Appreciation, Friendship, Having fun, love, memories, Thankfulness, weight loss journal, Writing

A Day of Gifts

I was given a  series of sweet gifts this past Friday. I’d gladly show you a picture, but it’s absolutely impossible for an amateur like me to  photograph the collection of intangible, heart-brimming experiences that I had. I can only paint a picture with my words, and even they may not be bright enough to express my feelings.

Friday afternoon, I went shoe shopping.   Now, before you roll your eyes and think that this flat-footed fifty-year-old is going to share with you a shallow tale of Manolo Blahnik’s or Louboutin’s ripe for the picking, think again.  It wasn’t what I found in the store that made my heart sing and my eyes well with tears, it was who I was with and the circumstances of our shopping.   I helped my best friend take her elderly mother shopping for winter shoes. While that may sound tedious to some, it was a new experience for me and I held it with an elevated wonder.

I’ve known my best friend’s mom, “Carole*,” since I was 18.  She was once a very independent widow who raised five children on her own while serving tirelessly in her profession as an obstetric nurse. She’s now in her late 70s and suffers from dementia.  Though this dysfunction  has robbed her of her short term memory, and causes her to be easily confused, it hasn’t taken away the essence of her personality.  Her keen sense of humor is boldly intact, as is her kind and grateful nature.

I was a bit anxious taking the both of them.  Between my best friend’s traumatic brain injury,  her mom’s dementia, and my  terrible sense of direction when it comes to navigating in the city, things could have easily gotten chaotic.  I called the shoe store ahead of time to inquire about parking (I didn’t want Carole to have to walk far in the cold) and restrooms (essential for young and old). I also consulted Siri to guide me on the best route.  My fears were quickly put to rest, as our drive was smooth, with even the serendipitous occasion of a truck blocking oncoming traffic as I helped Carole out of the car and onto a safe sidewalk.  A dear associate named Dana carefully measured Carole’s feet and patiently guided her in finding everyday leather shoes, sneakers, snow boots and slippers.  All the while it was evident by her wide smile and glistening eyes that Carole was thoroughly enjoying being pampered and fussed over.   Repeatedly she told us all, “You all are really spoiling me!”

After shoe shopping, there was lunch.  An offer was made for a fancy Italian place, but Carole insisted that she wanted a chicken sandwich from a fast food establishment.  Fortunately, there were healthy salads for my friend and I. After lunch, we drove back to my friend’s house for some cozy fire-side viewing of old episodes of “Murder She Wrote.”  When it was evident that Carole was getting sleepy, we headed back to her house.  My friend prepared her dinner and we sat with her as she ate and waited for her evening caregiver to arrive.

As I drove back to my house in the early twilight, tears welled in my eyes as I mentally listed all of the little blessings that  I’d encountered. while shoe shopping.

  • The store we visited was where my own mother and I had  shopped throughout my childhood, Everything from my first pair of baby shoes to the Bass penny loafers that I went off to college in, were purchased there.
  • The gift of the truck that held up traffic long enough for me to get Carole out of the car safely.
  • A dog named Molly who  greeted me as we exited the shoe store (Molly was the name of the last dog we had when I still lived at home.)
  •  My best friend’s face bright with love and contentment as she cared for her mother.
  • Carole enjoying being “spoiled” and listening to her gratefully praise my best friend throughout the day.
  • The sleepy warmth of the fireplace and the nostalgia of an old TV show that I’d long ago watched with my own mother.
  • My best friend sharing her mother with me for the day; giving me a glimpse of the  pleasure associated with caring for the person who had once so tirelessly cared for her.
  • Feeling the glow of my own mom’s spirit so near to mine.

All in all it was a perfect day; a shoe shopping trip that was a little less about the fabulous finds on the store shelves and a lot more about the awesome discoveries in my heart.

When  have you found unexpected joy in a simple event?  Tell me about it! 🙂

* Names have been changed.

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Exercise, Friendship, weight loss journal

Too Much Caffeine; Confessions of a Coffee Addict

She's large and in charge!!  She will wake you up!!
She’s large and in charge!! She will wake you up!! Fuzzy early morning iPhone shot!

I was up too early  yesterday morning.  To keep the cat from darting out the front door, my daughter usually lets the her into our room before she leaves for the hospital.  Said cat normally settles peacefully in beside of me and sleeps until the normal hour of 7 a.m., but not yesterday.  Yesterday, she decided that hoisting her 23 pound frame upon my sleeping body, and walking up and down me, like the human bridge that leads to her food dish, would be a good thing to do.  So like any faithful minion, I hopped out of bed and proceeded to satisfy her bidding.

The view from my front window revealed coat-clad high-schoolers, begrudgingly trudging to the bus stop at the end of our development.  Dawn’s early light still hadn’t broken and it was two hours from my normal feeding time, so to pacify my growling tummy, I made a huge cup of coffee, and settled in on the sofa to read blogs.  When 8:00 rolled around, I made my usual breakfast of 1/2 cup of Fiber One cereal, 1/4 cup of blueberries, and a cup of almond milk.  Since my normal routine is to enjoy a cup of coffee with my cereal,  I indulged in another one.

Still, I felt sleepy, so I attempted to rouse myself by completing my housework and laundry as vigorously as possible; sprinting

I'm not much of a painter, but when my friend with celiac's disease asked me to paint her a cupcake for her birthday, I couldn't refuse!
I’m not much of a painter, but when my friend with celiac’s disease asked me to paint her a cupcake for her birthday, I couldn’t refuse!

down the hallway to deliver laundry and scrubbing the bathrooms at triple speed.  With the house spotless, I began finishing up the art projects that were cluttering my kitchen table.  I added a layer of glaze to a mixed media painting of a cupcake for my friend who requested that I “paint her one” for her birthday.  I then began nipping at some glass tiles for a framed mosaic.  In spite of my two gigantic mugs of java (probably equal to 5-6 cups total), I found my eyes growing heavy.  Sharp glass and fumbling fingers rarely mix without an accident, so for good measure,  I had yet another mug of the brown stuff and it wasn’t even 10 am.

Art projects managed,  I had some tuna with carrots, and a yogurt with quinoa and chia seed granola for lunch, served with yet another coffee. ( I did make sure that I was also drinking plenty of water, as well, to counteract the dehydrating effects of the caffeine. ) One might think that I would be bouncing through the roof with so much Joe in my system, but oddly, it seemed for most of the day that I was chasing the caffeine dragon.  I even had another huge “cup” after dinner with no real effect; until about 9 p.m.  Then, it seemed that I was finally fully awake; bouncing off the ceiling and walls awake.  This was just about the time that the rest of my family was settling in for the evening. So, while everyone else was fighting sleep, I did an hour of exercise, wrapped my friend’s birthday gifts, and organized my closet.  Around 12, I settled into bed with my iPad and watched several of the short Weight of a Nation documentaries on HBO.  I think I drifted off around 2 a.m.

This morning, I was also up early, but today I’m allowing myself only one cup of coffee in the morning (I’m finishing it now) and one cup of tea this afternoon. I have a busy day ahead of me, but  I really need to reel in my caffeine addiction and get my sleep schedule back to normal.  It’s not good for me and I’m sure it’s annoying to my family.  I’m certain I’ll be dragging today, but I’ll fight through it.

What keeps you going during the day that you should probably cut back on?  Do you drink too many caffeinated beverages?

 

 

Awards, blogging, Friendship

Disappearing Woman Awards Weekend (or however long it takes :))

My blogging buddies make me feel like a winner!!  <3 Photo via Microsoft Word clip art
My blogging buddies make me feel like a winner!!

I’ve been guiltily sitting on more than a handful of honors for quite a few months. I’ve shamefacedly posted articles about exercise, weight loss and bathing suit shopping, all the while knowing that I have some very special people to thank for, and honor with, the awards that they’ve graciously bestowed upon me.  So for the next few days, or more, I’ll be addressing the following amazing bloggers:

Mimi, at PsychologistMimi, for The Light House Award

Kim, at Always Thinking I’m Fat, for The Quintet of Radiance Awards, the Liebster Award, and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Lita Doolan, at Any old world uncovered by new writing, for The Beautiful Blogger Award

Rob, at Weight 2 Lose 2013, for The Sunshine Award, The Liebster Award, The Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, and the coveted Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Award!

I sincerely hope that I haven’t missed anyone who’s been gracious enough to honor me.  I usually copy and paste the awarder’s post in a word doc as soon as I get it, but if I’ve forgotten someone, please remind me.

I’ll be working very diligently on my award assignments over the next few days, and wish to send a very heartfelt thank you to all of the fabulous bloggers who’ve nominated me! ❤

 

 

 

blogging, Building self-confidence, Friday Fixes, Friendship, learning, Wisdom, Wisdom Wednesdays, Writing

Wisdom Wednesday: The Wisdom of Believing in Yourself

 “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

                                                                ~Henry Ford

When my daughter was in 6th grade, I was a fortunate to be picked to chaperone her, a handful of students, chosen to participate in a team-building and leadership academy located near Washington, DC.  

Throughout the day, the children were placed in various groups and given mental and physical tasks to complete, having to rely solely on the abilities and instincts of one another.  The final challenge was a 15 foot (4.6 m) smooth, vertical wall that they were assigned to scale in five minutes with only the aid of another student.  Both children had to reach the top of the wall within that time frame. I watched, hopefully, while several groups tried a similar technique of boosting their partner to the top and afterwards attempting climb the un-notched wall to their waiting teammate’s outreached hands.  Their efforts were fruitless.

My daughter was paired with her friend Emma, a girl she had known since babyhood. Neither of them were particularly athletic, or tall; just your average 11 year-olds.  They began much the same as the other groups, with Emma’s feet on top of my daughter’s shoulders. When Emma grasped the top edge of the wall, my daughter grabbed her feet and helped to push her to the top.  With her friend at the pinnacle, my daughter confidently walked about 20 feet away from the wall as Emma secured her legs on the top and reached out. Then, they locked eyes and my daughter began running.  In a moment I’ll never forget, my daughter ran to the wall, scaled two-thirds of it in that same running motion, clasped Emma’s hands, and in one swift motion was pulled to the top, never breaking eye-contact with her friend.  It was one of those millions of times when I wished that I’d been filming her.  Their actions looked superhero-ish and miraculous. It was as if two little girls, for a few brief moments, had been blessed with superhuman powers.

After a myriad of high-fives and congratulations from classmates, my daughter finally reached me.

” That was amazing! How on Earth did you do it?” was my first response.

  “I just knew I could. I saw myself at the top and ran,”  she replied.

Fifteen years have passed since my daughter’s Matrix-like climb.  She’s been through many changes and challenges since then. Life has continually and  generously handed her its share of natural ups and downs.  When things get tough, I never fail to remind her that she’s a wall climber from way back. I tell her that she has the amazing ability to focus and run swiftly past her doubts and fears. The pinnacle is always there for those who believe they can reach itWe all have a little bit of superhero in us–the trick is believing that it’s there!

******When in life have you amazed yourself?  Tell me about it in the comments below!


Don’t forget to stay tuned for Friday Fixes, where I’ll be discussing some of the things I’ve learned about building self-confidence through my Lifestyle Education Classes!

blogging, enjoying family, Exercise, Finding old friends, food and family celebrations, Friendship, Having fun, losing weight, love, Medical Weight Loss Program, optifast

Weight Loss and Life Updates :)

Ooooh, someone's giving a free gun show!
Ooooh, someone’s giving a free gun show!

Yesterday was my last training session for the wellness center’s eight-week, weight management program. I’m not finished at the wellness center, by any means; I’m just moving on to a different phase of the program.  Instead of meeting with a trainer twice a week for an hour, I’ll meet with a trainer once a week for thirty minutes to discuss my progress and make any need adjustments.  Now that I’ve graduated to this phase, I’m expected to be more responsible for scheduling my own workout times. I’m not worried about this, because I’ve already been coming in on my own two-three additional times per week beyond my two scheduled sessions. I know that the only way to get the optimum results from Optifast is to exercise.

Yesterday was also my weigh in day. I was really happy to find that I’d lost three more pounds. I’m almost into the 170s, which seems miraculous to me. It’s been years since I’ve seen those digits on the scale!

Beyond the scale’s reading, I’m noticing so much more. I look and feel so physically changed. My stomach is becoming flat, and my bottom shapelier. My legs have muscular definition and my daughters have told me they want their arms to look like mine. According to them I have “guns.” I’ll flex periodically in their direction to offer them a free “gun show,” just for laughs!

The physical aside, this entire experience is changing my life. I’m rarely just sitting at home alone. I’m always on the move; enjoying the company of people and the beauty of life. The wellness center has been a mecca for meeting new friends. I’m happier, more energetic, and more open to the possibilities that life has to offer.

Last night, my brother asked me if turning 50 has bothered me. Perhaps, a year, or even six months ago, it might have nagged at me. I might have seen it as the beginning of getting older and the ending of some of my potential. His question actually stumped me for a moment, because the idea of being let down by another birthday hadn’t crossed my mind. Turning 50 was a loving and joyous experience for me. My age has no part in the definition or execution of my goals. I pray he’ll feel the same in three years when his half-century mark rolls around.

I hope all of my dear readers are having a beautiful, happy day. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t emphasize enough how important you all are to me! ❤

 

blogging, cats, Exercise, Friendship, Having fun, losing weight

Everything is Better with a Buddy

You can bet your last cat treat that I don’t help with working out!

Today, I took my best girlfriend to the gym with me. We spend every Tuesday together. She hadn’t been to the gym for a while, but she has two very furry trainers that make her walk long distances while they pee in public places.  The furry trainers in my house don’t tolerate leashes, pee in a box when no one’s looking, and the only workout example they show me is eating a sleeping. (Two things that I’ve already proven to be excellent at!)

We spent 40 minutes on the recumbent elliptical, walked two miles around the track and then did the 60 minute water workout that I do with my non-furry, human trainer.  When we got back to her house, the four-legged ones needed walking.  They’re big, and fast, and a good part of our walk was actually a run–a really lengthy run!  Still, we had enough breath to chat and laugh.  Honestly, everything is better with your buddy!

Pffft!  You won't catch me working out!
Pffft! You won’t catch me working out!

Tomorrow is weigh in day.  I’ve worked out really hard this week, and I hope the scale shows it!  Hope everyone is having a lovely morning, day, afternoon, evening, or sleep–depending on where you are in the world! 🙂

 

 

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, enjoying family, Exercise, Friendship, learning, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, needle felting, optifast, Tips fot weight loss, Travel, weight loss journal, Wellness Center

Disappearing into Transition

 

Nope, this isn't me, but I'm getting there!
Nope, this isn’t me, but I’m getting there!

Yesterday, was my weigh-in day at the bariatric center.  They surprised me by taking my measurements, as well.  I lost another 2.5 pounds and I’ve lost four inches from my chest, six inches from my waist five inches from my hips, and three inches from my upper arms. Woo Hoo!!!

I also met with the dietician and we decided that I’ll make my transition back to food in six weeks.  This makes me really nervous, but she assures me that I’ll still lose weight even though I’ll be slowly adding additional calories to my diet.

Transition is a four-week process and it’s stressed to follow it to the letter, as to avoid any stall in weight loss.  Week 1 involves eliminating 1 shake for 1 serving of a lean protein and a non starch vegetable.

Week 2 still has 4 Optifast products per day, but adds one serving of fruit to be eaten in addition to the existing lean protein and non starch vegetable.

Week 3 includes 3 Optifast products per day, 1 meal that includes 1 serving of lean protein, and 1-2 servings of non starchy vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, and 1 serving of dairy.  The fruit and dairy can be as a snack or part of a meal.

Week 4 features 2 Optifast products per day and 2 meals that include lean proteins and non starchy vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, 1 serving of dairy, and one starch per day. Like with week 3, the fruit and dairy can be used as snacks. Week 4 is the eating plan that I’ll stick with for as long as I want to lose weight.  Once I’m just wanting to maintain my weight, I’ll add 1-2 additional servings of starch.

Transition will bring my caloric intake up to 1000-1100 calories per day.  This is a little scary!  Even more daunting, is that my husband and I will be on vacation during weeks 2 and 3 of my transition.  I’m going armed with my food scale and measuring cups, and luckily, I have access to a kitchen both weeks, so I can cook for myself.  Unfortunately, there may be a few times that I have to eat at a restaurant, but I know some good tricks to keep me out of trouble, and I won’t be shy about bringing my scale and measuring cups to the restaurant with me!

Of course, exercise will still be a very important part of my weight loss regime.  Though my program with the personal trainers will end in four weeks, they’ve educated me in how to use the equipment at the wellness center and have given me a variety of routines to do.

As frightening as transition may seem for me, I know I’ll be ready.  I’ve learned so much about exercise and eating properly.  I’ve also learned to replace my desire to overeat with healthier things like exercising, blogging, crafting, or hanging out with friends and family.   These next weeks will be spent continuing to mentally and physically prepare myself to succeed once transition begins.

I want to thank all of my blogging buddies for your continued love & support. You have no idea how much connecting with all of you means to me! ❤