Monday, December 29, 2008

Changes that are a part of me now

In cruising the "blogging" world (and lots of support from my husband), I've been exploring National Blog Posting Month ( Their push is to help with blogging every day, which is one of my "stretch" goals (don't you just love that term?). Anyway, the theme of January is "change", which seems so appropriate for the start of a new year.

I've been thinking about change a lot lately. Besides my "big, fun, scary" goals, I'm also closing in on my Weight Watchers goal. I've lost about 52 pounds so far, with 8 more to achieve healthy weight. Wahooo!! That's a big change all by itself. WW encourages thinking about "non scale victories" (which means something other than the numbers on a scale). Some of my victories include:
1. I can walk without having to strap into my ankle braces
2. I don't hesitate if it's only a story or two for stair climbing
3. My jean size has dropped from 20 - 22 to 14 (and the size 14 are drooping)
4. I can walk down the narrow aisle on an airplane and not smack people in the head
5. My belt is so long that I tuck the extra into the side loop on my jeans
6. I actually wear a belt!!!
7. My work pants have safety pins in the back to tuck them in (time (AGAIN!) to buy smaller pants)
8. It's ok to not blend into the background, so that means wearing more color, sparkly stuff, attention grabbing jewelry, and maybe even makeup.

I have a done of new small habits that adding together make for a new life-style. I didn't take on all these at once - they were added as the time for change plus my readiness demanded. I look at this list and I'm amazed with the number of things that are now just part of who I am and how I act. The daily changes I could think of (by no means exhaustive list) include:
1. Water. New water bottle holds 24 ounces, so my goal was to fill it up twice a day, which would hit my 6 cups of water target. I aimed for filling it once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Now I'm rarely without it and I guarantee it's being filled somewhere between 3 - 4 times a day. Even with the new Weight Watchers Momentum plan where any liquid counts, water just fills the bill better than anything.
2. Portions. I measure just about everything. Any idea how small an ounce of cheese is? Pretty darn small. I don't really like the taste or texture of low fat cheddar cheese so I eat the real stuff. This means I need to pay attention and weigh it because it carries a fairly hefty point value. Every morning, I dump my Fiber One Clusters into a 1 cup measuring cup and then dump that into my cereal bowl. I count my crackers and no more just eating anything straight out of the bag.
3. Visual. I eat off nice plates - no more plastic and rarely off of paper. The other day, I had hummus and pita chips. Hummus went into a small condiment bowl on the plate, chips along side. Then I added in some vegetables, like celery and carrots and cherry tomatoes. It was all arranged in a fan and looked just fabulous. It tastes better when it looks better.
4. Location. One of my past favorite activities was reading, but not just reading, but taking a whole bag of classic Lays Potato Chips and reading until the chips were gone or my tongue dried out from so much salt. No more. I usually eat at the dining table. When I read, I still snack sometimes, but it's with veggies or my trusty water bottle or fat free microwave popcorn. As I said earlier, NOTHING comes from the bag to my mouth. It's on a plate or bowl, measured first.
5. Efficiency is way down. I used to stock pile things to take downstairs until I HAD to make a trip down. I planned for that trip like it was some big trauma. Now, I just run up and down the stairs with whatever has to be taken. I have no idea how many trips I make a day. I guarantee I could count them on one hand before now....
6. Choices. I laugh now. Our vegetable used to be canned green beans. That's it. Now we have salads all the time, with lots of texture and crunch from peppers and celery and onions and cukes. We have spaghetti squash and it's actually tasty without a ton of butter or sugar or whatever other crap I used to put on it. Now it's microwaved and that's about it - sprinkle some fresh Parmesan cheese and it's darn fine. Microwave recipe: poke it a couple times, stick it in the microwave 5 minutes or so per pound, until the sides start to soften, let it sit for 5 minutes, then cut open, scoop out seeds, and you are set for dinner. Sweet potatoes boiled or microwaved, then broiled with a bit of herbs or spicy chili sauce (instead of, again, a ton of butter and LOTS of brown sugar) have become another favorite. Just a whole new world -- there's a whole department called "Produce" at the grocery store. Real stuff, fresh not canned. Who knew?

This change has been one of the best ones I've experienced so far. Thank you to Rich, my husband, for his encouragement and support. He was worried about my family history of diabetes and strokes so he encouraged some sort of weight focus. I found Weight Watchers and he helps with figuring out point values and does a lot of the shopping (and can read labels to pick out great choices). What a sweetheart! Thank you, Rich!

I look forward keeping up this new life style and to the other changes of 2009! Always an adventure and never what I might expect.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

3 days after Christmas

The Seattle snow is starting to melt, just patches of white on roof tops and slushy brown along the curbside. It was an amazing site while it lasted. I can't remember when we actually needed to USE snow shovels. I always thought it was just something to have, but my sweetheart of a husband actually was really good about clearing the driveway and path to the mailbox. And he did it several times. Our house was the only house within sight where you didn't have to risk twisted ankles and falling spread-eagle just trying to get the junk mail / post-Christmas from the mail box.

We spent yesterday as it should be spent - in jammies most of the day. We played with our Wii Fit (OK, it's really bad when they tell me my "Wii Age" is 20+ years older than I am. Good news: the bar is set low and I can only go up from here! Bad news: the bar is set REALLY low), we played with our various Nintendo DS games / computer games, and watched two new DVDs. Plus we made pasta from scratch. I hadn't done that before, but it was very fun. The whole family got into it and it was very tasty -- basil fettuccine noodles with a bit of fresh Parmesan. Didn't make as much volume-wise as I expected, but with salad and rosemary potato bread, it was FABULOUS!

We received Zach's mailing address today. Zach is my husband's son and he's struggled a lot with finding his path. He recently joined the Marines and left a couple weeks ago for recruit training. So now that we received his address, I've decided that it's part of my "Big, Fun, Scary" goals to connect more. So along with blogging, I'll try to write to him on a regular basis and see what comes. Perhaps nothing, I have no idea. It's not mine to decide. As Leia said, "he has to chose his own path, no one can choose it for him" (clearly, I've seen Star Wars movies FAR too many times). But where he goes and what he does should not decide my actions, nor should my actions decide his path. So writing to him on a regular basis seems like a path that was given to me and ignoring it seems like an opportunity lost.

Enjoy your journey and whatever path you have chosen. Peace.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary Things Together

The nanowrimo people (who encourage folks to write 50K word novels in the month of November) are also supporting people to share and commit to "The Year of Doing Big, Fun, Scary Things Together". Website:

Here's what I published out on their website.

Arlene’s BFST List

I had a teacher in my life explain the difference between “thinking about watering the plants and actually watering the plants”. Thinking about watering is a “mental exercise” and can keep you in a safe, but non-active place. Actually “watering the plants” not only ensures they grow, but helps push through some things that are far scarier if I think about them than if I just DO them.

So my 2009 is all about “watering the plants”.

1) Blog on a regular basis. I’ve thought about this a number of times… notice the theme? Hmmm. So clearly this is a scary thing, so this year, it’s time for action. My real goal is daily, but if I could actually do it 2 – 3 times a week, I’d be pretty satisfied. Blog site:

2) Creativity. Spend more time doing creative things instead of reading about them. I have bookshelves fill with reading and more shelves filled with supplies. Time for action. Every weekend, DO SOMETHING. It’s open on what. Watercolors. Oil painting. Charcoal drawing. Scrapbooking. Collages. Beading. Quilting. Photography. Writing. Crafts. My goal is using the majority of Saturday to spend the time on my creativity. “Artist’s Date”.

3) Health. Continue on my Weight Watchers journey. Lose weight and then maintain at goal. Choose good foods. Exercise 30 minutes a day. I’ve actually started on this one already – I just need to continue and add more activities. Action AGAIN?!

4) Friends. More time on a consistent basis with friends. This is a challenge because I’d far prefer to work and then come home to be a recluse with my sweetheart husband. But sharing times with others adds to me and us and maybe to them too. It’s time to reduce recluse just a bit…. So I’ve scheduled time – once a month. Need to just follow through. Dang, more “action stuff”!

5) Spend more time here and now. I have no idea exactly how to pull that one off, but I’m assuming big steps are awareness and practice. As Yoda said in episode 5 : “All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon”. Present is all we have and I need to learn to be here, here and now.

6) Find something new to share with my husband. Some activity (golf maybe?) or some new skill (sign language?). Maybe just volunteering somewhere on a regular basis. Just something new to add. Our relationship is wonderful and I love him with all my heart. I just want to keep feeding our time together with new ingredients.

This would be a wonderful, successful year of accomplishments! I’ll check in monthly or so to share progress.


Test tealglass post from G1

Arlene has really good tech support.

Rich Hand (sent via G1)

Christmas Day 2008

Wow, white Christmas in Seattle! OK, I really live in Kent, a suburb south east of Seattle. Anyway, it's very rare to have much snow at all here. We usually have a week or so in January when it gets cold. This year is going out with style and records! Since about December 17 or so, we've had cold weather (down to 16 degrees some nights) which is amazing for our area. May not be remarkable for some sections of the country, but having to do things like leave cupboard doors open under the kitchen sink so pipes don't freeze is a very foreign concept. So foreign, in fact, that I taped notes to the top of the cupboard doors because we'd just automatically keep closing them. We had 13 inches total, as of Christmas Eve morning.

So here we are, with snow on the ground and more falling. It's very peaceful and quiet. No breeze in the trees, and the sky matching the color of the snowflakes. It's just a wonderful moment for Christmas.

I'm sure, somewhere soon, we'll be back to normal wet and grey Seattle (you can tell the weather in Seattle by the temperature of the rain). So I'm fully going to enjoy this while it's here. Hot chocolate, walks, and putting out seed for the birds.