Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Let's be honest here. I like my sweets. I would be lying if I said I didn't smuggle a Reese's Cup into my diet every so often and shamelessly eat it in private. My reasoning?? Hiking is difficult. It takes alot of stamina and strength to keep pushing forward. I have relied on carbs to give me that "ooomph" I need to have energy. Problem IS, sometimes the carbs are the wrong ones and I find myself in a chocolately mess, feeling like a six-year-old who just pulled a fast one on my parents. Brian found my stash a couple of days ago. (Me: "But they were $3.99 for SIX of them! SIX! They're usually $1.49 APIECE!!) Then he spit out the words, "And you wonder why you're stuck! Ditch the crap and get serious if you're going to be into this healthy lifestyle of yours. If not, don't complain about not losing anything the last few weeks."
As I muttered, "Sooo not cool..." and walked away to lick my wounds, something inside of me knew he was right. As someone who HAS to eat right, he doesn't have time to commiserate with my self-negotiations and ack basswords philosophy. I didn't want to compromise my love of sugar and all things "oh-so-sinful" and have the other stuff, rocking body, rocking stamina, too. Ohhhh, I KNOW I should have learned from past experience! I KNOW I cannot have "just ONE" because, if memory serves me correctly, I've been in this place before. It is always the culprit of being stopped painfully dead in my tracks, not necessarily gaining, but coming at a slam dunk standstill and leaving me to scratch my head, wondering what in the tarnation is halting my progress.
I've hijacked myself. I'm the culprit in my plateau. Truth be told, I knew it all along but it's one of those things I like to block from memory. Criminy, it's not like I eat them all the time. Or the bread. Or the flour. Or the pasta. The main staples of my diet are the good stuffs. But these, I've learned, are the cuss words of my diet...they are the pimple on the otherwise smooth face of a healthy relationship with myself.
This really sucks, you know that? I thought that MAYBE if I expended enough calories that I could get by with having my drug of choice. But my make-up, being 5'3" and OLDER, and some OTHER weird anatomical gene mix-up doesn't give me that luxury. And, no. I don't want to hear that I can have just one in a blue moon. That does not work for me. My body holds onto every calorie like Gorilla glue and makes me soak and simmer in a vat of three-day-old sweat until every last one of those Reese's sin-calories are burned. My metabolism is slower than a snail on a board of molasses. So new plan. My most aggressive one to date...surpassing my stent of "Bonking" that I shamefully admit to trying a few years back...
Absolutely NO refined sugars, flour or pasta. I must reset my brain switch to recognize these items as disgusting. Harmful. Chemical poison. Just as I have overcome the bouts of not wanting to exercise with the mantra, "Nothing will change unless I change it," I must look at these things and turn my nose up at them. It CAN be done. I'm going to be a definite hot mess (okay, maybe not so "hot" as in "luke warm") for awhile. That, with my first day of school starting next Tuesday, it's going to be tough... but I'm looking forward to saying, "Yeah, I conquered THIS little gem, too."
Off I go. Garbage bag in hand, whimpering slightly, is that a freaking tear in my eye?? Yes. But it's necessary. Saying "goodbye" to a "friend" is always difficult. They may look good, taste good and make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside but that doesn't mean they are there for the true good of you. Plateau, you must go. Get thee to the nuttery! Don't come 'round here no more! (HEY!) and whatever else crazy kind of phrase I can think of while I'm slapping them puppies into the dumpster.
Have a great Hump Day, Sparkies. And I apologize for the next few future blogs I will write while in a sugar-deprived state of mind. You are loved!
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Once you have been married for over 20 years, you and your spouse develop a “code,” a dialect only the two of you can understand in public and private conversations. You become so comfortable with one another that sometimes you can “speak” with no words, often using eyebrows, a twist of the lips or body language to convey what you are thinking or feeling. I'm sure most of you know what I'm talking about, but just in case there are some young'uns out there who don't, I will happily give you some examples. Keep in mind these are developed over several years of trial and error, with some errors resulting in occasional quarrels, no dinner or no cuddling time for a few days (but that time depends on the severity of the misunderstanding or even the TOTAL UNDERSTANDING of the interpretation).
I will start with the easiest ones to recognize:
DH: “Honey, those jeans look good on you./Have you lost weight?/Your hair looks nice today.”
What He Is REALLY Saying: “I'm hungry. Make me a sandwich.”
See? It's really simple. The mind of man is not as complex as we would like to think it is. It's a simple matter of getting fed which is a primal need of the male species. If they have to pay a compliment to get a roast beef with Swiss, ON RYE, they will do whatever it takes to get that need fulfilled. They are a determined species and THAT you have to admire. :)
Okay, now let's move on to the more complex scenarios:
What He Is Really Saying: “I'm not pleased with this situation. I realize that I should probably admit that I have no clue how to solve this situation/predicament/ask for directions, but that is not something that I'm willing to do at this time. I will square my shoulders, raise my head and appear to be deep in thought.”
DH: “Look at that woman on t.v. She's half naked! What in the devil is becoming of this world anymore?!”
What He Is Really Saying: “Yowwww-zuh!”
DH: Raises eyebrow in restaurant.
What He Is Really Saying: “Did they raise the prices?/I should have went to the restroom before we left./Where's the beef?”
Wife: “Your arms are getting extremely muscular, dear.”
What She Is Really Saying: “I need new cabinets and, while you're at it, kill that spider, 'k?”
See, the female species knows that complimenting a man's physique will yield quicker results around the house. It's not much different than the male species trying to acquire food but we are able to do it with a straight, non-guilt-ridden face.
DH: “You have money? Here's a 50. Go to town.”
What He Is Really Saying: “And while you're there, pick me up some sandpaper, Gold Bond lotion, a Hot Rod Magazine and one of those little mirrors with a magnet on it.”
DH: “I'm sorry for that little remark I made at the cookout. You're really a graceful eater. When I said, 'slow down, there's enough for everybody' I only meant that I didn't want you to choke.”
What He Is Really Saying: “I don't want to die. By you choking me.”
DH: “I got you a present!”
What He Is Really Saying: “I won that jacket at a motorcycle rally...the one you didn't go to but the Easy Rider girls were there so I barely recognized you weren't present! I realize you will see a picture of me later in the magazine standing next to the bar with them, throwing my head back in laughter and delight, but for now, just remember this moment. It is real leather!”
Every now and then, however, something surprising happens. And it is these “surprises” that make us realize what a true gem we have in the midst of the “code.” It is the moment when your spouse looks at you, with total transparency, and they realize there is no other way to convey what they are truly feeling. It may come across as clumsy, even a tad cruel at first, but if given the chance to fully explain, you will see that they are still willing to bare their heart to you.
DH: “I loved you so much when we were younger. You were so pretty.”
Wife: “Explain? NOW.”
DH: “Naw, naw, don't take it the wrong way. You just have to understand that I was watching you a lot from my bedroom window.”
Wife: “Mm'k, please explain...”
DH: “When I first saw you I thought you were the prettiest woman in the world. I would wait for you to get off work and walk to your door to go in. And I kept thinking, I should ask you out but why would anyone like you want a guy like me?”
Wife: “You WATCHED ME FROM YOUR BEDROOM WINDOW???”
DH: “Your eyes were so big. So brown.”
Wife: “Ok. But can I ask you why this is past tense??”
DH: “You're not listening. Listen to what I'm saying!! Don't make me say it...I like growing old with you.”
DH: “I'm not calling you old.”
Wife: “Am I still pretty?”
DH: “No. Pretty is what you were with your curled hair and green eye shadow 22 years ago. Beautiful is what you are now when you wake up with tangles and raccoon eyes.”
Wife: Tearing up. Speechless. Trying to understand “code” but feeling something is going perfectly right...
DH: “Wanna go grab a bite to eat?”
Wife: “Huh??” Reeling...
DH: Raising eyebrows, nodding towards the door.
Wife: “You mean Olive Garden?”
DH: Whirling finger in air...
Wife: “Ohhhh, Olive Garden AFTER...(giggling)...
DH: Cheesy grin.
And it is THIS, my friends, how you work the “code” and find happiness after more than two decades together. Wait. Listen. Read between the lines. And if you don't understand, ask before jumping to conclusions. One thing I have learned about my DH in particular, he is a man of few words. Most of the time he IS wanting something. But in those transparent moments, he is revealing that he is just simply wanting those things with ME.
Have a beautiful week, Sparkies. You are loved.
(And NO. I don't want you to make me a sandwich.)
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Spitting, wiping the grime away from my nose and eyes, I picked myself back up from the dirt and blinked rapidly. It wasn't the first time that I slipped on that particular rock and it probably won't be the last but DAYYY-um. Still tasting the grit and saltiness in my mouth, I could only imagine what a sight I was but I had no choice but to push forward. Going forward or backward was the same distance so I limped ahead, secretly hoping I wouldn't see anybody along the way. Feeling a welt on my upper arm, I looked down to see the bloody scrapes and raw skin. Somehow that gave me some satisfaction. Call me slightly sadistic but to me that is another battle scar that I can claim as my own. I did that...because I want what I want. Nobody can take that away from me.
Don't get me wrong, I wanted to scream every curse word in the book. I think maybe I did. I may have invented new ones. I was hot, wet, sweaty, nasty, grimy and on my last brain cell. I had toyed with the idea of taking my cheat day today but something in my brain taunted me. It was raining, humid (air that you wear) and storms looked to be on the horizon, but I watched myself lace up my boots and grab my pack in the corner. It was almost as if I was out of my own skin and I was just watching the show.
I expected my attitude, though. The past few weeks had been toying with my last nerve and, finally, yesterday I was able to tie up some loose ends that had been annoying the crap out of me. I should have been ecstatic. I should have been smiling, expelling an abundant sigh of relief. But on that trail, each stone I kicked was a release of the tension that had built within me. Each grunt to a climb came out as a formidable "grrrrrr" and I found myself getting more angrier than expected. Then the rock I slipped on decided it would fight back and take a bite out of my rear-end.
It was reminder.
"You think you are in control? Girrrrl, you need to remember that there are things in this life that you CAN'T control and you need to do your best to get through them, with grace and dignity. Things bigger than you are, things that will chew you up and spit you out. Humble yourself and toughen up or the anger will eat you alive."
Hmmm. So, Realization One:
Anger is detrimental to our goals. Anger does nothing to get us to that nirvana we are looking for in our day-to-day lives. Do we want to be bitter or better?? Perhaps it was the positive endorphins that were released during my trek or maybe I was just too tired to hold onto the stress any longer but I realized, while carrying the chip on shoulder, I was literally devouring myself, not nourishing my soul.
Fredrich Buechner says it best:
"Of the Seven Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontation to come -- to savour the last toothsome morsel of both the pain you are giving and the pain you are getting back, in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.
The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is YOU."
Okay. Realization Two:
Going forward or backward, a decision I made during my hike today, applies here as well. We can move forward past the inconveniences of life that scrawl petty nasty notes into our psyche, or we can fall backwards into the trap that makes us believe our anger is justified. We have to decide which way is worth the trip. (Don't get me wrong; sometimes anger is a much-needed catalyst for change, but not the self-destructive kind, not the kind that makes us berate ourselves and others.) The bitter reward we get from lashing out for just a few minutes will leave a sour taste in our mouths for months or years to come. And if someone was at the receiving end of our words, they can last a lifetime for them.
So bitter or better? Forward or backward? It took a rock to knock me down to size, to humiliate my mindset to set it straight again.
I came home and caught Brian before he left for work. He took one look at me and asked who won the fight.
I wanted to say that I did. But I have a little ways to go with my attitude. Sure, I realized that being mean-spirited is wrong and it hurts everyone around me. But I have always struggled with keeping my temper in check. I have always dealt with a tendency to eat or be eaten. Most times I am kind, considerate, sensitive and compassionate but when my anger switch is flipped I show the opposite side of me (with a vengeance) as well. That's something I have to work on. So, I will work on it. I will study it, live it, eat it, sleep it until I have a grasp on it.
We all have to start somewhere. If I have to start in a muddy mess with dirt up my nose, I will take that. If it gets me to where I need to be, I will take it and wear it with pride.
Have a great day, Sparkies. You are loved.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
I'm not a morning person. And by that I mean, if someone expects me to be coherent of thought and on my toes before 8 a.m., they are terribly misguided. I may be up and walking (I use that term loosely) but I'm pretty sure I resemble a zombie; dark puffy eyes, slobber coming out of my mouth and sounds that would please Chewbacca. I'm not sure why...I think we are all either morning people or night owls and I don't believe that we can change that. Usually when others are gearing down for the night I suddenly become alive and get ticked when they don't want to join in the "party." But over the years, I have tried desperately to switch the mojo to the a.m. position.
Not happenin', honey.
So, I have learned there are at least a few things I canNOT do to humiliate myself entirely.
Me: Breanna, I had the craziest dream last night. You brought home Chatum Tanning and he wouldn't leave my house. Not that I'm complaining, but he was really rude and wouldn't get out of the bathroom.
Bre: Mom. It's Channing Tatum and you WISH.
Or this little charm:
Me: Breanna, your new boyfriend is WOW! Where have you been hiding HIM??
Brian: Wrong number, dear. Busted.
2) LIFT FREE WEIGHTS.
Bicep curls...busted upper lip.
3) MAIL EDITOR MY ARTICLE.
Mailed editor my SparkPeople blog.
4) USE TOOLS.
Used hammer. Smashed thumb. Threw Hammer. Busted T-top on Corvette.
5) PUT AWAY GROCERIES.
Found ice cream in pantry later that day.
6) ADD PEOPLE I DON'T KNOW AS FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK.
Creeper: I see that you added me. Send me a picture of your feet.
7) TRY TO LOOK SEXY FOR HUSBAND.
Brian: What's the matter with your eye???? You drunk??
Not unless you want salt in your cereal.
9) SING IN SHOWER.
Brian: Oh my God, honey, you hear that?? I think a squirrel is dying somewhere.
Seriously, Brian has had to give me the Heimlich twice. No kidding.
It's funny how the older I get, I'm more likely to repeat these things. But I truly want to be the early bird that gets the worm sometimes. What is really freaking me out is the fact that in just a few short weeks I am starting school again and I have bad memories from college. (I can't even begin to tell you how many times I woke in class staring at the ceiling, head full-on back, with my mouth open.) So, this should be pretty interesting, to say the least. I will either be half-dressed, half-zipped or the first middle-aged woman to be expelled from a computer class.
Anyhoooo, my hike was successful today as my allergies are finally finding their way out of the snot tunnel. I spend so much time looking around, looking up and looking down that I don't often take the time to look at the small things. I'm often mesmerized by the "big picture," (the hills, the sky, the lakes) that I don't look at the minute, little world that lives around me. So today I decided to do just that. I came away with some photos of the tiny miracles around me...
Have a great week, Sparkies, and remember...whether you're a morning person or a night owl, you are loved.
Monday, August 04, 2014
“It's not a workout until you want to stop.”
Boy, is that ever true. It's when you push past that agony of not being able to breathe, of feeling your thigh muscles quiver with each climb. It's when you think to yourself, “I feel like I am dying” but something inside of you has an epic desire to keep moving, to keep pushing the envelope of self-imposed boundaries, and to just simply carry on. You haven't felt true euphoria until you realize that you ARE capable of more things than you could ever imagine, especially in the physical and mental sense...
As I hung on to the steep side of an embankment yesterday, fingers clutching desperately to the rocks, I felt my back muscles spasm. Then I heard a voice above me.
“C'mon, girl, you've done this, you do this every damn day.”
Looking up in agony, sweat stinging my eyes, fingers slipping, I saw a woman, older, dressed to the nines in hiking gear and a walking stick. She lowered the stick toward me so I could grab hold and I slapped it away. Shaking my head, I grunted and pulled myself to the plateau, each fiber in my lungs screaming. Smiling, she firmly planted her cane to the ground and watched me with careful scrutiny. She reached her hand out to me, peering up at me with steel blue eyes.
Breathlessly, I placed my hand in hers and she told me her name was Nora. A quick glance at her revealed weathered, suntanned skin and long blonde hair beneath a green ball cap. Her yellow tank top was tucked neatly in green khaki shorts and I couldn't help but notice the muscles in her calves. Breathlessly, I told her my name and started to turn toward the trail.
“How far have you come?” she sternly asked.
Stopping, I turned back around and said, “Two and a half miles.”
“How far are you going?”
“It's my short day. I'm taking the short cut back.”
“Why a short day? It's too beautiful today for it to be a short day.”
Scratching my head, I watched this little woman nod to the trail and something inside of me said, “Just go.”
In the next few miles, I learned that she was a retired oral surgeon, with two grown boys and a daughter in the military. She currently was the assistant to the park director. We each talked about our families and she stopped at one point and said, “You look so familiar, why can't I place you?”
“I live just on the other side of the park reserve. Perhaps you've seen me there? And I come here almost every day...”
“Every day, yes. I see you. My God, you are determined. What are you chasing?”
“What are you chasing? There is a reason why you come here. Is it the solitude? The workout? What are you after and what do you want to gain?”
Smiling, I became speechless. I looked at her, this 62-year-old woman, who was giving me the third degree, and I couldn't think of a darn thing to say. Shrugging, she laughed and waved her hand for me to join her once again. We took a detour, off the usual beaten path for me. I slowly began admiring her, her strength, her stamina, her “invasive” questions. I learned further that she was still a marathon runner...a WINNING marathon runner who boasted such-and-such medals and trophies to date. My admiration must have been obvious because she shook her head and said, “It's nothing that nobody can't do if they put their minds and heart in it to do it. YOU know that. The urge has to come from INSIDE in order to make it a reality.”
Before I knew it, we came to a familiar place, towards the end of the Pine Ridge Trail. Heart sinking, I looked at her and told her how much I enjoyed her company. She smiled, one of those deep, wrinkly smiles, eyes beaming, and said, “We did seven and a half miles today. You know that? So much for a short %&$# day.” In disbelief, I looked at my pedometer and she put her hand over mine.
“Now I know where I've seen you.”
Smiling, I reminded her that I lived just over the ridge.
“No. I see you in ME. Twenty years ago, struggling to make it up over that hill, determined, wanting to cave in to the misery, but deciding not to do so. YOU are ME.”
As she turned turned toward her cabin nestled in the trees at lake's edge, she waved. I felt as if I had gotten the most beautiful compliment in the world. I wanted to call after her, to tell her that I hoped to see her again. But I made my way to the car, lungs clear, head clear, heart joyful. SHE is what I aspire to be...SHE is what I am “chasing.” I wanted so much to tell her that...
When I pulled up today, I locked my car door and headed toward the entrance of a different trail and I heard a distinctive voice. I couldn't help but chuckle as I turned toward her. Waving her stick and running toward me, I put my hands on my hips and watched her. It would have been odd if it was anyone else. I felt my chest swell once again with admiration and welcomed her with a firm hug.
“Short day today, missy?”
“Of course not, Nora. It's too beautiful today for it to be a short day...”
Have a beautiful week, Sparkies...you are loved.
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