Friday, November 30, 2012
I bought a bulb of garlic a few weeks ago that has been extra good. Two days ago when I was mincing up some more of it to use for cooking day, I noticed some of the cloves had sprouted. Since it had been such a good clove of garlic, I decided I would plant the cloves rather than throw them out. Yesterday morning I used toothpicks and suspended the cloves in a glass of water in the kitchen window. This morning the roots are 1/4 inch long already! I think I'd better get out to the shed today and find a pot for them. And I'd better find some potting soil at the store.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Me and food. We go way back. I was a tiny, scrawny thing. When Mom brought me home from the hospital and our neighbor came over to visit, she said, "*!*!, I don't see how those little legs are ever going to walk." However, she stayed until feeding time. "She sure does eat good!
The first diet I ever went on was the summer between my sixth and seventh grade years. I weighed 96 pounds. I was short, and I felt fat. My best friend was skinny, skinny, skinny. I went on a 1000 calorie diet. Now, I was young, and I didn't know you were supposed to count the butter on your toast, the sugar you put in your tea.....Nonetheless, I lost 10 pounds over the summer, and I started seventh grade at 86 pounds. For the first time in my life, I felt kind of pretty.
Junior high. What a shock. Mom had always been made to feel I was just an average student. I didn't have stellar grades in elementary school. I struggled with math. The biggest comments about my talent level were, "She can sing!" At the end of sixth grade the band director encouraged my parents to buy me a new clarinet for junior high band. "She's going to stick with it. The used clarinet she's playing on is soon going to hold her back." So, the first day of junior high I head to school feeling thin and chic and armed with a new clarinet.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when I walked into my first class and looked at the faces. I was in the advanced class. I was with all the smart kids. I saw "Miss Perfect" (Every class has one of those, don't they? You know, Nellie Olson from Little House on the Prairie.) in the back of the room toss her curls and say, "Humph!" in surprise and disgust. I squared my shoulders and walked to the nearest empty desk like I owned the place. I was determined then and there. I had been placed in the advanced class, and I was going to stay in the advanced class.
I could not believe how much homework there was. I wasn't in advanced math. I was in the average class there. Still, math was my most difficult subject, but I loved my math teacher dearly. She was so committed to teaching in general, and teaching me specifically. I eventually had my study hall switched to her room. I tried so hard to have my math homework done every day before I went home. It hardly ever happened.
I was overwhelmed. Grandma (maternal) had bought me a bunch of books while I was in elementary school. Mostly, they were classics for children, chapter books. Heidi, Beautiful Joe, Through the Looking Glass. There was also a very large Webster's Dictionary that had a bunch of other stuff in it. The first few weeks I would get home from school and cry. I wanted to stay in the advanced class, but I had no idea how to study. Mom tried to help me, but some things that were required were beyond her, and she refused to sit with me while I did my homework. (Way to go, Mom!) "You are just going to have to figure this out." She suggested I look through the books Grandma had gotten me. And there it was. A thick chapter called, "How to Study."
I set up my desk exactly like it described. I made a weekday evening schedule for myself. And I executed my plan. By the six week mark my grades were coming up, and I started not worrying about being taken out of the advanced class. I had gained back the 10 pounds I lost and was teetering on the brink of going over 100. I weighed once a week. My best friend always wanted to know what I weighed.....Grrr.....
My evening schedule went like this. 1. Take all your stuff to your room. Change clothes. Go outside and RUN. Just be wild. Climb trees. Go up in the hay mow. Jump in the hay. Climb all over the wagons. Help Dad sack seed. Run down the lane. Ride your bike. It wasn't organized, but it was 30 minutes of nonstop activity. I had an awesome PE teacher all through junior high and high school. As I learned more in PE class, I put together an exercise program for indoors when the weather was bad. There was a little book I used that we got in PE during one of the units we did. 2.) Eat supper. Supper was usually ready by the time my 30 minutes outdoors were up. 3.) Watch the national evening news. This was a requirement for the current events part of history class. It was not unusual to have a pop quiz in history class that would include a question or two over stories that had been on the evening news. History was my favorite class. I had a terrible crush on the history teacher. He had a knack for stimulating good class discussions and for getting us to debate each other - not him. 4.) Practice clarinet for 30 minutes. Pop playing tests weren't uncommon in band. Plus we had assigned measures and scales we were to work on every week. Practicing later was not an option. My brother and sister were babies and went to bed early. 5.) Start homework. Do math first while you're fresh. Don't lay down to read. Sit at the desk. Find some classical music to listen to. That can help. Work.
I usually finished my homework around 9 and was in bed by 10. I liked to get up at 5:30 and review the material I had read the night before. It made me feel fresh for class. Breakfast was at 6. I had to catch the bus at 7:20.
This was my routine for 2 years. You'd think I would be a straight A student. Hardly ever happened. Once I got straight A's. There was always at least one B - usually in math.
At the end of eighth grade I weighed 127 pounds. No one was concerned about my weight except my maternal grandma. "You're built so tiny. You shouldn't be weighing more than 112, 114 at the most." I took this as Bible. She would know. We were built very similar. I tried and tried to diet, but would fail every time. By the time I graduated from high school, I weighed 135.
My weight remained pretty constant in college. I was just so busy. Music keeps you focused, involved, and busy. I also had to work to stay in school, so I usually had a job of some kind. I had the most awesome student teaching experience in St. Louis. I lived with a family from McKnight Road Church of Christ. That was part of why the experience was so awesome. However, as I began to hunt for a teaching job, the Great Recession was in full swing, and Illinois had eliminated elementary music in its schools.
I managed a Wendy's. My weight spiraled to 155.
The longer I was away from music, the more sure I was I wouldn't be a good music teacher. I started looking for other options. I wanted out of fast food. I finally took a job in retail, that didn't pay nearly as well or have benefits. I couldn't make ends meet.
I started cleaning houses for a living, and with a good work ethic I had no problem finding all the work I needed. I did this for several years. I met some wonderful families. Great women. I started dating a man I had met working in retail. I was with him for two years. My weight dropped to 112. And you know what? I was hungry all the time. In the winter I quickly learned to get my weight up to 118, because when it dropped below 115, I got sick. Every time. Grandma was wrong. 112 or even 114 is not my magic number.
Mike and I broke up. I was determined not to gain the weight back. And I didn't. I kept my weight that low for about 4 years. I did love the summers when I could get down to 112 and those tiny little sizes. But I didn't kid myself. I was hungry all the time. I learned how to swim during this time. I took a class called Fraidy Cats at the YWCA. It was specifically designed for people who were afraid of the water. I started fitness swimming. The instructor referred me to the YMCA who had a group called USMS. US Master Swimmers. What an awesome group. Everyone could swim better than I could, but they were just such great people. They worked out every night from 9-10 with stroke mechanics on Tuesday nights. I learned a ton. Flip turns are cool! (I still think that.) And I still think about several of those people every day now when I swim.
I finally raked up the nerve to start substitute teaching. To do this I had to give up my day job cleaning houses. I started working part time at night waiting tables. Those were lean times! My favorite times were the long term sub jobs. They were usually in music, and I got to feel some ownership in the job.
Still no elementary music teaching jobs open in Illinois.
Then a phone call came from a man whose hometown was about 45 minutes from where I was raised. He was a principal at a small high school in western Kansas. Would I be willing to come for an interview? Dang. How could I afford it? And it was a job that involved EVERYTHING - jr. high and high school band, jr. high and high school choir, and elementary music. The choir part of the job scared me the most, and I told him I really didn't feel qualified. He called my parents and talked to them. I was 29. By this time my dad, who really did not want me to go to college in the first place, was tired of all my dead end, low paying jobs. He encouraged me to go for it. He and mom would even take me out there. (I didn't have a car.)
Long story a little shorter. I got the job and moved to a town whose high school consisted of 38 students. 36 of them were in band. Everyone was in choir. I had everything. I was overwhelmed. It took no time at all to fall in love with Kansas, but my reaction to the stress was to gain 35 pounds. By the time I left that job 2 years later for a job that was just teaching elementary music, I had gone from 120 to 155 pounds. I began work on my master's degree.
I met my husband at church in the town where my new job was. He taught MATH at the high school. My weight went back down to 135.
While we were dating his best friend got married. Of course he was the best man. At the rehearsal dinner TV told the story about the first time he noticed Winnie. That led to each of the men at the table telling about the first thing they noticed about their wives. (Everyone was married but us.) My husband is a quiet and thoughtful man. When it came his turn he thought for a long time and said, "The first thing I noticed about her was....Man, could she eat!" The room erupted with laughter. When it subsided I put my hand to my forehead and said, "I'm swooning!" My husband's sister laughed until she cried.
DH thought he wanted to be a preacher. I got a teaching job in Slaton, Texas, and DH went to Sunset School of Preaching in Lubbock. I had a lot of doubts about being a preacher's wife. They were soon confirmed. The School of Preaching is an excellent organization, and I know some fine ministers who got their training there. We didn't have a good experience. Once again I was overwhelmed with stress, and once again my weight rocketed. This time to 198.
During this time I developed terrible allergies. I think I'm allergic to everything that grows in West Texas. My allergist put me on an allergy drug called hisminal. It helped my allergies a lot, but the average weight gain on the drug is 65 pounds. My allergist did not tell me that. I thought I was just weak willed and had a ravenous appetite.
We lived in Lubbock for six miserable years. I was sick with sinus infections most of that time. I did finish my master's degree, and my mantra was, "I want to go back to Kansas." Some of the people I worked with started calling me Dorothy.
I started looking for a job. I could have gone back to western Kansas in a heartbeat, but DH said, "Don't apply for anything west of Pratt." I put in applications everywhere, and had some interviews. I was determined when we moved, I would ditch all the allergy meds and lose weight, and I had a plan. This time I wasn't going to go on a diet. I was going to lose it naturally by eating only healthy foods in moderation and exercising more. I wasn't going to weigh every week, just once in awhile when curiosity overwhelmed me.
I was hired to teach elementary music in a town 11 miles from where we live now. This was 1994. I started eating healthy on the moving trip. The scale was one of the first things I unpacked our first day in our new apartment. I did want an accurate starting weight. 198. I don't think I weighed again until Christmas time.
The weight did come off slowly. I started trying to run way to soon. I was just too heavy. I wish I had been content with walking. I focused on lifestyle changes. I experimented with eating vegetarian meals. I quickly became known as a good cook, and we had people over for dinner frequently. Our next door neighbor was also a good cook, whose specialty was cooking Oriental. She taught me how to use a wok. The best crab rangoon I ever had was in her kitchen. I bought a good step and several step aerobic tapes. (Richard Simmons was my favorite.)
At the end of my first year there I was down to 163.
The first day of inservice my second year I went downstairs for my first pre-dawn run all summer. Feeling like all teachers do the first day of inservice...Exhilarated, a little nervous, with a to do list running through my head for after inservice. No moon. About 10 minutes into the run I stepped into a pothole and went down like a ton of bricks. There was a lot of cracking and pulling. My foot was stuck in the hole. I howled. It hurt so bad, and I was a long way from the apartment. Gradually I calmed down. Painfully pulled my foot out of the hole. I cried and rocked and sobbed. I rolled over and carefully got up and limped back to the apartment. I took Tylenol, and I put the bottle in my purse. I packed a bag of ice for me to keep on it during inservice. It was swollen and starting to turn green and purple. The PE teacher looked at it during break and said, "I think you have a stress fracture."
I think I did too, I'll never know because I refused to go to the doctor. (I'm not sure why I was so stubborn about things like that.) All that year every time I would try to exercise my ankle would ache and hurt and swell. I limped on it most of the year. My weight stayed parked at 163 for nine months.
The following summer I went on a low fat/high fiber diet. And I started exercising again. By the end of the summer I was at 155.
I don't remember when I got to my goal weight. There really wasn't a goal weight. At some point I got down to 135, where the doctors were wanting me. I HATE how I look at 135. I feel fat. I lost down to 122. I didn't like that either. I looked shriveled up, not healthy. I decided 127 was a good weight for me, and I kept my weight there for 5 years by over exercising.
Then I took the assistant band director job here.
I had knee surgery the spring before I took this job. It didn't matter. There is no time to exercise with that job. It's sunup to 10 at night. Sometimes later. As much as I love band, I am not a good band director. As soon as an elementary music job in the district came open, I took it. Weight 181. And that's pretty much where it stayed the 8 years I had that job. I didn't really try to get myself under control. I must have lost and gained the same 8 pounds twice a year for all those years. I would just get sick of trying.
I retired in June, 2011. Now, I could swim again. Lap swim here is from 6-1 week days. When you have to work at 7:30 that makes it hard to get a swim in. I started swimming 3 days a week. That's all. No diet. Just swimming. No weight loss, but I did feel better. My muscle tone improved.
In July 2012 I found Spark People. I used the nutrition tracker and committed to staying in my calorie range. I still swam 3 times a week. A few weeks into the program I started walking with dh on the high school track on Sundays. Then I plotted a 3 mile walking course from our house that avoids heavy traffic and goes by a couple of my friends' houses.
We did our first 5k in YEARS on Oct. 20th. This time walking instead of running. We did another one on Nov. 17th.
And that's the history of me and my weight. Always in my life I have spun out of control when I am overwhelmed with stress - usually in a new situation that I am unsure how to handle, or if I can handle it at all. Lots and LOTS of up and down with my weight. I don't think I realized it until I typed all this.
Now, I am retired, and life is sweet. I enjoy everything I do. There will come a day when I will probably go back to work at something. I want to go into that new situation, no mater how stressful it is, knowing that the weight I am working so hard to lose will not come back. I want to grow beyond using food to cope with stress. I want to grow beyond using food to replace the relationships I need. I want to grow to the point that I ALWAYS set healthy boundaries for myself and for the people in my life. I want the peace of knowing that the weight is gone and will not be back. I want the peace of respecting myself even if the people around me don't. I want to turn my back on gluttony once and for all.
Lord help me, this is the last time I'm going to lose weight.
Monday, November 26, 2012
When I was in my 20's a friend of mine came by my apartment wanting to go out to eat. Of course I went. (Even back then I loved to eat out.) As we settled in at our table she confided in me she had asked one of her other friends, whom I had met but didn't know well, to go out to eat. "She said she needed to catch up on laundry. Can you imaging that? She passed up an opportunity to spend time with ME to wash clothes....Catching up on laundry....What a ridiculous idea. The only way you can catch up on laundry is to close all the blinds and windows, lock all the doors, strip everybody naked and not let them get dressed again! Then you wash the *!** clothes!"
I have come to see keeping up with dish washing in much the same way. With this lifestyle it's an ongoing event. The only way you could ever be caught up is to never eat at home again. As much as I like to eat out, I like my own cooking better. It's not just healthier. It usually tastes as good as anything I can get at a restaurant. (The major exception there is the Quesadilla Supreme at El Pueblito's. I just can't figure it out, and believe me, I've tried. They don't seem willing to share the recipe. I have asked.)
Early on in this journey I started doing some soul searching about why I hated washing dishes so much. I didn't come up with a lot. All three of us kids hate washing dishes. That tells me that probably mom hated washing dishes. I don't remember her complaining about it a lot, except that as soon as she drained the dishwater, someone would come in with a glass, a plate....something. "Before breakfast there will be almost a sink full of dishes to wash." (There was no dishwasher on the farm.)
By comparison, I enjoy doing laundry. When the weather is warmer I hang many things outside to dry. I love the way they smell when I take them off the line. The cats help me fold everything. It's cheap entertainment.
Most of the time I'm in a pretty good rhythm with the dish washing. I try to wash a drainer full of hand wash items in the evening to air dry overnight. If the dishwasher is full, I'll start it to run overnight. Now, there is something I do enjoy....drifting off to sleep with the rhythmic whoosh, whoosh, of the dishwasher. I feel like I'm accomplishing something even while I sleep. In the morning I put everything away, and I turn the magnet on the empty dishwasher to, "Dirty." Set for another day of home cooked meals and healthy eating.
Thanksgiving threw me for a loop with dish washing. It usually does. You break out your cooking big guns for the day. At least we do. The roaster for the turkey is just SO big. The stock pot for the turkey broth, the crock pot for the spiced cider....it's all our biggest stuff, and it takes up a lot of room on our counters and, when it's dirty, in our sinks. Our roaster almost won't fit in the dish drainer. Oh, did I mention none of this stuff is dishwasher safe.
Now, add middle aged eyes into the dish washing equation. It usually takes 3 times washing the roaster to get it clean. It's dark colored, and I just don't see stuff I didn't get washed off until it's dry. Then it's, "Oh, gross!" And it goes back into the sink to be washed again.
I am finally taking this is stride. When I use the roaster, I know it's going to get washed 3 times before it goes back to its spot in the garage. It's kind of like hanging your sheets out on the line and having the birds poop on them....Back into the washer they go.
I wish I could say I've had an Epiphany concerning dish washing. All my issues are resolved, and I enjoy standing at the sink, listening to NPR, and watching the birds while my hands are in the bubbles. I would be lying. But at least it's not the drudgery it was when I started this journey. I HATED all the dish washing. Now it's, (sigh), I need to wash dishes. I think I've at least made peace with it.
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