Thursday, April 24, 2014

Question of the Day

What is the most terrifying moment of your life....and the happiest? My first year in college, I was asked to write an essay on the first half of this question. I didn't hesitate with the answer, I described the night my mother died. My mother was brought back, she survived another ten years. I don't know that my idea of terror changed then though. It is always that first experience of any kind that can be the most terrifying and the happiest. 

I've often said that is the reason we don't experience the joy or thrill or even fear as adults that we often had as children. Part of these experiences always has to be the unknown. So, despite having now experienced loss and grief, fear and danger, happiness and moments of joy, there are few that exceed those firsts whether they were good or bad. 

With a life time of experiences behind me, it all becomes a bit jumbled. I have to sit and think a while and then quiet my mind to find the ultimate of either of these emotions. If I'd ever had children, I'd probably say what I'm sure many of you say, that experience holds the most joy. And I'm sure there have been experiences raising those children where you've been terrified. I don't have those though and so I will sit and think a while longer on the happiness. I may not come up with an answer but I'm sure I'll smile a lot just because I stirred the memories.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I just realized something about the lists below....early morning epiphany! ......... I listed the ways to reach my goals not the actual goals such as lose weight, improve my business, finally finish the house and get it livable again, and overcome my fear of riding. That's an improvement right there. Now, it's time to work on those steps. 
I need to get my life together and organized even my internet life. I know I have too many FB pages, web pages and blogs and it has become almost impossible to manage them all but if I were organized, there is a slight chance that I could manage it, lol. I need to be posting to them all daily in order to up the numbers of followers, likes and sales (should that be the verb or the noun there and did I use the right spelling? I never know. It's like effect and affect; I'm 58 and still confused about that one. And those dangling participles but I'm digressing here.....) Anyhow, my goal for the eight months remaining in this year is the same one I started the year with, balance and organize my life. I got off to a great start but then life intervened, as it so often does, and I fell completely off the tracks. I use to be the most organized person; that was how I maintained the chaos. Now, I usually feel like I'm caught up in a whirlwind.....naaah, way past that stage, this is a monster twister. Still, I'm maintaining hope and faith that I can get control once again. I know the big factors are out of my control but I have to be able to balance all of these little puzzle pieces and make them fit together again. I've laid out my small steps/goals on these puzzle pieces and hopefully, it will make them clearer and more manageable. If I could check off one a week for right now, it would be slow progress but progress all the same and certainly more that I've accomplished in the last four months. So, I will aim for one item from each category each week to start. Hopefully, as some of those become habits and easy to do, I will add others. That's what goals and life are all about, growth and change and hopefully, improvement.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Square Pegs

A few weekends ago, I saw my friend Jane and I confessed something to her. At our last high school class reunion nearly 20 years ago, a group of classmates, including she, asked us to go out with them for drinks after the reunion. I was so thrilled that I called my then best friend, Anne, the next day and excitedly said, "The cool kids asked me to go out with them!" I told Jane that I always felt like an outsider, the class nerd and she said, "Of course you did because in those days, the smart kid was always the nerd because everyone else resented them." Somehow that didn't make me feel any better, lol, because I knew that but I didn't realize that was how everyone else saw me.....oh, of course I realized it, sheesh. Who am I kidding? I guess I was always the nerd, the smart kid and I spent my teenage years and part of my adulthood always trying to pretend otherwise and fit in. It's taken a lot of years for me to realize that we're all square pegs as long as we're trying to fit into someone else's notch and not our own. Finally comfortable in my own little perfectly fitting space. :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Four Rules You Must Follow For Weight Loss

Here are four diet truths to help you achieve your goals:
  • Cutting out sweet drinks is non-negotiable. Sweet tea, soda, and flavored and sweetened milks, waters, and coffees all have to go. Drink plain water, low-fat milk, and sugar-free drinks instead. A study of 810 adults between 25 and 79 years old showed that after 18 months, those who cut out sweet drinks had greater weight loss than those who cut down on food calories. One possible reason: While your body lets you know when it is full of food, there is no way for your body to tell you when you’ve maxed out on liquid calories.
  • Physical activity helps counting calories. Being physically active burns calories while it improves your overall health. Aim for 30 minutes a day most days of the week. A brisk 30- to 45-minute walk burns 100 to 200 calories. If you can burn 200 calories through exercise, you only have to cut out 300 calories in food or drink to reach your daily calorie-cutting goal.
  • Strategically eating less drops weight. A study of 811 overweight people who participated in four popular diets found that whether diets were low-fat, high-protein, or a combination didn’t matter — weight-loss success depends on cutting out calories. In fact, you can continue to eat filling portions if you simply replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie foods that contain a lot of water, such as fruits and vegetables. A study of 97 obese women who ate either a low-fat diet or a low-fat diet with additional fruits and vegetables found that those who emphasized fruits and veggies lost up to five pounds more.
  • Journaling leads to success. Counting calories is easier if you write down (or type in) what you eat, including serving sizes and details such as condiments you may have added. “Research has shown that exercise and journaling really make a difference in long-term weight management,” says Gail Curtis, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C. A detailed journal will help you identify your successes and pinpoint where you can cut additional calories or replace high-calorie foods with low-calorie ones.

On Design

Okay, I'm just about ready to get back on the straight and narrow path with my diet and exercise. I think my recovery from the bug from hell is almost complete and well, I have no more excuses, haha. I have started off the last two mornings with hot lemon water but I did follow that up with a peanut butter and banana sandwich and two pieces of chocolate (chocolate slathered, p'butter stuffed pretzels.... oooooh, heavenly!!!) Notice how I hid the chocolate in there with the healthy stuff? Tricky old me, lol. Well, for Throwback Thursday, I'm posting two photos from 26 years ago. I know that this sounds like a cliche, especially to those under 45, but trust me, one day soon, you will be asking this question, too...where did the years go?

Now the rant on design these days. I've often wished I'd listened to Mama's advice about a lot of things but one big one was to get a degree in interior design. It not only would have saved me a lot of wandering about scholastically and never finishing a degree in anything resulting in what I call, a smidgen of ignorance in every subject under the sun but no real knowledge, lol, but it also would have put me into something I really love and enjoy.....BUT I did end up doing something I loved and enjoyed for years even if it took me stepping away for a few years to realize and appreciate the fact that I love and enjoy it and the world is overrun with interior designers these days both professionally and amateur. Which brings me to what I was thinking about while watching that new design competition on NBC on Monday night. The teams were given two family vacation cabins to remodel. Overall they did a great job and the designs were beautiful but after hearing an older gentleman from the neighborhood review group comment on how the new decor was too "fancy and formal" for cabin living, I realized, much like their fashion design counterparts, how most of these high end designers create work that is beautiful but unrealistic for the average family. Shouldn't one of the criteria for redesigning a vacation home be functionality? Couldn't they have created something that was not cliche but still lovely and also able to stand up to children's muddy feet and rough housing or the occasional clumsy spill as well as provide a cozy spot for an afternoon nap? Since these are homes and not showrooms they are designing, shouldn't they be judged just as much on livability as stylishness? Personally, I think both are achievable. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Yesterday, March 3rd, was my friend Huston's 90th birthday. Here he is five years ago, at eighty-five, getting ready to show my horse, Mouse. I bought Mouse from him nearly ten years ago. I've often told him that, when he sold me a horse(that horse, Mouse), he never knew he was also taking on a fifty year old to raise. I love him dearly. He is the best friend anyone could have, the finest gentleman and horseman that I've ever known and just simply amazing. I'm so blessed to call him my friend. I could literally write a book about him and all of the wisdom that he's given to me. I just can't find words good enough to describe how wonderful he is and how much I cherish him and his friendship. I will try sometime though to share a little
Okay, I definitely have some catching up to do but today will not be the day I do that since I'm still struggling to finish my taxes and today is the deadline. It might not be the deadline-deadline but it is the day I promised my accountant that I'd deliver all those calculated numbers so they can finish and file for us. So, this will be short and copied from my Facebook case the following looks a bit strange.

I've been asking questions of my friends on Facebook. Today, probably as a form of procrastination from finishing these taxes, I posted the following....I will also include one of the answers from a friend and my response.

MY QUESTION: With Sadie glued to my side because of the storm, I think a good question for today is, what are you afraid of? If you've overcome that fear, how did you feel? When I was little, I was afraid of the dark and afraid of heights. I've been told that, when they brought me home from the hospital, I was good until they put me to bed at night and then I would scream bloody murder. Finally, someone realized that I stopped crying as soon as the light came on. Odd to be born with a fear but the fears I have now have nothing to do with darkness or heights. Since my mom's death, all of my fears have to do with either losing control or things over which I have no control. I have a tendency to think of every possible thing that could go wrong in any situation and often the fear that develops keeps me stagnant. I am getting better. It's a matter of faith and trust. The fear I had was paralyzing but when I finally learned to stop over analyzing every thing and to trust, the feeling of liberation, freedom was amazing...and also the feeling of accomplishment. So, what do you fear. Is your fear like mine, basically fear of the unknown or is it fear of some real threat or an item or activity that is very real?

MY FRIEND, JIM'S RESPONSE: I was terrified of the water, learning how to swim...everything about it, so I learned to sail, got my Captain's License, became a diving instructor and spent thousands of hours under the water....I dont know why either, but you asked

MY RESPONSE: Wow, Jim! That was really facing your fears. I really admire you. I forgot about my fear of water....well not really water but drowning since I can't swim. I've tried many times to learn how to swim with little success. And then things happen, like the time I was snorkeling and far from shore in deeper water, my snorkel broke.....just fell apart. I panic and start swimming as fast as I can toward shore. I end up yelling, help me, help me and then two strangers standing on shore stare at me as if I'm insane..... that I'm only in a few feet of water by that time. Soooo, there is the humiliation factor also but I'm used to that. Cut myself on the reef I ended up on but other than that, unharmed but still, that was my last time even attempting to snorkel or swim.

2ND RESPONSE & MY REALIZATION: Just realizing how much of my life I've wasted being scared of so many things. Still not going snorkeling again at least any time soon. I mean, that can kill you...especially the way I do it, lol. But, it all goes back to the best advice anyone gave me. It's two pieces of advice actually and both from my friend who just celebrated his 90th b'day yesterday. Huston once told me about my constant worry over everything and the many bad outcomes I imagined, "You know, things can just as easily turn out good as bad." And the other bit of advice, "Just stay in the saddle, Sande!" That applies to a lot more than riding and certain affect my habit of baling when the ride got bumpy.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Okay, I don't want to come off like some whiny baby but I'm so hoping today is better than yesterday. Just not getting my strength back as quickly as I'd hoped after that week in hades with the stomach bug. I did forget to mention why I've been absent for so long. I had the worst stomach bug of my life. For three days, I ate and drank nothing or at least couldn't keep down any attempts. I became so dehydrated and lost eleven pounds in four days! Day four, I managed to eat some watermelon that my sweet husband ran out late at night to pick up for me. By day five, I was wanting my official end of sickness food, a cheeseburger. I haven't eaten an actual on bun cheeseburger for over three years but since Saturday, I've had three! I've been starving and I've thankfully (I know, you never thought I'd say that about weight gain) gained back six of those eleven pounds. So, I'm rehydrating and each day I do feel better but I'm still so weak. Just feeding the horses wears me out, leaves my heart racing and me shaky, out of breath and sweaty (I know, yuck!) Then last night, Brandy escapes and refuses to come back in. She's old and arthritic and I'm wiped out so I decide to just let her be instead of playing tug of war trying to get her away from that small sliver of green grass she's so intent upon. I closed the other horses into the lower pasture, closed the gate to the road so she'd have to walk all the way around if she decides to commit hari-kari or go visit the neighbors again, and I left the upper pasture open so she could get to water and her ignored food and hay. I thought problem solved and then I get in my truck ready to head back to the house. My truck wouldn't start. It wouldn't even attempt to turn over. Nothing, nada, zip.... not a sound, not an effort. The lights and radio work. In fact, every time I turn the key, every warning light on the dash lights up. So, I got to try out the new flashlight app on my phone. It works great, thank goodness. Now, I'm dragging my feet on the morning feeding because I know, in just a few minutes, my tired old butt is going to have to lug 30 lbs of food across the field on foot. It's just a quarter of a mile but trust me, I am not up to it. But, you gotta do what you gotta do and I see some hungry horses waiting on me. At least, I have a comfy truck seat waiting for me to crash on for a few reviving moments once I make it over there. Sheesh....I tell you, my tombstone will read, It was always SOMETHING! lol

Sunday, February 23, 2014

From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, some tips for buying and handling food safely.

Shop for non-perishable items first and leave refrigerated and frozen items for the end of your trip.

Place meats, poultry and seafood in separate bags from other foods.

Transport perishable foods in the back seat rather than a hot trunk. And when you get home, unload groceries right away.

If foods need to be kept refrigerated or frozen, make sure to store them safely within two hours of leaving the grocery store, or one hour in weather over 90°F.

If you use a reusable grocery totes, be sure to wash them often in warm, soapy water.

Use two grocery totes: one for raw meat, poultry and seafood, and the other for produce and ready-to-eat foods.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The DHC challenge for today was to relate a situation in which you had to use patience.

Often, when we are in the middle of the situation, it is difficult to see the big picture. We are in the the moment and right smack dab at the center of all of that stress but that saying, this too shall pass, usually proves true. All you have to do is wait it out.

I had a very stressful situation last year and I see friends now who remember how overwhelmed I was at the time and ask me how I'm doing. They always seem surprised when I say, I'm fine. At the time, I felt like I was riding a bucking horse and holding on with just a handful of mane. If any of you have ever been on a horse that's throwing a fit and wants you off their back, you know that feeling of being totally out of control. You feel helpless and totally at the mercy of the "fit thrower's" whims. Unlike a horse, the motivation of these antagonist can often be unclear and your defenses totally useless against a hidden foe. So, I learned two things that finally gave me peace of mind and closure, patience and acceptance. I just held on for dear life for a while and waited for the storm to pass. Then I accepted the decision of the protagonist and I closed the door and moved on. I guess that's three things because although I know there is another saying that says, get back on the horse, this time, I've decided to leave that horse in the stable. You not only have to learn in life to have patience and acceptance but to know when to walk away. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

I've recently started running up and down the hills over in the pasture. Our DHC challenge today was to start a new exercise or start doing an old one again. I'd also love to pump up the bike tires and get them out of the garage soon. I may actually need new tires because they've been sitting in there, gathering dust for a very long time.  The reason we stopped riding the bikes (and we were fanatics about it, 10-20 miles each day, rain or shine, hot or cold and around 65 miles a day on the weekends...and that on mountain trails!), was an accident I had on our own country road not far from my house. Long story but basically, I was being chased by one dog and peddling hard to outrun it. I was looking back at that dog when its brother jumped off a ledge right in front of me. I hit the dog and my bike flipped catapulting me twenty feet through the air while I tried to turn to keep from landing on the top of my head. I hit the ground on the side of my head and my shoulder and then skidded 15 feet until I came to a stop at the wheels of a truck whose driver thankfully saw what was happening and stopped. Except for a concussion and major road burn that had ripped my clothing and skin off one side of my body, I was unharmed but I was left with a residing and haunting fear for many years after that. I tried to keep riding for the next few months after the accident

but found that I was suddenly terrified of riding down hill which makes riding almost impossible around here. That was almost twenty years ago, I become inactive and put on a lot of weight. I've recently come to terms with my fears. It took me long enough but I feel renewed and ready to get back out there and get moving!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Well, after a week of struggling with my diet and cravings....which I occasionally indulged with a few chips and some yo-yo weight is back down to where the tough week started. So, although not progress in weight loss, I still count it as a win. The best improvement though is my energy level. I really dragged through those first two weeks of this diet/lifestyle change especially the first one but now, I feel like I can do anything! Finally making progress on the house again and starting to exercise again. What was a struggle just walking and pushing that loaded wheel barrow up the hill over the past two weeks, I did at a run this morning! In fact, I ran up and walked down one slope of the hill several times and I'm thinking I'll start doing that and hopefully adding a  "lap" each day. We also have started walking again. We aren't measuring and timing just yet because we've been getting out of the field and into the woods where the walk is steep and rocky in places but a great work out. Still haven't gotten the exercise equipment moved but I'm hoping, with Steve's help, that will happen by the end of today.

And did I mention it snowed last week? I mean it REALLY snowed last week. At least, it was a major storm for East TN. The temps were so warm that most of it was melted by the end of the day but it was beautiful (if challenging) while it lasted.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The news and social medias have been all abuzz about the Biggest Loser and Rachel Fredrickson's extreme weight loss to win the show. It is ironic that a show that constantly promotes quick, unhealthy weight loss is now criticizing someone for doing just what they've been taught to do? I read an article about something Lindsey Vonn said. She was talking about going to movie festivals and openings with Tiger Woods and how it makes her feel to be amongst all of these reed thin women. She called them skinny-fat because she said that they might be super thin but they were the unhealthiest bunch she'd ever seen and covered in cellulite. The news media's take on this, Lindsey Vonn has body image issues!??? They don't see or won't admit that the media, movies and fashion promote unhealthy lifestyles and weights but that Lindsey is the one with the problem for pointing it out. The news media are still talking about her statements and it is so sad to me. I think of all of the young girls who starve themselves to try and look like the movie stars and models. I think about the beautiful Jennifer Lawrence being called fat in the news! My argument with Biggest Loser wasn't that Rachel was indeed at least ten pounds underweight but that they were being hypocritical about the purpose of their show which isn't about health but how you look in the end. Our society needs a major makeover!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Rachel Frederickson, the 2014 winner of the Biggest Loser.
Personally, I think she looks great and healthy. I don't think her weight loss was any more dramatic than the two men's. There has been such controversy and I hate the way Jillian and Bob seemed to distance themselves and throw Dolvett under the bus on this. Rachel has stated that she eats the 1600 calories a day that the show's nutritionist suggested. She is an athlete though, world class swimmer, and I imagine she might be addicted to exercise now. Plus there is the competition and she is a competitor so that would urge her to lose even more weight. From all of her statements, she is concentrating on maintenance now not any more weight loss. I seem to recall many male winners who lost as much in the past and several very thin female competitors, too. To me, this almost feels like a case of sore losers.
As an athlete, she probably has developed an incredible metabolism. She says that she eats 1600 calories a day. It could be that she's just exercising too much. She was a world class swimmer before putting on the weight and she finished that triathlon way ahead and way easier than any of the others. I'm hoping that her weight levels out in the weeks to come and that she hasn't become addicted to losing weight. I very much have an addictive personality and when I was exercising three to four hours a day and eating around 1200 calories, I lost a lot of weight very quickly. I lost down to 105 at first but thankfully, had no desire to be smaller. I eventually leveled "up" to 135 and was very happy there. That's the weight I'd like to be again. The thing about anorexics is they see themselves as fat even when they are terribly thin. I wasn't like that and Rachel didn't seem like that either. Like her, I became addicted to exercise and weight loss and lost too much initially but good sense eventually kicked in and brought me back to a healthy weight.