Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week One: The Soda Jerk

For as long as I can remember, I've drank soda.  It started out as a treat on weekends and over time became a daily indulgence, escalating even further to one a day to two or three a day.  I've tried quitting it several times, unsuccessfully.  I was once able to convert from regular soda to diet soda, but I still drank two or three a day for about 4 years.  At first I was able to lose weight by switching (along with diet and exercise), but I noticed that every time I drank a Coke Zero, I got the munchies.  I did some research and found that there were other claims that the aspartame found in some diet sodas can cause hunger.  So I stopped drinking them and did manage to lose some of the weight I gained from the aspartame munchie syndrome.  But then I started treating myself to Dr. Peppers.  Big mistake!  One on occasion turned into one a day, then two a day and sometimes three a day.  I've been struggling with this Dr. Pepper "addiction" for about 2 years now.  Just a few weeks ago, I was drinking two or three a day, but tried cutting back to one or two a day, then one a day.  It was so hard.  Seems like when I thought I could get by with only one a day, something would happen, a sleepless night or a busy day, and I'd drink more "because I need the caffeine" I'd tell myself.  But it really wasn't the caffeine.  It was some other carbonated comfort the drink offered me.  I needed to quit.  Despite the caffeine intake, I was tired and sluggish.  I didn't like this feeling and decided to change.  I'd tried to quit sodas cold turkey in the past with no success, but this time, the difference would be not using diet soda as a crutch.  I can't really stand the taste of diet soda anymore anyway, but I knew I needed something to help with the transition stage.

A couple of weeks ago I got a cold and thought that since my taste buds were numb anyway, it'd be a good time to try quitting soda and drink ONE small diet soda in the morning after my cup of coffee, then water or tea the rest of the day.  It's been two weeks and two days and I haven't had a Dr. Pepper and I am no longer drinking Dr. Pepper Ten either, I only needed a few days of the one can in the morning to help me make the transition.  A good strong cup of coffee in the morning has helped and so has sparkling water.  I drink tea also, but since tea has also been a problem for me, as I can't seem to drink it without lots of sugar, I try to stick to one cup a day with one teaspoon of sugar.  So far, it's working.  I've started to get my energy back and I don't feel sluggish all day.  My stomach feels flatter...it may not be flatter, but it feels less bloated for sure.  I've been sleeping better too.  I'm happy with the results and proud of myself for finally making the change I've been needing to make for years.  It wasn't easy, but I did it.  I only focused on making this one change for a week and was successful.  I will work hard to continue this new habit.

But what next?  I need to walk.  So that's what I'll focus on next week.    

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week One: The Prequel

I am tired.  I wake up at the last possible minute to get ready for work.  I leave for work early so I can sit in the parking lot, close my eyes and relax for a few moments before going in to work.  During my lunch hour I go out to my car, kick the seat back and nap for 10 to 15 minutes.  When I get home, I try to do as little as possible, cook whatever the easiest, most convenient meal is (if it's my turn) so I can sit down.  As soon as I sit down on the couch, that's it.  I have no intention of doing anything else for the evening other than watching TV and talking to my husband.  Sometime around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m., we will both go to bed since he has to get up early for his job.  I will wake up the next morning and do it all over again.  I guess the scariest part of this for me is when the ideas and inspiration stopped coming.  I am a poet and a writer, a creative person who always has some sort of weird notion knocking about in my mind.  But lately, not so much.  I'm just too tired.  I don't like it and have decided something has to change.

I know I need to lose weight, but I've been on so many diets over the years, it seems my body is onto all of them.  I recently told someone that I wished I'd never gone on a "DIET" and I mean that.  Diets don't work.  Changing your diet, what you eat, how you think and feel about what you eat, does work.  I have succeeded at losing weight before and even keeping it off for a while until I let myself slip back into old habits.  I do a mental summary of all the diets I've ever been on, what worked for me, what didn't.  I came up with a few "guidelines" to hopefully help me on yet another journey towards losing weight and feeling better.

1.  I will not call this a diet.  Diet is a four letter word.  I am not on a diet.  I am changing my habits and outlook about my overall lifestyle.  

2.  I will make changes, one at a time, maybe one every week or whatever time frame I feel comfortable with.  The changes may come fewer and farther between as I accomplish some of the main ones on my list.    

3.  I will not weigh myself for the first few weeks, maybe even months, maybe not at all.  In the past I have let that number mess with my head.  When the number is lower, I am encouraged by it, but when the number is higher or doesn't move at all, I'm discouraged, disappointed and get derailed.  No, this time is about feeling better, not about a number on the scale.  I will use how I feel and how my clothes fit as a gauge, which brings us to #4.

4.  Every day I will ask myself two questions to determine my progress:  How do I feel?  How do I want to feel?  As long as I'm feeling better, I know I must be doing something right, and as long as I want to continue to feel better, I will continue practicing the habits that have proven to do so.

5.  I will write about my progress, my ups and my downs.  I need to write every day anyway because I always feel better when I write.  It doesn't matter if anyone reads it, I just need to put it out there to help myself mentally and emotionally.

So there you have it, my personal Top Five for a Better Me!  I have decided the first change I need to make is NO MORE SODA, namely Dr. Pepper.  No offense, Doc, but you gotta go!  My next blog post will be all about you and how I'm getting rid of you for good.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Live long, prosper, and rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy!

It has been over a week now since I learned of Nimoy's passing.  I'd heard he'd been hospitalized a few days prior with end stage COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and at his age of 83, I knew death was a strong possibility.  Still, his death shocked me.  It wasn't so much the death of an elderly diseased man that surprised me, but my reaction to it.  I've never met the man, only watched his TV shows and movies and read his poetry.  But that's just it.  He has been "in my house" since I was born, before that even, as my mother was watching Star Trek long before I was born.  He has been in my mind and heart each time I read his poetry.  He was a friend, a comfort, a constant in my life.  The loss I feel in his absence is great.  To those who might not understand why one would grieve the loss of a "celebrity", let me say this:  this man, the actor, the poet, embodies my childhood and my love of science fiction and poetry, and to lose him in the physical form is akin to watching my childhood home burn down or my old elementary school be demolished.  The memories are still there and will always be there, but as a "human" I can't help but mourn the physical embodiment of such things.  

Since I can no longer find the words, I leave you with this, a short poem by Nimoy which seems to capture the moment...

A silence with you
is not
a silence

but a moment rich
with peace.


Monday, July 2, 2012

I Don't Own a Cat

I'm not a cat person.  That's what I'd been saying up until two years ago.  I was dating Jason (who is now my husband) and I remember the day his daughter Krysta brought a kitten home from the shelter.  She named him Poe (as in Edgar Allen).  I kept my distance because, like I said, I was not a cat person.  Several months later, Jason and Krysta moved in with me.  I admit I wasn't crazy about the idea of having a cat in my house, but since Krysta was changing houses and high schools just so her father and I could be together, I decided to give it a chance.  Again, even though the cat was in my house, I kept my emotional distance.  I didn't pet him or pay him much attention.  We simply existed together in the same space.

A couple of weeks later, Krysta left to visit her mother in California and left Poe home for us to take care of.  I was just going to let my husband do it, but Poe had other plans.  He missed Krysta, and longed for someone to pay him some attention.  I think he considered it a challenge to try to win me over.  He slept in the bed with us one night, right beside my head.  I only know this because my husband told me.  I'm a sound sleeper and never knew it.  If I had woke up to see Poe next to my head, I'm sure I would have pushed him off the bed.  I'm not a mean person, but I can experience temporary moments of meanness when I first wake up.

A few days after, I was taking a nap on the couch and woke up to hear the purring of a cat.  I looked to see a cat curled up on my belly.  Yes, indeed.  I just had to smile and pet Poe on the head.  He was becoming quite taken with me, but I wasn't quite ready to admit that the feeling was mutual.

Finally, one day as I was sitting on the couch watching TV, Poe brought me one of his toy mice, which was his way of asking me to throw it so he can fetch it, although up until that moment, he only played fetch with Krysta and no one else.  I guess he thought I was special.  I threw the mouse, and he brought it back to me.  I threw it again and he brought it back to me.  My husband laughed and said he thought I would never own a cat.  I DON'T own a cat.  He owns me.  :)

So, Krysta is gone again for a few weeks this summer so Poe has been lonely and looking for extra attention.  We've been playing fetch tonight, and I finally remembered to record it with the video camera.  I uploaded it to YouTube tonight, link below, so watch it and see this fetching feline for yourself.     


Thursday, April 12, 2012

12 Dead Bunnies

In response to the "dead bunnies" prompt per this month's Absolute Write blog chain, here are a series of limericks about Playboy bunnies.  I admit my rhythm and rhyme are not the best, but I was going for the fun factor.  Enjoy!

Twelve Dead Bunnies

Jan began a Twitter war,
gave Internet geeks what for.
So all of the nerds
unleashed Angry Birds
‘til that chick could tweet no more.

Spring bikini model noobs
sparred over who had real boobs.
Strings came untied,
they fought ‘til they died—
ten thousand views on YouTube.

April, May and June
left the spa at half past noon.
The three were last seen
reenacting scenes
with Charlie Sheen from Platoon.

Two bunnies July and Au
on the playground with Jigsaw.
They teeter-tottered
and were then slaughtered.
Don’t let your kids go see Saw.

Three blondes formed an alliance
to share their first appliance,
plugged in their rocket
to a bad socket—
official death by science.

The last one started to cry
when she learned tomorrow nigh
she’d be on a show,
the name, don’t you know
is 1,000 Ways to Die!

Please enjoy these other blog posts about dead bunnies!

Participants and posts:
orion_mk3 - http://nonexistentbooks.wordpress.com (link to this month's post)
KatieJ - http://www.crystalwindchimes.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
kiwiviktor81 - http://storygenerator.net (link to this month's post)
Nissie - http://www.paperheroes.net (link to this month's post)
SuzanneSeese - http://www.viewofsue.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
pyrosama - http://matrix-hole.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
dclary - http://www.davidwclary.com/ (link to this month's post)
randi.lee - http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com (link to this month's post)
Turndog-Millionaire - http://turndog-millionaire.com/ (link to this month's post)
julzperri - http://www.fishandfrivolity.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
Penelope - http://poet-slash-writer.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
AFord - http://af12.webs.com/ (link to this month's post)
Araenvo - http://plottypus.blogspot.com/ (link to this month's post)
writingismypassion - http://charityfaye.blogspot.com (link to this month's post)
magicmint - http://www.loneswing.com/ (link to this month's post)
Anarchicq - http://anarchicq.com/ (link to this month's post)
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Whisky - http://nopart2.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Bogna - http://bemaslanka.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)
Joliedupre - http://www.preciousmonsters.com/ (link to this month's post)
Tomspy77 - http://thomaswillamspychalski.wordpress.com/ (link to this month's post)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Impressions of a Marriage

My first impression of Jason was a strong one, with his heart-melting hazel eyes and contagious smile.  The first time he washed my hair, massaging my scalp while doing a Bugs Bunny impersonation from “Rabbit of Seville,” I knew our life together would be fun.  And it has been.  Our marriage has character, a couple of characters actually.  He with his knack for impressions, and me with my quick wit.  Together we fight the stress of daily living with spontaneity and a sense of humor.  We’re silly, we’re sarcastic, and sometimes we’re just plain stupid.  Whatever helps us conquer the chaos or deflect domestic monotony.   
On mornings when the bursitis in my shoulder renders me unable to lift my arms above my head without pain, my husband comes to the rescue.  With a pink, plastic razor and Australian accent, he cuts through “the jungle” starting to grow under my arms.  “Crikey!  Look out!  There might be snakes, crocs, and other predators in the land down under.”  I don’t have to dwell on my pain or slight loss of independence, and can instead smile, laugh, and focus on how fortunate I am to have such a caring “mate.”  

During the week, I often pack our lunches, usually leftovers from the night before.  Then we meet for lunch every day around noon at the shop where he works.  Just because we’re not at a fast food restaurant with a playground doesn’t mean we can’t play.  We never know who we’re going to be.  We might be British blokes with bad accents, cartoon characters, or comic superheroes.  No matter what parts we play, it’s an animated hour-long diversion from our workday; plus, we save money and eat healthier.  All of which make for a happier, less-stressed couple.   

We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and complement each other accordingly.  One night a month when my jedi mind powers fail and saying these are not the billpayers you’re looking for, you can go about your business, move along does not work, my husband the math lord steps in.  He uses the force to manage our finances, figure out who gets what and how much, and I write the checks (hey, I’m the writer after all).  Then we hop into my landspeeder (which just looks like a Pontiac GrandAm to you), drive to each utility office and place our payment in the drop box.  We do this after hours because the math lord’s mind powers tell him I will not remember to do this on my way to work the next day, and he’s right.  

When we come home and face the daily chaos that comes with having two teenagers and that evil and inevitable “What’s for dinner?” question, we work together like superheroes.  One of us whips up the meal in a flash, and the other washes dishes.  He takes out the garbage, I clean the litterbox.  He changes light bulbs and unclogs sinks.  I sign school papers and help with homework.  When last minute girl comes out of nowhere in need of posterboard for a project due tomorrow, threatening to make the throbbing vein in her father’s forehead explode with anger, I exclaim, “Quick, to the Batmobile!” and off we go to the dollar store to accomplish our mission.      

We express our love in new and interesting ways.  We’re not afraid to play, act silly and laugh out loud.  Not only when we’re alone, but also in front of our kids and in public.  Yes, that adult couple you see playing hide and seek in the clothing department is probably us.  We’re not ashamed or embarrassed to admit it.  Our marriage is not a typical one, but it’s a wonderful one that leaves lasting impressions everywhere we go.  Th-th-th-th-th…that’s all, folks! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Family Recipe

When Jason and I got married, my family instantly doubled as he and his teenage daughter moved in with my teenage daughter and me.  There was definitely an adjustment phase for all four of us, but my stepdaughter Krysta had to make the biggest adjustment of all.  She had to leave her home, her school, and move farther away from her grandmother and her boyfriend.  I let her paint and decorate her room the way she wanted, and also welcomed her pets, anything to make her feel more at home.

At mealtime, it became no secret that Krysta preferred her father’s cooking over mine (not that I blame her, I prefer his cooking over mine, too).  But when both parents work, chores such as cooking must be shared.  Whether it was something simple like hamburgers, or something a little more complex like beef stroganoff or chicken casserole, she would eat what I cooked without complaint, but I could tell it just wasn’t the same for her.  It’s not like I was trying to outdo her dad, I merely wanted to find at least one dish I could cook for her that she would enjoy and find comfort in.  Food can be an expression of love, and I just had not found that special dish for Krysta yet, and was not sure if I ever would.   

One cold winter day Jason decided it was a good night for chili.  I do not like chili so I opted to make vegetable beef soup for myself as it’s one of my favorite comfort foods that my mom made for me when I was growing up.  She didn’t use a recipe.  It was simply a matter of using whatever vegetables we had (whether leftover from the past few days or fresh from our garden), combined with ground beef and seasonings.  I eventually learned how to make my own version of this soup, but it still tastes best when my mom makes it.  While making the soup, I was under the impression that Krysta did not like vegetable beef soup because her dad doesn’t so I was not trying to impress her when I made it.  To my surprise, she ladled up a bowl at supper that night and ate it.  She complimented me on it, but I thought she was just being polite. 

A few weeks later I took Krysta to the doctor for a cold and sore throat.  Afterwards, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things.  I decided to make it frozen pizza night so Jason or I would not have to cook.  Krysta asked if she could have soup instead since her throat was sore and it hurt to swallow.  As she looked at all the different soup cans, she would pick one up, ask a question like “What kind is this?” or “Do you think this is any good?”, then put it back on the shelf.  It wasn’t until several questions later that I realized what she was really asking. 

“Is this soup like yours?”  she inquired.  With those words, a bell went off in my head. 

“Do you want me to make you some of my soup?”  I asked.

“If it’s not too much trouble,” she said with puppy dog eyes.

Since then, she has requested my soup several times.  I told her I would teach her how to make it herself, but so far, she refuses, stating “It tastes better when you make it.” 

Score one for the stepmom. :) 

***I submitted this story to Chicken Soup for the Soul's Food and Love book, but it didn't make it.  Maybe it's not the most well-written story, but it is nonetheless a memorable story for me.  ;)