Thursday, December 29, 2016

morning thoughts...

I'm stealing a couple of minutes before I head to work.  Hubs had to leave super early this morning, his one work day this week and he had to drive for 90 minutes to get there. So it's still in the house.  My popcorn has finished popping (need it to cool off so I can bag it) and the turtle fountain is running. Other than that it is just still.  I can actually hear my nails on the keyboard (that rarely happens).

I'm struggling today, I've been off for a week, it's been relaxing, peaceful and therapeutic, today I go to work for one LONG day before being off for 4.  Seems a fair trade off, but my jammies were definitely trying to lure me in.  I've been sleeping until the sun comes up, so that alarm at 4:30 am was particularly brutal today.  Gator and I were seriously more interested in cuddling back up and ignoring it.  How do you tell a sleepy boy no? Especially one so sweet?

As Hubs didn't have time to walk today, I went without him and gave those new earbuds a real trial run. Summation... WOW! The first half mile I walked listening to music, Hubs and I chatted for the remaining 1.5 miles.  It was incredible!  Even with the hill by my girl's house I was able to average an 18 minute mile. And that hill is mean, my Fit-bit registers it as 18 flights of stairs if that is any indication.

It's felt good to slide back into the normal routine, I hit my 5 days of working out for the first time in weeks today!  Wow, did that feel great!  I started to pack a workout bag for today - after all I will be in a Y for over 12 hours, but thought the better of it.  I will be the only director on site, I definitely do not want to be distracted. I will be putting together a work out bag starting next Tuesday though.  It's time I figured out how to use those weights.

Tomorrow as I am wrapping up the old year and starting to bring closure to everything, I am going to sit down and start on a weekly menu.  There are a few things I have been stubborn about, or maybe lazy is the word over the past few months.  I know it's easier to plan ahead, but I am not good at planning ahead for myself.  I am thinking if I manage to create a menu plan for an entire month it will help with buying groceries, cooking healthy meals, filling the crock-pot with healthy meals, and eliminate that last minute "it's been a LONG day and I am too tired to cook".  We'll see.

I'm not about resolutions, seems I've never stuck to any in 51 years.  But I am all about my commitment to myself and the Hubs.  Work/Life balance is the goal for 2017.  Stepping further into my health goals, my fitness goals, my creative goals, my family and career goals too... something tells me it is going to be one crazy busy year!  I'm so excited about it!

Well, the sun is definitely over the horizon now, and I need to bag that popcorn up, it's time to head to work. I have a full to do list, so I am fairly certain the day will fly by.

Anyone else planning true new year resolutions?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

more small steps...

Our bright sunny day has definitely faded into a funky, gray, cloudy and now rainy day.  The Hubs is upstairs catching a short nap, the prefect thing to do on your last vacation day before going back to work for one day.

So much has been going on, so many changes since the last time I wrote.  I feel like I neglect my blog more than anything else in my life and often toy with just closing it.  And then I remember that it keeps me sane in those quiet hours that I have to myself. I often find myself snapping pictures just to share, and thinking about things I want to write.

I write this for me.  Over the course of the past few years it has had times when it is vitally important to who I am and where I want my dreams to take me. It has helped me navigate heartbreak, stress, fears and celebrate so many magical and important times.

Because of this and so many more reasons, I will continue to write in those quiet moments.  When silence allows.  For a couple of months now, I have been navigating some interesting waters and just before the holidays I found out that I was selected to lead my Y into it's next phase of existence. Right now I am still a bit in the disbelieving stage, I'm excited and thrilled.  It's like when you receive your engagement ring, you keep staring at it, expecting it to disappear - to have been a beautiful dream.  Or the first time you hold your baby in your arms.  The enormity of it all is overwhelming.

Joy, excitement, anxiety... all powerful emotions. Each of those times I asked myself if I was up for what lay ahead.  Could I be someone worthy of marrying my best friend?  Was I good enough to be a good mom, to raise that sweet life and protect it?  Am I strong enough, skilled enough, wise enough to close a 91 year old Y and open successfully it's new replacement?

Well, I have a great marriage that is a celebration of love, life, and friendship.  It's the perfect mixture, so yes I was worthy.  My children are both incredible human beings.  I could not be more proud of them if I tried. They both fill my life with love and happiness in their own ways.  So yes, I was good enough.

Those are, up to this point, my greatest achievements that I feared I would not be good enough for.  So yes, I do believe I am the right person, at the right place and in the right moment in time for this task.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, who in their right mind wouldn't?  But I am blessed to be part of the Y.  It's filled with people that want to lift you up, help you.  I've got this.

As I look back on 2016, it's been quite a year.  It's seen me hit some of my lowest points ever.  I've almost lost both of my pups. Hubs went from healing for his hip to injuring his back. I've traveled from despair in my work life to having a career that I love.  My own health was at the lowest it had been in years to the best it's been in so long that I cannot remember.

2016 has been a year for the record books in more ways than one.

Each day it feels like another "star" has left us.  I am not truly into the "fame" thing, so while I feel sadness that a famous person has passed, it is just another passing to me.

The tears and rifts in our country are at an all time high.  This is sad.  We are all the same, we all require love, kindness and compassion to be the best that we can be.  I am prayerful that we will find a way as a country to remember we are all Americans and it's okay to disagree as long as we remember that we are part of a large and growing family.

Changes politically have rocked this country.  Right, wrong or indifferent personally I feel that many folks just sent a message they wanted to be heard.  I guess we will see how that ends up...

These are all things that while I feel them and live with the consequences of them I do not have control over them.

Midway through 2016 I started focusing on what I could change, where I could make a difference in my world.

I started on me.

You never have to sit idle, you do not have to be a passive "victim" in your own life.

My daughter bought my Christmas Eve Jammies, it's a family tradition, like so many other's have. As I opened it she said "they won't fit you, I bought them when you were fat".  I know it doesn't sound like it, but that was one of the most beautiful sentences that I have ever heard.

My heart soared.  My spirit lifted.  I felt affirmed.  Never had anyone said "you are fat".  I was always accepted and loved. No one ever said, you are slowly shortening your life, you have allowed yourself to become a victim, you don't have a good quality of life or you are out of control.  Any of the things that were the truth.

I had to be forced to see that.  Bullied by my best friend.  The six months that I have invested in me, have led to so many blessings.  When I realized that I was important, I also realized that old saying "you can't pour from an empty cup" was not only true but a beacon to follow.

While my girl was sweet saying "when you were fat", the truth is I am still fat.  I have a long way to go on this journey.  But fat didn't happen over night and healthy won't either.  I was so excited to receive the thoughtful gifts I got for Christmas.  As I sit here looking at them on the counter I realize that they are gifts of pure love.

I adore popcorn, but couldn't bring myself to have to record the fat grams in traditional popcorn and I also didn't want to spend the money for an air popper.  Instead I looked longingly at my popcorn kernels and felt deprived.  Hubs bought me a fabulous on demand air-popper!  It even measures enough seeds for one serving.  Heck I feel I need one for my office, but I WILL NOT spend that kind of money for a second one.

Sitting close to it is my Inspiralizer, I have a spiralizer with multiple blades for my KitchenAide and I love it, but by it's very nature there are veggies and fruits that I would love to spiralize and was unable to.  My girl evidently heard me talking to my cookbook (yes I do odd things like that) and silently ordered, then prayed that Hubs hadn't also heard me (they usually end up getting me the same thing) my Inspiralizer.  I played with it the first day while cooking a large dinner, I was so excited! Again, pure love.

With Hubs being injured he couldn't walk, and I didn't want to on my own.  It was too quiet, too much like a punishment.  He'd let me use several different sets of his earbuds, but I hated the way the cord dangled, wrapped around me and the sounds it made rubbing against my coat.  I also cannot stand to use earbuds where they cancel out all sound.  It freaks me out. Under the tree, wrapped with love, was a set of brilliant aqua blue sport Bluetooth Bose earbuds.  No cords.. don't shut out sound... I was prepared to hate them.  I can't... they are perfect and I LOVE them!  Now when I have to walk alone, I can hear music, talk to loved ones, listen to a book or whatever else my heart desires.  Without saying it, again there was encouragement.

My sweet boy sent me the coolest cookbook.  No it isn't low fat or even all healthy.  But it feeds my inner foodie, it keeps the joy in cooking and nourishing my family.  I cannot wait to visit with him and try as many recipes as his heart desires - I'll just get an extra walk in.

I didn't make any great strides in reaching my goals over the holiday season.  In fact unless I completely quit eating and work out non-stop between now and Saturday, I am fairly positive I will not hit my goal in December.

Guess what... It doesn't matter.  I will reach that goal.  It just isn't going to be this week, but it will happen soon.  I held my own during the holidays.  My focus wasn't about losing, it was to maintain, and to enjoy the balance in my new lifestyle.  I've done it!  I found and lost the same 3 pounds for a solid month.  And I am okay with it.

In filling my own cup I have more to give others.  It's amazing how that happens.

Last night Hubs, the girls and I had a night out on the town.  It involved a walk through an area of the city I have never explored - so much fun, will have to go again.  Next time we will be able to get into Fitz's without waiting an hour.  Then Hubs and our girl hung out sipping hot cocoa while the grand daughter and I went ice skating.

I expected to be lame today - I haven't hit the ice in years! I wanted to be greedy and stay for hours.  I didn't. But oh the joy! In January I couldn't walk.  Last night I was gliding along as if the years hadn't happened.  Hubs was going to take me today, he would sit by the fire pit with his cigar and smooth jazz, while I went skating.  Maybe the rain was natures way of saying don't push it. Maybe. But I see it happening again soon.

I wonder who else is wrapping up 2016 feeling reflective?  Are you taking the time to celebrate your accomplishments and focus on the great things you have done?

As I move forward with my blog, I am going to be spending more time doing just that.  Focusing on good, celebrating and building up.  I hope you will join me.  I hope we can encourage and support each other on our journey's... Who's game?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

the journey continues...

It's 5:12 am and I am sitting here in my kitchen surrounded by the crackle and smell of Turkey's roasting.  I have to get 4 of them cooked and ready to go by tomorrow morning.  We're serving a holiday lunch for our members and as our staff team has gotten smaller, well... you get it...

I put them on about 2:30 am, when I woke up filled with anxiety.  My to do list at both work and home feels out of control.  Long and getting longer. Heck I still haven't done any Christmas shopping for my sweet Hubs and it isn't looking promising that my gifts will get bought or wrapped for Arkansas before my sister meets my daughter to pick them up.

I had planned on popping them in and going back to sleep.  Because 6 hours is truly not enough for a person to function on, but the brain refused to shut down.  The lists kept getting longer the more I tried to rest, sleep kept getting further away.

So coffee on and pen and paper in hand I got to work on those darn lists.  I'm sure a few people will be thinking I have lost my mind when they get to work and see I have sent emails if they look at the time stamps. I haven't.  I am regaining control.  A long time ago I decided that if I couldn't sleep I would not lay there giving myself a headache.  I would get up and use the time.  So...

My Gator boy is wandering around the kitchen sniffing the air, he loves turkey and chicken, he's ever hopeful that the wonderful smells mean a treat for him. His determination is definitely impressive as he rarely decides to get out of bed until 6 am.

I am anxious.

Hubs and I haven't been able to get our walks in, him because of his back, me... well I hate to walk alone and frankly I am meeting myself coming and going and not making the time to do it.   I miss that time together. It helps me sort out my world.  It gives me time to have meaningful, uninterrupted conversations with Hubs.  Where we can both focus on each other, turn off electronics and outside interference and simply talk.

This morning sitting here I finally wrote up my answers concerning YDPP for the marketing department. As someone that writes this silly blog and shares openly in it, I wasn't concerned that it would be difficult.  In fact I figured it would be a breeze.

It wasn't.  I guess subconsciously I knew it wasn't going to be easy.  Because I sure dragged my feet on it. Admitting publicly, open and honestly that I had allowed myself to slide down that slippery slope, that I had reached a point that I was jeopardizing my health and life because I didn't want to face reality.  Wow!
Reality Check... Thank you Facebook
Insecurity Check... Is this OK?
As I started typing this morning, I felt empowered and in control.  I am proud of the journey I am on, not so proud of the journey that got me to the point that I needed to be on this one.  I allowed life, excuses and choices to get in the way of what I truly want.  Do I want to be a size two... nope. Do I want to be healthy, energetic, pain-free, relatively stress free and just down right happy?  Yes!

This morning I had to face the journey down into the depths to be able to find a way to explain the climb up. That is humbling to say the very least.  No one wants to admits to being lazy, unmotivated, slovenly, and a host of other things that society has deemed far more dreadful than people find tolerable.  It's easier to blame it on external forces, its easier to get lost in the excuses.

Will those last 2.5 to 3 pounds to my first personal goal leave by December 31?  I don't know.  There are parties, beverages and traditions that I still want to enjoy.  Thankfully, I can enjoy them.  Because I didn't sign up for a diet, I signed up for a life change.  If I want to have a spiked hot chocolate, I'm going to. And I am sure at some point I am going to make a batch of fudge and definitely Russian Tea Cakes, because it cannot be Christmas without them.  My paternal Gramma sent those to us every year.  They mean Christmas to me.  Does it mean that I am going to mindlessly sit there and eat the whole batch.  No, but I will have a few, I guess this year I will share them.

This journey is teaching me to accept things, to realize I didn't slide down the slope over night, and I am not going to climb that mountain out of there in the blink of an eye.

It's teaching me that I have to force myself to make good choices.  That a long stressful day does not have to mean a full pizza and several soda's or beer.  I still have an occasional beer, wine, mixed drink (depending on my mood).  I can't truly remember the last time I had a soda of any kind and frankly I do not miss that at all. I hated water and now joke that I can tell when I haven't had enough.

Forcing myself to look in that mirror of self reflection is still scary and ugly.  I know there are going to always be times that I will want to hide stress, anxiety or fear in a tub of ice cream or some other treat.  The thing is, now I am learning to not do that. I haven't been too good the past couple of weeks at recording my food, maybe that is why I am stuck.  And walking has been on the back burner.  I am giving myself a pass for a few more days.  I just need to get through this week.  Come Sunday, I will be back on laser focus, until then, I am making smart choices and shooting for 10,000 steps a day. It's not an excuse anymore, it's ownership.

Unfortunately, right now, my personal needs have to take a slight backseat.  Not all the way to the back of the bus, they just can't be the driver.  My end game is still in sight.  As we slide into the New Year I will probably be changing my focus even more.

Looking at a few years ago and this Christmas side by side... powerful!

Getting there... Two year's older... look a decade younger...

No words...

I am going to be doing more exploration into what got me here, so I never return.  This is a road I've driven down, but it is definitely a bridge that I need to burn, there can be no return trip. I want Hubs and I to have at least a few more decades together!  I want them to be fun, full of energy and good health and rewarding.

I hope you will join me as I continue this journey....

Saturday, December 3, 2016

december day dreams...

It seems the unseasonably warm autumn is finally succumbing to Mother Nature's wraith.  The past two mornings have seen frosted grass and windows, barren trees shimmer in the early morning light with a soft icy glaze.  Yep, Mother Nature is gearing up for winter.

When I took the boys out this morning so Hubs could sleep in, it looked like it was going to be a bright and beautiful day. Bright and clear.  Now just a few hours later, it honestly looks like it wants to snow.  Although with a high of 47 projected, that is probably not going to happen.  I feel I am a bit bummed out about that.  I would love to go to one of the ice skating rinks and glide (I won't even say gracefully) across the ice with snow swirling around me. 

One of my fondest memories of Upstate New York was the fact that the play area sat lower than the houses so it filled with melting snow and rain each winter and froze solid.  I vaguely remember skating there in the winter.  I have snippets of memories from there mostly involving winter. Snow palaces and skating.  My own Norman Rockwell painting in my mind. 

I am not a great ice skater, I do not have the strongest ankles and grace is definitely not my middle name. But I love it!  Gliding along, maybe a bit wobbly, waiting to have a cup of hot cocoa or coffee with a splash of Kahlua or Bailey's. Warming up by the fire pits.  Good times.  Sadly, the Hubs isn't a skater, the daughter is 7 months pregnant and my son lives far away.  And the grand daughter is probably too busy.  And we all know that even though I am definitely an introvert, I hate doing things by myself. Introvert yes, loner no.

So instead I guess the day will be spent running errands - and boy do we have a lot.  Listening to carols and working around the house.  I do have to finish both of the quilts that have their tops finished.  We need to go to the Bethesda Thrift Store, I need fire starters and they sell the best ones! 

At some point, I will get my walk in.  I was hoping for a less traditional exercise today, so I didn't brave the crispy cold morning today.   Hubs is still not able to long walks and I truly do not enjoy my solo walks. It seems more like punishment than the joy it truly is. But I am so close to my first personal goal, that I feel I need to push the envelope a bit this weekend and see if I can finally cross it this weekend, 2.4 pounds to go. 

It's been quite a journey.  One that has really changed who I am internally and externally.  And it's one that I am far from crossing the finish line, but I can see the first goal glimmering right in front of me.  I can almost touch it.  I will set the next one on the day that I surpass that goal.  I already know what it will be, but it must live in my mind for now. 

For the first time ever I am also starting to set some actual fitness goals - scary right?  I feel strongly that the new year will find me participating in personal training for the first time in my life. I find that I do best with guidance and support. Ironic for someone that does not like to join groups! I might even put a gym bag together!  I know... WHAT?!?  She might have finally lost her mind.  

And I am strongly considering becoming a YDPP facilitator. Maybe because I am walking the walk, and taking this journey and I know the difference it's made for me, I might be able to help others. I have to decide first how well I can handle excuses.  I don't like it at all when people have excuses for not trying.  My tolerance is a bit low.  So I have to succeed in over coming that. I think I have now had 3 or 4 people sign up for YDPP, because I know how incredible it is. I will encourage and support each of them at all times, and I wish the program was for kids too.  Well, we will see, I don't have to make that decision for another few months.  And it might be a decision that is made for me as I could be incredibly busy in that time frame. 

Who knows... Well, there are chores to do, errands to run, and maybe just maybe Mother Nature will throw me a random snowflake or two.  Just a teaser...  Enjoy your day...

Friday, November 25, 2016

finding magic...

Keeping my eyes on the sink, watching that it won't overflow as the pump fills the aquarium.  Good thing I love my boy so much.  This turtle is a lot of work. And I have a feeling the pump is on it's last leg, they seem to last about 5 to 6 months.  And I spent a full thirty minutes coaxing it to drain the darn thing.

I told Hubs to go lay down, his back is really hurting him.  I can't wait for them to finally get a good MRI and decide what happened and how to fix it.  Doc seems pretty positive it's a herniated disk, doesn't think it's ruptured as he can move.  Unfortunately, the original MRI was done of his pelvic area.  Who hires these docs?  I feel we would already have him feeling better if we'd have insisted on taking care of it ourselves instead of letting work comp handle it. They sent him for an MRI of his back and spine.  They did one of his pelvis?  Unreal.

So while he's snoozing/resting, I decided to tackle the turtle solo.  It's something that can be done.  I've done it many times, especially since we moved here. It's just not easy or fun.  The poor guy needed it though. So... here I sit within view of the sink as it fills.

Hubs decided to go walking with me today.  I am not so sure it was a good idea.  We picked a super flat course and only walked a two miler.  And even though he tried to hide it, I could hear the flat slap his foot makes on that left side when he's done too much.  Hopefully the rest will get him feeling good again today.

I love the peace and quiet of the day after Thanksgiving.  At least around my house.  Once upon a time Hubs and I tackled Black Friday shopping.  Sort of.  I'd never encountered it having grown up and spent most of my adult life in Europe, I was curious.

As we are early risers, it was no big deal to scoot out and check things out.  Until I saw the lines around every store on our shopping list.  The people bundled in pop up tents, sitting in folding chairs, hovered around their coffee cups.  Waiting.

I guess I really envisioned more of a Christmas Market kind of feel.  Happy families and couples wandering around shopping.  The pushing, shoving, clamoring for stuff... Yeah, it didn't work for me at all!  I am fairly certain we never even got out of the car.  We simply looked at each other, both of us looking a bit wild eyed and decided that breakfast at Bob Evans looked to be the best idea we'd had all day.  We finally got our shopping done, many hours after those folks that had forsaken sleep had drifted off to their beds for a long nap.

Since then my contributions to the insanity of Black Friday have been items I might need at the grocery or any online shopping.  I hate shopping, that kind of insanity makes me more stressed than I ever want to be.  I am not sure how folks can focus on the joy of selecting the perfect gift for a loved one in all that chaos.

Today, I will complete some minor online shopping, nope, I don't want to wait for cyber Monday when my computer speed will be super slow.  And shortly, when my hands are completely dry, I will head out to the garage and take care of some minor wood working, so that I can finish a few gifts.

After that, I am fairly positive that I am going to fix a pot of hot tea and head up to my sewing room.  I have presents to finish and quilts I've been commissioned to make.  Later this evening, I will be down in the man cave.  I will be bouncing between paint and thread, more gifts to complete and quilting to get done. Hopefully Hubs will feel like either helping or watching some television while I'm working. I love the company.  And working on projects with him.

I am so blessed.  Just when I start to take my life for granted someone quietly reminds me what a great life I have.

As Hubs and I were walking along the Meramec this morning, my girl called from Iowa.  As we chatted away she made an innocent enough comment, but it is still echoing in my head.  Hubs and I are a team.  We enjoy each other's company.  He is my best friend.  So many times we've both uttered words to the effect that we wish we'd gotten together so much sooner in life.  I honestly feel that it's because we didn't that we have such a great life now.

So much time to make up for, so we don't miss a minute if we can help it.  We spend our mornings walking together, sitting on the deck having coffee, talking to each other on our separate drives into work. We take care of each other.  When I am cooking a meal for him, I will be lost in thought, making sure it is delicious and nourishing.  He spoils me rotten.  I try hard to spoil him just as much.  I don't believe that either of us tries to make life just about ourselves.

It's really magical.  I've walked down that one sided path in the past.  So has he.  Maybe that is why we always meet in the middle.  I don't believe our relationship is 50/50, more like 100/100.

The Christmas carols have been playing for weeks now.  Sometimes simply softly in the background, other times loudly.  Not at all because Hubs loves them, he's a Jazz guy, but because I do.

Last night after dinner, he didn't demand I help him clean up, he knew I was a bit tired from cooking all day, so he made sure "my" kitchen was ready for more abuse this morning.  I am a messy cook, I know it.  I get completely wrapped up in what I am doing and little spills can wait.  He doesn't complain, just says he's never met a great cook that was neat.  Yes I know he's humoring me, but I also know he loves to be pampered with home cooked meals and he doesn't take it for granted.

Life isn't perfect, we've been beat up and knocked around more than once.  We've survived many hurtful and terrifying things.  There have been times when we didn't know if we would or even could survive.  Two years ago started a very dark period for us, when we didn't even know if he would survive.

Each time we remembered what was at risk.  We found a way to survive it.  I pray that everyone has that kind of magic in their lives.

My girl is big about saying that what you put out into the universe comes back to you.  It's about karma.  I agree with her.

Sometimes it takes a good long while, but it will come back.  As we embark on this magical time of year I pray that people take a few minutes to really think about it.  To really consider what they are putting out into the universe. Spread love, give joy and simply be the person that you want others to be.

Pretty simple.  Pretty sure that is why Hubs and I are so blessed.

Wow, maybe a bit too philosophical for Black Friday... time to go and create...

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Christmas carols are playing softly in the background.  The sun has long ago set.  Hubs and the boys have headed off to bed and I am sitting here a bit nostalgic for holidays past. Half expect to see the Ghost of Christmas Past come strolling through.

As my kids get deeper and deeper into their own lives I know things will continue to change.  Today was an odd one for us.  Daughter and Grand Daughter are out of state, visiting with extended family.  The Boy is on the coast.  It looked a bit bleak.  Our youngest Grandson has to work tomorrow so he's still in town, and he joined us for dinner.

I'm deeply rooted in my immediate family, having been military they are my heart.  Not having them here... sadder than I expected.

Last weekend the girls, Hubs and I went to Arkansas to have an early Thanksgiving dinner with the family.  It was wonderful!  So nice to have everyone together. It'd been four years since we'd done that. All families change.

Since being home Hubs and I have puttered about, working on Christmas gifts and spending some quality, quiet time together.

With his injured back Hubs is still not really able to walk with me, so I set off for my morning walk alone.  I look forward to that together time, it's a chance to talk without distractions.  It's not we solve world hunger or anything, but we both know we have each others undivided attention as we power through.  So the silence (conversation wise) is deafening.

Hubs knows I love my Christmas music, he also knows I hate ear buds, so he has brought me two different pairs to try.  Yesterday's were a definite no go, I could hear each step as the cord swung back and forth, they hurt my ears and basically made me miserable.  Today's were better.  I don't love them, but if I have to walk alone at least it's not in total silence.

I can't wait for him to be healed, I miss having him there.

My mind goes crazy places as the miles fall away under my feet.  Staring at the gloomy early morning sky today only made the melancholy stronger.  Sweet Hubs tried to make it less noticeable, but... I know I shouldn't be so whiny.  I have friends that will always have an empty seat at the table. That guilty feeling didn't make the grim cloud cover any easier to take.  As I searched for the silver lining and the beauty in this day of giving thanks I slowly realized it was all around me.

In the unique morning light the trees that still had their leaves glimmered.  The brilliant reds and golds stood out in sharp contrast.

Every step had me falling deeper into thought.  I cherish Christmas carols, I could listen to them year round. I'm not sure why.  The soft beauty just pulls at my heart.  They calm me.   And so I walked/ran and felt the calmness returning.

Hubs knew today would be tough, he met me as I returned with the perfect Bloody Mary and we sat outside in the chilly air and talked.  I actually spent quite a bit of time spoiling myself this morning.  My heart needed it.

I am thankful that Hubs and I have our children and grandchildren.  And that even when they aren't near, they are in our hearts and thoughts. Sitting outside we talked about them, Christmas with them, and how each year seemed a bit different.

I was so pleased to be sure my suited up Grandson had a great holiday.  Maybe not the holiday he'd expected, but plenty of food and love.  He's 17, that is not often an easy age.  As he showed up in a suit and tie, helped set and clear the table and ate to his fill, my heart was filled with peace and love.

Hubs and I spent the day fixing a healthy meal, unsure if he'd show up.  I had his favorites, but the majority of the meal I focused on more of the foods we eat now.  Hubs and I didn't start a diet to walk away from whenever we wanted, we started a lifestyle change.  As I chopped what felt like millions of veggies today, altered recipes to how we eat now, I was in awe of the changes.

As we sat for the meal, I was worried.  Gone were the marshmallows and fat laden treats of old.  I didn't make a fruit salad, traditional stuffing didn't grace the table either.  And yet, it was fabulous.  The grandson that doesn't eat any vegetables tried everything except the cauliflower stuffing (which is delicious by the way).

After he headed out and we'd cleaned up the kitchen and dishes, it was time to relax.  Unusual to say the least. The boys in a turkey coma slept while we caught up on so many missed episodes of Madam Secretary. Hubs in his recliner, me sitting on the sofa with my Gator knitting away as the sun set.

Around the neighborhood several homes glowed with the fullness within.  Streets were lined with cars. Down near us, it was quiet.  Hubs and I were making new traditions.  Tomorrow I will probably decorate, today it was emotionally too much.  This Christmas will be the first one ever without my boy.  I will deal with that later.

I am thankful for much.  I am blessed by much.  I have a daughter and son that I love so much and am very proud of.  Grandchildren that fill my heart with love and joy!  A new one on the way.  A Husband that blesses my life in so many ways that I cannot count them.  I still have both my boys. I have a family that I love.  Friends that I cherish. And even though I am enjoying this small window of downtime, I have a career doing something I love.

I truly am blessed. Things will always be different. Change isn't bad, it's just change...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

dealing in memories...

Sitting here watching the dying embers of the fire Hubs built for me, I realize yet again  that I'm not feeling so hot tonight.  Actually, I'm feeling quite hot.  That is what has me a tad concerned.  Sure hope I'm not catching a bug.  I simply don't have time right now to be under the weather or out of any loops.  I have a lot going on both at work and at home.  Illness... bah... I simply don't have time!

Hubs and I got up this morning and hit the walking paths again.  I sure wasn't running, in fact I didn't want to be walking.  But I missed too many days last week between work and the election.  So walk we did.  It was a whopping 27 degrees.  Bundled up, I even wore a hat and I detest hats.  Funny thing is that with my hair all chopped off, I needed one. Brrrrrrr....

Between his measured limp, that darn back is really giving him fits (note to Hubs... when wifey says maybe you shouldn't... it's because she loves you and doesn't want you hurting) and me feeling like a truck had plowed over me I was rather surprised that we had a great pace.  Must have been the cold motivating us to hustle a bit faster.  It sure was biting at my toes, time to invest in winter work out shoes, or heavier socks.  And even through double layers of alpaca my fingers were chilled ever so slightly.

It's been a busy and fulfilling weekend just the same.  After a nice walk yesterday morning, we got around and met up with my two youngest sisters and most of their families for lunch.  I am almost feeling like we should have gone with their first selection of Steak and Shake.  It's been a good long bit since we've been to a Cracker Barrel, it's going to be a good much longer bit before we go back to one to eat.  It was fun to visit, even though I will be in Arkansas next weekend to see them all again.

I was already feeling a bit yuck so we headed home to rest up.  I didn't manage to rest.  Too many things pleading inside my mind for me to take care of.  Some never did get my attention.  So while Hubs napped I got busy on some quilts that I've been commissioned to make.  I do enjoy making t-shirt quilts.

The first one I had started a while back, it's actually a gift.  I've been stalling, for a myriad of reasons. Mostly, because it is a memory quilt of the sad kind.  The bits and pieces of someone gone.  While those often are my favorites, this one was too close to me.  The top is finally together and as soon as I buy the correct backing I will finish it. It's going to be a Christmas gift, so I have a bit.

The next one is celebratory, my next favorite kind.  Working with memories is so rewarding.  It's not mine, but it is for a dear friend.  I have made several for her to gift other's with, so the joy of finally making hers is very special.  I know that she will cherish it.  In fact I know that each one I have made previously for her is loved. It's easy to get lost in the piles.

I have two more that are commissioned so I figured it was time to get busy.  Hours of today were spent snipping and ironing, measuring and cutting.  Tomorrow when my hand hurts, I will not remember what I spent the day doing.  I will be puzzled.  I probably wouldn't have stopped when I did, but I ran out of lightweight interfacing and frankly, I just didn't have the energy to go out and buy more. My goal is to have at least the top finished before this weekend.  I will complete it next week when I am on vacation.

Hubs was busy all day too, he finally accomplished getting both cars and the motorcycle in the garage.  It's been his mission since we moved into this house.  While my girl and I visited this morning, he surfed Craig's list, he's been wanting a motorcycle caddy.  So that he can move the bike where ever he wants in the garage. The one he truly wanted was $350, ouch! But the garage gods must have been smiling on him today, because he managed to snag that very caddy for $120.  Yes, he was a happy man!  With it being so cold at night now, both of us will be happy tomorrow, no frosty windows, no long warm-up before heading to work. Good stuff.

He's sleeping soundly now.

Me?  I've still got a million thoughts running through my head.  I'm pondering the fact that a five year old was shot up in North St. Louis again today.  What could a five year old possibly have done to warrant that.  The fact that a popular restaurant owner was shot and killed along side a very busy highway that I travel daily, just the other day.  And then there is the fact that we have people rioting and protesting in the streets over an election.

All of these things bother me.  I'm all for freedom of speech.  Protest if you want to.  I just am puzzled as to why.  I guess I am more of a do something person, I mean physically do it.  I guess I don't have enough energy to put into making signs and marching up and down the streets yelling.  I'd rather help feed the hungry, gather coats for a coat drive. Or a million other product things that make a difference in another persons life.

I am confused and frustrated.

While people marched, a child was shot.  Somehow I guess my heart would rather believe the energy spent on one could have somehow stopped the other from even being considered.  I don't know how, heck, I'm not sure any of us do.

Maybe that is why I stayed home today and worked on quilts.  Maybe my headache was God's way of keeping me away from things I don't understand.  Hmmm...

As I was stitching today I was thinking about the fantastic evening Hubs and I had last night.  A few months back he won tickets for us to go see Jerry Lewis, he'd had to sing on the radio.  Jerry Lewis has been a part of my childhood, my teen years, and all of my adult years.  He's made me laugh.  He's inspired me to help others with his telethons, and his struggles have melted my heart.  Last night for a precious hour or more, We got to laugh and walk down memory lane with none other than Jerry Lewis himself.  He's 90, a bit frail, but still fun to laugh with.  He touched my heart when he said that he wasn't performing before new friends, he was entertaining old friends.  I wasn't the youngest person there, I wasn't the oldest.  But it felt like all of us where sitting in the living room laughing about old times and memories.

I wonder what kind of memories I will have when I am 90.  Will my memories include all the good there is in this world or will they be a reflection of the sorrow and selfishness?  I am sure they will be a mix of both.  I pray there is more good...

The embers of my fire are gone, my tea is getting chilled.  Those are all good signs that I need to climb the stairs and tuck myself in to bed.  Hopefully after a good nights sleep, I will feel better and ready to tackle the world. Can't forget to be up early enough to see the moon the closest that it has been since 1948....

Sunday, November 6, 2016

coming out of the fog...

Not only did we lose an hour of sleep, yep woke up at the usual time, but dang was it cold this morning. Hard to believe this beautiful fall day is any relation to this morning. 

Deep fog, to the point that you could not see the length of the headlights in front of you.  And so very cold. 39 is a bit cool.  Two sweatshirts, thicker sweat pants (way too big - but that is okay they kept me warm), and a set of gloves, Hubs and I set off to walk.  

We try to go to the river to walk on the weekends, it is a bit flatter, not so hard on the Hubs.  This morning it was downright surreal.  To the point that Hubs made the comment, I wonder if this is what the afterlife looks like.  I didn't disagree.  Moving just 20 feet away meant that you lost sight of the person you were walking with.  The trees and town made ghostly shadows and it was so wet!

Hubs injured his back at work a few weeks back.  And has struggled to walk each day.  We were up to an average of 4 miles a day.  Even topping out at 5 or 6 on the weekends.  Now he barely makes the 2 miles without slowing and being in pain.  So, how is a girl to get in her steps and exercise while still spending quality time with hubs?  Well, she starts putting some slow jogging into the routine.  

I am so stunned that for two days now I have been able to jog for a total of .5 or more of my three miles. I've never been a runner. Probably never will be.  I have horrible feet and we already know one of my knees feels like it should be 80. I also am fairly certain that I don't truly like jogging.  

But... I love that I am able to do it.  I am beyond pumped.  In January I could barely walk.  As I struggled through therapy and multiple draining and shots in my knee, I was sure that I was never even going to go for a nice long walk again without intense pain.  I was fairly positive I would never see my calf or ankle again. And that toes and not baby sausages were going to be the norm for the rest of my life on the left side.  I limped very painfully and just walking the boys was enough to require a hot Epsom salt bath if I wanted to make it through the day.  

By May when I went to see my son, I had reached a "fake it" point.  I could force it through the day, the swelling was still unbelievable and I jokingly referred to it as my "fat" leg.  I was always worried that it was a sign of some horrid health issue.  I suffered through it, smiling, pretending.  Sucking down anti-inflammatories and praying I could make it until July/August when I could have another shot.  I was completely depressed.

This morning as Hubs moved along at his steady pace, too slow for me to get a good work out where I am now, but fast enough for a brisk walk, I took off jogging again.  I'd run until I could no longer see him through the fog and then turn and head back, going each direction that way for a few times.  Until my legs felt week and my breathing became labored.  

This morning I realized it wasn't a fluke.  It wasn't an accident.  This morning I realized as I was drifting through the early morning fog, My hair drenched from the mist, my glasses fogged up from the cold air against my warm body, I realized that I have reached a turning point.  For the first time in my life, I have intentionally made a change, a difference in who I am and what I want to accomplish. 

One of my friends posted on Facebook about accomplishments.  That really resonated in my head and heart. Am I up to a full mile, oh hecky no!, but I am going a bit further each morning.  Today, my total running was .6 of a mile.  Yesterday it was .5.  Who knows if my legs can take it maybe tomorrow will be .7, or maybe I will slide back to .5.  I am definitely feeling the exertion today.  I am always brutally aware that I have FMS, that I will always struggle to keep it on an even keel.  

Today, running along the top of the levee, through the mist, with a mix of the theme from Rocky and Happy playing courtesy of the Hubs who always loves to make a sound track for life, I felt a bit like a super hero.  I felt invincible and strong.  It didn't bother me that I couldn't run solid for the entire length of either song.  It made me feel empowered that even when my legs and lungs couldn't take it I didn't stop.  I simply slowed down to a more reasonable pace. And my sweet Hubs cheered me on!  Even when his back wouldn't let him walk further, he followed me in the car to make sure nothing happened to me, cheering me on, talking to me on the phone.  

I am reaching for those stars... I am climbing the mountains before me.  Both real and in my mind.  

I was right, 51 has proven to be a powerful year for me!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

welcome fall...

On a chilled fall evening nothing is quite so homey as the warmth of a fire in the fireplace, the earthy sweet smell of a thick butternut squash soup and the spice of hot ginger tea simmering on the store beside it. In fact, it makes me want to stay up late and make more vegetable soups to stash in the freezer.  Easy peasy dinners for those late nights that happen more than we plan on.

But sadly, I am pretty sure that I am going to finish up this current batch.  Swap out one more load of laundry and then head to bed.  Tonight we fall backwards.  And as my body clock is already naturally set for 4:15 am, it's going to be a really early morning.

I modified a Roasted Butternut squash soup recipe tonight for dinner.  Needed to bring the fat grams down to something that fit the way we eat now.  But I didn't want to sacrifice any of the rich flavor.  A bit more time roasting, a slow saute on the veggies and a healthy dose of vegetable broth base, simmered until it's thick and rich.  Sprinkle in some Ceylon cinnamon, salt and pepper... serve with some sliced pears and a sprinkle of fat free feta or shaved Parmesan and YUM! So much so the grand baby, yes I am well aware that she is definitely not a baby anymore (note: she will always be MY baby!) took a full cup of it home for her dinner and I am pretty sure the daughter wanted to, but was afraid it was our dinner.

Hubs loved it so much that he requested another batch.  And as pureed soups (without cream) freeze fantastic, I decided to make a triple batch.  Some for the girls, some for me and the Hubs.  Pretty sure my "b" will love it too, she is also a soup girl.

I'm struggling to limit the eating out we do.  Not because we haven't found some good places over the past few weeks.  And honestly if you aren't afraid to ask, you can get them to modify just about anything on a menu. It's simply not the most nutritious, and who knows what really goes into that meal?

I haven't quite made the leap to meal prepping on the weekends, but I am slowly getting there.  I am also pretty sure that if Hubs and I don't have yummy, healthy meals, we won't be as eager to continue on this path.  We are changing habits, some of them life long. You should see us in a grocery store.  We read labels like crazy and most of the time we are freaked out over stuff we used to think was good for us, and now we quickly deposit back on the shelf.

Inadvertently we have gone to a mostly paleo/clean diet.  It wasn't intentional.  We still eat frozen custard and Hubs is a hero (with me and our girls) every time he surprises us with a batch of rice krispie treats.  Other than that, we limit processed foods, things we can't pronounce and honestly I don't know the last time I ate a store bought salad dressing.

We took a vacation day to tie in with the weekend, we were going to go visit Hub's sis down south, but that didn't end up working out.  So instead, we are squeezing in a few extra walks, and taking advantage of these beautiful early fall days.  Although I am getting more worried with each passing warm day, sooner or later Mother Nature is going to make us pay.

I harvested the last 4 tomatoes from my garden this afternoon.  It was a pretty pathetic garden.  I won't be planting one next year.  But I am sure they will taste fabulous with whatever I cook for tomorrow. I have a few quilts to work on and a baby afghan to finish up.  Then it will be time to start planning for our newest grand baby, her arrival will be here all too soon.

The soup is done, the laundry just chimed and it's 8:30 pm.  Time for me to go crawl into my nice cozy.  I've missed you...