Saturday, November 07, 2009

Snail Mail

I am on a specific mission this year. Since the internet age the tradition of sending Christmas cards has gone in the can. It is so lovely to receive a Christmas card so I am trying - one woman at a time - to revive this.

Send me your snail mail address and you will receive a Christmas card from me. Nothing special, just a Christmas card.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Yes I suck. As sister Susannah pointed out this morning IN ALL CAPS on facebook - I have not been updating my blog. Keep in mind please - this was my first ever solo flight project that I was responsible for by myself (with huge support from so many people otherwise I would have died I am certain). Every free moment I had was spent working with the exception of 2 1/2 weekend days out of 6 that I did NOT work and actually went out and saw things and took pictures. Looking back on my expense report I see I did get out of the hotel a few times but mostly had dinner via room service while working. Also I like sleeping a lot - preferably 7-8 hours a night but even this was impossible and I was doing maybe 5 tops. So if it came down to updating the blog or sleeping I'm afraid sleep won out.

I've just loaded my photos onto the hard drive and I really WILL work out a post which hopefully will show and tell you about the wonderful things I saw during my month in London.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

From London

I decided I wasn't going to start posting again until I really had something to say. Well get ready because I arrived in London today. I'll be here a month training staff here. I've already taken a few photos of my accommodations (before I collapsed) and will be posting and filling you all in within the next couple of days.

If there are any of you still out there. . .

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No possible title to this one

There is some family stuff going down now.

The step-father of my sister's husband chose suicide this past week. I think this is the coward's way out and yet I understand the deep pain that would lead to this. As I understand it he slit his wrists and then his own throat.

Sorry to be away so long and then come back with this.

I have been though some deep and very dark times and never could do this to the people I love but I can not pass judgement on a man I met once.

Life is hard. But life is always worth getting through the hard times.

I just don't understand.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

"Program" Update

It's a cloudy rainy Sunday here so I thought I would post a program update.

I've been off my exercise for a few weeks. I stopped because I was having some pretty severe tooth issues with a back molar and every time I got my heart rate up it would throb. Also I was on painkillers and painkillers + treadmill = recipe for disaster. It ended up that the tooth was fractured and beyond repair so it had to come out. Of course I was then 2 weeks out of the habit and so didn't even attempt to work out last week but tomorrow I am back on it and thinking that I will add a little strength training to my routine.

I still can't believe I posted my starting weight for the world to read since it is such a great source of shame and embarrassment for me. It does make it that much sweeter to be able to report that I have almost reached the 30 pound mark. As of this morning I am down to 173. My original plan was to get to 135 by June 30 (my b-day) and that absolutely is not going to happen but it does not discourage me in the least. I hit a very frustrating LONG plateau where I bounced around the same 4 pounds for weeks on end but I broke it and now am making progress. If I don't hit another plateau I might be able to make 160 by June 30 which would thrill me.

I am starting to feel comfortable in my own skin again and I am certainly feeling more comfortable in clothing. To be able to reach in my closet and have unlimited choices there is so great. My neighbor Glenna goes on and on about it and even my vet noticed and commented. I am determined that I will NOT purchase any new clothing until I reach my goal. Fortunately since I work from home this is not an issue. Shorts and t-shirts suffice and lord only knows I have enough jeans in various sizes that I can ditch my "fat" jeans (I can take them off now without unzipping them!) and still have options. These "fat" jeans were tight and very uncomfortable at Christmas. This is TMI I am sure but I have this very pretty Victoria's Secret bra that I have only worn once. When I wore it I got raised welts because it was so tight (don't even ask why on earth I would buy something that didn't fit). It now fits!

I still think the key (for me at least) is NOT to "diet." I am just making healthier choices and reducing my portion size a bit. The exercise is the magic bullet and I am looking forward to getting back to it in the upcoming week. This is a lifestyle change and not a quick fix so the fact that it is taking longer than I had anticipated is OK. Sure I would love to turn 47 all trim and svelt and with Michelle Obama arms but I'll take the slow and steady route and be happy knowing I am doing very good things for myself!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Checking In

Hi y'all! I thought it was time I checked in. I've been more interesting in doing than in blogging lately!

We've been enjoying quite a lot of rain here in the Atlanta area. After many years of extreme drought we are finally getting much needed moisture and I am so glad I did the extreme yardwork because it looks gorgeous and things are growing like crazy.

Part of my yardwork was clearing out the old pots under the deck. They had been there for years and in fact I had forgotten they were there. I recycled the old plastic ones and scrubbed the terracotta ones and then planted them with petunias, geraniums, basil and 3 varieties of hybrid tomatoes. I have my fingers crossed that the tomatoes do well. One of them already has blossoms! I also have two old fig trees in the upper backyard but haven't harvested anything for years because frankly I couldn't get to them. Now I can and they are thriving and I expect a good fig harvest if I can get to them before the birds do.

And speaking of birds - I am loving having a yard full of them. I have a lot of finches and cardinals but also several varieties of woodpecker and recently a rose-breasted grosbeak couple! I have started buying high quality birdseed at Wild Birds Unlimited but have been frustrated because about half the bag goes to the squirrels. So last week when I drove out to pick up my monthly 20 pounds bag I also spent too much money on a new feeder called the "Squirrel Buster." After one week I know for a fact it will pay for itself before the end of the year. It truly has proven to be 100% squirrel-proof! It has also been a source of great amusement as I watch the squirrels try to outwit it! My excuse for shelling out the dough? I saw something on the news about credit card companies closing down accounts that go unused for a period of time. I have not used my Discover card in almost a year and it has been sitting there with a zero balance. If they closed the account it would really hit my credit score. So being a financially responsible person I used it to buy my feeder and seed! Yaaaaaayyyyy ME!

On a totally unrelated note - I made a resolution in January to USE UP every half used product under my bathroom sinks before purchasing anything additional. For some odd reason I always travel with my own soap, shampoo, etc. and yet I feel the need to take what is provided by the hotels, drag them back home, and store them in my bathroom cabinets. Can I just say that I have not purchased soap or shampoo in 5 months! And I still have probably enough to last me the rest of the year! So I am being frugal AND decluttering!

I promise that more yard photos are coming - I'm just waiting for some lupines and astilbe to come up first.

Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful spring!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter/Passover/Saturday!

Time to catch up again.

The yard work has continued as it has been possible around the unusual amount of rain we have had here. The rain is very good because we have been in a drought for about the past umpteen years but it makes for difficult times in terms of yardwork so I've picked and cut and pulled as I can.

Most exciting for me is that I have identified 4 holes in my pond liner and patched them. Still not holding water but holding more water than it was before and so I continue my patching. It is a pain but less of a pain than moving all the granite blocks and re-homing the one little goldfish and certainly $10 worth of liner patch is much better than $125 or $150 worth of new liner although I can only put that off for another couple of years.

I continue to work out and in the past 10 days harder than ever. I use a Polar heart rate monitor when I work out to get the most out of my efforts. Polar has a website and a downloadable tool for their products where you can upload your training sessions and keep track of time, distance, and calories burned based on your weight and heart rate. They also have challenges which are posted by other users. I have recently joined 2 challenges. One is Most calories burned by Sept 4 2009 and I am #5 out of 12 on that one. The other is who can train hardest in April and I am 11 out of 26. Not bad for an old lady up against 18 year old Slovokian men! I've become kind of obsessive about it though. I burn between 600 - 700 calories a day on the treadmill and the competitor in me wants to do 3 or 4 sessions a day so I can WIN but I just don't have it in me.

On an entirely unrelated note I have a recipe for all bird lovers out there. I love my backyard birds and I keep them in really good birdseed and suet cakes. Suet cakes can get pricey though so I searched the innernets and found a recipe:

2 cups yellow corn meal
1/2 cup el-cheapo crunchy peanut butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bacon grease (you can use store bought lard but not as good - the bird go apeshit over the bacon grease. I have several friends saving it for me.)

I also add other crap that is going bad in my pantry. Once I added stale Rice Krispies. A few times I have ground up old nuts (almonds, walnuts) that I once would have tossed. Recently I found dried mealworms at Wild Birds Unlimited and added them to my last batch. You can also add cheap birdseed to fill it out. This is actually "spreadable" which means you can spread it on a tree or throw it on the ground or whip up a hanging block of wood and spread it on that. I have seen birds watch me come out with the container and by the time I get back inside they are all OVER the feeder.

Update on Princess: We continue to deal with her "issues." She still does not want to be picked up but she now will get on the sofa and if I stay very still she will rest her front paws on my leg and sit for a moment or two. She is a sweet girl and totally belongs in this family. She now plays with Mackie and is beginning to play with Phoebe. She lived in a garage by herself for 3 years (when she wasn't in a cage at PetSmart waiting to be adopted) and so she loves looking out the windows at the yard. I love all my cats so much but Princess is a survivor and a tough little cookie and I just adore her and love watching her make progress. I feel enormous guilt that I did not bring her home 2 years before I did but I think she forgives me. She is happy and healthy and it took a while but she managed to land in a great home - MINE!

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pushing Through the Plateau

Y'ALL! I have to blog about this, especially considering my previous post about weight loss and focusing on myself this year. It took me a long time to do that post because I was kind of terrified that I would jinx it all. And after I posted that is exactly what seemed to happen.

For the past 3+ weeks I have been on a plateau. Two pounds down, three pounds up, one pound down, one pound up. I am weighing myself every morning which many "experts" say you should not do but it is what works for me. The past 3 weeks have been utter misery, especially because I was hovering just above my next milestone but could not break it. I was getting on the fucking treadmill religiously but seeing no results. When I was in my 20s I could drop extra weight with little to no effort. Now that I am in my 40s with a hysterectomy under my belt it is HARD!

Last week I decided I had to push through it. I ramped up the treadmill work. I didn't do this by increasing my time but by increasing my average heartrate. I walked faster and even RAN!

Since I began this little journey I have not deprived myself. If I feel like I want a cheeseburger I make myself wait 2 days and if I still want that cheeseburger I go to Burger King. Every now and then I will buy a small bag of chips or a candy bar and then I will make it last. I haven't cut out anything, I've just adjusted my attitude and my portions. But last week I got all drill sargeant on myself. I knew I HAD to see some results if I was to have the incentive to continue getting on the fucking treadmill.

And I did it! After 3 weeks of bouncing around the same 3 pounds I finally got 4 off and it has held! I have broken through my milestone and am well on my way to the next one.

I am so embarrassed to put the numbers out there. But maybe it's time to do it.

I kind of started this back in October/November but only casually - I decided to wait until after the holidays and of course New Year's was the obvious choice. I got terribly sick the first week of January to the point where I couldn't eat and I didn't get started on my plan. When I weighed myself for the first time the second week of January I was 200 pounds. I am sure I was at least a little above that at some point but that was the official starting point. 200 pounds made me officially obese. I didn't want to leave my house. None of my clothing fit and the clothing that did fit didn't feel good on my body.

This morning I got up and weighed and I am at 175.

Y'all know I work from home and my uniform is sweatpants and sweatshirts. In the summer it is shorts and t-shirts. If I leave the house I wear my jeans. I have noticed for several weeks that my jeans are loose, even just out of the dryer. That has made me very happy. It had gotten to the point where even my fattie jeans were uncomfortable but now I can take them off without unbuttoning/unzipping them!

Today our CEO did a global webcast for 90 minutes. It got very dull and I needed to amuse myself but wanted to keep listening so with my bluetooth on I stripped down and started trying on things in my closet.

The cute things that last spring were uncomfortable are now cute! My shoulders and arms look good in them! I have 3 shirts that still have the tags on them. One I bought the yeear I was in Japan (2005) and I have never worn because it was too small. I bought it because it was cute. Now I can wear it! I have 2 shirts (office wear quality) that I bought 2 years ago and have never worn. They were on sale. They now fit and fit well! I have 2 pair of nice khakis that I am within maybe 5 pounds of wearing. I can zip them up but they are still just slightly tight.

I am not yet in my skinny jeans and in fact I did not even try them on today. But I now have a closet full of very nice things that I can wear! When and if I have to travel to the UK for a month I will not need to go out and buy anything unless I lose a lot more weight and all of this is far too small for me.

I have 25 pounds to go before I will consider myself in range. My doc says 150 is where I should be. I think I should be 135 so that means 40 more pounds to go. My goal date is June 30 which is my 47th birthday. If I have to travel to the UK for a month I am sure I will not reach my goal by then but I know now that I can push through.

I wish I loved to exercise. I wish I was the kind of person who woke up and lived for the moment I could start sweating. I am not. But honest to God y'all that is the key. Every day that I force myself to strap on my Polar and get moving is a good day. I hate it - but it makes me feel good. And obviously it is working.

How did I treat myself? I got online and ordered two pair of Crocs! One pair in orange and one in fuscia!

Just wait til I hit 150!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

McLovin's Big Night Out

My cats are all indoor cats. We live on a posted 25 MPH street where traffic goes up to 75 MPH and it is just far too dangerous. Sonny is allowed outside on warm sunny days because he is just far too old to jump the back fence. But the rest are strictly indoor. When it is warm enough to have the windows open they have full access to the front screened in porch via my two living room windows which do not have screens. I open the windows and they can come and go as they please.

The front porch is the favorite place for Phoebe and Mac. Camille likes it but she despises the traffic noise and if she hears something loud coming she scoots back in immediately. But Phoebe and Mac I think would be happy to live out there.

Yesterday was a warm day and the windows were open and the cats were on the porch. About dusk it got chilly enough that I had to close up the house and turn on a little heat. I went on the porch without turning on the light and there were no cats there so I closed up and watched a bit of TV and then turned in early to read. I lasted not too long before I turned out the light and fell asleep.

For some reason at 2 am I woke up. I can count on Mac to always be on the bed with me. He might not be there when I get in but without fail he has always been there if I wake up in the middle of the night. He wasn't there last night. I got up for a glass of water and decided to do a head count. They were all ther but Mac was not. I decided maybe I had missed him on the porch so turned on the porch light and went to check. He wasn't there but one of the screens was completely pushed out and torn away from the frame! I panicked.

I put on my shoes and at 2 am went out in the front yard calling him. This is a cat who has never been outside since he was rescued. This is a cat who loves sleeping on his back in the middle of the bed. This is a cat whose favorite activity is to take his play mousies into the kitchen (because the floor is bare vinyl) and chasing them around for hours. This is a cat who is entirely happy living inside. I knew he did not have the street smarts to be outside on his own and I was scared.

From the front I made my way around to the side yard. Calling him I heard a far away meow. It didn't sound like him but it was a meow in response to my calls so I kept walking toward it. My journey took me back around the house into the gate and into the backyard. I kept following it and calling and walking up into the far backyard and all the way to the back fence. To my dismay the meow I heard was coming from far outside the back fence.

I managed to open the back gate which was only recently cleared of ivy and walked into the trolly track easement, still following the weak meow. I know the voice of each of my cats. They each have a very distinct voice. But this was not a voice I recognized. This was a weak and tiny voice. But I kept calling and shining my flashlight and eventually I heard something moving through the leaves and underbrush. I called and called and finally MAC came out of the woods! I grabbed him which he hates and so he struggled with me as I found my way back to the gate and then into the backyard and down to the house.

I inspected him thoroughly and he had no injuries and not so much as a burr on him. He ate a little bit and while I tried to wind down he got in the middle of the bed and fell asleep.

All day I've reminded him of how lucky he and the others are to have such a good home and such a good Mommy who would get up and look for him in the middle of the night. But I am the one who is lucky.

Today I went to Home Depot and got a huge roll of screen and tomorrow I will fix the damaged area and do regular patrols for anything that needs to be replaced. Until that happens the porch is a restricted area!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I'm coming clean here. 8 weeks ago I adopted yet another cat.

I am not a "collector." My absolute upper limit is 5 cats. I can provide for 5 cats and make sure they receive excellent care. I am pretty sure that I could not add a sixth and provide excellent care so 5 is my limit.

Princess had a very sad story. She is 3 years old. A no-kill rescue organization saved her from a county shelter 2 1/2 years ago just before she was to have been euthanized. This organization brings cats in to my local PetSmart every Saturday from noon - 6 pm for adoption and I first saw Princess there just after she was rescued 2 1/2 years ago. I fell in love with her immediately and I wanted to bring her home with me but my job-buzz told me I would be going to South America "any day now" and I could not justify bringing a new cat in only to leave for months on end. So I didn't bring her home and I also stopped going to PetSmart on Saturdays. My bleeding heart could not take it.

A few times since then I have, out of scheduling and necessity, ended up at PetSmart on a Saturday and Princess was still there. I tried to ignore it and tried to not feel guilty. In January I ended up there again on a Saturday and Princess was NOT THERE!!! I got so excited and I approached the woman in charge of the adoptions and mentioned that I was so HAPPY that Princess had found a home! She told me Princess had not found a home but had developed a bad enough case of cage-rage that she was now considered "unadoptable" and was living in this woman's garage with virtually no human contact. They were thinking about having her put to sleep to end her misery.

I told her to BRING ME THE CAT!!!! As long as I have space for another there is no such thing as an "unadoptable" cat.

Princess came home with me in mid January. For the first 2 weeks she pretty much stayed under the bed and anyone who made the mistake of walking in the bedroom got an earful of growls and hisses. It was like there was a 200 pound satanic troll living under my bed and we were all slightly scared. I began to think I had made a very bad decision.

Then one night I woke up in the middle of the night and Princess was on the bed pressed up against me. I stroked her and talked to her and she let me and I heard her purr for the first time. And ever since she has made huge progress.

She now actually lets me pick her up from time to time for a minute or so. She is learning to trust me and every day I work with her on trust issues. She has made fast friends with her brothers and sisters. She is very protective of me and if she hears something outside she will run to the window and growl. She is learning so fast and has made the most remarkable progress.
Princess had her first visit to Dr. Aponte Friday for her rabies shot and annual exam and I warned them that I could not be certain about how she would behave. She ended up behaving like a true Princess and I was so proud of her! I told them her story and Dr. A came around the exam table and hugged me. It seems she has been very disheartened lately with clueless pet "owners" and the staggering increase in abandoned pets due to the economy and she told me Princess's story made her week.

No cat should ever be tagged as "unadoptable." Given a bit of love, space and patience nothing is impossible.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

More Yard Progress and PI

More progress was made over the past week. I was able to get out Thursday and Friday afternoons last week for an hour or so and several hours each Saturday and Sunday. 24 more bags on the street come Monday pickup.

A few before and after shots to show the huge progress.

The area around the magnolia before:

And after:

Between the shed and deck before (primo snake area):
And after:
The way upper backyard before:
And after:

In addition to hurting (I cannot make a fist and find things as simple as picking up a small object are almost impossible) I have major poison ivy. I did not see poison ivy but something poison was in all that rootage I pulled out of the ground because my forearms are like hamburger meat and the left side of my face makes me look like I'm dating Chris Brown. I am so serious. It is bad.
You will not often hear me say something like this but thankfully some cooler, rainy weather is moving in tonight which should give me a chance to heal before the next bout of yardwork comes around.
This is such a huge accomplishment. There is still so much detail work to be done but that is easy stuff in comparison.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Extreme Yardwork

I have a rather big backyard. It has always been rather "natural" (not landscaped) but I try to keep it maintained. Lots of trees means lots of raking. Because the back of my lot is against the old trolley track easement owned by the city, and because the city does not maintain this area, I have always had an ivy problem. As long as I keep it cut back everything is OK but if a year goes by and I don't do maintenance it becomes a problem.

So I realized that the last time I did any kind of maintenance back there was spring 2004, and not a great deal that year. Let me 'splain.

2004: I re-did my bathroom and had my chimney rebuilt from the roofline up. Then I went to the Caribbean in July where I ruptured both Achilles and was in a wheelchair for 8 weeks.

2005: I was in Japan the whole year.

2006: I had a hysterectomy in the spring and it took quite a while to fully recover. Hard yardwork not really an option.

2007: I was here, I was healthy, and I managed to get a little bit done but was working mainly in the areas directly outside the house. Since these areas had been ignored so long that was a huge undertaking.

2008: I was in Chile.

The key is that all this work needs to be done in the early spring. By Memorial Day the heat in Atlanta is too much to be doing more than simple upkeep. Also there is the snake factor. I hate snakes. I am terrified of snakes. If I am mowing the yard and I see a snake I stop immediately and go inside and leave the mower where it is. If it gets stolen I don't care. This is how much snakes terrify me. So upper backyard work MUST be accomplished prior to snake weather.

We had a couple of lovely warm weekends in February and I got started. I don't have full "before" photos but I do have a few that will give you an idea.

This area beside the shed was a mess - ivy, blackberry vines, leaves, debris, vines on the fence . . . This is where I started.

I raked the lower backyard thoroughly and cleared all the dead planting stuff from around the pond.

To orient you - the tree in the center of the above photo is a huge magnolia. Magnolias have the biggest, toughest leaves. They don't even compost they are so tough. You see the dirt before the patchy grass starts around the pond? The ivy was all the way to there and up into the magnolia tree. I got all of that cleared.

Since I began in February and as of this morning I have put 43 Lowe's bags on the street PLUS all the branches I've picked up. I have in my possession 22 empty Lowe's bags and fully intend to have them all filled before the weekend is over.

After all this work and all these bags what could I possibly have left to do you ask?

Just this.

And that.
I'll take more photos Sunday to show you the progress! I really do think I can get all of this done before heat and snakes move in.
I have a Brit co-worker who, in addition to earning what I am certain is a huge salary (he is one of the top IT people), owns several of his own companies. He lives in a multi-million dollar MacMansion in a swanky neighborhood. He asked me why I don't just "hire a gardener."
Right. I'm going to get right on that. But until then I am thoroughly enjoying being outside on my own property sweating a little.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Back Due to a Sound Spanking

I called Aussie Paul Friday afternoon (his Saturday morning). I had not talked to him in forever and vow to call more often. He is so good about sending me cards and notes and I am so bad at doing this! Aussie Paul seems to be going through a lot of the same things I am so this post is for you my darling Paul!

I have been working on changing my life and this is part of why I haven't posted much in the past couple of months. Paul mentioned that he checks my blog and noted the lack of updates so I promised myself that I would post something this weekend!

For the past 13 years I have been putting people and things much higher on my priority list than my own health and well being. I mulled this over a lot once I got back from South America and in October I began making small changes. In November I decided that 2009 would be the year of ME. That sounds so self-absorbed. Really it isn't. If I drop dead from self-neglect it isn't going to do my company any good.

In 1996 I met my ex and he became my priority. He was extremely high maintenance and I focused every bit of energy I had on him. In 2001 I kicked his miserable ass out and embarked on beginning my recovery. I found a new job (my present one) and put everything into it. I worked the long hours, traveled, and lived far outside my comfort zone which for me was an awakening. I am truly not the person I was even a handful of years ago. The problem was I put job at #1 and this after putting the ex at #1. So I found myself in December looking at a fat, pasty, out of shape, unhealthy person.

I decided to make 2009 the year of ME because it suddenly sank in that I am not getting any younger, I want to live a long and healthy life, and I want to be the best I can possibly be.

I know I have a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart problems. This was heavy on my mind when I came back from Santiago after spending 6 months eating every meal in restaurants and red meat for practically every meal! I am quite sure I gained at least 20 pounds while there and I was carrying too much weight to begin with. The last cholesterol test I can remember the numbers of was in my late 20s and it was 216 at that time.

I function with lists. If I make a list I can generally tick off the items. If I don't things never are attended to. I knew I needed to begin exercising. I knew I needed to add supplements to my daily routine. So I made a weekly checklist. It's all on there. I print one out every Sunday night and it gets posted on my whiteboard. Every single day, as I do the things I need to do for my own health, I check them off my list.

So here is what I've been doing. At least 4 times a week I get on the treadmill and walk for one hour - 3 miles+. I wear my Polar heartrate monitor which tracks my caloric expenditure which I then upload on the web so I have a diary of my accomplishments week by week. I highly recommend this little device. I want to lose weight but just getting on a treadmill isn't going to do it. It takes me 10 full minutes to get my heartrate up to aerobic zone. With the monitor I can see exactly what I am doing and add to my walking if my heartrate drops below the aerobic zone (increase incline, add light handweights, etc). It allows me to use every second of my hour for maximum bang.

I take a daily multivitamin, 2 baby aspirin, omega 3 fish oil, two tums (for calcium) and red yeast rice to lower my cholesterol. And yes I did take a full list of everything I am taking in to my doctor and got his blessing and praise for what I am doing. I also drink a concoction of 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of raw unfiltered honey with 8 ozs of water every day. And I drink at least 2 cups of high quality green tea each afternoon.

Since Christmas, and as of this morning, I have lost 22 pounds. I had a full bloodwork done 3 weeks ago and my cholesterol is at 182 total (HDL is 49 and LDL is 114). All other results are smack dab in the middle of the acceptable range. My attitude is mostly excellent, I have at least twice the energy I did 6 months ago, and rather than sit and worry about my health I feel so good about it!

I still have a way to go. I would like to lose more weight. My doctor and I rarely have differences of opinion. He thinks I should ideally be at 150. I think 140 would be acceptable and 135 preferable. Whatever. What I will NOT do is starve myself or kill myself to get to 135. What I WILL do is continue what I am doing now. I will turn 47 on June 30 and if I can continue to lose 2.5 - 3 pounds a week I will turn 47 at a healthy weight. If I can get to this goal I will get a tattoo. A small, discreet tattoo. I will also buy some decent clothing. For years I have refused to buy clothing because really the next step is Lane Bryant. The day I walk into Lane Bryant is the day I get into bed and refuse to get out.

I also want to get my LDL below 100 and maybe in the bargain raise my HDL a few points. I highly (highly highly) recommend red yeast rice. Note that it must be taken with niacin but the brand I take has the niacin built in. I am certain that I was courting a cholesterol count of at least 230 or 240 by the time I returned from Santiago so to get my results and see 182 was nothing short of amazing for me. I am certain this was due to the red yeast rice.

I do not ever want to have to be on regular medication if this is possible but I am now taking a low dose blood pressure med and hopefully if I can keep up the exercise and good dietary changes I can back off of it in 6 months or a year. I have a BP machine and I monitor myself a couple of times a week to keep track of my progress. I would rather take a pill every morning temporarily than have to hire someone to wipe my ass for the rest of my life.

So there it is. The year of ME. It takes only about 90 minutes a day to add my checklist items to my routine and you know what? I think I am worth 90 minutes a day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Long Time - I have a Story

Hi all - I have been doing stuff which I will blog about later. Blogging has not been on my radar too much lately so apologies.

Today I will tell a story that I told a friend of mine today when he called and asked how things were. Follow me here.

About a month before I turned 18 I graduated from boarding school and moved to Boston with my eventually-to-be-first-ex-husband. I was to enter Boston College in the fall and we moved there in early June.

On June 30 1980 I turned 18 and for my birthday my man got me a beautiful little parakeet. I named him Keats after the poet. He was very tame and had the full run of the basement apartment where we lived. He was put inside his cage at night but when I was in the apartment he had the full run of the house.

In the autumn after he came to us the apartment developed a fly problem which is pretty usual for Boston. One day I bought a roll of flypaper and hung it in the "window" of the kitchen. Keats was outside his cage and I was writing a paper and all of a sudden Keats started flying down the short hallway towards the kitchen. As I saw him fly I understood immediately what was going to happen. I ran to the kitchen and Keats had flown directly into the flypaper! By the time I got there 3 seconds later he had already flapped himself into a very bad situation. Bad. Very bad.

I looked at this beautiful little bird wrapped in unforgivingly sticky death paper and my heart dropped. I realized then and there that I had two choices.

1. I could take down the strip of fly paper with Keats wrapped in it but still very much alive and throw him in the trash bin and live with that the rest of my life. or
2. I could deal with it 100% to the very best of my ability even though the situation seemed hopeless.

I went with #2. A centimeter at a time I pulled the paper off his tiny beautiful body. Most of his feathers came with it and I am sure it was so very painful for him. When we finally finished he was still sticky and could not live like that so I doused him in flour. This was just a guess on my part but it worked and over the next months he managed to preen the sticky gunk off and his feathers regrew and he lived a long and healthy beautiful life.

I bring this up because it was a life lesson that I remember almost daily.

I woke up this morning with an impossible job before me. I wanted to just throw it away but I knew if I did it would haunt me forever. So I decided to peel the flypaper of despite the pain and give it a chance.

Tonight I do indeed hurt and I have many feathers gone but they will grow back and this lesson will continue to bring me through the rough times.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Healing Has Begun

Yesterday I watched change. I watched 2 million people spend hours walking and standing in freezing cold temperatures because THEY WANTED TO WITNESS THE REBIRTH OF HOPE!!! 2 million people in one small area of one small town in the US and not one single arrest.

Yesterday a man who listens became President. Yesterday the people of the US found their voice again. Yesterday we stepped over a threshold where each and every one of us matter again.

The reign of no information is over. The muddying of the government has ended. The arrogant man who felt it was his right to "interpret" the Constitution to suit his whims has flown back to what we hope is terminal obscurity in Texas and the man who is his EXACT opposite walked into the Oval Office this morning, took off his suit jacket, and began to right the wrongs.

I have now received 5 emails from good friends in other countries offering congratulations. The entire world shares the hope we feel.

" . . . a government of the people and by the people and for the people . . . " Finally.