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Monday, October 17, 2011


This morning I lay in bed thinking that at least there had been a good week before hitting this new low. And as I got up to start the day the serious thought came that there must be some sort of underlying mental illness that keeps me in this cycle; a sort of  mini-bipolar. Sitting down to write it all out I scanned back a week and was actually a little bit surprised to find how positive I actually was a week or so ago. Surprised to remember my epiphany about changing my weight because it just didn't feel like 'me'. Where did that girl go? I want her back!

There have been times in my life that I have referred to myself as two people; Anne and Vail, Jekyll and Hyde, whatever. But in analyzing the thought when it came I could never actually divide my personality in half - each persona having good and and bad traits. So later on when struggling to understand why I was or wasn't doing something I would instead visualize the little angel and devil from childhood cartoons sitting on my shoulders and delegate the internal argument to them.

It must be normal to some degree, this internal examination, but as E. Gilbert said in her book, "Can I please have an unexamined lunch?"   The desire to feel 'normal' - defined by a fat person as having the compulsion to eat stripped cleanly away leaving only the rational desires for fuel left - was a strong recurring lament in my younger years. I think somewhere along the journey I became embittered by it. Then later this dissolved into the pity pool, just another component of what was rapidly becoming a lake to drown in. I must have recognized this and labeling so many posts as 'pity party' did help me to visualize getting out of the 'water'. How I digress. What was I saying? Oh yes, mental illness, the two me's, the arguing, the desire for internal peace. I've been actively analyzing everything since....ok, I can't pinpoint exactly when because it goes back so far. Before high school, before junior high. My first strong memory might be in elementary school and watching the big kids wait for the bus taking them to jr. high and being intimidated because certainly I would never be able to learn enough to do that. Something along those lines. Crazy that; I was an early reader, the fastest runner in my class, and already beating myself up inside. And no, I was not a fat kid. I was healthy and athletic. The fat came later - and yes, probably a direct correlation between thinking and eating. The more I thought, the more the compulsion to stuff my face.

Which brings me full circle to the thought this morning that there is something intrinsically wrong inside, something not 'normal' that keeps me from staying level headed and focused and positive. Somebody PLEASE hand me a scalpel. Or maybe just a thread and needle. Because I am tired. I want the gene fixed, or the lesion removed. I want the internal dialogue to fricken CHANGE THE CHANNEL and leave me alone for a while. I want more than a good week, I want a good year, hell, I'll take a good month to start.

Thoughts are things? Okay fine, I'm putting Pollyanna in charge.

Sigh, proofing this for spelling I see the sadness and rage and how for all my struggles and book learning and experience nothing has really changed from that little girl standing at the fence. I'm still looking out on the world wondering how to be good enough.  The good news is that a low this deep will instigate a new high in my roller coaster of moods - bring it on!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Treadmill Wars

Let the battles begin. Half an hour kicked my butt. I don't want to post stats or keep a running balance of calories in and calories out. I don't really even want to mark this as another day one of starting to "exercise". Today I moved more, I am sore for doing it, and I am not in a particularly good mood about it despite the fact that I did follow through on an intention, and for a moment there it did feel good to break a sweat.

Roasting veggies and the pot roast they engulf send tantalizing aromas wafting through the house as I sit here clicking and clacking away. The background noise is courtesy of Nascar in the livingroom and it's a perfect Autumn day outside where I have been doing some cleanup Back inside little Kaylee is keeping close to hand, seemingly glad that I am home, and my lively and entertaining granddaughter is coming over for the evening. And yet, despite all the small comforting components of the day, I am....blah. Where does the joy go when it disappears anway? I'm not upset, just curious. Because I feel drained and void of the energy it takes to care and I would like to think that someone, somewhere, is making good use of it. Maybe I'm just tired. I know this mood will pass, and I suppose I am in no hurry for it to change. I would just like a little bit of a spark to get me through the evening  until it's time to disappear between the sheets. It's at times like this I miss having a cuppa coffee - but I am not willing to toss and turn later to pay for a pick-me-up now.

Yawwwwwn.  The first day of working out sucks. Tomorrow will be better, and next week good, and next month I will be ever so glad that I started today. Won't I?  I'd better be...cuz just now it's hard to even sit up straight.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"As above, so below."

This is one of my favorite 'Eat Pray Love' quotes, just thinking it gives me a sense of hope. That no matter the bad or good decisions I might have made this day, I will eventually end up in the same place. Of course directly on the heels of that thought comes the reminder that I choose whether the path getting there is heaven or hell. I'm thinking my path is like that in a garden. Smooth and sandy in some places, and a washed out brick basket weave in others. No matter, it's my path and it is what it is.  This retrospective melancholia comes from the ice cream bars we had for dessert tonight. Would my life really be better in the long run had I not splurged on the extra calories this evening? Wasn't the fun and yummines of eating this decadent bar of vanilla, chocolate and caramel worth the calories; wasn't it all about 'living in the  moment' that is suppose to mean so much?

Yes and Yes. So I will bite the bullet and see about adding my name on to the household gym membership. I don't know why I can't get out to walk or to ride my bike; I use to love going down to see the water and wildlife. But now I get home starving for dinner and my back so tired I don't want to do much of anything except eat.  But if I am going to eat ice cream, I need to exercise. Thank heavens for microwave potatoes, cooking ahead on the weekends, and the raise at work that will let me join the gym.  As much as it bothers me, as soon as I do join the gym I will officially feel like I have joined the rat race.   Rats.   Pun intended.

Office Chat

I have recently let myself be annoyed by the chatter in the office. At least once a day there is a conversation that is not a conversation at all. Just two or more people taking turns retelling something we have already heard but that for some reason they need to re-vocalize. Is it their ego struggling to be heard? Are they so insecure that they feel the need, subconscious or not, to make sure we know how that they are wonderful, or put upon or just very special in this particular circumstance that drives them to the repetition of the tale?

So instead of wasting energy being irritated I will instead strive to understand their motivation. I know we all do this to some extent, a way to explore or relive the emotions of an experience that in some way bolsters us. Mostly  it just bothers me when there is no conversation, just one person pushing their dialogue upon another without the give and take of words and ideas that can lead somewhere. Anywhere. A new idea, a different perspective.  I know that as a young mother I would have irritated the me I am now - young mothers have a hard time with the ebb and flow of conversation as we instead are compelled to spout the virtues of our offspring. That is normal, and a shining example of ego and it's need to survive.  But I digress and need to be off to work.

I will need to think about this later, and figure out a way to tune out the office chatter. Maybe I just need to be more accepting of where these others are in their life and not be a cranky old woman. Today I will be Pollyanna, glad that I have ears to hear and a job where I happen to overhear more than I would like.

Friday, October 7, 2011

All about the greens

Or lack thereof.  For two days I have been stressed at work, rushed and irritated about one thing or another at some point in the day. Don't get me wrong, there have been some bright spots in there too, but not at the crucial decision making crossroads of hunger, time and food. I think it began Wednesday when the line at the bank atm was so long I opted instead to pick up dinner from Panda Express. No, that morning when I was running late and drove through for breakfast. Here are the past couple of days of food:

Hash Brown sticks & Decaf coffee: Jacks
Homemade leftover veggie pasta mix
Rice, Thai Chicken, steamed veggies: Panda Express

Hash Brown sticks & Decaf coffee: Jacks
Homemade leftover veggie pasta mix
snack: small piece of cake at work
Potato and homemade bean stoup

Someone who doesn't know how I feel about what eating right is might look at this and see lots of good choices, a few splurges, and what's the big deal. The big deal is that there is so much processed food products and not much food. The ratio of green plants to starch is sitting way too heavy on the starchy side of the teeter totter. There are NO raw veggies, my daily salad is missing. And while there are veggies in the pasta, I wouldn't normally have pasta twice in the same month, let alone the same week.

The point is that the accumulation of low nutrient choices has resulted in a bad mood this morning. I look over the last couple of days and see No omega 3's in my morning smoothie, no big green salad for digestion, and too much processed food gunking up the system. Ugh.  So I'm off to the kitchen to start the day better with a nutritious breakfast, packing the last of the lentil soup for lunch because once again I am running late (no, I did not farm this morning) and planning on either soup or salad for dinner depending on the condition of my back and the weather when I get home from work. I have a hard time making a salad when I am cold. Adding an Apple in the car for the drive home, and a thermos of herbal tea to sip on at work, this should be a good day and because of it I'll feel better tomorrow morning than I do on this one.

Damn it's a lot of work to keep my mood stable and my body happy. But it's worth it. TGIF!!!! Crap, it's already a quarter to eight, gotta run!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No to Cake

We had cake at the office on Monday. I had a small piece. I had another small piece yesterday. Today I said No to the cake when it beseeched me to please cut off just one more little piece so it wouldn't go to waste. I'm more important than the cake, or the feelings of the person who brought it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lunch & Dinner

I'm so happy I spent some time cooking this weekend. Lunch today is a casserole of veggies, mozzarella cheeze (a z not an s in cheeze) and spinach\tomato noodles. I did throw a handful of real cheese in, a Parmesan\ Romano blend, but not much, and I'm sure the benefits of all the spinach I added outweight any damage from that quarter.

I still feel good, and full of calm from my recent insight, and I'm happy it's lunchtime!

First, getting in the car after work and seeing the apple I had brought to eat on the way home I couldn't help but exclaim, "Oh the cleverness of me!" Sigh, how good to feel like me for a change.  I got home and the kitchen was being used, but I was able to wait it out and when it was my turn made the Mac n Cheeze recipe that I had posted on the fridge this weekend from  While it would not be my choice for "Macaroni and Cheese", it is definitely a keeper as a companion to veggies on a regular basis. I have lots left over to freeze for at least six more dinners and it will be easy to steam up some veggies, defrost the noodles, and throw them together for great future dinners.
Here is my dinner serving of Mac N Cheeze nestled atop my Brussels sprouts that I sliced and steamed in veggie broth. I was tempted to go back for more, but once I took the time to upload the picture everything had settled and I was no longer hungry. I love the ideas and recipes I find over there, and Susan does a great job of motivating me.

Another good day. I did think about stopping for french fries on the way home, but I immediately thought about who was in charge and what I wanted my life to be like and I drove on past without a single qualm.

I hate being my own cheerleader, but....Go Me!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An inauthentic life

I was 19 and driving with my Mother down the winding highway from Lake Arrowhead to Los Angeles when I saw the thick dark expanse of smog that lay between us, here in the clear mountain air, and our destination, the city.  And the gut feeling that this was wrong struck a chord in me that presaged a crossroads in my life that would change everything. Later that Summer I hitched a ride to Northern California with a ... well, a friend with benefits. (It was the 70's, what can I say.) Working in San Francisco I met someone who took me in a totally new and different direction than I would ever have imagined.

I was almost 21 when I looked around and thought, what the fuck am I doing here? I was living at a Ranch with a man eleven years my senior, and while there is a whole other story here to be told, the bottom line was that I had reached a place in my life that felt inauthentic and I wanted out. I packed up and moved in with friends who in turn introduced me to the man I would eventually marry and have children with.

At 24 this same man and I were messing about with drugs, and one day I saw a picture of us and again the thought came, what the fuck am I doing? This is Not me. I am a strong, healthy, athletic, wholesome creature - how on earth did I get here? I knew that once again I had wandered into another place that felt inauthentic; I had no business wreaking havoc on my mind and body this way. This time I didn't pack up and leave because there was Love involved, but I did change my behavior and got clean. Soon after I was busy raising children and that was wonderful. Those were in fact about the happiest years of my life. But they were also some of the hardest because I was watching my husband slowly kill himself with drugs, and eventually I once again looked around and thought, this isn't where I'm suppose to be, this isn't what I want, this isn't me; this time he was the one to pack up and leave.

Which finally brings me to the thought I had last night. Once again I am at a place in my life where I am thinking this isn't me.  It's actually something I said out loud to my current partner years ago when my weight had finally topped two hundred pounds. This isn't me, I don't know whose body this is, but it isn't mine. Mine is strong and athletic and healthy. Basically we were having an argument about me not being able to love myself as I was; he loved my curves, what on earth was wrong with me.  So here it is years after that discussion and finally the clouds have lifted and I find myself in the middle of an "Aha" moment; looking back at my life and the times I have changed it because it felt inauthentic to who I was. How is this - being overweight- any different than those times? I can still feel at my core that same strong, healthy, athletic girl who prompted me to make changes in my life when it felt wrong. And boy does this feel wrong.

As I look back over the past 5 years I know that I have been changing in slow increments; learning about nutrition, trying to learn about how my brain works, and figuring out how my heart fits into the whole equation of spirituality and how important it is to quiet the mind and open the heart. In a way I have been packing and unpacking like crazy trying to make things better.

So this morning at fifty six I look at my body and say, this isn't me, this doesn't feel right, I can't do this anymore. Once again it is time to change an inauthentic life.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Loving the Muchness

It's Saturday and I had to work, which is fine, the overtime pay will be nice. I was so intent on being prepared to spend six hours out and about I ran out of time and missed breakfast. I had loaded up six hours of book on my ipod, packed water and a green smoothie for lunch, printed and organized the paperwork I needed for the job, and double checked to make sure I had phone, sun glasses and jacket. I was headed towards the Bay and it's usually twenty or so degrees cooler out there across from San Francisco. I did not drive through and get breakfast. I arrived at my appointment on time, got the ball rolling, and then headed out to find breakfast. I found it at a cart selling crepes. My customized order was for spinach, tomatoes, avocado and feta cheese. YUM.  I had also packed some herbal tea and sat on a beautiful teak bench looking out over SF bay at break time and enjoyed sipping away on my tea, listening to my book and enjoying the beautiful weather. I did not walk around the corner to get a marzipan chocolate from the See's Candy Shoppe.

Before heading home I stopped in at a local bakery that had been recommended and picked up treats, one each, and drove home with them in the way back of the car so as to not be tempted. I did not drive through on the way home for an ice cream cone from McD's to reward my good choices thus far. At Trader Joes I did stop and picked up tomatoes, veggie pasta, soy mozzarella cheese and a blend of real romano\parmesian cheeses; I did not buy bread and butter, I did not buy a snack for the drive home.

As I type the Romas are basking in the oven after a little shower of oil, sea salt and pepper. The noodles are cooking in a bath of veggie broth, spinach and onion. Once the noodles and tomatoes are both ready I will smash the tomatoes and mix them with the noodle mixture & the cheeses, and throw it all back into the oven to bake. I opened a bottle of luscious red wine and just now had another nice mouthful to savor. I so love a glass of wine while cooking, I am truly happy while doing these two things together.

I am having a good day. I am loving the choices I've made over the course of the day, the anticipation of good food for dinner, and the feeling of my muchness back in residence. How wonderful for me.