Its a cat bed, for goodness sakes!
There are at least three other more “luxurious” doggie beds in the house, but for some reason, this seemed to be the only possible choice on the day. Hope you all enjoy a little “catnap” this weekend!
This month we are tackling one of the questions we were asked in our questionnaire:
1. What was your “last straw” moment, or your kick in the butt, or whatever it was that finally made you say “I just have to do this (get healthy)”?
Well, I have to be honest here. Even though I promoted this as one of the questions we tackle, I knew that I did not have a good singular answer.
I knew that I had a LOT of moments that SHOULD have been “the last straw.”
That last one. Man, I really thought that was going to do it for me. But no. I couldn’t seem to change the way I ate and thought and moved.
So my last straw seems to be an accumulation of years of quiet acceptance and desperation combined.
And then a friend had the temerity to ask if I would go with her to Weight Watchers. And after turning her down, and struggling on my own to try to cut back on calories (and being very very hungry…) I had to admit to myself that I needed help.
I was a reluctant convert. And VERY skeptical that anything would “take.”
The only thing I had going for me was a very firm conviction that anything I did would have to be “for the rest of my life.” (which was also why I was so very reluctant to make a change in the first place.)
Ha! And I was right. I still have a very occasional chocolate chip cookie, but they are no longer a part of my daily diet. And now, as I write this, I am waiting for a butternut squash to cook so I can try it in a new salad recipe I found, and will have that salad along with some strawberries and cottage cheese for my “special” Sunday night supper. For dessert, I might make my Apple Blackberry Sour Cream Pie in a Bowl. You can see that I was right about making a change for the rest of my life. When I was so stuck on my old way of eating, I never would have dreamed of trying a salad that had butternut squash in it. But you know what? Its a great change! I do believe that I will be eating this way for the rest of my life.
I so wish for all of you who are looking for that “last straw” or that “AHA moment” that you will find what you are looking for. Maybe it won’t be a big recognizable moment. Maybe it will just be that little admission “I need help,” or the quiet desperation that finally reaches the tipping point. Whatever it is, I know that I and my AIM friends wish the very best for you. If you have more questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.
And be sure to check out the other AIMers. I can’t wait to read about their last straw!
Going backward in time describing my trip has allowed me time to mull over my thoughts about Haiti. What did I want to say about Haiti this time (I visited there for the first time one year ago.) What did I think about Haiti? And then my friend posted this wonderful piece of writing about the dreams and disparity that you see in Haiti. THAT’S how I felt! She voiced it so much better than I could.
When I go to Haiti, I tend to be overwhelmed by everything. The heat! The humidity! The electricity is off! The masses of people everywhere trying to sell stuff on the sidewalk. How can any of them make enough money to live when there are so many trying to sell the same thing? The dust! The despair that I see on so many faces. The traffic! The little trucks on their very last legs packed with people like sardines in a can–how can they even breath in there? The “roads.” The slums. The LANGUAGE. I can’t understand a word they are saying. (LOL, sometimes I can’t even understand when they are speaking to me in English…)
And yet. And yet….
There are flashes of brilliance. Of greatness. Spending time with a man who serves God like none I’ve ever experienced before. Pastor Gilbert is our host when we go to Haiti. He has an SUV and two cell phones. Every day as we traveled back and forth to the villages with him, we had traveling companions with us. He would be giving a ride to this or that person. Drop them off at their work corner. Get them down the road a ways. Taking them along on his journeys so he could talk to them and instruct them. Bringing them along to experience the small villages. Delivering a bit of food or some supplies. Constantly taking or making calls (presumably to arrange these pick ups and drop offs, and fielding other requests.) Providing a word of wisdom or encouragement. And if they happened to still be in the car when he arrived home, ALWAYS, a big plate of rice and beans for them before they returned to their own home. His life is God’s life.
And now, the trip. As we arrived in Haiti, Pastor Gilbert met us at the exit and took us to his car, where there were (of course) two other women that he was giving a ride to! One was an animated American who CAME TO HAITI ON VACATION EVERY YEAR BECAUSE SHE LOVED IT. What the what???? No comprehendo. I’m still mulling that one over.
This is one of my favorite pictures. Because it is so typical of my brother. This is Pastor Gilbert and my brother trying to order a plain cheese pizza at a huge fast food joint that we went to on our first night there. It was quite the ordeal trying to explain that to the young clerk.
This place was huge, and had a number of different types of food offered. Maybe like one of the food courts in our American malls? I wish I had gone around the corner and seen the Haitian chicken before I ordered my “steak sandwich.” I told my brother later that it was tasty, but there was no discernible steak in it! Tasty french fries though.
The next morning, as we headed to Carrefour Poy, I was surprised to see that much of the tent cities were cleared out. I hadn’t expected that big of a change in one year.
And then we came upon these little pastel block houses that had been built at the location of one of the tent cities!
This is just a typical scene of the street vendors. They are everywhere—city, country, and on the major roads in between.
And then we arrived at Carrefour Poy. My friend Claudel gave me a tour of the classrooms. It was Friday, and I think the kids were in high spirits because it was a half day.
The well that was installed in the church yard is constantly in use.
One of “my” girls, Ketlyn.
And the other, Elvena. Elvena was home sick, but somehow Claudel sent word for her to come to the school to see me. Its a mystery to me how they communicate out there in the middle of nowhere.
Alvena’s mom has died, and her dad is supposedly the voodoo priest in the town. What he really is is a man who has fried his brain on alcohol. I worry about her. But it does seem she has a stepmother who cares about her, because she has been well-dressed and well-groomed each time I’ve visited.
The main purpose of our trip: my brother presented a “seminar” on hog management in each of three villages. It cracks me up how they “do business” in Haiti. The seminar is supposed to start at 9. We show up about 9:10. No one is there. Pastor Gilbert hangs around outside for a while, and pretty soon people start appearing (again with the mysterious mode of communication in the boonies.) And then we start about 10.
My brother always spoke from the Bible for a few minutes, and then got into the hog management aspect. What he does is so far removed from what they do in Haiti, we wondered if there were anything he could offer them. But by the third seminar, it did seem that he had some very practical suggestions for them. I was so proud of my brother for doing this. Just going to Haiti was so far out of his comfort zone.
While my brother spoke, I stitched on one of my little travel quilts. I had put together some “quilt kits” to share in case anyone expressed any interest. Two different women started watching me, and so I gave each one of them a kit. One of them happened to be my favorite teacher from our previous trip to Haiti (she helped us with the shoe giveaway) so I was very happy about that. It turned out that the other woman was also a teacher! She opened her kit right away, and we sat and stitched companionably for about an hour!
On Sunday we returned to Carrefour Poy for church. It happened to be their 18 year church anniversary, so they had decorated the church with streamers.
Church is so special to these people. They all dress in their very best. There is no glancing at watches to see if the service will be over soon. They are there to worship!
My friend Claudel. He is the young man I mentioned in this post.
He was so excited to show me the construction that he had started on his new home.
And for your amusement, (and to show that I’m not ALWAYS a whiny American baby,) here’s one of the “bathrooms” that I visited. I don’t think its used too often because the “toilet” (brick hole) was a little covered in cobwebs. A nice young woman did hold the “door” closed for me as it was quite breezy that day!
One of the young pastors we met asked me “do you love Haiti?” To which I replied “I love the people of Haiti.” I thought to myself as the trip neared its end, I don’t think I’ll come back again. But now as I write this, I know that Haiti is an important part of my Christian pilgrimage, and that I will indeed return again someday to Haiti.
After we returned from Haiti, my brother and I had a day and a half in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to relax and spend a little time together. Ever since we were kids, we have both really really loved animals. His loves were a little more exotic than mine–snakes and tropical fish. For a few years we even owned a pet shop together! We still love to visit pet shops and zoos when we have a chance. It just so happened, that on the day we were there, it was a perfect spring day with a light breeze blowing, so we went to the Ft. Worth Zoo! My brother says it is one of the best small zoos in America. I totally agree that it is one of the best. My legs and feet would disagree that it is one of the smallest.
They had two baby elephants born at the zoo! So fun to see them. They ran around and seemed to be enjoying the weather as much as everybody else.
This little guy was copying his mom, and giving himself a dust bath.
This was a huge enclosure full of cockatiels and parakeets, and you could buy ridiculously expensive sticks of bird seed to feed them. It was fun!
Is this just the cutest? I don’t know why one baby swan gets to ride on the mother’s back, while the others follow in the water.
This lion was beautiful, but he sure was vocalizing a lot. I wonder what he wanted?
A komodo dragon!
And one of the hugest silverback gorillas I’ve ever seen.
I was really impressed with the enclosures for most of the animals, and the beautiful condition of the animals. It was a really great day.
The next morning, before I dropped my brother at the airport and headed to Shelley’s, we drove down the “historic main street” of Grapevine, TX. We lived there about 35 years ago, before the DFW airport was built! It really was just a dusty little town back then. We didn’t recognize much on the main street. Oh, and I had googled “pet shops” in Hurst, and three shops were listed: Petco, one other major corporate store, and The Grooming Boutique–MY OLD GROOMING SHOP!! We went by there too, but of course, it was a different owner than I had sold to 30-some years ago. What a kick.
We used “the lady” (google maps app for my iPhone) to direct us around the area. We only went off course a couple of times, and it seemed like the lady would then direct us to take backroads to wherever we needed to go. I felt a little like I was being profiled and had been deemed a hick that preferred backroads to major freeways (well, that’s true, but its none of her business!)
Next up (and the last of my travel adventures for awhile,) HAITI REVISITED!
Way back in the fall, when I started planning this trip to Haiti with my brother, I started scheming–how could I fit in another visit with Shelley? I’m so glad it worked out–it was the perfect ending to a very good trip.
Shelley and I have met up four times now, and each time we get to spend a little more time together. But none of the visits has been absent of the now traditional trip to the frozen yogurt shop!
I finally got to meet Paco the Wonder Dog. He truly is a wonder dog–he behaves so well (Sophie, are you listening?)
Shelley took me to the “Scary Statues Park.” It was really a very charming park with tons of walking paths. After walking a WHOLE mile and a half, I was ready for a big breakfast! How fun it was to visit the famous Blue Baker, home of so many post-race breakfasts for Shelley’s running club.
This picture doesn’t show the color well enough–it really is very blue in this restaurant!
Then we stopped by Shelley’s running store. What I really look at in any sports store:
I actually tried on a couple of pairs of shoes. I really liked these. I’d never heard of them. They were very comfortable, lightweight, and had a wider than usual toe box. Oh, and the most important thing? They were cute!
One day Shelley took me to a fabulous quilt shop right in her home town! Of course, I found a bit of fabric, and quite a bit of thread that I “needed.”
And the next day, after a bit of crafting in the morning, we headed out to Navasota, where there was a wonderful spinning and knitting shop. I found some great yarn and spinning fiber to bring home with me. Shelley asked the young shop owner about a good place to eat, and when I heard “Love Pies,” my ears perked up.Everything was homemade at Love Pies. Our sandwiches were truly fabulous. And we had just enough room leftover for one of their mini pies. There seemed to be a lot of “bloggers taking pictures of bloggers taking pictures” going on this weekend.
I had Key Lime, and Shelley had chocolate. Their coffee was really superb too. It was just a wonderful meal!
All too soon, our time together ended. The lady at the airport (who was still laughing about the escalator “incident” was nice enough to take a picture of us. With all the picture taking we had done, we forgot to get a picture together until then.
Thank you again, Shelley and Jeff, for being so gracious. It was SO MUCH FUN!
Next up: THE ZOO!!
Readers of Shelley’s blog already know that I ended this trip with a VISIT TO SHELLEY! We had so much fun. We fit together like peas and carrots (Forrest Gump ref.) I don’t think we look alike, but one time Shelley posted a picture of herself at 12 years old, and I was shocked at how much she looked like the 12 year old me.
Anyway, we ended our trip driving together back to the DFW Airport. I was ever so grateful that she was able to drive back with me. Its just a 3 hour drive, but you know how it is when you are unfamiliar with the roads–it seems like twice that time.
We got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, dropped off the rental car, and took the shuttle to the terminal. We had our choice of elevator or escalator, and Shelley asked “which one?” I said escalator–it was closer, and by now I’d been in one million airports and done this routine two million times. I had my giant 45 pound suitcase, my carry on suitcase, and my purse, all balanced precisely. As I got on the escalator, Shelley was saying something about “You know, I have kind of an Elf thing about escalators…” (insert: okay, I just googled Elf/escalator–that is hilarious!) and right then I lost my balance and dropped the big suitcase, which fell backwards onto the escalator steps! Which meant that it just kept clanging down one step at a time as the escalator continued to go up. With each clang, the distance between me and my big suitcase got further apart. I kept stepping down to try to get closer to it (while still balancing my carry on and my purse) and yelling at Shelley “don’t you dare photograph this,” but the escalator just KEPT ON GOING UP. Finally I knew my only hope was to abandon my carry on (which, the EVERY THREE MINUTE TSA ANNOUNCEMENTS warn you to NEVER do) and somehow hop over the HUGE suitcase to get below it and grab it. Shelley rescued my little carry on, and was laughing so hard she couldn’t have gotten a good picture if she had tried. I swear, it was like a Lucy and Ethel episode.
Come back soon for “Adventures with Shelley!”
This trip was a long one and was multi-layered! Its going to take several posts to tell you all about it. I thought I’d write about it like that Seinfeld episode–going backwards in time. Fun for me, anyway!
I arrived home to signs of spring! This has been a crazy weather year, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen blooms this early in my yard.
So I got home at 10:30 at night, knowing that my living room would be finished, and knowing the details of what would be done, but envisioning it is not the same thing as seeing it in person. I can’t say enough good things about J. the contractor. He took a sow’s ear of a house and turned it into a silk purse.
Noah has been at the trainer’s since Feb. 5! I went to visit him on those few days I was home after the Modesto trip, but the house was so torn up, I thought it would be easier for him (who am I kidding, it was easier for me….) to leave him there. He LOVES his time there. And they like him too. While he’s there he participates in the group classes on the weekends. When did I become the world’s laziest dog trainer???
The next morning I walked around the yard–good grief, things were blooming!!
As always, on return home, I went to the store, and the things I naturally want to stock up on are vegetables and dairy. I guess those are the two things that are hardest to get in while I am traveling. And, I went to the gym for my regular Sunday morning pre-church workout–it felt so good to get back to my regular exercise! Plus, it was my last chance to participate in Lori’s Heart Healthy Weekend!
Next episode: “The Escalator.”
Yes, that’s right. I am going out of town again. I am leaving this week on a trip to Haiti, which I am combining with a pleasure trip to visit a friend.
But what I want to write about was “how I ate” on my most recent trip to a quilt event. Yes, again. I am writing about how I eat when I travel. This time I tried a few new things, and so thought my experiences were worth talking about.
The event was the Ricky Tims Super Quilt Seminar. This is a very good, very organized event. The hours run long, but they put plenty of breaks between sessions–time to move around and yes, eat. For those of you who aren’t quilters, this is a “no sew” event. It is all demonstration and information, and you don’t have to bring your machine or supplies with you. I really liked that, since I usually end up making something I don’t like in most of the workshops I attend! Plus, easy peasy!
Ricky does a concert and inspirational talk on one of the evenings. He plays a grand piano, but I couldn’t get a good shot of that. This is one of his Indian flutes.
Alex Anderson and Pam Holland also presented informative and inspirational talks.
Back to our food discussion! That last trip I took out of town I ate a little too much sugar and wheat, and I didn’t like how I felt. So I left determined to not eat (much) sugar or wheat on this trip.
Here’s a few of the things I did. I took my own yogurt and granola with me. I took some of my low calorie baked goods with me for breakfasts. I took some of my favorite Quest protein bars. And I grabbed my bag of Skinny Pop popcorn for snacks in the evening.
I knew there was a Costco just down the road from the hotel I was staying in. So after I made sure there was a little fridge in the room, I headed over to Costco for a bag of my favorite salad mix–the Kale Superfoods salad. This salad still seems like a treat to me. While I was there, I got a box of their cherries. I was set! I had food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and would only eat out for dinner.
In the morning, I checked out the breakfast buffet, and got a few eggs to try (yuck–discarded.) I ate my own muffin and had some coffee. But look! I had a container for my salad!
Here’s how to pack your yogurt and granola for lunch, if you forgot your little container with the ice in the lid… (file under: where there’s a will, there’s a way.)
Every afternoon they had a 45 minute break about 3pm. Ahhh, just the right time for my coffee break! (and mandatory Quest bar.)
Now, in the interest of full disclosure on “how I eat when I travel,” let me fill in the blanks. The first night I had dinner with some old friends. I made a good choice for my dinner, and for whatever reason, they did not serve bread with dinner!! Weird. But good for me, because if it was there, I would have eaten it.
The second night the hotel had given me a free entree coupon for my favorite restaurant–Texas Roadhouse. And oh yes, I certainly did eat their bread. And the third night I went with some new friends to a local hamburger joint! That was really delicious. We split an order of garlic fries three ways, and the burger was really normal sized. I really enjoyed that meal.
Oh, and one day I had time to drive around the town a bit, and happened upon a See’s Candy store. Ruh roh. But I have a new plan. If I do go in, I only buy 2 pieces. So much better than going in and buying half a pound and then trying to NOT eat it all at once!
The event ended at 5:30 on Saturday night, and I thought that I would stop for dinner on the way home. But I decided that I really wanted to get home and could wait until then to eat. Only thing was, I needed to go to the bathroom. Okay, perhaps I could have found a bathroom somewhere besides in the Coldstone Creamery… That was probably my poorest decision all weekend. But I enjoyed my small serving, and even left a bit of it uneaten. And that was dinner.
So even though I did not stick completely with my plan of no sugar/no wheat, my food amounts and choices were quite reasonable, and I did not gain an ounce. I kept in mind some very good advice from my friend, Cammy:
Adaptability – It’s good to have a plan, but sometimes life interferes and the plan gets fuzzy. In the past I had an ‘all-or-nothing’ mindset and generally caved into the chaos. I still do that sometimes, but more often than not, I’ve learned to adjust and adapt and do the best I can in a given situation.
Back home, the little dogs were happy to see me. Speaking of adapting to a given situation, they seem to adjust quite easily to all the changes around here.
As long as they have a soft bed and a heater, they are happy.
And now I must end and pack my bags (and do a million other last minute things! Eek!) I will have lots of adventures to tell you about when I return!