Thursday, April 17, 2014

Oh good grief

When life gives you snow storms, make sarcastic snowladies!  I love her snow crown!
And this was a pretty obnoxious turn of events:

A freaking foot of April Snow. Sigh.  I was unable to really take any artsy pictures with my big camera.  I just can't.

And so this is what I did:

I made Lola  hold a little offering to the snow and spring gods.  And then I made my ode to spring snowgirl.... complete with flowers, kale ponytails and flip flops.  I just have to find some joy in this mess....

Don't cha love the flip flops??

And the kale ponytails??
Deft use of pansies for added joy- a flower child!

The snow was not as packy as you would imagine- it sticks but I couldn't roll it into snow balls.  I bet as the day warms up it will though.
Regardless, I did the best I could and was somewhat creative with the accessories.  I just LOVE the little thing that I put on Lola's dish.  She's so CUTE!!

This is the cutest lil thing- dried flower skirt, pansy buttons, irritated expression

Tomorrow we are leaving to go to Janesville.  I am hoping the MA comes with me, as he is not feeling well right now.  Even though I have been accused, we all know he got this from some germ laden client.  Bummer.  I don't mean to sound unkind, but he was due.  I bet it has been at least 5 years, minimum, since he has gotten sick.  Really.  He makes ill..... oh wait.  LOL  Never mind, that is quite amazing really and I am always hacking and wheezing from something shared with me from a little darling at school.  I was really surprised that he was not up to his usual obnoxious self this morning.  Tax season got him this year.  And seeing his first free weekend is graced with a foot of snow covering the yard and garden, well going to Janesville to party with Ella and see the kids again is just perfect.

The good news is (besides the fact that we didn't have to use a snowday that we don't have) that the snow already seems to be compacting and melting. The temps are supposed to be in the 40's and that is good for us.  The rest of the weekend is bringing even warmer conditions, so by the time we get back, we should be back to where we were.... just some snow piles left.

Anyway, I wanted to try to find some positive in this pretty depressing day.  We all know that lying under the snow are those signs of spring that are waiting to see the light of day again.  Just have to wait for a while.  In the meantime, be a joy giver no matter what the weather is throwing at you today.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Unexpected and unseen- hidden truths

While frolicking around yesterday in a definite gleeful way, I discovered some things that weren't exactly expected.  Naturally, I should have seen many of these things coming, but my natural inclination, though hopeful, is to never expect anything too soon.  I enjoy waiting for things it seems (who knew??) and so when these little surprises show up before I think they are going to it is a delight.

Look who was on the tree when I went to try to take a pic of a BLUEBIRD!  Yay for spring
Now this was originally going to be another photographic post, but I see some other connections that I want to explore as well.  Note to some, if you are expecting only nature photography, this will not be the post for you.  It will be a little more personal, as this is part of the conversation with myself that I have been keeping quiet lately.  I am going to discuss this for a few reasons, mostly personal, but also I had a friend ask me in effect why I'd been so quiet on my blog lately.  So for this person, I am going to dive into this new part of my life, as they are thinking along the same lines as me.  And who knows, this might speak to others, who just didn't know that they needed speaking to!  I can't be all things to all people, but I am going to be true to myself.

Over the past few years, I have been on a transformative sort of journey- physically, emotionally and mentally.  When I began this blog it was a way to chit chat with people about my art, teaching and other things that I do.  It was surprising that it made a difference to some people, but you just never know who is going to need to hear your particular message for the day.  Not that I think my ideas are all that special, but it is what is important to me at that time.  I frequently compose my blog posts while walking and/or driving- times when my mind is free to drift a bit.  This one has been brewing for few months and it might be an ongoing theme, so bear with me.

SHUT UP- the daffodils are on the way!!
Many of you have followed along with me as I have lost weight and gained fitness using walking, the lovely gym I belong to and my use of the loseit app on my phone.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have had this little trifecta of awesome in my life.  The Loseit website has allowed me to find courage, gain strength in many ways, and get the confidence that I apparently needed.  It also blessed me with SO many people that are good friends of mine.  ANYONE who thinks that your internet friends are somehow less of a friend than your local friends are sadly mistaken.  By expanding my world through the internet, I have found a group of people that I am connected with by more than weight loss. We have similar interests, values, likes and dislikes and live in far flung areas around the US in most cases.  I can count on support and friendship from these wonderful people, in many ways that I  cannot get from those who live near me.  Not through anyone's fault, it just is the truth.  I do not have a daily conversation with all of the people I communicate with, but there are those who I not only have daily conversations with, but multiple times during a day.  We check in to see how the other is doing, share concerns and joys....  it is a spectacular thing.  There are others who I hear from once or twice a day and others still who I communicate with sporadically.  I have lost touch with some and there are others who I will reconnect with someday soon.

So what does this have to do with anything??  Well, I do not want to diss the Loseit website, as it provided me with a tool to accomplish something that I needed to and gave me a way to find a new lease on life, to put it in a corny way.  Yet, there was something that bothered me.

All through my life, for as long as I can mostly remember, I have been concerned about my weight.  I remember having a girl on the bus tell me that I would grow out of my chubbiness. (NOTE- reviewing pix of my younger days I was NOT all that heavy, this is quite disturbing to me, actually), I must have expressed this to my mom, as I remember a few times she very kindly tried to steer me in the direction of healthy eating (though she used cigarettes to remain thin herself- also disturbing).  I was not shunned growing up, I had a great group of friends, but we were not the pretty or cool girls. (Oh yes, another sidebar- that has been refuted by a few people as well- hmm) So what happened?  Why did my weight go up and then down a bit and then up and so on.  Seriously I am not sure what all the factors are, but social pressures and suggestion was apparently at work, not to mention the use of food to soothe ones feelings, and the big fat old D word.  DIETING.

I have never thought of myself as a yoyo dieter.  I didn't in my mind gain and lose the same 20 pounds my whole life.  My journey was a little different than that, but that is just the details, the overall truth is that the outcome was still the same.  Every day I woke up and was going to "be good" and eat "healthy" and exercise and stay away from the "bad" foods and eat the "right" way, and every day I failed.  EVEN after I got to my goal weight ( oh honey, there is a whole 'nuther post about that coming) I realized and I may even have mentioned here somewhere that I NEVER ate perfectly.  Not one damn day did I eat like I was supposed to.  NOT ONCE in 2 years did I not eat something extra, or have some chocolate or god forbid a fucking cookie entered my mouth.  Even though I starved myself for the last 2 weeks before I hit that random goal weight - I felt relieved that I got there, but did not feel like I did it right.  I felt like I lucked out, and maybe I did luck out- some people never get to goal weight and then spend their life feeling even more like a failure.

THIS is just wrong.

So somewhere in the last  half year or so, because I had a really hard time with maintaining (read:continuing to follow a diet)  I started discovering and following some websites and people who are intuitive eating advocates.  Intuitive eating basically is trusting yourself to eat what you need.  It is not killing yourself with restriction and the resulting bingeing.  It is not punishing yourself for eating something with hours of exercise.  It is eating what you want, when you want, but it is NOT returning to your old way of eating either.  That is the thing that some people don't get.  MOST people don't get super heavy because they are just hungry ALL the time, they are eating because they have something that is bugging the crap out of them.  They are eating to drown out the voices in their heads and the voices from some people around them, telling them they are not good enough, that everything they are doing is wrong.  THAT is the emotional eating that everyone knows about and many of us do.  There are some lucky people who just don't do that so much, somewhere they learned coping strategies that don't involve food.  THIS is something that is hard hard work.(another post, another day)

I love finding surprises like this that just emerged from the snow
So I've been working on myself, I am a project.  Even though a corner stone of intuitive eating is that you are NOT a project to be fixed- you are perfect the way you are.  And I believe it, but I am trying to find other coping strategies and change my mindset.  I am learning to address my emotional and private issues through ways other than eating.  I am working on body image acceptance, because I absolutely admit to gaining some weight back, and there is no way that I am going to apologize for that.  THIS is major for me, as I was feeling really guilty about it.  Now all I want to do is have my pants fit again, and that is on its way to happening- for the most part.  I have no need to be a too thin size 6 again. I can't live that way.  I'm too freaking hungry, man- and weight lifting gives me a big old appetite. AND I would rather be strong and awesome than super thin and awesome.  I am getting advice and life coaching from a pretty amazing woman, who I may talk about another time, and this has been a God send.  Actually I have been talking myself through most of it, with her asking me leading questions.  Questions that I need to hear, some I had no idea I needed to answer, and all of them are part of my process and journey.  And best of all, I am starting to trust myself around food.  Seriously, this is an amazing story for Debi.

And Jac- there is Jac!
Yesterday, after having a bagel and some cream cheese for breakfast (yes siree, I had that demon creamcheese for breakfast and it was so good) I had a positively delightful morning that began with a massage.  My massages are the best- they are definitely a time for meditation, a time to allow my crabby lat muscle to release and begin healing again, and a time to feel good about myself.  I then went and helped a lady I know book plane tickets to go see her grandson's High School graduation in June,  then I went grocery shopping and finally made some initial editing progress on my photos. What a great morning!

Then I broke the MA out of his office and we went for lunch up in Butternut.  Schinebeck's Shanty makes a mean veggie burger (really well prepared) and I decided instead of having fries or their not real terrific salad (sorry, but iceberg lettuce doesn't cut it for me), I'd just stick with their chips.  The burger is big, and so I didn't need much more than that.  I was starving, too, but I get full fast and I am trying to not order too much, because it is so hard for me to leave food on my plate.  Well turns out the chips are these fresh fried ones, that they make themselves in the deep fryer and I tested one out and was blown away.  THEY WERE SO GOOD!!  I ate most of them first as they were sublime hot!  And then I had my veggie burger with the fried onions, lettuce, tomato and bbq sauce and was so content and full.  And I did NOT have one moment of regret over deep fried or chips or the onions or anything else, because I liked it!!  And I did not have to continue eating anything else, later, because I was satisfied and happy and I did not EVEN need to go beat myself into submission by running or walking for 2 or 3 hours, which would have happened even 6 months ago.  I didn't even really think about my food - I just had it.  I didn't realize the significance of this until I was talking to my coach this morning.  This was huge.  This is a break through for me.  I usually am obsessed with my food and menu.

I found Ruger's tennis ball near Lola
This is what I want.  Eat when I am hungry and not eat if I am not, even if someone offers it.  Even if I haven't had enough- fill in the blank- today because my own little weird set of rules hasn't been filled.  A life of dieting has saddled me with a lot of rules that just don't really need to be followed if I don't want to.  And I want a life where I just have lunch and not think about food every God damn minute. (sorry for the plethora of cursing, but I am a bit passionate about this whole thing).

So, I am not logging my food on loseit anymore.  I am entering my exercise for some reason.  I find that ok.  I don't feel ruled by the exercise.  I am craving activity, as this winter has left me feeling not as strong as I like to feel.  On the other hand, I have a few recurring injuries that have healed well because I have eased up too.  Now to find the balance and moderation.

Hen and Chicks, baby
So I am off to do some walking- actually going to the office and then to travel south to Phillips for my annual assemble tax returns helping that I do on the last day or two of tax season.  Yeah, I am a giver!!  HAHA  It just makes me grateful that I was smart enough to NOT do this line of work, people would find me swinging from the light fixtures.  I just can't with office work, but am I ever grateful for the people who do it!  I know a few of those sorts who are just filled with awesome sauce!  You all know who you are!

There is so much more to life than diets and you are worth so much more just as you are than what the media and diet gurus and all those other people who are just out to make MONEY from you.  Trust your body and trust yourself.  It takes a lot of time, it takes a leap of faith, it takes some difficult steps, but is worth it all.  You my friends are awesome and being thinner does not make you more so.  It can make you feel good about yourself, but it should never make you feel worse or worse yet, like you are a failure.  You give me so much joy, I hope you can find a way to find joy in yourself as well.  xoxo

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pictures: the next chapter- Nature at it's best/worst

There has been a lot of whining, crying and complaining about winter this year, but so far it looks like perhaps it won't last into freaking MAY like last year.  I am ever so optimistic. 

So I have been keeping a daily, photographic diary of Lola, mostly on Instagram, and I have seen some of the deepest snow levels up here, ever!!  It was pretty incredible to have Lola to measure it against.  I can't wait for the plant growth to begin so we can see how high the daffodils and lilies and poppies get.  Better than snow for sure.

The best shot that I got of this super quick trip to Holy Hill
However, there are no photos of that yet, so we will have to make do with a couple of Lola and of course other parts of the Northwoods- and even a pic or two from southern WI.

Lola at her deepest


Early morning after the snow
Waiting for spring

Favorite tree

Winter stone house

Melting is started



The ongoing beauty of the sunflower

Spring is here
While in Janesville, we swung past the old GM plant that is in decay.  It was a major part of the Janesville economy and it is so SAD that it is in disuse.  Next time I will get a better pic of this cool 50's style, deserted, gas station.  We were in a hurry.  This was a stunning thing to see in many ways.

After the baby shower was finished Greg led us to Holy Hill.  He knew I would want to photograph that building.  It was after hours for the grounds, but church was just letting out, so all was good.  I got a few good pix against an amazing sky that lovely day.

My buddy the stone house- in the melting stage

3 seasons in one pic

Hang on Lola, spring is coming

I loved the sparkly sun hiding behind the clouds of this last one.  So much hope for a new season.  And with hope there is bound to be some joy!