Could You Survive the Worm Storm?

Pigeons in military uniforms lined the steep steps to the castle-like meeting hall.  Startled by their presence, but undaunted, I hiked my grandson higher on my hip and tightened my grasp as I made my assent. It began to rain.  About ten other stragglers to the meeting followed behind me.  Disconcerted by our hubbub, and the storm, the pigeons quickly dropped their ranks and departed. “Not very good guard pigeons,” I told my unconcerned grandson. He gave me a knowing smile and rubbed his face on my shoulder in preparation for a nap.  It was then that I noticed the cries of disgust from the others behind me.  I’d been so absorbed in my destination, and in my grandson’s comfort, that I’d failed to notice the horrific scene that the pigeons had left in their wake. Mounds of their droppings covered the steps and beneath the droppings were hoards of writhing earthworms.  My path was disgusting and slippery, but I hurried my pace and focused on the huge, gothic doors doors that grew nearer with every step.  Finally, I reached the top and turned to see how the people behind  me were faring.  Far in the distance I could make out the forms of a handful who had turned away and retreated.  Midway up the stairs, an older man was holding the arm of younger one who cleared his path to make it easier.  A few steps behind me came two women who had resorted to crawling to avoid slipping.  I reached out and helped both to the landing.  The driving rain turned warm and we all stood there letting nature wash us clean of the dirt we’d collected.  “I can’t believe you crawled in that mess!” I told the women with a smile.  “Well, you walked barefoot in it,” one exclaimed.  It was then I noticed that I wasn’t wearing shoes.  We struggled together to open the huge doors.  Inside were friends, food, laughter, hugs, warmth, and a familiar song that seemed to get closer and louder.

Of course, the song was my alarm.  I lay there for a moment thinking about how amazing it is that my brain could take elements of my previous day to create a story to remind me of my own strength and resourcefulness.  Things have felt out of control lately; a very ill kitty, worries about my adult kids, my husband’s impending eye surgery, my arthritis flare up and my disastrous eating and exercise regimen.  Yet, I’m managing day-by-day to gracefully deal with my current worm (and sh*t) storm.  I’m choosing to not notice discomfort and trudge on through whatever slime and goop life throws at me.  Although it sounds completely cheesy, all we can do is “keep on keepin’ on!” And if you’re wondering how I ended up dreaming about pigeons in military uniforms here’s the formula:

Knitted chicken sweaters on Pinterest + Worries about what our new president might do = Military Pigeons!

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Photo courtesy of goodshomedesign.com

 

Hope everyone is doing well!  Had any weird dreams lately?

Taking a Stand

With just a few minutes before Baby C arrives to spend the day with Nana, I have just enough time for a coffee and a quick post.  Lately, sitting down has not been a part of my daily routine; and that’s a really good thing!  Anyone involved in health and fitness knows that being too sedentary increases the risk of cardiovascular problems (yes, dear husband, this post is for you).  Since losing weight, I’ve really attempted to spend the day moving as much as possible.  My grandson certainly makes that easy; especially since he seems to be seconds away from beginning to crawl!  Another thing that’s helped me keep active is the fitness tracker that my hubby so graciously got me for my 52nd birthday.  Most days I meet the American Heart Association’s 10,000 step goal before the afternoon.  Often, my goal is achieved by doing a little extra of something I’d normally do; like taking Baby C for a walk or making a few extra trips up and down the stairs while doing housework.  I also take advantage of Baby C’s naptime by doing abdominal workouts while he snoozes!

For those of you committed to staying healthy–what are some ways you add movement and exercise to your daily life?  I’m always looking for ways to stay on my feet.  For those of you who lead sedentary lifestyles, what would motivate you to move more?

 

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Sitting, Nana?  Yeah, good luck with that!!  I’m Baby Coach C!!!

 

This Little Person

There’s a little person gently snoring in the little bed beside of mine.

He’s on his side with his arms flung wild and his perfect mouth so still that I can trace the tiny cupid’s bow just like his mother’s.

Fingers wiggle at the end of chubby arms as if he’s conducting a symphony in his dreams.

How is it that fraught with lack of sleep I can’t close my eyes to this little mystery?

The tiny up-and-down of his chest, the scent of his hair, his button nose, so like mine, are all things I must drink in, I must record, I must never forget.

Sleep, sweet baby, and I will watch in fascination.

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The Ups and Downs of Weight Management

It’s been a very long time since I’ve given an update on my weight loss and fitness levels I know those of you on Optifast are probably wondering how successful the program has been more than a year beyond the original use of the product.  I know it differs for everyone, but here’s my experience.

I began my weight loss journey January 2014 at 230 pounds.  I’m small framed and am 5’4″ tall, so that was quite a bit of weight to be carrying around. I had a myriad of health issues; prediabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and asthma.  I used a CPAP to sleep at night and took a pile of medication each day. My rock bottom came one night when I was lying in bed attempting to read and realized that my own neck fat was cutting off my air supply.  The next day I called my doctor.

I completed 18 weeks of a medically supervised Optifast program (800 calories a day/5 shakes).  During this time I took weight loss classes and participated in cognitive behavioral therapy to change my binging and general eating behaviors.  I also enrolled in a weight management program at our hospital’s wellness center and worked out 5-6 days per week.  After the Optifast products, with the aid of a dietitian, I transitioned to a high protein/low carb diet of 1200 calories.  This diet is much like the diet that those with diabetes are instructed to follow.  Within approximately six months my weight was down to 131 lbs. (a 99 lb. loss).  All those medications and the CPAP were things of my past.

Once the weight was gone, the tough part began; MAINTENANCE!!! Instead of weekly check-ins with the doctor, I began seeing her monthly, then quarterly.  I also was in charge of eating real food in the real world.  For the first year, I religiously stuck with the program and stayed around 135 lbs.  My doctor kept telling me that a 10-15 pound gain would be normal during maintenance, but I refused to believe her.  I was determined to not go over 135lbs.  Then, sometime this past fall, I began, as the Pentecostals would  say, “back-sliding.”  I could blame it on being too busy to follow my meal plan, or on the holidays approaching, but truth be told, I made the choice to fall off the wagon.  For the past six months, I’ve pretty much eaten what I’ve wanted, when I’ve wanted it and I haven’t made fitness a priority.  I’d love to say that miraculously I’m still fitting quite comfortably in my clothing from last spring and summer, but I can’t.  My recent weigh-in shows a gain of 15 pounds.

The good thing about gaining 15 pounds is that it’s ONLY 15 pounds.  When I was staring down the barrel of 230 lbs. with nearly 100 pounds to drop, weight loss seemed daunting.   Now, with the proper tools and knowledge, it’s not so scary. My doctor and I made the very realistic goal of dropping ten pounds by the end of July.  I’m back to seeing my weight loss counselor. I’ve purged my pantry of sugary, carb-laden treats and I’ve dusted off my gym equipment.  I know that weight maintenance doesn’t end when the last pound of your goal has been lost.  I have to keep on keeping on.

How has everyone on Optifast or other weight loss plans been doing?  Updates, please! 

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

I am away from home on Mother’s Day, but my heart is satisfied because part of home is here with me; my eldest daughter and grandson.  I should more rightly say that I’m here with them.  My daughter has nearly finished her intern year as a physician and is rotating for two months at a major state hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit because our local medical center doesn’t have one.  I’m along as Nana, caring for “Li’l C”, as my daughter works grueling hours caring for children not as healthy as her little one.

Today, my thoughts are on the sacrifice that all that moms and their “villages” endure to make sure their precious offspring are healthy, happy, and sound.  My other thoughts are of my own mom, who died at 48.  Few days go by that this 52-year-old  doesn’t think of the special moments that she failed to experience.  Though they never met her, my own children share so many of her characteristics; perseverance, strength, kindness, and the desire to help others.  I may not have parented exactly like her, but my goals were the same; to raise people worth knowing.  Despite odds and obstacles, I know I’ve done just that.

Happy Mother’s Day to moms and their villages everywhere!

 

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It’s possible that my grandson is the cutest baby on the planet?!

 

 

Diving in the Deep End of Life

Howdy, blogging buddies!!  I’ve clearly been MIA  for quite a while now.  I’m certain that it’s because I’m still struggling to create that imperfectly perfect life balance of family, career, school, fitness, etc.!  Way, way back in December I mentioned  two of my New Years’ resolutions; connect on a deeper level with friends and find a fulfilling career.  My weight loss experience definitely taught me the power of being a doer as well as a dreamer.  Imagining and visualizing your success is extremely important, but at some point the imagination can only go so far before the body has to dive in, head and heart first, to make things happen.  I’ve been quite busy diving in the deep end of life, because that tends to be where all the good stuff happens.  (Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait to be allowed to swim in that mystical area beyond the ropes?)

My dive began in January when my husband and I began making an effort to become more social.  Instead  of casually talking about places and events that we might go to and do in the future, we just started going and doing.  In addition to making new friends, I’ve recommitted to getting together more with dear, old friends. There’s a richness in friendship that I’d forgotten just how much I’d needed.

I haven’t been letting my career goals flounder in the shallow end either. Knowing that I need to brush up on my Excel skills, I’m taking a class at a local college. The assignments are lengthy, but it feels great to exercise my brain (and yes, I do have homework that I should be doing instead of blogging).  I’ve also been making some great connections in the world of PR and marketing, as well as doing some volunteer work in that area that can offer me some credible references. I’m confident that when I’m ready, the right position will come my way.

My fitness level and weight are doing well. I’m continuing to hover around 132 pounds and am still following the basic high protein, lower carb eating plan that my dietician recommends. I’m making it to the gym about twice a week, but I’ve found a plethora of activities to do on my own that are keeping me fit; hiking, treadmill, yard work, swimming, etc.   I mostly visit the gym to make sure I do a thorough weight routine twice a week. I feel like I’ve found a healthy balance.

My family is continuing to thrive! My oldest daughter graduates from med school at the end of this month and she and her hubby are expecting their first child. (I’m going to be a Nana!!) My youngest is finding ongoing success at her job, and her fiancé just landed a wonderful position as a documentarian, editor, etc. in his field (perhaps wedding bells are in their future).   We’re all heading to the beach after my daughter’s graduation. So, basically, it’s all cool in our pool!

I need to swim on over to my study area and get to work and then head to the gym. I hope everyone is doing well. I plan to peruse some much missed blogs soon!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday’s Musical Musings

I love music and can’t go through the day without taking the time to listen to it.  In spite of my affection for a wide range of genres, musically, I have no clear-cut talent, other than making a decent workout playlist, or dance mix for a party.

I had four, long, years of piano lessons, but can now only play the first few measures of Fur Elise and another song called Swans on a Lake, from my old John Thompson music primer.  My singing voice is mediocre after eight years of voice lessons from high school throughout college. Even though I managed to snag several handfuls of roles in my school’s musicals, the songs I performed were mostly campy numbers that were sung with more affectation than vocal prowess.

Oddly, I’ve always had excellent musicians around me.  My brother is a gifted pianist and vocalist.  My husband is an amazing guitar player and singer.  My eldest daughter plays several instruments with mastery, and both of my daughters have angelic singing voices and perfect pitch. Time and again, I’ve come to the realization that if our family suddenly had the chance to audition for American Idol, that I would be the one left without a “golden ticket” to Hollywood.  But, hey, that’s alright with me.  I still have a great time singing slightly off-key with my iPod and belting out tunes in my car with nearly as much enthusiasm and emotion as any Grammy winner.

Here are a few tunes that have been stuck in my head lately:

 

How about all of you?  What songs are stuck in your head lately?  Please, feel free to share them and have a great day! 🙂