Two Loops

Lately I’ve had a couple of thought loops running through my mind. I think it has something to do with turning 60. The loops do not intersect. It seems they run on separate tracks, although they are about the same topic.

The first loop is this:

I am 60 years old. I do not want to spend the rest of my life obsessing about food and weight and weight loss and weight gain and weight maintenance. I want to live the best possible life, the most meaningful spiritual life that I can. I want to enjoy a meal with friends, accept a treat when offered. I want to celebrate with food occasionally. I want to physically be able to serve God and serve others. I think often about Dallas Willard (the author I loved so much.) He lived the life I seek. “Dallas Willard would not obsess over food decisions like this,” I often think.

I am not talking about gaining weight back. But to eat this way, I need to be content to maintain at a higher weight range.

The second loop is this:

My back hurts. It would help if you lost some weight.

Yep, that’s the whole loop. While my back would not be healed by weight loss, I know for a fact that losing weight does decrease pain.

For a while, these two loops went through my mind on a daily basis. Each of them I acknowledge as truthful statements. But each of them requires that I make a decision and act on it. That has not exactly happened. One day I will follow one loop, and the next day I will follow the other. This, at least, keeps me maintaining my weight at this higher level.

You know, the truth is, that by “not making a decision to follow one loop or the other,” I actually have made a decision. For now, the truth is that I have made a decision to not actively pursue weight loss. To hold life a little less tightly. To live with a bit of pain and a little less angst. To still eat from a very healthy food template and to exercise on a regular basis. But to understand and agree that weight will not be lost this way. And for now, that’s okay.

The Most Disappointing Day

The big day had finally arrived! The day I was looking forward to almost more than any other day. The appliances would be delivered, and I was most of all excited about getting the new side by side refrigerator/freezer. With an ice maker and filtered water that would come out of the door!

The boys arrived with their delivery, and as I usually do, I tried to stay out of their way by working in my studio. When they said they were ready for me to transfer my food from my old refrigerator, I came around the corner to see my bright shiny new refrigerator. Oh, it was pretty! First I transferred the food from the refrigerator. Then I got to transferring the food from the freezer. What the what??? Because the unit was put in place against a wall, the freezer door would not open all the way. You all know how I love my batch cooking and baking and having my supply of individually portioned frozen foods at the ready. The freezer was the thing I was absolutely the most excited about. And I could hardly get into it. I said something to the delivery boys, and they nodded in sympathy and said, “yeah, that’s what happens when you put it against the wall,” like that was what a lot of people had to deal with. So I paid them and said good bye to my old refrigerator (which, by the way, there was basically nothing wrong with, which compounded my feeling of misery “what have I done?”)

I waited for J. the contractor to return from lunch, and sent a quick text to Shelley “I’m right to be upset, right?” And I told poor J. as he walked in the door “I am so unhappy.” 

Long story short, I called the local appliance store, where the owner reassured me, “come on in, we’ll make this right.” I did go in, and all that will fit in my space is a very plain freezer on bottom type. No fancy water in the door. He will install an ice maker in there, which, I’m not sure how much ice I need, since I usually keep one tray for about a month…

It all made me sad and sorry for myself. It just proves that I still have a small kitchen. Adding to that was that it wasn’t much of a change from my old fridge. Why was I spending this much money??

And then I did what I always do. “Think about those less fortunate than you.” “I don’t want to think about those people.” “How silly to be upset over a new freezer in a new kitchen. How spoiled are you?” All these thoughts and more swirled in my head.

I talked to J. about a different little issue in the bathroom. “I know,” he said. And he explained how he would fix it, and then said “and there’s no extra charge for that.” That made me laugh so hard. It started a crack in my pity party.

And then I did think about my friends in Haiti. How Pastor Gilbert LOVES ice cream. So the first time we went to Haiti, we bought some ice cream and brought it back and put it in his freezer. And how the next day, it was soup, because, yeah, they don’t have electricity all the time. And that’s just the way it is.

And then I thought about a line my pastor said on Sunday that had made me laugh at the time, and here it was–application for me. He was talking about how God had rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and when things got a little rough in the wilderness, they whined, “we should go back. They had better fish there.” It made me laugh Sunday, but it made me laugh even more at myself today.

I am thinking tonight about all the things I am so grateful for. Shelley has held my hand via text almost all the way through this. J. the contractor is always patient and kind and does beautiful work. MLG has helped in several of the moving heavy objects kind of things, and in fact is coming tomorrow to help set the very heavy sink.

Shelley says I have “short-timer’s syndrome,” and I think she’s right. I’m so tired of wandering around looking for stuff, and tired of having to go to the bathtub to wash my hands or brush my teeth. Tonight the little dogs had to wait half an hour for their dinner while I looked and looked for their dog food bowls. But you know, in the light of all that’s truly important in this world… no words necessary.



A Gazillion Calories in a Single Day

Isn’t that a song or book title?? Anyway, that’s what Christmas day felt like. I decided early in the day that that was the way it was going to be. It was very fun, but I still have to work at not having guilty feelings or negative thoughts about eating whatever I want. I did only eat a small dinner, since I was pretty much not hungry from all the other treats I’d been eating. And by the time I drove home that night, I was SOOO ready to start my regular healthy eating the next day. I made a plate of goodies for my contractor and that pretty much cleared the house of Christmas treats.

Yesterday, I went back to my normal eating habits and logged all my food in Lose It. I ate every 3 or 4 hours, and made sure I had food that I enjoyed.

The thing is, its become more and more clear to me, that it is my INTENTION to eat healthily and stay as fit as possible. I have a very clear vision of what I want my aging life to be. I also have a very clear vision of what I do NOT want my life to be. Its been a while, but its still very clear in my mind how I felt every day when I weighed a hundred pounds more than I do now. I can imagine how that old body would feel with 9 years of aging on it.

So onward into the new year. I’m sure there will be lots of new (and old) advice and hopes for starting a newer, healthier life. I guess my wish would be for everyone to think clearly about living a healthier life, instead of a life at a certain weight or wearing a certain dress size or looking a certain way. None of those things has anything to do with a good life.

A Good Weekend

It was such a good weekend. Had very little to do with food or weight, but thought I’d share. I have designated Saturday as my housecleaning day. (Its a new thing I’m trying out. The goal is that I won’t feel guilty EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK that I’m not doing housework.) But I had something else in mind for Saturday morning, so luckily I got busy and did a bunch of work on Friday.

Saturday I started in on a quilt project. I had made some large blocks a while ago that I just didn’t like very much. And I had thought about cutting them up and restructuring them. And then I saw a tiny little picture that gave me an idea. So Saturday morning I started cutting into those blocks. And putting them back together with tiny little strips of fabric to create crosses. Here’s the result (still unfinished, but I LOVE!)


And then Sunday was the day for my quilt show reception. I was absolutely sure that no one would come. So sure that, even though I went and bought food for the reception (had a little obsession over that too–why should I buy stuff to put out that is too tempting for me. Decided on apple slices and blueberries, and some rice crackers) I never put the food out!!

So people started trickling in, and my mom and my sister completely surprised me by showing up all the way from the Bay Area! A nice amount of friends came, and it was very fun to share my past year’s work with them. Most of them were very surprised at the volume of quilts I had produced, and all were very complimentary about the quilts and their message. It really was very nice.

So here’s a picture of me that my sister snapped. It actually shows that my jeans are too big now–YAY!


That’s all for now. I’m off to work on more quilts. And maybe a little rug hooking and some knitting. Have to rest up from that busy weekend LOL.

An Alternate Universe

Who likes science fiction?  I used to like reading Ray Bradbury, and I loved the first of C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy.  It taught me that there were possibly other ways of seeing God besides the pedantic ways I had grown up knowing Him.

If you don’t like science fiction, you will have to have a really good imagination to even conceive of what I am going to try to describe.  Because I can’t really truly conceive of a world like this myself.

What if, in our world, bumps and bubbles, and wrinkles and extra skin, and dare I say FAT  were thought to be desirable?  What happened that made our description of human beauty so narrowly defined?  After all, humans are the ones who worked very hard to create these breeds of dogs that are considered beautiful and desirable by many people.

Extra thin:

Extra wrinkled:

Extra fat:

More wrinkles:

And extra short legs–I mean, extra cute:

It is almost painful to read “weight loss blogs” any more.  Perfectly normal, beautiful, functional woman degrading themselves, spending endless hours obsessing over an impossible to achieve “standard of beauty,” spending what amounts to years of their lives being unhappy and depressed about themselves.  Because they are not a certain shape.  It is not because they aren’t whole and functional people.  Some of these women are wives and mothers (world’s most important job,) marathon runners, weight lifters, swimmers, and artists.  Unbelievable, remarkable women.

And before you think I am pointing the finger at other people, I’m talking to myself too.  I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about this the past few months.  Especially since I changed the header on my blog to be about “living a whole and healthy life,” instead of just being about “weight loss and life.”

I am NOT in weight loss mode right now.  Not even in the same country.  Yet, every single day I think about it a great deal.  I think about how I “should” be losing weight, or how I liked how I looked a few pounds ago.  And then I think about how I shouldn’t be thinking about that.

When I swim and even when I walk, I feel so good and strong (aside from the knee.)  I love how energetic and slim I feel (is that a feeling??)  I am happy with the way I spend my time right now.  I am putting more energy into my art (quilting,) and I am working on The Bridge, our child sponsorship program.  Alleviating hunger in the world, even in a small way, is so important to me (wrote about it here.)  I am happy with my daily schedule for the most part.  I am even happier with how I am keeping my house up.  So why would so much of my thought life be spent on this stupid weight issue?

I don’t have an answer for me or for you.  A couple of things that might work–the “acting as if” thing–in other words, I act as if I am okay with my current weight.  I wear shorts, even  in public, and my summer uniform has been a variety of sleeveless teeshirts.  The thought “I’m too fat to swim now” flits through my head quite often, but I load up the bag and head to the gym anyway.

Another thing that might help is the “what you say becomes your reality,” that I have read recently on someone’s blog.  In other words, I try not to use degrading words (even to myself) to describe my physical body.

People, we are more than physical beings.  No matter how you believe, you can’t change that.  We are more than body.  We have a spirit that is infinitely more valuable than the vessel that contains it. Thank goodness.

And one last note to “women of a certain age.”  Who came up with that term?  I love it!  Anyway, as we age, we are ALL going to retain weight around the middle.  We are.  We Are.  WE ARE.  I don’t know why.  When I get an audience with God and I have run out of the important questions, that is the first one I am going to ask.  I’ll report back to you.  In the meantime, will you try to make peace with that fact?  Please?  And yes.  I’m still working on that one myself.

(edited to add:  if you can’t relate to my doggie illustration, please continue on to the comments.  Karen’s description of a rhino on a treadmill is PRICELESS!)

New Old Thoughts

First, my excuses.

This guy is one reason I haven’t posted for a while.

That’s Monk, sitting on top of the box that is his ‘stair’ to get on my lap when I sit in the big chair in the evening.  He doesn’t ask much, just a little lap time at night.  How can I resist, especially since I LIKE sitting in the big chair at night!

For proof, here he is this morning, perfectly content to sit in ‘his’ chair.

The other reason for my absence is this!

Yes, the sheep rug is finished!!!!!  Cambria Pines Rug Hooking Camp starts Sunday, and I decided to make a concerted effort to finish the rug.  I really didn’t think I would finish, but I decided to make this week all about the rug hooking. No quilting, no knitting (until evening chair time!)

Its not a balanced way to live, but it was fun!  I got up in the morning, read a few blogs, and started right in on the rug hooking,  which was conveniently set up next to my computer.  Since I was skipping my morning reading, I listened to well over 12 hours of Dallas Willard lecturing on his book “The Divine Conspiracy,” on Youtube!  Who knew?  What a great resource, and for free.  I have paid a lot of money to buy DVD’s of presentations like this.

In between hooking, I started dying some angora and cashmere sweaters to use for rug hooking.  This is something I have not seen rug hookers use regularly, and I think it might be something that other rug hookers will enjoy, so I wanted to have some to sell at camp this week (they have a student sale on Tuesday afternoon.)  Here is the sample I started with the angora.  It has a little softer look than the traditional wool that is used.  These little circles are a traditional rug hooking pattern called “cats paws.”  They are rather addicting!

So that’s it.  Its actually been a relaxing and refreshing week.  In addition, I have thought much about the direction of this blog.  You can see that I changed the byline.  I don’t think the blog will change that much.  Just my intention.  Which eventually might change the direction of my writing a bit.

I had a great visit with my best friend last week.  When she comes down to visit her parents, we usually try to sneak in one day to spend doing the things we like!  We met in Folsom, shared a great dinner (so fun to share meals with friends!)  and spent the evening doing ‘show and tell’ of all our latest projects.  The next morning we walked over to the Starbuck’s for our coffee, and then headed up the hill to Placerville to visit a couple of quilt shops and a yarn shop!  We ended our visit with a GREAT piece of apple pie a la mode.  We did NOT share the pie LOL.

My friend mentioned that I do not snore any more.  That, and my perfect blood pressure of 112/71 are reasons to continue on this healthy life.  I look forward to sharing more about that with you all in the days to come.

Here’s a couple new recipes I’ve come up with.  This first is a raspberry coconut cake.  I wanted something that was a bit decadent, but still on the healthy side.  This fit the bill nicely.  As you can see, it is almost too moist.  I think that’s because of the frozen raspberries.  I might make it again, and just use less almond milk.

And this is more of an ‘assemblage’ than a recipe, but man, it was tasty!  Sauteed the snow peas in a pan sprayed with pam, and then added a bit of sesame oil, soy sauce, crushed garlic, and orange marmelade, along with the pre-cooked shrimp. Yum yum!  Gonna write this one as a recipe just so I won’t forget it!

Over and out.  I’ll try to check in one more time before heading to Cambria on Sunday!

Talking Back

Sorry for the absence.  One thing you can say about me is that I’m consistently inconsistent…  Last week was one of those weeks that I really try to avoid.  Over-filled with too many activities.  It wasn’t really my fault, and it wasn’t really anybody else’s fault.  Just a convergence of events that could not be changed or delayed.  In short, I met with three realtors, and then chose one to list my dad’s house.  Vicky was out of town for a week, so my little job was a little bigger.  The pastor from Haiti (where we have our child sponsorship program) was in town, and we met with him (in person for the first time!) to work on some of the details of the program.  I had scheduled a lunch out with a friend that I hadn’t seen for several months.  And, I was scheduled to sing at the Ladie’s Tea on Saturday!  Egad!   But you know what?  I made it through, and I had some real food victories along the way.

But first, I wanted to share some of the great comments I received on the last entry.  Sometimes I think blogging is so weird.  I blab on and on forever, and then some of you are so kind as to make pertinent comments, and on my best days, I will reply to those.  But when life gets so hectic, the comments just sit there, and that is the end of the conversations.   “blah blah blah blah blah” I go. and you reply,  “oh, well have you thought of blah blah?”  splat.  the end.  Don’t you think that’s weird?

ANYWAY, some of those comments were really really helpful to me over the past few days.  So thank you!  Sharon said simply “Do the next right thing.”  Okay, I can do that.  Lori talked about “the line that you cross between being accepting and complacent. I think with complacency comes weight gain. Accepting doesn’t mean you stop trying, but just accepting that where you are right this minute is okay. Sure, it may not be quite where you want to be, but it is not a reflection on the person you are.”  Yes, of course.  I hadn’t quite thought of it that way.  PJ  suggested “keep it simple. quality. really satifying visually and texturally” in regards to my food choices. Yes.  That was something I could really relate to.  DebraSY just said “RRAAaaar!  Dig in with your heels and fight back!” That was something that I really appreciated hearing, especially from Debra.  And Karen left a note about being in a similar muddle, which made me click over to her blog, where she had written an excellent post about practicing both acceptance and improvement.  Now that is an excellent thought!  A little unrelated, but it made me very happy, was Caron’s note that she recommends my homemade yogurt instructions to people who are interested. I appreciate so much all of the comments people leave, so I feel a little rude for only listing these.  Just know that I love all of them!

I had quite a few challenging food “situations” in the past few days, and I’ve been so very happy in how I’ve handled them.  The best one was the ladie’s tea.  I was totally stressing out over NOT wanting to eat the food there, but worrying that I would feel pressured to eat it, more by myself than others.  I knew if I sat down at one of the fancy tables I would eat.  So I went in the kitchen area where they were just starting to prepare all the plates of fancy little foods, and I asked if they needed help.  For once they said yes.  I was so happy helping out, arranging the food, and not at all tempted to eat it.  And then they left me to arrange the dessert tiers all by myself!  I put out about 250 little dessert tidbits on those plates, and I did not even lick my fingers.  Cause I knew if I licked my fingers I would take a few home for later LOL.  If you’re interested, here is a link to the song that I sang.  Its a beautiful song by JJ Heller “What Love Really Means.”  And then I went straight from the tea to our meeting with Pastor Gilbert!  It all went really well, but when I left that meeting, I knew that all the stressful things from the week were over and done with.  I came home, put on my shorts, and sat in my chair with the two little dogs on my lap for hours!  Lovely.


Eat Your Fruits and Veggies…and Other Stuff

I recently re-subscribed to the Nutrition Action Healthletter.  To thank me, they sent me a nifty little booklet with a rating system for fruits and veggies, and a few other foods.  Interesting.  Guess what vegetable was at the top of their list (rating fiber, potassium, vitamin C, Lutein, and vitamin K.)  Kale!  I gotta try that stuff again!  Spinach was right below it, and guess what!  Canned pumpkin was way up there at the top of the list!  Romaine lettuce had a surprisingly high score–above butternut squash and tomatoes and asparagus.  And believe it or not, a potato with skin was above my beloved beets!

Then on the fruit list, guava was far and away the highest scorer (scoring fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin C, and carotenoids.)  Never had one.  Guess which one was second.  Watermelon!  Wow.  I be eating a little more watermelon this summer.  Plus, it only has 80 calories per two cups diced.  Orange, strawberries, mango (my latest love) and pineapple were all high on the list.  They were all above the mighty apple.  Hmmm.  Oh, and blueberries were farther down the list. Raspberries and blackberries had a considerable higher score than blueberries.  All this just served to remind me to stock up on a variety of fruits and vegetables, and to try to get more of them into my daily food choices, especially the vegetables.

About the same time I checked Georgie’s blog, and she had a most excellent article on ‘losing weight on a vegetarian diet.‘  But it was just a very balanced overall view of the best way to eat.  And she had that reminder in there to have fruits and vegetables filling half your plate!  Well, I’m not there yet.  But I’m trying.  This week I’ve had apple, orange, mango, strawberries, and pear.  On the veggie side, I’ve had green beans, asparagus, artichoke, brussel sprouts, beets, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots.

On to other stuff.  Well, truth is, not much other stuff to report.  I’ve had a very uneven week of eating, starting with the ‘super bowl of dog shows’ last week.  One day, I eat just ‘perfect,’ and the next I overeat a bit.  I do not like it when I overeat.  Sunday I took a quick trip to the bay area to visit my mom.  And of course I ate too much.  But that I expect.  I did visit a farmer’s market, and paid $6/pound(???) for some brussel sprouts.  Good grief people.  Good luck on that farm.  Personally, I do not think that is sustainable.  They were good though.  Of course, the trouble with farmer’s markets is THE OTHER STUFF.  I also got a giant chocolate chip cookie, and some kettle corn, which I shared with my mom.

On to good news.  I am continuing to be very consistently active.  I am very happy with that.  Getting to the gym 3X/week to work out on the weights, and if there is time, I do a little bit on the stationary bike.  Working out consistently, I have been able to increase some of the weights I am using.

The other day I was grousing about how I had overeaten the day before, and that famous line from “City Slickers” came back to me–“today is a do over.”  I don’t have to get stuck in that mode of overeating and making poor choices.  I can just start from today and get it right.  I think that is a key to continuing on a healthy life of good food and exercise.  It made me feel better, anyway.

I have been doing a lot of quilting, and having fun blogging about it.  I’ve also been knitting more than usual, thanks to Shelley’s inspiration!

And now, I have to get a going, because it is ‘sewing day,’ and I am going to stop at the gym before I head over to join my friends for a day of sewing and quilting together.