Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Fat (Boy! Can I relate!) Tuesday.....................

Am I slamming myself with the above comment? NOT at all..........There are ways I relate to Fat Tuesday that have nothing to do with my pants not fitting.

Do you know that Fat Tuesday, began out of the need to use up all the butter and cream before the beginning of Lent? You know, waste not, want not. Haven't we all pigged out on the fattening (no no) things in our house, before beginning yet one more diet?

Last night, for no other reasons then that they were there and I could, I consummed not one, but two paczki. I had them in place of dinner. (Not all that healthy, but mouth and stomach thought they had died and gone to heaven.) I "needed" to have two so I could give my honest opinion on which tasted better, the cream or fruit filled. Since I couldn't decide on a clear winner, I thought about having a tie-breaking paczki, but decided against it. (Stomach, happy..... Mouth, not so much.)

Imagine the guilt I suffered when the lead news story this morning was to let all of us (past and present) partakers know that each puczki has four hundred and some calories and twenty-five plus grams of fat. Listening to that, I actually felt the walls of my arteries thickening, thus the guilt.

I liken this consumtion of puczkis to other dangerous pleasures like bungy jumping and sky diving. People partake in dangerous activities as a way of living on the edge and/or getting their next rush. Since I don't ever plan on jumping off a cliff or out of a plane, the only thing left is to risk my health partaking in Fat Tuesday tradition. Talk about a (sugar) rush! Mmmmmmmmm

This evening, as the sun sets on Fat Tuesday, attention will be turned from excess to sacrifice, as the season of Lent begins. Even though I don't participate in actual church services anymore, I still celebrate the miracle of the season of Lent, and look forward to the specialness of prayer and fasting. Tomorrow, I will share more of my thoughts on Lent. Before then, we all know there is chocolate residing within these four walls that needs to be delt with before sundown. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Forcast predicts a busy week...............................

We are doing respite care this week, which translates into me actually having to work for a change. It might not seem like one more person can make that much difference (and in lots of ways, that is a true statement), but what I try to do is not interupt anyone's regular schedule. Except mine of course....... which is as it should be. Why am I boring you with this information? Well.........

Yesterday morning, I woke up feeling pretty good. Everything was flowing, and rather than listen to church, (Call me a heathen, if you want. I just get too cynical when I hear them repeatedly asking for money. Knowing that their main audience consists of shut-ins, on fixed incomes, gets me started....... I know that everyone has the right to spend their money as they choose, and my beliefs should be mine alone, it's just.......... Easier all around for me to put my headphones on and listen to what I choose to hear and leave it at that.)I was listening to Jana (Stanfield) music. Listening to Jana music always gets me thinking, so when I started to write yesterday's blog I had all these heavy philosophical thoughts that started coming out on paper. Not bad stuff, just stuff that didn't flow like the fluff that usually comes out of my head. Jumping up every few minutes (as usual) the blog was having a difficult time developing. I finally decided I would put it away until today.

Here we are at today......... I went back to yesterday's draft, but again it remains a "work in process," the operative word being "work". I put it away again. Some day, it might get finished. Maybe it will spend eternity sitting as a draft. What will be will be. I made a pledge to myself that I would have fun with this blog, because I think that is the best way to learn. I also strive to entertain, (while making a point)and the current draft is lacking in entertainment value..... Too boring and heady at this point...... Enough said.

This is not a week that I will be able to devote lots of time to extracurricular activities, such as blogging. Don't you just hate it when we have to act like grown-ups? It will be a golden opportunity to check in, write concise, to the point blogs, and get on with my day. Do you think I have it in me? It is good to try new things. (Okay, it wasn't all that great the time I gave okra a try, but that is a whole other blog!) Stay tuned, same blog, same blog site, and we shall see what we shall see.........

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Yesterday I cried...... And have been trying to figure out why ever since.......

While reading the March issue of Woman's Health (after, not during!) lunch yesterday, I came across an article about a woman"s (Christina Goyanes) experience training for and completing her first triathlon. After reading the article I said to my daughter, "I could never do that, because the only swimming stroke I know is the doggie paddle." A perfect example how I take myself out of life's race without even thinking about trying. Why am I so quick to do this? Must be those parasites I was talking about yesterday. Little (life) suckers!

Anyway, after shooting myself down, I read the other side of the page, which was a list of triathlons one could enter. The first one read as follows:

In the DANSKIN WOMAN'S TRIATHLON SERIES, you can race alongside women of all ages and fitess levels in eight major cities, including Austin, Denver, and Seattle. The best part: It's impossible to be the last to cross the finish line. Sally Edwards, Ironman athlete and Danskin spokesperson, has run behind the last competitor and been the final finisher for the last seventeen years.
$70, danskin.com/triatlon.html

Typing it just now, I find the tears flowing again. You would think that I have some terrible memories of being picked last in gym class, or always finishing in last place, and yet I can't think of any. The tears stem in part from an overwhelming sense of gratitude for Sally. That she would step up and do this to empower women to try something that they didn't believe possible. (Just like I said after reading the first article.) Women helping women. Women being there for the sole purpose of supporting women. Women sharing in the joy of women's accomplishments. Awsome!

Where does that fear of being last come from in the first place? When my children were little, we always had first, second, third, etc... winner, and no one was ever "last." At least when mommy was around. When they played Tee-ball, score was not kept, and I always said, "Did you have fun? Then you were a winner." In spite of always trying to be positive on this subject, I would still hear them whispering about who had more runs come in, or who was "last winner." Is it in our genes? Today, I have three children that are fairly competitive. Did I make a mistake treating winning and (not) losing as I did when they were young? Like taking too many antibiotics, did I create adults with a "super" need to win? This is where I rely on Jana (Stanfield's) music........ "Nothin I can do About it Now!"

As I said in my valentine letter, I never thought of myself as a competitive person. (Refering to the above paragraph, I wonder what my kids would say about my competiveness? A parent's actions are where a child gets their model for behavior. Mmmmmmmmmm) I can honestly say by and large I can celebrate my friend's successes without overwhelming jealously. (Maybe a little healthy envy.....) I've never been one of those screaming parents in the gym stands at sporting events. I rarely went to those events........ Could they make the seats more uncomfortable, all those obnoxious parents, I couldn't take the pressure when the score of the game was very close or tied......... My poor children........It was always about me. Good thing I raised forgiving adults isn't it?

The more I work at getting physically fit, the more I find myself pitting myself against others as a way to gage my progress. Of course, I always set myself up to win. No matter how unflexable I am, I can count on my husband having less range of motion. He happens to be seven years older than me, so I always have that. Now, if we were to have a "Who is nicer" competition, he would win hands down. I've got to give him something, right?

To get back to my tears......... There is one moment in my life that is freeze frame frozen, and it too ALWAYS brings me to tears. It was about ten years ago, when I was a struggling single mom having trouble making ends meet. I went to the grocery store, and standing in the check-out line I had to tell me kids "I can only afford one gallon of milk for the week, so you are going to have to make it last." (Yes! the tears are splashing on the keyboard.) I felt like such a failure, that I couldn't even provide my kids with a basic like milk. (Interestingly enough, when I talk to my kids about this, they tell me they never felt like they had to do without..... Truth or love?) The reason I am relating this tale, is because it turned out to be a defining moment in my life. I have always been a momma bear kind of parent. Do what you want to me, but don't mess with my kids! At that moment, I vowed to myself that I would do something to turn my finacial situation around. Shortly after that, I returned to school, got my physical therapist assistant degree, and was able to earn more money. Was it easy? Nope! But even that struggle had it's benefits. The eighteen months I was in school brought the four of us closer than we had ever been before. In addition, when my daughter headed off to college the next year, she got great grades. I have never put pressure on my kids (with words) to get good grades, but my daughter said to me "Mom, if you can graduate with high honors (I got one B+ to spoil my grade point) with all you have on your plate, I should be able to do it since school is the only thing I have to do." A great example of kids following your example......... and of the fact that I probably am much more competitive than I ever let myself believe.

So, I am thinking that reading about the Danskin triathlon, and Sally, just might become another defining moment in my life. I just might decide that I need to tackle a triathlon. Think of the adventures that road would lead me on! Sally's dedication has given me hope, and the potential of tackling something I would never have considered before encountering that article. With hope, ANYTHING is possible!

I would like to think that I do this for some of you blog readers. If you can grab onto one tiny piece of hope, (through reading my blog) you can hang on enough to fight another day. If you hang on to fight another day, eventually you will uncover and reach your life purpose/goals. If sharing my crazy zany life (and thoughts) in a way that makes one person feel empowered, then I have suceeded with the secondary purpose of this blog. First, of course, is me........ I am uncovering layers of myself that I have never encountered before by putting my thougts down in this blog. If I can continue to do this, while at the same time encouraging someone else, I will have stumbled upon the ultimate win/win situation! Let's go for it!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Parasites living in my head?............... YUCK!

Sounds nasty doesn't it? That book I keep refering to, "The Four Agreements," compares all those negative belief systems we take on, to a parasite invading our brains. The book states: " Humans are sick because there is a parasite that controls the mind and the brain. The food for the parasite is the negative emotion that come from fear. If we look at the description of a parasite, we find that a parasite is a living being who lives off of other living beings, sucking their energy without any useful contribution in return, and hurting their host little by little."

WOW! If you look at it from that perpective, I see what he means. All those thoughts about not being good enough, skinny enough, smart enough, etc..... can and do eat at one, until it changes the way he/she believes, acts, feels.

I absolutely adore two year olds, every single "terrible twos" moment, and think we should all learn to be more like them. I have never heard a two year old utter the words "Do these diapers make my butt look big?" Or, "I'm NEVER going to master this block building thing." Instead, a two year old veiws life as one big adventure, learning from the most ordinary daily events. The doorbell rings, the dog barks, and the two year old joins in the fun, chasing the dog round in circles laughing and having a good old time. I, on the other hand, have a very different reaction. The doorbell rings, the dogs bark, and I yell at them to be quiet, sit down and stay, (they like to sneak out the open door) and answer the door hoping it isn't a sales-person, instead of looking forward to who/what might be at the door, a package, flowers, or someone I haven't seen in a while but adore. Why is that?

Because we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed with seemingly important tasks, we miss out on so much joy. I am reminded of the sunrise I experienced on vacation. The sun comes up every single day, and the most thought I give it is when I switch off the lights because the sun in now providing enough light. I know, I live in the city, it is winter, and why would I want to waste time greeting the sun every day? The point is to take the time to enjoy the daily gifts we have available if we only notice them. I have this really great back yard (for a city dweller) in the summer, with lots of flowers, birds, and a babbling pond. Very occasionally I will sit on the deck and sip my coffee as dawn turns to daylight, and the dew drys on the grass. When I take the ten or so minutes to enjoy this, it sets a wonderful relaxing tone to the day. I always say I should do this more often, but I always let dumb stuff (like dishes and dust) take presidence. Instead of living in the moment, I focus on that long list of "have tos" that suck the joy right out of life.

It is the same with food consumption. Instead of taking time to experience meals as a joyful nurturing event, I haphazardly cram whatever my hand reaches for into my mouth, and rush onto the next thing on the list. When I did homecare, I used to eat in the car on the way to the next client. When my kids were little I rarley sat down to eat a full meal. (Why bother? I would just have to jump up to get something or clean something up as soon as I sat down.) I don't like to go out to dinner, and have always said it was because I don't like the idea of other people touching things that I am going to be putting in my mouth. (True statement.) Writing this, and thinking about the fact that I didn't like going to (formal) dinner on the ship (and only went two of the four times), because I didn't want to sit there for the two hours that passed between fist and last course, puts a different spin on things. Mmmmmmmmm.......... Could it be I don't have the patience to sit through dinner? Have I spent so much time trying to get my focus off food, I have deprived myself of the very thing that would satify my cravings and keep me out of the between meal, late night snacking habit? Maybe if I make meal time more of an event, I will need less interaction with food overall? This is something worth further exploration I think.

Spend a little time this coming weekend rooting out the parisites that have taken up residency in your head. Can you figure out a way to bring joy to dealing with the mountain of laundry that is waiting for you to attend to? (If so, please share.) Can you sit on the floor and play with the dog/kids/husband/etc..., notice the dust bunnies under the sofa, and laugh at it? (It has taken me many years, but I have finally come to the conclusion that no matter how many times one dusts, it just comes back. If you skip a week (or two) no one really notices and it frees you up for more important things like finishing the last twenty pages of the book you are reading, or forty wink on the sofa. Only when you can't relax enough to do these type of activities is it time to attack those dust bunnies.) Can you wear the outfit that makes you feel wonderful, even if you are certain it isn't the most flattering think in your closet? Another trade secret here....... I go to the grocery store in my jammies, or work-out clothes, because I feel like it (and am too darn lazy to change my clothes.) Even if people do notice, they will never say anything out loud. I choose to believe they are secretly jealous that I have enough guts (Or could care less. Thank goodness my self-esteem has never been tied up in clothes and make-up) to do so.

Here and now, I am giving you permission to act like a two year old for part of your day. Laugh, giggle, look at something ordinary through two year old eyes. Engage in somthing that you love doing, catch the wave of joy it brings you, and ride that wave to the next adventure. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What's love got to do with.......... Sleep?..........

Before Christmas, I would have had no idea. Since the first of the year, letting one another sleep has become the number one way my husband and I show our affection for one another. He does a better job of this than I do....... I am the selfish one in the relationship, but I tried a little harder last night.

After dinner, my husband cautiously stated "I think I might go take a little nap." The hopefull look on his face made it impossible for me to resist having a little fun with him, so I replied, "Geez! I was just going to take a nap myself." The crestfallen hurt puppy dog look that took over his face, egged me on. (Someday, I will take "good wife" classes, but for now.......) He tried to reason with me that he needed just a little sleep, but I was hearing none of it. My sweet husband finds in impossible to put his needs over my own. I know many of you are thinking this would be a great thing, but I caution you to be careful what you wish for. Don't get me wrong, I know how lucky I am to have such a great guy. It is just since he won't speak up for himself, it leaves me with full responsibility for monitoring myself and keeping a fair balance going in our relationship. Don't ya hate it when you have to act like a grown-up? I think all us NEED to hear no once in a while, if only to make the yeses in life sweeter. Maybe, if I wasn't such a cute, adorable, wonderful wife, he could be harder on me? Everyone that knows him knows that it is just not in his nature. (Being hard on others that is.)

Anyway, after about two minutes of us bantering back and forth about who wanted sleep more, my husband, eyes pleading with me, repeated, "I'll just sleep for one hour." Flashing him his favorite mischievous for his eyes only smile I relied, "No you won't! You can only sleep for fifty-eight minutes, since you wasted two minutes talking about it." Sleep deprived as he was, he got the point, and took off towards the bedroom in a flash. (Before I changed my mind maybe?)

Of course (I can be a good wife when I want to) I let him sleep more than an hour, while I held down the fort. When he woke up at nine-thirty, he felt refreshed and loved. I can say this with such certainty, because that is exactly the way I feel when he bestows the gift of sleep upon me.

A friend of mine was telling me earlier today that she told her husband she didn't want him to get her anything for her birthday. Not flowers, not take her out to dinner, nothing. All she wanted was for him to help around the house more so she could have a little free time to do some of the things she wanted to do. (Like work on her craft projects without being interuped.)

It is often much easier to go out and purchase a present than it is to give the gift of time. Rarely, does it mean as much. I remember when my kids were younger, and would ask me what I wanted for my birthday, it was always the same answer. "Just get along, and don't bicker for one ENTIRE day!" I have really great kids, but we all know how siblings love to pick one another. I think every parenting class should have at least one lecture on how to referee, if the parents are planning on having more than one child. While I am on the subject, let me share my number one deterent to sibling fighting. When things started to get out of control, I would make them write love letters to one another, and then stand facing and take turns reading their letters out loud to one another. They always ended up laughing, and forgetting why they were angry. (For a few minutes anyway.)

So your challenge for today, if you choose to accept it, is to think of someone special in your life, and come up with a gift from your heart for them. Something you can do that cost only your time and effort, but will be appreciated by the receiver more than the most expensive gift in the world. The look on their face will show you why they say it is better to give than to receive. I say (especially when it comes to the gift of sleep,)it is pretty darn good to receive too, and I am betting the recipient of your gift will agree, and want to do something special right back at you. Think positive thoughts!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What's the matter with cash?..............

My daughter purchased a new bedroom set the other day, and paid cash for it. Besides feeling great that she had saved the money up instead of using credit, it was a funny experience dealing with the sales person. It seemed, that no matter how many times she told him she wanted to pay cash, he kept coming up with one more "deal" for her. She held firm, and he finally gave up and took her cash. How silly is this, and how many of us fall into these "great deal" traps?

My favorite one at the moment is one of the mortgage company commercials. They brag about how they helped so and so just days before she was to go bankrupt. Not only did they help her avoid bankrupcy, they also consolidated all of her credit cards, AND got her eleven thousand dollars in cash to use for whatever she wanted. Sounds great doesn't it? The part that they conveniently forget to mention is that the odds are good that so and so's habits have not changed, and soon the eleven thousand will be gone, and the credit cards will again be maxed out. In addition to this, as things begin to snowball and she cannot make her payments, it will be very likely that she will end up losing her home. And they call that help?

I have to confess that I speak with athority here, (except for the losing the home part thank goodness) because I have one of those home equity loans. At the time, we were justifing all of our poor finacial choices in the name of getting the business up and running. Now, every month that I pay just the interest for that month, (that has risen to over four hundred dollars) I am reminded of my mistake. I call it my stupid tax, and it has turned out to be a very expensive lesson.

It has always been a source of pride for me that I had (past tense) a great credit score. I bought into all of those lies about needing credit to get ahead in life. Because I am an over achiever, I figured if a little credit is good, then lots of credit is better. When I woke up, and closed all my accounts, it upset their perceived "good balance" and now my FICA score sucks. Well guess what? The sun still comes up in the morning, and I continue to have my needs met with lots left over. Dave Ramsey (daveramsey.com) refers to a FICA score as an "I love debt score." This guy is a multi multi millionaire, and he doesn't have a FICA score, because he doesn't use credit. Can you see the humor in that?

I listen to Dave every afternoon on X-M radio (# 165), and as I was writing the above he was saying that someone cancelled their capital one credit card and when ask why, he replied "I am tired of being slave to the lender." (Another of Dave's sayings.) The lady at the card company said "That ___________, (she called Dave names) he's going to lose us all our jobs." Wouldn't that just be a shame? Dave's message is getting out, and the credit card companies are shaking in their boots. This is a good thing!

One of the best parts of my vacation, is that it was paid for before we went. Having gone on vacation both paying cash and using credit, I can tell you the prior is the way to go. hanging out on the ship, I couldn't help but over-hear couples either arguing or worrying about what they were spending, or how they would pay for it when they got home. (Those drinks are expensive!) How can you have fun doing that? The left-over cash we brought home with us goes back into the bank to start the savings for our next trip, so there is always something growing in that account. We fund this account with what we call "found money." This is money like coupon clipping, rebates, bottle returns, and money I get for providing respite care. I am amazed at how this adds up without taking a dime out of our paychecks.

Give cash a try. You too can find out what a power trip this can be, as well as how much peace it can bring to your life. Blessings for you today and always!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

There's no place like home............................

Never has that been a truer statment than earlier this morning (four o'clock to be exact) when I finally returned home. Yesterday's experience at the airport rates VERY high on the "Most miserable experience ever" list. Some of the highlights include:

Going up to check in (after five hours of sitting with our luggage) only to find that due to weather our flight was delayed by two hours. At this point in time, I was still holding it together pretty well........ By six pm, we were feeling the need for a little nourishment. (I was also feeling those "I eat when I am bored feelings," but really our last meal had been breakfast on the ship.) In order to get something besides chips, cola, or liquor, we had to go back out and then wait through the security line again. This turned out to be a good thing.(For some"body" anyway.) I ordered a veggie burger and fries, (it was either that or pizza) but Burger King fries have never been my favorite..... COLD Burger King fries even less of a favorite.

Finally arriving in Atlanta at nineish in the evening, to sit for another couple of hours before heading north.

Arriving at final destination, and (Thank you angels) finding our luggage. I remember thinking "It's all downhill from here." Boy! Was I wrong!

Hauling everything out into the cold, and onto a shuttle to be transported back to our car. The driver asked me for my red ticket. The fact that I didn't have a red ticket SHOULD have been my first clue, but I was tired, and not thinking with all cylinders by this point.

Arriving at the parking lot to NOT find our car in the expected place, and feeling guilty that I didn't have that red ticket. (Or at least didn't have it now, when it mattered most! Maybe I HAD been given one, and had lost it......... Why do I always make things my fault?)

Driving up and down row after row (It wasn't that big of a lot, but I am going for the entertainment value here!) only to come to the conclusion that either my car had been towed (from the condition of the front end........ remember _______'s accident...... they COULD have determined the car a hazard/ or too ugly to remain with the other cars.) or stolen. I voted for the first choice.......... Don't get me wrong....... I love my car, it is paid for.......... I just don't think it would have much value to a thief! By now, I was REALLY missing my husband. He would NEVER do anything like this, he is a real detail kind of guy!

Determining (with a little persuasion from the driver)we were in the wrong lot.......Do ya think? Fortunately, (for my sanity anyway) the driver was able to take us across the street. He couldn't take us into the actual lot, but I figured getting as close as we could was preferable to us hauling the luggage across the street ourselves. (The picture that the last portion of that sentence conjured up, seems entertaining now...... But trust me.......... In the heat of the moment was not at all amusing!)

Hauling our luggage (remember it is close to two in the morning by now, cold and dark. I am just beginning to relate to what a homeless person goes through on a daily basis, when one of the lot's drivers rescues us and takes us back into the lot.

Finding my car! (Right where I left it apparently.) Now I know why I didn't have that red ticket....... I KNEW I didn't lose it! I literally heard the Halleluiah Chorus singing......... (Honest!) We were home free, or soon would be. Like the song says "Wrong again..... Naturally."

Opening the glove box to get to the trunk button, (the only way to open the trunk, the actual lock doesn't work....... But, the car is paid for!) and getting that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach when NOTHING HAPPENS! Absolutely nothing! Who left a light on in the car? Moi?

Things did turn around from here. A driver showed up in just a few minutes and had a super jumper........ The car started up, just like that, right at the point where I began thinking "I just can't take anymore."!

The hour drive home passed without difficulty,(Amen!)and today is a new day. While I am not ready to go through that type of adventure again anytime soon, I thought it made for semi-amusing blog material, and hope you agree. Time, now, to go wade through the junk mail and ease myself back into reality.

Monday, February 20, 2006

All good things may come to an end……… But the memories are mine forever………….

I am creating this blog (to be posted later) as we sit in the airport waiting to check our luggage. I knew you were suppose to get to the airport at least two hours before your flight, but today I learned that one can (and has done so) get to the airport too early. This makes it kind of difficult to wander around, so making lemonade out of another of life’s lemons here I sit writing.

This cruise was very different from the other two I have taken in the past, and these differences stem directly from the changes in me.

I have always thought of myself as an outgoing person, but this is the first time I really interacted with other passengers, and this made my vacation that much richer. One gal we met on the transport ride to the ship. As our paths would cross here and there, we developed a friendship of sorts, and exchanged e-mail addresses to keep in touch. I told her at the very least I wanted to add her to my annual valentine letter list, so she could count on hearing from me at least once a year. (I get busy you know.) There is one couple that I met on vacation seventeen years ago , and we do this once a year yearly exchange of letters. I not only enjoy the connection, but it reminds me of the fun I had on that vacation so I get the pleasure of re-living those memories too.

Another passenger I spent some time chatting with, was a fella that goes by the title “Big Daddy.” Or at least he did for the hairy chest contest. This gentleman’s hobby is shark hunting, and as I told him, “It kind of makes my hobby of knitting pale in comparison.” It was so interesting chatting with him, learning lots of facts about sharks, and I would have missed out on this little adventure if I had spent all my time waiting in the food lines. An additional bonus to chatting with others, was as I did so, and then watched them participate in activities, it was more fun because I felt like I “knew” them. We all know how much more enjoyable it is to watch people we know making total and complete utter fools of themselves than it is to watch strangers carry out the same behaviors.

Another person of interest (there I go with that government security talk again) I met on the ship, was “internet café dude (ICD).” I have already confessed how computer savvy I am not. When I first arrived at the internet café (ship lingo, not mine) to purchase minutes, ICD was most helpful getting my pop-up blockers turned off (or on….. which ever way they needed to be) for the system to work correctly. I knew I was going to like him the first time I went back to use the internet. Other passengers had left behind a bunch of dirty dishes on the tables. (I need to interject here, that the internet café also serves as the library on the ship.) As we were chatting, I heard him mutter to himself “People! Don’t they know this is a library? You don’t eat in a library.” (Or words to that effect….. The quotes are used only so you the reader knows it was him talking.) My thought exactly! There were many, many places designated to eating on the ship, so there was really no need to do so in the library. I love books, and have a great respect for the written word, and ( in my opinion) a library is a place where certain respectful behavior should take place. Anyway, as the trip continued, we continued chatting, and eventually, (I held back for awhile) talk worked its way around to the topic of my blog. (as it always does) He did not know what blogging was all about, so I explained things, and told him he would be a great one to write a blog. Can you even imagine the stories he would have to share with all of the people he comes into contact with? He agreed it would be a great way for him to practice writing and improving his English skills. Being a spoiled rotten American I don’t even think about one not simply knowing English. It made me stop and think about all those times I have been frustrated in the past not being able to understand a foreign tongue. It must have been much more frustrating for them, having to repeat, repeat, repeat, at the same time they were searching for the very words I was asking them to repeat. I have new found respect for anyone brave enough to tackle a new language. If it wasn’t for Sesame Street, I wouldn’t know any words not of the English variety. Who knows, maybe when I get this health thing under control I’ll tackle a new language……………..It COULD happen!

I told ICD that he would have to read my blog, as I would be talking about him, (in a good way) and he would want to share his new found fame with all of his friends. I don’t think I shared with him that I protect my victim’s true identity, by not using their real names. So, ICD, now that you do know, all of your friends are just going to have to trust you that is REALLY is you I am talking about. (And not just one more pathetic attempt at getting increased readership…….. It’s not……I promise………)

Since I just popped onto page two on my word processor program, this blog is long enough, and will be ending here for today. Another hour and we can check our bags, to wait another three or so hours to catch our flight. Considering my bottom is already numb from sitting on the floor for so long, it is going to be a long, long day! Deal with it Patty!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Oh! So very close…… But no authentic twenty-four karat gold, plastic replica of a Carnival ship trophy to be had…………

At least not for me. My son won one (of the above described trophies) for winning at “Game Show Mania.” I played “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” and when we got to the two hundred and fifty-thousand dollar question, there were only two of us left standing. I didn’t know the only president to be born on July fourth. (Calvin Coolidge, and I so should have because I really like history, and my daughter was also born on July fourth so one would think sometime in the past twenty something years I would have read about famous people born on her birthday.) The other participant did (or at least guessed right) so he won the trophy. Drats! I was still pretty proud, because when I play along on television, I usually fall apart around the sixteen-thousand dollar question.

We also went snorkeling yesterday, and had a blast. It takes me a while to relax enough to breath through the tube instead of trying to hold me breath, but it is so fascinating to get that glimpse of underwater life. My son, on the other hand, jumped in and was diving down and swimming around like he was one of the fish. We had underwater cameras and it was fun taking his picture with the fish and coral. Later, back on the ship, I finished his photo op as he mastered the water slide.

After the games, I gave karaoke another go, so I could make a long-distance dedication to my husband. I sang “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw for him (this was also one of our wedding songs) with the following dedication “This is for my husband who is home taking care of our business while the kids and I vacation. Why? Because who besides your best friend would do something that wonderful for you?” Even though my name was called to sing Right after I had just finished dancing to someone else singing “Love Shack” and was TOTALLY out of breath ,(I hate it when that happens!) it went pretty well. Much better than when my new found karaoke friend convinced me to get up with her and sing “Poor Me” by Trick Pony. I had a vague memory of the song, but really had no clue how to sing it. Being on the “fun ship” that is what it is all about, so sing it (in a choppy, catch-up with the words, belt out the chorus kind of way) I did. I couldn’t really sing with conviction though, because I have way to many blessings in my life to every believe I could be poor in any area that really counts.

I skipped dinner last night, because I wanted to go to the midnight buffet party. Yup! I ate late, and had not one but two deserts. (I combined them, a chocolate cake with many layers of filling, and a dreaming creamy strawberry concoction, mmmmmm……… heavenly!) Since I kept dancing, I probably burned off at least a few of those calories.

Not getting to bed until after one, I decided not to set a wake-up call. (Really I didn’t set it because when I did it on Friday, I woke up early and had to sit in the room for ten minutes until the call came as I knew the kids would never answer it.) Fate being so kind to me, I heard a crash (with my earplugs in) at four-thirty this morning, so I got up and hit the deck (with my running shoes that is) for my long run. I ended up only running for an hour and a half instead of two hours because my knees began to bother me from the sharp turns on the small track. My reward for getting up was watch dawn break for the last twenty minutes or so of my run. After I stretched and got my first cup of coffee and my banana, I joined the others on deck to watch the sun slowly creep upward, rising higher and higher until it’s full roundness cleared the water. It continued on it’s journey, up, up, up, until it was blazing brightly, casting brilliant rays of warmth onto my face. Talk about bliss!

After celebrating the sun, I refilled my coffee cup and wrote my blog for the day. Sitting here now, I see a veggie and cheese omelet, as well as a nap on a deck chair in my near future. My wish for you is something in your day that will bring you at least as much joy as I know those things will bring to me. Blessings to you!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A good time being had by all……………………

Since my last blog, I participated in a Trivia game, (seven out of twenty correct…… My husband is the Trivia expert) played Bingo, (didn’t win that either, and my instant tickets were duds) went bottom fishing, (I’m pretty sure I was the only one on the boat that DIDN”T catch a fish), had cocktails with the captain, (Well, we actually had one cocktail AT the captain’s cocktail party……… He was too busy dealing with a sick passenger that needed to see a medical something or other before we could leave port.) and sang my heart out at Karaoke. ( Nothing bad to say here………I know to pick songs that everyone knows the words to so my voice can’t be heard over the crowds.) This is turning out to be a really special vacation, the only thing missing is mt hubby! WAIT A MINUTE…………………… Something seems to be “missing “ from a typical cruise description…… That’s right……… I didn’t tell you about the food! What was I thinking?

Seems my pledge to get more involved in activities (than I have in past cruises) has had added benefits. The food is fabulous, and there is an amazing abundance of it, I am just choosing to not put an amazing abundance of it in my stomach. I am finding that I am enjoying things like the presentation of the food , as well as the taste more by eating less. Last August, if there was a desert within five feet of me, I laid claim to it. This trip, I fing myself picking one thing, and enjoying the heck out of it.

Remember when I was longing to borrow Oprah’s chef? I decided that while I had the benefit of “my” own chef, I would try different things. Last night for dinner, I tried quail for the first time. ( Actually I didn’t really try the quail, I could not bring myself to consume that cute little thing…… The dish came with a yummy sounding stuffing, and was served on this potato type thingy. Both of those tasted great!) At the end of the meal, (after I tore the quail apart to get at the good stuff) those tiny little legs looked so pathetic on the plate, I felt bad that a quail had died in vain before serving his little life purpose (human consumption) but my daughter saved the day. She ask if she could take a picture of those tiny legs, lying patiently on my plate waiting to be transported to their final resting place (the last part being my description not hers). I figured why not document our own “quail incident?” If it is good enough to be expounded on in the national news media, ( over, and over, and over ad-nauseum) it deserves the same quality attention in my blog. Don’t ya agree? ENOUGH ABOUT THAT (the vice-president’s quail incident that is) ALREADY!

Well! I have an entire day of new experiences ahead of me so I best get at them. Have a great day…… I know (whatever I end up doing) I will.

P.S. I almost forgot the best part of yesterday……… I might not have caught a fish, but I got SEVERAL compliments on my BRIGHT yellow Lands-End water shoes while I was relaxing on the boat, letting the warm sun and gentle rocking motion lull me (almost ) to sleep. Maybe that’s why the big one alluded me…….. It didn’t want the other’s to be jealous……… The biggest catch AND the coolest shoes might have been too much for the others to handle!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Another thing my trainer said…………………………..

My trainer ask me how I was feeling about my exercise program, so I gave him my normal flippant (yet true) response “I like the fact that I can brag about it, when I am finished.” He said something along the lines of “I don’t go by that philosophy, but whatever works I guess.” He went on to tell me he believes that one should enjoy exercise, or keep trying new things until they do find something they enjoy. Thinking back on these statements, truth be told, THIS REALLY PISSED ME OFF! (No offense trainer.) Not only did I NEED to exercise (if I wanted to be healthy that is)……… I was suppose to enjoy it? What is up with that?

If truth be told, until exercise feels the same as spending a quiet afternoon parked on the sofa in front of a Lifetime movie, nibbling on chocolate, I probably won’t say “I like exercise,” but I can and do like what exercise does for me, and that is enough for today! After all, there are lots of things in life that one needs to do, but doesn’t really like doing. Here ( in no special order) are my top ten picks:

1) Paying Uncle Sam part of each and every hard earned dollar.

2) Waking up and not being able to get back to sleep.

3) Waking up right in the middle of a great dream.

4) The alarm clock going off (Do ya think I have sleep issues?)

5) Letting my children turn five and head off to Kindergarten

6) Letting my kids make their own mistakes as they grow and learn.

7) Who am I kidding?…… Letting my kids grow up period!

8) Admitting I am wrong (Who Moi?)

9) Admitting someone might be right.

10) Risk taking.

One good thing that came out of the above conversation, is that as I was thinking of all of the sports that I have tried in the past, I remembered that I used to play softball (left-field) on a co-ed community education league. (From my late twenties through my thirties.) This is one thing that I truly did love. Recalling this was very pleasant , and made me smile.

Okay! It is already seven-thirty, and I have finished my hour run, three cups of coffee, and a banana. It is time for a shower and then some oatmeal (with fruit of course!) Enjoy your day.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mother nature has an amusing sense of humor...............

Began my day today, at three in the morning, fighting through four to six inches of snow to get to the airport. Just as I was re-thinking my decision to not spend the big bucks on a massage on-board ship (I was beginning to think I would need it to get my shoulders out of my ears secondary to tension) the snowy roads turned to rainy roads and I WAS SAVED!!! Map Quest is one of lifes great inventions.

So, now, sixteen hours later I am on my way to the Bahama's for a little fun in the sun. Since I have relaxed a bit, I am spending the big bucks on internet time instead of a massage.......Lucky you! There are so many things to do (and eat) that I will need to keep these blogs shorter than normal........ (I heard you cheering!)

Speaking of eating....... So far so good. I have been on the ship for six hours now, and have only eaten the top off a piece of pizza, a really yummy salad, and one desert (Out of a choice of six or so, I stopped counting.) Oh! Ya! I ate some (maybe twelve) of my son's fries with some ranch dressing..... almost forgot those. I have also ran three miles on the treadmill, and lifted a few weights. A bit disapointed that we are on an older ship, so the gym isn't that great. It is better than nothing, and I will make the most of what they have to offer.

Okay, I just came in for a minute to sign up for minutes while there was someone on duty to do so with. This must be a record short blog for me....... Imagine!

Thinking of you (all), and planning on having enough fun for all of us!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Warm Fuzzy Story for Your Enjoyment..............

For those of you that read yesterday's blog, you know that my son was waiting for his passport. Without going into too many details, I wanted to let you know it is safely in his possession now. This was made possible through the assistance of my Congressman's office (The first time I ever took advantage of the fact that I DO have a Congressman working on my behalf..... So I guess if only in some small way the system does work.) and our local post office.

I live in a small city that is pretty friendly...... In other words, everyone knows everybody's business. As annoying as this can be, sometimes it works in our favor. When I talked to the postmaster, she assured me that the carriers would remember delivering a passport, and the fact that they did was very instrumental in locating it. What I want to share is a tale the postmaster shared with me. She said that each morning, as the mail is being sorted, they have what she called "a shout out" to help with figuring out mail that isn't correctly addressed. Yesterday, there was a piece of mail (that looked like a valentine card) that just had a name and our city and State on the envelope. During "shout out" a carrier recognized the name, and was thus able to deliver the valentine on time. Doesn't that just make you smile? This would never be possible in a large city, and made me glad that I live where I do even with all of the limitations small town living may have.

I also went to my trainer yesterday. Per my request, he re-measured my (approximate) body fat, so see my progress since last October. I have decreased my body fat by five percent, which is good news. Since I have only lost a couple of pounds since October, it must be I have gained muscle.......More good news right? So tell me why I ended up crying in his office as we continued to talk? Yup! That's right..... I broke down like a baby. (My poor trainer!) I am still trying to figure out all that went on in my head, and will come back to this experience in later blogs. One part that I have been focusing on is how the simple question (he ask) "why do you think you haven't lost more weight?" was a trigger? He had absolutely no judgement in his tone, he simply wanted to get my input. As I was telling him things like "I don't pay attention while I am eating so I eat too much, I am forty-eight and heading towards menopause, years of yo-yo dieting is catching up to me, I have lost a significant amount of weight over the past year so I am loosing at a much slower rate now." All things that are true, but what is amazing is as I was saying them, they sounded like excuses to my ears. This unleased a torrent of tapes that started screaming FAILURE, FAKE, BIG LOOSER, (and not in the good sense). When these tapes started playing, it was like all the positive messages I have been trying to believe (applied to the new and improved me) were totally negated, and I just fell apart. As I write this today, I am better....... When I tried to process it last night, I ended up crying myself to sleep. I don't really understand why yet, but I am hoping to learn figure this all out soon.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I leave for vacation in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, so I need to get off the computer now to be able to get everything in place regarding my business (pills, meals, bills) ........Sorry, I couldn't resist the rhyme.....The bills are of the currency type in case they need more milk, eggs, or bread. I stocked up last night on the way back from the trainer. As I was placing my staples on the counter, I noticed the lady in front of me had a much more romantic assortment of goodies for her purchase. What does that say for the state of my marriage? Before you jump to conclusions, let me add that my husband is the one staying behind to watch the residents while I go with two of my kids. (Wait!..... I told you not to jump yet.) He is doing this because the last time (last August) we went together, and had arranged the fill in care the November before the trip, the caregiver backed out only three weeks before departure. My best friend ended up taking the week off and filling in for us. (Yes! I know how lucky and loved I am!) I could not put myself throught the stress of that again, but didn't want to let the kids down either. (A nearly free trip is hard to pass up.) I was getting the supplies to be sure that his time filling in would run as soothly as possible. Maybe this isn't your idea of romance, but both things were done out of love and concern for the other, and I really value that I have this in my marriage. (You can jump now.)

As I was saying, I need to get off the computer, so I am REALLY going now. Bye!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Excerpts from my Valentine letter....... Our year in review.........

Happy Valentines Day to you!

I thought I would share some of the highlights of our annual V-day letter in today's blog. Practicing what I preach (to my sixteen y/o) our identity has been protected to keep internet stalkers at bay.

........ The other thing that we (_____ and I) did last summer to get some quality time together, was audition for "The Amazing Race." For some reason (that anyone that watches our audition tape can't understand) we didn't get picked, but had a fabulous time staying up ALL night laughing and talking. It was like a giant slumber party with strangers.

........... Okay! Maybe buff isn't the right word, but if one looks really close, at just the right angle, when I am in just the right position, one will see SOME muscle definition. Hey! It's only the second month of the year....I've got ten more to work at it. This would be a good place to say (again) that all of these great changes of mine would not be possible without the support of _____(my husband). He has been very supportive, taking over the care and feeding of our residents while I go for long runs, trainer visits, and get the needed extra sleep as I increase my mileage.

......... Speaking of our residents...... Last November we got another gentleman, who is one of the most gentle spirits I have ever met. We love having him as part of our family, but _____ and _____ (our dogs for those of you that may have forgotten who ______ and ______ are) really, really, REALLY, love having him with us. He lets them sit on him WHENEVER they want to, and sneaks (or tries to..... we are on to him) them snacks at the table. We have come up with a win, win solution...... Once he (our resident) eats his food, he gets treats to feed the dogs.

...........Last May, _____'s (husband) mom passed away, and I can't begin to tell you how much I (we) all miss her. I am motherless once again.......We are very grateful to Hospice for their assistance in getting her home, and _____ and I had the honor of being with her at the end. I told ____ that I feel it was very special that she was with him for his first breath, and he was able to be with her for her last. The circle of life continues, and _____ became a grandfather a short time ago.......

....... _____(husband) continues to commute to ______ for his "day job." He also continues to take a yoga class, and does a better downward dog than me! He has stronger shoulders, but I kick his butt when it comes to holding plank pose..... I never thought I was a competitive person, but I am learning a whole lot about myself these days.

........ Hello! This is my first time writing my own part of our Valentine letter (Two full years before mom made the other kids write their own!) Not much has been going on.......... Last summer, I decided that rather than getting a "real" job, (What do I need to make my own money for, I have bank of mom and ______.) I would do volunteer work. I worked as a volunteen at a day camp for kids........... I (now) have my first boyfriend. I enjoy all the perks that come along with that. (Like having my dinner AND the movie paid for...... mom taught me well, date someone with a job.)........... The big 16 rolled around last April as well. The freedom of driving is quite a pleasure. Not to say this freedom came without it's share of mishapes. Within my first two weeks of driving I received two tickets. First while attempting to get un-lost, I ended up on a one-way street. This little lesson taught me to pay closer attention to road signs. The following week the car in front of me stopped (IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION) as the light turned yellow. Needless to say, I didn't..... that is until my front end kissed his rear end. From this experience I learned the value of knowing how to fix your own car (and the value of keeping an eye out for crazy drivers on the road.) Since learning these back to back lessons (the hard way), I have been driving trouble free. For some reason though, mom continues to insist on driving whenever we go somewhere together! Well, I guess I will say goodbye until next year.

........Another year has gone by, and here I am telling you how my year went. Well, I haven't been fired yet, so I guess my year has gone very well. I don't really do much outside of work, except sleep of course........... One thing I learned this year, is the value of a dollar. Besides saving up for a house, I have saved enough money to go on a cruise to the Bahamas. This will be my first time outside the united States, and I continue to wait for my passport to arrive. I ordered it in plenty of time, but it was sent to my old address, and has been lost evey since. I am trying to focus on how much fun I will have on the cruise instead of what I will do if it does not arrive in time.......... I will be turning twenty-five this March. (If any of you are already feeling old, that wasn't meant to rub salt in your wounds.) That pretty much highlights the past year of my life, so until next year this is _______ saying Happy New Year, and take care.

........Hi Everyone- I did not think any year could go by faster than 2004, but I was wrong. The past year for me included traveling 2-3 times a month for work, and that really makes the weeks "fly" by (pun intended....hee-hee!) Anyways, I didn't get to too many cool places, but did spend some time at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains. I had a free weekend to kill out there, so I took some time to go Rappelling (basically strapping yourself in a harness and free-falling down a mountain), and splunking (crawling through a maze of underground caverns and tunnels.)......... In December, I received a promotion and am now working as an ________. This is a huge change for me, mostly because I don't have to travel anymore. And just when I got to Gold status with my frequent flyer miles! This is my first experience in a management-type position and so far it is going great. I have also applied to grad school (keep your fingers crossed that I get in), and have been doing a lot of volunteer work in preparation for the (grad shcool) program. Well, everyone be safe and have a great 2006!

In addition to our fun informative letter, I found the perfect valentine card for my husband. On the front of it it says "A VALENTINE BUTTON FOR MY HUSBAND Today's a good time to let the world know how you feel about me......" The button reads "I'd be lost without my wife", and the inside of the card says "You can also wear it when we go driving together." Isn't that the best? My husband left for work this morning proudly sporting his new button.......... Because I told him I would be checking with the girls in his office to make sure he wore it today. What a special kind valentine I have! I am a lucky lucky woman indeed, and will be counting my blessings all day long! Enjoy your (Valentine's) day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Venturing out..........I was richly rewarded......................

Having my business in my home, I don't get out much. This is fine with me, as I love my house. I really think I could not go out for months, before I would finally feel a desire to do so. (Too bad I can't put this to the test.)

Last Friday, I did need to go out (to a clinic, not a drug store) to pick up a perscription for one of my residents. It was a quick in and out, and took about three minutes. Since the clinic is on a college campus, they use a token system to keep extra traffic out of the parking lot. As I pulled out to leave, there were two cars in front of me, and one car right up at the gate. As I took a second look, I noted that the car at the gate wasn't moving, and was minus the driver. After another few minutes I noticed an older gentleman heading towards the parked car. In the next two minutes it became apparent that the gentleman was having trouble getting out of the gate. At exactly the same time another woman and I got out of our cars, and went to see if we could be of assistance. As we were approaching the car, a third woman came out of the building with a token, thinking that maybe this was the problem. This poor gentleman was mortified that he was holding up traffic. Assuring him it was no problem, we got him backed up a bit, inserted his token, and got him on his way. By this time, there were about ten cars waiting to exit. As I headed back to my car, I noted that all the waiting drivers appeared relaxed and were smiling. Isn't that wonderful?

These drivers could have just as easily been angry and upset at having to wait. I have seen that very behavior many times. (Most frequently when I have my typical three hundred dollar shopping order at the check-out lane. Couldn't they tell with my mountain of items that they would be better off picking a different lane?) No matter the circumstances, we ALWAYS have a choice as to how we respond; Positive or negative it is always our choice. When my kids were younger, and would come to me saying "so and so made me so mad!" I would always reply, "No! You are choosing to get mad." (Though that was/is the truth, they didn't like hearing it, and would often stomp off pouting mad.)

Lately, I have been making poor, or at least not the best choices, regarding food. I have to own that.

There are daily choices to be made regarding career/money/relationships/etc... I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that we do indeed make the choices that affect them all. It becomes a habit to believe that we are simply Marionette puppets (and our choices are) being controlled by someone else. "I would love to quit work, but I have a mortgage." While this may be a true statement, you still do have the option of quiting. The results of that choice may not be something you want to deal with. By making it someone else's fault, it lets us off the hook doesn't it?

Remebering that you always have a choice CAN be very powerful. An example of this is something I began to practise at the time I decided to stop using credit cards. Instead of saying "I can't afford ________." I began to say "I choose not to spend my money on _________." I don't know how it worked, but that one little change was the beginning of the turnaround of our financial situation.

Making a choice not to be dragged into the drama of another's life has freed me more than I can say. Sometimes, the negative patterns in one's lives, become their identity. Without their illness/debt/dysfunctional relationship, they would be nothing (or at least would not be who they have become comfortable being). That is their choice, and though we may not agree with _________, they have the choice to do __________. Can you see how believing this can be freeing for you?

Choices being set aside, (Ever notice how I tend to go off on tangents?) and getting back to my original story, I am really glad that I got to witness hunan kindness in action. Seeing all those smiles, really got my weekend off to a good start!

It can be easy to focus on how much is wrong with our world, but I am glad I was witness to the good that goes on daily. I Believe that change can, and does, begin with one person, one action at a time. As each of us choose to be that one person, collectively we DO make the world a better place. Thank you for all you do in your own little corner of the world. Keep up the great work!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Time to fess up.........I'm tattling on myself.............

I have not been eating well.....Translation...... I have not been eating enough food. Don't get me wrong, I'm getting calories, just not all good ones.

The past week or so, my days have been busy/out of the ordinary regarding schedules for my residents. When I am busy, eating is the first thing I let slide. (Not! an excuse........just what I do.) I cook and serve three meals and about twenty snacks (don't you wish you had the problem of needing to gain weight) a day, I just don't like what I need to make for the others. (Meat, and soft/mushy things that are easy to chew.)

About a week and a half ago (while I was eating lunch) I was reading about how tunafish is a really great food for you. At some point later that day, I got out a can to remind me (I told you I've been busy) to eat it for lunch. That can sat on my counter for five straight days while I instead grabbed leftovers (Pasta, Pasta, Chili, homemade pizza, and chili AND pizza) for lunch. We all know how hard it is to fix canned tuna.....NOT!!! After day five, I put the tuna back in the cupboard.

(I think it was) Last Wednesday, I was looking for something to eat for dinner, and came accross that can of tuna. For the next three nights in a row, I had tuna (mixed with a dab of light mayo, celery, and onions) on two mulit-grain english muffins. I do that sometimes, eat one food repeatedly until I get sick of it, then don't eat it again for months.

I have eaten very few fruits and veggies, no where near what I should be eating. How long does it take to pull some baby carrots out of the bag in the fridge? You would think I would be able to do at least that!

Remember I was out of chocolate, and was wondering if I would eat any before the good stuff arrived. (Which, by the way, has been ordered but will probably not arrive before I leave for vacation next week.) Last Thursday night, (the night of Friday's blog story) I warmed (and ate) up some left-over spaghetti around eightish in the evening. Shortly after that, my daughter said "What can I have that is really rich (to eat)?" Translation...... What will you make me mom? I suggested hot fudge sauce, or a nice cup of homemade cocoa, but these didn't sound good. I knew if I suggested no-bake cookies she would be thrilled. I did, she was. After making them, I ate the litte bit left in the pan that is not enough to make an entire cookie, but too much to just wash down the drain, and put a couple of cookies on a plate to eat later. My daughter ate eight or so,(and told me they were my best batch ever, but I took that compliment with a grain of salt, because EVERY batch is the best one I've ever made) but when I went out to take care of the rest, and eat the two I had put aside, I didn't really want them, so I passed. Do you believe that????? The next morning, I did my safety trick that I do a lot. I told my daughter to take the left-overs to school so they were not around to tempt me. Mid-morning, I remembered those two on that plate and went to get them. She had taken those to school as well. You should have heard mouth!!!!! Oh well, she (mouth) got over it.

Last night (the night before my long run today), I wanted to eat high fat (In the name of science experimenting) to see if it made a differnce as I planned to run outside. I chose nachos (extra black beans no meat, lots of sharp cheddar cheese, hot sauce, and lite sour cream. I was too lazy to add the veggies) later I had a bowl of ice cream (about 3/4 cup) with that fudge sauce I was talking about earlier. Seems once I planted that seed in my daughter she couldn't let it go. How's that for lots of fat calories in a short four hour period?

My run today, was uneventful. (Even the horse size dog that snapped his chain and chased me for a few yards didn't scare me.......Much.) I went ten miles in one hour and fifty-seven minutes. No nausea, and no tummy cramps at all. The temperature was in the low thirties, and while I sweat, it was no where near what I did last weekend running inside. My conclusion, is that when it is hot, I loose too much fluid and with it electrolytes and sodium. Last week, I consumed about twenty ounces of water during my run, today about eight. I am thinking of trying to take in something like Gatoraid the next time I run longer inside and see how my system likes this. I figure I should be okay for the up-coming run, as long as New York City doesn't have some freakish eighty degree heat wave at the end of March. I am finding that the long miles are not really that hard to complete. At least not at the rate I run them. I am guessing I am running at a ten-thirty pace, which I am very okay with. I like the idea of being able to move after getting done with the run, rather than keeling over in my driveway upon finishing. Am I being too nice to myself?

I am not sure how I am going to approach getting my eating on track. I think, probably, I am just not going to think about it too much over the next few days, because I am finding it difficult enough to find time to go to the bathroom, let alone shower. (Never fear, for the sake of those around me, I manage those things...... eventually!) This whole eating healthy thing seems to be turning out to be one step forward, two steps back. I keep wishing I was Oprah, and had my own personal chef that could whip me up these fabulous low fat veggie dishes, and all I had to do was sit down at my china and crystal ladden table and chew. (I would have others to feed me, wipe my chin, and clean up when I had my fill.) don't get me wrong, I love Oprah, and I am not making fun of her. I understand that she has worked hard to get where she is, she is always helping those less fortunate, (maybe I should ask her to loan me her chef?)and deserves to reap the rewards of her hard work. I just used her as an example to make a point. I could have used the Jennie in the bottle/three wishes tale just as easily I guess.

Right now, with the rest of my Sunday in front of me, I am going to focus on enjoying the activities of the day, as well as whatever I end up eating; While I love myself...... After all....... It is the day before, the day before....... Valentines Day that is!........ The day set aside to express the love we have inside of us. It is my favorite holiday, so I am starting my celebration early. You can do it too! Give yourself a hug and write down five things you love about yourself, and then celebrate your uniqueness. ENJOY!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I give up..........................For now anyway..............

Yesterday, after I posting, the profile/edit section of my blog was at the bottom of the page instead of where it should be (at the top). I didn't do anything (that I know of)........... It must have been magic. Not to cut myself down, it is just a fact...... I am only one step above computer illiterate so I don't know what to do to fix it. By the way, I also cannot figure out how to put links in my posts or on my page, how to use the spell checker, (Bet you noticed this right?) or do other things that I don't even know exist. I remember my first encounter with a personal computer. Husband (number two, not current) and I decided to make the leap towards modern technology, (verses my old trusty typerwriter) and headed out to the computer store. If you haven't already figured it out, I get bored easy, so after five minutes of listening to the clerk "sell" us on the benefits of modern technology, I said "just buy it." (I was using credit cards back then, so I made many purchases without thinking.) I spent the next forty-five minutes twiddling my thumbs (fuming, and thinking about all kinds of evil things I could do to the two of them) while my husband and the clerk tried to figure out the bill ON A COMPUTER! I remember telling the clerk that I was sure I could figure it out much faster with a pencil and paper (or an abacus) than they were doing, EVEN though math is not my strong suit. (Me...... embarrass my husband in public.......Never!) Since that time, I have had a love-hate relationship with computers. Computers are one of those things (There are many others, in fact a whole blogs worth I am sure) that "I don't care to understand how they work", I just want them TO work.

Thinking I would out-smart the computer, I re-picked my template (the same one), and re-published my blog. When I veiwed the blog, the side bar flashed on the screen at the top for a second and then disappeared again. I found it at the bottom of the page. (rats!) I logged out, hoping it would somehow fix itself. (a gal can hope can't she?) Came back........ No such luck! Though I am not sure why, (Okay........ I think one reason might be that I HATE CHANGE!) but not having it at the top WAS DRIVING ME NUTS! I tried MANY different templates, but most of them put my title on two lines, (How was I suppose to be satified with that?) or just looked funny, or (I've come to the conclusion that those people that believe "diffent isn't funny," have an extra chromosome or something.) were a "funny" color and/or arrangement. Like the song....... I couldn't get no satisfaction!

So, as I am coming to the end to today's blog, I honestly can't remember what template is currently in place. (But, am bracing myself for a depressing "Oh! Right! That one" moment, so don't worry. I'll be okay.) If anyone has any moronically simple directions or answers to restore my blog (and make it possible for me to avoid having to get comfortable with the change) bring em on. Until that time, if you are also bothered by my blog changes do what I am planning on doing.......... Cover your eyes with your fingers, and read my blog by peeking out one finger crack at a time. I have used this technique in the past to avoid an assortment of things, so I know first hand that is can be successful if exucuted properly. Best wishes!

Friday, February 10, 2006

I'm a believer..................................................

In the fact that we get just what we need, just when we need it! I have a wonderful example to demonstrate this fact.

Last night (Thursday), was NIA night. About ten minutes before it was time for me to leave, as I was ending a phone call with a friend, my husband started making funny grunting noises and sorta gyrating his hips (he was on his hands and knees printing and sorting out our annual Valentines Day "love" letter that we send to friends and family instead of sending Christmas cards. I guess I should first say that this is not typical behavior for my husband. (How would you know otherwise?) Being the kind, sensitive wife that I am, I ignored him for a few minutes, and kept talking to my friend. When he didn't stop I asked him (very sweetly of course) if he was having a seizure and should I call 911? He said no, so I went back to my phone conversation. (He said no! Would a "good" wife had ask him what was wrong?) A few minutes later, I went to tell him I was leaving, and there he is hobbling along assisting one of our residents to his room. "What is wrong with you?" I ask in an (only) SLIGHTLY irritated voice. (See, eventually I get around to being the "good" wife). He replied that he wasn't sure, but he had terrible pain in his right hip/buttocks area. A bit more irritatingly, (and not so sweetly)I ask "Well! Why didn't you tell me?" (Do you think we might need to work on our communication skills?) I told him to go in and lay on our bed. (I know..... You perfect wives would have helped him to get there.) From his discription of the pain ("It hurts like _______") I figured he had something pinched, so I put some traction on his leg (pulled on it) and it gave him a little releif. (And we would have payed how much to get a diagnosis from a trained professional?). I figured if a little is good, a lot is better. Right? I raised his leg (like in a hamstring stretch) and then pulled up. That felt good (for one of us anyway), so under the same premise that more is better, I called in the troops (in the form or one sixteen year old) and as I kneeled and pulled (with all my might) up hanging onto his quad, she stood and pulled up hanging onto his calf. This brought (him) relief expressed through moans of pleasure, and expressions of "Oh! Oh Ya! Yeeeessss! That feeeellls Soooooo Gooooood!" Until my sixteen year old said "Geez mom, you don't have to have sex with him..... Just come in and pull on his leg." (Must be she has been awake in the past when we thought she was sleeping!) Hang in there...... There is a point to this story..... I just thought you might enjoy a glimps into a typical evening at my house.

After his pain reduced a little, I had him rest for a minute, and then had him lay on the uneffected side, cross his effected leg over and hang it off the bed. As I pulled, (as hard as I could) I had him pull back as hard as he could. This is the point of the story where through gritted teeth I told him "You should be really really happy right now that I have been lifting and getting in shape." (Yes! It is all about me, but I was amazed at how much force and strength I had...... one more reason to get in shape for all of you couch potatoes. One never knows when they will get the chance to pull someone's leg!)

Another of my gifts, is that when I do body work on someone that I am connected to, (I guess I took that "two shall become one" thing seriously) I literally draw the pain out of their body part, and take it into that body part on my body. (Weird, I know, but pretty cool too). Since my hip/buttocks were now hurting like ______, I knew he was having some relief. I got my revenge by having him ice for twenty minutes. When he yelped it was cold, (with "sweet" voice restored)I said "Really?" Leaving him resting, with all the residents settled, I went ahead and went to the last fifteen minutes of NIA class, because I knew the energy in the room would draw the pain out of me. (and it did) At the end of class, the teacher handed out cards again, and in the darkened room said "You will have to wait to read it until you get out in the hallway." (Finally!.......This is the point I was refering to about getting what you need right when you need it.........) My card read:

"Wishing you healing, ease, safety, bliss. May all difficulties pass and fade. May you always choose to grow and be like the lotus leaves, which in the rain are unaffected by external conditions: the rain ends and they remain lotus leaves." (There are so many energies of can't and not - www.pastelfish.com) Pretty cool Hu?

That is exactly the support/reminder I needed, and of course what my husband needed as well, so I went home and passed it on to him. This morning he was feeling well enough to go to work. (I am not that mystic.... I am sure the Vicoden I gave him played a role in his recovery, as well as the healing words.)

I truly and completely believe we always receive all that we need. Sometimes we are so caught up in the perceived drama of our lives that we don't see what is available to us. It is difficult to take a step back (when we are feeling attacked/pressured/hassled/etc...) and breath/relax/focus/center/etc..... But, (and this is a very BIG but) if we can manage to do so we often see solutions that we previously missed. I also believe that we get brownie points for trying, even if we fall short of the mark. The ability to mastering this "taking a step back" thing definitely improves with practise. (According to Webster, PRACTISE is defined as "actual performance or application,customary action, habit, systematic exercise for proficiency".... You get the point.)

So, if you are feeling in need of anything today, look around you and see if it has already arrived. If you don't see it, be sure and state your need out loud. Write it down, (and focus on defining your need very specifically). Once you have done this, to the best of your ability, go and play instead of worrying about things, and grabbing your problem back. (Boy! do I have a tendancy to do that!) Wait (something else that is hard for me)for your solution with anticipation and gratitude, and get ready to be surprised. Remember your thoughts create your reality. Yup, that's what I said......YOUR THOUGHTS CREATE YOUR REALITY! If you don't believe me, keep track of your thougths and see what they create.......Then you will believe, right along side of me!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Traveling back.................... Part Deux.............

As I was saying...... After that first micro success (of increasing my speed), I found myself punching in level two workouts more and more. Even though the computer was controling the treadmill, you could override it, so if there was a part of the workout that was just too much, I could dial down that day, and come back to tackle that portion a week or two later. Each time I would finish a workout, my first thought was "Thank God (and Angels) that it's over!" (I don't have to like something to know it is good for me.) The second thing I thought about was the accomplishment; I was going forward (health-wise), even as I ran mile after mile in one place. Another way cool part of Ifit, is that it keeps track of your progress. I began to see more and more miles rack up, and this got me thinking about setting a mileage goal. One thousand sounded like a really high number to me, so that is how I picked it. I also decided along the way (every hundred miles), I would give myself rewards to add to the fun. (What fun?..... Igave myself rewards to keep me going.) I rewarded myself with things like books (purchased full price when they first came out, instead of waiting for the paperback addition, or until they were available from the library), an hour long massage, a new running outfit. (On sale of course, some habits are hard to break!) I had decided to get away from rewarding myself with food, that life-long tendency that had served me so well in the past; At least as far as mouth was concerned. The rest of me was more than happy to go along with the new change.

Before I knew it, (Not exactly true since I checked my total mileage at the end of each completed run.) I reached my goal..... In nine and a half months instead of twelve......Way ahead of schedule. I want to say (again) that this goal was reached one step at a time. (Figuratively and literally) And, if I can do it, so can you. Was it easy? NO WAY! Am I glad I did it? YOU BET! (Mostly so I can brag about it, but I do feel better from both a mental and physical perspective.)

To tie up a few loose ends......

When I took the fitness test on Ifit (in January 2005) I tested out as an eighty-six year old. In September there was a fitness test in one of the magazines that come in the paper, and I tested out as a woman in her (early) thirties. Pretty significant change isn't it? I know I have written here before that I want to live until I no longer make a difference. I also believe that if I (have) to live into my eighties and ninties I will have better quality of life as a fit elder than I will as a frail elder. If you are still in your twenties and thirties, these ages may seem too far off to think about today, but I know (from experience) that it is easier to get in shape when you are younger. Being healthy makes many things easier. (Such as going up stairs, avoiding life threatening diseases, getting life insurance.)

My current weight is somewhere in the one hundred and fifties. I am not sure what I weigh, because after YEARS of coping with a obsession with my scales, I finally decided enough is enough. This past January I went cold turkey and had my husband hide the scales. The first couple of weeks were pretty tough, and I thought about it a lot. Week three, I had my husband get out our seat scale (it goes on a chair and you sit on it) so I could weigh a resident. When we had finished and they had left the room, I sat on it, and was in the process of reaching behind to push the button that sets the weight, and GOT BUSTED, so I didn't get to see what it said. Because my husband has never been that good at keeping things from me (it is a gift I have, even when my kids were litte they used to come and tattle on themselves), I found where he had hidden the scales (in week four). He was amazed "How did you find that? It was way behind the door buried under a ton of stuff." I told you I had a gift! Anyway, with scale in hand, just about to step on it, it came to me that it was really out of habit, not necessity. I could gage my progress by the way my clothes fit/the way I looked/the way I felt. I didn't need a number (which by the way was never low enough, and always left me slightly depressed)to confirm progress. My body is toned, and compared to many women my age I am much healthier. Not that I am kidding, myself there are many womem my age that are as healthy and or in better healthy. (I am not finished yet.) From a medical perpective, I take no medication, and all the numbers that should be low are low, and those that should be high, are high. This is a good thing.

Most of all, I have learned to love myself more over the past year. Each little success made, me gave me the confidence to reach for the next one. As success after success added up, I found myself saying no when I didn't want to do something (in a nice way of course). I began to realize I was making choices that were kinder, and not designed to sabotage me. I know you know what I mean....... We all like to beat ourselves up and punish ourselves when we decide we have failed somehow. It became easier and easier to look at my mini faliures, (Honestly! they were no more blatent than my successes, I just tended in the past to give my faliures more attention than my successes..... How not fair is that?) learn from them, and then let them go! Talk about freedom!

I did not renew my membership to Ifit this past January. I found that after the first three or four months I would log on and get the days mileage, but I wasn't hooking the treadmill up to the computer. The way I workout, (being interuped several times to do my job.......Imagine!) just didn't work out with the whole computer thing. I thought I was ready to fly (through this years miles) without a set plan. It's not that I wasn't running, I just found it hard to do a quality workout without one. I didn't even realize this until I came across that training schedule for the half-marathon. The quality of my workouts have increased dramatically since I have a clear cut program to follow that I don't have to plan and/or think about. Keep this in mind when you think you need a boost to your workout.

Can I say I enjoy working out????? I CAN say that I don't hate it (as much anyway), and I like the way I look/feel MUCH MUCH more than I don't like to exercise. Those feelings are good enough for today!

The main reason I wanted to take a look down memory lane, is to inspire you to make one little change, stick with it, and see where you end up a year from now. If you find you are struggling, let me know. Sharing with someone that has been there really does help. I know that you can do anything you set out to do, and I would love to be able to remind you of that each time you feel like giving up. When you do want to quit, make your pity party a real special time, get over it, and jump back on your road towards success. Did you notice I didn't say "beat yourself up and agree with that voice in your head that keeps screaming you are nothing but a failure?" Love yourself, treat yourself with love and respect, practise the Golden Rule only change the word "others" to "myself." It is really okay to do these things, in fact everyone in your world will reap great rewards if you do them. Give it a try..... What do you have to loose besides poor habits, weight, and poor self-esteem. You can afford to lose any or all of those things, so go for it!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Traveling back............ To the beginning..................

Since I have been sharing stories regarding my distance runs, I thought it would be fun to take a look back and let you know where I started at, just in case any of you are thinking you could "never run that long/far."

In November of 2004, I topped the scales at two hundred and twenty pounds. On my five foot three inch frame, I can tell you that it was not a pretty picture. I finally felt that I had my business running smoothly enough that I could focus on me for a change. If the truth be told (that whole stop lying to myself thing), what really happened is I ran out of excuses as to why I couldn't do something about how unhealthy I had become. Another piece of background information that may be helpful, is I tend to be an all or nothing, kind of person. I go full throttle, then nothing. The first step towards improved health was admitting that what I had done in the past had worked (for me). I spent some time really thinking about what I could do and stick with. The one thing that I totally didn't hate was getting on the treadmill. What I ended up commiting to was getting on it five days a week. THAT WAS IT...... JUST GETTING ON IT! It was hard to not set up some big program, but that was the old me. I figured at the point I was at (grossly obese) any little thing was better than continuing to do nothing.

Let me say that one more thing I did, was get a good pair of running shoes. I can not stress the importance of this enough. It is fine to work out in twenty-year-old clothes, but worn out shoes cause all kinds of problems. The store I go to, has sidewalk sales two times a year, and this is when I purchase my shoes. I needed new shoes at the end of (this past) December, but (of couse) waited the three weeks until the sale. (I work hard for my money, so I spend it carefully.) By the first week in January, I had constant pain in both of my hips. (Usually it is just the right hip that bothers me.) Within two weeks of getting my new shoes all, of my pain disappeared, a pretty easy fix. So, if you don't run/walk because it causes you pain, treat yourself to a good pair (that quality thing again)of shoes and see if that helps. YOU ARE WORTH IT! Enough about that.....Back to my journey........

Five days a week, I did get on the treadmill. Most days, I walked at between three and three and a half miles an hour for about thirty minutes, but sometimes I was only on it for about five minutes. Since I had kept my word and got on it, I didn't have to beat myself up if I didn't stay on it, and this helped me to keep going. Over the next couple of months, it S-L-O-W-L-Y got to the point that I could walk for thirty minutes without gasping for breath, and was feeling a little better about myself. I might not be doing much, but I was consistently (and this is the key I think) doing something.

Come the first of the year, (You know, that time of year when everyone makes all of those resolutions that they give up on by Valentines day.) I was getting bored with just walking for thirty minutes, so I started thinking how I could ramp things up a bit. (but not too much...... I was starting to like the feeling of not putting too much pressure on myself.) Anything I did, would need to be fit into my day, so I needed something flexible. I also didn't want to spend big bucks, because if I did, and then ended up not following through, I would HAVE to feel bad about that in addition to the failure of not getting in shape. (Boy! I am hard on myself!!!)

The treamill I had purchased (a few years earlier) had Ifit on it. What this is, is an online program that you access by plugging your computer into the treadmill. The computer then controls the treadmill and takes you through different runs ( various hills/distance/speeds), all you have to do is stay on (not as easy as it might sound some of the time). They have a large variety of programs for a variety of fitness levels, and by signing up for one year, it ended up being only ten dollars a month. Very affordable!

Of course, I started out with level one stuff, and found this challenging but do-able. What I liked right from the beginning, was I never did the same run two days in a row, so I didn't get bored. In addition to that, I didn't have to plan anything other than what I was already doing. I just had to get on the treadmill, the Ifit program did the rest for me. (I will admit to sometimes getting so caught up in planning/creating, that I don't acually get around to executing the activity before getting bored and moving on to planning my next project/goal. Going the pre-planned route kept me from doing this.)

I will always remember the Saturday that I was feeling especially spunky, and decided to challenge myself to a level two work-out. There was one little part that I was suppose to run at five miles an hour. The computer kicked up the treadmill at the appropriate time, and I nearly flew off the back end. At about this time my husband came down the stairs and was amazed that I "could go that fast." I had to point out that I was only still on the thing because I was hanging on to the side bars. Still! I had done it, however sloppy, and I found myself having thoughts about the possibility of trying a level two work-out the next Saturday.

Sorry to leave you in the middle of a story, but duty calls (well, acually is trying to get up to let the dogs out without supervision), so I will continue in tomorrows blog.

They say a good writer always leaves her readers wanting more...... We'll see how many of you come back for the conclusion of my little travelogue. See you tomorrow?????

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

HELP!!!!!......... I've run out of chocolate........

The night before last, I finished the last of my Christmas (ie. the good stuff) chocolate, and had an interesting(for me)reaction...... It didn't seem like that big of a deal....... TRULY WEIRD! Last night, even more strange.........

I like something sweet after I eat, and I totally blame my upbringing of being rewarded for cleaning my plate. (Who of my generation has not been told "Clean up your plate, or you can't have desert?"(ie. Rewarded with the good stuff for eating the bad stuff.) That one sentence has been haunting me for years, as I attempt to NOT clean my plate and/or have the good stuff.......I would have made a good Pavlov dog I think........ Very open to suggestions......Wait!...... I was making a point, now what was it? Oh! Yeah!

I like something sweet after I eat.... So, after indulging on take-out fried rice (I had a hard day, okay? And I only ate half of the carton!), I suddenly remembered that I was out of chocolate! "Out of chocolate" may not be the right way to phase it. After all, there was still stuff to make no-bake cookies (considered a staple in my kitchen), chocolate pudding, cocoa to make fudge sauce/frosting/hot chocolate etc... Chocolate Malto Meal, chocolate chip cookies (store bought), tons of chocolate chips left-over from Christmas baking, some melting chocolate, all those left-over cookies from Christmas (that I have got to get around to disposing of one of these days). Four out of the six packages of Oreos that I HAD to buy (That week at the store they were two for five dollars, and for every two you bought, you got a gallon of milk free..... We use three gallons of milk every week, how could I pass up that kind of a deal?) That un-opened box of Sees that my sister brought for me, but my friend wanted it, so I told her she could have it, but she has never stopped by to pick it up, so I am sure she has either forgotten about it or figured by now I had eaten it...... You get the picture..... I guess it is not exactly accurate that I am out of chocolate, just out of quality chocolate.

After reviewing my options, I decided on having a small bowl of Dark Cherry ice cream, and that was that. I bet you are wondering how I could manage to show such restraint right? Well, you see, Valentines Day is just around the corner, and where there are valentines, there is chocolate. I can be sure of this, because I will be ordering it for my girlfiends from http://www.chocolatesmith.com/ (get excited girls), and as long as I am ordering it for them.........

Chocolate Smith is a company that is out of Santa Fe, NM, and my yoga instructor brought samples into class one night (yoga and chocolate go great together). They make the chocolate on site, and are very artistic/creative with their product; check out their web site.

I have said before, that I am learning to prefer a smaller amount of a high quality food (sorry Oreos), rather than simply cramming whatever is within my reach into my mouth. I am appoaching this as an experiment of sorts. Will looking forward to my chocolate arriving sometime next week, be enough to satify me, or should those Oreos be worried????? Only time will tell I guess. I will keep you informed.......Promise!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Keeping my word to myself........ Harder than one might think!

Lots of people may be Monday morning quarter-backing the Super Bowl, but since I didn't watch it, I will re-live the nightmare run I did yesterday. (Totally for your amusement of course.)

I wasn't feeling all that great the entire weekend, but like it or not Sunday's long run showed up, right on schedule; as did the predicted snow storm. Rain is one thing, but twelve to fourteen miles slip sliding the entire way on snow was NOT something I was willing to do! No way! No how! Not that high milage on the treadmill sounded much more appealing...... More like the lesser of two evils.

Remindng myself that the only way to finish is to start, I turned on the machine and began the run. Approximately seven minutes into my run, the nausea began. I tried to turn it into "an interesting challenge," but nope...... The best I could come up with was "I'd rather be at the dentist having a tooth filled WITHOUT the benefit of novacain then to be doing this right now." (Trust me on this one..... Going to the dentist is normally NOT my idea of a good time.) At about the hour mark (give or take, as I had put a towel over the console of the treadmill..... the whole watched pot thing...... TIME WAS GOING SO SLOW!!!!!!!) The intestinal cramping began. I know this is more than most of you want to know, but I am trying to figure out the cause of this. Last week, I had no problem, and then this week it was back. I have been really watching what I eat, because I read that it could be too much fat in the diet. If not that, then it must be dehydration. Last week (outside) it was nice and cool, and yesterday (inside) it was warm like a summer day. If anyone has any info on this problem, Please, please share. Okay! Where was I? Oh! Ya! Immersed in TOTAL COMPLETE MISERY....... I could not make my mind wander to more pleasent things, yet giving in and focusing on how I was feeling didn't help either. The best thing I can say was my legs felt great, but from the hips up............

Just as I was about to give in and stop (at the end of the song that was playing), the treadmill quit! Just up and stopped turning, at aproximately ninty-four minutes. How is that for strong? I outlasted the machine! As I was facing the fact that I would have to finish in the snow, the machine cooled off enough to start again. I figured if it could, then I had no choice but to do so as well. I was able to complete twelve miles (as was the treadmill with one more stop to cool down), and that was definetly good enough! Of course I spent the rest of the day getting the middle portion of my body recuperated, but such is life (my life anyway......There always seems to be a price..... I know not a positive comment, but geez.....), the run is behind me, and I am moving on...... After one more little comment.

Why did I put myself through yesterday? Rather than be content to say "You're not having a good day, relax and take it easy", I did it anyway. I think some of this is just because I am stubborn. (In job interviews, I list this as both my greatest strength, and my greatest weakness.) Some of it is fear; if I give in once, what will keep me from stopping again and again until my get healthy plan is thrown by the way-side? A big part of the reason is because I wanted to be able to say "I did it." Let me say here, that while I was on the treadmill, I kept having these arguments with myself regarding just standing by the treadmill while it clocked the miles..... "But lying is the thing I hate most"..... "But who will know?"..... "I will know, and that is the most important thing of all, to not lie to myself"..... Finally, I had to just be firm, and force my mind back to the misery at hand..... Quiting was not, and (for me) has never been, an option. I made myself recite two of my favorite mantras "This too shall end"..... (Eventually!), and "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."........ Whatever gets you though! Right?

Looking back, this sunny Monday morning, I would like to say yesterday's run doesn't seem so bad in retrospect, but there is that whole lying thing, so instead, I will just put that experience behind me, and go forward towards whatever this day has in store for me........(It helps that I have an entire six days before my next long run.)

Enjoy your today to the fullest!