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...