My (newest) Addiction…

I’m about to embarrass myself. Again.

Several months back, I stumbled upon Pinterest. Though I try (hard) to limit myself, I cannot resist wandering to this site several times a day.

What is Pinterest?

I’ve also heard Pinterest called “Fantasy Football for Women.”

Daughter makes fun of me for my addiction. But then Son, Daughter, Family and Friends make fun of me for nearly everything I do and say, anyway. Without me, they would have no entertainment.

Some tidbits from my ‘FUNNY’ category…

Dedicated to Darling Daughter…

Anybody who knows Daughter understands that it isn’t ONLY a problem for Daughter. It is a PROBLEM for everybody in the house when there is a spider ‘sighting’ and said spider disappears. (The lucky ones live elsewhere…) Son and I CANNOT LEAVE.

I have thought (hard) about buying letter stencils and fabric paint to create this. Not for anybody specific (everybody is welcome at my house). It just makes me laugh…

 

 

 

 

    HARD TRUTHS? Probably…

I scan Facebook most days. This blog posts to it automatically–and so I connect with many readers with the ‘good book.’

However, I cannot understand why people post some of the things they post…especially the negative thoughts. To me, it is cowardly. Why not speak face to face with those who anger you? Hurt your feelings? That way, both parties can share their feelings, maybe understand each other better and find a SOLUTION. Also, why put personal ‘business’ out there for public consumption?

Really, this is a good rule.

Though being impulsive is being human. And we are all guilty of saying and doing stupid things now and again. Just no way around it. And social media tools make it easier to do and say things we later regret!!

And this weeks favorite. Has me re-thinking the daily walks on the beach. Maybe I should go back to hiking in the woods???

Hmmmm….must think about this!!

Why do I enjoy Pinterest so much?

Because it makes me laugh. The more serious quotes make me think. I’ve found some fantastic recipes, creative ideas. Hairstyles. Clothing. Home Decor. Shiny Objects, or jewelry. I have a page where I pin my eBay listings, items for sale. I pin blogs and websites I want to go back and read. (‘Double Takes’ category)

The best part is that it gives me a place to organize photos, insights, quotes, inspiring words, pictures, furniture, crafts and more–Anything that I want to reference at a later date.

It’s where I go for a bit of inspiration, and often for a laugh.

If you haven’t checked it out, consider doing so. You’ll thank me. (Maybe)

The more people who are ‘addicted,’ the better I can feel about my latest habit…

Amy Lauria on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/amylauria/

Special Note: I tried to properly link photos to credit the source websites. Hopefully I was successful. Do let me know if I need to correct a link/photo.

“The Number” on the bathroom scale …

Last week, I took Son to the doctor for a pulled muscle.

As I checked in with the receptionist, it occurred to me that I should probably get a strep throat test. I had felt like crap for several days. Horrible headache and sore throat. Just completely exhausted.

We marched to the back. Son. Medical Assistant. Me.

Son hopped on the scale. And I followed suite, after a quick glance down at my flip-flops. Take them off, or keep them on?

Heck with it, I thought. How much do flip-flops weight? I kept them on.

The digits bounced around before landing on “The Number”

And it was HIGH. I’m not a tiny person. I wasn’t exptecting a tiny person number. Still, “The Number”  was higher than I expected…

Even considering that I haven’t weighted myself since sometime last fall? Or was it winter? Not sure…

I shuffled to the exam room puzzled.

Son dropped into a chair, then off to sleep.

As he counted sugar plums, I looked down at my shorts. How could they fit? How could I weigh XXX and fit into my shorts? Then it hit me.

My purse. I must have hopped onto the scale with my purse slung over my shoulder.

My ‘suitcase’ purse. A large, black Coach bag.

Contents: My (over)stuffed wallet full of rewards cards, change, business cards and receipts and a few dollars. A make-up bag…mainly in there for its selection of shiny lip glosses. Checkbook. Brush. Motrin. Cell phone. 3 extra hair ties (at least). A hardcover 400 page library book. Full water bottle. 4 pens (at least) Car keys. A date book/planner. A notebook because I am always writing. And who knows what else?

It wasn’t even so much “The Number” that bothered me. After all, it’s only a number. Does not reflect who I am. Might have bothered me many years ago, but I’ve been over letting my life be ruled by numbers for many, many years. (otherwise balancing my checkbook might upset me…)

It was more that things didn’t add up. Didn’t make sense. The pieces of the puzzle weren’t fitting together.

In the end, I had a fever…AND strep throat. No wonder I felt like sh#%.

My weight?

I confirmed my ‘purse theory’ the next day, when I stepped on our bathroom scale and I weighed about 12 pounds less than “The Number” at the doctor’s office. (Of course, I weighed my purse, too.)

Mystery solved. And still, who gets on a scale fully clothed, shoes on, not noticing the heavy purse over their shoulder?

Trust me. I often wonder why I do the things I do….

Changes in the works…

Something BIG has happened…

A milestone.

Before anybody gets excited, it isn’t a another ‘new’ job. And no, I’m not getting married again. Nothing quite that monumental.

But over the weekend, I reached 10,000 hits–or visits to this site. (Over 10,000 now…)

When I began, I didn’t know if THREE people would visit the site. Or at least THREE people who weren’t family…

Obviously, there are writers, bloggers, websites that have 10,000 hits per day–and get millions on a yearly, or monthly basis. I know that.

And yet, I feel a sense of accomplishment.

When I look at my stats, there visitors from all over the world. Not only do I have a ‘nice’ group of followers (27, last time I looked), there are also many who use RSS feeds, bookmarks, Facebook and other tools to keep up with my posts. And they do so regularly.

To everybody who has stopped by…my most sincere thank you. I appreciate the comments, personal emails, texts and other communications. I truly do….

Nothing is more touching than connecting with others, sharing our commonalities. I’ve made new ‘friends’ in England, Australia, Florida and both the eastern and western seaboards. Which humbles me…

Honestly, I’m not a Perfect writer. I abuse grammar rules. Write in fragments. (No shock, because I THINK in a fragmented way…) And am constantly flagged for using the ‘passive’ voice. (Grrrrr……I can’t help it sometimes!!)

But I do love to write. Love that I can make a difference. Can share some of my thoughts and experiences (AND disasters and struggles) in an honest, positive way. And hopefully others feel a little more human, less alone.

CHANGES IN THE WORKS…

LENGTH ~ I am going to try (HARD) to shorten my posts. Writing the longer ones is time-consuming. (And I fear boring?) Plus I need to focus on getting a ‘real’ job–at least a part-time ‘real’ job. (And soon!) Unless I want to make like Fred Flintstone and drive a log car, using my FEET to get it going.

THEME ~ I have playing around with it. It will probably change soon. Don’t be alarmed, or think you are in the wrong place if the site has a ‘new’ look.

WEB HOSTING ~ Fingers crossed, this isn’t noticed by readers. And that any technical difficulties in the transition are minimal. I need to acquire hosting service, start using proper tags and other technical stuff. Believe it or not, I have slowly grown doing NONE of what writers/bloggers are SUPPOSED to do to attract readers. Not shocking. I don’t often follow the rules, or go in the proper order…

A BIG THANK YOU–And all of my gratitude to those who have hung in there and supported me these past couple of years.

And please let me know if you like the changes. Or hate the changes. Comments and Feedback often helps point me in the right direction…

My two guilty pleasures…

My two guilty pleasures are haircuts and pedicures. And for good reason.

Somewhere in my twenties and early thirties, I decided it was best to focus on my hair and my feet. Nothing good happens to all the pieces parts in between…

Eventually there just isn’t enough Botox, liposuction, or newfangled product to stop the march of time. Unless one wants to look perpetually startled or be unable to form a smile. Plastic surgery can head off aging for a time, but then time, effort and money must be dedicated to ‘surgical maintenance’ to keep everything in place. And ultimately, you’re the woman in the nursing home with the shriveled up body and boobs that resemble baseballs shoved under the loose skin. Or a face stretched free of wrinkles–with a hanging neck, because necks just can’t be counted on to hold up.

My third guilty pleasure would be getting a manicure, but I cannot in good conscience add them to the list. My fingers are stumpy, short and indelicate. Because my fingernails bend and break before they gain length, I tried acrylic nails a few years back.

For a time, fake nails were part of my ‘maintenance activities’ and I admit to feeling quite glamorous with my bi-weekly French manicure, even though they mostly ended in disaster.

Forget about a manicure lasting two weeks. I had difficulty making it out of the salon without destroying the polish—I often smudged a nail (or several) while letting the damn things dry. I perpetually got dirt under them while working in the yard and found the simplest tasks impossible. Typing. Peeling off a band-aid. Turning pages in a book. And it is far more painful to rip off an acrylic nail on accident, than a real nail.

When I got my first set of acrylic nails, I drove home with my hands resting on the steering wheel—kind of like when we hold ten fingers in the air. I couldn’t wrap my fingers around the steering wheel.

My Wingman: You can hold onto the steering wheel…AND LOOK AT THE ROAD!!

Me (Tearing my eyes away from my nails): But my nails feel funny…

My Wingman: You WILL become ONE with the nails.

I never did.

But they were really pretty. Sometimes for five minutes. Sometimes five days. But NEVER for two weeks.

Which is why I love a nice pedicure. Because it is almost impossible to screw it up.  Unlike a manicure, a pedicure tends to look great for a month, or so. And I do so enjoy looking down at my feet to see a Perfect set of ten shiny red piggies winking back up at me. More so, when other parts of me aren’t looking so great.

And so it has come down to hair and toes for me. I fluff my hair in the mirror in hopes that it is spectacular–or at least interesting enough–to keep attention from wandering down to what is below the neck. The goal is to draw the eye up.

Thank goodness, I’ve been blessed with one good genetic trait–my brown hair. In my family, we tend not to go gray. Which means I don’t need to color my hair. Though in July, I noticed one thin, gray strand of hair in my bangs—but that is probably because I’ve been surrounded by teenagers all summer.

And it isn’t terrible, considering I will be 41 in October. Even pushing 60, the most I’ve seen anybody in the family do is highlight their hair every few months. There is still enough brown to avoid coloring the entire head.

I used to get a haircut about every two and a half months at an expensive salon. Because my budget is a bit tight, it is more like every six months these days. Still, I’d rather have infrequent haircuts at my favorite salon, with my favorite stylist—than risk a horrible haircut.  I’ll say no more. We’ve all been there…

None of this would be so terrible if our men fell apart along with us. If THEY required ‘maintenance activities.’ But they don’t. Their behinds remain supple and dimple free; their legs keep their muscle. Salt and pepper (even gray) hair is distinguished. A little–or even a big–gut does not detract from their looks. In fact, men tend to wear their maturity well, getting more handsome as they age.

It just doesn’t seem fair that as women, our in-between parts (in-between the head and toes, that is) begin falling apart soon after they finish developing.  We never really get to enjoy the Perfection, because when we ARE young and Perfect, we are also somewhat immature and insecure. Meaning we see flaws instead of Perfection.

And by the time we’ve got this figured this out, things are already falling apart…

Maybe it’s time I worked on developing a winning personality? Or went shopping for some clothing that better accentuates my positives…

More likely?  I’ll just get a pedicure and call it good.

-20 lbs? And without a diet…

For some reason, I hopped on the scale two evenings ago. Something I hadn’t done in at least six months, maybe more.

That’s right. At the end of the day. Fully clothed.

I seem to have shed 20 lbs since last fall. My first thought? If this keeps up, I could lose another 20 by next summer…

Because I lost it gradually—with zero dieting.

I was slowed down last summer, after tearing my meniscus while gardening. Yes, gardening! Trust me, I still take a beating from my kids over this one. They have a lot of fun with it.

The knee injury gave me a different outlook. I am one of those people who are always moving. And suddenly, I could hardly walk.

After my knee surgery, I was able to walk normally again. I had really missed being able to walk. Such a simple thing that I now appreciate more than I ever have.

I began walking my puppy in the woods again. Not to punish my body, or to whip it into compliance with my ideallook. More to get fresh air, to enjoy the fact that I could again. (And it is always good to tire out a puppy.)

Gracie Puppy after her walk...

Is there anything more magical than being outdoors?

It is ironic that I spent my 20’s and 30’s trying to beat my body into submission via exercise and diet. I was a member of Weight Watchers many (into the double digits) times over the years. I cut out all carbs, and then slowly added some back in using an Atkins like program. Then cut them out again, if the scale told me to.

For a long time, I got up at 5am, left the house at 5:30am to get to 6am High Impact Step Aerobics classes in the 90s. I returned home in time for my then husband to head off to work and with two babies waking up ready to begin the day.

I’ve had many gym memberships over the years—mainly for the winter. When I tired of the step aerobics, I began running outside. I’ve always liked to run. (Still do, but I don’t want to risk hurting my knee…) I ran a few miles each evening, weather permitting—who am I kidding, I ran when it was not permitting! Then did longer 5-mile runs sometimes. In the winter, I would hit the gym. Because I am easily bored I would start with the treadmill, then move to the elliptical…and so on until I had been a gerbil for about an hour. Followed by the weight circuit for toning. Sit-ups. Push ups.

Because I lived in a neighborhood and had young children, we went on bike rides on and off all day long. And I realized that if I put on my rollerblades, it was the Perfect pace to keep up with my maniac son as he rode—and he rode a bike without training wheels at 2 and could ride all day. He was (and still is) full of energy. Those living in the neighborhood made fun of me as I rolled by throughout the day…sometimes for the fourth, or fifth time.

Anybody who has raised a busy boy, will understand…

Either keep them moving and tired, or lose your mind when they bang around the house. And I do mean bang…hockey pucks slapped into doors, he back-flipped off of beds and frequently, accidentally sent breakables crashing to the ceramic tiles.

As for my eating habits. Tiny oatmeal packet and fat free yogurt for breakfast. For lunch? Turkey on low fat bread (no mayo) and fruit. Leftover grilled chicken over a salad. Good Seasons dressing with no oil in the mix…just extra water and vinegar. Grilled lean meat such as chicken or London broil for dinner. Steamed veggies. Baked potato with some pepper on it. Snacks? Fruit, Smart Pop Popcorn, another yogurt with a tiny handful of pretzels. Get the idea…

And when I was cutting out carbs…an egg white omelet with veggies for breakfast. Lean lunchmeat rolled in a lettuce leaf for lunch. Veggies and lean meats for dinner. Without the carbs, the body is never hungry. But eventually, it becomes impossible to keep such specialty meals going. And when the scale creeps up and one goes back to the strict two weeks, it stops working in the way it first did. I rolled this way for about two years.

As I’ve slid into 40, I am just too old to live like that anymore.

I want to enjoy my life. Eat popcorn at the movies or a football game. I want to have cake at a birthday party. I want to have a grilled hot dog and potato salad at a summer picnic and turkey and regular mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. And I think we can all agree that the mashed potato’s made from cauliflower aren’t bad—just not the same. (At least the recipes I tried many years ago…)

So how did I shave off 20 pounds???

I relaxed my standards and stopped worrying about it. It isn’t about ‘looking’ a certain way, more about being comfortable in my own skin.

A wise woman (actually a therapist I saw a handful of times while getting divorced) once told me that my weight would settle into where it wanted to be. That the extra pounds would come off when it was ready to. Or when I was ready, I suppose.

After my surgery, I walked in the woods a few times a week through the fall. And I ate normally, adding in healthy things that I like. I noticed my clothes felt a bit looser through the holidays. I kept walking sporadically when I could in the winter, which was not nearly that much due to our snowy winter in Northeast Ohio…

As spring approached, last years shorts were loose. Hallelujah! When does that happen?

With the nicer weather came more walks. And these are not ‘death march’ style walks. Many days, I take the dog and shuffle along the beach for however long I feel like it. An hour, an hour and a half…I don’t time it. I simply walk until I am done and ready to go home.

The sand and terrain is uneven, so it seems to have strengthened my knee. I constantly bend down to pick up beach glass or a cool rock—and come home with pocketfuls. Kinda like a lunge, or a squat right??

And I am incessantly throwing sticks or a ball for the dog to swim out and fetch. Would that be considered arms? There is a huge hill that I have to walk up and down to get to the  beach…it no longer makes me breathless.

This is ‘my time.’ Pleasant time passed in reflection, or sometimes not thinking at all. Just relaxing my body and mind. I cannot miss my ‘outside time.’ I need it. Even in the winter, I will go out and shovel the walk to get fresh air. Though I have a teenage son, I sometimes mow the lawn just to be moving outdoors.

As for my eating habits, it’s hard not to enjoy all the fresh fruit and veggies in the summer. And I have. If I want something, I have it. I just don’t have a mass amount of it. I have a slice of cake—not 3 slices. I love dessert. I try to love it a couple of times a week, not everyday. And the odd thing is that having lifted my restrictions and giving myself permission to have what I want, I often want what is healthy for me anyway!

I think what tipped the scale a few extra pounds to minus twenty was giving up Diet Coke.  What’s amusing is that I gave it up because it was too expensive to keep it in the house with the teenagers drinking it. It simply wasn’t in my budget. Plus, I hated to pass on my addiction to the teenage set. And I wasn’t about to drink something in front of them, while and telling them not to—or that it wasn’t good for them. I have never been on board with the “do as I say, not as I do” style parenting.

Day three with no caffeine left me with a screaming migraine…it wasn’t’ pretty. But it has almost been two weeks and I don’t even want it anymore.

Which is insane when I think of the times I rolled out of bed to find we were out of Diet Coke, immediately got dressed and headed to the store for my ‘fix.’ That annoyed me, as well.

Water is free and making fresh brewed tea is cheap.

What’s next for me? I’ve wanted to add Pilates back into my life for a while. I enjoyed it when I took Pilates classes years ago.

And I’ve been thinking of getting a bike for several months. Because I loved biking when I took several bike rides a day when the children were little. And I used to ride my bike to work when I had a part time job at the local Recreation Office near my house. And to the local library. Very relaxing to feel the rhythm of your feet turning the pedals. There is a reason children love to ride bikes!!

Plus, I recetnly leaned that biking is a good way to strengthen the knees. And I am all about anything that helps me avoid hurting one of my knees again.

I’ve admitted that my first thought when I saw the number on the scale was losing more.

My second thought? Screw that. I am going to enjoy how I feel today.

And that is just what I did yesterday when I packed for vacation. I am taking some of my favorite clothing to Hilton Head tomorrow. Most of it two sizes down from where I was at last year.

It always baffled me that people lived without scales. That they claimed to ‘listen’ to their bodies and how they felt in their clothes. I always felt that was a load of crap.

Now I’m not so sure.

I guess time will tell…