Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Shields Up!

I had number of friends contact me privately about "how difficult it must have been" for me to post my photos last week. 

It wasn't.  It is what it is.  I have walked this road so many times - never learning to truly maintain one size.  I think it's difficult to explain to anyone who has not struggled with the size of their body.  It's one of those things that, unless you've experienced it yourself, you really have no concept of what it's like. And the journey has already been interesting.  :-D  I'm laughing because once again, it just is what it is.

A lot of stuff transpired yesterday - all of which was a week or two in the making. 

Interestingly enough, I felt nervous about the day yesterday morning.  My friend, T, reminded me to put my shields up.  If you are a Star Trek fan, you'll get that reference immediately.  In practice, for me, it's setting an intention and focusing my energy on creating a shield around myself so that I don't take on other people's negative energy - other people's "stuff."  It's also a way for me to know that I can remain calm in any situation - my shields are up  :-)  It was a good plan. 

Nothing major went sideways, but there is a ton of negative energy surrounding Weight Watchers' shift from Beyond the Scale (it's former program) to Freestyle, the new program.  I get that.  I'm thrilled with Freestyle, but Beyond the Scale was the reason I left the WW program two years ago - I found it to be extremely restrictive and punitive.  Very much a "diet."  Change is nearly always hard, even when it's good change, but this particular change to Freestyle seems like exactly what I need.

Anyway - I digress.   :-D

If you've been following along at home, you know that I did sign up for WW about a week ago.  There aren't a lot of meetings that I can go to at my local center - the timing is poor - so I decided I'd go for an Online membership this time.  I found it confusing to not have booklets - all the stuff you get in the meeting room, so I asked a few questions online and was told I could definitely go to a meeting to get the orientation to the new program.  So I did, last Wednesday.  I was late to the meeting (poor timing), but there was a receptionist who was extremely kind and helped me with everything.  I sat down to hear the remainder of the orientation - which was the full meeting topic - and was reminded why I didn't always care for my local center.  It was a nightmare.  The people next to me carried on a side-conversation the entire time (I was like Really???).  I didn't say anything to them because it wasn't my meeting, although I did say something to the Kind Receptionist about it.  And the general tenor of the meeting itself was one of negativity and unhappiness at the change in the program.

On my way out, the Kind Receptionist gave me a schedule of meetings and suggested the Sunday morning meeting might work for me timewise if I changed my mind about online.

And after a few days of being online only, I did.  Change my mind.  I knew that I wanted to be back in a meeting room - I just needed to find the right fit.  And so, I went online to attempt to upgrade my online membership to a Monthly Pass.  I was denied!  But I figured that the meeting room could do this change for me.  So, on Sunday morning I toddled on over to that meeting.  Well, actually, I drove.  ;-D  I was hoping the meeting wouldn't be too crowded, and as I pulled in to the parking lot, there were not all that many cars!  Score!  And as I walked from my car, I thought to myself that wouldn't it be nice if that Kind Receptionist worked at this meeting?  Score!

She does!  There she was!  It's her regular meeting - she was only helping out on Wednesday evening.  I thanked her again for having been so kind to me last week and told her that as I was driving over I had hoped she would be a receptionist at this meeting - and she said that something had come up for her on her computer that made her think of me and that she'd hoped I would come to the Sunday meeting.  So that's the Universe validating me and my choices in a very big way.  Yay! 

The leader was excellent and the group was not huge.  Score!  Score!  These are both huge pluses for me.  In fact the leader spent a little more time with me after the orientation, which I really appreciated. 

I ended up having to buy a monthly pass there in the meeting room, and knew I would need to call to have WW cancel the Online membership on Monday morning.  So that's what I did.  It was a call that lasted an hour and 15 minutes. 


Had both the people I dealt with on the phone not been so kind, and had I not put my shields up on the way in to the city, my hair would have been standing on end.  Long story short: In order to keep my existing screen name/login both memberships had to be cancelled and a new Monthly Pass had to be purchased yesterday.  What an ordeal!  But all was well in the end, I remained calm, and I have what I need. 

Bonus:  At the end of November I decided to let my Fitbit premium membership expire.  I wasn't using it.  I decided to go to MyFitnessPal, so I ponied up the $50 bucks there - and the next week I heard about Freestyle and I knew that I needed and wanted to return to WW, rendering MyFitnessPal useless.  I figured it couldn't hurt to ask - so I emailed them yesterday and they refunded my $50 bucks.  Immediately!  Yay!! 

So, I'm on my way with the tools and support I wanted. 

I will continue to weigh myself on Thursday mornings, but the weight that WW tracks will be the one that happens in the meeting room on Sunday mornings. 

I'm trying to figure out how best to make a table in Blogger so I can track my progress here.  I'll let you know what I discover  :-)

I'll leave you with an oldie for this chilly Tuesday morning . . .

Friday, December 8, 2017

Yesterday Was Pearl Harbor Day . . .

This post is not about Pearl Harbor.

It's about December 7th, a date which will live in infamy . . . personal infamy.

I did get on the scale yesterday.  It wasn't pretty.  In fact, I'm back to my all-time high - and this time it was naked and empty on the scale, not clothed in a doctor's office.

It is what it is.  I'm not pounding on myself, I'm just moving forward the best way I know how.  And, for me, for the majority of my life, that's been Weight Watchers.

My first exposure to WW was when I was in Junior High School and my mom was on the program.  I couldn't help but lose weight along with her.  I remember the days of liver once a week, and boiling doing tomato juice to make ketchup - and man, an on-program dinner back then was a block of frozen turbot with paprika sprinkled on top.  I had instructions to get it in the oven by a certain time so it would be ready for dinner when my mom got home from work.

I joined once on my own, in high school - I went in another town and I wore a wig.  I was a high school student . . .  I joined again when I was was in my early 30s and that's when I was really successful, losing 51 pounds and getting to goal.  I was a leader - a popular one.  And then things fell apart in my life and, you know, sometimes when really difficult stuff happens, it's all you can do to put one foot in front of the other.

I don't want to sound like I'm a victim - I'm not.  My choices were/are my own and I take responsibility for them. I mean, nobody else was putting food in my mouth.

I left the program two years ago when "Beyond the Scale" was announced with its SmartPoints. Having been "married" to PointsPlus for many, many years, I did not handle the change well.  I found SmartPoints to be extremely difficult and very punitive in how it treated sugar and saturated far, even as I knew these changes reflected current nutritional science.  But the changes were - to me - so extreme that I left the program altogether.  I couldn't take failing every single day.  And I really thought I could do it better by myself.

Well, we all know how that turned out - I mean I've been whining about the size of my ass for years and not making any truly consistent, sustainable progress.  Alrighty then . . .

No need to comment - this is where I find myself.  Again.  I'm not freaked out, it is what it is.  Taken yesterday morning by my trainer, at the club, at 5:30.  In the morning.  This is how my post-menopausal body rolls out of bed.  It's the gym, people  :-D  I specifically mention post-menopausal because like many women of a certain age, I never had an apple shape.  Until now.  I was always curvy, and I always had a wide ass, but I never had a belly before.  It's bothersome, but again, it is what it is. 

Hey - did you see what I did back there a couple paragraphs?  ConsistentSustainable.  I could be talking about my African violets.  But I'm not.  Two years ago when I left the WW program, I thought I could do this on my own.  I clearly could not.  Weight Watchers has always given me the structure that seems to keep me safe somehow.  It's like the points structure is a safety cage around me, allowing me to work within that safe framework.  I have to tell you that it feels really good to be back.  I'm only two days in and already I feel more relaxed - like I know what to do.  The Points framework gives me that feeling of capability

Nearly two years ago, in January 2016, I wrote the following.  It bears repeating:
I honor my body where it is. Right now - because wherever I’m going I’m going there in this body. Larger or smaller, it’s the same body. It took me a really long time to figure that out. We only get one body, and this body - this body that I have right now - no matter what size it happens to be - is amazing and wonderful and it got me as far as I am today. My long, sturdy legs keep moving me forward one step at a time. 
Am I ever going to weigh 134 pounds on my 5’ 8” small-boned frame again? I suppose it’s not likely, but I loved that version of my body and I’m headed toward it - and the version of my body that I have NOW is the one that’s going to take me there. It gets all my love and support! 
Whether I actually get to that specific number again doesn’t seem to matter quite so much any more - I will get close. And, however far along the path I get, this body - the one I have now - will be the one transforming itself along the way, because … it’s the same body :-)
I am one with the wind and sky . . .

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Once More, With Feeling . . .

I rejoined Weight Watchers a couple of days ago.  The new program starts this week.  My food week starts tomorrow. 

I know that I've always done better with some structure - and doing it on my own doesn't seem to be working for me.  I'm miserable. So, after an absence of two years, I'll start again.  The new program is called Freestyle.  It's still based on the SmartPoints system that I found so restrictive, but now there is a substantial list of zero-point foods that includes all fish and eggs.  I might be back to being an ovo-pescetarian after all  ;-)  It seems far more flexible, so I'm in online at first, and maybe back in a meeting room as I go along.  I'll see how it goes.

More info as the story unfolds . . .

Something to put on in the background of your day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

30 Years . . .

 . . . of Belleek annual Christmas bells.

There are two spares. 

The bell at the top left was my original first year (1988) bell.  The dog knocked over the tree that year and the only thing that broke was that bell.  My first ex-husband found all the pieces and glued it back together - one of the few nice things he did for me.  My mom got me another one so I'd be sure to have it.  The castle on the upper right was an ornament I got one year thinking it was the annual ornament.  It wasn't.  But it's pretty anyway  :-D

Monday, November 27, 2017

Following the Star . . .

Following the Star is a daily devotional for Advent.  It starts today. 

This is something I have attempted to do for a few years now.  I've written about it here before

d365 is a daily devotional site created by Passport, Inc.  It was launched in the wake of 9/11.  It was created for youth, but I find great meaning in it even though I'm not a kid any more  :-)  I also like that it is jointly sponsored by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Presbyterian (USA) Mission Agency, and The Episcopal Church. 

It's daily, but I subscribe to it only for Advent (Following the Star) and Lent (Journey to the Cross).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Sunday Wrap-Up . . .

My friend, Michele at Boulderneigh asked if I'm getting enough exercise, and the answer to that, is no.  I'm well aware that I'm not moving enough.  Most days it's all I can do to get to work and back, and then collapse in my chair in the sunroom.  Even yesterday - I didn't get the potting done and my tree didn't put itself up . . . ;-)  I did, however, manage a trip to the Post Office and a good hike around the retention pond.

Walking is definitely my exercise of choice.  My average weekday of steps is about 8,000, and another friend, Janice, wanted to know how I get even that many steps in on a relatively daily basis.

I walk from my house to and from the train Monday through Friday.  This is just under 1,000 steps each way.  I also walk from the train to and from my office.  This is a 17 minute walk and it adds about 3,000 steps each way.  If I get out at lunch and walk for 20 minutes, I easily hit 10,000 steps.  On the day I meet with my trainer, I will usually have close to 3,000 steps before I even leave for the train in the morning - an easy day to hit 10,000.  The challenge lately has been to take a lunch hour away from my desk.  Many mornings in the past few months I have been late, which means I have to make it up at lunch.  It has seemed easier to to just eat at my desk while still working - it has, literally, been months since I've taken a lunch and gotten out to walk.  This will be changing starting tomorrow.

Weekends are more challenging.  Yesterday, as mentioned, I got a walk in around the retention pond.  I really don't mind walking in the colder weather.  I just layer up and go.  When the snow flies it will be a different story.  The village does not plow the path around the retention pond - I'm thinking of taking my shovel with me at some point after the snow, and shoveling it myself!

I also have a treadmill in the basement - I don't use it as much because I sometimes get a flare up of plantar fasciitis with the completely measured gait on it.  But I am starting with it again - slowly.  I also have a great healthclub of which I am a member, and it has an indoor track.  I don't like to walk in the dark by myself, so I can see that I will likely be spending a little more weekend time in the club this winter as I work to get my steps up to 10,000 daily.

Janice also asked about how my plants did last week at the Illinois state show.

This species plant, s. rupicola, was my best plant.  It was part of the Best AVSA Species Collection.  And let me say that a number of my plants won because there was no other real competition for them this show - but we had some new novice growers, both of whom grow standards - so I'm hoping to encourage and mentor them both!  Yay!  Anyway, this plant was 2nd Best in Show, Best Species, and part of that Best AVSA Species Collection.

I also won Best Trailer, with this very young, Rob's Wagga Wagga.  I was surprised by this because the other two trailers I had (also in an AVSA Semiminiature Collection (they didn't win)) were better plants.

 Here is the collection.  Cajun's McKenna Trail pretty much grows itself for me, but the blossoms tuck under somehow - I want to find the correct conditions for it to bloom more strongly above the leaves.

You never know how the Judges will go - I think they didn't realize how difficult it is to grow Champagne Pink.  Here's a closeup.  I thought it was the better trailer.

I did bring home one red ribbon - my Precious Red was just not blooming well, but my friend, Joyce, insisted that I take it anyway.  The show was small - so I did.  :-D  Mine's the one on the right . . .  I comfort myself in the knowledge that I'm not really a mini grower  ;-D

I also won Best Standard with my Jersey Snow Flakes - even though it was very low on blossom count.  We all learned that mid-November is NOT a good time for a show in the Chicagoland area.  The plants know - mine were very slow to come in to bloom, and the last couple of weeks I had the furnace that governs the sunroom set at 74 degrees.

This plant grows much better than this, and with a ton more blossom.  You can see it here back in June.  When you look at the June photos, you can see how well it usually blooms, and the culture break is not so evident as it is in the photo above.  That bottom row of leaves needs to come off and the plant needs to be potted down to allow it to grow well again.  I should have restarted the crown back in June, but that would have entailed taking off too many leaves to have it ready for show in November.  I may do it now . . . I'd like to take this one to National again in 2018  :-)

I won a few other club rosettes - Best Lavender Standard, with my Fisherman's Paradise; Best Blue and White Mini/Semi, with Ness' Crinkle Blue; and Runner Up to Sweepstakes in Horticulture (that means that I had the second highest number of blue ribbon plants in the show).

I'm really headed down to the basement now to separate and pot plantlets, and I'm going to ride the bike while I'm down there - I'm still behind on my miles for Run the Year!

And you know, sometimes the original is still the best . . .  ;-)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Black Friday . . .

So . . . um . . . everything at Land's End is 50% today.  I got a new winter coat for about $100 bucks.  I'm looking forward to getting it - since I broke the zipper on my old winter coat, I've been wearing my old dress coat, which is really old and not warm any longer. 

Monday evening on my way to take a friend to the airport, I walked out of the house to this.

Reminds me of a Maxfield Parrish painting, and since I am often unsuccessful in capturing the moon, I wanted to share it  :-)

Other things to share include a visit to my doctor on Tuesday. 

I haven't felt well for the last month or so.  Nothing specific, just not myself, and I was concerned that I might have developed high blood pressure.  For the majority of my life, my BP has been 110/70.  During The Kidney Stone Incident it spiked very high - about 185/90+.  In fact, I learned last night from my cousin who was with me, that had it not begun to go down when it did, that the ER staff were going to start me on a magnesium drip to forcibly take it down to avoid my having a stroke.  It's never gone all the way back down. 

Again, because I haven't been feeling well, I took it in the machine at the Jewel (grocery store) last Friday morning before I left for the African violet show.  It was 165/85.  I decided not to worry about it, knowing that I had an appointment with my doctor on Tuesday.

His nurse took it at the office and it was 165/90+ . . . However - I am very happy to report that I do NOT have high blood pressure - I just needed a bigger BP cuff.  I guess my arms are too fat for the machine to give an accurate reading.  It's weird.  My arms aren't fat . . . Anyway, the doc took it with the larger cuff.  He took it in both arms:  128/74.

So, it's up a little from my normal 110/70, but not by much, and still under the new guidelines.  So that was a relief.  As to what might have been causing me to not feel well . . .general consensus is lack of sleep due to stress.  Work is extremely stressful and has been so for most of this year, with many, many changes in personnel - people coming and going (many not by choice).  I don't think my employment is at risk ::: knocking wood ::: but I need to get a better handle on the stress I now deal with on a daily basis.

I need to start taking a lunch break and getting my steps up to 10,000 a day consistently.  The doc also ran labs - all of which were fine.  So, he has started me on something to help me sleep.  I'm not keen on this, but I cannot continue the disrupted sleep pattern that I've fallen into and I cannot seem to remedy it on my own.  So.  I have set the intention that I will be on this just long enough to allow my body to get back on a normal sleep cycle.  :-)

And now - time to do some work at my potting bench, and to get the rest of the Christmas decorations up  :-)