24
Jan
2018

Here in Alabama, we take our potential snow days very seriously.  In fact, we are subjected to many a news story about how bread and milk is flying off of the shelves, because apparently, southerners believe they need those things to survive for the 1 or 2 (or maybe 3) days of being stuck at home, fearful to venture out on the roads.

I am not sure where the bread and milk requirement originated?  Perhaps, young families who have children in the house and just cannot run out of milk?  I don’t know.  I don’t remember it being a thing in Mississippi on the few snow/ice events we had.  I remember bottled water being the thing, because when it iced we tended to have some issues with our tap water supply.

Here I am, now, ruminating on last weekend’s winter weather event, here.  I did pop into the grocery on the way home the day before the expected event.  Personally, I am convinced you can determine how seriously the citizenry is taking a forecast by how much bread and milk is left on shelves.  But, I actually LOVE to peruse other people’s winter prep shopping carts.

[My personal choice of emergency grocery supplies generally include butter, flour and eggs.  I tend to have the urge to bake cookies during winter weather.  It is nothing my mother ever did when I was a kid, so I did not pick it up there.  Maybe, because my house gets so cold, and I have to hang around in it for days on end, I enjoy the heat coming from the oven as I cook things.   My other winter weather necessity is bacon.   I think the only time we cook bacon in this house is for snow day breakfast along with scrambled eggs and pancakes.  AHA! There is where I need some milk!]

Back to other people’s carts…

Last week, I watched people at the checkout.  Mind you, this takes a while when snow is forecast, because lots of extra people are at the store, needing to check out.

Cart number 1 was full of refrigerated, portioned, ready to bake cookies.  How about that?  I am not the only one who craves them.  I just make them from scratch because it helps kill time when I am avoiding productive work at home.  When I say, full though, I’m talking 8, 9 packages of cookies.  That’s quite a few cookies. Hope you have a lot of people in your house pal, because that would make me ill.   Don’t forget 3 gallons of milk to go with those yummy, warm sugar bombs.

Cart number 2 – cigarettes, wine, aaaaaand milk.  I feel for you, hon, I don’t want to be trapped for three days either.

Cart number 3 – and this was  my favorite of the day – no milk.  But 13 2-liter bottles of Mountain Dew.   And lots of Ruffles.   Now, ordinarily when I see a cart like that, my assumption is perhaps they don’t really care about the weather. Perhaps they are having a playoff football watch party at their house, and those are snacks for it.  But, 26 liters of Mountain Dew?   Really, if they were having a party, I would think there would be an assortment of different sorts of soda beverages.  So, Mountain Dew is their disaster preparedness fluid of choice.

Stay warm my friends.  Maybe we will get one more icy precipitation event this year.  They are fun!  What’s in your cart?

2
Jan
2018

Last week, I experienced proof-positive that happiness can be contagious.  My extended family (my family, my sister’s family, her in laws and a family friend – 12 of us in all) went on a Caribbean cruise over Christmas week.   On the first night prior to departure, in New Orleans, my husband and I walked into the rest of the group in the hotel lobby and received a very animated “HeyyyYYYYYyyyyy” from them.  It was annoying as hell and very funny as well. The inflection had an effeminate quality, if that helps you to hear it.  Naturally, the HeyyyYYYYYyyyyy immediately caught on, much to my husband’s chagrin.

Everywhere we were, after that moment, you could hear the subgroups of our party issuing the hey call.  It helped us find each other in noisy bars, expansive lobbies and crowded, dark theaters on the cruise ship.  It became our signature.  (We  realized about halfway through the cruise that there was another group using “Dilly, Dilly” as their mating call. It was very funny, too).  If you wanted to find people in the buffet area, all you had to do was walk through sounding “HeyyyYYYYYyyyy” and listen for the answering call.   We had a laughter filled trip!

I did not really realize it, but other people noticed our boisterous, happy group.  We found out, happily, after we had our Secret Santa reveal on the last day of the cruise.  We were sitting in one of the more comfortable sofa groupings in one of the main bar areas, opening, and cheering the cleverness of our gifts (we all drew names and the rest of the cruise, spent time identifying the perfect gift – mind you, one of our 21 year olds drew an 86 year old’s name. It was a fun challenge).

As we sat and laughed and chattered, a couple, about retirement age, came up to us and told us that, “We have been watching  and enjoying all your joy and happiness this week.  Would you allow us to take a picture of your entire group for you to have as a memory?”

Wow.  Just wow.  It made me feel even happier that our joy was outwardly visible.  That it radiated so from us that other people were affected by it.  Happiness is a state of mind.  It may not be possible 100% of the time due to life events and struggles, but a huge component of it is being open to joy.  Let it in, when you are able.

15
Dec
2017

I believe my brain has a 10 pound filter in my own bathroom but nowhere else. As in, if I look at myself, dressed in my exercise clothes or swimsuit in the gym mirror, it seems so much worse than at home!  Maybe I have a special fun mirror.

I know I need to lose weight.  I am certainly not burying my head in the sand about it. I just hate those little mental corrections!

Speaking of, I went to meet with a trainer yesterday to set up a strength training plan. He used a gizmo to measure my body fat percentage.  Now THAT is something you want to do a week before Christmas! Haha.

Peace, y’all. Go for a walk today.

11
Dec
2017

For the past few years, I’ve eschewed setting of New Year’s Resolutions, because, quite frankly, I failed spectacularly at any sort of follow-through after about three days into the new year.   I have also learned to avoid diets because restrictive eating and rigor generally make me so miserable, I cannot get excited about the benefits they would support in my quest for a healthier lifestyle.

At the end of 2016, I was very depressed about my weight and my blood pressure and my blood work tests, etc, etc, etc.  I was looking full into another new year with no discernible change in my weight or my health, despite talking a good game.  Then, my sister asked me to join her team to walk 2017 miles in 2017.  I   figured it would at least motivate me to exercise regularly, something I very much needed to do.

Fast forward to today, nearly the end of 2017.  I stuck with it.  Now, my teammates are much more long distance than I, where they can average 5 miles in a walk, I do around three. I had worked my way up to four miles in walks, increased my endurance and stamina, then developed plantar fasciitis and sprained an ankle last spring.  It was pretty bad, hampering my walks, and I worked through it in the summer with some PT.  However, I stuck with it.  I have lost 10 pounds, my resting heart rate average is way down, and my last set of bloodwork had backed almost every reading out of the borderline/high zone.  I still need to get my good cholesterol up and my triglycerides down, but other than that, everything looked peachy!

I believe I experienced a resolution sea change this year.  Rather than making an unreasonable promise to myself (lose 50 pounds! run every day!), I have convinced myself that making a permanent change is possible.  I am committed to working a significant amount of exercise into each week.  Unfortunately, the weight loss has plateaued, but now, I truly believe, the next big change will be in my meal planning.  If I can walk 600 miles in a year, then I can stop putting fried poison into my body.

Stay tuned.  Wish me luck.  Send me recipes!

Gotta go swim.  (Yes, I know. Cold. Wet. Ick. December – but I need to condition the muscles in my upper back AND it’s cardio. Two birds and all that!)