HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN

Today is my husband John’s birthday.  We met September 27th or 28th,, 2003.  I always forget the exact date.   I used to go to the Moose Lodge with Mom and Dad to dance.  It was a safe environment and I had plenty of dance partners.  I wasn’t looking for a relationship.  I was just learning how to socialize again after my divorce.  Most of the people at the Moose are in their 70s or above so meeting someone closer to my age was a treat.  We danced and talked all evening.  John asked me to go out to breakfast with him and I said sure.  I thought he meant in the morning and he wondered why I went home.  I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t call me in the morning to meet him.  We still laugh about that.  I am SO worldly, aren’t I?

John was a very social person and pure fun.  We went dancing a lot.  He played pool on a league and I would go up and watch him play.  We went camping and to the beach.  It was constant motion and I had a ball. 

When my ex’s mother was ill and dying, we prayed together and I gave her my cross necklace  I prayed and asked God to have the man He chose to be my husband give me a cross necklace and I would know that he was the one God chose for me to marry.  I told my sister Patti this but no one else.  So when John gave me the necklace I knew he was the one.  We got married March 28th, 2004.

John is a man of his word.  If he says he will do something, he does it.  He is never too busy to help someone in need.  I am always amazed that he jumps right in.  I tend to mumble and grumble about doing things but he never does.  He has taught me many lessons about serving others.

When John and I got married, we agreed that we were bringing “baggage” into the marriage and that we would let it be open and deal with it rather than pretend it didn’t exist. That way the other one would at least understand the issue.  Whenever I said something to John sarcastic or ugly he would always tell me that it was “not affirming”.  It taught me in a very gently way how to treat him.  And it also taught me how to teach him to treat me.  Our disagreements have less power because of this.

My family eats.  Everything revolves around food.  Some of us generally meet for dinner on Friday nights at a local restaurant.  Heaven forbid one of us actually cooks.  John is a very slow and light eater.  The first holiday he spent at mom’s he was overwhelmed by the amount of food we had.  A few years ago we went to Buffalo to visit Aunt Jean.  We went to favorite restaurants, visited other relatives and every place we went we ate.  After a long afternoon John whispered to me “please tell me we are not going to eat again!”

Our first Christmas together I gave John a stocking to stuff for me.  Doesn’t everyone do Christmas stockings?  Christmas morning when I opened my stocking, he had gone around the house and filled it with my very own stuff!  He didn’t understand the concept that you BUY things to put in it.  It was very funny.  Now he gets it and is a master stocking stuffer.

John is a wonderful man, he makes me happy.  He accepts me the way I am, even when he doesn’t like it.   We have had our trials and tribulations but all in all, we have a great life together.  Happy Birthday John, I love you very much.

Advertisements

DIETING NEWS …

I went to a seminar on how to lose fat a few weeks ago.  It was disappointing to say the least.  There was a room full of people hoping this was going to be the magic cure.  We are all so desperate to find the magic that we are sitting ducks for every con there is.  That is why the diet industry is a billion dollar business.  Of course there are some reputable companies but they require hard work.  Personally, I am exhausted from doing the hard work. 

I did not grow up with a weight problem.  In my twenties, I “thought” I had a weight problem but I didn’t.  While my ex and I lived in Germany, I started putting on pounds but I could lose them pretty fast when I set my mind to it.

In 1996, the year I turned 40, I quit smoking.  My doctor told me he didn’t care how much weight I gained, it was time to quit.  I have not had a cigarette since, but I gained 100 pounds.  I have lost and gained 20 pounds here and there for years but never have been able to get down to my “normal” weight.  I would settle for less fat at this point.

I believe when you give up one addiction you pick up another.  Smoking was my primary addiction and I have switched it to food.  I am a food addict.  I think BIG about everything.  My husband John asked me to make him brownies and he ate ONE.  Can you imagine?  I cannot do that, I have to at least eat the row.  You know, to keep the pan even.  But it doesn’t end there, I think big about everything.  One of the girls I used to work with, a tiny little thing, bought the smallest bottle of olive oil I have ever seen.  What on earth can you do with that?  I always buy the big bottle so I don’t have to keep going back.  I have really started taking notice of this.  Normal sized people buy normal sized stuff.  I buy extra large everything. 

I am not afraid of exercise.  I have said before that I love to walk and I walk two miles every morning.  I enjoy yoga and I am pretty much game for anything my body will tolerate.  I do get aggravated when I give it my all and nothing happens.  I get up early to walk and believe me, I’d much rather have that extra hour of sleep.  I have my very own elliptical machine, like that is a badge of honor or something.  John hints occasionally that I spent good money on something I rarely use.  I do intend to use it though.  Really, I do.

My neighbor told me about a FREE website, www.myfitnesspal.com so I decided to check it out.  I absolutely love it.  This is a back to basics, count your calories site.  Only they count your calories for you.  The site allows you to log your food and exercise doing most of the work for you.  It keeps track of your calories, carbs, fat and proteins.    You just have to honestly enter the data and it is very easy to use. 

After being on so many diets that you didn’t have to count anything, I have lost sight of the fact that all foods have calories.  One plan I was on said you could fill the bathtub full of vegetables and eat your way out of it.  Of course, my vegetables were covered with cheese sauce.  I hate vegetables.  Why is it that I will ingest any chemical imaginable to lose weight and I will not eat a vegetable? 

 While I do believe in total honesty, I also believe in none of your business so I am not going to tell you how much I weigh.  I lost 1.5 pounds on week one.   That may not sound like much but the scale moved in the down direction.  I am happy with that.  That old cliché that you didn’t put it on in a week holds true.  It is time for me to put on my Big Girl Panties and grow up.  Now I have to be accountable and deal with my weight honestly.  I will keep you posted on how it goes.

A DAY OF REST?

Today is Monday and I sit at my desk half asleep with no pretense of perkiness anywhere.  How did it get to be Monday so fast? 

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest.  I like to look up the meaning of words because sometimes I find surprises in their real definition versus the definition I have come to believe over the years.  I used Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and found one of the definitions for rest is “freedom from activity or labor, a state of motionlessness or inactivity”.  This is interesting to me because I thought a day of rest is pretty much doing the things I like to do. 

I was listening to a man on the radio last week and he said that we didn’t know how to relax anymore.  After reading the definition above, I tend to agree with him.  Typically on Sundays I do the laundry, run all the errands I didn’t accomplish on Saturday, we practice pool, and usually go out to dinner so neither of us have to cook.  I am pretty much in motion from the time I get up until I sit down to watch TV near bedtime.  With the exception of going out to eat, none of this is stuff I like to do, nor is it relaxing.  And, none of it is even good for my soul.

Since I cannot seem to figure out what IS rest, maybe I need to focus on what isn’t.  Errands are not, anything that includes Walmart is not, or shopping at all for that matter.  I do not find practicing pool restful because it usually frustrates me.  I do enjoy working in the garden, however that is not motionless so I guess that doesn’t count either.  Keeping my nose stuck to the computer, playing games and wasting my day probably doesn’t qualify.  Of course we can eliminate laundry or any household chores, which to me, includes cooking.  It says freedom from activity and cooking is not freedom to me!

So, in order to have a day of rest, I am going to have to learn to be still.  When John watches golf he “rests” so maybe watching golf on Sunday is a good idea.  I am sure reading a book would be restful.  I have four books stacked up just waiting for me to dig in.

I have to admit, as I am getting older, spending a day resting would certainly help Monday mornings go a little better.  Instead of dragging myself in to the office half asleep, I might actually be the morning person I am.

And maybe, just maybe, I will start looking forward to the weekend as enjoyable instead of how much I can accomplish.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARB

Today is Barbara’s birthday. She is the oldest of us kids.  Barbara was the scholarly one.  She always got good grades and wanted to go to college for a good education.  She did not want to be a teacher or a nurse, which was common for women in that day.  She has always been one to buck the system and not do the expected. 

Barb and I shared a room together which automatically made us bump heads.  Barb was not ever a morning person.  In our house, Dad had a system for getting us up and going and it started with Barb. He would call us to get up, turn on the hall light, when you got up and hit the bathroom, you turned out the light, and he would go on to the next kid.  When Barb would not get up, which was often, it would mess up his system and start a lot of yelling.  I remember lying in bed saying “he’s coming – GET UP”.  

In the morning when Barb was getting ready for school or work, she had a spray for everything.  By the time she got done with her deodorant, body spray, perfume and hair spray I was gagging from all the fumes.  She was a girly girl and very particular about her appearance.   She did not share her things.  I used to sneak her shoes out of the house and wear them to school and then sneak them back when I got home.  She also kept her make up in a little ceramic bowl and it was a challenge to sneak using it to see if she could tell.  I got away with it a lot but if she caught me, it was not good.

Right before I started 8th grade, Barb and I took the city bus to downtown Orlando. Taking the city bus was a big deal as I had never been on one and going downtown was a real treat.  Barb was tasked with taking me school shopping.  She always had good taste in clothes so this was a fun adventure.  We went to JC Penney’s, Sears, Lerner’s, and of course Woolworth’s.  It was a fun day and she helped me pick out outfits that I loved.  I still remember them after all these years.   It is probably the fondest memory I have of us together. 

Barb is a very good cook and loves making her specialty, Chicken Kiev.  I don’t like it because it has spinach in it but everyone else says it is very good.  She didn’t like cooking the day to day meals as much as the special meals, which were her strength.  There is nothing traditional about her. 

 Sewing, and various craft projects have always been part of her life.  She used to make wedding dresses when she lived up north.  She definitely got the sewing talent from Mom.  Not something I ever inherited.

Barb went back to school in her 40s and got her BA and then her Masters.  I have marveled at her tenacity to follow her dreams. 

So today is her day.  Barb, I hope your birthday is great. I love you bunches!

SATURDAY MORNING WALK

Sometimes life gets too big for me and I have to take a break from it all.  I can completely relate to the part of Forest Gump where Forest starts running and he ends up going back and forth from the east coast to the west.  People were trying to figure out the meaning of it, what he was trying to say, and there was really nothing, just the need to run.  I am too fat to run but the need to walk works nicely.

When my ex and I lived in Germany, every weekend possible we went on a Volksmarch (People walk).  Many towns sponsored these walks throughout the year and they were relaxing and fun.  Normally they were 10 or 20 kilometers and we would usually do the 10K.  At the end you received a “prize” for completion and then there was a big celebration festival.  There was always beer and bratwurst, more depending on the town that sponsored it, and an Om Pa band.  It was normal for other guys from the barracks to come with us and we would make a day of it. 

I decided this morning to go on my own Volksmarch around the area where I live.  It was time to step away from all the distractions and just be still with God and let my mind go where it needed to go.  I had a route in mind and told John my plan so if I didn’t show up he would at least know where to start looking.

I left the house at 8:30; it was still peaceful, the neighbors taking advantage of a long weekend.  As I walked it took me a few minutes to settle my mind and just be in the moment.  Once I got out of the familiar territory of my neighborhood, I started to take notice of the newness around me.  You can drive down a road a million times but to really feel it, walking is best.  The power lines, or telephone lines, whichever they are, had a long string of black birds chatting to each other.  The oh-oh sounds announcing me as an intruder to their world.  The smell of the freshly mowed grass, probably from yesterday, was pleasant.  The air was not full of the July Florida humidity yet, it was overcast and a light breeze felt nice on my skin. 

Probably around the 2nd mile the hills of the area came into play.  These are Florida hills, not much to you mountainous folks but a lot to us.  I am starting to breathe harder but keep focusing on the surroundings instead of the exercise.  Other birds are singing, I can’t see them hidden in the trees but their songs are beautiful.  I am passing through a more affluent area now and the landscaping is much richer.  Everywhere is color, mostly pinks and purples of all shades.  I stop to smell a crepe myrtle, not sure if it has a scent or not,  it didn’t.  I guess its beauty is all it needs.  There are tons of white and pink oleanders and a very dark pink that I have never seen before.  A little further down the road is a border full of hibiscus and bottle brush plants mixed together.  The pinks and oranges are beautiful together.  It is not a combination I would have thought to use, but will certainly consider it for the future.

Somewhere around mile 3 or so traffic is starting.  An occasional intrusion of a loud car radio breaks the peace.  The garage sale signs are going up and people are out looking for their used treasures.  Dogs are running the perimeter of their properties, barking away.  Some cheerfully greeting me and some reminding me I am a stranger.  Good dog! 

John calls to see if I am ok, how far have I gone?  He is worried about me and I feel bad for that.  I am fine.  I forgot to ask him to turn the hot tub on so I call him back.  I can already tell I am going to need a good soak when I get home.  Something else I think of, I need new underwear.  Funny, where did that thought come from?    

I pass by a small lake, bigger than a pond, and look over the protective barrier and see tons of lily pads.  Some have flowers on them.  Do lily pads bloom?  Why don’t I know that?  They were lovely.  I can see the lake is shallow and people have thrown their trash over the barrier into the water, sadly, it spoils the natural beauty.

I am coming to the park now, getting close to the end of my journey.  I love how the bougainvillea spill over the wall and pepper the common areas with bright pink flowers.  They are gorgeous and have very long thorns.  I don’t care, their beauty is worth it.  People are already claiming their areas at the park, getting the tables they want near the grills, those always go first.  The park will be full today.

The sun is breaking through the clouds now and it is getting warmer, still the light breeze and thankfully the humidity has not appeared.  As I re-enter my neighborhood, I come back to the real world.  This house is for rent again, that house needs to mow their lawn, looks like this house is empty.  Wonder if it is another foreclosure coming. 

I don’t know how far I actually walked, probably around five miles.  I was home at 10:00 so it took me an hour and a half.  Five miles seems about right.  I am tired, but in a good way.  My body knows it did something different today.  I didn’t solve any problems but I did take time to really see and feel God’s beauty this morning.  And maybe that was enough.  Just for today.