Just wanted to check in with my blogmies!  Things are a little better in Debbyland.  Had a great day with my Dad yesterday.  Took him to see an Independent Living/Assisted Living Place.  He is in love with it almost!  I know there is a good illustration in this, but that will have to wait for another day.  He and his wife had never seen or heard of any place like this–their only frame of reference was dreary depressing nursing homes–so even though we described how nice these places can be, they just couldn’t even make the connection in their minds.

Through all this ‘trauma’ in my life, my eating has been surprisingly on target.  It makes me wonder if I have arrived at a new and improved relationship with food, or if it has more to do with not having PMS and not having the crazy fluctuations in hormones.  Of course, Charlie’s problem with the cookies might nullify that theory…that is one funny blogger, BTW.  Check him out.  

Exercise went out the window for the last two weeks.  But much to the doggie’s relief, I have started walking/running with them again.  It just felt great to be outside today, and if I wouldn’t wait til the last minute, we could have gone more than the two miles we did.

One of my favorite lunchtime treats is a big batch of roasted brussel sprouts (thanks, Vickie!) with a little garlic salt and a bit of parmesan cheese on them.  Well, Dietgirl raved about this recipe for ‘The best broccoli of your life‘ that takes it one step further–adds lemon zest, real garlic, and lemon juice to the parmesan.  It just sounds fantastic, and I can hardly wait to get some broccoli on my way home from church Sunday to try it.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

I Am Not In Control

The thought behind this post was actually started by another blogger–imagine that?

Well, most of you know I am dealing with my dad and his wife’s health and aging issues, and trying to do what’s best for them, and help them as much as I can.  His wife’s health is deteriorating rapidly, and that is what makes it the most difficult.  She is his wife.  Not my mother, or even my ‘stepmother.’  We have never had a close relationship.  Anyways, any which way, it is a stressful situation.  When it first started, my mind was just swirling with all the things that needed to be done, getting them to accept the help they need, worrying about their safety, trying to stay on top of everything…

And one day as I drove to the Bay Area (2 1/2-3 hour drive,) I was thinking about Roni, and how stressed out she was about buying a new house.  And my mind flashed back to when I bought my house, and how stressful ‘they’ make it.  Deadlines, escrow, etc.  And I remember one day so clearly deciding, ‘they’ are not in charge of my life.’  God is in charge of my life.  If God wants me to have this house, there is NOTHING ‘they’ can do to prevent it.  And if God does not want me to have it, so be it.  If he wants me to live in a rental for the rest of this life, what does that matter in light of eternity?

And of course, finally it came to me, why would I not apply that same principle to this situation?  Why would I not think that God is in control of this situation?  Why would I not trust that He would care for these two people who have served him their whole lives?  And suddenly, I was able to let go of trying to hold everything together, trying to keep on top of everything, trying to push through the ‘best’ way to get things done.  The unproductive ‘swirling’ of my mind was gone.  The stress was gone!

But I am a human being.  A finite person.  And sometimes I try to take back the control, which of course doesn’t work. But causes me a great deal of stress.  John Ortberg is one of my favorite authors (and he is a great speaker too.)  He wrote a book called Faith and Doubt, and the byline says ‘What if the most important word is the one in the middle?’  And in the last chapter of this book he addresses this issue of control.  He relates it to a trapeze artist, saying,“There are three moves in the “leap of faith”:  letting go of the trapeze–whatever your trapeze is, waiting, and then being caught.  Letting go, waiting, being caught.”  So, we are prone to hold on, to doubt.  We don’t like to wait.     But letting go is the answer.  And so I let go of the control again.  And for a while, at least, peace invades my body and my mind and my soul.


On my Verse of the Week page, I have listed some of my favorite verses dealing with this topic.  John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, and you can watch his sermons online.  If you click on that link, you will notice that on 2/8/09 he spoke on Living Beyond Anxiety.  That is an excellent talk along these same lines.  If any of you would like to read his book on Faith and Doubt, I would be willing to send it to you.  Just leave a comment and I will contact you.

The Kindness of Strangers

Just a short post to say a heartfelt thank you to all my good friends in blogland.  Your kindness is so touching and was so helpful to me the past two days.  And of course, you aren’t really strangers.  This morning I was reading quite a few blogs, and even some new ones, and it is amazing to me how we can share more openly and honestly with people we have never met in person than with people we see face to face.  But I think that because we DO share so openly, we come to honestly care about one another.  I have come to know and love many of you, and would miss you terribly if you were to disappear.  And it really meant a lot to me that you cared about me. Thank you.

Some of your comments reminded me of something I had almost forgotten, and I wanted to mention it as a plug for rescuing dogs.  I did not get Lainie directly from a rescue organization.  But she was a rescue dog nonetheless.  About twelve years ago I saw the advertisement in the newspaper for two adult female miniature wirehaired dachshunds, and went to town to see them.  Well, it turns out, the people had gotten Lainie to be a backyard breeder dog, and then I guess they found out it was more work than they wanted to bother with.  When I brought her home, she had absolutely no idea that it could be a good thing to be loved by a person.  She was only interested in running around and barking at everything in the most shrill bark I had ever heard.  Oh my, I thought, what have I got myself into?  But it didn’t take her long to learn that a human lap was a very nice place to sit, and that it really wasn’t all that necessary to bark at everything. And like I said before, she was the friendliest, funniest, most loving dog to all my friends that visited.  So I only tell you this to say that rescuing dogs is definitely worthwhile.  It usually doesn’t take as long to rehab an adult as it does to train and housebreak a puppy.  And, it made me feel a little better that Lainie really did have a great life compared to what it could have been.

Here is a picture of me and and my consolation doggie, Sophie, this morning.  She is a rescue dachshund too.  Good grief, I must know all of you pretty well, if I am willing to snap a picture of me sans make up and in my bathrobe.




There is a beautiful line in the movie ‘Out of Africa.’  Near the end of the movie, when it seems her world is falling apart, Karen Blixen says something to the effect ‘When I think I can’t stand it anymore, I think of one more thing happening, and then I know I will be able to bear it.’  Of course, as a writer, she says it more beautifully.  But I am too sad to watch a sad movie to get the quote right today.  

My Lainie died this morning. I had just come back last night from an exhausting two days of helping my dad and his wife, and worrying/thinking about what needs to be done to help them, and Lainie wasn’t feeling good.  I got up early this morning and was ready and dressed to leave for the vet’s, and 10 minutes before I was going to leave, she collapsed, and I was able to hold her until she died.  She was a good little girl.   Everyone else loved her almost more than me!  She was part of the team affectionately dubbed ‘the bad little girls’ by my friend, after she and Celie got up on the dining room table and ate a blueberry coffeecake–twice!  Lainie was 13 years old, and she had a very good life.  I am glad that I let her sleep on the pillow next to me WHENEVER she wanted to.

Most of you know I am a dog lover from way back.  No matter how long they live, it is not long enough for us, is it?  Dogs give unconditional love, and never hold a grudge.  I think that’s why it’s especially hard to lose them.  But the joy they bring is definitely worth the pain of losing them.  I will end with my most favorite quote about love.

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.  But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change.  It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable… The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.     C. S. Lewis

Nothin’ Much

Sorry I haven’t posted for a while.  And I just don’t have much to say right now.  But thought I should say I am still around.  And doing very well with my food intake, and just okay on the exercise front.  

Did you all know we had a ‘big’ snowstorm out here?  I was at work, and had a lot of other stuff on my mind on the way home, and ended up driving into a snowstorm, and having to go the long way around to get home Friday night.  Needless to say, I did not work Saturday.  Since then just wind and rain.

Okay, here’s one kind of interesting thing.  I checked out my food intake for an entire day on Fitday, and put into their little calculator that I wanted to lose 10 pounds in 15 weeks, and they told me how many calories per day I needed to cut in order to lose that.  Then I went over to Nutritiondata.com to see how many calories someone like me can eat to maintain.  And basically, I found out that if I would eat 22 points per day, I should be right in line to do that (lose 10 pounds in 15 weeks.)

It is hard to learn something new…changing from counting points to counting calories.  Changing from writing what I eat in a little notebook in my kitchen to entering food eaten in a computer.  Changing from high fiber, low fat to higher protein and a little more fat.  I spent a lot of time learning to eat the way I’ve learned to eat.  And I am tweaking it here and there, definitely.  But for now, I will write in my little paper journal.  I will still think in points. I am making some adjustments to how I count the points.  If I have a big serving of vegetables, I will count that .  Because, after all, they do have calories. I am trying to make sure I eat protein at every meal, and even to include it in snacks if possible.  I am adding in a little oil now and then, instead of avoiding it like the plague.

Just doing the best I can, for now.  

Ha–I had big plans to write a post about how I got over the stress I was feeling.  But then it came back….

Further Adventures in Weight Maintenance

I’m just barely hanging on to my weight below that number that I don’t want to see.  I don’t even want to say it or write it out loud, in case you hadn’t noticed…

But remember in my last post I mentioned going out with a friend for lunch this week?  Well yesterday was the day.  And guess what I did?  I called my friend and asked if she wanted me to pack a lunch for us.  And she was thrilled with the offer.  So I packed a nice  healthy and delicious 5 point lunch for the two of us.  And she brought each of us 2 one point cookies.  And some carrots to munch on to distract our mouths.  What a difference from the days of going out for a big burger, and then stopping at Coldstone for an ice cream before heading home.  It’s not hard to do at all (packing a lunch,) and in the end it saves you a lot of time.  We got in more shopping, and got home much earlier than we did in the past.  Here’s the best part (to me.)  We ended the day at Costco, where I got some amazing fruit, and some great dates.  And completely ignored the bakery section.   Before we left  I had been thinking a nice frozen yogurt would be a good treat.  But it is hard to find frozen yogurt places nowadays.  And as we stood in line at Costco, I saw their sign for frozen yogurt!  So I asked my friend if she wanted to split one.  It was so good, and a nice way to end the day.  But wait a minute, here is the really good part.  As we ate it, we wondered about the points value.  Because really, it tasted a little too good.  So last night right before I went to bed, I came back to the computer to see if they had the nutritionals on COSTCO frozen yogurt.  Guess what?  3 points for 1/2 of a Costco yogurt!  YAYYAYYAYYAY!!!

Here’s the other part of the last two days’ adventure.  Every year, for the past 20 years, a few of my neighbors and I have gotten together for a potluck dinner and to watch the Westminster KC Dog Show.  Now, one neighbor is health conscious and brings the salad.  Good so far.  I am always in charge of desserts.  Nowadays that is good also.  Last night I brought a delicious apple crisp, 3 points for one serving, and topped it with a little Dreyers Slow churned vanilla ice cream, 1 point.  Also good.  Okay,  here’s the not-so-good part.  The lady that hosts it is an 80-something year old 6 foot 4 inch former army nurse that I used to work with when I first moved up here, and I am actually intimidated by her.  Enough so that it is not worth it to me to refuse to eat her delicious but ‘pricey’ goulash.  So, two nights of a pretty hefty serving of goulash.  My friend thought it was pretty funny that I admitted to being intimidated by her.  But here’s another good thing.  She lives about a mile and a half from me, and it is a gentle downhill slope almost the whole way there, so both nights I ran over there!  And I really ran most of the way.  Not jogged, or shuffled.  RAN!!!  It sure was fun.  My knees stopped hurting.  And really, I was never out of breath or had that thing where your chest hurts because you are breathing so hard.

Too tired both days to do the Shred.  

And I for sure am not successful all the time.  All you have to do is look at my weigh in page to see the truth about what I eat.  But I kind of think it doesn’t help you much to write about the bad stuff I ate, so I don’t do that as much.  Like, for example, the other day I was writing thank you notes (left over from Christmas) and was writing one to my BF’s daughter-in-law to thank her for the cookies, and the next thing you know, I was digging those cookies out of the freezer and eating two of them.  Okay, sorry.  Don’t go eat a cookie.  They just don’t satisfy you at all.

I guess all this is just part of real life.  Fitting in the exercise where you can on busy days.  Forgiving yourself for not being the super -athlete you envisioned at the beginning of the day.  Making more good food choices than bad.  Making ‘good food choices’ that you actually enjoy.  Keeping your house stocked with that good stuff.  Getting up the next morning ready to start all over making good enjoyable food choices, and letting exercise be a priority in a relatively free day.

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

“I think my whole life up until now might have been preparing me for this moment.”   Those were the words of Captain Sullenberger describing his successful emergency landing on the Hudson River.  I got a little teary watching the 60 Minutes interview with this cool captain.  It was an amazing story of someone doing the very best he could, using everything he had learned up to this point in his life, to ultimately change the destinies of several hundred people.  Someone making the best of a very bad situation.

I don’t want to suggest that my little problem is to be compared to a crash landing in the Hudson River, or that my solution is to be compared to the brilliance of Captain Sullenberger.  But this just happens to be what I was thinking about right before I watched the 60 Minutes interview.  I haven’t written for a while about the stress with trying to help my dad and his wife, mostly because  I found a way to deal with the stress (that’s a topic for another entry.)  But after this last trip Friday and Saturday, which was succesful mostly, I found myself REALLY tired, and eating too much and again worrying about it all disappearing.  But now, 24 hours later, it seems I have a little perspective on the problem, and even have done quite a few things that I think ‘made the best of a bad situation.’  So, ever the teacher, I thought I’d share them with you.

First, on the way home from my dad’s, I called my brother, and confessed, ‘I can’t stop eating.’  He responded immediately, ‘neither can I.’  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to hear that someone who has ‘stood the test of time,’ who has maintained a normal weight and stayed physically fit his whole life, also struggles sometimes.  It makes me hopeful that I can continue on.  That I don’t need to give up.

But this morning I woke up feeling tired and fat, and like a failure.  I actually wanted to wear workout clothes to church!  But I made myself pick out a dress and some pretty high heels to wear.  I might not look as good as I did a few pounds ago, but I will fight the feeling of being a failure and feeling embarrassed about how I look.  Just the fact that I can walk in those silly high heels is a victory !  But I was still thinking about all the food I wanted to eat.  I talked to a friend at church about where we were going to go eat next week, and she said well we could go to BJ’s, they have salad there.  And I said, ‘yeah, but that’s not what I want there.  I want a burger and a pizookie!’

So I came home, and strategized.  I had a great cup of Peet’s coffee with me, and decided to have a lunch that would go with the coffee:  sliced apples, a lite string cheese, some walnut halves, and a piece of my favorite zucchini bread.  And planned to make a great burger for my dinner.  I keep 4 oz. ground sirloin patties in my freezer for when I really want a burger.  And I use a whole grain lite english muffin for the bun.  I made some baked sweet potato fries, which are better than any restaurant fries you can have, and I even grilled some asparagus, which I thought might have been overkill, but it made it seem like a really big meal.  I really like being able to eat for a while, if you know what I mean.

And now, for now, the crisis has been averted.  I know I can choose to eat healthy foods.  I can choose to eat normal amounts of food.  I can choose to wait until the next meal to eat.  And I can choose to exercise.  I’m off to do the Shred.  It’s not as much exercise as I had hoped to do today, but it is 20 minutes more than nothing!

“Just a Little Light Dessert”

Yesterday wasn’t a regular workday.  I had a meeting for half the day, and so was able to go out for dinner with some work friends, which was very nice.  And very unusual for me because I commute so far, and so I really don’t socialize much with them.  Several of them are weight watchers, too, so that was nice.  The food was absolutely delicious, and beautifully presented, too.  I chose a Thai beef salad, which was a relatively good choice.  Just veggies and mango and of course the beef.  The dressing seemed to be pretty light.

So after everyone had eaten, there was some dessert discussion.  I had seen the case of desserts when I first came in and they looked amazing.  But I wasn’t going to order one.  To be honest, I was hoping a couple of girls would suggest ordering a dessert and sharing, and that is exactly what happened.  So one of my friends who has battled a weight problem as long as I’ve known her, and has just started W.W., ordered the chocolate mousse.  And she handed me a spoonful.  When I tasted it, I was surprised at how dense and rich and DELICIOUS it was.  I knew by the taste of it that it was basically dark chocolate, sugar, eggs, and cream or butter. And I commented to her that it was the essence of what great chocolate was supposed to be.  And she said to me, so innocently and enthusiastically, ‘its what I always order on a cruise, just a little light dessert.”  And I think that she  really thought that.  That because it came in a dish like pudding, and had no crust or other extra stuff with it, that it was an innocent, low-calorie, ‘light’ dessert choice.  I knew it wasn’t.

So I came home and looked up the nutritionals on a similar mousse.  670 CALORIES, 48 FAT GRAMS.

I had another friend (also a W.W.) and we were discussing going out to eat vs. going to get a small Cold Stone ice cream.  And she asked how many points in the Cold Stone.  A small cup has 16 points.  And she gasped and said, oh no, I’d rather eat lunch.  And I said that whenever I ate out, I always knew it was going to be at least 16 points.  She gasped again.  And I said, well, we can go, and you can order that salad you like, and we can pretend it is not 16 points.

 Knowledge is power.

 Its one thing to not care what or how much you eat.  That’s how I used to eat.  I never checked a label because I didn’t care.  I allowed myself to eat whatever and whenever I wanted, as long as it tasted good.  But to be ‘trying’ to lose weight and to arbitrarily assign ‘light’ or ‘low calorie’ to foods because that’s what you think they should be or want them to be, well, that’s just silly.