Monday, July 23, 2012

Heaven knows that I've put off starting a new exercise regime long enough. Each new week, I think, this is the one where I get more active, where I start to regain my energy, my fitness, my new/old body but then life intervenes and so it has again. There's a lot going on with me right now. I may explain that later but because of unforeseen circumstances, the repairs and maintenance that have long been neglected on the outside of our house that we'd planned to do after the weather cooled a bit, has to be done now, immediately. We started working on all of those chores on Friday and I was so pleased and encouraged by our progress and then on Sunday morning, well.....I suffered a bit of a setback which also keeps me from completing today's DHC challenge: 

Do a Pilates-inspired exercise by lying on your back and rolling up to a seated position 3 times.
A nice start to my new exercise resolution but I'm taking a raincheck on this one because I got myself into a bit of trouble with a nest of angry yellow jackets yesterday. I've done this before but never had the number swarm me or sting me as did yesterday. Three or Four of them got into my hair and I couldn't get them out, they were stinging me in the head and about my face over and over. Their friends took care of the rest of my body. I ran in the house, thinking I'd shake them but they hung on and then I jumped in the shower still wearing my clothes and muddy boots thinking I'd get immediate relief but no. Eventually, I washed them all off of me but they still managed to sting on their way down to the drain. I learned a lot yesterday, for one, unlike bees that have one sting in them and then they die, yellow jackets can each sting up to fifty times. I think some of them were trying to break a record with me yesterday and so far, I've swept and picked up at least 20 of the evil little things. Thankfully, I am not allergic but I plan on putting together a first aid kit for my house, the truck, car and barn that contains both antihistamine and an epi pen because I was so scared during what can only be described as a vicious attack by these mean and determined little creatures that I thought I was having a reaction because I was hyperventilating.

So, long story cut short, I will do this exercise in a few days when my body isn't covered in itchy, painful welts. Otherwise, it's Monday again?....Aaah, it's the start of a brand new week full of possibilities!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Sign on the Dotted Line

Today's DHC challenge was to make a contract with yourself concerning one of your goals. The idea is that you'll be more committed to accomplishing your goals. I need this motivation on several goals. I feel as if this past week has been one major back slide, little if any progress on any of my goals, lots of just sitting or lying around doing nothing and eating everything while I hold a one person pity party. I know we all have those times in our lives and perhaps it's our bodies or a higher power telling us to regroup and rethink the way we attack those goals because the old way isn't working any longer. A written contract might allow me to refocus. I've always said that I solve more problems by writing about them than I do just thinking about them and I think the focus is the key. It really does clarify your thought process and helps you to organize your thoughts and plans if you see your ideas written on a piece of paper or even a computer screen. So, today I will not only do a little written brainstorming but I'll also truly commit to my goals again by developing the best plan for accomplishing them. Once I develop my plan or "contract," I'll post it here so I'll have even more motivation to accomplish those goals and stick with the plan.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Picking up Trash and Drunken Dogs

Well, yesterday went off without incident. Thank goodness! So, I hope my streak of bad luck has ended. I was seriously getting scared to step out my backdoor for fear of what was coming next after last week!

Today's DHC challenge was to pick up trash. This is an easy one since I always do this because unfortunately people are always tossing their trash out their car windows out here in the country. But I do have a funny story!

 We had a dog once for an unfortunately brief time because he got out and was hit by a car when he was just six months old. He was already huge by the time he was six months and he left a huge imprint in our hearts and lives, too. He did the funniest things but perhaps the most amusing and aggravating at the same time was his love of beer. Especially on the weekends, beer bottles would be scattered on the roads and ditches of the rural area where we live. While we had Bear living with us, we'd get up and find all of those bottles in our front yard. I said that it looked as if we'd had a party and had been sitting on our front porch chugging and chucking all night long. We finally discovered Bear carrying a bottle up from the road, sitting it on the edge of the porch and tipping it so he could drink the last drops out of it, ha...He was one smart pup even if he was a bit of a drunk!

Steve's Uncle John didn't believe us until the day we were cutting hay and Bear came up carrying a big quart size bottle and laid it on the side of the wagon to tip it into his mouth. Then there was the fellow who worked for John who liked his more than occasional nip. We were riding our bikes along the trail between the farms one day with the two dogs, Bear and Sidney, running along beside us when we suddenly realized Bear wasn't with us. "Where is Bear?" I asked and Steve says, "Oh, no!" And he points down the hill to a spot in the shade of the barn. There laid that fellow peacefully "sleeping one off" and Bear was standing directly over him with his feet to either side of him and his big ol' head (I did say how big he was didn't I) right in the guy's face while he smelled the fellow's boozy breath. Just as we noticed them, the fellow woke up and in a quivering voice, he says as he raises his shaking hand to pat the dog's head, "Niiiccee Dooogggy."

It was okay because Bear just looked frightening, he was the sweetest, most gentle dog we've ever had....of course he could have been so mellow because of all of the beer in his system.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Friday The Th Picture Cards
Friday The Th Pictures @
Well, I couldn't let this day pass without talking about my week. I've dealt with with guns who stood stock still and defiantly glared at me and my cell phone for over twenty minutes after my "horse" cover very inconveniently moved...., a horse (yes, the same one that moved) slipping in all of the mud and nearly falling on me, a company secretly adding on unauthorized charges to my credit card without my knowledge, and someone blatantly infringing on my intellectual property rights and copyrights by using my photos not only without my knowledge but without giving me any credit for them. Incase you didn't count, that's exactly one for each day this week and today, is Friday the thirteenth. I'm thinking of staying inside and in my pajamas all day long.  

Movin' That Body

I miss exercise. I once did it religiously, my day was not complete without my regular routines and that usually meant at least three hours out of each day devoted to movin' that body. Then I had a bad bike accident that was like the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back because it awakened a fear in me that eventually left me virtually immobile. That was over ten years ago  and looking back it is obvious to me now, even if it wasn't so clear at the time, that was also the moment that marked the rest of my life and my body starting on a downward and very physically inactive slide. First, I stopped caring what I ate. When I was physically active, I was cognizant of every bite of food that entered my body. I was a walking encyclopedia of nutrition knowledge and knew the calorie, fat, nutrient and fiber content of every thing I ate. There were no wasted calories and certainly no junk food. But, after the accident, I stopped caring. It was as if I'd looked death in the face and instead of making me relish life all the more, it had made me hide myself away in fear because I realized that no matter how well I armored myself with good health, it could all be gone in a matter of seconds because of the accidental incidents of life I could not control. The inactivity and bad diet eventually caught up with me not only physically but emotionally. I kept plugging along at life, I kept trying to push myself even reinvent myself numerous times but the enthusiasm just wasn't there. I became sluggish and depressed and my once seemingly wonderful life, now, felt hopeless. You might ask how I let this happen or how I sat back and let life happen to me? Well, I did fight at first. It was just that the wreck wasn't the only thing that went wrong at the time. My career was at a crossroads which should have meant blessings and profits and it did for a moment. I was doing freelance design for a gift and homewares company and was very successful at it...for a while. Then the company changed the art director that I was dealing with and the person now in charge of me was a bit unscrupulous. After I missed a deadline and turned in the wrong assignment because of misinformation from him, my contract was canceled because, obviously to defend himself, he blamed the entire incident on me and when I argued, he told them that I was becoming difficult to deal with. It didn't help that I was in the process of renegotiating my contract and asking for more money at the time. I later discovered that the entire line I'd just designed for them which was at first accepted enthusiastically and then rejected, was "reinvented" in full by their in house artists. Basically, it was my concept and design, tweaked by another hand but it was still obvious to me that it was mine. I also had a surprising diagnosis of skin cancer around that time, malignant melanoma stage 3. I was lucky because the growth was lateral and only surface and just subsurface skin was involved, no lymph nodes but still, it threw me for a loop after the fact when the word CANCER finally sunk in. I'd also just lost my father after a lengthy illness that was trying and difficult for all involved because both my relationship with my father and our family dynamics were trying and difficult to begin with. My doctor sent me to see a therapist because I was having severe insomnia and night terrors that were wreaking havoc with my life even before the bike accident. After the accident, I said to the therapist, "It feels as if I'm losing control of my life, like it is spinning out of control and I've lost both my steering and brakes." She answered, "Any concept you've ever had of control was just an illusion anyway. We have no control over our lives." True as that statement might be, it did not help. So, I find myself these many years later and I'm finally starting to feel in control of my life again, even if it is an illusion, ha. This extremely long hiatus has served a purpose because it has made me deal with the underlying problems that I think I was covering up with all of my exercise, diet and work regimes and all of that supposed control. As I've said so many times before, I'm working on my long neglected career, house, and emotional and physical health but I am having difficulty getting back into exercise. It isn't that I don't want to. All of the DHC challenges that involve little, easy exercises just remind me how good being so active made me feel because even with these simple moves, I feel my muscles start to warm, strengthen and stretch. I just can't seem to get through my head that I'm not young and fit any longer and I'm going to have to start at a pace that my head at least is not accustom to-SLOW. I started walking several months ago and at first, that was going great. I started slow and gradually I felt myself getting stronger and I quickly seemed to pick up my pace and lengthen my time. Then, I fell out of the trailer where we store our hay for the horses, four feet, backwards onto the ground, and I hurt my ankle of all things. I never went to the doctor about it...of course, because stubborn me never does.....and so, it has taken several months to heal. The ankle still has a twinge of pain occasionally but it's much better. Yet, my walking is still not back on track (so to speak;-). Now, I find myself hindered by the weather, it's too hot, it's too wet, etc. but I've got to stop making excuses. I have to get myself back in shape NOW because I know too well from experience that it is only going to get harder as time goes on. So here is the plan that today's simple little challenge of exercising those glutes has prompted: I will start going to bed earlier so that I feel like getting out of bed at the crack of dawn to go over and take care of my horses and to walk around either the field or the arena depending on the weather because the heat is bearable that early in the morning and if it has cooled enough (the temps here were over a 100 for over a week before all of this wonderful [not being ironic, we desperately needed this rain] rain started.), I'll walk again in the evening after the horses are fed again. And then, I will get my exercise equipment out of storage (I literally have enough to start my own gym!) and start working out with weights and resistance again. I have thought this out because, after that, I plan to dust off that huge stack of exercise dvds and tapes and start using them again (or, in many cases, for the first time.) I'm planning on doing this all gradually and will do my best to listen to my body and let it tell me when it's time to move forward to another exercise or more effort. I've got a little less than six months left in this year but I'm hoping that by December 31, I will both look and feel like a new woman....or at least a little bit like the woman I use to be only better this time because the woman I am today is far more emotional stable and knows more who she is. I think even before the physical transformation I hope to perform that I like this mature lady much more than "the kid" (That's what all of my friends use to call me because I was the "young one." And it was a rude awakening the day I realized that I was no longer "the kid" but that is another story for another time ;-). One thing I'm going to do soon is put up both a photo of me now and one of me in my "better days" physically.....and younger, on this blog soon. That will take courage but I hope that soon afterwards, I will have some new photos of a healthier, fitter me NOW to add as well. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It is odd how the DHC challenges seem to mirror my own life. Today's challenge was intended to make us all more organized by making lists of our possessions and where they are all located. It seems to me that it would be much easier to simplify our lives which is what I've been trying to do lately. I told this and the story related in my last post of moving our bedroom to a smaller space and how happy I am with the change because the new space is neat and organized and place where we can truly find peace and contented rest.

One of the other DHC members commented that I'm her hero and inspiration. I assured her that I was certainly neither of these. I told her how out of control my house, my career, my life have all been for the last ten years. I related how this new found optimism and progress are both very new to me but I also told her how they came about. It took changing my attitude which started with my daily positive affirmations. Basically, whatever you want to change about yourself, you need to change your mind first. Each morning for a month (and I'm truly considering making this a daily habit), the first thing I did after waking was look in the mirror and tell myself not what I believed about myself but what I wanted to be true: I am competent, I am energetic, I am enthusiastic, I am ambitious, I will accomplish something today, I will take another step towards my goals. The theory is, once you've said this for twenty-eight days, your mind starts to believe it and it works, I'm proof.

The second thing that I changed was trying my best to accomplish one thing each day. It didn't have to be a huge thing. It didn't even have to be everything that I'd put on my mental list to be done that day. It just had to be something, started and finished.

The third thing was a change in the way I looked at my problems and it is perhaps the biggest change I've made. Before, I'd want to do something, I'd want to make a change but I was so overwhelmed when I looked at the size of the task at hand that I didn't even know where to start. If I did do anything, it felt like I was using a pocket knife to chip away at a mountain. I never felt like I accomplished anything, I felt like my head was spinning whenever I'd try. I was becoming more depressed and more overwhelmed instead of making any progress at all towards solving my problems. I started trying to divide the work into doable tasks but I was always way too ambitious with my plans. Finally I realized, I had to stop looking at the big picture, I couldn't even narrow it down to a medium picture. No, I had to look at this as a jar of marbles but I could only deal with one marble at a time. One tiny bit of the problem solved and put away doesn't seem like much but it works because once I stopped feeling so terribly outnumbered and overwhelmed, once I realized that I might be buried under a lot of difficulties but I wasn't going to solve the problem from there but from the top working my way down, suddenly, my path seemed not only clear but doable!

So, if I feel myself getting depressed or overwhelmed, I just pick out a marble, one small doable task that I can do and then put neatly away. It might be a drawer that needs sorting, or something long neglected that I can clean and straighten, something I can mend or a project I can finish. It doesn't really matter what it is just that it's manageable....just like my life now. I've stopped looking at the forest or even the trees and I'm just gathering up the leaves, one by one.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Progress, Glorious Progress!!

The small TV works perfectly in this small room.
There will soon be another comfy chair and a large
photo portrait of Mouse and Danny hanging over it
replacing this chair which will move between the closets.
And the painted chest under the window is empty now
but will soon be filled to the brim with linens and blankets.

There will be a gorgeous portrait of Danny
by artist, Linda Woolford,
hanging over the bed soon and
I'll be sure to add a photograph.
There will also be a lamp sitting on the bedside table.
I'm currently working on the base
which is wooden and will have a worn white finish over
red and will be wearing a bright red cloth shade.

We haven't rehung the closet doors yet but the closets are
neat and organized.

If you've been following this blog from its beginnings, you know that it's not just about remaking me but also my home and career. Well, progress on both of those fronts yesterday when we finally got our bedroom moved from the large master bedroom space, which will soon be my studio and exercise I guess it's really progress on all three categories of self improvement:),.....and into the much smaller guest bedroom space. You might think I'd be complaining about the small size of the room but I actually find it cozy and just big enough for a bed room. There is still plenty of decorating and improvement to be done on this room but I'm very, very happy with its beginnings. 

Chew, chew, chew your food

The DHC challenge for today was to chew your food twenty times with each bite. That does seem a bit excessive to me especially if you're eating mashed potatoes or ice cream both of which are already "chewed" but then, a health challenge probably isn't going to suggest eating either of those luscious but fattening foods anyway.....bummer.

This is probably another good exercise for me though since I really need to work on chewing my food longer and being more aware of what I'm eating. I honestly wonder if my current state of obesity isn't directly related to how I eat not what I eat. Really, I don't eat a lot of fatty, unhealthy food or junk. My diet is usually balanced and very healthy (The gluten free brownies that we had last night topped with delicious, cooling Mayfield's "the best ever" ice cream were a rare if yummy exception.:) but I do tend to eat as if someone is holding a gun to my head and usually I'm totally oblivious to what I'm doing. Our dining room is still an "under construction zone." So, we end up eating from trays, inclined on pillows in our bed and watching other words, after the first bite or so, we no longer even taste the food much less keep track of how many times we're chewing it. The dining room won't be functioning again for a while but my new studio space, complete with a lovely pub table, should be finished within the next two weeks. We plan to start having our meals there. I won't guarantee that the TV in the room won't be turned on but maybe, at least during meals, I can keep it tuned to Pandora for some digestively soothing tunes.

I know that this is my first post in a very long time. I might offer an explanation later but for now, I'm baaaaack. Sorry for the silly mood which is actually a really great mood for me on a Monday. We finally got our bedroom moved into the guest bedroom yesterday. It was a lot more work than I'd anticipated but well worth it since the guest bedroom has functioning ac where our former bedroom (soon to be my studio and quasi exercise room at least on the far end...which explains the need for a TV) did not. Our temps....heck, nearly the entire U.S.'s temps!....have been over 100 degrees since last Thursday. That scorching heat and high humidity explains my lack of activity both on and off of this computer. I've truly felt as if I was melting and when I go each day to cool the horse off by wetting them down with a bucket of water and sponge, they aren't the only ones who end up soaked but mine comes not from a bucket but out of my pores....yuck. So, that formerly promised explanation, it's just been too damned hot for doing anything......but aaaah, how well I slept last night all cuddled up in my blankets to keep the chill at bay:))).