The trick, as always is to figure out what works for *you*, and if you're a square peg, stop whacking yourself over the head trying to fit into that round hole. You can lose weight, get fit, save your sanity - and your head will hurt a whole lot less, too.
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