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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Todays Theme: The starving children in China. Or India. Your choice.

One of the responses many people have to a complaint about a life situation is to point out how other people have it worse than you do.  At least you aren’t in Africa dealing with ebola.  At least you’re not in Syria dealing with civil war.  At least you aren’t in California dealing with drought.
These statements are made to help you feel better about your challenges.  Because clearly they are so much worse than whatever you (or I) are dealing with.
But as a general rule, that doesn’t help.  As awful as those situations may be (and they are awful) - they aren’t the challenge I’m dealing with in that moment.  My challenge may seem small or insignificant, but it’s mine.
Then there are those moments when someone elses challenge, someone across the world, reaches in and squeezes your heart.
On the way to work this morning I heard a report on NPR about one of the Yazidi women kidnapped by the islamic state.  She realized that her life, and the lives of her sisters, were in serious danger.  She vowed to die before she allowed harm to come to any of them.  They were being “married” off - so a man could pick a “woman” (her youngest sister is 10), register the “marriage”, take her home as his wife, rape her and beat the crap out of her then bring her back.
This young woman told the men that one of her sisters was pregnant, another blind, one couldn’t walk and that she herself was married - “Do you really want used goods?”  The sisters weren’t taken.
Then the guy in charge said, you will marry me and I’ll give your sister to one of the islamic state leaders and we will live in a nice house.  He told her that if she didn’t accept she and her sisters would be separated.  So she agreed.  And he took them to a house as ostentatious as promised.  She told him it wasn’t right.  She kept telling him this one is too small, that one is too big.  Until he picked a house she could escape from.
And she did.  With all her sisters.  A local person sheltered them, got them passports and helped them leave the area.
This story reached into my heart and squeezed.  And I cried.
After I got to work I was thinking about my challenges: 
Work is slow and I have no money.
I’m leaving a place I love.  A lot.
I’ve been preparing to move for months and I’m stressed out and exhausted.
My private practice exists, but it isn’t growing and I need it to grow.
Then I thought, meh, all stuff I can deal with.  And I thought about my blessings:
My family, they are awesome.
My friends.
My health.
My old apartment.
My new apartment.
A car that works.
My sugar free life.
My work.
The beautiful setting of my office.
I could go on and on and on.  But I won’t, that’s pretty boring.  Plus, I assume you get the idea.
Like I said, as a general rule, those comparisons don’t make me feel better.
Today the comparison, which wasn’t offered up, just came across my path, today the comparison reached into my heart and squeezed.
The result was gratitude.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Todays Theme: You won't freakin believe what I found in my freezer!!!!!!

Cleaning out the freezer, who doesn’t love that?
Well, anyone who has read this blog knows I hate cleaning, so if there are people who love cleaning out the freezer, they aren’t me.
Honestly though it’s not much of a job today, just taking out stuff I put in a long, long time ago that I will never eat, putting it in a garbage bag and putting it in the trash can.
Yes, horrifically wasteful, but not the point.
I was taking some bags of frozen stuff out of the freezer and I noticed a piece of chicken on the shelf in the door.  So I grabbed it and threw it in the bag.  Then I noticed this

And I opened it and I saw this

And I stared in wonder.  There have been four Magnum Mini Almond bars in my freezer all these last 72 days and I never noticed.
And I’ve been in the freezer more than a few times.
Magnum Mini Almond bars!
In MY freezer.
With me in the house!!
Didn’t even notice.
Me!  Didn’t even notice.
The only thing I can think of is to repeat all of those words - Magnum!  Mini!  Almond bars!  Didn’t!  Even!  Notice!  In!  My!  Freezer!
That’s all I got.
It’s astonishing and I’m . . .
Astonished.  Seriously, I’m completely at a loss for words.
Now they are in the trash.  Well, actually they are on the floor where I took a picture of them, but when I finish they’ll be in the trash and I won’t feel at all bad when I do.

Todays Theme: Reality hits

I was lying in bed this morning contemplating getting up, thinking about what I have to do today.  And hit me.
Next week on Tuesday I will wake up in my new apartment.
I’m torn.  My  new apartment is terrific and I’m excited to move in, have a little more space, set up my bike on the trainer in the exercise room, get the rowing machine that’s been with my parents for five years, have plenty of room and a place for everything.
But I’ll miss this apartment.  I’ll miss my landlords.  I’ll miss living in the middle of nowhere.  I’ll miss the beauty of the location.  I really love this apartment.
I was talking to a friend a little bit back and I realized that this is the first place, in my adult life, I truly thought of as home.  I’ve had the benefit of living on my own without being by myself.
I really have loved living here.
The idea of moving came up in July and I’ve been packing since I found out in August that it would happen.  This is a very good thing because I am not particularly organized and usually when I move I’m still packing while my friends are loading the truck.  And saying things like, oh, just put that in the truck.  It might get broken?  Ahhhh, whatever.  I’ve been living with the idea for so long, while still being in this beautiful place that I absolutely adore, that the reality is smacking me in the head.
Manifesting things we want can pose challenges.  I was watching Craislist for potential apartments, even went to look at a couple in this winter.  They were smaller than my current place - an impressive feat when comparing my two room apartment to and actual one bedroom place - and more expensive.
One day I said to my friend, so . . . when you move in with Joe (not his real name), I’d like your place.  I didn’t think it would happen three weeks later.
But it did.
And it is a great apartment and really well priced.  And it will be my new home.  And I will be happy there.
I know these things.
But I’m attached.  To this place and the people here.  And I will be sad.
That said, I’m going to go cook up some burger to make a taco salad.  Because it’s seventy-one days since I gave up sugar and I don’t turn to crap food when I’m stressed or sad.
Actually I don’t turn to any food.  I have had my moments when I’ve had more bacon than I maybe should.  I’ve also had days when I turn to the healthy food more than I feel like I should.  Except when I’ve done that, I was hungry and I didn’t eat and eat and eat and eat until I thought I might explode.  I just ate more than I thought I “should”.
Side note, should is a horrible word.  At least as it applies to food.  I have spent entirely too much time trying to follow the “shoulds”.  Don’t get caught up in the shoulds, they will take you down a dark, unhappy road.
That said, the shoulds are not the the reason I’m not turning to food.  I look forward to food that nourishes my body I enjoy it.  I eat . . . a lot.  I eat until I am satisfied, usually not till I’m full, but sometimes.  I don’t not eat because I shouldn’t.  I don’t eat because I’m not hungry.
And I don’t eat because I’m sad.  And I don’t eat because I’m frustrated.  And I don’t eat because I’m stressed out.
I eat because I’m hungry.
That’s it.
So I’m diving into the last minute packing, one pan, one plate, one fork, one spoon, one knife.
Because a week from today I’ll have all the things I need in my new place.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Todays Theme: Friends

I had this weekend off work to go to a wedding.
For the record, those who complain to me that they have to work a Saturday or two?  No sympathy.
So I took 2/3 of my week off work and headed up to NH.  Because of my diet, no booze, I was asked to drive all my friends between the hotel and the reception.  This was GearMan and LuLu’s wedding.  GearMan has taken care of me and all my cycling friends for years on the ADA New England Classic.  He takes his vacation every year to drive a Penske truck around New England with our bags, laying the bags out for us to pick up each day when we finish our ride.  He coordinates with all the other volunteers.  He also collects from any riders who care to participate and keeps us stocked with cold beer for the end of each day.
LuLu joined us after she and Steve met.  Initially she volunteered and then she started doing the two day ride and volunteering for the rest of the trip.  She has recruited a team of her friends to join us and has raised a lot of money for the ADA.
And she has made GearMan really happy.
So I shuttled all my friends around last night so they could enjoy adult beverages.  It made me very glad I don’t have kids.  And we had a lot of fun.  After we came back from the reception we played pool at the hotel bar.
Well, other people played pool.  I watched because I really and truly suck at pool.
When I finally got to the reception I was seriously hungry.  I hadn’t thought too much about what I would eat, GearMan and LuLu were having barbecue and I felt confident there would be something I could eat.
I got right on line and found there was cut up pieces of chicken right next to the salad, so of course I got a lot of salad and put a lot of chicken on it.  Super tasty.
Then I saw other people at my table eating roast beef and I realized I got out of line too fast so I had a friend bring me a piece.  Later I got another piece.  It was so good.  And I was quite satisfied.
Then we danced.  And we danced.  And then we danced some more.  I figure about three hours of dancing.  And it was fun.  Really, really, really fun.
There were a lot of NEC people at the wedding and we are a very fun group, if I do say so myself.  We see each other once a year and we are family.  So a couple of us thought for a couple of minutes, came up with . . . We Are Family and I asked the DJ to play it for us so that ALL of us could get up and dance in honor of our hosts bringing us together.
So.  Much.  Fun.
Oh, somewhere in there my friend Cara called to let me know how impressed she is with how I’ve stuck to such a limited diet plan for so long.  We chatted for a bit which was helpful because I was really tired and pretty stressed out.
As you know from reading my posts, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately.  I have had a few, perhaps more than a few, moments of depression in the last several weeks.  There are a lot of reasons for this: the loss of Bobby, the move, the packing, trips to Maine and Connecticut, lack of funds.
Sometimes we lose track of what making time for our friends can do for us.  The last time these folks saw me was two days after I started the hypnosis program, I was a lot heavier.  So I got a lot of great feedback on my success and how I look.  I got to give back to a friend who has taken care of me for years.  I got to dance and see people in an entirely different light.  I stayed in a hotel, even though I’m 51 and have stayed in quite a few that always feels like such a treat.  At least when it’s a nice one, like the one I stayed at last night.  I got lots of hugs.  Lots and lots of hugs.  Like I said above, we are family.
It was exhausting.
More significantly it was refreshing and rejuvenating.  It was fun.  It reminded me why I’m on the path I’m on.  It strengthened my already strong commitment to the lifestyle change I’ve made around food.
I like FB for staying in touch with my friends.  But being with them, talking dancing, hugging - that feeds my soul.  It makes life worth living.
Try to remember that.  I know you’re busy, we all are.  But when those opportunities arrive, take them.  You’ll never regret time you spent with friends.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Todays Theme: Where would I be with sugar?

This morning I woke up earlier than I might have liked, but that’s how my days are going.  I got up and started cleaning and packing.  My landlords maybe showing the place and it needs to be presentable.  There were three jobs I was anticipating with great dread weren’t so bad, always a nice thing.
I got stuff done, sold a couch and realized that I’m almost done packing.  And the only thing I can’t move by myself is my bed, well, my mattress.  I have help on each end of the move and a terrific new landlord who is letting me have two kitties.  I wish I could pick those little boys up tomorrow, but I have to wait until I move in.  I’m thinking their names will be Merlin and Seven.  Perhaps that will change when I get them, we’ll see.
I was thinking about this morning’s post.  All about stress.  Because yeah, I have a ton of stress right now.  It’s making my brain stop working on occasion, finding words is interesting.
But I’ve gotten a lot done.  I have a new license.  I have new license plates.  My insurance policy has been switched.  Some stuff has been moved into the new place.  I’m virtually all packed.
I’ve gotten a lot done.
As I was thinking I realized something. 
If I was eating sugar maybe half of that would have gotten done.  I would have slept late, motivating just in time to get to work.  Then panicking because I had to get everything done in two days.  It would have been very ugly.
It gives me anxiety just thinking about it.
But I’m not eating sugar.  So stuff is done.  And I don’t need to be filled with anxiety or panic.
Sixty-eight days (it’s past midnight now).  Sixty-eight days without sugar.  Sixty-eight days that have had an impressive number of challenges.  An impressive number of challenges that have not taken me down.
Because today I’m sixty-eight days sugar free.

Todays Theme: Stress

Today, as I was packing up the files in my filing cabinet, I found the title to my car.
This was intensely annoying because on Monday I ordered a replacement title and paid $47 to have a duplicate expedited to my house.  It arrived yesterday and I sped over to the RMV to get my plates.  Miraculously I arrived at 4:45 and was out by 4:57.
This morning I had to drop off the NY plates so my insurance could be cancelled.  I got there and stood at the information desk while she continued her personal call.  Then she got off the phone long enough to tell me that I just needed to get on line and it would be a dollar.
Crap, I forgot about the dollar part.  I was getting ready to drive the half hour home to get a freaking dollar when I remembered that amazing modern technology - the automatic teller machine.  For the first time in YEARS I paid the “not my bank fee” so that I would have the dollar they would charge me to take back my damn plates.
This is how so many things have gone for me recently, there is something small but incredibly annoying that prevents me from getting done what I need to get done.  Then I spend money (that I really don’t have) to get it taken care of.
Money I wouldn’t have had to spend if I had been slightly more organized or taken a little more time.
Today I went to Westfield for a massage, my client didn’t show.  I was not particularly thrilled by this.  Fortunately I got a call from my new landlord letting me know there was mail waiting for me.  Thus I loaded up my car and moved a few things into the new place.
Now I have less work in my future and my new license and ATM card in my wallet.
Yesterday I went to a meeting at work and stopped at the post office on the way home.  Because of that I found a retirement sale at one of my go to Christmas present shops.  I got a few things for the family.  Had I not taken a break from packing and cleaning to go to the meeting, I would have missed that chance.
This weekend I work till 10 on Friday and have to leave for a wedding early on Saturday, plus I have to be sure that my apartment is suitable for showing.  I have been working my butt off getting things packed and cleaned and have more to do tomorrow because we lost hot water yesterday.
There is too much to do and, as is the case for most of us, not enough time in which to do it.
On top of it all, every time I walk past the porch I expect to see Bobby.  And Lisa, the girlfriend of my landlords son, saw me this morning and she told me how sad she was about Bobby because she loved him so much and missed him so much and it was so sad.  I walked out of the house and cried.  As I drove to the post office, the recycling center and the DMV I cried.  I miss Bobby.
Stress.  Stress.  Stress.  Everywhere I turn.  And no time to relax.
And I’m 66 days sugar free.
Today I looked at some of the delicious things I haven’t had in that time.  I would have liked to get some fruit.  And some guacamole.
But I look at Lay’s Potato Chips and think - ick.  Greasy and salty and crunchy, things that used to be quite appealing, but now it seems . . . hot.  I don’t know if I can explain hot, maybe it comes from the inflammation that is caused by those foods.  I look at sugar and . . . meh.
Being able to look at those things and not want them, not turn to them doesn’t make me any less stressed, but when I have a second or two to think about it, it makes me very, very, very happy.
Soon enough the moving will be done and I’ll be settled into the new apartment.  I will get past this overload of stressors.
And I will still be sugar free.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Todays Theme: I chucked the Tums

This morning I got up and cleaned the bathroom sink.  The bathroom is now packed up and cleaned for the next tenant.  There’s still stuff in there because I don’t move out completely for 13 days, but everything that can be removed and cleaned is taken care of.
Then I moved into the bedroom.  I can’t get everything out of there, I have some shelving and furniture that has to be somewhere until it goes on a truck to Westfield, but I have to organize things and clean it up so that it’s presentable for anyone who might want to look at it this weekend.
I looked around and was at a bit of a loss as to where to start, but I noticed a Tum on the floor.  Tum?  It says Tums on the bottle, I assume that’s plural for Tum.  Anyway, I had knocked the bottle off my nightstand several times and the top is broken and several Tums had fallen out.  So I picked up the individual Tums and the bottle and put it in the trash.
So what, you may be thinking.
In the past I have eaten Tums daily.  I had written it off to my job.  I was in charge of environmental policy and compliance for an electric company.  I was on-call every third week.  Every time it was windy I was certain that I would have to spend the night out at a spill site.  I didn’t sleep well.  I was intensely stressed by my job.
I always believed that was what caused my fairly constant heart burn.
Then in 2009 I stopped eating sugar.
And I stopped eating Tums.
Then I started eating sugar again.  I didn’t start eating Tums right away, it took awhile.
It took awhile because I didn’t start out eating pounds of sugar every day.  I started with a little bit here and there.  But last fall it started building and by the beginning of this year I was eating a s*&t ton of sugar.
I try to stay away from expletives here, but that is the only way it’s coming into my head right now.
I was eating an obscene amount of sugar earlier this year.  And I was consuming a lot of Tums.
Indigestion.  Bloat.  Gas.  Discomfort.  Constantly.
Tums would help.  After the second or third dose.
But it always came back.
Today I threw out the Tums.  I’m 64 days sugar free.  I have a ton of stress - it’s a slow time at work so my finances are in very bad shape and I’m moving.  I don’t have indigestion, I don’t have bloat, I don’t have discomfort.
That is what sugar free life is like, comfortable.  Even with all that stress, I feel good.  I don’t need Tums.
Don’t take my word for it, try it yourself.  You won’t regret it, I promise.