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It begins....

Monday, January 02, 2012

I made and printed out Spark People menus for the rest of the week (I'm finishing the holiday leftover soup and stuff tonight.) I've never done this before. Man, they have you eat some weird combinations of apparently random items. It took me an hour (mostly because I just went to the grocery and don't intend to go again until next weekend) but I switched around and modified and left room for the occasional dirty martini. Next week, I'll start on Sunday with what coupons are available in the paper, make the menus according to what I actually want to eat and work backwards into the menus.

Yesterday I started the 60 minutes of exercise per day for 365 +1 days and I already feel like blowing it off, but even I'm not that ....whatever you call that. Lacking in resolve, perhaps. Anyway, I feel certain I can do the 60 minutes today (I have actual work - pile the wood - to do outside, so that takes care of half of it right there) and I hope it'll become routine as the days go by. It'd be a heck of a lot easier, though, if all the cats and the dog didn't want to participate in all the lovely hopping around and/or lying on the floor.

I've decided that this is the make-it-or-break-it year. I'm going to give this whole Getting Healthy deal my best shot, no cheating (well, no serious cheating, like blowing off an entire month) and at the end of the year I'll see where I am. If I'm still 200+, I'll accept that and move on - I don't need or want repeated failure. I'll also learn where my true priorities lie. But I"m hoping that this time next year I'll be back to my old self again, at least physically.

Mentally, emotionally and spiritually, while nothing on earth could have made the last couple years okay, I suspect they would have been a little less difficult had I not responded by gaining sixty pounds and drinking like the proverbial fish (only, of course, not water.) I now realize that even though you never know what's coming at you around the corner, if you're in a body you recognize and respect, you're better able to do what needs to be done, whatever it may be. I'm hoping that being in control of my own body will help me feel more in control of my life (even if that's an illusion - I haven't worked this out all the way yet. I'll get back to ya.)

So there we are. SP menus printed and workout schedule in place. I'm gonna have to call on my inner Highlander to get this one.

(This one's for you, sweetheart)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IGNAZIA 1/10/2012 10:07AM

    Awesome plans!

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    It sounds like you are on your way. Good luck!!

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SHERYLDS 1/3/2012 1:11PM

    Sounds like you've caught my cold ( *cough* 60 pounds*cough*) .
Would you like me to send over my Cough Medicine emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 1/3/2012 11:30AM

    If you did 60 mins everyday you would wind up with 22,000 fitness mins by the end of the year! That is my goal. Let's get to it!!

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EMRANA 1/2/2012 9:19PM

  Wow, that's a lot of fitness! Good for you!!

I don't use the Spark meal plans, I've worked with a vegan nutritionist so I use her recommendations plus my own creativity. Let us know how it goes!

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/2/2012 6:56PM

    I hope you enjoy the meals. I thought they were really random too at first but then I started swapping out for other options on the plan that worked more for my taste.

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SUZYMOBILE 1/2/2012 6:12PM

    I'm with PUDLECRAZY about breaking up those 60 minutes into as small chunks as you can. Like half an hour walk, half an hour rock hauling, half an hour sweeping, half an hour feeding and caring for the animals, etc. It all adds up.

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/2/2012 5:52PM

    "...even if that's just an illusion." I was thinking about that this past few days. How we humans set all these goals, plans, etc. as though we are in control. I think it is our way of trying to stay sane in an out-of-control world. Not that I think we have none (control), but I don't think we're as powerful as we think we are.

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BETHGILLIGAN 1/2/2012 4:46PM

    Love your determination and resolve! Don't let those furry friends get you off track!! LOL My dogs love to lick my face as I do yoga. Makes it difficult to concentrate on my breathing! emoticon

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STARLASUE 1/2/2012 4:35PM

    Remember to reward yourself for the goals you hit and be gentle with yourself when you miss. Hop back on track if you stray. It is a journey. You can do it.

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PUDLECRAZY 1/2/2012 4:15PM

    I found that doing my 60 minutes in 15 minute increments was a good way to work my way up to not having it too odious. Then went to two half hour sessions. I still like to break it up into two half hour sessions unless I am taking an hour class or on a hike.


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AWESOMECAROL55 1/2/2012 3:37PM

    Good for you..sounds like a great plan! I measured & weighed my food for an entire year when I was trying to lose weight....It worked!


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Insomniac: It's quarter to three, there's no one in the place

Monday, January 02, 2012

'cept me and a half dozen cats and dogs, all of whom are annoyed at me for keeping them up. So, as much as i loathe setting rules for myself, I'm going to have to tackle this one. I admit that in my wildly misspent youth, I did a lot of diet pills and...other stuff...that kept me up for days at a time. But I aged out of all that nonsense.

Ten years ago I could fall asleep literally in under a minute. My husband used to think I was kidding him - I wasn't. I was always a really light sleeper, though - the tiniest sound, the dimmest light would keep me up. I had to tape over the light on my computer case because it bothered me. The supposedly calming white noise generator kept me up.

I made a few rules for myself a while ago - if I'm fussing about something, instead of lying in the dark and "awfulizing" (imagining the worst possible outcomes), I'd get up and read. If I kept it up, I'd get out of bed and potter around aimlessly until I wsa tired, then give it another shot.

However, I just read the Healthy A-Z article on insomnia, and i'm going to try incorporating a few of the suggestions.

- no more drinking alcohol before bed. That one may be the death of me, but I'll try it.

- read in a chair or in another room. I've been reading in bed since I learned how to read. Again, it's going to be tough, but I'll try it.

- I thought a hot bath before bed was a good thing. Apparently not! Who knew?

- No more daytime naps. I thought of naps as a way to keep the lack of sleep from killing me, but maybe its instead making it worse.

- a clean and comfortable bedroom - well, I can work on that while I'm Not Napping.

- Melatonin. All I know about that is that it governs skin color, but apparently has something to do with diurnal rhythms as well. What the heck, I'll give that a shot too.

I don't do caffeine other than a mug of coffee in the morning, and I don't exercise at night. I try to keep regular hours, but when I'm with the kids, as I have been for the last two weeks, they get me all turned around, and I don't want to go to bed at my regular time and miss the time together.

This one wasn't suggested in the article, but I remember reading someplace that a protein snack before bed will help blood sugar levels keep from crashing, which wakens lots of people. So I'm definitely going back to that. And I know I can't have the bedtime cup of tea, tempting as it sounds. Trips to the bathroom are chilly and long.

One thing I know will help is getting the excess weight off. I'm a back sleeper, but once I passed about 180, I started to snore. Being a light sleeper, I woke myself up constantly, Now I have to sleep on my side or on my tummy, which is okay, but not as comfortable (or, according to my chiropractor, as good for my alignment.)

I do sleep with a cat or two and a mid-sized dog, but there's room for all of us, and we're more of a comfort to one another than a hindrance to sleep.

I've never been a "night owl". I'm one of those disgustingly cheerful people who are up with the sun eveery day, even if the night was sleepless. Once the sun's up, so am I.

If it's post-menopausal, then I'm just SOL. I dearly hope that's not the case, but if it is, well, think of how much more I can do in a day (and a night....)

Anyone with any suggestions, please feel free to tell me. I'm not miserable, just tired and I know I can't bring my A game to anything if I'm not well-rested.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    It sounds like you know what to do.

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CEKER9 1/2/2012 11:00PM

    Thanx for posing the question and all the suggestions you've had and getting all the suggestions that have been posted. I'm one of the ones that has the problems with sleep also... but according to my doctor, my adrenals are not functioning correctly so the cortisol is staying at high day-time levels which keep me awake at night! ARGH!!!

I will say that melatonin is *very* good... I like it better than any other of the choices as there is no hangover the next morning, no matter how late you take it.

I wish you, me, and all others that have problems with sleep problems find their own special solution and get a good night sleep on a regular basis.

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ONEWEIGH 1/2/2012 11:38AM

    OK, I just have to mention--melanin is the pigment, melatonin is a hormone. My doctor told me to try melatonin and it has helped me. It's a cheap thing to try. I laughed at your saying that the animals resented you keeping them awake. Last night I had to move two cats to get out of bed and when I came back after folding a load of laundry and taking an OTC sleeping pill, they were right where I'd left them.

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SUZYMOBILE 1/2/2012 10:45AM

    You're sure to get a lot of suggestions on this one. Of course I have a couple. I agree that it's really hard if you start "awfulizing" when you're supposed to be falling asleep. My worst nights' sleep are the night before work starts up again after a lovely long weekend, so I'll have to let you know how my techniques work after tonight!

From Andrew Weil's new book "Spontaneous Happiness," a breathing technique that helps calm and focus you anytime, particularly when you're falling asleep. Deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. (At first this had me practically hyperventilating, but it is easier when you're lying down resting.) I'm usually asleep before I do very many of these things. The other technique is this weird mantra I acquired. Breathe in slowly, thinking "Ham" (pronounced "hahm"), exhale slowly, thinking "shah." This reminds me of "New Hamsha," so it's easy to remember, but mantras are good anyway.

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AWESOMECAROL55 1/2/2012 10:24AM

    Wow..we have a lot in common! I'm not an insomniac but also a very light sleeper & it has to be pitch black in my room! I am also an early riser..up most every morning by 4:30am to go to work. When I am off from work I sleep in till 6! My problem is when I wake up in the middle of the night & start thinking....I have trouble getting back to sleep! There were some good suggestions in the SP article..thanks for sharing!!


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EMRANA 1/2/2012 8:44AM

  I don't have insomnia but my husband does. He hasn't come up with the perfect solution either. Not napping doesn't work for him though ~ then he gets overtired and he gets into that "wired" phase and he can't fall asleep at all, plus he's jittery.

I'm glad you make room for your furkids ~ they're the best!

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BETHGILLIGAN 1/2/2012 7:48AM

    I've heard good things about melatonin. Lots of people swear by it!! I'd definitely give that a try. My hubby takes half a Benadryl and that works for him. Good luck!! I hate insomnia!!

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SUNSET906 1/2/2012 5:34AM

  You may not want to take anything to help you sleep, but ambien has been the best nights sleep I have ever had. A low dosage helps me fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.

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PUDLECRAZY 1/2/2012 5:24AM

    Good luck with this goal. I have such a horrible problem with insomnia and feel like I have tried everything.

Who knew about the hot bath. That actually helps me get drowsy, so I'll have to read the article to see what the negative effects are. My acupuncturist has said no computer time for up to 3 hours before going to bed. That is a tough one for me, as I like to track my activities at the end of the day. Not having my evening glass of wine is tough too.

Please let me know if you find the magic bullet.


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SLIMMERKIWI 1/2/2012 4:21AM

    The protein snacks before bed are a MUST for me! Warm/Hot milk with some cinnamon in it helps with sleep. My Psychologist actually TOLD me to have regular day-time sleeps. I would set the alarm so that it went off after an hour or hour and half, depending on how tired I was, and then when it went off, I would get up. THAT helped me a lot. Warm baths are o.k. for some - put some lavender into the water or rub some on your temples. That helps to get to sleep, too (tried and true:-) I occasionally read a magazine until I get too tired and then put the light out, but couldn't read a book now even if I tried. (Can't concentrate on them and keep forgetting what I have read.) Also, sometimes books are actually stimulating - who-done-its. NOT a good idea with sleep issues. Mind you, I bet if you took a phone book to bed and started at the first page and read through it, you would soon be sound asleep - LOL!

Good luck.

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New Year's non-resolution

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Someone, I forget now who it was (that's last night's dirty martinis talking), said that instead of a list of "resolutions", she had learned to take a yearly theme instead. I like that. I'm no good with rules and regulations, even if I make them myself (that's why my Tumblr and livejournal both are named "mumsananarchist", courtesy of the daughter who answered that way when asked whether her parents were Democrats or Republicans.) So I spent most of yesterday in silence - not difficult, since I broke the tv - and decided that my theme this year was to be (insert drum roll here) FEARLESSNESS.

I forget, once again, who said that there are only two emotional states - love and fear. I started rolling through lots of the events of the last couple years, and realized that most of my reactions had to do with fear: fear of being alone, fear of being penniless, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of new things, fear of loss, fear of hard work, fear of looking silly, fear of change in general. Many of these fears were masquerading as sensible things - I mean, who wants to fail, lose their investment and look like an idiot? - but at base, they were still fears.

If we're not acting out of love, we're acting out of fear. If I try to tie my daughters, both in their 20s, to me, that isn't love, that's fear of loss. If I refuse to spring for some new art supplies, or make some changes to my house, that's not love of the way things are, that's fear of penury or of trying something new. If I don't work at the novel or the Other Book, that isn't because I'm busy, that's because I'm afraid to invest the time in something that may not work out (another fear.)

So this year, I refuse to be afraid. If something doesn't kill me...well, Friedrich, it may not make me stronger, but it will make me wiser. And braver in the future. I joined a team that centers on doing an hour of exercise per day, based on some Irish legend. I don't have any Irish blood in me that I know of, but I have lots of Highland Scots, and that sort of challenge appeals to me.

I've been leery of quitting the evening alcoholic beverages - what if I can't sleep? Well, then the next day I'll be tired, but I imagine I'll survive just fine.

What if the book flops? At least it made it into print - even if I have to print it myself.

What if following what I truly enjoy doing leads me into (another) bankruptcy? Well, the first one didn't do me any harm - in fact, I learned things from it I would never have known otherwise. Meanwhile, I've been having fun.

There's nothing and no one holding me where I am now, in terms of employment (got none, lol), family (ditto, at least within 400 miles) or any other yardstick I can think of. I may be 56 and significantly overweight, but I can lose the weight ( I can't get any younger, but I can feel and maybe look younger), get my physical strength back, and find new passions (arts, my friends, not men) to pursue. Hell, I suppose it's not totally outside the realm of possibility to marry again - I suppose I shouldn't rule it out. I've only ever traveled north and south (PEI to Key West), but there's no reason why I can't go west. Or east, although that gets wet fairly soon.

A quick Rumi quote:





Wise words.

So that's the plan for 2012. And if I show any signs of fear, any Fraidy-cat bull!@#$, I expect you, my friends, to call me on it.

Best wishes for the best year of our lives!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMRANA 1/1/2012 7:29PM


Love it!

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    I LOVE this! As your friend, I will do my best to call you out if I see any fraidy cat in you. Please do it for me, too!


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    Be fearless. I like it!

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/1/2012 6:25PM

    I love this blog and will be back to read it a few times. You've covered some great topics here.

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Oh, Mayans.....(now with Y2K commentary! :) )

Friday, December 30, 2011

So, as I understand it, this will be our last New Year's. Apparently the Mayans, who had a sort of cyclical calender, didn't go beyond next Winter Solstice, and so we conclude from this that the world will end next December 21st.

Let me point out that if there's New Age hooey to be bought, I'm first in line. I absolutely, positively believe (and have experienced) lots of "impossible" or "unrealistic" things and have no problem with shifting paradigms. But this one has me shaking mah head.

I'm not criticizing the Mayans. They did pretty well for themselves, and their influence is still felt in neighboring cultures, as well as having the only (I think I'm remembering this correctly) fully articulated written language in the Pre-Columbian Americas . They weren't knocked out by the conquistadors - in fact, they're still around, although spread throughout nearby areas. I'm sure they knew what they were doing with their calender - it's our own interpretation of it that I doubt.

There's a Mayan specialist at Colgate University (quite nearby to me) and he insists that we've got it wrong - it's not the end of the world, just the end of a cycle, and that that doesn't necessarily mean anything huge or disastrous at all. Maybe it's due to all the years (and years and years) I spent in academia, but I'm inclined to believe him over Llewellyn authors who have doomsday books to sell.

What fascinates me about all this isn't whether the world will end or not - I mean, what can you do one way or the other? - but how people will react to the predictions. Will there be all kinds of Stuff purchased with a "no payments until 2013!!" guarantee (enjoy now - be dead before the payments come due!) or will people stop buying altogether, gathering their resources in survivalist strongholds?

Should we bother to decorate for Christmas? Should we buy as usual and just celebrate early? Should we pull all of our money out of the stock market and buy Stuff to play with this year, since next year (and thus stock dividends and the opportunity to enjoy them) won't be happening?

As far as I'm concerned, these are the interesting questions. I think there was a movie out a few years back about all this, but I somehow missed it *cough*

I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Isn't this more fun anyway?


Funny, I always felt partly responsible for Y2K. I was in grad school in the information science department in the late 1970s, working on computer languages, and I remember a few of the coding guys noticing that they hadn't put in a provision for the century to change.

In those days we were just getting away from keypunches and it was a big deal to go back and change something, so like the people who have their corpses frozen in the hopes that future generations will know how to thaw and cure them, we just said, "Oh well - they'll be able to handle it then." And then I guess we forgot about it.

But the future generation *did* notice and figure it out in time, so the crash of the banking system and the stock market and all the other dreadful things never came pass. They just dragged us geezers back and made us fix things in languages mostly no longer used - things like COBOL (mine was SNOBOL) and FORTRAN 4 and other computer Sanskrits.

So it all worked out in the end, and there was no computer-generated Apocalypse.

As Gilda said, "It's always somethin'. "

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 12/31/2011 2:12PM

    emoticon When the moon is in the 7th house and Jupiter aligns with Mars then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars! This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius, AquarEEEEEE USSSS!!! Aquareeeeeeusssssssssss! emoticon

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 12/31/2011 10:22AM

    I also agree it is just an end to a cycle. Perhaps a new dawn instead of gloom? It is our future and only we can affect it. Being an optimist I always see the world through a rosier lens. It might not always be accurate but it always contains hope. And because of it--I am happier. emoticon

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FLORIDASUN 12/31/2011 8:36AM here's my take on it! It's HIGH time for this world to go through a new cycle and I'm supporting the change for sure, for sure! I'm hoping that we are totally fed up with the money~mongers who run this world...for their OWN pleasure...I might add...and just keep on keepin' on holding their stinky feet to the fire! Then...I hope they have to walk through it for the outrageous greed they have gotten away with!

I think if anyone will bring a change to things it's our young adults. They have the guts and the energy to rail against the machine. Quite frankly if I wasn't so darn busy just trying to eek out my own livelihood...I'd be right there with them. Camping out on Wall Street, rising up against the inequality in a nation that has lost it's land of the free...the home of the brave!

Andddd...if the Mayans happen to have it right and the world comes to an abrupt and sudden halt..I have no fear that we will somehow survive that too..maybe in the spiritual form we might have the chance to FINALLY get it right!

What do you think bout that? emoticon emoticon

Happy New Year my sweet sparkling friend...I likey the way you think! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/31/2011 8:40:45 AM

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CEKER9 12/31/2011 2:10AM

    I'm with the Mayan specialist at Colgate University... it is the end of a cycle, not the end of the world. We may not notice it except in years to come as the end of an era by looking back to see the turning point. There are always people out there trying to scare us... it sells and some people are always greedy enough to take advantage of people open enough to fall for it.

I will say that I'm a new ager and the majority of us believe in the end of the cycle not the end of the world. I look forward to next year at this time to see what happens... just like the 2 times this year when the Fundamentalist said that the end was here... and here we are without a blip. Makes great people watching!!!

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REDWRITINGHOOD 12/31/2011 2:03AM

    I tend to agree with the Mayan specialist at Colgate University. However, I do worry about all the crackpots out there and what they will end up doing. The end is supposed to be on my mom's b-day, so we plan on having a big party and spending the night there. That way we are together if it really is the end. If it isn't, then we had a good time and we will go home the next day. Either way it's all good.

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PUDLECRAZY 12/31/2011 12:30AM

    Happy new year! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. It is also the Year of the Dragon... let's ride it!

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SUZYMOBILE 12/30/2011 9:19PM

    I wouldn't doubt that there's something big coming in 2012. The economy is hanging by a gossamer thread--if that. The only viable candidate is Ron Paul (oops, I got all political emoticon!)

I myself am being drawn in many different spiritual directions that seem to be good for me--and of course what's happening to ME is the most important measure of all.

Perhaps the Mayans have it right, but I don't believe it will be a geooastronomical cataclysm. Aren't we due for the Age of Aquarius any minute now?

I think I'll move to Key West and live in a shack.

P.S. The Mayans were a millennium behind China in developing any kind of civilization. The Chinese developed gunpowder. Hmmm.

Comment edited on: 12/30/2011 9:21:34 PM

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BETHGILLIGAN 12/30/2011 6:44PM

    This will be an interesting year, seeing how this plays out.

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/30/2011 6:23PM

    There's always something. Remember the big Y2K buzz as we entered the 2000's? And the Mayans contributed several things, but they also did major human sacrifices. Yet, we attribute credibility to them in knowing when the world will end? You know, if it does, I have no regrets and have lived an intense life. (smiling)

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I want this: (funny)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMREITE 1/2/2012 12:16AM

    even crazy cat ladies can be organized.

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HIPPICHICK1 12/31/2011 2:06PM


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FLORIDASUN 12/31/2011 8:43AM's on my wish list! I always told the hubs...I could SO easily become a CRAZY cat lady...that I could. I only have our big brown fur ball boy Keanu...but I keep telling hubby how VERY lonely he is! emoticon emoticonhe's not buying it... emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/31/2011 8:44:55 AM

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REDWRITINGHOOD 12/31/2011 2:04AM

    LMBO! That is too funny.

Glad to see you posting again emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 12/31/2011 12:36AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GEEKSMEGGLY 12/30/2011 12:25AM

    My cats would love it!

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SUZYMOBILE 12/29/2011 7:42PM

    My question is: Why do they like it so darn much? Is the rest of their environment so miserable that those boxes are a place of peace? Uh oh. I'm getting too analytical.

Comment edited on: 12/29/2011 7:52:21 PM

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TRULYVISIBLE 12/29/2011 5:38PM

  Funny! A different cat to sit on your lap every day of the week. Sounds good to me.

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EMRANA 12/29/2011 5:20PM

  Me too! emoticon

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CEKER9 12/29/2011 5:08PM

    I don't have quite so many cats, but that looks like it would work fine!!! Great Idea!!!

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SCOOTER4263 12/29/2011 2:31PM


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AMYNYNJ 12/29/2011 2:20PM

    emoticon lol! Love!
I guess now you have to decide if it's a want or a need.

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