Tony and I sat at the bar, finishing off the last of our frozen margaritas. I couldn’t remember how many I had today. We spent our day in Cozumel at one of those all-inclusive resorts with free-flowing booze and warm sea air. I was feeling fine, but the sound of the ship horn brought me back to reality. Glancing at my iPhone, I noticed it was 4:55 pm. Five minutes before sailing.
Tony flashed his sweet smile and said don’t worry. Ships don’t leave passengers behind. He guzzled the last sip and left a 50 on the table. “Let’s go.”
The port was eerily empty. We picked up the pace, hoping the pedicabs were still shuttling passengers. By the time we walked outside I could see we were on our own, and the pier leading to the ship went on forever.
A second blast.
“Run for it!” Tony yelled and together we took off. I heard the music from Lido deck. I heard the cheers and jeers of passengers smarter than us, already on board. I could see walkway. We might make it. Then a third blast.
Today’s challenge is to write a letter describing my relationship with food. We have been together for a long time, a lifetime in fact. I want you to know how important you are to me. After all, without you, I would literally die. But you are more than just mere substance, a means to survival. You are a crutch that keeps me from dealing with stress and upsets. You fill me up so that I don’t have to feel empty inside.
I have to say, you are a loyal friend. You are always there for me when I am anxious or bored, frightened or worried. I never have to face darkness alone.
You are also there during celebrations and good times. No matter what emotion I might be feeling, you are there. Through good times and bad.
Do you know how needy I am? When I travel on a plane, I am afraid that if there are delays and I might go hungry. I always make sure I eat when I get a chance, just in case. Even at bedtime, I feel the need to eat just a little something to get me through the night.
And let’s face it, you are more tempting and alluring when you are full of calories.
I am getting older and my physical need for food is much less than when I was young. Yet my desire for you has not diminished with age. And that is the problem.
Which is why I have to be strong and learn to resist your temptations. I want to enjoy you, not covet you. We will always be companions until the end of my days, but our relationship needs to change. The healthier I am the longer our relationship will last. And that is best for both of us.
What do I want in life? How do I make sure I get it?
Michelangelo was once asked about the difficulties of carving his masterpiece statute David.
“It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”
That was how I approached this question. Michelangelo is describing vision and I am one who has a difficult time dealing in the abstract. I never had a clear path of what I wanted. I fell into my career, I followed the well-worn path of women in my generation (marriage, children). Even now, what I want is a vague sort-of longing of what I think will make me happy. As I pondered this question, however, my vision clarified just a bit and I was able to narrow my desire down into a few simple words: What I want is liberation from the restrictions that keep me from enjoying life, things like the following:
Too much worry, especially over things I cannot control
Feeling responsible for things that don’t belong to me. (Believe me, there are days I wonder how the world continues to spin on its axis without my help)
Too much drama, especially over unimportant things in life (at least unimportant to me)
What I want is freedom to do the things that are enjoyable and the start of that is good health.
This is really what the 30-day challenge is all about. Being healthy is the key to all achieving all that I want in life. When I am not feeling my best, when I am tired, achy, moody, or bitchy, I worry more about little things and drama seeps in. I don’t enjoy life because I am more irritable. I don’t do as much because it is too much of an effort. Unless I do something about it now, it will only get worse and be more difficult to change course later.
How do I liberate myself so I can get what I want from life? Here are my ideas:
Gradually increase the amount of exercise I get each day. No going from couch to 5K for me, but in time, a 5K can be in my future.
Make better food selections. I’m not starting a diet just yet because if I say the “D-word” too loudly, my inner-demons will take over and throw a chocolate craving on me. For now, it is about making better food choices and cutting back on snacking.
Don’t worry, be happy. Or at least try to have a better mental attitude. Being mindful of what I am grateful for is a good way to start
Experience new things. The genius of Leonardo di Vinci was his eagerness to try new things. The way to fully appreciate life is a willingness to step out of the shadows into the light, to risk an occasional disappointment in the hopes of expecting something grand
Keep learning as this keeps the mind young.
Get out of my own head. Stop thinking so much about things that have nothing to do with what is going on right now. Journaling helps me process all that stuff that gets in the way of living for the moment.
Dream big. The barriers in life are only tall when our dreams are small. I think about the things I have achieved in the past, some that seemed impossible at the time, and I realize there is no dream too big and no wish too wild.
At some point this need to be actionable, but for now it is a good goal list. This journey has only just started.
What is your biggest barrier to weight loss, and why?
I am my barrier to weight loss (and good health). As soon as I set (any) goal, every ounce of my being rebels. I literally see myself caving in to self-doubt and self-control. It has nothing to do with belief in my ability to do this. I have done this before, I know the drill. But for some reason, this time, I am really struggling with momentum. I hope through journaling I will discover exactly what it is that is standing in my way.
I know this won’t be easy (it wasn’t easy the first time), but it is not impossible. And there are challenges:
Planning around the family and their eating preferences
Preparing health meals
Rearranging my schedule to find time to go to the gym several times a week
Substituting crappy food with better food choices
Fighting the urge to give into temptation (whether it is food or laziness)
Finding better ways to deal with day-to-day stress
The primary reason all of these challenges are so “challenging” is that I don’t put myself first. Don’t get me wrong, I can be very selfish, but not about the right things. Most women, at least the older ones, spend their energy on everyone else’s needs. When it comes to our own needs, we are too tired to even care. Our selfishness comes out in other, more destructive ways, such as bad eating habits and lack of exercise.
It comes down to priorities and my number one priority should be my own health. If I am not healthy, nothing else really matters because my health affects my family, my finances, and my future. Doing everything in my power to be healthy is not a selfish act and I need to do whatever it takes to get healthy.
She told him the Merchant of Venice was her favorite Shakespearean play and to impress her, The Doctor decided to take his new companion to the very first performance at the court of King James. From the vast wardrobe aboard the Tardis, they chose elegant garb befitting of a royal performance. A perfect plan. Until they stepped out the door.
Something had gone terribly wrong.
The vast, sandy beach before them was dotted with large, multi-colored umbrellas. To the right, a long pier jetting out over a vast blue ocean. And to the left…
“Doctor… this does not look like 17th century London”
To the left stood a pot-bellied man wearing barely anything at all.
“A little overdressed wouldn’t you say.”
The man stood in front of a small shack, advertised by a large yellow surfboard with the words “Venice Beach – Nudity Preferred.” Noticing the man’s watch, the Doctor asked for the time. Two-oh-Five in the afternoon, or in military time, 16:05. A big mistake indeed.
Trying to make light of the situation, the Doctor asked his companion if she wanted to make the best of the situation. Her reaction told him it was time to look for a new companion.
My apologies to Doctor Who and really good fan fiction.
Several months ago I found out I had a slightly elevated A1C. This is a pre-diabetes indicator and one that is easily reversed with diet and exercise. I have resisted doing anything about it, always telling myself I will seriously start eating better and exercising “tomorrow” or “next week.” That was a lot of “tomorrows” ago.
Now I am ready.
Nothing changed except my attitude. I found on Pinterest several pins for “30 Day Emotional Eating.” I’m sure some of my eating is emotional, but mostly it is bad habits and laziness. My life is complicated, stressful, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants crazy at times. I rarely plan my meals, I am too tired at the end of the day to make dinner decisions, and I hate grocery shopping. I am not a great cook and my family if finicky, so we end up eating the same things over and over (a lot of that is fast-food). This is a great excuses for not putting in the time and energy into healthy eating. It is a poor excuse for avoiding diabetes and heart conditions.
Normally, I would not blog about something so personal (and being overweight is VERY personal). But I also need accountability, so I am swallowing my pride. For the next 30 days, I will be journaling/blogging about journey toward healthy eating , exercise, and weight loss using journaling prompts inspired by 30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge
I will do other things as well. Whatever it takes.
In spite of my splitting headache due to either allergies or a sinus infection, Oklahoma spring is almost here and I am glad. Dingy browns from dead leaves and barren ground is being replaced with pops of color from blooming redbud trees and yellow jonquils. The days are mildly warm and with the change to daylight saving time, longer as well. A perfect excuse to get out there and enjoy life. I am ready for spring cleaning, resuming my diet and exercising more. I want to take day trips, sleep outdoors and catch fish.
Spring does come with its share of risks. Lack of winter rain and hot days are the perfect combination for wildfires and strong thunderstorms can spawn killer tornados. But Okies are resilient when it comes to nature. We pick ourselves up and start all over again.
I am concerned that our state budget is in such bad shape that our legislature will actually close down 13 of our State parks. The park system provides a wonderful way for families to enjoy the outdoors, free of charge in most cases. I can’t imagine the savings from closed parks is going to do much to solve our budget woes.
One of the things I enjoy during the spring is yard sales and the Farmer’s market. The Farmer’s market is a great way to support local business and get something good to eat in return. Yards sales are just fun. It’s like rummaging though my grandparents old sheds when I was a kid. They kept everything.
Spring doesn’t last long in Oklahoma. Soon it will turn too hot to really enjoy being outdoors. Unless you like standing in front of an oven door, because that is what it feels like on hot windy days. All the more reason to enjoy spring.
Sephtis stared at the space suit hanging next to the escape hatch. It was a NASA circa 1970 model. All space stations carried one on board for luck, so he thought. Sephtis now knew otherwise. The suit served an unimaginable purpose.
“You have three choices.” The recorded voice was soft, sensual, and female. An attempt to lessen the impact of the words. Sephtis thought she was a cold-hearted bitch.
Did he misunderstand? Sephtis replayed the message.
“… spacecraft malfunction…. living in a dream state…. technology to return you to your own time is imminent…. three choices”
Sephtis’s heart pounded in his chest as reality set in. His world was a thousand-year nightmare, interrupted for one purpose only: to make a choice. He could go back to sleep for another 100 years and hope someone figures out how to get him home. Or, Sephtis could remain awake and help the scientists solve the problem, hopefully before he dies of old age. The final choice: put on the spacesuit, open the hatch, and step out. The suit would release a toxic gas, killing him as he floated into space. The humane choice.
Three choices, thought Sephtis. But really only one.
This story was inspired by Sunday Photo Fiction and the idea of writing a story prompted by the weekly photo using 200 words.
When Edison arrived, there was a glass sitting on the nightstand next to the bed. A small, clear glass filled with a clear liquid that looked like water. How very odd, thought Edison. The room had been vacant for over a year; yet there it was, a clean glass with water that looked like it had come from a Fiji bottle. Edison glanced around the room. Dust covered everything: the pine wood floor, the cheap coffee table. Dust even muted the colors of the floral couch and coated the window blinds. But no finger prints or foot prints. Wouldn’t you think that whoever left that glass of water would have left some sort of prints?
The glass bothered Edison. According to the landlord, the last tenants left just before Christmas. In a hurry. That’s when the City shut off the utilities, so where did the water come from?
Edison took inventory. A deserted, dusty room with no fingerprints or foot marks. A clean glass of water that came from nowhere. And a three-day old corpse laying on the bed.
Turning to the officers on the scene, Detective Edison asks, “Does anyone else find this strange?”