Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Reason to Get Off The Couch

A dear, dear friend of mine seems to be sick a good part of the time these days. Her theory is that she has become immune to the antibiotics the doctor prescribes her for her sinus infections. I was beginning to buy in to her theory when another friend of mine shared with me a very interesting fact.

Friend number two recently had a scare with her heart. Thankfully it turned out to be something minor, but while she was talking with her doctor she learned something that I think is absolutely fascinating. Something I had not heard before. Something I would love to share with my readers! Combine the stress most of us have with the fact that many of us rarely get up off the couch and this may just explain a lot:

Lymphatic System
The Lymphatic or “Lymph” System is commonly known as “the garbage disposal system” of the body. It is often referred to as the “second circulatory system” and flows throughout the entire body. The Lymphatic System is
a complex network of lymphoid organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, lymphatic tissues, lymph capillaries and lymph vessels that produce and transport lymph fluid from tissues to the circulatory system. The Lymphatic System is a major part of the immune system. It is through the Lymphatic System that toxic substances move out of the body through the bloodstream.

Why is it important for your health to maintain your Lymphatic System?
When your Lymphatic System is blocked or clogged, this creates a condition of stagnation which promotes fatigue and ill health.

How does the Lymphatic System become clogged or blocked?
Unlike the blood circulatory system, the Lymphatic System has no pump to keep fluid flowing. Some causes of a blocked lymph system are due in part to stress, lack of exercise, improper diet and repressed communication.
http://www.lymphatichealth.com/lymphatic-system/

Bottom line....if we don't move around enough to get our blood pumping, our lymph system doesn't work, and that means it can't fight off toxins, so we stay sick.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Flashback


If you would have come to my parents' house for Thanksgiving in the 1970's or 1980's, here's what you would have eaten:

Turkey (sliced by my Dad with the electric knife)
Cornbread Dressing (very dry)
Giblet Gravy (And there WERE giblets in it)
Mashed Potatoes
Candied Yams
Waldorf Salad (never did like it; still don't)
Cranberry Sauce (Jellied, from a can)
Rolls (Fleishman's Margarine on top)
Fried Apple Pies (little turnovers with icing, made by my mother--very delicious)
White Sheet Cake from bakery (We always celebrated my niece's birthday)
Iced Tea

Happy Thanksgiving, My Friends!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Story of the Little Bluebird


Have you ever emailed, phoned, or sent a text message to a close friend or family member just as they are trying to contact you? Or someone you are close with says something just as you are about to say the same thing? Throughout the day when I think about the people I love, I can feel their presence inside me. There's a connection there that is unmistakable. When I think about them, I feel their energy. I believe we all have this ability, but maybe this is a phenomenon not everyone is in tune with, but I've always done it. I'm pretty sure most of my readers have too.

The night my mother died I could no longer "feel" her. I came home from the hospital and sprinted up my street and I just couldn't find her inside my heart. The connection was gone. I even tried going outside my mind and said out loud "Where are you? I can't feel you anymore!!". It was like listening to the radio and the signal goes out. There was just nothing there.

Two days later at the funeral home, my very intuitive little daughter became enchanted with a little feathered bluebird that was wired inside one of the flower arrangements we'd received. She begged and begged to have it. I told her she could get it after the funeral.

With so much on my mind I forgot about it, but on the following day she saw the flower arrangement containing the bird being unloaded at the gravesite. Scarlett offered to go with her to retrieve it. My daughter cradled it in her hand during the service and brought it home. I didn't think much more about it.

Four days later, on a quiet Sunday morning, I kept hearing a noise. It sounded like little pellets hitting the glass door leading to the back yard. After hearing the noise several times I looked out to see two blue birds working diligently to build a nest inside the birdhouse that sits on the rail of my deck! That birdhouse had been sitting there empty for 5 years with not one bird nesting in it because it was so low to the ground and so close to our back door. And other than Blue Jays, I don't ever remember seeing blue birds come around our part of the woods before.

I looked over and saw the little feathered bird laying on the kitchen counter. I looked out and saw the real birds building new life right outside my window. I knew right then that my mother was sending me a message. She was fine. Everything was okay, and she knew I needed to have a sign to prove it. Right then, I placed the little feathered bird up on top of my cabinet inside a plant so I could see it every day.

Ever since that day I feel my mother inside my heart again. That empty signal is gone and we are back on the air. The birds raised three babies in that house and it was a treat to watch them grow and finally fly away. I am happy to say they returned this past spring and raised a second set of babies. Hopefully their young will return next year and the bluebirds will keep coming back.

Some strange things have happened since that day. I got up one morning to find the toy bird laying in the middle of the kitchen floor. Not so odd that it fell off the top of the cabinet, but maybe a little odd that it happened to be Mother's Day. Other things have happened as well, with mysterious little bluebirds turning up here and there.

Thanks Mom, for sending me a sign. And thanks for being back inside my heart where you belong.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oooh, Don't Step There!


My husband has a wonderful sister. She's my sister too. I wear jeans, she wears silk, and we don't always listen to the same music, but when it comes to the things in life that count--we pretty much see eye to eye on everything. We always have.

A long time ago Kitty and I decided that our lives were on a path, and being 9 years older than her, I felt like I was just a step ahead of her on that path. I'm far enough ahead that I'm able to yell back and warn her when I've just slipped in a pile of something foul, or when I've twisted my ankle by stepping in a big mud hole, hoping she'll be able to dodge those hazards and avoid them all together. Lucky for me, she's always been right behind me to help me up, dust me off, and get me going again.

Kitty has made some very, very good decisions in her life. She's a positive thinker, always trying to find the good in a situation, and never feeling sorry for herself. She is well educated and has a great job. Kitty has picked a wonderful husband who has fit in to our little family better than anyone could have imagined. No one can take credit for those things except her. So does she need me carrying on, telling her what to do? No. But it's nice to know she's still listening when I yell back and warn her about the upcoming snake on the path.

Come on Kitty, there's a long road ahead. Let's keep going!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Promise To Myself


This week I will concentrate on myself and what I need to do to be a better person. I will not spend any time or energy worrying about what everyone around me is doing or not doing.

I will focus all my energy on that which I am able to control--my eating, my exercise, my attitude.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Work It Baby!

Aside from a little cardiovascular excercise from walking, I have truly not "worked out" since I terminated my gym membership in 1997, when I was pregnant with my first child.

Today I did my first "Biggest Loser" workout and it was hard. The fun part was that I did it with my husband. Since he's no stranger to work outs, he guided me through the proper way to perform these excercises. I worked every muscle group I had and believe me when I say I had forgotten about most of them. The thing that shocked me the most was my pathetic lack of upper body strength.

I am scheduled to do this workout three times a week. My goal is to be able to hold myself up with my arms longer than 5 seconds. I'm supposed to do it for a minute!!

I know I'll be sore tomorrow but it felt good to move my body and get my heart rate up a little. Tonight I am proud of myself!

Friday, November 13, 2009

That Face Should Be Carved on Stone Mountain


In the Fall of 1991 I was trying to get over Michael. I was doing a decent job of it. I had dates all the time. I was single and free and having a ball. About this time I was sent to Atlanta for a week of training for my new job. An old friend from work told me that his best friend's son lived in Atlanta and he thought we should meet up while I was there. I talked to the young man, Kerry a couple of times on the phone before I went. He seemed nice but I could tell he was just doing this out of obligation to his Dad's friend.

Kerry was a cop. He worked for a drug unit in Atlanta and he worked nights. We had agreed to meet in the lounge of the hotel where I was staying. He was to take me out to dinner. I was rooming with a girl from Pennsylvania who was attending the same classes and whom I had immediately liked (and with whom I still have contact). I asked her to walk down with me so she could identify the guy in case I never made it back. Plus, she wanted to see if he was cute. We walked into the lounge and took a seat. When Kerry walked in my roommate said "Oh God, please let that be him". Lucky for me, it was. Kerry was probably the best looking guy I ever dated. He was a bigger, better looking Matt LeBlanc. He was about 6'3, had a mouthful of perfect white teeth, a fantastic body, great hair, and the face of a greek god.

We went to a great restaurant where I ordered a steak and a beer. Kerry was laughing at that because most girls usually order salad and water on a first date. We immediately hit it off. We left the restaurant and went to a comedy club. I laughed so hard I embarrassed myself. I made it back to the hotel room just in time to sleep about two hours then get up and go to class. It was an incredible date.

We saw each other one other time while I was in Atlanta but we immediately decided we would try to get together when he was in town visiting his family. We started talking on the phone quite often, which was expensive back in those days. Now that I had my own house, Kerry stayed with me every time he was in town, and I made a couple more trips back to Atlanta.

My mother loved Kerry. She thought he was so good looking, and he didn't seem to be...well, "bad" in any way. But Kerry was a a risk taker. He had a dangerous job, busting up drug rings in the bad parts of Atlanta, and he liked to drive very, very fast.

But Kerry and I weren't able to be together all the time and a funny thing happened on one of the nights we weren't. My doorbell rang at about 2:00 in the morning one night. I peeked out my bedroom window to see Michael standing on my porch. Of course I let him in. This would be the first of several times this would happen. He didn't want to get back together again, he just wanted to ring my bell whenever he was out late and didn't want to drive all the way back out to his house. Michael would crawl in bed with me and go to sleep. As much as I loved having him close to me again, this was very cruel to me. I still loved Michael very much. I knew we weren't getting back together, but him coming around wasn't giving me time to get over him. Kerry and I weren't officially exclusive but I'm pretty sure he wasn't dating anyone else so I doubt he'd have liked the idea of Michael's late night calls.

I had a lot to work out at that time in my life. Despite my nocturnal visits with Michael, I was starting to screw things up with Kerry by trying to control him and by being jealous of an ex-girlfriend he mentioned from time to time.

I was a loose cannon during that fall and winter. I was all over the map. It was a wonderful time in my life but it was also exhausting and confusing. It was like one of those sitcoms where there's a hallway with a lot of doors and people keep running in one door in fast motion and out the other and they always barely miss each other.

It's very hard to have a long distance relationship. As spring began to spring Kerry was getting sick of my games. Hell, I was getting sick of my games. I was even getting sick of Michael's visits. Something had to give. Then Kitty came home from college for spring break. She told me she wanted to see me and invited me over one evening. She told me her brother was going to be there. I really wanted to see Kitty and I also wanted to talk to her brother. Little did I know I was about to break things off with Kerry, finally find the balls to end things with Michael, and meet my future husband.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Temptation

I got in an altercation today with a piece of sinfully moist carrot cake with thick cream cheese icing and caramel sauce drizzled over the top. I won.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mary's MILFs



I believe the television series Desperate Housewives has been so successful because women can relate themselves in ways to each and every housewife. There's always one however, that you feel most connected to. Mine is Bree Hodge. Bree wants so desperately for everything to be perfect, and she's often weilding firearms. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that the current Mary's MILF is playing Bree's lover on the popular series.

Karl, played by 51 year old Richard Burgi, is the cheating ex-husband of Bree's friend Susan. Karl is a shark of an attorney. He is a womanizer and makes no attempt to hide that fact. He's bad and he lies. He's also dreadfully sexy. So it's only natural Bree would fall for him, which puts her in the situation of having an affair on her husband with her dear friend's naughty ex. In this week's episode, Karl promised that he would change his ways if Bree would marry him. Move over Mike Delfino. The current Desperate Housewives Mary's MILF Award goes to Karl Mayer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm Back!


First, I apologize for the lack of posts recently. I've been preoccupied with something for the past several days. You see, I've been trying for months to get back "in the zone". Back to that place where I am conscious of my eating, I'm drinking water, and getting exercise. Once I fall out of the zone it's very, very difficult for me to get back in.

Someone found an old picture of me a couple of weeks ago and brought it to me. I was about 50 pounds lighter than I am now. In fact, there were five of us in that photo and at least three of us are now overweight. I've lost track of the other two! If thinking about that photo wasn't enough, I saw a news story several days ago that gave me the final motivation I needed, so I have spent the last week planning meals, grocery shopping, and packing lunches. It feels good to be back. I have more energy, I don't feel sick at my stomach, and I've already lost a few pounds.

With the United States being the fattest country in the world and my home state boasting the most obese kids in the nation, I thought I'd print the story that got me back on track. Please take a moment to read it.

(CNN) -- More than 100,000 cases of cancer each year are caused by excess body fat, according to a report released Thursday in Washington.

Researchers with the American Institute for Cancer Research looked at seven cancers with known links to obesity and calculated actual case counts that were likely to have been caused by obesity.

Specifically, the report says that 49 percent of endometrial cancers are caused by excess body fat. That number is followed by 35 percent of esophageal cancer cases; 28 percent of pancreatic cancer cases; 24 percent of kidney cancer cases; 21 percent of gallbladder cancer cases; 17 percent of breast cancer cases; and 9 percent of colorectal cancer cases.

"This is the first time that we've put real, quantifiable case numbers on obesity-related cancers," said Glen Weldon, the American Institute for Cancer Research educational director. In addition, he said, it's not just causing cancer that's an issue.

"Obesity not only raises the risk for getting cancer," Weldon said. "It also has a negative effect on survival and can make treatment more difficult."

Although there is no concrete science on why obesity increases a person's risk for cancer, scientists hypothesize that excess estrogen released by body fat could be the culprit in cancers such as estrogen-receptor positive breast cancers.

Studies have also shown that increased body fat can lead to increased levels of oxidative stress and inflammatory compounds in the blood, which are linked to DNA mutation and diseased cell growth, as is seen in many cancers.

The American Cancer Society applauded the new research, but said the report is only the first step.

"This helps to communicate the magnitude of the problem," said Dr. Michael Thun, vice president emeritus at the American Cancer Society.

"While the study addresses the magnitude of the problem, it does not propose potential solutions. The bottom line for people concerned about this issue is to try to balance the calories you take in with those your body expends every day."

In addition to cancer, obesity is a known cause of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and strokes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quotes I Like

"You get what you settle for."
-Louise
Thelma and Louise

Monday, November 2, 2009

Detachment

With the one year anniversary of "Detach" passing, I think it would be a good time to revisit the term "detach".

Detaching does not mean we don't care. It means we learn to love, care, and be involved without going crazy. We stop creating all this chaos in our minds and environments. When we are not anxiously and compulsively thrashing about, we become able to make good decisions about how to love people, and how to solve our problems. We become free to care and to love in ways that help others and don't hurt ourselves.

The rewards from detachment are great: serenity; a deep sense of peace; the ability to give and receive love in self-enhancing, energizing ways; and the freedom to find real solutions to our problems. We find the freedom to live our own lives without excessive feelings of guilt about, or responsibility toward others. Sometimes detachment even motivates and frees people around us to begin to solve their problems. We stop worrying about them, and they pick up the slack and finally start worrying about themselves. What a grand plan! We each mind our own business.

-Melody Beattie
Codependent No More


I still have alot of anxiety sometimes. I still have irrational thoughts about things that make me crazy. But in the year since I started writing this journal I have come a long, long way in the way I interact with my husband. Much of the anxiety I have now is due to my job, and aside from Derby time, I worry much, much less about my husband's drinking. I'm doing much better about interrogating him and trying to predict, and ultimately control his behavior. In return, he truly has become more conscious of his own actions, and our marriage is in a pretty good place right now. I want to continue on this path. I don't want to make myself sick with worry when the neighbors are having a party or when we are invited to a wedding reception. What good does this do anyway? Ironically, I find the less I worry and obsess about things, the less I have to worry about. Detachment. It's a powerful word.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary


Detach has just celebrated it's one year anniversary. It's been therapeutic and enlighteneing to write this journal the past year. Thank you for tuning in and for supporting me. I hope I'll be able to keep your attention for awhile to come.

Trick or Treat


Yesterday was Halloween. We were also celebrating my son's twelfth birthday. A bunch of kids were planning to spend the weekend here. By Friday night I found myself caught in a web of anxiety. Too much stress at work, too many things to do.

I had to work on Halloween and by the time I got home it was time to order pizza and start helping the kids with their costumes. In addition to my two kids, there were four other boys who had spent the night here, trying to get ready at my house. At first my head started to spin, but then something just kicked in and it got fun. Really, really fun! It occurred to me that my kids are pretty much at the end of their trick-or-treating years and that even though it can be stressful, it's also a hoot. I applied grey makeup and dreadful scars to two of the boys' faces, adjusted masks and clothes for the alien and the werewolf, and helped The Cat In The Hat and Thing One put the finishing touches on their outfits. This included spraying Thing One's hair blue.

The boys went off on their own, but I walked with the girls. I've always loved Halloween and Fall is by far my favorite season. Last night I saw some of the cutest little kids out trick-or-treating. It was nice and crisp outside, leaves were blowing around, and people were sitting out with their fire pits blazing. I could smell the wood burning. The whole neighborhood felt alive.

My husband changed into three or four different costumes throughout the evening and had decorated our house so beautifully. He carved three spectacular jack-o-lanterns. He had also made up special treat bags for the little ones we know.

I'm glad I let the stress go and was able to relax and enjoy this day with my family. We've talked about signs lately, and I do feel like I've been getting them for some time now regarding my job. I'm not happy there and the stress of that place is spilling over into all aspects of my life. I don't know where I'm supposed to go, or what I'm supposed to do. I haven't figured that out yet. But for this day, I'm happy. I love my family and I'm glad we had a fat houseful of kids all weekend. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way.