SUNSET AT ZELLWOOD STATION

I have written before about the gathering of golf carts at sunset in our community.  Today was our day to go up and meet  this group of people.  I have been watching them for months now and I have to tell you that sometimes the stories are much better in my  head; sometimes my imagination is  better than my reality and SOMETIMES I have to hear John say “I told you so!”  I hate it when that happens.

Today was a beautiful cloudless day in Zellwood.  There was a nice cool breeze all day and the temperature in the mid 80’s.  I had taken Rosie for her evening walk and it dawned on me that we were getting close to sunset so I flew in the house and asked John to take me up to the gazebo so we could watch it set.  John really sees no reason to do this, he says that he has seen a sunset and doesn’t need to see another.  Sigh.  But I push on because I don’t want to go up there alone, in my mind these golf carts are filled with couples, holding hands and sitting quietly together watching the sun slowly drop into the small little lake.

I am impatient because John doesn’t move fast enough for me and that doesn’t start our romantic little escapade out very well.  I am sure we will miss everything by the time John gets us up to the gazebo.  John, Rosie and I get in the golf cart and up we go, John being the good guy that he is, ignoring my immature rants and of course, we arrive with time to spare.  LOTS of time to spare.

At first none of the people even spoke, so my first bubble pops.  There are other dogs with their families and they are the ones that get things moving. Slowly we start chatting and getting to know each other.  There are couples and singles.  And it really isn’t about the sunset as much as about gathering.  I said should have brought my glass of wine but didn’t because I wasn’t sure of what was proper. They made sure I knew that anything goes.  One man was telling us that we could bring our dinner up to the gazebo and eat it as the sun set.  Wouldn’t that be romantic?  As my eyes lit up John made it clear he was not participating in that!  Another bubble pops!

I decide to take a picture because I actually remembered the camera and I snap picture number one and my camera is dead, out of juice.  I don’t know if the picture took or not but I do know that there will be no other pictures taken.  And pop pop pop!

(And the picture turned out pretty good!)

As people come and go the reality becomes more and more apparent.  This is a meeting place.  It is relaxing and carefree.  And all of a sudden everyone says goodnight and leaves.  I was confused, the sun hadn’t even set yet!  But they were done and off they all went!  John was thrilled because he didn’t want to be there at all.  And off we went as well.  POP!

We ended up going for a drive around the community in our little golf cart, our family; John, Rosie and me.  It wasn’t perfect, it certainly wasn’t romantic, but it was fun.  We adapted to the moment and made our moment; not the twisted one I had in my head but our own little family moment.  John driving the golf cart, Rosie learning to enjoy riding in it and me still getting my story!

So your challenge for the week is not to watch a sunset, unless you really want to!  But this week it is to adapt to what is.  Don’t try to make it what you want, allow it to be what it really is and tell me about it.

My Body Image Reality

One of my favorite authors is Nora Ephron.  I particularly love her book “I Feel Bad About My Neck”.  It’s very funny and I recommend it if you want a good laugh.  When I originally read the book I didn’t feel bad about my neck.  I have been saying for years that I didn’t have many wrinkles (humor me here please!) because I was so fat all the wrinkles were pushed out.  It turns out that this seems to be true; self-fulfilling prophesy or something.

Since I have lost weight, my neck is turning into a turkey neck.  It isn’t bad yet but I can see it coming.  Oddly, one side is worse than the other.

The rest of my body has turned into what I call puppy skin.  You know how the mama dog can carry the puppy around by the skin and the little one just hangs there from the slack?  If I pull on the skin I get a few inches of slack.  This is not because I didn’t exercise enough because I surely must have.  I think I abused my body so badly that this is just the repercussions of my actions.  Losing 65+ pounds at my age is going to have some negative impact on my body.

I never intended to ever wear a bikini again but it would be nice if my stomach would at least pretend there was a usable muscle in there.  I know there will never be a 6-pack but a 2-liter bottle would be helpful.

And if that isn’t bad enough, Michelle Obama had to go and make fantastic looking arms fashionable.  First ladies should absolutely be required to keep their arms covered.  When I am in the middle of a hot flash it can be 20 degrees outside and I am miserable.  I wear sleeveless blouses or tank tops all the time.  I have worked with weights and there IS muscle under all this loose skin.  You cannot SEE it but believe me, it is there.

This leads me to ask if there are any cosmetic surgeons that do Pro- Bono work?  Can I donate my body to a cosmetic surgery school?  Since I am not interested in a bikini body scars wouldn’t bother me.  I would like to be able to look really good in clothes.  If you are the guy that was pretending to be a plastic surgeon and injected super-glue and concrete into women’s rear ends – don’t bother to apply.  I want the real deal.  I’m not desperate, I’m just inquiring!

I’m not complaining; I look amazing compared to where I started.  I can now wear a size 14 comfortably and am working toward a 12.  I’m thrilled beyond belief.  Do I obsess about how my naked body looks?  No, not really.  I was at peace with my body when I was large I can be at peace with it today, jiggly skin and all.  I just think I have about 10 pounds of loose skin hanging off me and that would be better off on the operating room floor.

I’m not really interested in a face lift or a boob job, although I wouldn’t turn one down.  I would really like my arms to be pretty.  I hate feeling like the skin is going to slap me in the face if I wave my arms to fast!

I know we are not supposed to worry about that stuff  “after a certain age” but those age lines are being re-drawn every year that I get older.  I am not going to settle into being a dumpy older woman quite yet.  I think I still have a few more good years left.  Isn’t 55 the new 40?  Or something like that?

MY 5K EXPERIENCE

Wednesday I saw a Facebook post from my friend Lisa about a free 5k run.  Running a 5k is a goal of mine and free certainly was a motivator.  I decided it was time to see how well I could do.  My expectations were not high, I just wanted to try.

I have been running (more like jogging, I am really S L O W) for a couple of months now.  I started my diet and new lifestyle in June and as the weight has left my body I have increased my activity level.  I can now run two miles without stopping.  So, a 5K run isn’t really out of the question, it is a goal within reach.

I signed up on-line for the run and didn’t pay much attention to the sponsorship info.  It didn’t matter to me; I was going to participate no matter what   The run was named “Step In The Name Of Love Walk/Run”. 

Thursday night at pool I told my friend Ben that I was going to run a 5K and he said he might run it with me.  I pretty much thought it was a courtesy thing he was saying because people say they will do things all the time and never do.  I let him off the hook immediately and didn’t give it another thought and was very surprised Friday evening when I received a text from Ben that said he would see me in the morning.  I was so touched by his support but still didn’t really think he would show up.  Lo and behold, Ben called this morning and was already there waiting for me. 

We weren’t exactly sure of the location of the event so we parked our car and started walking to find the event.  About a mile later, we found it.  Already I am tired. 

Central Florida has had beautiful weather all week, hot but low humidity.  This morning it feels like a sauna.  I have no idea what the temperature is but it is hot and muggy already.  This is not looking very positive but no worries! 

While waiting in line to finish registration and get our numbers, it dawns on me that the event is a 12-Step event and figure out that it is for people affiliated with recovery and their families.  I have been affiliated with the 12-Steps for over 20 years and know what amazing people belong to this amazing fellowship. 

The paperwork said the runners started at 7:30 and the walkers started at 8.  I know we started late which is not unusual for these things.  When the herd took off we were in the rear and I could not keep up with Ben at all.  I could tell I was pushing myself too hard so I stopped and told him to go ahead without me and I was glad that he did.  I ended up following two other people and was ok being last.  It would have been a bit humiliating if the walkers that started a half hour later caught up with me but that didn’t happen. 

I was plodding along the route, following others; while the others were already completely out of sight.  The trail was marked with yellow ribbons but they were not very close together.  Most of them I never saw at all and was really glad this lady leading the way knew where she was going. OR so I thought.  We ended up in the woods following a path that lead to nowhere.  It is hard to run in the woods by the way so I gave up and started walking.  We back-tracked our steps and I fell even further behind, this time on purpose.  Once I started running again they were gone and I followed what I thought was the correct path. 

I have lost 50+ pounds so far and I have not invested in any new work-out clothes.  Since I am nowhere near my goal it would be a waste of money to invest in sweat clothes that I will not wear very long.  Given that, the more I sweat the more the clothes stretched.  My pants were starting to fall down and I had mistakenly knotted the tie.  Now I am laughing at the sight of myself, pulling up my sweat-soaked pants because I couldn’t re-tie them.

By the time I found the finish line I was exhausted.  I have no idea how far I ran or walked or how much of the course I even used.  All I know is that I crossed the finish line and my dear friend Karen had come out to take pictures!  That was the nicest surprise ever!   And there was Lisa too, cheering me on!  Amazing!

Ben had finished the run and when we were talking he told me he couldn’t believe we had to run the track twice.  TWICE?  No way, I am not even sure I ran it once! 

Am I disappointed that I didn’t accomplish the goal?  Not one bit.  I did actually, because I showed up and I tried.  I wanted to see how I would do and I did!

For Instance:

  1.  I am not ready to run a 5k.  I need to train a bit more before I attempt it again.
  2. September 17 is still too hot to attempt a 5k for the first time, untrained.
  3. Nothing starts on time
  4. Addicts don’t follow directions
  5. Even after 20+ years co-dependents follow addicts anywhere
  6. It is easier to run the track you are used to than a new one that is unfamiliar
  7. Friends show up and their support is priceless
  8. Progress not perfection.
  9. I am loved.

I set my goals and work toward them.  I still believe with all my heart it’s the journey not the destination.  Today I did something different, learned something and didn’t give up. I had a great day!

 

9/18 – I forgot to add the pictures Karen took!

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT FALL

Fall is my favorite time of year.  After the heat of a Florida summer, I welcome the new season with relief.  Fall takes it’s time arriving here, the beginning is usually still in the mid 90’s, lower if we are lucky.  Labor Day week-end sets our minds toward fall but the official start in 2011 is September 23rd.    There are slow tiny changes, maybe a slight breeze in the air that didn’t move at all a few days ago.  The temperature slowly declines from 95 to 92 and one day 88.  Ah, the 80s, finally!   The humidity is not 100% anymore and the afternoon thunderstorms are less frequent, unless there is a hurricane. 

You can finally wear a blouse with a sleeve and not know that it was a big mistake, maybe even jeans instead of shorts.  I’m in the season of hot flashes all year long so sweaters rarely are in my closet let alone on my body!

By mid-October I always wish I had a convertible instead of a sunroof.  But I do enjoy the sunroof and am thrilled to finally drive with the windows open.  As soon as I get home from work I open all the windows and doors to let in the fresh air.  (We have a vicious dog in case you are thinking of breaking in!)

I love all the colors of fall and can’t wait to pull out my storage box marked “FALL” to decorate with my little do-dads.  Opening the box is opening memories.  I replace my summer door decorations with a sunflower wreath.  I have candle holders that require a trip to Yankee Candle for their pumpkin scents.  I don’t go crazy decorating; there are just small little accents that make me happy.  In October I decorate the lawn with dancing ghosts, they are not scary, they are fun and playful.  I gave up on planting fall flowers years ago and now go to the Dollar Time and buy fakes.  As long as they are seasonal and look good from the road I am happy. 

Fall used to be all about comfort foods and making the house smell warm.  My sister shared a recipe for Pumpkin Crisp and I make it every year; many times!  If I have a pot-luck to attend this is my go-to dish.  (And yes, if you want the recipe I will be glad to share!)  Hearty meals start to take the place of light summer salads.  It is a time for nesting, snuggling. 

We love football in our house.  John is a UCF and Gators fan for college and a Tampa Bay Buc’s fan for the NFL.  I am a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and can take all the trash talk you want to give.  If the Cowboys are not playing I root for good games and good teams.  I am big on underdogs and most of the time if I root for a team they lose.  So if you are not a Cowboys fan, you are pretty lucky.  If you are a Cowboys fan, I am sorry!

Getting up early on Saturday morning allows me to go for a nice long walk.  I have a five-mile route that I mapped out and I take my time to enjoy the walk itself.  This is a time of peace and quiet for me.  I don’t take my MP3 player because I want to be alone with my mind and my God; some of my best writings have come after these walks. 

Fall is the time of festivals.  I fondly remember the Craft Shows with my Mother-in-Law Heidi.  (Her given name was Hilda but she will always be Heidi to me!)  This was our thing; we spent the entire season going from one festival to another.  It wasn’t about buying stuff as much as spending the day together.  I fell in love with her in a new way each season.  I haven’t gone much since she passed away; it makes me miss her too much.  This time together taught me to listen to her wisdom and recognize her humor and grace.  She was an amazing lady.  I hope that accepting others is a trait I received from her. 

New TV programming finally arrives!  No more reruns!  There are new shows to discover and usually discard but every once in a while you find a gem that is a keeper.  The younger generation can’t appreciate the rerun doldrums of yesterday when we didn’t have cable, DVRs or DVDs.  And speaking of yesterday, we get to re-visit the Charlie Brown Specials of The Great Pumpkin and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  I still love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I have no idea why I love it so much, maybe it is just the tradition.  I remember the first time I saw it with our color TV, it was magical. 

Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday.  It is not built around gifts and commercialism but of love, friendship and gratitude.  The entire point is to be together and love each other, share great food and memories.  Expectations are low except for the good food part; we do expect good food and want to share our best.  It is the time when you bring a stranger home for dinner and they are welcomed because they need a place to be.  Some of my best Thanksgiving memories come from being a military wife and welcoming soldiers to our home for the holidays.  They were the least picky of anyone, they were just happy to be somewhere with a home cooked meal (even MY cooking!) and a cold beer. 

We have a wood burning fireplace on the patio and I enjoy spending the cooler evenings outside listening to the cicadas and the wood popping with a nice glass of wine.  A nice soak in the hot-tub makes it even better. Peaceful.

Fall is a time of gratitude that I survived another hot summer and a time to rest.  All too soon the insanity starts all over again.  I like to enjoy every peaceful moment. 

 

WHAT INSPIRES ME?

Often when I am asked a question of this type it helps me to go to a dictionary and look up the word.  I know what it means but I need a clear definition to let my thoughts flow.  One definition I found was ” Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity”.  I take that to mean what gets my rear end moving!

I like to be around people who think outside the box.  I like to move outside my comfort zone.  Notice that I did not say anything about being afraid.  I am normally afraid to move out of my comfort zone, I have just learned to do it anyway.  My best experiences have come from doing what I didn’t want to do when I didn’t want to do it.

Starting to write my blog was IN my comfort zone but sharing it with others, THAT was way outside the zone!  Somewhere deep inside I heard the voice that said to do it anyway.  As long as I am true to who I am it doesn’t matter if people think I am weird.

I am 55 years old, last year I took ice skating lessons.  Ok, I only took two lessons but that was quite enough.  I did it.  I do not feel the need to do it again.  I have a lot of experiences like that.  I told the world in another blog how fat I was.  I AM weird!  Who cares?!

People who are willing to take risks are amazing.   I told my husband the other day I’d rather break my leg doing something fun than by tripping over a piece of furniture.  At least it will be a better story!

GUILTY PLEASURES

Guilty pleasures for me have changed so much in the past few months.  Before probably all of them would have been food related.  From Buffalo wings to Cheetos and all the chocolate you could find, they were not only my guilty pleasures but also my best friends.  Things are all different now, and hopefully forever.

I am learning to find new guilty pleasures.  Manicures and pedicures are certainly a wonderful gift to give myself.  This week I had my first massage and I know it will not be my last.  They will become a treat for my body and my soul.  I think pampering myself with services of this kind are pleasures I am not used to and it is about time I start enjoying them. 

I don’t see myself having a massage every month but I will work it in to my budget and reward system.  I had a facial done years ago and it would be nice to have one again.  I want these things to be special and doing it too often ruins the experience for me.

I love to sit in the hot tub and just relax.  It is the one spot that I get to be completely alone.  John rarely joins me.  Sometimes I talk John into lighting the outside fireplace and just relax and watch the fire.  It makes for a perfect evening.  It is definitely a guilty pleasure to be alone with my thoughts and just be still.

I define guilty pleasures today as time well spent.  I am learning to take care of myself and believe I am worth the treat.

MY NEW TABLET

After using other peoples computers forever, I decided it was time I combine all my records to my own device.  I originally wanted a small laptop but changed my mind in the store and ended up buying a Toshiba Thrive, an android tablet.  

Buying new technology ( to me anyway) was my first mistake.  I have very little patience to learn new things.  I do not read manuals but I do catch on fast if someone SHOWS me what to do. 

 When it came time to buy a new cell phone, I bought one that had very few features, call and text were enough for me and I hate texting so even that was a stretch.  Given that, what on earth was I thinking buying a tablet?

I did manage to set up a Gmail account, mpolson100.Gmail.com after my friend Dan helped me.  That is why there is 100 after my name, he said I should do it so I did.  I started with a 1, which was taken, then went to 2, 3, 4 and got frustrated and used 100.  Ha – take that gmail.  I should have known right there to return the tablet and surrender to a laptop.

It took me forever to figure out that I had to enter my contacts in a separate app to send emails from scratch.  I am used to Outlook and this is completely different.  I then had issues deleting emails.  I could delete but how do you delete from trash?  After 3 weeks, I finally find out I have to use a regular computer to do this.  So much for only having one device. 

I paid to download the app Quickoffice which is an android application that is compatible with Windows Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  Somehow I accomplished that because I received a Gmail telling me I did it and a charge on my credit card.  However when I clicked the icon, there was a blank page.  I rebooted several times and still nothing.  I gave up and started playing Sudoku.  So far I have paid for a machine I can receive emails and play games!

 Normally I am too stubborn to ask for help but not this time.  People were running from me…NOOO I can’t help you…Again I went to my friend Dan, he has the patience of a saint!  He figured out the  Quickoffice issue, I was using the wrong icon.  I am so over my head. 

This is my first attempt at writing an actual document.  I have not purchased the accessory keyboard yet so I am one finger typing.  If you are reading this blog, I was successful. 

 I am sure in another six months I will be a whizz at this but for now, I need a six-year-old to teach me please!

 PS – I had to email this to my work PC to post on the blog because I didn’t have Control-V to paste it to the blog…ho hum.  It is going to be a long summer!