Four Days In…

57403-New-Year-New-Beginning

It’s now four days into the new year. Four days have already passed in this new year “full of promise and potential.” 

I feel a little overwhelmed already… I am reminded of the old Weight Watcher’s mantra, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Ugh.

There is a certain burden I feel whenever the year changes, a responsibility to “make this the BEST year ever.” It weighs heavily on me, this responsibility to be, oh, I don’t know – super human or significant or special. I am not sure what I am “supposed” to be in this big, bright virgin new year. Sigh. I am in my mid-fifties; you’d think I would have a handle on all this by now.

I remember from my expensive-but-now-largely-under-utilized Franklin-Covey training that most people are good at the “big rocks” but the little ones just get lost by the wayside. This year, I want to address both my big AND little rocks.

So, call them resolutions, call them goals, call them objectives – whatever! – I have a few things on my 2015 “list.” I have to admit, I was inspired to create this list in no small part by my beloved husband Martin, who went to the trouble to create a personal “pin board” of all his plans for 2015. (He inspires me in so many ways, that guy!) Anyhow, here is my short list – just five, in honor of five – a blog – for the remaining 361 days of 2015:

1. I want to be healthier; to that end, I WILL lose 50 pounds by the end of June. Health is the main goal, but weight loss also plays into my next objective.

2. I want to travel. I WILL go to Europe with my Sweetie this summer, spending one week in his native Poland, meeting his family (finally!) and experiencing where he comes from, then spend an additional week – just the two of us – exploring France or Germany or England – somewhere. Once I lose fifty pounds, I will look sexy as hell in a bathing suit on some European beach, am I right?

3.  I want to live in the moment. I WILL acknowledge the past but leave it there and not let it define me in the present. Listen, 2014 SUCKED for me, personally and professionally. Were it not for Martin, I would have probably off’d myself. (Just kidding, kinda’). But, point is, I will not dwell on my suck-y past year and, instead, embrace the coming year with hope and optimism.

4. I want to spend more time with people I love. I WILL engage with friends more, and let the people I love know how important they are to me. All too often I am happy just being with my Sweetie but have come to understand that this behavior is a bit of laziness on my part, coupled with a fear of “falling short” – maybe I can’t cook as well, or maybe I am not flush enough to go out to fancy restaurants or maybe our sofa is a bit faded. The truth I need to remember is that with true friends, one never falls short. Bringing in Chinese take-out with true friends is as wonderful as dinner out at a four-star joint.

5. I want to remember to always be grateful. I WILL cherish every great thing that happens to me, every day, whether that is just driving home and getting all “green lights” or finally (potentially?) winning the HGTV Two Million Dollar Dreamhouse (OMG, please!!!) I sometimes forget that my life – as imperfect as I think it might be – is probably envied by many. I have a reasonable job (granted, it could pay more), my Sweetie and I have a pretty great apartment, we have some kick-ass friends, I have my health and I have a man I adore that adores me back. I often need to remind myself of these realities…

So there you have it – my “short list” for the coming year. I feel confident I can make all these things happen. I will definitely keep you posted and you remind me, too, if you catch me falling short. In the mean time, have a GREAT new year and always remember this:

find time

Frozen Treat

My family has a lot of weird games we play/invented – one of my favorites is “Death Row Dinner.” In Death Row Dinner, one of my siblings will call out – without warning –  “Death Row Dinner, Tim” and wherever I am, whatever I am doing – I have to stop and list aloud what my last meal would be if I were on Death Row right at that second (it is actually a lot more fun than it sounds, but I digress).

For me, entrees, drinks and salad dressings come and go but ONE item always remains the same: a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby. You see, I love ice cream. No, seriously – I LOVE LOVE LOVE ice cream…

Ice creamI’m not sure why I love ice cream so much – sure, it tastes great but (in a scientific sense) I suppose I really love the “mouth feel” of ice cream – rich, smooth, creamy, delicious. I love the coldness of it in my mouth, the way the flavor/s come alive as the frozen treat melts and tempers, causing my taste buds to ramp up into overdrive. To slightly paraphrase an iconic literary character, “Ice cream? Gooooooooood.”

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato – I love them all, which is probably one of the main reasons I am a life-long Weight Watcher’s “work in progress.” I would eat ice cream every day if I could (and I have, LOL!) I wish ice cream held the same place in the dieting tool box as, oh, say celery sticks. Yeah, instead of celery sticks and non-fat Ranch dressing, I wish I could substitute a bowl of Moose Tracks covered with chocolate syrup (which is, BTW, non-fat!) and whipped topping. If that were the case, I might have to leave behind my old affirmation (“Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”) and replace it with something  like this: fat bad word

Three Day Holiday

So, Martin and I have the privilege/honor of “human companioning” our adopted canine son, Xander the giant schnauzer, again for three days while our besties enjoy a getaway weekend. It is super fun for us – Martin LOVES Xander (me too!), we get to “pretend” we live in another city (sort of) and it is just great to have a break in routine. It should be a blast.

The first order of business was a lunch date at Kumo, a Japanese sushi buffet. Lo and behold, it is right next door to a Weight Watchers drop-in clinic, so I weighed in for the week today BEFORE lunch (up 0.2 – I should have “tinkled” before I stepped on that scale!) Next we checked out a few movies (thirteen) from the local library – three weeks at no charge. Woohoo!DVDsI’m not sure if we will get them all watched; in fact, I think we may have checked out one or two movies we have already seen – but we have three weeks…

We took Xander for an hour-long walk today, and now it is time to start the movie-fest. I’m looking forward to the weekend – I have to work Saturday but otherwise,  the mini-staycation looks very relaxing and promising… Stay tuned!

Another Friday Night

I had a super fun day with my Beloved – we had a “lunch date” at a Japaneses sushi buffet (I know – SO bad the day before my Weight Watchers weigh in!), did a wee bit of shopping (I got a new pair of A&F undies – the ONLY thing I can “fit” from A&F – plus they were “off-price”) and we are going to close out the night continuing our journey to see all of LAST year’s Academy Award nominated pictures (I know – we got behind last year). Tonight?

Dallas Buyers ClubSo, I’m off to grab a Skinny Cow topped with Cool Whip Light, hit the couch with my Sweetie and watch two Academy Award winners give (I hope) the performances of their lives. Hope you all have a great Friday night! Ciao!

I’m a Beach

About ten years ago now, my at-the-time employer sent me to a day-long time management training course. For eight hours, we all attempted to learn new and better ways to manage our time, both personally and professionally. We were – supposedly – taught the secret of “What Matters Most.” I guess I failed…

My days are never long enough. Twenty-four are never enough hours. And on my days “off,” I still do work-related tasks, try to stay even with/catch up on the tedious requirements of living (like paying bills) and do my very best to be attentive to my beloved Martin, who suffers my daily discombobulation in silence with a smile. He is a champ. He is MY champ.

The thing is, that course taught us that every day we should “tackle the big rocks,” and by doing so, we would prevent the small rocks from becoming “big rocks.”

rock pillarI have since come to understand that, right after sports analogies, I HATE rock analogies next. For me, they are ALL “big rocks.” And if I am being totally honest, the only place where rocks even exist in my life is in my head…

This topic is on my mind today on the eve of three days away from work. Yet tomorrow I have my weekly Weight Watcher’s weigh in at 8:30 AM, I have an appointment with an artist at 11AM about a vignette my business partner and I are doing at the city’s botanical gardens for a designer showcase that opens in about two weeks and tomorrow night, my Sweetie and I have a relaxing evening planned with two of our “besties” (dinner and a movie in). Saturday? Booked solid. No big rocks handled.

Sunday, my Beloved and I are scheduled to go grocery shopping; we go about every other week, with small runs for fresh fruits and veggies in between. That task is typically three hours or so. Our apartment still looks like mid-December (which I frankly don’t mind but maybe it’s time to start taking some things down, LOL!). And speaking of mid-December, as I type this post, I can see the can of spray polish, a “Swiffer” and a dust cloth my Sweetie left in the computer room IN mid-December, asking me if I would dust the shelves. I said I would. Oops. So, Sunday? Booked. Maybe one medium rock.

Monday is pretty open so far but I usually see a movie with my guy on our shared day off – it’s like our “thing.” Plus I have my bi-weekly, 90 minute therapy appointment (OK, now THAT is one big rock at least!) and then it will be like Monday evening and it’s back to work on Tuesday. Sigh…

pebblesMaybe if all the “rocks” were the same size – it seems like I never GET beyond the pebbles. But maybe I do and just don’t know. I will just keep at it, I suppose. I don’t see as there is any other choice.

Plus, after all, the endless crashing and effort of the surf against rocks and pebbles are what create beautiful beaches, right?

Turn That Frown Upside Down, Mister

Lately my life has been a wee bit stressful. I totally get it – EVERYONE’s life is stressful but, selfishly, I am concerned mostly with my own. Suffice it to say that everyone’s life is composed of many moving parts; when they all coordinate and come together, well, that is magical. When they don’t, well, you have my life at the moment…

It will all work out. The Universe always takes care of me. Always. That said, it does tend to test me. Often. Actually, a lot more often than I would like. So today, I have decided to post a few random things that would make me smile. I hope they make you smile, too…

I like flowers. Gerbera daisies are one of my FAVORITE flowers. Maybe I will buy a bouquet for me and My Sweetie tomorrow…

Gerbera Daisy BouquetI am OFF work tomorrow. Maybe we will go to a matinee. Martin and I used to see 2-3 movies every week; now we haven’t gone to the theater in weeks…

CinemarkMaybe we should just get all dolled up and have a “Movie Date” on Friday. We could see a movie or two and grab a late lunch.

Two guysAfter the movie and lunch, we could indulge in something sweet. Weight Watchers be damned – I want something sweet, sticky and chocolaty, like these ‘smores cupcakes. Yum.

cupcakesGood golly, I DO love a great “baked good.” Finally, Halloween is coming. Martin and I have yet to assemble our costumes so maybe we need to get that process in motion – plus, Halloween is Martin’s FAVORITE holiday, so just seeing him get all excited makes me all excited, too…

HalloweenSo yeah, all these activities will make me smile and lift my spirits. And you know what the single, unifying thread is among all these things/activities? My amazing partner. Sigh… Maybe THAT’S the answer. I just need some one-on-one time with my Sweetie…

 

Butterflies…

Today, one of my FAVORITE sales reps, Kim WB, stopped by the studio. It is always great to see her; she is more like a friend than a rep (although she is great at BOTH!) Today we were laughing and swapping stories and – oddly enough – looking at pictures. I commented on one image of myself that I looked “…nice and round and boob-y.” Kim told me to be quiet, said I looked great and reminded me that each of us are always our own harshest critics.

I love her for that…

I have never had a great body image. Even when I was in my 20’s, taking amphetamines every day (under a doctor’s supervision, of course!) and had a 32″ waist, I was unhappy with myself. I always feel like the pale, bloated, redheaded kid hiding in the shade at the pool, wearing a t-shirt so I don’t “burn.” (It’s a bitch being fair, LOL!) Anyhow, now comfortable in my “later years,” I have made peace with my complexion – in fact, lots of people envy my wrinkle-free, un-sun damaged skin. I have accepted the fact that I am, by genetics and birthright, a “bigger guy,” although I am trying to release the thin, healthy me inside.

Part of my insecurity insanity is that, among my circle of friends, two are pretty successful on Weight Watchers. two just enjoyed great success on a 21 day “cleanse,” one – now – and one more in a week, will be protein-sparing and of course, my beloved Martin looks like a super model. Sigh. Then there is me.

The good news is, Martin loves me just as I am – and supports me trying to release the thinner me. We have AMAZING friends that love and support us, too, so I consider myself very lucky. And I also definitely believe that I will be thinner when I am ready – I lost 85 pounds before on Weight Watchers and so far have lost 25 (granted, that 85 came off in ten months like fifteen years ago and this time, it has taken two years to get to that 25. Oy!) Plus, I absolutely believe a big part of what makes people beautiful, men or women, is the fact they love and accept themselves as they are – confidence and security emit good-lookin’-ness in spades.

Anyway, I get home from work, check Facebook and the lovely Kim has sent me this quote,

BW Butterfly…along with a little note that says something to the effect that this was what we had been discussing earlier this afternoon. It actually made me tear-up a little…

Thanks, Kim, and thanks to ALL my friends that love and accept me just as I am, that support me as I try to better myself and and remind me that I am pretty good already. Thank you, Universe, for Martin. You know, at some point in my near life-long weight-loss journey, I remember doing an exercise where you were supposed to stand naked in front of a mirror with a bag over your head – I guess the thinking is that by detaching your face from your body, you are able to be more critical and objective.

I am now wondering if, by not being able to see our faces, we are not able to see the true, genuine “us,” just like a butterfly cannot see their beautiful wings. Screw that bag thing…

Guilty Pleasures Saturday

Today has been a “Guilty Pleasures” day for me. HOORAY!

I woke up early and went for my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I suppose it goes without saying that the scale was “less-than-pleased” with my efforts this week. Sigh… The holiday, a picnic, dinner not once but TWICE at our best friends’ house – including delicious red velvet cake last night at like 10:30P – well… I can hear Richard Simmons saying “…no one is holding that fork but you” but OMG, sometimes it is hard to make a wise decision when the food is just so damn good. Anyway, my weigh-in was like at 8:30A today. After a few errands – and some shame – I returned home and my “Guilty Pleasures Day” officially began.

I grabbed my Sweetie and we walked the farmers’ market on the square where we live. It is quite large and filled with lots of Amish baked goods, buffalo meat, cheeses, fresh fruits and produce, a truck that makes hot, fresh mini-donuts with powdered sugar (I resisted!) and lots of other good stuff. We bought a small loaf of moist-and-delicious-looking pumpkin bread from one of the Amish vendors, then walked 3-4 blocks down to the Larchmere Street Festival, which was happening today.

Larchmere Boulevard is a cute street lined with antique shops of various calibers, LOTS of barber shops (I know, right?) and assorted other retailers and small galleries. Martin reminded me that we had attended the festival last year but I don’t remember (old-timer’s disease setting in I guess!). So we walked the street twice, opted to grab a late breakfast at Big Al’s Diner – huge omelettes that took FOREVER to get but were so worth the wait – then decided to come home. On the way, we stopped in a small cafe called Flying Cranes and got Martin a piece of mango mousse cake for tonight…

mango mousse cake

This is NOT the actual cake but it looks almost exactly like this – no flowers but with a dollop of whipped cream – and it is delicious (Martin let me take a small taste). The consumption of this cake – along with the last remaining peanut butter banana cupcakes from our Fourth of July picnic – are on this evening’s schedule (Weight Watchers be damned – I’ll start “tracking” in earnest tomorrow!)

Once we got back, I was a little sleepy so I managed to indulge in a three-hour nap. It was supposed to be a 45 minute quick snooze but I tricked my Sweetie into “…laying down with me for just a minute” when he tried to wake me up and viola! three hours later, there we were…

Rumpled sheets

I’m not sure why people don’t nap more – it is such a guilty pleasure for me. I always feel like I have done such a naughty thing, stealing away hours from a day just to sleep.

So now it is well into the early evening. We have decided to respectfully decline an invitation to a karaoke party from our friends (the awesome chefs – we figured they needed a break from our faces, plus me, karaoke? not pretty!) and are just staying home instead. We talked about renting a movie but all the pics we really wanna’ see are being released Tuesday (damn you, Redbox!) So instead, I suspect we will enjoy a bit of this tonight – no sporting events but reality TV instead…

watching TVAnd that is just fine with me. The thing is – much as I love our friends, and love being out and “doing stuff” – there is nowhere I would rather be than home with my beloved. We have had an eventful, busy couple of weeks and it feels great to just chill out at home and relax, doing nothing but just being together. I love that…

Hope you all are having a great weekend. Indulge in some guilty pleasures of your own!

Bitch Slap Weekend

My Beloved and I often whine to each other that we need more friends, or that we never “do” anything. Then, in an action I like to describe as a bitch slap from The Universe, we are reminded that we are blessed with MANY great friends and always seem to have something going, schedule-wise. Suddenly we will have a 24/7 schedule of events with two – or more! – things all happening at/around the same time. This is a “bitch slap” weekend…

I worked this past Friday evening till 5:30 PM. It was a kinda’ busy day for me at work and my Angel had been volunteering at a fundraising car wash for around four hours in the hot sun for an organization he belongs to/is an officer for so Friday night was a pretty laid-back evening.

Then the weekend started…

I was up yesterday at 7AM to go to my Saturday AM weekly weigh-in for WW (not good – “up” 0.8 pounds!). Boo!

scales1(Definitely not my feet and MOST definitely NOT my weight!)

After WW’s, I drove home, stopping on the way to grab some McBreakfast for me and my Beloved (and I wonder why I was “up” at weigh-in!), which we ate quickly and were then on the road to Columbus, to visit with my little sister, her family and my oldest niece and her family that were up from Tennessee. It was my first chance to meet my great nephew, Emmitt, and OMG – I am in love with him –

emmitt cheescake shot edit

(I mean, look at that face – he makes my heart melt…)

So anyway, my sister had planned a pool party and cook-out at her house and it was AWESOME! So awesome, that my SBF and I hated to leave. We left at almost 10PM, driving for over two and a half hours to arrive home Sunday morning at about 12:40AM.

Today, my Angel is at a picnic for another organization he belongs to, at one of the Metroparks about 45 minutes from our house. When he gets back, we will have an hour or so before we have to leave to attend the 50th birthday party/BBQ (good God, MORE cake and food – WW’s be damned!!!) for one of our best and dearest friends. It will (again) be another really chill, awesome evening with plentiful, delicious food, ample “adult beverages” and great, great friends. I suspect that, even though it is a school night, it will be another late one. And that is OK…

I am OFF again tomorrow but my Sweetie and I have a few projects scheduled already: hair cuts, some house cleaning and maybe (hopefully) this movie –

World-War-Z-NewPoster(Click to see the trailer – I DO so love a great zombie flick!)

So, yeah – I guess we have a LOT of great friends and a pretty busy social calendar. And I am OK with that. Friends are one of the best blessings in life, so we are lucky. Sometimes I do feel like this though:

Go To Bed(Click above to learn about the origins of Savoyard dialect.)

  Hope you all have/had a weekend as fun as mine! Have a GREAT week!

 

Great Expectations – Five (5!) Projects in Process

Like most of us, I am REALLY good at imagining projects and goals that I want to undertake/accomplish/achieve. However, like most of humanity, I am really good at the “conceiving/conceptualizing” part and really BAD at the “follow-through/completion” part.

In no particular order, here are five of my current personal “in-the-works” projects and/or undertakings that are all in some stage of their evolution…

Goal 1  – Losing weight/getting healthier/living longer – Green Healthy Living Apple Illustration on white background.Success so far – since joining Weight Watchers (almost two years ago), I have lost 28.4 pounds. I am also eating much healthier – thanks, Sweetie! – and exercising with a bit more regularity. In fact, I walked to work twice last week, a distance of 2.3 miles each trip!

Goal 2 – Write the next “Harry Potter/Twilight/50 Shades of Grey” – blank-journalSo I have a “tween-y” book concept outlined in my head already: characters, back story, plot, plot twist, story arc (I’m thinking a trilogy!) – almost everything I need. I am still struggling to create the “antagonist(s)” and am also having a bit of a hard time just getting started. I understand now why writers in movies always “go away” to write; it takes focus, time and a lot of energy. In my defense, however, I will soon have posted one hundred (100!) consecutive, daily blog posts, so that must count for something, right?

Goal 3Become an uber-successful interior designer – 

FabulousI have been working within the A + D (architecture and design) community for almost 25 years now. We just moved the duoHOME storefront and design office to one of Cleveland’s more upscale suburbs so I am hoping that this formula works:

(New location + Continued Hard Work) x Bustin’ Ass = SUCCESS!!! 

Goal 4 – Achieve marriage equality in America/repeal DOMA ASAP – 

weddingI am blessed to be with the greatest guy I have ever known. I want to marry him – and not some cheap ass, watered-down version of marriage. I want the full-blown, 1,138 legal rights and privileges afforded couples by marriage. I want us to be treated in every single nuanced way that our heterosexual brothers and sisters are treated when they get married – with respect, dignity and kindness.

Goal 5I want to live forever… 

universeOK, so I’ll concede that this is probably the least attainable goal  but it is a goal nonetheless. I mean, I have already shared I am with the greatest person ever – I kinda’ hope to have endless time with him. I also have a lot of “stuff” left to do. Plus, I just heard a TV program state that time is only an invention of the human mind, as a means to catalog and record events as they happen, to help us remember… I am going to do my best to prove that that idea is correct.

And I am going to keep working on this list as hard as I can.