Monday, January 16, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee... (Vol. 10 - A New Experience)

If we were having coffee this morning, we'd be in my living room.  It's Martin Luther King Day and I have the day off from work.

It's another gray, winter day here in the Bluegrass.  Even though it's not raining at the moment, it's still bleak and dreary.  I'll be venturing out around noon in hopes of getting in a walk before the rain starts again later this afternoon. Yesterday, I barely squeezed in my walk between the breaks in the rain; even then, the last mile or so I walked in a cold drizzle.  "It's been raining here on and off since Tuesday," I'd say.  "I feel like we've entered monsoon season."  

As we settled in, you on the sofa and me in my recliner, I'd ask you if your new year has been off to a good start.  You'd fill me in on what's gone on in your life since we last chatted.  After some time, you'd take a sip of your beverage and comment on how I seem to be in much better spirits than I was two weeks ago.

I'd smile, chuckle softly, and then take a drink of my soda.  I'd turn to you and say, "I am."  Once I said sayonara to 2016, things have been looking a lot better. "I don't necessarily believe in that whole 'New Year, clean slate' adage," I'd begin, 'but I made an conscious effort to leave a lot of crap and baggage behind in 2016.  I simply refused to carry it around any longer.  Maybe that's as close to a clean slate as I can get."

You'd smile and then ask what I've been up to lately. "The same ol' same ol'..." I'd reply.  I'm still losing weight, walking as much as I can, and I've finally gotten used to getting up before dawn again after having two weeks off at Christmas. This time of year, once all the merriment and holidays are over, there's really not much going on other than the routine stuff of life.  "Work, commute, eat, sleep, repeat." I'd say with a laugh.  You'd nod and smile in agreement.

I'd take another drink of my soda and as I shifted in my recliner, I'd wince at the soreness in my backside.  Remembering what I did Saturday, I'd turn to face you again.

"Well," I'd say, "I did do something Saturday that could be considered out of the ordinary, for it's something I've never done before."  You'd look at me with curiosity and ask what.  "I took a women's self-defense class."

One of my speech path buddies started taking jiu jitsu a little while back and her instructors offered a free class for women on Saturday afternoon.  She invited me to go earlier in the the week and I thought, "Why not?"

You'd ask how it went and I'd tell you it went well, despite my still being a teensy bit sore.  Before, when I thought about self-defense, I always thought about the run of the mill maneuvers - jabbing with keys, using  elbows to land blows to the abdomen, using fingers to poke eyes, and the obligatory, kick to the balls.  As I said before, I've never taken a class before, but these are just things that I've picked up over the years.  "Oh, and to fight like hell," I would add.   

"This class, however, was different," I'd continue.  They didn't touch upon any of those standards maneuvers.  Instead, they taught us some fundamental jiu jitsu techniques that appear to be very effective and were surprisingly common sense once you thought about it.

You'd ask if it was hard and I'd reply, "Not really."  If anything, it was more awkward than anything.  "Awkward?" you'd ask.  Yes, you see, my friend and I had pretend to attack each other.  At one point, we had to take turns straddling each other and pinning the other to the ground in order to practice getting away. "I'm just glad that I knew her, for doing something like that with a complete stranger would've been terribly awkward."

The highlight of the day, in my opinion, was when my friend, whom I easily outweigh by fifty pounds, sent me flying over her shoulder after I had her in a choke hold from behind.  Before I knew it, I was flying through the air and then landed on the mat with a loud thud. My friend was standing over me with the most astonished look on her face.  She didn't think she'd be able to throw me.  That look, full of surprise and pride, was priceless.

"Yeah," I'd say as I slowly leaned forward and arched my back in an attempt to stretch, "I'm still feeling that landing today, but it was so totally worth it."

After gently leaning back into my recliner, I'd say, "Although it was very educational and I got a bit of a weird workout, it's still a shame that classes like that have to be offered in the first place.  Wouldn't it be great if we lived in a world where women's self-defense classes weren't necessary at all?"

Thank you for stopping by and reading my latest installment of IWWHC. 

Have a wonderful Monday!  

Linking up with Diana @ Part Time Monster 

Friday, January 13, 2017

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week (Vol. 25)

I.  Walks in the park, even in 23 degree weather.  There's something about being out in nature that helps me keep the mental clutter at bay.

II.  I completed a Nielsen survey back in December and sure to their word, they sent me $5 for completing it and returning it in a timely fashion.

III.  Walks with my walking buddy after work.  I do enjoy the talks we have while pounding the pavement and I'm so thankful for her support and friendship.

IV.  Having a 3-day weekend ahead of me.

V.  This: 

VI.  The weight loss progress I've made as evidenced by my belt.  In August of last year, I had to use the very last hole.  I'm currently in the first hole.  I've lost 4 inches from my waistline.

VII.  This: 

VIII.  Having lost 4 inches from my waistline, I can now wear my favorite belt, a belt that I haven't been able to wear in probably 7-8 years!  

IX.  After a very frigid start to the new year, having several days this week with temperatures in the 50s and 60s, despite the rain, was very nice.  Yesterday, I went sans jacket!

X.  Conversations with friends, young and old, male and female, face to face, on the phone, or via text.

Hoping this finds you having a great Friday.  May your weekend be even better.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

30 Pounds

Over the weekend, I surpassed a very significant milestone - I finally lost 30 pounds!  Yes, I had hoped to meet that goal before the winter solstice, for it was one of my autumn goals, but I came up a few pounds short.  Last week, though, I finally crushed it.

30 pounds

After the realization sank in that I did it, I started thinking about weight and specifically about what 30 pounds looks like.  I mean, I've seen the numbers change on the scale over the past 23 weeks and I've seen the changes in my clothes, but I couldn't get a mental picture of what 30 pounds looks like.  So, I did what I normally do when I want to know something and googled it.

Well, as it turns out, one of the easiest visual representations of weight is butter because it's typically sold by the pound.  I've lost the equivalent of 30 1-pound boxes of butter (or 120 sticks of butter, if you'd rather think of it that way).

That's a lot of butter to wrap your mind around, isn't it?

Another easy, but less overwhelming, visual representation is sugar.  Sugar is sometimes sold in 10 pound bags, so I could say that I've lost the equivalent of 3 of these:

Given that I've never held 30 pounds of butter and to my recollection, I've never even held a full 10 pound bag of sugar, I was still having a hard time grasping not only what 30 pounds looks like, but also what it feels like.  For a day or two, I stepped on my scales while holding various items from around my house: two gallons of milk, a bucket of water, a full laundry basket, and my back pack stuffed with miscellaneous items - none of which weighed 30 pounds.  

On Tuesday evening, after letting my dog, Rascal, in to her kennel for the night, my eyes fell on her stout body and I was struck with curiosity.  I asked R, "How much do you think Rascal weights?" to which he answered, "How would I know?"  Undeterred, I raced inside to get my scales.

In the end, the easiest visual representation was running around in my back yard the entire time.  As it turns out, my beagle, at the time of this writing, weighs roughly 29 pounds.  

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have lost a little more than 1 Rascal.  LOL!

And, here's my 30 pound difference picture, just in case you're curious and would like to see:

Thank you for stopping by and allowing me to share my good news with you!  Have a wonderful Thursday!

Linking up with:

Friday, January 6, 2017

One Thing About Today... (Vol. 2)

One thing about today (Thursday January 5) that I want to make sure I remember one year from now is the overwhelming feeling of shock and sheer joy I felt this morning when, on a whim, I tried on my beloved, old, gray Marshall sweatshirt, an item I have been unable to wear for 5-6 years because it became too snug, only to discover that after losing 29 pounds, that I could wear it once again.

Losing weight is an interesting experience. One of the reasons why is because, in my opinion, one's mind doesn't necessarily see the changes that are happening to one's body during weight loss.  I know I've lost weight for I've seen the changes on the scale each week.  I've also seen the changes in the way my clothes fit and how many times I've tightened up my belt.  But, there are still times when I look in the mirror and my mind doesn't see the changes that have happened to my body; I still see the reflection of how I was in August.

This morning was a huge affirmation for me.  I know it's just a basic sweatshirt, but this one has always been a favorite.  I love the basic crewneck and the embroidered letters that spell out the name of my beloved alma mater in green. I've had this sweatshirt for over 20 years.  I was very upset with myself when I got the point of where I could no longer wear it because of the weight I had gained.  Two years ago, during a massive household item and clothing purge, I almost relegated the sweatshirt to the Goodwill bag, figuring why keep something that obviously no longer fit.  But, due to my sentimental nature, I just couldn't part with it.  

Today, I am so glad I didn't.  

One year from now, I hope I remember how wonderful this little non-scale victory, to use a popular Weight Watchers term, feels. 

What is one thing about today that you want to make sure to remember one year from now?  Please feel free to comment below.

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Back in October, I composed a post entitled One Thing About Today as a part of the Back to Blogging Non-Challenge Challenge hosted by Alyssa @ Alyssa Goes Bang.  I enjoyed writing and revisiting that entry so much that I've decided to make it a regular feature here on my blog.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Currently... (Vol. 12)

Acclimating...  to getting up at oh-dark-thirty again after having two blissful weeks off from work.

Celebrating...  that I survived the month of December, which was a virtual minefield of temptation and diet saboteurs, and gained no weight!  In fact, I lost 4.9 pounds between November 28 and January 1 for a combined total of 29.1 pounds to date!

Walking...  a lot!  Sometimes indoors, sometimes out, sometimes in mild weather, sometimes in cold.

Cursing...  every time I write 2016 instead of 2017.  Old habits do die hard.

Working on...  53 report cards that are to go home tomorrow.  Whew...

Hauling around...  a lot of bags to work on days that I walk.  I swear some mornings it looks like I'm moving in!  LOL!

Resisting...  the urge to buy more of these tasty little nuggets.  I bought them to use in the goodie bags I made for my students last month and had a few left over.  I like them therefore I need not have them around.

Beginning...  Erin's latest book challenge - Book Challenge By Erin 6.0

Loving...  my new Pure Vida bracelets.  (Yes, I know I have hairy arms...  Sigh.)

Taking...  down the few Christmas decorations I put up this holiday season.  Yes, I'm one of those people who leave their stuff up into the new year.  LOL!

Scorching...  my mouth with Atomic Fireballs.  Yes, I have discovered that these hot jawbreakers are just enough to knock out some of my cravings.  A bonus is that the hot cinnamon singes my taste buds and I don't want anything to eat after I've had one!

Reading (listening to)...  the audiobook I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh

Liking...  my new lunch bag.  Thanks, Aunt Jane.

Letting go... and moving on.  There comes a point of where you just have to say - enough.

Looking...  forward to the new year and the opportunity to live bolder, to embark on more adventures, to show more kindness, to be a better friend, and to love deeper.

So, what have  you been up to lately?  Have a very happy Thursday!

Linking up with:

What's New With You

Saturday, December 31, 2016

If We Were Having Coffee... (Vol. 9 - Good Riddance, 2016)

If we were having coffee on this last morning of 2016, we'd be at my folks' house in West Virginia. It's a cold morning here in the mountains and the ground is covered in 2-3 inches of snow that fell yesterday.  As I did during the summer, I’d offer you a cup of my mom’s coffee. Typically, I would drink my Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry, but this morning I might indulge in some hot chocolate; it is New Year's Eve, after all, and I've not had any hot chocolate all fall or winter. Would you rather have that instead? After getting our drinks, I’d suggest we sit downstairs by the fire. 

After settling in, I'd ask how you've been.  You'd regale me with your Christmas happenings and then share your New Year's Eve plans.  After awhile, you'd ask how I've been and you'd comment on how it's been awhile since we've caught up over morning drinks.  I'd agree with you, for it has been awhile, several months actually.  I'd apologize and express how I've been very preoccupied since late summer.  "The past  four or five months have been like a rollercoaster, to be completely honest," I'd say.  "I've just had a lot on my mind."

You'd lean your head back against the sofa and wonder if you should prod.  I know I'm being vague and I hate that, I really do.  I'd gaze over at the roaring fire in the fireplace, watching the flames dance around the logs, and drift off in silent contemplation.  After several moments, I'd finally say, "This year has been exhausting and my soul is..." pausing as I searched for the right word.  "Weary."

You'd look over at me with a concerned look, but you wouldn't pry.  I so appreciate that about you.  I'd stare off into the flickering glow of the fire.  Finally, I would say, "I'm not sure I can remember a year that has been as mentally exhausting as 2016 has been."

I'd take a sip of my cocoa and continue, "Between the state of the world, all the election crap, the ugliness and hatefulness it brought out in people, and the personal issues I've dealt with as a part of my midlife crisis, it's been a very difficult year.  It has worn on me and I'm so ready to see it go."

A few minutes would pass between us as we drank our drinks in companionable silence.  "I know that 2016 contained some important lessons that I apparently needed to learn," I'd say. I'd tell you that I've tried my damnedest to listen closely to what the universe has been saying to me and to heed those lessons that have come my way.  "I know I'm a better person for having experienced those trials," I'd say.  "I trust that 2017 will be a better year and regardless of what it brings, I'm more prepared."  

After a moment or two, I'd reiterate, "It has to be better, for I'm not entirely sure I can stand another year like this one." 

I'd take another sip of my hot chocolate and gaze at the warm, orange glow before us.  Silently, I'd think, Good riddance, 2016.  Don't let the door hit ya on your way out... 2017, I'm ready.  BRING IT!


Thank you for stopping by and reading my latest installment of IWWHC. 

My wish for 2017 is this - I want people to remember their humanity and to be kinder to each other.  I want people to think before they speak.  I want people to see beyond the color of one's skin, to see beyond the gender, and to be more accepting of religions other than their own.  I want people to see that their way is not the only way.  I want people to lift each other up instead of tearing each other down.

On a personal level, I want simplicity.  I want clarity.  I want to be more centered. I want to easily let go of burdens as well as things that do not bring out the best in me, including people.  I want to stay the course and not lose my way again.  I want to find joy everyday.  I want to live bolder and above all, love deeper. 

May 2017 bring you much happiness, good health, and bountiful blessings. Happy New Year.

Linking up with Diana @ Part Time Monster 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday Five (Vol. 10)

1)  A quiet Christmas day in Kentucky with R.

2)  On Christmas Eve, I was notified that I had won a free audiobook in a giveaway sponsored by the gals @ Hot Listens and The Book Nympho!  I rarely win things like this, so I was super excited!

3)  A no loss/no gain weigh in Sunday morning!  I was completely prepared for a gain after some indulgences while in Chicago last week and Christmas Eve dinner with R's family.  I was very happy to have simply maintained!

4)  These scenic views as I walked and talked with my aunt one day this week:

5)  This amazing sunset yesterday evening:

BONUS!  Spending time with my family in West Virginia during my winter break. I won't see them again until April, so I have tried to soak up every moment with them that I could.

BONUS #2!  People who come into our lives unexpectedly and become dear friends.  (Thanks, S.)

Wishing you a fabulous Friday, a wonderful weekend, and a safe and Happy New Year's Eve!  May 2017 bring you much happiness, good health, and bountiful blessings!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with:

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