Tuesday, September 30, 2008

so the good news is...

I haven't gained any weight. This is my vain attempt to put a positive spin on the fact that I am not losing any either. I am thinking positive which is a small miracle given my mental state the past few days. Suddenly today, literally like a light bulb turning on, I realized I hadn't exercised since last Friday! ! ! No wonder my mood was declining. I had planned too, it's not like I forgot to do it, but things got in the way, boring excuses you don't want to hear about.
Anyway, as soon as I became aware of this realization, I immediately knew that it was imperative that I go for a run. Not ten minutes into my run, and I know you have heard me say this before, but I still just can not get over how this endorphin thing works, I felt so so good. I felt so good that I started to wonder why everyone doesn't do this. Which brings me to my next topic. Have you ever seen the documentary King Corn?
I am not a self righteous vegetarian. I grew up eating meat. it doesn't disgust me that people eat meat for nourishment. The main reason I share this information is because if anyone truly wants to know why I deprive myself of eating meat, this movie explains it perfectly and unpretentiously by two self professed beef eating men. My interpretation of the movies main message and how that jives with my reasons for giving up meat is as follows, I love animals and I love nature and it just aint natural for us to be growing junk food so we can eat fat disguised as meat. Never mind the whole soda/ liquid candy topic.
I know that seemingly those last two sentences do not make much sense. So let me try & explain it the way the movie does. The majority of corn grown in our state of Iowa is modified to be low in nutrition and high in starch. This serves two purposes, one is for cattle feed and the other is for high fructose corn syrup primarily used to make soda. Our food system with regard to beef production is so completely removed from anything remotely natural.
If you feed this type of corn to a cow in containment, they get fat real quick. Since the rapid weight gain contributes to the cows poor overall health, they are continually kept on antibiotics. The film pointed out that 70% of antibiotics in the U.S. are used on cattle!

I couldn't watch the scene where they discuss what happens to the cows stomachs so I will leave you with how this all relates to my initial "why" question. Well... sort of. Why isn't everyone a vegetarian? or rather, why is the majority of Americans eating this type of meat?
& if you doubt anything I have written here, please see King Corn. Despite the heavy topic it is actually very entertaining.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I never get tired of the city.

New York City that is. Thursday night we had the chance to go see Willie Nelson in concert at Radio City Music Hall. We decided to take our car in because we thought our son could sleep in the car on the way home so he wouldn't be too tired for school the next day. It turned out to be cheaper & quicker than taking the train because I found a coupon on the Internet. For a mere $10, we could park our car in a parking garage close to Radio City. That was probably the best bargain I have ever gotten in NYC!The traffic always amazes me when you first drive out of the tunnel into the streets of Manhattan. The other vehicles around you have a tendency to sandwich your car as everyone jockeys for position to get to the street they want to turn on too. It's sick. My son & I always laugh at this point. We are always surprised that we never get side swiped.This is the inside of Radio City from one of the top floors looking down into the Hall's lobby. Here is Willie & Company on stage. Some people say he talks his way through his songs. It isn't the same as listening to his Cd's, that's for sure. But it's wonderful live music, the kind I could listen to forever. Nora Jones even came out to sing with him, which was a real treat.
Go here for more about Willie Nelson. If you click on any of the above pictures, you'll be able to enlarge each photograph for more detail.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I was listening to Newt Gingrich on the radio yesterday morning and I heard him say that the extreme left want the American people to change their lifestyle by forcing everyone to pay $7 a gallon for gas. Then he went on a rant about how Nancy Pelosi believes she is the planets personal saviour while he thought her job was to help the American people. I was like wait... Wha??? I don't know about you guys, but I just don't get it.
Anyway, I'm not big on political discussions as far as backing up what one political personality says over another but Newt just seems really pissed that God forbid we should rely on anything else other than oil which just seems a tad bit narrow minded in this day and age. Then I came across this site that makes a lot of sense to me. Go here to learn more. See what you think.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm worried about my diet

and I'm not getting enough sleep. I've had to stay awake till midnight last night and tonight & still wake up at 5:50 in the morning. Today I found I kept getting hungry. Thursday and Friday I have to eat out and I'm already dreading it. I better make a plan. I wish I was one of those girls who instinctively knows how to stay thin. You know like Nicole Kidman or Madonna. It just seems built into them not to eat. I can't even imagine what it would be like to be like that. I guess that is part of the problem.
See how I get when I'm sleep deprived? Maybe I'll have a chance to nap tomorrow at some point during the day.

Here is another photo from the secret garden. If you click on it you can see the lovely beauty of all its details. I love this plant. Does anyone know what it is?


As I began my run last night I felt old and rickety. I felt like I would be lucky if I made it around the block once. By the time I was half way around I kept thinking, just make it around once, that's all you have to do. When I completed the first lap I felt like, hmm... OK, I can definitely do another one. I had a nice tempo going I thought, plus I was sweating and sweating is good. By the third lap, I forgot about my little pep talks and was on to other things like the inspiration I get that seems to pop up out of thin air as I continue running. Everything seems to flow and it's the best feeling. It's not so easy when I first begin but I know by now those endorphins will kick in and if I just stick it out I will feel better shortly. I find it to be the most amazing and rewarding experience. As I was finishing my fourth lap, which is the equivalent of a little over three miles, I felt like I could do a fifth one but I didn't have the time. It was already 6:40 and I needed to get home. Still, it was good to know I felt like I could do it.

I stumbled upon this amazing garden last Sunday at Farmingdale State College. Please click on the photo to get a better view of the lush plantings. If you would like to see another picture from the same garden, go here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Indian summer picnic

This is my Indian summer picnic dream, that I would be able to carry my little Yorkie, Priscilla around in my picnic basket, or even better, take her on a picnic with me. Actually, if I could take her with me everywhere I would love that most. But you can see by her actions documented here in time lapse photography that she is not the least bit interested. Well, maybe for a split second or two.
First, Priscilla surveys the situation...

feverishly sniffing the linens she quickly realizes there is nothing of importance in this basket.Priscilla then ponders her next move...

Notice the hairy butt quickly exiting stage left!

Please go here to see what others are bringing to the picnic.
Happy Autumn everyone.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I lost another .5 pounds

and that's good enough for me right now. Not that I wouldn't like to speed it up though. This is my rigorous week of re-evaluation, so hopefully we'll see a little more of a loss by next Saturday. Right now it's late and I am going to sleep and I will be sleeping in until 8AM to ensure my full 8 hours of sleep. Goodnight, or Good morning...

I love the beach...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup

is this Saturday, September 20th. Go here for more information. As I perused their site I came across this page of actions one could take to live more responsibly. There were many that I haven't heard about before that I found very interesting. I think it may be hard to think of trying every single one but I also believe if everyone could at least commit to just one on this list steadfastly, we would see tremendous change. After one new habit becomes a way of life, than you could add another. By modeling this behaviour, young people would see that this is how we care for our planet as well as ourselves and over time things would naturally change for the better concerning our environment. Here are a few:

If you live right on the water, plant a buffer zone of trees, tall grasses, and shrubs to filter runoff and to provide shelter and habitat for turtles, shorebirds, and other animals.

Use less fertilizer. Instead, mulch grass clippings to enrich your lawn and create a compost pile that will provide natural nutrients for your gardens.

Wash your car on the grass, not the driveway. That way, harmful chemicals will be filtered by grass and soil before they reach local waterways, where they can harm delicate aquatic life.

Make sure that construction sites in your neighborhood use silt fences, storm wattles, and other means of keeping sediment and other harmful runoff out of storm drains.

Plant trees. Trees contribute to clean water; they are the oceans' best filters.

This is what I saw today. Beautiful beach and sky, isn't it? Did you happen to notice the can on the shoreline? The trash bins in the second photo were located directly behind where I stood to take this picture. Please click on this to see greater details.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sylvia is very patient.

When she saw me coming over to her I could tell she was hoping I would pet her. She starts doing all these flips and rolls and acting really cute as if to say, "pet me, scratch my chin, scratch behind my ears, please." Then Priscilla has to barge in and Sylvia has to make a decision,"Do I want to deal with this one now?"
That is why I think she is so patient because Sylvia totally puts up with her. Well, for the most part anyway. Like the other night when she was up on her hind legs fighting with both paws as Priscilla cowered in the corner, no that wasn't good. I literally had to pull her off of Priscilla. Still, I have to give her credit. I'm pretty sure Sylvia could make mincemeat out of Priss if she truly wanted too.

Sylvia seems to understand Priscilla's nosiness.

Maybe in Sylvia's mind she feels she needs to set boundaries thinking that somehow Priscilla will relent. I think Priscilla instinctively knows when to back off, though I would never underestimate her cunning ways.
Most of the time they peacefully co-exist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the good news...

is that I lost 2 pounds. I'm not going to be getting all excited over this because everything depends on how I do the next three days, including today. I was very surprised when I got on the scale this morning because other than walking Priscilla, I didn't get to exercise yesterday. I also only journaled half of my days food intake which included 4 milk chocolate malt balls. Yes, my will was very weak. Though I was keeping track in my head as far as what food I ate, I just couldn't seem to write it down.
Anyway, today I have a better plan that will include a nice long run as well as some possible weight lifting (thanks to Kitty's encouragement) after dinner in the privacy of my living room.

Our cat Sylvia, isn't she pretty?

Monday, September 15, 2008

so much for losing weight...

After thinking about it for the last 2 days I have to be honest and report the fact that I gained 1.8 pounds last week. I found out the grim news Saturday afternoon when I went to get weighed at my weight watchers meeting. Right now it feels like 3 steps forward 5 steps backward. But I have to remember those are just my feelings, not facts.
While I was thinking about it I do remember being overly hungry last week. I also remember not getting enough sleep a few nights. I exercised every day. Other then the occasional fatigue, I felt great all week. So what was it? Searching for more concrete evidence I looked at my food journal and saw that I wasn't journaling everything I ate. If I didn't write in half of an entry, I actually left out entire days.
Hmm...do you think that might have been it? I need to get re-inspired. I'd like to start losing 1-2 pounds a week for several weeks in a row, like starting this week! They say it can be done if you follow the program.
Maybe I should print out what I wrote in my last post and start carrying it around with me to remind myself I am not an amnesiac.

Eggplant Parmigiana is one of my favorite foods.

"The greatest delight the fields and woods minister is the suggestion of an occult relation between man and the vegetable. I am not alone and unacknowledged. They nod to me and I to them." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am totally blown away.

I just read my dear soul sister-in-laws post for today and I must say she totally blew me away. One word in particular that comes to mind is courage. This woman, my sister-in-law, has guts, from the photo she posted of herself, (Man I know how that feels, I had so many of those same photos, though I have to admit to having burned mine) to the weight loss ticker she plans on putting on her blog. Another word is willingness. It is clear by her courageous actions that Lisa is willing. How cool is that? I know for myself, at times I may want to lose weight, but unless I am truly willing, I won't be successful.
I will be watching Lisa closely because I know as always, she will be an inspiration.
Lisa wrote about how she doesn't see herself in the picture she posted. I am sure every person who needs to lose weight feels the same. I believe the truth is because that really isn't who she is. I know I am buried somewhere deep down under my extra weight and finding my way out from there is like a scary liberation of sorts, so far outside my usual comfort zone.
Anyone reading this blog knows a little bit about my own weight loss journey. I started Weight Watchers last November 10th and since then I have lost 12.6 pounds. Personally I know I need a program to help me. Otherwise I feel like it is just too easy for me to lapse into my usual amnesiac denial. Everyday is filled with food choices and most days it is just too easy to eat whatever is in front of me instead of making a plan and sticking to it. I can think of many reasons why it's hard to lose weight. Like, eating super healthy foods requires a certain diligence. The food has to be purchased and prepared which takes time and effort. Time I would rather spend doing other things, and then it's like, oops, it's way past lunch & I am sooo hungry ! and then the cravings kick in. Or it could be forgetting breakfast which really sets my day up for fatigue and hunger, leaving me snacking hundreds of extra calories the whole time I am preparing dinner.

Weight Watchers is helping me change my behaviour. It's helping me stay focused on my goal by giving me tools to avoid the pitfalls of having to eat everyday. WW is also helping me to recognize the fact that losing weight is something I am willing to do and that yes, there are specific ways to accomplish this. It has taken me so long to lose what I have lost but I am sure if I didn't stick with some sort of program I would most likely have gained weight instead of losing or maintaining. I also feel like this is for good. Once I am done losing I will be one of those lifetime members at WW that learns how to throw away her scale and miraculously not gain weight.

Benefits I have gained since my 12 pound weight loss:
  • I'm just inside the healthy BMI (body mass index) range
  • My blood pressure is normal
  • My cholesterol is normal
  • I'm sleeping better
  • I have more energy
  • I can run faster
  • I fit into a size 12
  • I actually look forward to shopping for clothes
  • I no longer avoid looking in the mirror as I get dressed.
  • I actually have clothes in my closet that are comfortable and that I like.
The really great thing is that I haven't even lost all of my weight yet. I guess that is a positive way to look at it being that I have a ways to go. Until then I must say it is hard to stay motivated. Sometimes it's a daily struggle, other times it's easy. Overall since I have been in WW it is definitely easier.
A list of things I think or do to keep me motivated:
  • I attend my meeting every week. I've learned that no matter what the outcome is, this always makes me feel better.
  • Exercise everyday. This way if I absolutely can't one day, I'll have only skipped a day. Even if it is an unusual 3 or 4 days-things happen after all, setting a goal makes me get back to it.
  • I keep a food journal. Even half a day is better than not at all. This always gives me some clarity, especially with portion control.
  • When I start to think about eating something, I ask myself why? Am I hungry, tired, angry? What is the reason I am thinking of food? This has been big for me, probably the hardest. For me it is still a habit in the making.
  • Instead of thinking about what I can't eat, I like to focus on things I can eat that I really enjoy. This makes me feel empowered.
  • I started running. By far this has been the best kept secret mood enhancer I have ever experienced. Not more than 5 minutes into a run I can go from slogging through my day to conquering whatever lies before me with absolute confidence.
So, thank you my dear soul sister, once again you have inspired me. Please know I will be cheering you on, much like you have cheered me on and I will be praying for you as I watch you succeed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Dream'd In A Dream

I dream'd in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the
whole of the rest of the earth,
I dream'd that was the new city of Friends,
Nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love, it led
the rest,
It was seen every hour in the actions of the men of that city,
And in all their looks and words.

~Walt Whitman 1884

In December 2001 I was looking for something to send with my Christmas cards. I needed to find something that would put into words what I was feeling. I wanted to acknowledge what our city and our country was going through. Thankfully I came across Whitman's poem, I Dream'd In A Dream. I found tremendous hope in Whitman's words, they carried me for a long while after the attacks. This morning I was reading another Whitman poem on Writerquake's site in honor of September 11th. It reminded me to go look for mine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

tomorrow is September 11th

Sadly, seven years ago tomorrow we were all a part of something that changed every one of us in some way, a day we will never forget. Personally I can't let September 11th go by without remembering. Please go here to see A Tribute in Light.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

priscilla resting

I am reluctantly accepting the fact that summer is coming to an end. It's hard to believe that here we are again about to shift into another season. Ian has started school and Priscilla is on the job. The millisecond the alarm makes that little click sound, the one before the alarm actually goes off, she catapults off the bed onto her bed that is on the floor right next to ours. The question that comes to mind is, does our dog actually wake up to the alarm clock?
Upon waking and catapulting she patiently waits for me to get my eyeglasses on so we may begin our morning routine. Don't worry, I won't bore you with those details. Mainly I just wanted to let you know that although she is very small, she is a working dog and this is what she looks like everyday after her morning shift is over. Do the words beanie baby come to mind?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I love art like this...

The artist is Tara Donovan currently on exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 21, 2008. You will never guess how this art is made, surprisingly it is meticulously designed out of Mylar tape! It looked like metal cookie cutter shapes glued to the wall when I looked at it up close and then my husband lightly blew on it and it shook. I love how the patterns on the wall change depending on how you look at it. I hope this gives you some sense of how Donovan's installation works. Click on the photos for more details.

Below, at this vantage point, the wall on the left has a fuzzy looking effect almost like a carpet.

Here you can see how the room actually looks as a whole.

What does this look like to you?

Monday, September 1, 2008

a few thoughts

please click on this photo to see more wondrous detail.
This photo was taken on the roof garden at The Met last Friday evening. What a happening scene they got going on there. The featured artist is
Jeff Koons who never disappoints. It's a great way to spend a summer evening. If you have the opportunity, go check it out.

On another topic entirely,I forgot to mention in my Saturday report about how I really did not want to go to my Weight Watchers meeting that morning. I actually thought I gained weight. I felt bloated and dreaded the idea that I may have had a setback. I just wanted to share a few thoughts on this. The main reason I decided to go to the meeting is because I know that when I do, those are the weeks I will lose weight. Sometimes I lose weight when I skip a meeting and that's great, but the days where I feel like I'm not getting anywhere are the most crucial times for me not to give up. That is when I need the most encouragement. If I wait until the next meeting thinking I will feel better if I go having actually lost some weight, than I am missing the point of the meetings entirely. The meetings are there to help and that's what I am supposed to be using them for. Given the fact that I felt like I had gained when I actually lost weight this last Saturday shows me what a mind game it all is anyway. I remind myself that I don't have to analyze it to death. I just need to know that feelings aren't facts. I do think it's good to recognize my feelings. I can acknowledge them without having them get in the way of my goal. I notice when I live consciously I am less likely to look to food for comfort, so that is good. Because I love food and I love to enjoy it in all its diversity, I don't want to miss out on its nourishing aspects by using it as a drug.