Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIP Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols died today. I love so much about his work. I was amazed by his vision for projects and his eye for people. Condolences to his wife Diane Sawyer. Peace to his soul and to all who know him. 


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Telling Story of a Chocolate Experiment*

Not my nails
*No sugar was consumed in the writing of this story. No product is displayed in edible form in this post.

I loved what Crabby McSlacker posted the other day about her experiment with Kettle Corn and portion control. It reminded me of my multi-decade experiment with M(and)M candies.

The ampersand often fails in formatting so I avoid using it but you know what I mean by M(and)M. That freaking rainbow bag of chocolate mock happiness. I adored the colorful little buggers my whole life. It was my chocolate candy of choice for many years. When I was a kid we had red, blue, green, orange, yellow, light brown and dark brown. Then we lost blue because of the dye issue. Then we lost red. Then red came back. Then we got blue back. Finally, we lost light brown. Mourning ensued. (Are you detecting my emotional connection to these freakn' things?)

When they came out with holiday themed bags of the damn things I was in candy coated heaven. From the way I reacted to the Halloween, Fall, Easter and Christmas color lines, you would have thought it meant there was something  new and wonderful about the taste of each color. Not so! There is no noticeable difference, no matter what my mind tells me about the green ones.

That's right - the green  ones. Here goes the story.

I knew I had to 'limit' my consumption of candy/chocolate so I reasoned that I could just eat the green ones. Of course to get the amount of chocolate I wanted this meant I had to buy bigger bags. Eventually I would start to reason that orange was the new green and eat all the orange.
Candy 1: Jane 0.

I played the game where would limit myself to the green ones in the Christmas line of red and green. I threw out the red and only had the green. I could only have a couple at a time. I couple is two, right? My 'couples' must have been from bigamist candy families because two was easily a handful by the third taste. I found every possible excuse to return to the room with the container and have just a 'couple more.'
Candy 2: Jane 0

Now this reminds me of a Lego Store
Then I tried only having the original green color, removing said green buttons from the bag and giving away the rest of the bag immediately. This proved to be a puny little amount of chocolate for my 'needs' but I stuck with it until I found that I could go to the mall, where they have a WHOLE STORE DEVOTED TO THESE G!#$D@#$M THINGS and purchase bags of just a single color. Now any color I could try to 'limit' was available in untold quantities by just visiting the mall.
Candy 3: Jane 0

My mind can conjure up the smell and taste even today, in a home that does not have any candy in it. Yes, these innocent little buttons of chocolate were the last candy I ate before being freed from sugar insanity nine months ago ago. I write innocent because the candy is not to blame for the addiction I have to sugar. Addiction is a disease: not a sin, not a crime and not an excuse.  I have already done all the experimenting needed in my life with this subject.

My experiments were a complete success! I successfully proved without a doubt that portion control did not and will not work for me when it comes to sugary things. My experimenting days are over.

Candy fails: Jane Wins.

Did you/Do you have an emotional attachment to a candy?


Friday, November 14, 2014

The New Math?

This is the Frozen Advent calendar they are selling at Target this year. This is the only one left on the shelf so I cannot tell you if they were all made incorrectly or if this was an abnormality. If you are going to Target, please look for it and tell me if they are as ridiculous at your store as they are here. 

If you insist on stuffing your Advent calendar with candy,  each 'pocket' on this calendar does not fit more than a single peanut M&M. It is not worth the effort. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reflections in a Cemetery

I was online at Starbucks this morning. At this location salespeople tend meet with prospective clients. I was in line behind a salesman. His client walked in and the salesman greeted him and said "what will you have, I'll get it." The client said no thank you, mine is free today. The salesman was puzzled and just looked at his client, finally asking "Why?" I figured I'd help the salesman out. I turned to the client, who was standing behind me and said to him "Thank you for your service, sir." The gentleman replied "it was an honor to serve." The salesman hit himself on the head and said "I forgot it was Veterans Day." I don't know if he'll get the sale, but at least he was honest and didn't try to cover.

I took my coffee and on the way home drove to Woodlawn Cemetery in Gotha, FL. We have two friends who are buried there, both were veterans who served honorably and were blessed to return home and live their lives with family and friends. While I will never reside in a cemetery (my wishes are cremation and scatter), I believe in honoring those who have gone before me and if that means they have chosen to be in a cemetery, I am comfortable making a visit there.  

I expected the cemetery would be busy with people honoring those who no longer live along us. I was wrong. As I drove through the different lanes and paths I could not see anyone else. It was after nine in the morning but there were no other cars or visitors in evidence. Did everyone come before nine or was everyone coming afterwards? I know I cannot be the only one. I parked in an one area and walked along the memorial stones, paying respects to several graves adorned with US flags. It was very quiet and very peaceful. 

I had my dog in the car. Of course, he never left the car - I would not ever let him out at the cemetery. This was his first and maybe only car ride in a cemetery. He sat looking out the window as I drove the lanes. He watched from inside the car when I walked on the paths. He never made a sound. . . .until- 

I had a hard time finding one friend's grave because the area in which he rests has been remarkably landscaped to include a rock stream, garden and small bridge. When I was about to give up I stopped the car at one final row and prepared to get out to walk down the lane, looking for the grave. That is when my dog starting barking like crazy, straining against the window , barking and looking at . . . nothing? 

There were no people, no squirrels, no cats, no turkeys and no peacocks in this area (we had seen turkeys and peacocks in a different area and the dog didn't even care). Now, in this one area Keeper suddenly sensed. . . . something that caused him to bark while wagging his tail. I stayed in the car until he calmed down and behaved by sitting quietly. Then I opened the door and got out. He remained looking out the window with his tail wagging. 2/3 of the way down the row, I found my friend's grave, said a prayer of thanks for his service and came back to the car. Keeper was sitting quietly on the back seat. It was then that I realized that our friend, Jim, had met Keeper once, before he took sick. Jim is the only resident in that cemetery that ever met Keeper. 

As strange as it all sounds, I believe Keeper was aware of something.

That is how I honored Veteran's Day today. No Veteran's Day sales for me.

I have two questions for you today. Do you have any traditions for Veteran's day? Do you think I will bring Keeper with me the next time I go to the cemetery? 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Some Days it Ain't Easy

Now that I have been faithful to my decision to give up sugar for almost 9 months I can see that most days it is very easy. I am pretty happy and I don't have sugar, add sugar, want sugar or need sugar.

Every now and then there is a day when I feel like I've been body slammed into a wall and life is speeding by too fast or everything is all out of control and I start to want something to soothe my feelings. Soothe is the wrong word. Anesthetize is more accurate.  I want to numb out.

I don't do it. I don't dive in. I don't measure out a serving. I don't give myself a nibble of a bite. I feel whatever it is that I have to feel that day. I allow myself to cry, feel sad, hurt, angry - I feel it. Later that day or the next day, or a few days later, whatever I needed to feel is done and I feel well and happy and whole again. 

If I had picked up sugar the feelings would be buried but then I would feel bloated, fat, out of control and angry; always angry because I would know that anything I 'soothed' away with food will come back to slam me again someday, sometime because I did not deal with it properly. 

When I don't anesthetize myself from the feelings they serve their purpose and when they are done, I feel better quickly - as long as I don't pick up. 

The past couple of days have been hard. I have NOT picked up.  Feelings are hitting me like a freight train. I will survive. This will pass. 

I will not give in to the idea what a food can make me happy or take away my pain. 

Because I have NOT given in to the addiction I can look forward to feeling better soon.

For this I am grateful.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Is it November 4th Already?

All I wanted the whole month of October was time to sit and reflect on this time of year. The last week of October became a crazy, busy time with almost no time to sit and think. I really had to work hard to carve out that space for myself. I am not complaining or pulling a 'poor me.' It is what it was and what it was is livable.

Here is how the final week went:

Food - sober, clean and kind to my body. No problems there.

Workouts - four days of active physical activity. 

Pumpkin - Well, I tried to carve a real pumpkin and used a drill and my own vision of what I wanted it to look like. First of all, my beautiful pumpkin started to rot from the inside out before I ever got to cut into it. It was a disaster and I tossed it in the garbage. Maybe next year.

Halloween events: I had two Halloween events for clients this year. Both involved chocolates and cakes and both involved me getting my hands 'dirty' (dirty as in covered in chocolate mess). At no time did I have a need to put my hand near my mouth. However there was an instance of -

NASAL ASSAULT: This is what happens when you are sugar and chocolate free for 8 months and you have to open up a few bags of fun-size bars for work. The aroma of the chocolate exploded out of the plastic bag and assaulted my nasal cavity. I didn't eat the chocolate and honestly, I didn't want to eat the chocolate yet the sudden and powerful smells hit me like a brick.  I am glad I was not hungry and have a guideline for eating that, for today, does not include gratuitous eating. 

Work: the overwhelming force this week. Eight events plus all the prep and planning work. I am, as always - behind on November and December but not beating myself up about it. 

Charlie Brown: I have the DVD and can watch anytime I want. I kept putting it off so I could sit with my husband and watch it. Now it is November 4th and we still never sat down with it. Gratefully, I can play it in my mind any day of the year (and sometimes I do). Tonight I am finally going to put the DVD in the machine and put it on as a drift off the sleep. Like Charlie Brown, maybe I will finally kick that old football. 

Jane Time: I still managed to get in three fellowship meetings and my therapist. I also managed to get enough work done so November 1st and 2nd were spent entirely with our daughter who came to visit this weekend from New York City. November 1st and 2nd were full of family time and that is the best time of all. 

 I have not gained weight, binged, eaten off my plan or misused anything or anyone in order to control my eating. Keeping the pounds off through October is a victory no matter how I look at it.

Now it is already November 4th. Living a full life sometimes makes the days fly by. Life went by too quickly when I was living with my head in the fridge. But that was a different and less joyous life. When I was full of food I could not necessarily look back and distinguish one day from the other. Today I am living a life full of good things and when they run together in my mind it is because there is plenty - not Good and Plenty candy! 

We can live and enjoy this next month while keeping the pounds off, too. 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

This Halloween - Keeper the First

When our bichon was three I got him a Halloween costume. I do not even remember what it was. I don't think I have any photos of it. Maybe it didn't fit him? That was seven years ago - we had digital and film cameras then but I do not remember any photos.

This year I had an urge to dress him for Halloween. Temporary insanity? Maybe. Or maybe it is because I am not going to any costume parties and have no kids of my own to dress.

Oh my God, the dog really is our third child. Gadzooks, I am so glad he will not be needing higher education tuition!

Anyway, for your amusement this Halloween, I present Keeper the First

Happy Halloween and safe, healthy trick or treats to all! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Birthday Adventure of My Holy Unicorn

 It was perhaps two years ago when I first read Super Earthlings blog post that included the invention of the Holy Unicorn. She re-posted the story that includes Holy Unicorn and the Horrific Consequences of cheating on your diet on June 23rd but her links are broken right now so I won't send you over there today.  If you never read it, you should because it will make you laugh and laughing is always good.

Last year I went on eBay and bought a box of unicorns and it even included a teddy bear riding a unicorn. (her story also has a Holy Teddy Bear). I shared the box of unicorns with people who also read and appreciated Super Earthlings post. 

Holy Unicorn has become an inside joke between me and some of my dearest friends. One of these dear friends sent me a plush unicorn/minion character (from the movie Despicable Me or Me II) for my birthday. I opened it at dawn. It included a card about filling my day with rainbows and sparkles and sillies. 

I decided to let Holy Unicorn come with me everywhere all day and I chronicled Her adventure in photos and captions. 

I hope you will enjoy Her day with me on my birthday.

Holy Unicorn is unwrapped from her traveling cocoon of
Amazon gift wrap and cardboard just in time to see the sun rise 

She clears the road of traffic for a good, orderly
start to my birthday travels. First stop: a meeting! 

But then Holy Unicorn notices I am low on gas

She sends me to a gas station and makes
the price of gas magically drop below
$3.00 a gallon.

We get to the meeting and while I enjoy the
fellowship and sharing, Holy Unicorn protects
the treasure's money pouch.

We return home to find presents!
Here is Holy Unicorn checking out
my new Disney Haunted Mansion bookends!

She likes this view more

As a birthday gift, I suggested $200 to put towards a
 consultation with a nutritionist. 
My husband thought
that sounded 'un-fun.' 
I said it is fun to me.
Holy Unicorn reads the cute certificate my
husband made for my birthday. 

Holy Unicorn is touched by the gesture and blows her nose. 

She inspects the interactive magic wand from Ollivander's, a
special gift from my best friend, Joyce. Holy Unicorn is
impressed that my friend waited on a long line and stood through
an entire show at Ollivander's in order to purchase this gift. She is
even more impressed that Joyce knew the Ollivander's bag would
be at least as exciting to me as the wand!  

We drive up to Lake County to visit beautiful
Lake Yale but first we stop for coffee. Holy
 Unicorn approves of a venti dark roast with
unsweetened almond milk brought from home.

At this point Holy Unicorn saw something else that caught her attention. 
Holy Unicorn threw a rainbow of forgetfulness over the
case of bakery goods so that my magical magnifying mind
would not be inspired to remember how anything might
have tasted in my past life. I remain sugar free.

Then we continued on with the Journey of the Birthday

Holy Unicorn sees Lake Yale for the first time and is
excited at how peaceful the area is today. She takes time to
contemplate the mysteries of the universe while Larry
and I swat at blind mosquitoes and gnats.

She reminds me to stop and make a wish at the
artificially colored fountain of pool-looking water.

I decide we will have lunch as Bob Evans.
It takes forever for our order to arrive.
While we are waiting for my Heritage Salad,
Holy Unicorn makes use this handy
Table-Stable and rests. 

Refreshed, she checks out the remainder of
my salad and reminds me to eat my

We stop at the check out counter and donate toward feeding
a family for Thanksgiving. Holy Unicorn signs the
leaf with her initials H.U.C.
 It was at this time that I became distracted by something.  We left Bob Evans and drove to our next location about five miles away. When we arrived I went to reach for Holy Unicorn to pose for a new photo with her when I could not find her! We searched my bag, the car, the trunk -everywhere! Oh Holy Unicorn, where are you??  I insist we drive back to Bob Evans and check the parking lot. When we arrive I go inside and ask if they have seen any Unicorns today and poof!! - she was behind the counter, between the register and the barrier.

Holy Unicorn scolds me gently for leaving Her
behind but she is please we returned for her.

We return to the rest of the adventure:

Here we are at Renniger's Flea Market.
I didn't like it at all and neither did Holy Unicorn. She stayed in
my pocketbook and would not pose for photos here. 

We drive to Disney World and she pops her head out
of my bag and asks "What is this magical place??"

She enjoys her first Monorail ride. 

Oh my, she likes the pretty castle in the distance

As you can see from her face, Holy Unicorn really
enjoyed getting felt up by the security guard
who checked my purse at the entrance gate

While I visited the necessaries, Holy Unicorn
insists on a photo at a most inopportune time. 

We meet up with my daughter and visiting niece and nephew while in the park
and find another gift to open! 

Holy unicorn wants me to open the gift . . . .

 . . . so She can play in the bag! 

Holy Unicorn checks out her reflection in my
phone and decides she needs to be groomed.

Then she helps me read the many Happy Birthday
greetings I received on Facebook during the day.

Holy Unicorn thinks she is posing with the Great Pumpkin

Then Holy Unicorn realizes this is only a street light
decoration and not the real Great Pumpkin. 

We end our day walking under the carved pumpkin decorations
that spell out "See ya real soon!

It was a great birthday, devoid of sugar, overeating and bloating foods. It was filled with sunshine, rainbows, sillies and the best Holy Unicorn adventure to date!

To quote the carved pumpkins: See ya real soon!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry If I Want To!

I am feeling a bit weepy today. No reason. Could be hormonal. Boohoo.

It's my 53rd birthday. I've had lots of birthdays and I hope to have a lot more.

My husband and I are going antiquing today. A last minute client booked a proposal event for this evening so I will be getting them engaged around 6pm and after that spending  time with my niece and nephew as they are visiting from New York for the week and staying at WDW.

Three normal meals on my food plan for today. No issues with food. No one is force feeding me a birthday cake or demanding a sugar high for themselves. Simple and easy.

That sounds like a good birthday to me.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Easy or Smart? Not Necessarily the Same Thing

Monday was a 14 hour workday. I still got my 'October' time in because I was in a theme park decorated for Halloween and the weather was perfect for Florida.  I was delayed in the park a few hours and dinner was waiting for me at home. It would have been very easy to eat something in the park or stop at a myriad of places on the way home but it would not have been smart. I was tired and hungry. I could have easily picked the wrong foods.  I might have picked the right foods but I could have easily eaten too much of what I chose. Instead I went home where my dinner was already weighed and measured and waiting for me thanks to the single leftover meal saved from the previous Thursday. I don't always make the smartest choices but for today I know I did.

Update from last week:  I went to the great Satan of Wal-Mart and purchased a large, fat pumpkin in a near perfect shape and today it sits on my counter, waiting for me to decorate it on the 27th.

Last weekend's retreat was a happy event. Great weather, no mosquito bites, healthy meals and fun workshops. The entertainment was excellent  (I was  in the skit so I am extremely biased). Mostly I just enjoyed the quiet and serenity of the surroundings and drank in the Florida Autumn experience at its finest! The one sad note. On Sunday morning one of our members and a dear friend of mine learned that her healthy, vibrant sister, age 54, died in her sleep the previous evening. She leaves behind four daughters and questions that will never be answered. It was one of those sudden death-no explanation things that will always hurt for those left behind.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I had a lot of work to catch up on from the weekend. When you own your own business you do not work 9-5, 5 days a week. Not when you are still growing your company. I enjoyed my weekend but I also needed to make up for the lost time. This is a fallacy for me because I never catch up. I simply reach for a level that is acceptable/livable and then I dwell in that space as best I can.

On Thursday I took three 'October' themed books from my collection of childhood favorites and I am going to read all three before the 31st. They are simple reads and are all probably at a 4th to 5th grade reading level. It gives me great enjoyment to sit quietly and revisit my fictional friends from when I was nine. These were all library books when I was in grade school and over the past 15 years I have bought about 25 of my favorites from auctions, and private sales. I have not taken the time to sit and visit with them these past two years. I can taste my anticipation of reading them again - as silly as this may sound to anyone else. (I am also currently reading Robert Dallek's Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, so please do not think my mind has become mush).

Today, October 24th, is my cousin Donna's birthday. She has lived in Canada for the past 33 years and I only get to see her at funerals and on Facebook, where we do get to sing happy birthday to each other. We are born 364 days apart. Her birthday is first but I am older. We shared our birthday's growing up. She is always on my mind each October 24th.

Tomorrow I turn 53. I feel much younger inside. That is a good thing.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Great Pumpkin will not be pleased

In Wednesday's post I took stock of my intentions vs. actions and concluded I was missing the mark. I made a decision to get out there and celebrate October as I had originally intended.

Whoa to the person who waits until October 15th to make that decision! The craft pumpkins are gone! The Halloween decorations are mostly gone. The craft stores are in the middle of setting up their Christmas stock and displays and Halloween is still a full two weeks away.

I am sure you will be not surprised to see that all the stores are still fully over-stocked with enough Halloween candy to give everyone in the country a raging case of diabetes.

Alas, I traveled to several stores and have given up the chase of a craft pumpkin for this year. I will buy myself a pumpkin at the church pumpkin patch sale next week and carve a real one instead.

"You didn't tell me you were going to kill it!" Linus, Charles Schultz
On Thursday I enjoyed a change in weather. In Florida that means I was outside without sweating. That is certainly a happy October day in Florida. This was followed by a great deep tissue massage, which has nothing to do with October but everything to do with taking cake of me. I also changed my nail polish to pumpkin orange and will add a tiny spider motif to one toenail today.

Speaking of today, it is Friday and I am off to a retreat for the weekend. This is a great stress buster for me because I have nothing to do with running the weekend. I am there to get nourished. This week I heard (and read) that this time of year is full of stress factors which include lack of sleep. Stress factors and a lack of sleep add up to a lowered immune system. I am doing this to be in better shape for whatever is coming our way in the next few months.

I hope you are enjoying your weekend doing something that is keeping you healthy!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15th Update

Hey, this is my favorite month! I love October STUFF - pumpkins and leaves, the Great Pumpkin, classic movies, witch books, decorating and costumes. . . . the purpose of taking the time to write something about each day was to help me focus on making sure I didn't miss out on the things I wanted to do because of everything else I have to do. It took me until today, the the 15th to realized I am doing the exact same thing - missing out on the things I want to do because of everything else I have to do. The only difference is that I am writing about it.

Ah, but one difference can be enough. By writing about it I can see my month more clearly

October 11th - I worked all day in my office and into the evening
October 12th - I worked all day into the evening and stopped only to watch Boardwalk Empire
October 13th - I worked all day but stopped for a massage in the evening and got a god night's sleep
October 14th - another work day. This day I paused and became aware that October is passing me by

October 15th - Stop the madness now. Yes, there are responsibilities and things I have to do but there are things I want to do and if I do not take that time for me I will experience the 3Rs: Regret and Resent will grow until eventually the third R becomes Relapse.

It is time to mix the potion that mixes well with the brew of work responsibilities and brings me back into the spirit of the month.

A little Hocus Pocus and yes, I still have to work today, but I can take the time to wander through the craft store for a half hour and buy a carving pumpkin and take the Dremel drill to copy a design I saw on line. While I am there, if the mood strikes me, I will buy something else colorful and start my third decorated shelf of Halloween decorations.

There is still half of October left to enjoy~ get to it!

What are you going to do to restore your soul/energy in these next 16 days of October?