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It's a Beautiful Day!

Monday, June 02, 2008

This morning, I snuck outside to check on my garden. Now granted, it's small, only two 4x4 foot squares, carefully planted with the square foot garden method. Well, that's only half true. Because there's not a lot of variety because I had a mind to put up veggies for the winter. So in my little garden are tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, then pole beans, lettuce and swiss chard that haven't come up just yet.

We had a rough weekend. Torrents of hard rain fell on two different days, so I was pretty fearful at what I'd find when I went out there this morning. Then I felt it....

Dew on my feet.

I can't remember the last time I went out into the morning early enough to feel the dew on my feet, then those early morning rays of sunshine. When I took the time to listen to the birdsong greeting the day. But I do remember what dew on my feet feels like, when I was a young child, barefoot, playing in the grass, free from adult burdens and fretting over my weight. I remember when life was simpler and the grass felt great.

The garden survived the weather. The eggplant lost a few leaves, but I saw the first signs of purple flowers that will become tasty veggies. The tomatoes are clinging to their stakes and dotted with their own yellow flowers. I even spotted one single white blossom on the red pepper plants. We've survived the rough times. There will be food for the winter.

The question is, can we survive the summer? Our AC went out on us Friday, just in time for the arrival of the heat. (Last weekend it was so cold we were shivering under blankets and running the heater. St. Louis weather is so fickle!) We opened windows, ran a couple of fans and let the attic fan suck the heat out of the upstairs. We were a little hot and sticky at first, but after a while it wasn't so bad.

It reminded me of when I was a kid, where I'd play outside in all hours of the day with the heat, coming in hot and sweaty and probably smelling of wet dog. Sure hands had to be washed before you ate, but otherwise, cleanliness was pushed off until the end of the day. Nothing felt better than sinking your tired body into a tub of water, washing off the dirt and sweat of the day and easing those exhausted muscles. And at night, sleep never felt so good, so sweet, so sound. Ahh, that was bliss.

Childhood isn't the magic elixir, apparently. Because despite my hubby's warnings that it was too hot for a bath, I climbed into one this weekend at the end of the day. Not too hot, not too cold, but it was deliciously amazing. I soaked and soaked, and when I got out, I felt refreshed and relaxed at the same time. Save the aromatherapy and give me a good day's work followed by a bath.

We climbed into bed with only a sheet. Too hot for blankets. We used to sleep like this when we were first married, poor and with only one window unit A/C that happened to be downstairs and not in our room. We'd leave the windows open and let a fan blow over us to cool us off. We were too young and too in love to mind the heat.

So when the cool night breezes zipped in the children's bedrooms last night, I didn't mind. And when I climbed under the sheet with my sweetie, and felt the fan coursing across us, I felt like a newlywed all over again. I'm reminded that happiness is all in our perception. It's not in our weight, our jobs, how our body looks, or how others view us. It's tied up in our perception of the world. It's tied up in simple things like seeing the first garden buds, feeling the dew on our feet, napping in the heat of the day, going for a late afternoon swim, sleeping nude beside a new spouse.

Maybe I won't get the air conditioning fixed after all.

Here it is, the good, the bad and the ugly...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I halfway didn't even want to put this here, because I want to be a positive, supportive sparker, not a "whiner baby." But I'm really hurting right now, and I figured it would be better to get it off my chest now and be authentic than pretend that everything is ok.

To spare everyone the long, drawn out, writerly rant, let's just say that I had a miserable experience with my writing workshop last night, to the degree I question my capabilities as a writer. I really begin to wonder if I'm not just dreaming and should hang it up and give up. It hurts so bad I can't stand it. I've wanted to write since I was 8. Eight! Most kids that age want to be doctors or ballerinas. And now I feel like all the joy I've had from writing is being corroded away. I'm really beginning to think that I'm just fooling myself and I should find a real job.

What's depressing is that my immediate response to all this is to stop eating. Yep, that looming dragon of disordered eating became my first solution for dealing with the pain right now. And I hate myself for even considering it. It's just disgusting that even when I think I'm finally past all that, it's the first thing I turn to when stressed.

What's wrong with me?

Change in Focus

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some of you may have noticed my goals have been slightly tweaked since last night. But most likely not, since it's a small thing to notice... except for me.

I have come to the conclusion that my goal weight needs to be 120 and not 110, even though I realize that the 110 is the reccommended weight for a short woman of my height. This isn't me avoiding those nasty last ten pounds. It's an acknowledgement of who I am.

As a teenager, I was never able to drop below 120 pounds no matter what I did about diet and excercise, until I started starving myself. There, I threw it out there. I was a closet anorexic as a teen. And I'm just not willing to put my life back into that living hell for an extra 10 pounds off. My body knows its set point, it knows where it should be. I'm done at 120.

I realize who I am. I am a short woman. I will always be short. I am curvy. I will always be curvy. I have big boobs and big hips, and that's ok. Yes, I'm shaped like a pear, not an hourglass, but I'm fine with that. When I weighed 120, I had a waist even Scarlett O'Hara could envy.

I'm no longer the young girl I once was, desperate for approval by my peers, longing to be seen as beautiful. I have an amazing husband who thinks I am drop dead gorgeous whether I weigh 100 pounds or 1000. But I don't even need his approval. I am a grown woman, strong and confident in who I am, who I was meant to be. I don't need to wear the latest fashions to be accepted. I can dress for my body shape and look amazing. I don't need the approval of others to measure my worth. I am a woman of excellence and worth.

Knowing myself and accepting myself brings up other truths too. I am not an athelete, I never want to be one, I don't want the body of one. I want a healthy body, fit for my lifestyle, curvy and luscious in every way. I don't want to bust my bottom doing excercises I totally loathe, like jogging or team sports. Those just aren't me. I love to swim, I love to dance, I love to take after dinner walks with my family. This is who I am, and it is perfect for me.

Don't worry if you never see me sweating away in an aerobics class. I'm perfect just the way I am.

The Power of Habit

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I have a Latin saying a day. Probably because I'm a nerdy kinda person and took Latin in high school. It occassionally comes in handy. Last Sunday, the saying was this:

Magna est vis consuetudinis.

Translation? Great is the power of habit.

I thought it was such a great saying, I just had to keep it, ruminate on it a little, then write about it. Because frankly, it's true. We talk about needing to break habits, like they are horses. And to some degree they are. Without taking the time to train our habits, they run wild and rampant like an untamed horse.

You probably have more habits than you realize. Just what you do in the morning is more out of habit, or auto-pilot if you will, than a conscious decision to roll out of bed, stumble to your coffee, visit the toilet and scrounge for clothing. (Ok, so that more describes my morning, but you get the idea.)

If you really pay attention to what you're doing, do you find yourself plopping down in front of the computer to check the news while you're drinking your morning coffee? Do you always take the same route to work? Do you habitually wash your hair before shaving in the shower? All these are the force of habit, imposing on your life.

Habits are usually described as good or bad. Let's face it, they can in fact be both. But I suggest they can be shaped and trained. But they are powerful. If you don't believe me, try changing up your morning routine and see how it impacts you. Habits are strong, and they can totally shape your behavior. But instead of resisting that power, try tapping it instead.

Want to add more fitness activity into your life. Find a precise time in your day to add it in, and consciously be sure to do it, at least for 3 weeks. By then, you'll probably find that it has become a habit and you seldom have to think about it. Not a breakfast eater? Have something small, very small, for three weeks. The habit will stick and you'll have a new routine.

What I don't suggest is trying to overhaul all of your habits at one time. Pick one that you want to add or change, and work on that one, just that one, until it really sticks and becomes part of your auto-pilot sequence. Then move on to the next one. Sure, you may not experience dramatic overnight change in your life or on the scale, but you'll be incorporating changes that will remain and transform your entire lifestyle. And lasting change is what you're shooting for. Take it from the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race. So does the power of habit.

Yo! Check it!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That's right, baby, not only did I do my first Project Mayhem challenge, I survived it. And on my period no less. I totally rock. I had no idea though that I could burn off as many calories as I did on the Gazelle. I tell you what, that little gizmo is quickly becoming my new best friend.

But not only do I totally kick butt on the challenge accomplishments, I have an even better sign of the awesomeness that is me!

I did my weigh and measure at Curves today, and I've lost NINE inches! That's right, baby, NINE, count em, NINE inches! Three of those were off of my waist. I am seriously pumped! Oh, and I'm down 1% body fat too. Woohoo! I kick butt! I kick butt!

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