Party of One

August 5, 2018

Four years ago, I began a new chapter in my life. It wasn’t one I eagerly embraced, but it was to be my new normal. When the phone rings in the middle of the night no one ever expects it to be good news and you pray it won’t be the worst news. But that phone call forever changed my life. My husband of almost 37 years was gone. The numbness set in and if I’m totally honest I’m not sure it’s gone even now. But I did learn that I was stronger than I thought I was and with the help of family and friends, I am embracing my new normal and enjoying life.

I woke up this morning and my first thought was how much has changed in the past four years. I miss Larry every day. I miss having him ask me how my day was or having him listen while I ranted and raved about what was happening at work or having him help me proof my work for clients. I miss having him hug me and tell me everything will be okay even if he was unsure and I miss being told “I love you” every single day. And while I miss him, I know that he would never want me to stop living just because he did.

I have so many friends that have gone through the same thing during the past four years, that my heart aches for them. We are all living with “the firsts.” The first birthday, the first anniversary, the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas and so much more.  But, I have found that once you conquer “the firsts” whatever they may be, you gain strength and courage.

I have learned to be proud of my own accomplishments, to reach out when I need help and to truly appreciate those around me. Life is a blessing made better by those that surround you. Choose those people carefully, they will be your anchors when you start to go off course. They keep you in the here and how and show you how to enjoy life, even as a party of one.

Thank you to my family and my friends, even those I don’t get to see very often or only know through social media. You have been supportive and encouraging and am grateful that you have touched my life. You make me smile 😊

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Humbled and grateful…

April 12, 2014

To say this has been a difficult year so far might just be an understatement. In November of last year, Larry and I celebrated our 36th anniversary. An accomplishment on its own for a couple that would appear mismatched to the world.

Three days after his 83rd birthday in December, Larry had a heart attack. I now know why it is called the silent killer. Larry has COPD, his only symptom…shortness of breath. This wasn’t really a symptom of a heart attack for him, just an indication of a COPD episode. Of course, he refused to let me take him to an ER, and toughed it out until we went to see his pulmonary doctor the next morning. One look and the doctor called an ambulance which drove him literally across the street to the hospital. By mid-afternoon he was diagnosed with a heart attack and steps were being taken to get him stable. What was hoped to be a short stay, ended up as a month in ICU, three stents, a pacemaker and a tracheotomy so he could breathe with a ventilator. Not to mention the two incidents where he almost bled out and a midnight call to come back to the hospital immediately not knowing if he was alive or dead. The man is a fighter. He is tough and determined.

On to the LTAC (long term acute care facility) where he was weaned off the ventilator during his three months stay but about three weeks ago something happened and he was put back on the ventilator. No one knows exactly what caused it but he did seem to have some mild “seizure” like fit, shaking every morning for 3 to 4 days. A step back indeed. He developed another infection which is resistant to many different antibiotics and they are still trying to find the one(s) that will work.

The battle has been uphill with good days, bad days and horrible days. But there are still days, and that’s what counts. We had to move Larry to a skilled nursing facility this week because he had used all his days at the LTAC Facility. My goal (and I know it’s his) is to get him to the level he was before he had his heart attack. Will we make it? God willing. But the one thing that I do know is that I’ve been humbled by the love of my friends, by the support of strangers and by the power of Prayer.

No matter where this journey leads us, I wouldn’t be able to handle it without all of the hugs, calls, email and prayers. I am truly blessed.

The first 7,776,000 Seconds…

May 3, 2012

Oh My Goodness, a whopping 7,776,000 seconds, which turns into an amazing 129,600 minutes.   Those minutes are really 2,160 hours or the equivalent of…my first 90 days.  When I think of it that way, I feel as though I’m accomplishing something BIG!  All those millions of seconds that I could have been maintaining my old habits, or creating even worse ones, have been focused on changing my bad habits and changing my eating life style.

All those seconds…minutes…hours…days reflect my first 90 days on my RenuU Health Plan.  I’ve blogged along the way; you’ve seen the downs (and the ups 😦 that have happened during my journey) and I’ve reached what I consider a milestone.  Ninety days on the program.

I’ve discovered foods I love, foods I’m not so crazy about and foods that I can’t quite figure out why they exist on the face of the Earth.  But one of my biggest discoveries was that so far, it hasn’t been that difficult to stay on the plan and move forward.

As I reflect on the past 90 days, I realize a lot has changed in my life.  Thinking back on my first visit, I was excited and scared, not sure what was in store for me.  Knowing some of my friends had seen amazing results I was determined to follow the program and do what my coach, Joann Cooper, suggested I do.  But let’s face it, I also know how I work, I seem to sabotage myself when it looks like things are working.  This time had been different, I was determined and before long I realized it was time to go get weighed and measured.  Deep breath…

So there I was, wearing the same clothes I wear every week for my appointment (wouldn’t want to weigh in something that was heavy).  Sometimes it seems as though that scale has a scowl on its face as I prepare to step on it.  Maybe it’s just my vivid imagination but I detected a smirk today.  Deep calming breath…one step forward and up onto the scale, close eyes, release breath and eeek…weigh.

7,776,000 seconds = 129,600 minutes = 2,160 hours = 90 days and here are the results:  Total weight lost 27.5 pounds; 19.5 inches.  I am so excited. I can’t believe it!  I still have more weight to lose but I can go forward a little more invigorated and with renewed dedication!!!

Until next time…

For Mom – Gone But Never To Be Forgotton

April 26, 2012

For those that don’t know, my Mom passed away last week.  It was unexpected even though she was 87.  I suppose we always think our parents will live forever.  She was a wonderful woman and I know my brother and I will miss her every minute of every day.  She taught us to be strong, to love like there is no tomorrow and to say please and thank you.

When it came time to say goodbye, Dallis and I couldn’t bear to have a traditional service.  It was important that we not have someone tell us that God needed Mom more than we did or to spend the time reflecting on Judgment Day and the consequences of our lifetime of decisions.  We wanted to celebrate what a remarkable woman our mother was not only to us but to others.

While we made mention of her love of life and her even deeper love of  God and family, we wanted everyone to know that while we would grieve her loss, we knew she was celebrating her release from the physical here on earth.

Many years ago I had been to a Memorial Service for a young man.  I didn’t know him, I knew his father but while seated in the Chapel listening to the service an amazing thing happened.  I heard a story that I felt was the most uplifting story I had ever heard at a funeral.  I never forgot the story, I didn’t remember all of the words, but I remembered the message.  I wanted to share the message at Mom’s Memorial Service.  As my brother and I sat discussing what we would do to honor Mom, he went to the internet to see if he could find the story I was talking about.  He did.  And once he read it, he agreed.  This was the perfect salute to our Mom.

Many of our friends and our Mother’s friends have asked us to share the story and I believe this is the best way to do that.  Not only can I share the story, I can once again honor the beautiful woman we called Mother.

The Dragonfly Story

Down below the surface of a quiet pond lived a little colony of water bugs. They were a happy colony, living far away from the sun. For many months they were very busy, scurrying over the soft mud on the bottom of the pond. They did notice that every once in awhile one of their colony seemed to lose interest in going about. Clinging to the stem of a pond lily it gradually moved out of sight and was seen no more.

“Look!” said one of the water bugs to another. “One of our colony is climbing up the lily stalk. Where do you think she is going?” Up, up, up it slowly went…Even as they watched; the water bug disappeared from sight. Its friends waited and waited but it didn’t return…

“That’s funny!” said one water bug to another. “Wasn’t she happy here?” asked a second… “Where do you suppose she went?” wondered a third.

No one had an answer. They were greatly puzzled. Finally one of the water bugs, a leader in the colony, gathered its friends together. “I have an idea  The next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk must promise to come back and tell us where he or she went and why.”

“We promise”, they said solemnly.

One spring day, not long after, the very water bug who had suggested the plan found himself climbing up the lily stalk. Up, up, up, he went. Before he knew what was happening, he had broken through the surface of the water and fallen onto the broad, green lily pad above.

When he awoke, he looked about with surprise. He couldn’t believe what he saw. A startling change had come to his old body. His movement revealed four silver wings and a long tail. Even as he struggled, he felt an impulse to move his wings…The warmth of the sun soon dried the moisture from the new body. He moved his wings again and suddenly found himself up above the water. He had become a dragonfly!!

Swooping and dipping in great curves, he flew through the air. He felt exhilarated in the new atmosphere. By and by the new dragonfly lighted happily on a lily pad to rest. Then it was that he chanced to look below to the bottom of the pond. Why, he was right above his old friends, the water bugs! There they were scurrying around, just as he had been doing some time before.

The dragonfly remembered the promise: “the next one of us who climbs up the lily stalk will come back and tell where he or she went and why.” Without thinking, the dragonfly darted down. Suddenly he hit the surface of the water and bounced away. Now that he was a dragonfly, he could no longer go into the water…

“I can’t return!” he said in dismay. “At least, I tried. But I can’t keep my promise. Even if I could go back, not one of the water bugs would know me in my new body. I guess I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand what has happened to me, and where I went.”

And the dragonfly winged off happily into its wonderful new world of sun and air…….

Thank you God, for the story of the water bugs and the dragonflies.

Please remember Irene, who left the pond we live in…

and is flying above us enjoying her new wings…

Oops, I did it again

April 12, 2012

It happens, your body doesn’t cooperate, you feel sluggish, you eat healthy and drink your water but nothing 😦  No weight loss.  I get off the scale, get back on.  No change, the same down to the ounce.

I decide to sneak up on it, maybe if the scale doesn’t see me coming it won’t know it’s me and the weight will drop.  No such luck, no change, no weight loss.  It HAS to be the scale, right?  After all, I’ve eaten my veggies, I’ve weighed my meat.  I’ve been such a good girl.  It must be the new scale…it’s defective.  There, I feel better.  I have a defective scale; I’ll just head back to Target and tell it that I haven’t lost any weight since I bought it so therefore, it’s defective.  After all, they say perception is reality and my reality is that my scale is defective :-).

Ok, I didn’t take it back but I did scour my food logs and look for a mistake I was making.  It just seemed to be one of those weeks.  I head to RenuU to get weighed and measured.  Trying to figure out how to tell Joann that I had totally followed the program and zip, no weight loss.  In fact on the way over I feel like I’ve gained (amazing the tricks your mind can play!)

The moment approaches, her scale looms before me and then…yep, zip no new lost weight.  BUT I’d lost an inch.  Go figure!  So far, 22 pounds and 14 inches!

Until next time…

NOTE:  As you can probably tell, I write these blogs after I’ve been weighed and measured and analyzed so instead of me repeating this same blog for the next week, suffice it to say that I had the same experience for TWO more weeks.  Didn’t lose one pound of weight BUT in that period of time I lost a total of three inches.  So the grand total so far?  22 pounds, 16 inches!  I’m only a week away from being on the program for 90 days.  Let’s see what the future holds 🙂

Did You Ever Wonder…

March 21, 2012

Where does that fat go when you start losing the weight?  As I mentioned last week I’m back on a roll!  I had managed to lose the half-pound I had gained plus 3 more pounds and 3.5 inches.  It was nice to feel normal and continuing the weight loss.  But I began to wonder…where does that fat actually go?  That began my quest to find out…

The answer, it seems, was only a Google away.  I found several articles that not only answered my question, they gave me much more information than I needed, or wanted.  But the fact is it goes away.  Here’s an article that makes it fairly easy to understand in case you are interested, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/body-fat/AN01327.

So now that I know what happens, I think I’m more determined than ever to get rid of this excess fat that’s been hanging around most of my life.  I think the last time I was at my “ideal” weight, was when I was going to my 10 year class reunion.  And to protect you from doing math in your head, I won’t give dates. 🙂

Onward and downward, this week the total lost is a total of 22 pounds and 13 inches.  I’m feeling good and getting excited again about the changing shape of my body!

Until next time…

It’s All Good – Whew!

March 15, 2012

I realize that I moaned and pouted and stomped my feet over gaining a half a pound and going up a half-inch in my waist and a half-inch in my arm last week BUT I’ve dried my eyes, sucked it up and this week when I got on the scales…what a surprise!

Weight fluctuates; your water intake increases and decreases.  You eat more fibrous vegetables one day and less the next, you have an early dinner one night and a late dinner the next.  I do understand how this happens.  However, it can be discouraging when you think you are on a roll and you get stopped right at the next level!

Last time I vowed to lose that half-inch in the waist so my jeans didn’t hurt when I zipped them up.  Well, I didn’t do that…yet.  It was still the same BUT there was other good news. First I LOST weight and I lost the half-inch in my arm plus a half-inch in my thigh!  Better than I ever expected!

How am I doing so far?  The results this week:   3.5 pounds, and 2.5 inches, what a difference from the week before!  Now, my total loss since I began 7 weeks ago: 18.5 pounds and 13 inches.  I am one happy camper ladies and gentlemen!

Until next time…

I Gained What?????

February 29, 2012

Six weeks into the new program and WHAM!  I gained weight.  That’s right, weight AND inches back.  Now how on earth did that happen?

I was good; I promise I was good, really good…well sort of good.  If I’m going to be perfectly honest…and isn’t that what this blog is all about…I think I might have eaten a few ounces more of that sirloin strip than I should have (but it is hard to tell exactly how much it weighs when there’s a bone in it!) And, it had been Valentine’s Day and I had to fix dinner for my husband and me so we didn’t go out and spend money on food I shouldn’t eat, right?  Have I made enough excuses yet because I am perfectly capable of coming up with some more.

Actually, this is a very natural occurrence but it just drove me crazy to think that after all that hard work I had gained weight and inches.  The solution?  Joann suggested that I take an enzyme that would help me digest the beef a little easier.  I thought that was probably a better solution than what I used to do — which was drink a Diet Coke allowing the acid in the drink to help me digest the meat better.   I have no idea if that worked, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Reality is that I only gained a half of pound and one inch (half an inch in my stomach but what’s with the half an inch in my arm????) and it’s only temporary but you can be sure of one thing…I WILL get rid of that half inch in my stomach cause baby it hurts to zip up those smaller size jeans!!

Final tally – 15 pounds and 10-1/2 inches!

Until next time…

Hi-Ho Hi-Ho, It’s Down a Size I Go!

February 19, 2012

Ok I admit it; I’m a week behind in my blog, so let’s start with last week.  Five weeks down and yippee finally a size down in clothes!  Actually, the skirts downsize came easily, in fact they are getting a little too big on me now.  It was the jeans.  You know the ones, those jeans that have been in the closet for at least 5 years waiting to see if I could ever get them on again.  Taunting me, making fun of me, letting me know that I had gained weight, that I couldn’t get them over my hips much less zip them.  They were only there to be a reminder of what used to be (or more realistically, a fantasy that I would get back into them on the way down to a smaller size – which sizes also reside in my closet).

Well, I showed them!  HA!  Not only did I get them over my hips… but…I couldn’t zip them.  For the past 2 weeks I have been trying them on hoping to be able to get them buttoned and zipped.  Any woman that has washed their jeans in hot water knows the routine.  Lay on the floor (or bed), knees bent, suck in your stomach, quit breathing…try to zip.  If that doesn’t work, repeat above BUT lift your tush off the floor/bed, suck that stomach in harder and zip.  Neither method worked for me L

For those of you that are old enough, remember the “dickey”? (And for those of you that don’t it’s a small fabric insert worn to fill in the neckline of a top of what was once considered showing too much cleavage).  I figured I might become famous if I could invent one for jeans.  One side has a button and one side has a button hole…attach to jeans and the 6-inch gap that needs to be closed suddenly disappears.  Unfortunately, I haven’t sewn since high school so I couldn’t see that happening.  Best laid plans and all…

So, what happens?  Suddenly a week and a half later, voilà!  ZZZZZZZZZIPPPPPP!  The jeans are buttoned, the zipper is zipped and while I might not be able to take really deep breaths yet…I’m finally down a size in my jeans!  What a great feeling!!

Being curious, I decided to find out just how much I needed to lose to go down a size.  What I found was interesting.  I had always heard that once you lose 10-15 pounds down you go.  But if you are more Rubenesque (like me) you have to lose more inches than if you were smaller to start.  If you want to know more about the why, check out this article:  How Much Weight Do You Lose Before You Change Sizes?

Anyway, I am totally delighted that I managed to zip those jeans and I’m going to make sure that they eventually fall off as I can go down another size!  At five weeks it’s 15.5 pounds and 11.5 inches.  WooHoo!

Until next time…

I May Be A Little Crazy…Is That A Bad Thing When It Comes To Dieting?

February 6, 2012

Let me clarify, when I say a little crazy, I don’t mean that I can’t separate reality from fantasy or that I’m unsound, it’s more like I’m passionately preoccupied.  But when my dieting affects my dreaming…it makes me stop to wonder what’s going on in that deep dark part of my subconscious.   The part that controls most of my thoughts and actions may be working overtime.

Let me start by saying that on Thursday I reached my one month mark on my quest to lose weight.  This is awesome for me, I’ve stayed with it and I have been 100% compliant on the program.  But then came last night…

I ask you, who can resist having dinner with your husband, mom, brother and niece?  And, since I’m the only one in the family watching what I eat, the dinner location wasn’t my choice…plus I love Chinese food.  (Have I set out enough excuses to justify my decisions?)  So what, you ask?  I’m a big girl; I can make the right choices can’t I?  We went to Yao’s Restaurant for dinner and it tasted fabulous (and even if you’re not a Chinese food fan you can understand the joy of eating a dinner that someone else has fixed instead of fixing it yourself)!  But, I’m sure I wasn’t 100% compliant and today I feel sort of “puffy”.  You know that feeling, the way you feel when you’ve held your nose closed and puffed out your cheeks so you look like a blowfish.  Ok, maybe it’s not that bad but I can tell that I’m feeling “heavier” today.  I was a relatively good girl and instead of ordering my usual fried rice and sesame chicken or Mongolian beef or pot stickers, I ate chicken and vegetables with lots of broccoli and no rice.  But I did have the hot and sour soup (I’m allowed tofu so why not!) and I think it was the hot and sour soup that got me.   I tasted so good and honestly I would have no problem eating a huge vat of the stuff.  But in hindsight, I probably should have passed on the soup!

Now for the “crazy” part of the story:  I bolted awake this morning feeling anxious and upset and wondered how I was going to confess my non-compliance to my coach, Joann and to my friends that are supporting me 24/7.  I slowly realized that I wasn’t upset over the Chinese food I ate last night; I had dreamed I was at a fashion show sitting with lots of friends eating pretzels and popcorn.  And I don’t mean the air popped, here’s a cup of healthy popcorn to enjoy.  I mean shoveling that buttered popcorn in my mouth by bucketfuls and chasing it down with pretzels.  (I didn’t dream about what I was drinking but just writing about this makes me thirsty.)  So it was kind of a relief when I realized I dreamed the popcorn and pretzels binge!  Crazy, huh!

However, since I don’t weigh until next Thursday, I think I’m good.  I just have to make sure I stay 100% compliant for the next few days and stay focused on the end results.  After all, for the month I’ve lost 13 pounds and 9 inches so it can’t be all bad!!!

Now my question to you…what kind of healthy recipes do you have to pass along to help me expand my “healthy cooking” repertoire?

Until next time…