Thursday, December 22, 2011

Who am I?

How existential of me to ask that.  And really, if I were philosophizing on my true meaning - my true reason for existence - then I think it would take up an entire book and not a blog entry.

No, the question is much simpler than that.

One of the ways I know to make money when I depart for my "epic journey of lateness" and explore the US in a motorhome (est.2015) is to write.  Yay! Writing.

Easy enough.

But how do you make money at it?  I don't mean $25 here and there, I mean $1000/month. Or more.  Well, I understand I need to establish myself as a writer in a freelance world.  I need to have stories and an angle and a friend in the publishing business.


I actually need to work at this.

So where to start?  What do I know?  Always write about what you know.  Easy.

But what do I know?  Really know?

And that's where the problem seems to exist for me.

Here's what I know...REALLY know:
How to persevere
How to raise a child
How to be a single mom
How to live (or not live) with someone who has a terrible addiction
How to juggle life - not always successfully
I know what it's like to be withdrawn, what it's like to hide.  I know what it's like to pretend you are someone else.
I know the experience of acting - from a chorus role to the lead in a musical - and everything behind the scenes.
How to have a successful marriage
How to have a successful and angst-free divorce
How to be honest

But beyond that - I'm not an expert in anything.  I have my passions, but I don't consider myself to be an expert in any field.  I can tell stories and have a sardonic wit.  I can see the humor in just about everything.  I am the first to laugh at myself.  And I find myself a little afraid of everything around me.

Insecurity is a bitch.  If I were to look at myself on paper, without knowing it was me, I would be mightily impress with the strength of that woman.  But knowing it's me - I just know that I did what every other person in this world does - I put one foot in front of the other and move forward.  Sometimes through mud or windstorms, or blizzards, or floods.  Sometimes through the most beautiful of sunny days.

I am no different than anyone else.

Except I have a way to find my voice and the voice of others.  I have the talent to put that voice out there and allow my experiences to be heard.

Is that voice publishable?

Is there anything I can say that hasn't already been said? That someone wants to hear?

I have no idea.

And I don't think I will really ever know the answer to that unless I start to write from the heart.  Not a blog - but something more marketable. An article. An opinion column. Something to sell to a small paper or two or twenty or more.

Maybe a weekly piece would be enough to carry me forward as a writer and as a way to finance my adventure through space.  Maybe those stories on the road will become a future book (yes! even with pictures!), or at the very least, a small voice heard by a few souls who still read.

I understand that today is the day I need to figure it all out.  I can't wait until I'm on the road to test the waters.  The time is now...

The first step is always the most frightening. From my experience, the next few steps after that aren't so easy either...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My First Thanksgiving Turkey! (reprinted here for your pleasure!)

Back in the dark ages of my youth...I was about 20 and had my first "real" job. Well, they gave us a gift certificate at Thanksgiving time "for a turkey." It was really a $25 gift certificate to Safeway - but I thought I had to buy a turkey with I did. It was 1980 and I bought a $25 turkey. 

I was single at the time. 

Didn't dawn on me to give it to a I was going to cook my first turkey for me and my friend! Yeppers! 

So there we are in this tiny apartment kitchen opening this turkey...okay, I remembered my mom sticking her hands in the turkey and taking stuff I did.

GROSS! I thought everything would be in a bag or something - I have no idea why. Then I didn't know what to do with the stuff I took out, so we put it in a dish then stuck it in the fridge. 

Step two. Stuff the turkey. 

Okay. This should be simple enough. We opened the box of Stovetop stuffing and poured it into the turkey cavity. Do you know how much Stovetop stuffing fits in the cavity of a $25 turkey? Lots!!! So we kept filling the cavity until it was full. YAY! Now let's cook the turkey!

It took forever. We thought we were suppose to baste the turkey with it's own juices...but there really wasn't any juice coming out, so we didn't. Somewhere...I probably should have called my mom...but no. I was 20 and living on my own. Why call mom????

Sometime around Christmas I think the turkey finally popped it's little red timer thingy...and so it was done.

Yum! We couldn't wait! 

Did you know you're suppose to let the turkey sit before you slice into it? I didn't. So we fired up the electric knife and butchered the hell out of that turkey. Oops! Forgot to remove the stuffing...I guess we'll just serve it from the turkey...YEA!!! Turkey and Stuffing!!!! WOOHOO!!! Let's eat!!!

Have you ever had cottonmouth? 

Have you ever shoved like an entire pack of crackers into your mouth and tried to chew them and swallow? Have you ever had all your bodies' moisture sucked right out of you?

Yeah. we did. Remember when I said we poured the Stovetop stuffing into the turkey's cavity? Did you know you're supposed to first mix the stuffing with water? 

We didn't. 

Wonder where all that turkey juice went that we were supposed to baste the turkey with? Yep. into the cavity. The wads of dried breading was sucking the literal life juice out of the turkey.

So there we were...CRAVING turkey and dressing with a frickin' huge turkey as dry as the sahara desert surrounded by piles of semi-moist turkey-fied breadcrumbs.

I didn't prepare another Thanksgiving meal until I was in my 40's...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Interesting insight into a friend and weight loss...

A male friend of mine took me to dinner last night to celebrate my birthday. Anyone who has followed my blogs, etc, may recognize "said friend" as the man I was infatuated with for the past 4 years. He started dating a woman last February and I met her for the first time about 6 weeks ago. 

Obviously, the conversation drifted toward her and their relationship. (warning...I may get a tad snippy in this blog!) 

She had gastric bypass surgery about 3 years ago and has lost over 120 pounds. She has also had a tummy tuck and a boob job. Duh. At least my eyes could tell it was obvious. Now don't misunderstand me - I have six friends who have gone the gastric bypass route (not lapband) and one who had the cosmetic surgery. I understand. However, I also know that you can lose weight the old fashioned way - through hardwork, dietary changes and exercise. 

Here's the best part of doing it the old-fashioned can still eat food. I don't mean pick at it, or avoid certain things - I mean you can flipping eat food. 

I proved that last night. I have lost 40 pounds this year. Last night I had no difficulty having a petite filet, broccoli, and a blue cheese/pecan salad with a sangria to wash it all down. Will I eat like that again today? No. And that's okay. But I can eat it. 

His girlfriend cannot. But she's "skinny" and has perky boobs. Yeah for her. I would love to be skinny and perky again. But I'm 52. Perky is not part of my body image anymore. 

And that's okay too. 

Last night, my friend told me how wonderful I was looking. How had I lost the weight? What was I doing differently? He complimented me on my hair and even thought it was time I bought a new wardrobe to reflect the changes I've made. Instead, I told him I was moving forward with my life and planning a way to travel the country in a RV - my 5 year plan. I was ready to live for me...FINALLY. He seemed surprised that I was willing to venture out - cut my roots and live by "chance." 

He thought I should live a more stable life. I should date and maybe even settle down. Find a nice man who appreciates the eclectic person I am. Like he does - but one that isn't involved with another woman. WHAT? 

The worst part was his confession that he would not have dated his current girlfriend 3 years ago before her weightloss, yet today he is considering it as a long-term relationship. She's the same person she was 3 years ago except with a ton of surgery. How shallow is that? 

Starts to make sense why he and I never dated. That saddens me. Not because we didn't date - but because of the idea that he didn't date me because of my weight. 

I'm sure I was a tad catty when he mentioned she "had" to have the surgery for health reasons. No she didn't. She lost a ton of weight and was saggy. That doesn't affect your physical health. It affects your vanity. It's okay to admit vanity - but call it what it is. Don't say it was for health issues. The weight loss was for health issues...not the boob job. 

The funniest part was when I found out how old she is. My friend is 47, and I'm 52. He can never remember how old I am because I don't look like I'm 52. I look younger. I act younger. Call it good genes - but the fact I don't look 50. I'm thankful for that. But when I met her last month I was sure she was older than me. I based that on her skin, wrinkles, attitude, the way she carried herself, oh, and the fact that she has a grown and married son. Nope. She's 43. SERIOUSLY??? When he told me that I physically choked on my drink. How embarrassing. I couldn't even hide my shock. 

Last night, he didn't seem to understand my surprise. He tried to write it off and say it was because she's had some difficult years (Really? Difficult? I can compare lives and I bet I can match her difficulty for difficulty and then some.) Well he emailed me today and here is his direct quote: "It *was* interesting after your comment about XXX's age, to see you and her standing next to each other. Not sure if it’s genes, or life, or that red-heads don’t age as well. But yes- just take it as a compliment that you DO look a LOT younger than XXX. Oh well." 

I've got 30 - 40 more pounds to lose. I will manage that in the coming year. When I'm done, I'll be saggy. But I will have done it on my own - no invasive surgery. I will be able to eat Creme Brulee if I want without throwing up. I can go to a party and not pick at my food. I will have learned what creates a proper diet and will be able to maintain a healthy outlook on food and how to eat. I will be able to move and workout. I will know the importance of a healthy life - and not bypass the efforts because I was in the medical field and had someone offer a quick fix. 

And when my friend is comfortably ensconced in a relationship built upon her vanity and his shallowness - I will be long gone, thankful my guardian angels were keeping my heart protected when all I wanted was to be loved. What I wanted he couldn't give me. Last night, it all came together so clearly. 

And all because I have lost weight. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The sigh of relief

Biopsy's are scary things.

Just being told you need to have one can strike fear in the best of us.  For me, it became a flood of "what if's" and a constant reminder to breathe until the results are in my hand.

Last week I had a major health scare.  I didn't tell many people...maybe only four because I didn't want to be seen as over-reacting.  I chose three of those four people carefully.  One is a friend who was diagnosed recently with cancer and has gone through treatment of varying stages throughout the past year and 1/2. Another was a stable...very grounded family member....someone I could depend on to get me through.  The third was my son.  I have never kept anything from him and this was something he needed to know - at the very least to understand why I was on edge.  The fourth was my ex-husband because he called right after I left the doctor.

I knew when I walked into the doctor's office what she was going to do. I hate pain and I knew the biopsy would hurt like a SOB.  It did. And I cried. I'm not sure how much was due to pain and how much was due to fear - but the tears leaked from my eyes and there was nothing I could do to stop them.

When a person is faced with uncertainty, I believe they fall back and re-examine a lot of their lives.  I know I did.

If I were to die tomorrow, what would be my regrets? Would I even have any? Have I done what I want to do? Do I even like the person I am?

In short, I realized that I do like me and that my real regrets were for the future that may not be so real for me.  Understand, I've made a lot of mistakes in my life - but I'm not really sorry.  I've done alright.  I have an amazing son and have had some great adventures.

I still want to see Europe.

I still want to visit all 50 states.

I still want to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

But other than that, I've done okay.  My son said it best after he told me that he would stay within the moment and deal with the "worse-case scenario" only if that was our reality. He said - if he were to lose me today, he couldn't have asked for a better mother or a better upbringing. He has no regrets when it comes to his childhood.

I cried.

I've done that a lot in the last week...quietly in the dark after going to bed.  I'm not ready to leave this life.  I'm not done.  Damn it - I didn't see this possibility coming and I don't want to expend the effort to deal with it.

And that is as far as I allowed myself to go down that path.  No further.  Not until I had something tangible in my hands.

Today, I received my "unofficial" results.

There is no cancer.  No pre-cancerous cells.

Even the small pity-party journey I allowed myself to take was overkill and paranoia.  I'm going to be fine.  And while there is no definitive reason as to the condition I have - it is not cancer.  Whatever it is will not try to kill me.

I have survived to fight another day.

Today is NOT a good day to die, and for that I am thankful.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What do I want to do with my life?

In ten months, I will join the ranks of empty nesters.  As a single mom, it means something a little different for me when compared to couples or parents of multiple children.

Currently, in my world, there are two of us.  We travel as a pair. We laugh until we cry at things only the two of us may find funny.  We know each other better than a lot of couples.  But, in 10 months, we will split as we have always meant to.  Off he will go to become the man he is meant to be.

And I will start my own new adventure.

This one is for me.  Not for my parents. Not for my family. Not for my fiance/husband. Not for my son. Me. This time it is all about me.

What the hell do I do?

How many other people have experienced this?

Hundreds of thousands I expect.

I've promised my son I would "get a life" and not wallow in missing him...or become the hermit I'm so good at.  So I've been searching my brain for what I really have always wanted to do - and then figure out how to do it.

The answer came to me when I stumbled onto a auction show.  Someone was trying to auction of their old AirStream trailer.  It was from the 1970's and he wanted $10,000 for it. AirStreams are cool. Very cool.

I want one.

Wait a minute.

I really do want one.

How cool would it be to travel around the US? Go anywhere you want whenever you want? Drive your own home.

Right.  People with huge retirements do that.  Couples. People with more money than reasonable do that.

And then I thought to look into it.

The average full-time RV-er spends approximately $25,000 a year...some more, some less.  And you can join groups.  There are companies that will hire you seasonally - they will actually hire work-campers.

Okay...that would help.  But I'm also a writer. It's what I do and what I'm good at. So...why can't I find a job that allows me to telecommute from the road? Seriously?  Why not?  It's 2011 - the age of technology and instant communication.  With a cell phone, a computer and wifi (or hell, an aircard) I could be in immediate contact with anyone.

I could also write travel columns.  Or blogs. I'm pretty damned good with a camera too - so I would be able to submit pictures to go with the articles.

Dear God I could freelance.

I it really possible?  How long would it take to establish myself and guarantee and income of $20 - $30K a year in a combination of freelancing and working various jobs around the nation?  I couldn't expect much more than minimum to $10/hour ... but that would at least cover gas & food.

I would have to downsize.  Severely.  But I live in an apartment right now ... and have started to go through the remaining boxes in my garage.  I'm already getting rid of stuff. So why not just get rid of more?  Why not just keep stuff in storage?  I don't have that much anyway.  Very little furniture that I'm attached to.  Like 5 pieces and my bed. They rest can go away. My art is a different story.  I'm actually attached to 6 pieces and I'm not sure they would fit in an RV.

Then there's the idea of an RV.  The little research I've done tells me I need a class C no bigger than 27 feet. I'll be able to tow my car behind it.  I like my car and it would be the perfect vehicle for travel.

So all I need to do is figure out how to afford an RV and finance my life on the road.

I can have a life.

I will become Terri the Nomad.

I may actually manage it by the time I'm 55.  That's 2015.

This may really be doable.

And that makes me happy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

day: I re-commit myself to me

I've been lost.

Some of you may have noticed, but I'm assuming the vast majority have not. Nor should anyone. Because I'm me and not you. Our focus should be on ourselves.

We - at least the females among us - tend to focus on everyone else other than ourselves and in doing so, forget the most important person in our lives.

I've done it the same as the rest of the women in this world.

I will always find a way to focus on others before myself. But I will make the effort to take care of me first.

And that is what I'm doing today.

Taking care of me.

This past May, I jumped into the 17 day diet with both feet and I managed to lose 30 pounds. This is incredible. This is amazing. I've always done in the past...I started to inch my way into self-sabotage. I made excuses and found ways to cheat albeit in very small ways. The whole time I knew what I was doing. At least I was completely aware.

And I reached out. I cried out. Everytime I felt myself starting to hide away from the world, I'd yank myself up and throw myself out there publicly. least I threw myself out there into SparkPeople world.

Thankfully some people reached back. Even though many were struggling with their own weight loss demons - people found a moment in their day to recognize me. I love you for that. I needed you and there were those who ... at the very least ... acknowledged my presence and predicament.

I knew I needed to get back on track. I knew the weight would creep back up if I didn't. Thankfully, I've gained less than 5 pounds back. This past weekend was like a free-for-all with Mexican food. In the past six weeks, I've "allowed" myself to reintroduce sugar back into my system. And alcohol. And though I've maintained an awareness of each addition...I caught myself starting to let it go.

I do that. I am the best damned pity-party thrower out there sometimes. I don't know why, but I will destroy my best intentions with feelings of being unworthy.

I know...I know...I am worthy. 99% of me knows that and will tell you that. I am strong and intelligent and accomplished. But there is that teeny tiny voice inside of me that says I'm lying. It tells me that I've been faking it all these years and someone will call my bluff. It tries to convince me that there is no substance behind the facade that is me.

Why that voice is easier to listen to doesn't make sense to me. But it is. It's like comfort food. It's like a warm, soft blanket on a blustery Autumn day. It's the crackling of a fireplace and the caress of a lover.

And it is trying to destroy me from the inside.

Not today.

Today I am pushing it back down - but only after I confront it head-on. I know it will always be there - but by acknowledging it and recognizing it is part of me - I will be able to keep it in check.

Today I am back to complete my goal for 2011. To reach that goal - a total of 40 pounds lost in 2011 - I have only 13 pounds to go. I can do it. It is completely possible. Not "if" but "when."

And in doing so - will be able to reach MY healthy weight in 2012.

Friday, September 30, 2011



I fess up.

Yesterday was a surprising mix of emotions...oddly enough I never really cried. True, my eyes "leaked" as I finally laid down to sleep...but it wasn't an overwhelming sadness...more like the closing of a chapter that I had closed a long time ago only to recognize it today.

I met "her." I did not like "her." I don't get why on earth she would be the "chosen one" over me. But she is and if that is truly the case, I never stood a chance in Hell with this man. I walked away realizing that I was the better woman.

For me to see that is huge.

For as insecure and afraid as I can be, I recognized yesterday that it is not who I outwardly portray. And why is that? Because I really am strong. I really am confident. I really am in control.

And I'm a hell of a lot of fun to be with.

Someone is out there that "gets" me and then I will be "her" for him.

So, yesterday, I walked away. Not from my friendship, but from my anchor.

Today, I am floating to the top...

As if to bolster that change, an opening appeared in a group's meetup that I've been interested in. The meeting is tonight and I'm actually going.

Now, for a lot of people, this isn't a big deal. But for me - the person who prefers to simply hide in my home - this is a huge step toward finding me again.

The meeting is only women (something I have avoided most of my life) and spiritual (not weighted down by Christianity - more overwhelming and all-accepting spirituality) something I've been drawn to for my entire life, but something I've always shied away from because of my Christian roots.

But the pull this time is very strong. Who am I to deny this at this stage in my life?

The changes are necessary for me to grow.

I've got the diet right (my huge splurge last night was very European! Bleu Cheese and wine!) and I'm starting to let go of dead weight (sorry John). I've spent the past 5 years trying to find my footing so I can move forward - and maybe, today, the time is now.

So - 30 pounds lighter and emotionally single, I step into the light of the universe and try to discover this mysterious world of women and earthly spiritualism. (sounds's not where this is least not yet...)

I will let everyone know how tonight's Water Elemental goes (that's the lesson for this evening) and I will keep ya'll posted on my attempts at coming out of my shell and stepping into the big and beautiful world surrounding us all.

"I watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream of warm impermanence..." 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why yes. Someone DID die and make me the grammar police.

Okay - I'm a snob about grammar.

I'll admit it.

I understand the English language is difficult - but it's not THAT hard. I swear, you just need to care to write and speak correctly.

I am not privileged. Neither of my parents ever finished high school, yet my mom was one of the most educated people I've ever known. She taught me that grammar was important. She grew up on a farm in Kansas and was married in 1935. She was poor. Heck WE were poor. But no one ever really knew - because my mom was adamant that proper grammar and spelling would make a difference.

And it did.

And it does.

There is an article on by Leslie Ayres today that focuses on this very issue. Here are some wonderful excerpts:

"Bad grammar and spelling make a bad impression. Don't let yourself lose an opportunity over a simple spelling or grammar mistake."

Loose / Lose

These spellings really don't make much sense, so you just have to remember them. "Loose" is the opposite of tight, and rhymes with goose. "Lose" is the opposite of win, and rhymes with booze. (To show how unpredictable English is, compare another pair of words, "choose" and "chose," which are spelled the same except the initial sound, but pronounced differently. No wonder so many people get it wrong!)

Loose = it's not tight, it's loosey goosey
Lose= "don't lose the hose for the rose" is a way to remember the same spelling but a different pronunciation
I never thought I could lose so much weight; now my pants are all loose!

A lot / Alot / Allot

First the bad news: there is no such word as "alot." "A lot" refers to quantity, and "allot" means to distribute or parcel out.

There is a lot of confusion about this one, so I'm going to allot ten minutes to review these rules of grammar.

Between you and I

This one is widely misused, even by TV news anchors who should know better.

In English, we use a different pronoun depending on whether it's the subject or the object of the sentence: I/me, she/her, he/him, they/them. This becomes second nature for us and we rarely make mistakes with the glaring exception of when we have to choose between "you and I" or "you and me."

...suffice to say that "between you and I" is never correct, and although it is becoming more common, it's kind of like saying "him did a great job." It is glaringly incorrect.

The easy rule of thumb is to replace the "you and I" or "you and me" with either "we" or "us" and you'll quickly see which form is right. If "us" works, then use "you and me" and if "we" works, then use "you and I."

Master these common errors and you'll remove some of the mistakes and red flags that make you look like you have no idea how to speak."

My mom was a closet writer - and instilled a love for language and words. Because of her passion toward language, proper spelling and grammar, I managed to get my degree in English and work as a writer for the past 30 years.

I'll step off my soap box now...maybe though...we can become a nation of people who are capable of speaking and writing our own language?? 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Melancholy - contemplation on life today...

I tend toward the extremes in life sometimes.  I'm either up or I'm down.  The inbetween is most likely a melancholy.

That's today.

I saw it coming.  In the last week I've been tired and at a low ebb. It's colored how I see things in life right now.  And while - generally speaking - I'm a happy and optimistic person, I'm starting to feel myself turn inward.

There are so many things I need to do - primarily rid my life of boxes and boxes of stuff in my garage.  The pile is so much smaller than it was years ago - but letting go is difficult at times.  It's also difficult because I tend toward strong memories - and these boxes are full of them.

I learned at a very early age that life can change in the blink of an eye.  Because of that I've gone through life "making memories" of people and times.  Where most people in this world just go through a day - I tend to focus on something to remember - something to hold onto and something that will bring the memories back.  I've done this so long that I really don't realize I'm doing it.  It's subconscious on my part.

But today I went through 3 boxes.  And while I ended up throwing or giving most of their contents away, I held onto a small shoebox of cards and letters - all from the 1980's.  I found a phone book of people that are mostly no longer in my life; wedding cards, anniversary cards, Christmas cards, birthday cards - mostly from my mom who died Oct 2, 2001.  Cards my ex-husband and I gave to one another during those 1st few years of our marriage - those incredibly happy years when nothing could drive a wedge between us.  And while I gave that marriage everything, alcoholism divided us and I called it quits after almost 25 years.  But the '80's...they were some good, good times.

With what has happened in Norway, and what continues to happen in our world today - with the bickering and BS of our own political parties and our own seemingly willingness to implode - my heart is heavy.

I'm saddened because of the pain felt worldwide.

And this has always saddened me.  The hunger, the fear, the death, the hatred - sometimes it just all seems overwhelming.

Yet, I know there are many more people who are kind and loving.  People who put others before themselves and unselfishly stand beside those less fortunate.

The world is more kind than hateful - more loving and more giving.

This is what I need to remember and focus on.

The lives of those I loved in the past are forever with me in my memories.  And while I cannot bring them back physically, I can live with the knowledge that I gave them my heart willingly and knowingly.  I allowed myself to be open to them and to remember our times together.

I pray that those people who are hurting today - both in Norway and elsewhere in this world - can find that they also made memories of each and every day they were with their loved ones.  I pray that they find the comfort of these memories in the future when the severity of their loss and their pain starts to subside.

I pray that - together - we can find comfort and peace and give enough love to one another so that others may never know the heartache of terroristic death.

Imagine all the people
living life in peace
you may say i'm a dreamer
but i'm not the only one

Saturday, July 9, 2011

To stop judging & comparing and just be with what is

I can't begin to tell you how wonderful and smooth my thinking process is becoming between the 17DD, and these affirmations. Yesterday was my 2nd 16 hour day this week - and I found myself - though stressed because of deadlines - in control. I WAS IN CONTROL! That's huge. I wasn't scattered, or flustered, or scared and I had foods in my bag to maintain myself through the day. I was prepared. And then I came home and did a 48 minute walk. 

Here's to today and our continued success! 

Our mind used to automatically make comments on everything that happened. It was always judging, commenting, criticizing, approving, deciding whether something was right or wrong, good or bad, too big or too small, too this or too that. I was so busy comparing what was to what I thought it should be or wanted it to be that I did not have time to enjoy the moment. 

Today I am learning to stop judging 
and comparing so that I can be with what is. 
I am learning to accept what is without the struggle 
of trying to decide whether it is right or wrong. 


Today - go out and enjoy all your moments! Accept them as they are and stop putting judgments on them. That is my plan today. Enjoy the simplicities of life - whatever they are and whatever comes my way. Today will simply be - today. 

I can think of no better way to face life. 

I have worried and stressed and fretted about things not being what I thought they should be - or even worse - not be what I thought others would want them to be. Not only did I have my own preconceived notions about events and such in my head, but I also had preconceived ideas about what was in the heads of other. Try living up to that! 

No wonder I was an emotional mess for so long. 

No wonder I'm fat. 

I couldn't live up to my expectations or to those I self-imposed and reflected back onto my self. What a confusing and constantly questioning way of life. 

Well I'm done. 

It is time to release all the continual second-guessing I've done throughout most of my life. There was a time - long ago - when a friend and I developed a "F**k 'em if they can't take a joke" kind of attitude. It wasn't as harsh or as uncaring as it sounds - it was simply allowing us to be who we truly are without trying to please the entire world. We were 19? 20? when we came up with that - and suddenly I felt on top of the world. I managed to have an awesome job with an awesome company - I enjoyed life and all my friends - I met my husband during this time - life was great. Sure there were bad things happening in my life, but they were suddenly manageable and didn't cripple me into submission. 

Somewhere along the line I lost that attitude. I "grew up" and became "responsible" whatever that means. I suddenly found myself trying to fit into molds...and I couldn't get off the merry-go-round of frustration. Suddenly I was back to second-guessing every move I made because I thought I had to so as to be seen as responsible. 

Here I am. 51 years old. And all those years of trying to live in the molds of others has left me frustrated and fat. 

Until this past May when I sucked it up and started to remember who I am. I allowed myself to release the pain - release the frustration - release the attempts at trying to make everyone happy except for myself. I released the chains of what I supposed was life and allowed myself to actually live life. 

And you know what? 

I'm happier. I'm healthier. I'm almost 20 pounds lighter. 

Oddly enough - I'm more balanced and therefore more able to maintain my life and my responsibilities. I am becoming the responsible adult without the suffocating restraints I thought that title imposed. 

I am finally growing up into myself. And it's only taken me a little more than 25 years to find myself back to the path I discovered when I first entered into adulthood. 

I am learning to accept what is without the struggle of trying to decide whether it is right or wrong. 

I am finding peace.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Trusting your instincts - the voice of reason and truth

"Seek always the answer from within. Be not influenced by those around you, by their thoughts or by their words." ~ Eileen Caddy 

When faced with a decision as to which way to go today, I will pause and take the time that I need to feel it through. I no longer have to look to other people for approval. I can seek advice and then make my own decisions. I can take quiet time and go with my intuition. I can let my body tell me what is right for me. 


Today I trust my instincts. Today I trust that I will know at the right time the right answer. Today I have the faith to know that God guides me in my choices. 

The above is from "Time for Joy" a book of daily affirmations. In the past, I have usually met the suggestion of daily affirmations with a smirk. How on earth can the simple repetition of words change my life? Especially words so simple...almost insipid...I should and do already know this - so why will it help me? I felt like that character Stuart Smalley from SNL (Al Franken) - and I laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. 



It works. 

It really does work. 

And everyday that I follow the daily affirmation - everyday that I repeat these simple words, this simple message over and over - I'm getting stronger. I'm happier and more relaxed. I can deal with the day to day better than before. I breathe more. I'm finding that voice inside of me again. 

For me this is huge. For me, for so long, I lost that voice inside of me...that very, very wise voice. And each day it gets a little bit louder and I trust it a little bit more. 

Though this particular affirmation means to expand into all aspects of ones' life - it can easily be focused down to eating well and eating right. Use it however you may need - find that voice inside of you and trust yourself to know what is best for you. Eat the right foods - avoid the ones that weigh you down both literally and figuratively. 

As I have always told my son before a decision or a test or anything that brings with it "second thought" - Breathe, then answer. In other words, take in a deep breathe...hold...then release your worries, your stress with that exhale. What is left, if you truly let it go, is the truth for you at that moment. Go with it and know you have made the best choice for you at that moment with all that you have and all that you know. 

My intention is to get back to that simple "knowing." No regrets - no questions - no internal struggle. Just peace of mind. 

If I can find my internal peace - trust that you can, too. It's right there. Inside of you, where it has always been. It's just very quiet and very polite and just waiting for you to stop long enough to find your center. 

Just breathe and listen. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thankful to those who motivate me...thankful for today

On Sunday, I was named June's most motivational member for the 17 day diet team at SparkPeople. 

I'm truly honored and humbled by this gift. 

I don't think I do anything exceptional - or anything I don't like having done for myself. 

It's important to me to have daily motivation - I need to have that daily pep talk to keep me on the right path. And sometimes, no matter how much "pep" I'm giving - no matter how many people tell me I'm doing fine and on the right path - I just can't seem to move forward. In the past, I've fallen by the wayside and no one has seemed to notice me lying there. No one comes over to pick me up and dust me off. 

So I lay there feeling sorry for myself. I roll over and eat whatever I can find. I wallow in the mud and cry in my beer and force feed myself until I'm bloated. Then I roll down the hill, find a way to stand back up and then slowly try climbing back up the mountain. 

It sucks sometimes. The self-pity and self-destruction I find myself caught within. 

But today I'm still trudging up that mountain. And everyday it gets a little easier. I'm not sure why but I think it may be a combination of timing and support. The support of a wonderful group of people I happened to fall in with here on SparkPeople. I'm not sure how I got so lucky - but they have been some of the most loving and open people I've found in the cyberworld. 

We are all at SparkPeople for the same reason - because we are finding a balance with food and are getting healthier while learning to eat better. Everyday we get closer to our goals. Everyday we find a way to cheer each other onward and upward. 

I'm just adding my voice to the group as we trudged together up our mountain. Somehow, the group thought my voice was valid and motivational. I'm touched...touched to the point of tears. 

In all my years of battling my weight, I've never felt such love from a group of people. I've done so many diets in the past - I've been a part of so many different weight loss groups during those years, and all those times I just felt as if I was just another number - someone else who was fat and trudging through the trenches of rice cakes and carrots and celery stalks while all the while eyeing that cheesecake and all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. 

Not today. I've found a group of extraordinary women who come from all walks of life doing exactly the same thing I'm doing - succeeding with a simple plan for weight loss. 

In 7 days I will have completed my 3rd cycle of the 17DD plan and ... if I don't lose anything else in those 7 days, I will still be 16 pounds lighter and 14 inches smaller than I was 51 days ago. I will have managed to eat and enjoy more yogurt and vegetables than I have in at least a year. I will have survived without pizza and hamburgers and bags of chips. And I will be doing just fine. 

This is where timing is important. 

I'm ready. I'm ready to release the fat that surrounds me. I'm ready to release the past the has protected me from living for the future. I'm ready to release the pain I've held onto from a failed relationship - that lasted 25 years. I'm ready to step into my next phase of life...the phase that has me as the mother of a college-bound son in the next year - the phase of a woman who will find herself in the position of living for herself - not her family, not her husband, not her children - for herself. 

I never thought I'd ever look forward to that day. Yet here I am. Ready to move forward in my life. Ready to embrace my 50's as a time of freedom. Ready to greet 52 weighing less than 200 pounds. Ready to find my way back to that woman I once was who had energy and life and the guts to climb any mountain in front of me. 

Somehow - today the timing and the people have come together to help carry me forward. 

For this I am thankful. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

The day after...

If anyone is following my blog - you'll know that I was finally going to meet with a counselor yesterday concerning my divorce. A quick background: I divorced my husband (it was final in 2008) after 25 years of marriage. The last 6 of them he was a raging alcoholic. While my marriage had years and years of great times, they were almost all eradicated by the last 6. If you have never lived with an alcoholic - please, count your blessings. For those of you who have - I know you understand a lot of what I went through in those years.

I thought I was over everything - I thought I had found my peace and had moved on. I haven't. 

He still makes me angry. Not mad. Angry. I still get nightmares. I still feel that lost feeling I felt when I was searching for an escape.

He's been sober since September 2006 - the day I put him on a plane just after our 23rd anniversary for his 4th and what seems to be his final attempt at sobriety.

I was done. I told him not to come back.

Well - the counselor listened to my tale of woe and asked me why I hadn't let go yet. I told her I thought I had. Nope, she said. But she would help.

So...I feel freer already. I'm ready to be done with him. My son is 17 and has one more year of high school before he goes away to college. He's the person he is today because of who he is and how I've nurtured him. He is also a product of his environment - and he's come out on the other side better for what he's been through. The bottom line is - my son is who he is despite of his father. There is no reason for our son for me to hold onto his father. 

So why am I holding on? Because it's hard to let go after 30 years. I was 21 when I met him. 24 when we married. 48 when we divorced. I've known him over 1/2 my life. Good and bad. 

It's time to walk away.

And when I do - the counselor seems to think I'll let a lot more weight, my fear of dating, my settling for life without the strength to move forward.

Today IS the first day of the rest of my life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Learning to move forward - lose the anger, find the love

Let me start this out by saying I'm okay...frustrated, but okay. And in an odd way, I may have crossed a major issue in my weight loss journey - or actually, what causes me to have issues with weight loss. 

A little background on me: I divorced in 2008 after being married for 24 years. I met my ex in 1981, married in 1984, moved to Alaska in 1989, had our son in 1994. My father-in-law died unexpectedly in 2000 then my mother passed in 2001 - almost a year later and right after 9/11. By the start of 2002 my son and I were living with a full fledge alcoholic. The next 5 years were hell. On my 23rd anniversary, I put my ex on a plane to Washington for his 4th attempt at recovery. I told him not to come back. By June 2007, my son and I packed our car and drove to Texas to start over. The plus side of all this - my ex has been sober since September 2006.

As any other single parent can tell you, the past few years have been difficult - but I wouldn't change the choice of divorce for anything. It was a difficult decision - but the right one. My son and I are fine. 

My ex followed us to Texas, but was respectful enough to live 1.5 hours away. He is not in my face. There have been events good and bad - but all in all, we are friends. I loved him for over 25 years - I'm too damned old to be angry. 

And that may be the problem. There are times I still am. There are things that he says or does that bring it all back up - the anger, the nightmares, the frustration - it all comes back. 

I try. I do. I don't want to have these emotions come back. I want to move forward. I want to find someone else to love and be loved by. I know the only way to move forward is to forgive. I thought I had. I seriously worked hard to let it all go. It's not like it's the first "trauma" that I've experienced. I'm strong - I know I am. So for me to still get as angry as I do about his actions (or lack thereof) is almost baffling. 

So...after months of my son asking me to get counseling - I'm doing it. I meet with a counselor tomorrow afternoon. I'm tired of not sleeping. I'm tired. 

And what does this have to do with my weight loss journey? 

I'm an emotional eater. I have spent the past 17 years punishing myself with my weight. It's like I have an inner voice that says I don't deserve to be a healthy weight. It's like when I get angry at someone I love that I punish myself by destroying my weight. Always. Everytime I've experienced the anger, the frustration, the emotional crap - I eat. 

Today I realized I didn't eat like that. And I didn't do it yesterday. Or last week. Or the week before that. (believe me - there has been cause) 

This is huge. 

I'm not sure I'm "cured" but I have a control that I've never had before. I'm not sure exactly why. It's not that I've lost weight, because that has never worked before. It's not because I'm communicating with my SP friends - or my son - because I also tend to hide or hermitize myself as I like to call it. So, no...that's not it. 

I really don't know why. 

But I'm glad. 

Maybe...I'm really moving forward this time.