Thursday, July 30, 2015

Another year another post

Okay, so I'm a horrific blogger.  But since I doubt anyone but me even knows about this blog, what do I care.

I look back on myself last year about this time and I see a more hopeful and positive person.  Where did that person go?

I'm thinking she's been beaten into submission by the world to become a much more negative person.

Why? Well let's start with the family.  In the last couple years my father has had some significant health challenges. He's had surgeries to replace veins in both legs. He had a bout with stomach cancer. He's broken his back twice and had two back surgeries. And, he's been diagnosed with a lung disease which gives him a lesser lung capacity than most people.  Okay, so none of that has happened TO me. But I love my parents and when they suffer, I suffer.  Plus, never knowing if this visit or that phone call will be the last you have with your parents makes things a bit more serious.

Then comes home. Now I love owning my own home, but the upkeep is a LOT more expensive than I ever thought it would be. Plus I truly thought both my housemate and myself would be earning more money than we are these days and so I had planned on the upkeep being better.

We still have a roof over our heads and nothing horrible is wrong with the house YET. But the yard is overgrown a lot more than it was and neither of us has the skill or honestly, the desire to fix that. Our church friends have helped, but I would dearly love to spen $500-1000 to have someone really get things back to a manageable place.

Add to that the myriad of things that need work inside and WHAMO! another hit to the positive thought process.

I also live with a drama princess. What's a drama princess you ask.. It's someone whose mother is a drama queen and the daughter is following very nicely in her footsteps.

Now I love my housemate, BFF, sister-from-another-mister and I wouldn't want to live without her. But sometimes it would be nice to just have a month, or a week when there was no drama, real or imagined.

Then comes the gosh-darm.... world.  What with transgender former Olympians, SCOTUS saying gay people can marry, Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, and people acting like every police officer is out to murder black people and every white conservative is a racist nut-job; it's not easy being a right-leaning thoughtful person.  I honestly hate politics, really I do. But I live with someone who doesn't and I do care about things, so it's difficult to read the news or even go on Facebook without it all being shoved down your newsfeed.

And then there's work. In April the company announced it was closing the manufacturing portion of the CT location and moving all of the manufacturing (and the jobs) to Mexico.

There's a huge part of me that doesn't like change.  Add to that the huge part of me who doesn't want to be unemployed and you can imagine my terror. Thankfully for me, and about 49 of my coworkers, the engineering and tech support department, and me are all staying in Connecticut for now.   My job has changed a lot. Not only are my tasks a bit different, but many of the people I got along well with have either moved to Georgia, or have moved on.  Add to that I'm an empathetic soul and so watching the parking lot get emptier and emptier and being handed a bunch of security badges and told to inactivate them, it makes going to work not so much fun.

How have I gotten through? Well, I watch a lot of The Waltons.  It's funny how a tv show set in the Depression and during World War II can bring me peace. Maybe it's the yearning for a more simple time, or maybe it's just that I love(d) Ralph Waite as John Walton; but it helps to watch those shows.

I try going to Church but that just makes me want to scream at God, so that's no good.

I eat crappy food. I've gained weight and now feel even worse about myself. So really, I don't know.

Lately I've tried to look forward instead of backward and that seems to help too.

We'll see what happens in the coming months. Maybe I'll write another post by then.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Keith Urban exercise plan

It's the middle of a new week and I'm at about the same place I was last week. 6 pounds down.  The asthma and hot/humid conditions have really killed my lunch-time walking.

I did come up with a fun way to exercise on Monday.  I went to NYC to see Keith Urban perform at a small club show that was being filled for PBS's television series "Front and Center."

Like all of the dedicated fans there I waited the entire day in line to get the best chance at a good spot for the show.  Luckily I found a small milk crate to sit on so I didn't have to sit on the ground and I didn't have to stand the whole day.

I never eat much when I'm in a general admission line. I'm often at these shows alone these days because my BFF doesn't like the Keith Urban fans much and I don't have any other close friends who will go along for the insanity.  So trusting someone to allow me back in line is sometimes iffy.

This time however, the Chelsea Market was just a block away and the fans around me were supportive and cool with watching my spot for me. So for lunch I had a nice chicken wrap with spinach and mozzerella. Pretty decent choice. right?  I had a couple of bottles of water and one soda during the day and breakfast was a flat bread and white egg and sausage sandwich from Dunkin Donuts. Overall I think I did pretty good.

Now to the exercise. Once we finally got inside, after waiting for 8 hours, this was my spot.

It looks like a killer spot, but the powers that be from PBS decided about 40 "VIPs" and cute young things should be put in front of us. I was sooooo angry! As usually there were two really tall men in front of me. Thankfully one of them was pretty cool (Henry from Long Island), and he did his best to give me a viewing window.

So the exercise is basically two hours of dancing and clapping to Keith. Doesn't that sound like good aerobics and cardio?  I have the chance to do that several more times this summer as I have some more KU concerts coming up. So Keith will help me on my way to a smaller me!


Thanks Keith!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Paying old reliable friends a visit

It's a new week.  And I'm officially 6 pounds lighter than when I started. Yippee.

The whole weight loss may seem like it's slow going, but really that's for the best.  I'm changing my life and changing the way I think about food and that isn't something that comes in the blink of an eye.

Besides, my best friend is constantly saying that it took me years to put the weight on, why should it only take weeks to take it off. (Isn't she a ray of sunshine?)

So my success this week was a trip to the grocery store.  So here's the deal. I don't do the grocery shopping.  When Debra and I moved in together she sort of took over in the kitchen.  Now I can't say I minded, who wouldn't want someone to cook for them every night?  Because of that I stopped going grocery shopping too. Debra enjoys it and she's big into couponing, so why not let her have some fun. Plus, I get some time to be alone in the house and that can be spiritually beneficial too.

And here is the rub, if I don't do the shopping and I don't do the cooking not only can I blame any poor choice on Debra, but I give myself an out because I knew all along what type of cooking Deb prefers.  Debra is a meat and potatoes kind of gal. To her having just a large salad for dinner would never happen. She likes fried and she likes red meat.  So I now had the perfect out to eat all of those things whenever.  Add 30 pounds in the last 14 years.

I'm not blaming Debra for my weight gain. I am fully and 100% responsible. Isn't that adult of me, taking responsibility for my own issues.  But having Debra cook let me push off the blame for a long time.

And we've tried to lose weight together many times. Debra is no skinny minny.  But I decided this time I have to do this  myself; FOR myself and by myself. No using Debra as an excuse not to exercise or eat right.  I needed to start telling her what I wanted her to buy and cook and be firm about it. Surprisingly she agreed. She  has done very well in adding veggies to the menu and she slowed way down on the snacks and sweets.

So last week Debra wasn't feeling well and we were out of diet soda (yes, I still drink diet Coke, I'm addicted, so sue me). So it was either do without (horror of horrors) or go get the stuff myself.

Now usually when I go to the grocery store I end up in a couple aisles that aren't my friends. Okay, they ARE my friends, I love them, but they aren't the kind of friend I should have. You know the aisles, they have the candy and the cookies and the sugary breakfast cereals and the of course there's the frozen food section with all of the ice cream.

So I head into the store and start out in the produce section. I put some celery and lettuce and potatoes in the cart and even added in some tomatoes. (Debra loves raw tomatoes - me, not so much). I deftly walk past the breads and cookies and I headed into the main part of the store.  I paused at the crackers because I like crackers, but changed my mind and walked away. I didn't even stop at the cookies and candy (shocking) and headed over to get some milk. Now why they put the milk right by the ice cream is beyond me. Why not have all of the bad for you food in a special section of the store. You know, like they used to have the X-rated movies at the video store?  All of that food could be behind a weird little curtain so you could totally avoid it if you wanted. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

So there I was walking by the ice cream.  And I HAD to go the ice cream because couponer Debra had handed me a coupon that make Klondike bars only .99 cents. What a deal! So I stop at the Klondike bars (arranged nicely by the store in one frozen food bin). There are the dark chocolate variety and the ones with mint chocolate chip ice cream in the center. But as I stood there I made a conscious decision that I should look at the calorie count. Regular Klondike bars 240, and sugar-free Klondike bars 160. Damn, that's a pretty big difference. Now I had to come home with Klondike bars or Debra would have been annoyed, so I picked up the sugar free variety and headed on my way.

I had done it. I made it through a shopping trip and only bought one questionable item. Yippee!  And so there, my friends is my success story. Did I climb Mount Everest or slay a dragon? No. But I proved to myself that I don't need the old friend aisles at the store. Will I visit them again, hell yeah, but at least now I know we can be apart and I won't miss them so much.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Okay, it's the middle of week four and I am down three and a half pounds.  That's not a lot, but to me every pound, even every half-pound is a victory and something to be celebrated, or at the very least acknowledged.

Last weekend was the Independence Day holiday weekend and I had three full days off.  That doesn't sound like a big deal to most working people, but I work two jobs so even having a full weekend is great. So, when it's three days in a row I'm excited.

It turned out to be a very boring weekend, quiet but boring.  My intrepid roommate had agreed to dog sit for some people at Church. It was nice of her, but since we share my car (long story), and since I didn't really want to make the 20-minute-drive each way with her, I was stuck at home a lot.

Being bored is one of my eating triggers. I guess it gives me something to do, to think about.  So having a ton of time and a full fridge was a bit dangerous.  I tried to keep busy. I cleaned the house and attempted to organize my bedroom.  It would take me a week to get it neat and tidy, but at least I made a start.  I also spent tons of time on the internet and did some embroidery.

Thankfully it was pretty hot out, so I didn't feel like doing a lot of cooking or baking. I stuck to eating good food and fruit and when I snacked it wasn't anything with a ton of sugar or fat.

At least on the first day.

Day two I made some brownies. And, you'll be happy to know that five days later there is still half a pan left.

My point of all of the is to say "hurray" for me.  I didn't go nuts and eat everything in sight even though I was bored and a bit depressed.  I think I even have the roommate on board a bit more. She said yesterday that my "changing my food lifestyle" is getting to her too.  She tends to pack my lunch for me. I know, I'm an adult, but I take longer to get ready in the morning and she likes having someone to nurture. In the past I would just eat what she gave me and be grateful for the food and for her effort. In the past few weeks I've started speaking up more about her more fattening choices and it's worked.  Today lunch was a spinach salad with a bit of tortilla strips and cheese.

And so in the middle of week three maybe things are truly changing for the best.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Week 2 and two pounds lighter.

I weighed myself yesterday and I'm two pounds lighter than I was last week. Yay!

I've been thinking a lot about how this is yet another "new beginning" in my life. Even this blog has seen several beginnings the fizzled after a week or two.  I don't know why.  The desires are still there.  Maybe it's life that gets in the way.

Being this heavy has put a damper a lot of the ways I enjoy myself. Going to concerts and going out to take pictures isn't as fun when you're obese. I used to be able to stand in general admission lines for hours and then stand during a concert for hours more and never felt sore or tired or in any pain. I don't know if I'll be able to do that this summer.  And I have tickets to several concerts that are general admission. YIKES!

The first concert is a month and two days from now. If I stay at this exercise/weight loss rate I'll have lost 12-14 pounds by then. While that would be great, I don't know if it will increase my stamina and lessen the pain. I'm tempted to try to sell the ticket but then that's admitting defeat already, right?  We'll see how thing go.

Another block to living my goals seems to be time and energy, both waiting of it and not having enough of it. Being obese makes things more difficult. Even the effort of walking up a flight of stairs, or getting off the couch seem too much sometimes.  Add to that the fact that I didn't know I was suffering from a B12 deficiency, and I think my energy was taking a real beating.  The regular B12 shots are helping with the desire, now I just need to find the time to move and do the things I love.

Having to work two jobs also saps my energy. When I get home from either I just want to sit and do nothing. And if I DO have energy to do something there are so many things like housekeeping, organizing, laundry, keeping in touch with family and friends, watching TV, etc that I must do or would rather do that working out comes last.

So, I'm forcing myself to go out at lunch and walk. I get an hour and if I don't have errands to run I almost always have 30 minutes left with nothing to do. So I'm going to walk.  It's not that bad, really. I put in my earbuds and listen to some music. If I make it four or five times around the building I know that's 20 minutes.

It's a start.

Holy crap.... someone I work with just send me some fruit from Edible Arrangements.

The problem is ... it's from a "Mike" but there are several I work with and both are very nice guys. Hmmmm

It's a great surprise and a nice topper to the day.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Working towards a littler me

I stepped on the scale on Monday morning expecting to have stayed around the weight I've been for a year or so only to find I've gained 11 pounds!  Needless to say I was rather shocked, saddened and then very angry with myself.

I've fought the battle of the bulge, or maybe I should say I have fought fighting the battle of the bulge, for years. I know I'm fat. I don't need a doctor or anyone else to tell me. All I have to do is look in the mirror, or walk up a flight of steps and the reality of the situation hits me like a ton of bricks (no pun intended).

And so, when I hit the 200 mark and yet was told by my doctor I have no diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems or any other problem associates with obesity, I lumbered on knowing I have a problem with my weight but shoving that idea into the furthest recesses of my mind. I had other things to deal with and being fat wasn't really near the top of the list.

That was until a couple months ago. All of a sudden I started having more aches and pains than usual. Okay, so I'm over 50 now and that's expected. But when the pain hit my knee it stopped me (literally) in my tracks. I was really worried that I would need surgery and so I headed to the doctor, this time expecting to hear something horrible. Instead the news was pretty normal. The muscle above my knee is weak and that is causing the pain. I need to get more active and lose weight.

I started doing the exercise the doctor showed me and my knee has improved. Great, now don't really have to exercise and lose weight, my knee is better, at least that's what the part of my brain that is in denial and wants to eat anything and everything wants had to say.  Then came Monday and the scale.

So after the shock and frustration and anger and shame settled in I was totally depressed. How did I let myself get this fat? I know better. I've watched my mother struggle with her weight for decades. So the why is important and in this journey I'll be trying to work on that too. But I decided on Monday that what to do next was the next step.

And so at lunch I had to walk down to the mailbox to get the company's mail. It's a short walk and I've done it a million times. But this time I decided that once I got the mail I would just keep on walking; not as in leaving, but as in walking around the building to be more active. And so I began. Monday I did one lap which equals maybe a tenth of a mile. But it was hot and I had waited until right before the end of my lunch so I didn't have time to more. Tuesday I did two laps. The came the first big hurdle. Wednesday came with 88 degrees and a lot of humidity.  Fat brain tried to talk me out of walking. 'It's too hot and muggy' she said. 'You'll get all sweaty and then have to sit at the desk stinking for the rest of the day, don't do it.'  But Wants to be Thin Meri decided to just do it. And so in the iPhone went the earbuds and on came Keith Urban and I walked. This time I made it three laps.  The same on Thursday.

I got home last night (Thursday) and started changing out of my work clothes. And there was the scale again. UGH!  Do I dare? Fat Brain said, 'don't do it, it's too soon, why bother.' But Wants to be Thin me said 'what the hell' and I stepped on.  Two pounds down from Monday.

Okay, so it's only two pounds. I know I've lost and gained that much three million times in the last thirty years.  But something feels different this time. I feel like that huge number on the scale flipped a little switch.

Now I know there will be ups and downs and I know that there will be plateaus.  That is the point of writing this all down. I want a record of how I'm feeling on this journey so maybe I can look at it and use it to push through those times.

Today I walked four laps around the building, albeit the last laps was interrupted by a friendly co-worker.

I'm also going to talk about food choices and cravings, but that's for another day.

So here it goes....... Let's work on this time being the last.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New York New York! A Day promoting Keith Urban in the city.

Deb and I had a blast yesterday. We went down to New York to promote Keith Urban's concert at Madison Square Garden on October 8.

The day started for me REALLY early at 3:30 am with a sleepy shower. We were out the door by 4:30 and headed to the train station in Stamford, CT which is only 40 miles outside New York. That's where the promoting began. We had the early morning train riders laughing on the platform as I stuck flyers everywhere I could. We handed some out to interested people and then headed into the Grand Central Station.

As soon as we arrived we went straight to Rockefeller Plaza for the taping of The Today Show. We handed out more flyers in line and met some really nice ladies from Atlanta who were in town for business. One of them said she came to New York often and was going to look into tickets for the MSG show! We also met a really nice lady from Columbus, Ohio who had seen Keith in Cincinatti. It seems Keith is popular all over.

We got a pretty good spot (or so we thought) by the Today Show barricade and waited for the show to start. We were a but worried when the crew put a table of supplies right in front of us knowing there was no way we would get on TV with that in front of us, so we decided to look for a better spot. We saw the crew setting up lights for the outside shot and positioned ourselves behind a few other people at the railing. As we held up our signs the camera man (Dave) pointed at us and motioned for us to move over a bit so he could be sure to get us on camera, and HE DID!! Deb could see on the monitor that we made it onto the show. After our 3 minutes of fame (LOL) we called Dave over to say thank you! He was very nice and we found out that his wife is a huge Keith fan. We talked a bit and he said they were definitely going to the MSG show and he even took a picture of us to show to his wife when he got home.

Next it was over to Times Square. We thought that would be a great place to maximize the flyer efforts and boy were we right. Once we got there we found out that this was the day for Broadway on Broadway, which is a huge event where a lot of the Broadway performers perform live and free for the public. It's a very popular event especially with the locals. So, after a quick breakfast to refuel we were off handing out flyers. I have a lot more respect for the people who do that every day for a living in Times Square. Its not as easy as it looks. Luckily we got a really good response from the people who would accept the flyers. Quite a few people seemed excited to see Keith was performing locally and a lot more commented on him and Nicole being at the US Open last week. LOL New Yorkers really seem to have their fingers on the pulse of what's going on.

After a while handing out flyers we decided to take another little break and we headed over to the Hershey store. Having visited the city many times in the past the store is a favorite desination and we knew that they had a live running banner that goes across over the store. Patrons can put their message on the banner and I thought that would be a fun way to get the message out there about Keith at MSG! So in the store we went. The nice clerk told me that my message "See Keith Urban at Madison Square Garden - October 8th" could be shown for 15 minutes and I could buy as many 15 minutes as I wanted. :) She also said that I could chose what times the message would show as long as the banner was on. So, I bought 60 minutes worth and picked out four different times for the message to show on the banner, the first one starting immediately. Just before I left her the clerk said she wasn't really a country music fan but she thought Keith is cute. :) We had a nice little conversation about Keith's music and his talents (other than his looks) and then it was time to go.

We headed outside to take some pictures and video of the banner and then headed off to hand out more flyers. By now the Broadway on Broadway audience was getting really big. We waded in and I was able to give out almost all of the rest of flyers to people as they waited for the next performance. Again it was fun to stop and talk to people about Keith. Most who knew who Keith is were very complimentary and it was fun to talk to others who said "who?" as I gave them a flyer.

By now it was about 1 pm and we were exhausted and hungry again so we went into the Hard Rock Cafe for a bite to eat. The waiter (JR) who brought us our food noticed the flyer and asked about Keith. He talked to us a bit and took a picture with me too.

All in all I handed out 400 flyers during the day.

Finally it was time to head home. The train was pretty packed on the way back to Stamford and so we had to share our seats with two ladies who were going home from a girl's weekend in the city. One was from South Norwalk, CT and the other from Mass. They joked with me a bit over the KU t-shirt and then seemed pretty impressed that we had spent the day promoting Keith's show.

The day ended in front of the TV where we had taped the Today Show. It was fun to see ourselves on camera and the signs looked really good!