Amazon Shipping

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holidays are supposed to be enjoyed....

...not create a mountain of stress and crazy running around.  Well, I suppose it is the embodiment of both this time of year.  I have been running around like a crazy person (getting NOTHING done on my book, which I had hoped to have at least the rough draft done by the end of the year...), and I am still not done with my shopping.  I still have my parents gifts to buy and a gift for A (my ex), and A's friend L who will be joining us for Christmas, as she would be alone on Christmas otherwise...and no one should be alone on big holidays like Christmas.  I am hoping my check comes tomorrow so I can get it in the bank tomorrow and have my money by Thursday as I want to finish my shopping (and food shopping for Christmas dinner too) by Thursday so that I can enjoy the last few days before Christmas -baking cookies, enjoying time with my kids & family, and all that jazz--I have had too many years where I am still trying to get the last few things the day before Christmas--not fun.  A gave me my gift early, a haircut from a great hair stylist, which I got this morning.  Mainly I got it early because last Friday I was going to go get my haircut and A stopped me, as it had already been arranged, and I said that I really needed it before Christmas because I was starting to look like a brown, stringy mop had affixed itself to my head.  Honestly, this is one of the best hair cuts I have ever had, so I am very grateful for A's gift, as the local discount cuts place could never give me a haircut this good!!  I have perfectly straight, very fine hair that does not hold a style at all (so a short bob style is usually the way I go--since I was like 4 years old), and this hair cut IS a style, and not a bob!!  I am beginning to think you get what you pay for, even when it comes to hair cuts with impossible hair.

I also received a beautiful pair of LL Bean winter boots in the mail from my best friend, and the timing could not have been more perfect as it has been a snowy, slushy weather mess the past two days, and my old sneakers would not have been able to handle it, so I would have been walking around with wet and cold feet otherwise.  Can I just say I have the most amazing best friend in the whole world?  She and I have known each other for 20 years (we were freshmen in college together).  We had a our first apartment together, we were the maids of honor at each others weddings,  she stood by me through the adoption process that created my family, and I stood by her through the fertility attempts which sadly have still left her childless, and we helped each other through our divorces together (mine after 7 years, hers after 15 years).  Though we have lived over 200 miles apart for over 13 years now, we still talk at least once a week, usually more like 4-5 time a week.  We still understand each other, and have been able to support and nurture our friendship even as we each have gone through multiple perspective, religious, and values shifting throughout the last 20 years (and have not always  or even often, been on the same page with a lot of things).  So, during this holiday season, I am reminded again how grateful I am for a having such an amazing, loyal and devoted friend in my life, who truly is a part of my day to day life despite the distance and the time between actually seeing each other.  I am excited to have her come visit for a few days between Christmas and new years.

Tonight I will be picking out a tree (I know I am WAY late this year in getting the tree, I usually put it up between the 10th and 15th, but last week was crazy busy and then we were away this weekended visiting A's family for Christmas (can I just say, building a good platonic friendship with my ex has been a great thing, as the kids do not be pulled around or miss out on celebrating with both sides of their family, and I also love my in-laws, and it is good to still have them in our lives).  I hope to get he tree up and decorated by tomorrow evening.  I will keep it up all 12 days of Christmas (which start Christmas day and end on the Feast of the Epiphany (Jan 6)), so it is not like it will be gone after next week.  I had started to put lights up on the house a couple of weeks ago, but had trouble with getting the lights to light, and I have not gotten back to it.  So I am looking forward to having fun the next couple of nights with preparing the house for Christmas with the kids.

Well, I have much to do, in case I do not get a chance to blog again before Christmas, I wanted to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.  May this advent season and the coming days of Christmas fill you with joy, love, cheer, and a spirit of giving, and may you ring in the New Year in safety, love, and an abundance of positive energy.  Oh, and if something more dramatic than an overall energetic shift occurs on this years Winter Solstice, the day that the Mayan calendar ends and the sun and earth line up with the dark center of the Milky Way, may you find yourself in the right place at the right time to move forward in peace, justice, and a sense of connection to your fellow human beings and spirit beings.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Old Habits die hard...

Well, at least old-habits-that-you-had-tried-to-walk-away-from,-thought-you-were-done-with-and-then-fell-back-into die hard...

So, as my last post indicated, I had slipped back-wards again into some poor eating choices and less than stellar exercise choices.  That post was like 12 days ago with a major Feasting holiday in there, and though some of my motivation and power of choice has returned, I am still eating weird and not exercising enough.  Thanksgiving--like Christmas and my birthday--are what I call "free days."

Free days are days when you celebrate and enjoy the feasting, forget about external restrictions, and savor & enjoy the food that you choose to put into your body (instead of just wolfing down as much as possible--so conscious feasting).  This is different from "throwing your health to the wind" or "cheating on your diet" or "unconsciously overeating and seeing how much you can cram in before you are in too much pain to actually breathe".  It does mean that you embrace the reasons for the celebration and feasting, that you do not deny yourself of time honored food or foods lovingly prepared by those who care about you, but that you take smaller portions of everything (still filling the plate) and you savor the goodness, the love, the tastiness, and you celebrate it all.  And yes, you may end up full to bursting if you are not careful to take small enough portions, but it is a rare day, a day set aside for something other than watching your is a day to embrace family and friends, and feast in all Thankfulness (I did finally do a Thanksgiving Gratitude list, which can be found clicking this link).  So that day I do not count...

But there have been 11 other days between my last post and now that I DO count as having been days where I have not been as healthy as I would like to be.  It has been up and down, many mixed days, with green smoothies giving a boost of healthful energy on that same day that I enjoy a piece of left-over cake filled with ice cream, or chowing on thanksgiving leftovers in all of their glory for lunch on the same day I make a spinach and shrimp stir-fry for dinner, or spending 6 hours super cleaning a few rooms of the house (like spring cleaning (even mopping UNDER the big braided rug and the couch!) but not able to open the windows to air things out because it is too cold outside), the vegging on the couch and watching 3 back to back Sci-fi movies until 2 am.  So an interesting mix of good, healthy choices and poor, less than Healthy choices.  So, yes, my newer, healthier habits are still hanging on and part of my life, strong even though somewhat in a fledgling stage.  but my old, less healthy habits are still hanging on, hanging around--usually rearing their heads later int eh evening.  The more my brain and body feel tires, run down, or the stresses of the day have built to a certain point--that is when the old habits, the lure of the old "familiar", the lack of self-love, kicks in...

So, it is a process.  It is getting easier, most days, to make healthy choices, to make choices that ACTUALLY make my body, mind, and spirit feel better, feel stronger and healthier.  But there is still that part of me that seeks out those things (which for me are "bad" foods, lack of activity, and shutting off my brain with mundane crap) that are "old familiars", that were companions of times when I felt self-loathing, and needed to drown it out.  I do not need those old habits, they no longer serve me, nor do they serve my goals and desires for my life.  So I continue this slow Transformation process, letting go of old habits as I can, and building new ones.  It is not an overnight journey to a new me, it is not the destination that is important, it is this amazing step, by step transformation, where I am learning who I am, and what I can contribute to life.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mal-adaptive coping skills-OR-Eating crap makes you feel like crap

Okay,  so....

the past week or so, I have not been eating "the good stuff", and i do not feel good...
hmm... correlation?!?!

--instead of green smoothies packed with vegetable micro-nutrients and hard boiled eggs laid by happy, cage free chickens, I have been eating gas station grab and go breakfast sandwiches for breakfast.
--instead of tuna fish with mayo and pickles on Kale leaves, I have been snagging "tornados" (little tortilla roll-ups stuffed with things like "steak and cheese" or "sausage and peppers") for lunch
--instead of making a kale, red cabbage, broccoli and shrimp stir fry with brown rice for dinner, I have tossed a frozen pizza in the oven and served it with canned peaches one night; another night was frozen chicken nuggets and frozen french fries with canned spinach, instead of the a turkey and spinach pie.

So, not only do I feel extra tired this week, as I also have not done ANY walking this week, I also feel irritable, grumpy, and just plain out of sorts.

While some of those feelings have to do with some life challenges that are creating friction in my spirit and with little annoyances of ongoing themes that I just have to find a way to either change my attitude about or change the system that causes the annoyances (if you can't change it, you need to find a way to just accept it), some of those feelings are caused (or at least amplified) by the poorer health choices I have been making this week.

I had not realized how much my diet and basic lifestyle habits had been changing, or the effect it had, as things changed slowly over the past couple of months since I had started exercising regularly and eating more health consciously.  With just a few days of crap eating and lack of intentionally focused movement, I have found that my general emotional character is on the downward slope and my ability to focus on what I need to do to deal with the challenges before me is diminished.  So it becomes a cycle--some additional pressures of life added to the normal day to day stress of life prompts me to seek out "comfort" foods and reduced my motivation to get my body moving.  In turn the lack of exercise and the poor nutritional quality of the food compounded with the chemical components of processed foods leads to me feeling more tires and burdened, and thus increases the desire to just return to old methods of feeling secure--like being a couch potato and eating crappy foods (odd how those things are associated with "comfort" when they really bring anything BUT comfort in the long run).

It boils down to mal-adaptive coping skills.  Those things we learned through trial and error during the sad, scary, or traumatic times in our lives that in those specific instances alleviated some of the overwhelming anxiety and emotions of that time, which became habits for us even past those extreme experiences.  When you first stuffed your mouth with potato chips or a doughnut while being overwhelmed with fear or anger and knew that expressing it in that moment would have been detrimental to you, it was a moment of survival--you NEEDED to find a way to dissipate those feelings.  Or that terror you felt as a small child and you cried out and your parents gave you sweets to help you feel better while they were grappling with things you could not understand.

The endorphin rush that came with begin so full to bursting that made the pain and anguish not feel so strongly; the serotonin rush that came after downing a cake while despairing from a great loss; the numb, protected feeling that the buzz from an alcoholic drink gave you making you feel less of an painful emotion; the way you could escape from the hard realities of your life by getting lost in a TV program or movie; the distraction from your emotional turmoil that happened when you accidentally shut your finger in a drawer making the physical pain a focus and lessening the emotional pain; the release of various brain chemicals that you got from winning $50 on a scratch off ticket when you were so extremely stressed out about how you were going to have gas to get your baby to the doctors office...all of these experiences are natural things that we have happened upon that momentarily help us feel better from the pain, stress, and fears we have experienced in our lives.

And when they happen once in a while, are not a problem.  But when we begin to use (usually in an unconscious or sub-conscious way) these as a way to cope with the trials in our lives, a way to disappear from the pain and stress that life often brings, that is when these "momentary" and often unplanned experiences went from being a way to survive a momentary physical, mental or emotional overwhelming to a mal-adaptive practice that gets in the way of solving the problems that are creating the overwhelming situations in life.  Yes, they are a type of coping with life, and may in the past have been the only one a particular person could do at a particular time to make it through a particular trauma or period of life. But when they become the default coping mechanism, they end up getting in the way.  Instead of leading to survival and thriving, they lead to self-destruction.

So, reminding myself that eating crappy food and NOT exercising, are, for me, mal-adaptive coping skills, because when the additional stress of certain things gets stronger, I find myself choosing (sub-consciously for the most part, as I had planned out my meals for the week and they did NOT include crap, but just gravitated towards the crap in a less than decisive and more "autopilot"manner) those things which I had chosen in the past that bring momentary reduction of stress.  It solves no problem, in fact, it creates problems because now the same stressors are still there and have not been dealt with, AND I am MORE tired, have less motivation, and on top of the grumpiness I was already feeling, are the feelings of "Duh!!  I know not to eat that and I know exercise makes me feel better".

So, right now, for the rest of this day and for tomorrow too, I commit to eating food that actually makes my body and mind function better, which overall will make me feel more capable and less stressed, so that I can figure out a way to strike a balance with a particular situation.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

just touching base

I realized I have not posted in over a week.  I need to get back to posting 3-5 times a week.  But for right now, I just want to touch base.  I have not been walking much over the past week, mainly due ot the weather, but in part due to a VERY low energy level.  Usually walking or moving around helps build my energy level up, but this past week, it has not helped, so instead of making it 2+ miles a day, I am lucky if I can get my energy up enough to do 1/2 a mile.  So while I have tried, and pushed, and have gone more to weather protected places (stores, malls, etc...) to walk, I find that my energy level has not been rising.  I am looking into getting a YMCA membership as with winter coming, it would be good to have an indoor place to exercise.

Part of it I think is the grieving process, and though I have not been very conscious of how my friend's passing has been impacting me, I think it is a behind the scene process that is bringing my energy levels lower, and my overall mood lower.  Grief is not a bad thing, it is a part of life, and a sign of how amazingly a person impacted your life.  So it is just a process, and it is okay.  I just forgot how heavy even sub-conscious grief can feel.

Still plugging along with my journey towards health, though I have been less than stellar about food choices lately. Halloween candy and my birthday may have something to do with that.  Today is day 1 of a new plan of eating that I am committing to.  If I stay committed to it, I will share it.  resuming my spark people food tracking...using Nov 1st as a new start date.

Transformation is an ongoing, baby step process for me...every step forward is good, and steps backwards are not a real problem as long as I do not stop striving to move forward...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life, death, health, wealth...

A week and a half ago I received some news that helped shift some of my ideas, challenged other ideas, created new ideas, and is slowly but surely transforming the way I have been approaching life, people, health, and spirituality.

It is amazing to me how one event can profoundly impact my own thoughts, feelings, and actions.

On October 13 one of the most amazing women I have ever known climbed the mountain from this world to the next.  My dear friend Liz Adams suffered from a pulmonary embolism on the previous Thursday and was declared brain dead on that Saturday.  One of the most shocking things about this is that Liz was an extremely active (mountain climbing, sea kayaking, scuba diving, etc...) person, who was the most emotionally stable and optimistic person that I have ever met, and who had a very healthy lifestyle in all areas, and ALWAYS had for as long as I had known her, which was the past 15 years.  

Usually when a younger person passes away due to a medical reason, that person has either had a history of some sort of medical issue, or had had an unhealthy or partially unhealthy lifestyle to has contributed to the sudden death.  But Liz had neither issue.  i am sure it was probably either a fluke or some unknown underlying condition, but still it was such a shock.  

I was glad to be able to attend one of the memorial services held for her, as I was not sure if there would be one close enough, as she lived in Alaska most recently, and her family is from Ohio, so both places were having a service.  Luckily, the school she worked at in Massachusetts decided to also hold one for her friends and colleagues from the Northeastern US, which is where she spent about 10 years of her life between college and her early post college years.  So I arranged for my mother to keep the kids overnight, and headed out to MA to celebrate her life, laugh and cry with old friends who loved her as much as I did, and connect with other friends whom I have neglected over the past few years due to life being busy, and not making those friendship a priority.

So health, not just diet and exercise, but the health of my connections with other people, has come to the forefront for me this past week.  I am renewing my commitment to becoming healthier, in many ways, to sticking to my diet and exercise lifestyle changes and making them permanent  rather than a means to an end.  Committing myself also to being more socially healthy, not letting the tyranny of the urgent in life get in the way of the important connections with a wide range of people, like those many, many amazing people who have a piece of my heart, many of whom I have known for 15-20 years.  Moving my mind and my actions towards finding a way to increase the wealth of my physical self, my social self, my spiritual self, and my financial self.  Recommitting to finding more streams of income so that I can afford to drive out and visit friends, and maybe someday have enough stable income through working from home, that moving back out towards Boston would be feasible.  So I am working on writing more on both the assigned article sites and on sites like Yahoo Contributors (of which I have put a link on the side bar in case others want to write for pay as well), and starting my Hub Pages, which I have yet to get off the ground.

May you, dear reader, enjoy all of the wonders that today brings, and give love to those whom are on your heart today.  None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Busy, full life....

One of the most amazing things about life is the ebb and flow of experiences   It is wonderful to have change with consistency, and a return to old good habits wile adding in new ones.

So, I have been good (not great) at walking a minimum of 2 miles 5 days a week (with up to four miles on occasion .  My body is definitely adjusting to this after doing it for nearly six weeks.  I find I finish 2 miles in 30-45 minutes now, as opposed to it taking 60-75 minutes like it did when I first restarted.  The muscles in my legs are getting stronger again, and I am finally able to walk at a pace that challenges my cardiovascular system, which is a very good thing.  It is annoying in some ways to find the right balance, because to actually work my heart and lungs, I push harder, and my knees end up hurting...a lot.  So it is a hard trade off, as I can walk slower and longer (3-4 miles in 60-75 minutes) or I can push harder and have a brisker, more heart pumping walk, but my knees start to buckle after only 2 miles.  I do know from an MRI done 8 years ago when I dislocated my right knee cap, that I have very little cartilage in my knees, so they can not take a lot of impact.  I am considering, especially with cold weather fast approaching (it snowed at home today!!), I am looking into getting a YMCA membership, which will allow me to do weights room workouts, elliptical machines, which greatly reduces the knee strain, and time in the pool for both aqua-aerobics and swimming.  It is mainly a matter of cost right now.

As for establishing better eating habits, I can honestly say, that bit by bit, my eating habits are changing in a more healthy and positive direction.  This slow change results in much, much better chances for a true lifestyle change, as I also change not just what and when I am eating, I am changing my relationship with food.  It is not a diet, it is a lifestyle change.  For the first time, I think that is really sinking in to a deeper level exactly what that means.  It is said so often, that we forget to actually think about what it means to change our lifestyle.  A true change in health needs to come not just from changing the habits of the outside, but the way of thinking on the inside.  So as I concentrate on shifting our diet, bit by bit, towards whole foods, and more veggies and fruit making up the bulk of our meals (ensuring raw ones are a daily addition), I find that it is easier than I thought, and that I enjoy what I eat more, appreciating it for the gift it gives.

Some things we chose this week vs our previous choices:
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit cut up in it vs sugar filled fruit flavored yogurt
Brown rice vs white rice
Steamed fish versus breaded fried fish
steamed fresh broccoli vs canned green bean
lean cube steak vs hamburgers
100% whole wheat sandwich thins vs split top Wheat bread
Munching on Raw Kale leaves vs crackers or chips
Peeled fresh grapefruit, plain vs banana bread (or even bananas)
Spending time with friends doing fun activities vs sitting at home because money seems too tight

Does that mean that EVERY choice I have made this week has been the healthier one, of course not.  Since starting this blog I have learned, and continue to learn each day, that I am not good with quick changes, and that trying to make drastic sweeping changes, even if I can hold on for a couple of months, do not have a lasting effect.  For a while I got down on myself, as I watched other people go on a radical diet, lose a bunch of weight, exercise like crazy people, and look and feel great.  Most of them, though, within a couple of years were back to their old habits, having gained back the weight they lost and more.  The people I have seen transform to healthier bodies and healthier minds have been the people who have done so slowly, consistently making small changes that become part of their daily life without it being something they have to constantly think about and do, it becomes part of their being.

So as I throw out all these ideas on this blog, all these different things I want to try out, going from one idea to another, as there are many great ideas out there, many great methods, and a LOT of anecdotal evidence to support various schools of thought.  But I am learning, and as I learn I share with you all, that certain types of transformation take place more slowly, letting the changes strip away all of the complex layers that lead to, not only the less desirable end result that you are trying to change, but to the habits and the thought patterns that reinforced those habits.  It is not as easy as "you ate more than you burned off".  While that is, in its simplest form, the digested truth to weight gain, the mechanisms, biology, physiology  psychology, and sociology that lead to that fact is much more complex and interwoven.  Picking it apart, even if you do not identify exactly what it is you are picking apart, is vital to creating lasting change.  For me, right now, that means listening to myself, what I am comfortable with, what i am not, what makes me feel good, what makes me feel crappy--and reaching for the better feeling, for the more healthy choices of thought and sustenance.  So that is where I am in this journey today....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Finding a "healthy lifestyle change" buddy

Okay,  So, if you have been following this blog for very long, you know that  I have had many fits and starts on this road to transforming my physical body.  I will do well for a while and then drop back to older, bad habits, and then push forward again, and back again, over and over....  The end result of which is still progress in the right direction (over 30 pounds lighter with much better eating/exercise habits than I had when I first started out--a year and a half ago).

My most recent push forward has been successful in that I am walking 2 to 4 miles every weekday (except for 2) in the past month.  So my body and mind have started to adjust to this as a new normal, and I don't feel right (physically or mentally) if I don't do it, so it is well on its way to becoming a true, ingrained habit.

My eating habits, while greatly improved from when I began this blog--in that I:

1)   use almost exclusively whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads, etc...) as opposed to more processed, less fiber rich, less nutritious grains;

2)I ensure that I get AT LEAST 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, usually more, with the majority of it fresh, some frozen and a little canned; I eat at least one to two servings of a leafy green vegetable (usually Kale, Cabbage, or Chard--I am partial to the more flavorful, leathery leaves I guess) each day.

3)  I also have greatly reduced the amount of processed, prepackaged food that I serve at home. yes the kids still eat ready to eat cereal and granola bars, and we do instant mashed potatoes, box mac & cheese, and even those skillet meals occasionally  But for the most part, I try to focus our grocery shopping  and meal prep on whole foods, the fresher the better.  While I can't seem to get the kids to eat the kale int eh stir fry, they eat most of the other veggies and fish (or shrimp or chicken) that is in the stir fry, they prefer the brown rice to white rice, and they see fruit as a great snack choice.

4) now that I am out of the house all day, most days I pack a lunch that is protein and raw veggie/raw fruit based

So, I have developed some very good habits, many of which have become a true lifestyle change, which is the goal.  However, I am still around 100 pounds from my goal weight,need to get my blood sugar under better control (the walking is helping with that quite a bit, but it is still not as low or as consistent as it really needs to be for my body to go from being over-stressed by my blood sugar to it moving towards a state of healing and good health).

Why, you may ask, am I still having trouble getting the weight off?  Well, the biggest answer that I can provide, is that while I may be developing good habits, I still have a lot of bad ones.  Emotional eating is a huge bad habit of mine, and while I have curbed a lot of my poor eating habits, the compulsive drive to eat when under stress is still one that I deal with on a daily basis--almost exclusively in the evening after the kids go to bed.  I tried to make a rule for myself that I could not eat after 9pm, aside from tea or MAYBE a piece of fruit or a small amount of plain yogurt IF I really was HUNGRY not just wanting to eat.  I used to not be a late night snacker.  Ten years ago, I NEVER ate in my bedroom, and I rarely had the desire to eat after 9pm, and would usually have a cup of herbal tea and read a book.    While I was heavy (and an overeater) I was also a lot healthier, much more socially active (amazing how quality social interaction feeds your soul so you don't feel the compulsive need to fill that void with food), and was not a single mom raising two kids with special needs--which adds its own, special kind of stress to life.

So I have been trying to figure out a way to combat some of this compulsion to overeat at night.  It s not like a gorge on junk food--no last night I ate left over roast chicken, a pear, an orange, an apple, a plum, 3 pieces of celery with cream cheese spread, a handful of saltine crackers, a glass of milk, and some raisins (all after 9pm).  The night before, I had a glass of water and a plum after 9pm.  So, what was the difference between two--one that prompted a normal, healthy snack time, and the other that prompted a continuous stream of munching on healthy stuff.   Well, Saturday, some newer friends came over for dinner, their son played with my sons, I had great grown up conversation, a nice dinner and four hours really connecting with these two people.  So, that social connection void felt fulfilled (we even talked weight loss stuff and recipes and walking and zumba).  Sunday I took the kids to visit my ex, played Wii in the family room, had dinner at the halfway house, and headed home late, put the kids to bed, and sat down to read.  So some social activity, but some stress added (not that there was not stress added the day before when I had to prepare my house to welcome guests who I really had only recently met--just a different kind of stress).

So I have decided that one of the things that MAY help curb some of my compulsive overeating or my emotional eating (sometimes it is hard to tell which has more power emotions or compulsion) in the evenings, is to have a partner in this weight loss journey.  The woman who I had over Saturday night with her husband and son is also on  a weight-loss journey (and has lost far more that I have), and has reached a bit of a plateau.  So I think if she and I can buddy up, plan meals, hold each other accountable, and help to fulfill that social connection void for each other, we may both have greater success.  It will be a challenge as they live nearly 2 hours from where I do, but with the age of internet, phones, skype and such, hopefully having a somewhat medium distance buddy towards better health, will help move my progress along more quickly and successfully.  This is quite a journey, and you never know where each path will lead until you start walking on it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

kick starting a buffalo

Okay, so I have not updated much, life, as usual, has been busy.

I have continued to walk every weekday (minus this past Tuesday which was pouring rain, I really need to get a rain coat and an extra pair of shoes so that I can do that), and have gotten in at least 2 miles a day (sometimes as many as 4 miles!).  And let me tell you, there are days that I had to drag myself to the pond against great internal opposition (when I feel sad, I don't like to do anything, and I have had a couple of days that I felt exceptionally emotionally heavy this week).  BUT I made myself go, made myself honor the decision and commitment I made to myself to walk at least 2 miles every day--even if it a plodding, unhappy two miles!!  And you know, walking helps me feel better most of the time.  Out of the 13 days since I started walking (when School started 2 weeks ago), I have had only one weekday that I did not walk, and only one drag-myself-there-and-make-myself-honor-my-commitment-to-myself day that walking did not make me feel markedly better (it did make me feel somewhat better, but sometimes that nagging dark cloud still hands around even when you have walked and gotten your blood flowing).  So I am proud of myself that I have been true to my decision, to stand firm in my decision to walk each day.

As for food tracking, I did well, and then I piddled out some.  I will continue to try to make it a daily habit.  It is more time consuming, and this week, I have been using most of my library hours actually writing articles for pay (which I should be doing right now as I have three assignments that need to be done by tomorrow!), and so have not taken the time to fill out my spark people food tracker or even the exercise tracker.  That I will do today, and will write my articles tonight after the kids are in bed.  I definitely eat more  consciously when tracking food than I do when I have not tracked it in a couple of days.  Conscious eating is important.

This week has been busy.  Monday after school the boys and I picked up chicken feed and took it to my chickens over at my father's house (they were slated to move to my house as soon as the coop is done, which I had planned for this weekend).  However when we went to the coop, a horrible sight met us.  A predator or predators had gotten into the coop and killed almost all of the chickens (we have had a little trouble with predators (weasels, chicken hawks, dogs, etc...) through the spring and summer, but each time it was only 1 or 2 chickens and we were able to find where the problem was and take action.  But no, this time the predator(s) (we suspect bobcats for a variety of reasons) took out BOTH roosters, four of my big hens, and 16 of the young pullets and cockerels (2-3 month old chickens that hatched this spring).  That left one one little pullet and two of the older hens, all quite traumatized.    So Monday evening saw me building a secure makeshift chicken pen at my house and moving the chickens there, and I will definitely be completing the secure, permanent coop this weekend.

So finally, last by not least, I have not had a lot of success in making the scale go down, even with better eating and walking.  So in talking to a variety of people, I decided I do need to do something to maybe kick-start the weight loss process.  I am not into fad diets and such, I have tried a number of them over the years, but without a permanent change in lifestyle.  now that I am making a permanent change in lifestyle though, I am feel discouraged that in nearly 3 weeks, the scale has barely moved.  For a person with so much excess weight, I should be losing easily to begin with.  It is probably an issue related to insulin production, metabolic process, emotional stress (which makes you hold on to weight), and other factors.  One of my sisters said that she and her husband had a wonderful experience with the 17 Day Diet.  It was very cleansing and after the first 5 days, she felt a million times better,and lost that last 5 pounds that had been nagging her, and her husband lost over 25 pounds.  So, as this buffalo of my weight seems to be just content and grazing slowly around the prairie, I have decided to give it a try.  I borrowed the book The 17 Day Diet from the library and as of today, have started on the first leg of the journey.  Hopefully if I can kickstart this buffalo, it will stampede away the blocks that have been limiting my ability to get the scale to come down, and then the healthy changes i am making will have a better chance to take hold.  So, yup trying a short diet to get the ball rolling.  I'll let you know how it goes...

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Walking daily has been a large success.  I have been able to walk over 3 miles each day this week.  I am not a fast walker, which has a lot to do with the discomfort my legs, knees, feet are feeling as I get back into a regular pattern of movement.  I would like to figure out something to do in addition that actually gets my heart and lungs being challenged, as the physical pain at this point does not allow me to push my cardiovascular system to a more challenging level.  I know that any walking is good for increasing health, and does stimulate the cardio-pulmonary system, but I would like to raise my heart-rate a bit more than I am able to.  So I think I am going to try to add in something more strenuous that does not overstress my feet and knees.  I had not realized how weak my legs have been over the past year or so.  But that is another step forward in the changes I am making, and another great goal, another thing to rejoice in as my legs get stronger and more able to increase speed in my walking.

I also realized that my readership dropped off dramatically as I got more depressed over this past year.  They say (yes the undefined "they") that when you are radiating love and light, truth and peace, wisdom and connection that people will be drawn to you, as those are high energies, building energies...and the opposite is also true that if you radiate pain and sadness, sorrow and worry, anger and division that people will fall away.  I see a dramatic drop in page views from over 1500 page views a month in February (the months before that) to around 400 page-views a month now in a steep downward shift month by month since March.  So to those who have continued to follow this blog, thank you for staying with me as I have gone through a difficult period, trying to find the path to transformation as life shifted in ways I did not expect.  And for those who are new readers, welcome, and thank you for joining on this journey towards a better life, a better sense of self, and healthier relationship with God, self, family, friends, strangers, and the global we, as well as better connection with the Powerful Consciousness that is the Divine Energy, with Mother Earth, with humanity, nature, and the cosmos.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Note as of September 9, 2012:
Food tracking on this blog format is very difficult.  So I have switched from using the page on this blog to doing my food tracking on Spark People.  My public page is and there is a link to food and exercise logs both near the top on the right hand side (a button) and at the VERY BOTTOM of the page, lower left hand corner.  So If you want to follow my actual food intake and see what I am doing right and what i am doing wrong, as well as my actual exercise tracked each day.

If the link above does not work try going to and typing truthfrees into the search box.   It should bring up a link to "Transformation" or to "Shared Trackers" for truthfrees, which is my spark people ID.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

walking and forming new habits

As I have started driving my son to his school an hour away as of this past Wednesday, I have free time during the day, as I have to stay in the area of his school in case he has a meltdown and needs to be picked up.  So I have returned to my old favorite walking track around a beautiful pond.  The three days ai have driven him this week I have also gone to the pond and walked at least 2 miles each day.  This WILL BE a daily habit, and hopefully as my legs get more used to it, it will be more miles in the same amount of time.

Right now it is painful for my right leg and foot (the left seems fine).  But my shoes are older, though I can't afford new ones right now.  I got a blister on the bottom of my foot, at the ball of my foot--which is really weird, I have never gotten a blister there before.  My heel spur is also acting up on the right foot, and my knee has been stiff and sore--but it is all the process of working out the kinks.  It is like when an old car sits for a few week--when you get it fixed and going again, there are some rust spots on things like the brakes and springs, so you have a lot more squeaks and such as everything gets cleaned off from daily use.  So I think my body is like that.  While I have done some exercise over the past few months, I have not done much sustained walking.   So my body is working out the kinks.

What is nice though, is that walking helps release the muscle knots in my legs, as those seem to be the muscles that knot up on me when I am stressed, and I have been stressed often over the past year.  This is one of the times that I do miss A, as A used to massage out some of the knots in my calves, which is harder to do yourself. Hopefully walking will help work out all of those kinks and keep them from returning.

As of today I am putting myself on a much better diet.  I went to the ophthalmologist yesterday and was there for an hour (longest eye appointment that I have had), and I found out that I have the beginnings of some issues with my eyes (aside from the usual nearsightedness that I have had since I was 9).  So it is far past time that I need to pay attention to my physical health and not let all of the other stresses of life bowl over this very important aspect of my life.  I am using spark people again to track my food and my exercise, which will hopefully help me have better control over what I eat as it tracks not only calories but also major and some minor nutrient amounts.  The exercise tracking will be motivating as it will show not only what I did, it will also show me how I am improving over time.  So, getting back to transforming my life from the physical aspect, as well as some other aspects that are just happening due to changes I have already have to make, will hopefully improve my mood, my abilities as a parent, my sense of self, my ability to contribute to the world,and maybe even my interpersonal relationships.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer, changes and Anger

So, this summer has not been very conducive to making regular posts or finding the time to reflect and report.  It has been a busy and stressful summer.  Coming up next week is the beginning of school for the kids, and a major change in my schedule for an unknown period of time.  I plan to use that unknown period of time, which afford me about 4 hours in the middle of the day while both kids are at school, and I am no where near my house (i will write more about that in my  family focused blog later this week).  So I plan to use that time to continue to write, as that will be necessary for income, AND to really focus on exercise.

I have realized more recently that all of the current stresses, responsibilities, and challenges in my life overwhelm my focus to get physically healthy.  This in turn creates many new challenges and does not allow me to clear my mind and my spirit to better handle all of the day to day challenges my life is currently filled with.  So it is a horrible cycle.  But I have finally created a problem for myself that no excuse I give myself will work for, I want THIS particular problem to be gone--as completely as I can get it out.  And that problem is ANGER.  I have been a short tempered, grumpy, ferocious person over the past couple of weeks.  AND I HATE IT.  I have always loved that I was a kind, gentle, forgiving, patient, and uber caring person.  And ANGER is bowling me over lately.    it confuses me, it affects the way I see the people in my life, it affects the way I react to challenges AND to joys, it makes me into a person that I can barely recognized.  I do not like feeling like an angry person.  I have often treated anger with food--between the endorphin rush, the serotonin release, and the psychological response to food, normally I could eat myself out of anger (rather than actually deal with such an unpleasant emotion).

That no longer works, and yes I have tried--I have been a bit of an eating machine the past few weeks.  other than gaining back about 8 pounds that I had lost earlier, it has done little to eradicate the grumpiness.  Though I am fairly good at hiding it, my children have noticed that I am more grumpy than usual, and they have found me less tolerant of crap than I normally am--especially int eh number of toys that have been shelved in the back room. If they treat their belongings in the wrong way (like BITING the gameboy, stuffed animal, or lego blocks or slamming controllers or stuffed animals into the floor (Gonzo's big issues--biting or slamming toys he is mad at)--both of which damage the electronics or tear stuffed animals, and are inappropriate responses to disappointment), the toy is taken and put away for a certain amount of time--from a few hours to a couple of weeks depending on various things.  They also have been spending more time than usual cooling off in their rooms when they throw a tantrum over frustration or disappointment, neither of which warrant a fit.  Normally I am good at redirecting, using the teaching moment, and helping to bring about an appropriate reaction to the issue at hand--which is a much better solution as it helps the kids learn the appropriate path to dealing with frustration and disappointment--with brain damage, it takes many, many MANY rounds (into the hundreds or repetition) to create new neurological pathways--so it is very important to work on the redirecting and reprocessing gently to nurture the formation of new pathways in how to deal with strong emotions.  So, lately I am failing at that, and resorting to separating the kids from what is bothering them and having them just have time to cool off and self sooth (which are good skills to gain too), which is fine, it gives them safe space to return to baseline using the tools that work for them currently--like listening to their music, having some time alone, snuggling with their favorite stuffies, reading/looking at a book, etc....  It just does not help them to build new pathways that help with their long term, executive functioning reactions to strong emotions.

The anger that I have been feeling has colored my reactions to myself, to my friendships, to my basic reactions to the challenges in my life.  I have drastically reduced how much I write to friends, as I am not sure how mu writing is coming across, as even when I am not cognizant of my anger, it appears to work its way into some of the way i word things, even if I am not angry or upset at a person, that general sens of grumpiness appears to come through in emails about totally benign topics that I do not feel strongly about.

So, one of my goals during those few hours i will have each day, is to really focus on moving my body--as that is the on thing that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that releases angry, grumpy feelings in a productive and useful way, and leaves me feeling better.  I do not like feeling angry and grumpy all the time.  that dislike of anger is more motivational and powerful for me than my weight, my size, general feelings of malaise and depression, frustration about a variety of issues, or anything else.  I do not want my children growing up with an angry parent, or even on that is just perpetually grumpy.  I do not like the lack of compassion for foolish people that tend to accompany my generalized grumpiness, nor the lack of forgiveness that goes along with lessened compassion.  I find that my tolerance for other people and for myself is greatly reduced as my anger increases, and i am more judgemental towards myself and others when there is that grumpiness rolling beneath the surface.  It makes me cynical and irritated.  Right now I am getting irritated by my own repetition in this post.  So I will end there and just say that this angry feeling is becoming a driving force in wanting to get more healthy--particularly eating better and exercising!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chugging along...

Sorry I have been so scant in my posts lately, life has been busy--between babysitting for three different families, working on the house, spending some quality time with my kids, doing so freelance writing, and trying to prepare for upcoming changes, life has been very full.

So upcoming transitions include all of the changes that the start of the school year brings.

Josiah's current plan is to attend the k-12 school that is part of the center where he did his special needs preschool and does his aquatic PT each week.  I think this will be a good fit and will be a good transition.  It does mean that I have to drive him, at least for the first couple months as his behavior plan calls for me to be able to pick him up within 15 minutes if he has a melt down that they can not turn around.  So I need to be nearby, and as home is over an hour from the school, the only way to do that is to drive him down and resume my former routine (which is a great thing) and drive him home.  This results in not being able to open the day care at this time, and needing to ramp up my writing and finding more assignments for writing so that I can retain an uber flexible schedule.

I have been preparing my mind for Gonzo's transition to a totally new school program, totally new teachers, routine, setting, everything.  That is a different ball of wax, that I will probably go into on the family blog at some point later this week.

Other stuff has been trying to implement the three habits that I am trying to form based on this post here.
1) No eating after 9:30pm--just herbal tea, or water.
2) Exercise--focused exercise--at least 45 minutes a day, EVERY day
3) In bed by midnight, strive for a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each day.
While there are days that I do well with them, I still am struggling to really make them a daily habit, ingrained in my mind as "normal" functioning.  Part of it is the stress that is overtaking my life--between car issues (my car has been out of commission since late July), financial issues (not making enough to meet basic required bills and expenses), and the emotional roller coaster that has been surrounding appropriate school placement for the kids (as well as many other things), my brain and body both tend to use whatever means possible to keep stress levels from destroying me, however, mal-adaptive coping skills--like overeating, insomnia, and lack of focus--have made changing my current habits more difficult.I just need to forgive myself for my shortcomings, recognize the reasons for them, throw away the idea of using the stress response as an excuse (without beating myself up for it), and grabbing on to my boot straps to pull myself up and keep moving forward.

The fair starts thsi week, and we are headed there on Thrusday.  I look forward to that very  much!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

cocooning and decision..

I know I have not posted in a while.  I have been doing a variety of things--Josiah's birthday was yesterday--six years old.  I will have to go over to Blessings Beyond Measure and write about it later.  If my computer can handle it.  the cooling fan has stopped working, so i have a limited amount of time, even with ice packs under the computer, that I can be on the computer before it gets dangerously hot and risks burning out the system.  So, being a freelance writer is challenging when I have only short periods I can be on, and the have to take 30-45 minutes to let it cool down before starting again.  Articles are taking far longer to do this way. So blogging (and emailing friends) has had to take a back seat as I have been trying to get assignments done.  I have also been dealing with many decision making processes in variety of areas, none of which has reached a definite action point yet, which is making me cocoon a bit and withdraw from unnecessary tasks while I focus on these decisions...

Things I have been doing in working towards transforming my life, the topic of this blog...

My three goals mentioned in my previous post have been slow to make into habits, so I am continuing on working on integrating them into my life so that I do not even have to think about them.  Then I can add in another layer of transformation.

I have been reading a couple of good books lately, as well as some not worth mentioning (at least they did not speak to me really at this time).  I have started re-reading Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron.  I read it a number of years ago, and in re-reading it I have found my thoughts, ideas, and understanding of life have shifted greatly over the past few years, so it is almost like reading it for the first time.  I am enjoying the content and ideals presented.  Reminding myself that I can only start from where I am, not where I want to be, in changing the way I interact with myself and with other people.  Being reminded that in order to show true compassion to others, I need to show compassion to myself, and from that letting go and moving past mistakes, I can forgive others their mistakes so that both I and they can move past them (if they decide to do so).

I am also reading The Tenth Insight by James Redfield.  It has been over 15 years since I first read The Celestine Prophecy, which I enjoyed greatly, but so much time as passed that I have forgotten the nine insights in that book.  So reading this sequel is taking some time as I have to draw on old memories.  It is good though, as these ideas remind me to see that everything happens for a reason, coincidences are messages to learn and grow from.

I'll mention other books in a later post.   I hope you all are well and enjoying the ongoing transformation taking place in your life every day, even in small ways...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I just keep reminding myself--

In order to change my life life, I need to change what I do...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Clean Slate...Baby Steps

Well, now that I have refocused this blog on the steps I am taking towards Transformation, I have done a lot of decision making about how to be more successful in creating lasting transformation in my life--true transformation that breaks out of ALL of the reasons that my life has gotten into the state it is.

So, rather than try to make a whole bunch of changes at one and trying to force life to make a quantum jump (which has been my most common approach to try since I began this blog), I am going to build slowly and carefully, and focus on approximately 3 habit changes at a time.  My life did not transform into the challenging beast it is today overnight, it was a long step by step process, unconscious though it may have been.  So it is going to take a conscious step by step process to enact the transformation that I wish to see in the positive direction.

So the three goals I am going to focus on first are:

1) No eating after 9:30pm--just herbal tea, or water.
2) Exercise--focused exercise--at least 45 minutes a day, EVERY day
3) In bed by midnight, strive for a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each day.

Once those three habits have become part of my life in a way that they no longer require a lot of work or focus to maintain (be a it a week, a month, or or 3 months), then I will figure out the next level of new habits that will move me closer to the transformation I wish to see in my life--all parts--physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

This week there is a very cool FREE series this week on the Healing with The Masters site about Informational Fitness, which I will be listening to.  It should be really great.  Below is the information and link to register to gain access to this great series.  You do not have to listen live, each program is available for play for 48 hours after each nightly live program.  So you can squeak it into your schedule as you need it:

Our newest FREE life changing program: TRANSFORMATIONAL FITNESS - Body ~ Shape ~ Space is STARTING SOON. Join us next week, for a unique, informative, and life changing FREE 6-Day Workshop: July 30 - August 4.

Isn't it time that you just plain felt better? Here is how...

This is your chance to experience a truly pain-free body... Imagine a body that is able to move with ease.

And for those that are physically fit continually experience injury-free fitness, and even take performance to a whole new level.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another post, changes coming...

I have been doing some revamping/reorganizing/rethinking--it has be a re- kind of week!!

This blog has gotten a bit out of hand with the variety of topics that I post on it, as I originally intended it for chronicling my journey towards better health and lower weight, and later changed that to the idea of focusing on my Life in Transformation.  Then I have added in a multitude of other day to day stuff, especially with the kids and school, as well as a number of reflective and somewhat Stream of Consciousness, less focused thoughts on various subjects or ideas.

So, I have decide to return to a couple of older blogs that I have not touched in years for the topics that are not directly related to the Life in Transformation process--of course everything is interconnected and contributes to the ever transforming nature of our lives--but things that focus more on the kids and my journey with them and their special needs, medical and school issues, and other child/adoption/special needs related material will now be posted on my old blog "Blessings Beyond Measure" which I started a few years ago, and dropped when life took its downward turn.  So I suppose it is apropos that I revitalize it now, as life is on a slow, but steady, upward climb. Currently it still only has old posts, as I have been spending time clearing any some info that had been on there when it was a  private blog, now that it will be a public blog, but within the next 24-48 hours, I begin posting all of my child/parenting related posts there.

As for the Mental Meandering type posts, I will be renewing an old blog under a slightly new name (because try as I might I have been unable to recall or get the log in information for the old blog).  The old blog was "Alabaster Camel's Meanderings" and the new one will be called "Alabaster's Mental Meanderings", the latter is where I will be posting my longer, thinking out loud types of posts about whatever idea, topic, or problem suits my fancy on a given day.

Hopefully by channeling this blog into three more distinct blogs, it will serve my readers better, and bring more clarity and succinctness to the three main topics that I have jumbled together so chaotically over the past few months:

Personal Transformation;
Family Related;
Stream of Consciousness 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Short post...

Quick update on summer school issues..

Josiah has been un-enrolled from his school and the ball is rolling to enroll him in the special needs school (a UCP-United Cerebral Palsy--School) where he had done both years of preschool and continues to do his Aquatic PT.  I am feeling much more at peace with this change, as many things concerned me about the other school during out 2 week trial there--including padded isolation rooms, increasing nightmares and sleep disturbance, and a fear of going to school, as well as their misunderstanding of the etiology of his issues.    but I will write about that in a different post.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer school & Pulmonary

So a quick update, mainly because I am short on time (I have to pick the kids up early from school for a second day in a row for a doctor's appointment).

So, summer school for the boys is off to a start.  Gonzalo is having an amazing summer so far.  He is in the same summer program with the same teacher that he had last year, and so far is doing beautifully.  I am so proud of him!!  HE has also been really good at home with me--amazingly helpful and obedient for the most part.

Josiah on the other hand, is slowly adjusting to the new, more supportive, structured and much more strict school.  I think in the end it will really help him learn to contain himself, and will help him stay calm.  As I look at his behavior, I am appalled, I wish I had pulled him out of the school up here when I was thinking about it, and either focused on home-school or getting him into a more appropriate program, as I think some of his behaviors and reactions are done out of habit--it was expected and not handled correctly for so long, that he has to unlearn all that he earned before he can really learn what is expected of him. I am hoping that this school program will work out well, as it really focuses on changing behavior and helping a child learn how to be more successful, both socially and academically.  He did have a fairly good day on Tuesday, so i am hoping that as the 6 weeks progress, it will be good.  He will stay in the same program for next school year as well, so these 6 weeks will really be preparing him for his normal school year.

Yesterday, Josiah had a pulmonary appointment.  He did great--he was well behaved at the doctors office (even though he had had a rough day at school prior to going to the doctor--but he slept on the way there for an hour, so that may have helped).  He did very well with his breathing test--got the rocket to the moon for the first time every!!  So his lungs are getting stronger!!  He will be going off his inhaled steroid for the summer (back on in the last week of August), to see how he handles it, as he has not needed additional steroids like prednisone in over a year!!).  She also upped his Zyrtec by another 1/2 teaspoon and changed it from as needed to daily--as he has done beautifully on the Zyrtec, but she is still seeing many signs of generalized allergy reaction.  So, overall a very successful and uplifting appointment.

After the appointment we ran around doing errands, picking up food and stuff for a picnic (cold cuts, chips, etc...), and trying to find a gas station (I hate driving round and round in cities that I am not really familiar with looking for gas stations while my car gas light has been on for too long, and my transmission began overheating again--blahhh--revved my stress up).  After getting gas and finding the playground (we looked for one with a splash pad, but alas I had not written down the address when I looked it up--so we ended up just going to the playground.  It was a hot but the kids had fun.  A couple of the slide s were too hot to even touch, so too hot to slide down, but the kids had fun and we all got sweaty, hot and tired.  Then we went to a different part of this large park (drove around to get there and it took me forever, due to unfamiliarity with the roads there--sheesh!!).  We were meeting a friend of mine for a quick hello and picnic.  It was hot so we set up under a tree, but I forgot the blanket so we just sat down int he grass in the shade.  The kids were tired.  But they munched their picnic, and  ran around.  I chatted a bit with my friend, though chatting is difficult with the kids as they require a lot of attention and intervention--especially as when Josiah is tired he can get over the top very quickly.  We did toss a ball around a bit, and then got going.  Josiah was in a mood and had some minor melt downs and bad language, and tried to scratch and bite me--I tried to diffuse it with humor, tickles, snuggles, whispers, and ignoring--when kept things at bay but not real comfortable.  So mos of my energy was just taken with keeping Josiah from having an all out tantrum.

As we were leaving I was encouraging Josiah to walk to the car, and he was saying he did not want to--during this exchange a complete stranger came up and started talking to Josiah, touching him and such and asking if he was okay.  As he did not take the hint to leave, I picked up Josiah and put him on my shoulders to carry him out (which I had been about to do when the man approached).  I asked Gonz to grab the walker, and the man asked G his name, when G said it, the man told him to speak up, so Gonz did and the man then accused him of being belligerent).  I just put myself between him and my kids and shooed my kids towards the car and away from creepy guy.  What is is about people that makes them think it is okay to just approach a disabled child and then to be rude and weird to both the kids and the parent.  Josiah tends to draw a lot of attention, and sometimes it is okay, and other times--it is just extremely uncomfortable and creepy.  Sometimes I am not sure how to handle that, as usually peopel don't get creepy.  Usually I just let them say hi and we continue on.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Family Visit & Fun

So, my sister and her husband and two boys have been up visiting this week.  We only see them about twice a year as they live quite a few states away, so it is wonderful when we get a chance to spend time with them. Yesterday we went to the Adirondack Museum, and had a wonderful time.  My kids enjoyed playing with their cousins.  We did take Josiah's wheelchair, as it was  a LOT of walking.  I will post a couple of pictures of the kids (I don't like to post other people without asking first).

Then we had a picnic at my mother's house and had a great time with the whole family (except my brother who could not make it, but all three sisters and their spouses and kids plus a few other great people).  So it was good food, good games, good conversation, and good fun.

Christine and Patrick packed up their camp this morning and headed out.  It was great to see them and have a great visit with family.  I hope you all are having fun with family and friends this week/weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!!

I hope that everyone (well All Americans--and any that want to celebrate along with the US) are having a wonderful and safe celebration of Independence Day!

I hope that you have fun, stay safe, do NOT play with fireworks without great care, and enjoy your family and your freedom!

And let everyone around you enjoy their freedom as well!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"only" a mom

Sorry I have not posted in over a week!  Life has been busy...isn't it always.

I have much to do updates on..

First...on the weight loss front, I have been moderately successful at replacing bad habits with good habits...definitely a work in progress, but progress, even small, is a very good thing.

secondly...decision...Josiah starts his new school Monday.  I will drive him the first day so that I can meet with the teacher and principle, help them get to know him and go over adaptive equipment needs, and also help him feel more comfortable (which I am hoping will help me be more comfortable with this new change).. then Tuesday, the bus will begin transporting both Josiah and Gonzo to their summer school programs, which makes me nervous due to behaviors and potential problems, but it is what I have determined to be the best course of action based on all of the extenuating circumstances.  Gonzo will be returning to the same summer school program he attended last year, with the same teacher.  He did well last year so I am confident that with the general improvements he has made this year, that he will do well again this year with that same teacher.  So I will have couple of months for Josiah to get used to his new school personnel and class before the regular school year starts in  September.  Hopefully he will be comfortable there by then and they will have learned how to work with him to help support him more as he gets into the regular school year.  Then Gonzo will start a brand new (not just new to him, but brand spanking new) program at a nearby school.  I am very nervous as he did SO well in the program he was in fro the last 2 years.  but alas state budget cuts resulted in that classroom being cut out.  So it was no longer an option, which is frustrating as over 60%  of the reason I stayed in my little rural town is because I wanted to ensure that he could stay in that classroom until 5th or 6th grade.  And low and behold, as soon as I buy a place, they turn around and eliminate that classroom.  NOT happy!  But, we roll with it and hope for the best.

thirdly, the house is slowly coming along.  Each week we get a few more pieces done.  The kids and I are settling in, and it is slowly starting to feel like home.  It will be a while yet before we are "at home" in this new house.  I think as we slowly get more and more done--so many little projects limping along--and get more and more unpacked and set up, it will feel more like home.

fourthly,  as I have been making decisions regarding school transportation, i have not moved forward this week with the daycare paper work.  That will be up and moving forward again this week.

Okay, now a quick paragraph about this concept of "only" a mom.  I have read many things written about this idea that it is a lazy or ineffective person who leaves their "real" job to be a stay at home mom.  And the retaliation of how people who work outside the home and take time for themselves are not "real moms".  So there is this weird written war going on between Moms who work and want to feel better about themselves and their choices to be a working mom by putting down those who make the choice to be a stay at home parent, and the moms who want to defend their position as a full contributing member of society by being a stay at home parent.  I have to say, having been both a full time working parent with a good career, and being a stay at home, going back to work after a couple of years, then choosing to find a way to be a stay at home parent and have reasonable employment (and be a single parent, which was new as of two years ago), ITS ALL GOOD...and IT ALL SUCKS.

It depends on the day and the situation.  I found being a working mother to be EASIER in many ways than being a stay at home parent.  A big part of that is that when I was working, my mind was allowed to work in a variety of different  ways, I had colleagues, adult conversation, and a whole life and identity that was separate from my identity as a parent with all of the stresses that come with that.  For me, having a balance between the two was less stressful in many ways because it was two different kinds of stress, which did not necessarily have to interact.  That mainly was easiest when we had only one child and two parents, and his special needs were not overly impacting his life--aside from attending a special needs preschool program which contained all of his therapies.  So, even with one child with special needs, we were able to be a two working parent family, with minimal needs for a sitter due to somewhat flexible schedules.

Once we adopted Josiah, his needs were much more severe, much more life threatening as an infant, and much more demanding moment to moment, hour to hour.  We did juggle two working parents, somewhat flexible schedules, and two different sitters--but with his medical needs, hospitalizations, the frequent doctor and specialist visits, and all of the things that parenting THIS child with special needs entailed, it required a stay at home parent--minimally to manage his medical needs and schedule, and his in home therapy needs and schedule.  He also needed a LOT more stability and consistency due to a wide variety of issues (he still does, it is just that those needs have shifted in many ways).  Being a stay at home mother was incredible.  As much as I missed my job, there was so much work and reward in doing everything I could to help this child reach his fullest potential.  It was so rewarding to be there for every therapy, for every feeding, for every doctor appointment (and there were SO MANY of those early on).  It also gave me the chance to be there for my older son, and enjoy getting him off the bus after preschool, and being able to really help guide and shape them.

 I have worked many different jobs--from high level cutting edge scientific research, to slinging coffee at a coffee shop, from being a preschool teacher to doing comparative studies of cancer cells via electron microscopy, from doing laboratory sample preps for asbestos testing to being a resort house keeper--and I have to say HANDS DOWN being a stay at home parent is the HARDEST and most difficult job I have ever had.  And it is a job, if done right, it is a true career choice.  I am not talking about the handful of people who sit around doing face book all day (the modern day equivalent to the soap-opera addict), and let the TV babysit the kids.  That is not a stay at home parent, that is a somewhat depressed mom who really needs to find a way to connect outside the home.  MOST stay at home parents (moms and dads) are much more involved in guiding their child's development, helping them reach very important milestones, feeding their intellectual, spiritual, and social developments.  It is a job that has no break time, no end of the day bell, and is truly a thankless job when you seek approval from the wider community that devalues children and child rearing, which is reflected in how much people are willing to pay for child care, how disrespectful most people are to child care professionals, and how much disdain many working people express towards those who work with small children.  Those same people then complain about how screwed up kids are these days, and how little respect kids have--but it is the world that is created when so many in society view the care and guidance of children--by stay at home parents or other child caregivers--as a useless or unworthy profession.  Many of those people would no last more than a couple of months in a stay at home parent position, and would probably fall into that afore mentioned TV babysitter, computer addict depressed adult who really needs to do something different.

I do not think that a parent who needs to work outside the home is any less of a parent just because they prefer to have an outside job.  And I do not believe that a parent who chooses to make a career out of parenting is contributing any less to society than the doctors, lawyers, teachers, sanitation engineers, CEO's, accountants, or politicians are.  We all are built differently.  Our family situations differ significantly, and what is best for one family or for a given family in a given situation, is not what is best for another, or at another time within the same family.

There is no such thing as "just" a mom, there is no such thing as "just" a professional--we are all people regardless of the route our lives have taken and the choices that we have made.  Each of us is doing what we think is best for ourselves, our families, and the people we care about.  I wish that there would be less division, defensiveness, and argument over who contributes more to the world, or even more to their own family or their community--each of us, if we are following what we believe to be the best choice in our particular circumstances, are doing exactly what we should be.  AND THAT contributes to the health of our communities as a whole.  So, I am a scientist (regardless of whether I am actively employed in the field or not, I still have the mind and heart of a scientist), I am a parent (whether I stay home with my children all the time or not, I still have the responsible and heart of a parent), I am a self-employed freelance writer AND child care provider (so yes, I do make my own way), and I am me, and individual with tastes, preference, friends, desires, hopes, and dreams.  And each day I make decisions that impact not only myself, but also my children, my extended family, my community, and yes the world as a whole.  I am "ONLY" a Human Being--and there is nothing small about that.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Difficult day....challenging decision...

Okay, sometimes life just pushes too much...

Did you ever wish you could, for just like 15 minutes, be five years old again?  And curl up in someones arms that is stronger and smarter and more in control than you are?  And feel safe and warm and confident that everything is fine and is going to be fine?  That is what I want today.

Sometimes unexpected decision making needs, in situations that are far more complex than they look from the outside, make me feel that way.  That is how I feel today.  I just wish I even had one other person who understood all the aspects of this particular situation--as there are just too many to try to explain, and could just be here.  A little hand holding from someone that gets it would be akin to feeling like a 5 year old safe in a loving snuggle.  But alas...I am alone in this, and need to hope and pray that I make the decision that is best for me and my children, and not worry about what others believe about what I should decide.  My life, my whole purpose, right now is to do what is going to best help these two children grow into their fullest potential in ALL areas of their personal development--physically, academically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc..., which is a very different goal than anyone else involved in this situation...

Anyone have magic wand to make me 5 years old, and give me a snuggle for a bit and then return me to my adult self?

Thursday, June 21, 2012


 Today's gratitude list helps me to remember that there are so many things to be grateful for in this life.  We can take so much for granted that we miss the amazing blessings which are right in front of us all the time.

I was realizing this morning that my life feels like it is running on a road parallel to where it is supposed to be, and I can see that smooth, easier to travel road at glimpses through the tree and across the median, but I seem to be on a this bumpy, not well maintained road that has a lot more curves and potholes.  The view is not as clear from this road as the trees on the sides are a bit over grown and the road sometimes narrows because things are encroaching.  I know that there is  away over to the brighter, clearer road, and I am traveling in the right direction for what I need for my spirit.  Part of what has kept me on the road that near to but not quite true to myself is that I allow the worries and stresses of the day to get in the way of doing the things that I need to do to realize my full potential. 

Some examples include: Allowing my habit of eating in response to stress to get in the way of having a healthier weight and body composition; allowing myself to stress about things I can not change, which interrupts my sleep patterns making it harder to concentrate; allowing my worries about people, places, bills, income, the car, the schools, the kids, the dog, the house, etc... take over a significant portion of my mind and heart, not giving room for the spiritual and physical exercises which would promote a more relaxed and healthy state of being, and clear my mind in a way that allows for expansion of positive energies in my life.

Discipline--it boils down to discipline--practicing the life I want even when I do not feel like it.  I played sports for most of my high school years--soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and tennis in the spring.  There were days I did not want to practice, but to play the game you have to practice, so you have to be disciplined.  The be a member of the team you have to show up and be present with everyone else.  I had no problem doing that back then (even though I sucked at sports, I still loved to play and loved to cheer my teammates on).  As a kid I played an instrument (the trombone to be exact), and when I first started out, it sounded like a dying moose.  But I got better and had fun, and was in the band and the jazz band in high school--and it was discipline and practice that brought about a better player.  In college I used to exercise 5 days a week, because it made me feel better and was actually fun, so I know how to make the time to do so. I used to do a mediation/prayer time every day--great alone time connecting with The Divine, my Source, my Creator, My God--and sometimes I did not want to take the time to do it, but I made sure that I stayed committed to doing so for long periods of time, and my spirit flourished and was able to bless others regularly. While at ECHO, I loved that I found a dojo and started some martial arts training, my body never felt better, stronger, or more flexible, or my spirit more balanced, than it did during that period of my life.  It took discipline, commitment, and practice--and even though I sometimes ditched my dojo to go out for $1 margaritas with Carol on a few Monday evenings--for the most part I was disciplined and loved my training and my dojo.

So, in reflection, I know that I feel better--body, mind, and spirit--when I push my body to new levels on a regular, consistent basis.  I know that I feel better--body, mind, and spirit--when I am disciplined about my time connecting with the Powerful Consciousness that created and sustains all things.  I know that I feel better--body, mind, and spirit--when I create--either drawing, singing, building, or writing, for it gives my mind a chance to practice and play, and when I am doing it consistently, my life flows better.

So today, and everyday, I make the commitment to push my body to do more, to take time to connect with the Great Dragon (another name I call God), and to create something new...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Well, I have been enjoying doing my gratitude lists, they definitely make for a more wonderful start to the day, as when you start your day looking at things you are thankful for, the day just feel lighter.  So I did Day 6 of my gratitude list, which can be found on my website (click here).

Yesterday was Josiah's last day of school, well until summer school starts on July 2nd, if we can even get him in.  We have his meeting on Thursday to try to figure out summer and next year's placement.  I have read a 16 page report of the neuropsychologist, which reflects much of what I had been thinking, with some things that I was not sure I wanted to hear.  She was very thorough and very gracious and kind, and she really liked Josiah, which always makes a person a good doctor for him in my book.  So we will be taking that report into account as we make decisions and hope that we make ones that will be good for him, nurturing his challenges, and supporting his need for support in self-regulation and academic success.

Well, Josiah is now up and throwing a football too me, making it hard to type.  And my little charges will be here soon, so I will have my hands full in a few moments.  Time to get breakfast together.  Oh, and getting six hours of sleep felt SO GOOOD!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Well, I was going to post a longer post, with a number of topics that had been rolling around in my head as I was cleaning the kitchen this evening.  But now that I sit down and look at the time, being nearly midnight, and as I have not gotten to bed before 2 am in a couple of weeks, I had promised myself that tonight I would be under the covers by midnight. 

So, in the interest of actually transforming my life, which is the topic of my blog (I sometimes forget that), i am going to give my body, mind, and spirit a gift--and go to bed at  a time when I can actually have more than 6 hours before the alarm goes off in the morning.  What a luxurious thought--six whole hours of sleep; I will not say uninterrupted sleep as I do have two kids who sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, but six hours of sleep, even with a small interruption, sounds heavenly.

So poodles, I am off to bed...May all who read this blog be blessed with a slumber that is filled with dreams of peace, joy, and fulfillment, and may you wake in the morning with a renewed sense of who YOU are and your place in the world...


(well that is actually a greeting that roughly translates to "I see you"from a more complete connection, not so much a sign off, but I discovered it today, and I like the sentiment and the larger story behind it--to learn more, check here).

Blessings Abound

Well, I had a wonderful set of connections yesterday.  To begin with my dear friend Liz called from California and we had a wonderful conversation.  I love connecting with friends.

Then I had looked up an old friend who I mentioned in my last post, Karen, and actually found her on facebook, so we have now been able to reconnect after nearly 2 decades.  Which is just an amazing, amazing gift.

And I chatted with my best friend for quite a while last night, which is always a blessing, and one that I experience a few times a week (though lately life has been busy on both ends so Kay and i have not been able to connect as often). 

I also got to bed before 2am last night, which is great, and my goal is to get to bed before midnight tonight--which would feel like heaven...

I really, really enjoyed doing my gratitude list this morning,a s it was filled with people--which are truly the greatest blessings in my life.  Today, take the time to connect with a few of the amazing people in your life--both old friends and new ones.