Day (44) – Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes (Started Day 43)

I love the David Bowie song “Changes’ for more than a few reasons. I’m not a huge Bowie fan, but all things being equal this song has a lot of meanings for me. This song goes back (for me) to when I was a young and impressionable teenager. One of the best lyrics for teens was written by Bowie…

And these children that you spit upon
As they try to change their worlds
Are quite aware of what they are going through
They are immune to your consultations…

This part of the song appeared in one of the most influential movies on my life, “The Breakfast Club.”

I can honestly say I have seen this movie over 300 times in my life. I wore out 2 VHS copies and when it came out on DVD, well, I bought it. Obsessed, not any more, but at one time yes, I think so because John Hughes’ movie was so brilliantly written. The older I get the more I appreciate the fact that this movie still speaks to me about a teenage generation who is in a state of emotional crisis.

There is a letter that is written by “the Breakfast Club” – termed by Anthony Michael Hall’s character, Brian Johnson. The letter is written in two parts and defines the changes we all go through.

Brian Johnson (although that is unknown at this point): Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois. 60062.
Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong…and what we did was wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us… in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed.

The second part of the letter shows what happens as we age, we accept others for who they are and we stop looking through the rose colored stained glass windows we sometimes find ourselves hiding behind.

Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong…but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…
Andrew Clark: …and an athlete…
Allison Reynolds: …and a basket case…
Claire Standish: …a princess…
John Bender: …and a criminal…
Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

So what does all this have to do with the price of coffee at Starbucks (or something like that?) There are some BIG, MONSTER changes coming up in my life and I have to say I feel a lot like I did as a teenager – a little uncertain, a little naive, and a little scared. I have some preconceived notions about the things to come and I need to take those notions and chuck ’em out the window. And just maybe in 25 years, I’ll have aged as well as the members of the Breakfast Club…

Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time
~~~David Bowie~~~


Day 42 – 100 and Counting

Okay, I have a hundred days to go on the resolutions made thus far for 2011. I can’t say that I have made much progress at this point. I am not sure what the deal is with me getting my stuff together. Frustrating at the very least and annoying at best.

Today after I worked for a few hours, I spent approximately 4 hours working on cleaning out boxes I have in the garage of things that need to be shredded or thrown out. We’re talking old bills, checks (LOTS of checks) and papers that I have been hanging onto for no apparent reason. I have many, many drawings the girls have done over the years and I have tons of stuff from work – whether advertising, reporting or law enforcement. I am not certain why I’m keeping a lot of this stuff. I’m trying to sort out in my mind if it’s “sentimental” or if there is stuff I really need to keep. I’m sure some of it is junk and I did make a valiant effort to toss the junk I found today. But seriously, I felt several different times today that I have “mother tendencies.” With that said, I CAN understand how overwhelmed mother must feel with all the crap in the house and trying to go through it all. I only started working on the garage and shish. Hopefully in the next few weeks will show some massive progress. I should set a firm deadline, but with life being as it is, that’s rather hard to do these days.

I’m trying to watch “Eragon” while typing this. The book is amazing and even better than the movie. I’ve read the book several times and WOW. I keep hoping “Eldest” will be released as a movie one of these days soon. However, I have a problem watching this movie. The television in the living room is shot. It still kinda has a picture and has great sound, but slowly (about 10 – 15 at a time) the pixels are dying out. We started out with about 5 dead pixels and now I can say there are several hundred and it’s very difficult to see the TV. I don’t think I will ever want a flat screen like this one again. In fact, the old tube TV’s would be fine by me.

Diet and exercise. Frankly, haven’t been the best the past two days, but the rest of this week was okay. I don’t know that I need to worry quite so much about the food at this point, but I will keep sharing all the cool stuff I have found out. AND I have GOT GOT GOT to get my butt into the gym. I have the feeling I’m going to have to pull an hour or so at the gym 5-6 days a week for the next few weeks to start losing this chunk of weight I have collected. I have a whole lot of mental resistance but I need to do so. I don’t know how those folks on the Biggest Loser workout… they weigh more than me and work out on the show for several hours a day. Guess I need to get my head in the right place yet again. It’s been a few days since I’ve had the right mindset.

Well, tomorrow will be a more relaxing day. I plan on paying some bills, clean off my desk and play some World of Warcraft with my sister. Adios for now…

Day 38 – An Ode to Breakfast

I was 3 minutes late for work today. I like to be on time for work. However, I actually ate some breakfast this morning which took me a little longer than the norm. That really wouldn’t have been so bad had I not overslept to begin with and I wouldn’t have overslept if I hadn’t been watching one of the “Big Momma” movies I hadn’t seen late last night. It’s interesting to see how the chain of events can unfold. But I digress…

There are a lot of mornings I don’t eat breakfast. This morning, I had a yummmmmmy multigrain bagel w/ a schmear of cream cheese (approximately 200 kcal.) It was enough to soothe the savage beastie and kept me from downing 250 unhealthy calories of Peanut M&M’s, which is what breakfast would have been. I’m proud of the choice to eat something healthy for breakfast; afterall, breakfast IS the MOST important meal of the day.

Just some quick points on how breakfast helps:

Energy: After fasting all night, breakfast can kick-start your energy level.
Appetite suppressant: If you choose healthful, slow-burning foods, like whole grains and fruits, you should be able to control your appetite until midday. Overeating throughout the day is also less likely. Studies show that people who skip breakfast tend to make up for the calories later in the day, often with unhealthy, high-fat and high-calorie convenience foods.
Calorie burning: Eating breakfast increases the metabolic – or calorie-burning – rate. Consequently, you have more energy and weight control is easier. Watch out for foods heavy with refined sugars, like pastries and sugary cereals. These foods offer calories without many essential nutrients. High sugar foods and drinks may also cause your energy to soar briefly before it falls to lower levels. You may feel more drained and hungry, even if you ate breakfast.

A healthy breakfast should contain some protein and some fiber. Protein can come from low fat meats, eggs, beans or dairy. Fiber can be found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. So what do we eat?

Oatmeal or warm cereals such as 9-Grain Cereals, Cream of Wheat etc.
Add a tablespoon or two of wheat germ and a table spoon of flaxseed and maybe some fresh or dried fruit (no sugar added) is a great way to start the day. (It’s in my top 3 list of favorite breakfasts.)

Sidenote: Flaxseed from health food stores is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. Purchase the already ground type to save some time of grinding it yourself and keep it refridgerated. You can add this to lowfat cereal, yogurt, cottage cheese and smoothies.

Some other quick and healthful ideas are:

· A nonfat or lowfat yogurt parfait layered with fresh fruit and cereal, nuts or raisins
· Lowfat yogurt mixed with fresh fruit in a blender for a vitamin-rich smoothie
· Whole wheat toast with a little peanut butter and banana slices
· Fish, such as leftover salmon, on a whole grain bagel with reduced or nonfat cream cheese (Rudis organic bagels ROCK!)
· Homemade bran or fruit and nut muffins, made on the weekend and frozen.
· Leftovers from a healthy dinner. No one says you have to have eggs and cereal for breakfast.

And in case you are interested….

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: 3/4 cup of Light Chocolate Silk; 1 Rudis Organic multi-grain bagel with a schmear of cream cheese
Morning Snack: Frigo Light Cheese Stick
Lunch: 2 Ezekiel Tortillas, 1 can of tuna fish w/ 1T of mayo and 1T of relish split between both tortillas; 1/5 cups of raw spinach between the two tortillas and last but not least… 20 baby carrots
Afternoon Snack: Gala apple, cherry jello, and 1 oz mixed nuts
Dinner: Not a clue at this moment.

Feeding the Spirit #38

— Isaiah 40:29-31 —
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Day 37 – Monday… Not a Fan

It’s not so much that I don’t like Mondays. I have nothing personal against a Monday. I do dislike the first day of the week I have to go back to work whether it be a Monday, Thursday or Saturday. It could also be that I’m not really so concerned today is Monday, but that I’m just not thrilled with life in general.

DH’s computer bit the big one. As this is the primary tool needed for him to be able to do his job, that’s a setback I hadn’t really anticipated. He does have a backup system he’s working on, but it is slower, needs more RAM and whatever else… It’s frustrating to say the least and I’m not happy about all this crap that seems to be happening lately.

Health and Fitness #37: There is a yoga class and a pilates class tonight offered at the Town Club. I really think I need to go to at least one of them. Not only are they low-impact workouts, but the stress relief is more important than just about anything else. I’m thinking at this point I just might implode.
I’ve really wanted to start doing yoga again on a regular basis. I actually have a book, a CD and a mat at home. However, home isn’t an overly great place to try to do any kind of exercise. Between the DH, the kids, the dogs and life in general, it’s kind of the worst case scenario for working out. In 2008 I was doing yoga with some kind of regularity. Hopefully, this will be a great thing to come to pass. Unfortunately, as much as I want to go tonight, I don’t know that I will get dinner done in time to make that happen. *sigh* Too bad there isn’t an early morning yoga class.

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: 1 cup of Light Chocolate Silk; 2 small Oatmeal/Banana/Cranberry cookie things (… not that great, but edible, nutritious, and not a lot of calories)
Morning Snack: Frigo Light Cheese Stick and 1/4 cup blueberries
Lunch: 2 Ezekiel Tortillas, 1 Laughing Cow Herb Cheese, 3 slices Organic deli chicken, Spinach, Sprouts and 3 Gobstoppers
Afternoon Snack: “Jazz” apple (can’t say I’m all that impressed and much prefer a honeycrisp, gala, mac or granny smith), a cup of sugar-free Cherry Jello, 1 “cookie” and 10 mixed nuts
Dinner: Pork chops, Broccoli/Rice/Cheese, Salad, Crescent rolls (at least that is the theory as I sit here contemplating what to cook)

Feeding the Spirit #37

— James 5:16 (b) —
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Six Blessings of Prayer:
• Prayer fuels faith to dream and hope and risk;
• Prayer woos us to the Word and by our need to hear God’s response to our requests;
• Prayer teaches us trust in God by waiting upon His timing;
• Prayer reveals God’s plan and our purpose in opening up to us detailed directions for both the present and the future;
• Prayer releases God’s power to live and walk in the supernatural realm of the Holy Spirit;
• Prayer unleashes love for God — emotional, real and all-consuming.

Day 36 – Sunday Again?

Well, I woke up late, fed the dogs and realized without a shadow of a doubt I missed church again. I’m not sure how this happens. We wanted to go last night and due to poor planning and what can only be described as a cleaning-fest, we missed it too. Rather frustrating. I can’t say that the state of the house justifies not going to church.

The family has been talking about moving. I don’t think that anyone would really contend that we could make the move to NYC right now (though I found a wonderful and “overpriced” apartment in Flushing, Queens that would be awesome.) However, Dallas isn’t out of the question and I, for one, think that is going to be the best idea, We will have to see what happens of course, but if something doesn’t change around here soon, it will get ugly really quickly. I’m sure there will be more details to come.

Life Lesson #36 This isn’t actually the 36th life lesson, but it is day 36 which is how this numbering system came about. It’s the only way I can keep things straight in my own mind right now. So…. life lesson or maybe life advice to make you think…

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

Maybe this should be more of a food for thought than a life lesson, eh?

Food & Drink #36 Spinach another super fabulous wonder food.

Spinach is considered one of the healthiest and most beneficial vegetables of all time. It has lots of vitamins, proteins, antioxidants and essential nutrients that promote good health and well-being. The only real downside about spinach is it really needs to be consumed as soon as possible because the longer left refrigerated, the more nutrients it loses.

Reasons to Eat Spinach

* It is super-loaded with Vitamin A, which makes it beneficial for weak eyes. Any kind of strain on the eyes is reduced to a great extent and the eye muscles are made stronger. (At least that’s the theory.)
* The thickening and hardening of arteries is prevented due to substances like choline and inositol, which are present in significant amounts to make sure the blood arteries remain healthy.
* Diabetics can particularly benefit from spinach since it is known that eating spinach regularly can stabilize blood sugar and prevent it from fluctuating often. Take a few handfuls of spinach and add 3 cups of water. Place it over low flame for almost an hour till it boils completely and mixes the nutrients in the water. Strain it and allow it to cool. Drink ½ cup daily to stabilize blood sugar.
* A particular substance known as flavonoid is present in spinach which is a powerful anti-oxidant and also has anti-cancer agents like carotenoid, preventing the formation of tumors.
* Spinach is known to be an anti-aging vegetable and reverses age related breakdowns, making you youthful and fresh. It also has a good amount of Vitamin K which helps in the clotting of blood in case of injuries.

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: 1 Rudis Organic Multigrain Bagel, 1 T. Horizon Organic Cream Cheese, 1/2 C. Grapefruit and 1/2 Cup Light Chocolate Silk
Morning Snack: Frigo Light Cheese Stick
Lunch: 1 Ezekiel Tortilla, 1/2 Laughing Cow Herb Cheese, 2 slices deli chicken, Spinach, Sprouts, and a sprinkling of dried cranberries and 6 Lifesavers for Dessert
Afternoon Snack: 15 Grapes and 1 oz Mixed Nuts (It’s amazing how full you actually feel when you eat the right foods and eat them slowly.)
Dinner: Broiled tilapia, Romaine Lettuce Salad, Giovanni Giant Ravioli Tomato & Mozzarella (A serving size is 5 pieces, but had 3.5 pieces. Afterall, this is the pleasure diet not the watch everyone else eat yummy things and then go in a binge later.)

Dessert: I’m experimenting with “healthy” banana cookies – have some allspice, nutmeg, vanilla, dried cranberries, applesauce, bananas (of course) an egg and oatmeal… they are in the oven baking at this time. If for any reason they suck, I shall never mention them again.

Feeding the Spirit #36 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8

Day 35 – A Saturday … Not in the Park

Good news when I stepped on the scale this morning is I was starting to drop a little bit of anchorage I’ve been carrying around with me. This is the motivation I need to keep it going. One of the best things I have done to help with this is to really enjoy eating. I’ve stopped wolfing down everything in a five mile radius and really chewing food and exploring the actual texture. When I’m taking my time, I don’t eat nearly as much and I truly enjoy the flavors I am eating. Can this be called the “pleasure diet?” We’ll see how it goes after another week or two.

A lot of massive stressors are hitting this weekend for some reason. Kids grades have me perplexed and disgruntled, money woes are rearing their ugly heads, the house is a mess and needs a good and thorough cleaning and that’s just the start of it. There’s a lot of change that’s going to be coming in the next few months and here’s to hoping we all survive it. The accomplishment this weekend for me will come when laundry is done and the master bedroom is picked up.

Food & Drink #35 Blueberries – the health benefits are oh so deliciously awesome.

1) Provide antioxidants. Anthocyanins, the pigments that make blueberries blue, are potent antioxidants: A half cup of blueberries provides the antioxidant power of five servings of peas, carrots, apples, squash or broccoli.
2) Are a healthy, low glycemic-index carbohydrate, an especially good choice for diabetics.
3) Are a source of vitamin C, important for a healthy immune system.
4) Help meet your need for daily fiber – two grams per one-half cup serving.
5) Have shown promise in addressing the effects of aging: animal studies have demonstrated improved motor skills and a reversal of age-related short-term memory loss associated with consuming blueberries.
6) May have other health benefits ranging from preventing cancer and defending against urinary tract infections to protecting the brain from stroke damage and reducing heart disease risks.

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: Rudis Organic multigrain bagel w/ Horizon Organic cream cheese (Yeppers. Organic baby!) Also 1 cup of Light Chocolate Silk and 1/4 cup blueberries
Morning Snack: Frigo Light Cheese Stick
Lunch: 2 Ezekiel tortillas, 1 laughing cow cheese wedge split between them, 1 slice of ham on each tortilla, unk amount of raw spinach (a cup and a half maybe?) and about 3/4 cup sprouts total split on each. Also had 1/4 cup blueberries
Afternoon Snack: A wonderfully delicious Gala apple and 1 oz of mixed nuts including: peanuts, pistachios, almonds, and cashews.
Dinner: TBA BUT….. Planning on steak, potatoes and mini-cheesecakes for dessert. This is all from Omaha Steaks and was a gift from my mother. The key here is moderation and not to eat everything in front of me just because it’s there. I’m also thinking I need to add in some other veggies. Veggies are soooo yummy!

I actually had two little Lifesavers candies today. The apple I ate was far more fulfilling. As part of the food enjoyment plan, I actually did nothing other than eat and eat slowly. I discovered I really enjoy almonds (which I have always known.) I am not a huge fan of peanuts and pistachios are pretty yummy too.

Feeding the Spirit #35 Going to try to make it to church tonight. We’ve all talked about going to a Saturday night service for a long time. Hoping it happens. Will advise later.

Day 34- Friday, the end…

I’m thankful today is Friday. For whatever reason this has been a very long week and I can’t wait til the weekend to take care of a few things that I need to take care of and then turn into asparagus – a vegetable. The weather is supposed to be a tad bit warmer, so maybe this means I can finish going through stuff in the garage. It desperately needs to be done and hopefully, this will be the weekend.

So far, diet has been “ok” today, but not quite feeling up to snuff. Maybe it’s the large fiber content I’ve been consuming the past couple of days catching up with me. I can honestly say I’m “stuffed” yet don’t feel quite satisfied. How to remedy that I’m not sure.

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: Apple & Water
Morning Snack: Cherry Jello and 1 peanut M&M
Lunch: 2 Cups raw spinach, 1 cup cubed chicken, 1/2 cup sprouts and 2 Ezekiel Tortillas.. oh and a Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge and 5 peanut M&M’s
Afternoon Treat:
Dinner: TBA

Health & Fitness #34 Stairs… so good for exercising those massive muscles we sit on each and every day. If you take two stairs at a time, it burns more calories and who doesn’t want that?!?!

Feeding the Spirit #34 Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before? Why and how can you change it?

Day 33 – Eating Clean and Snow Melt

I was laying awake the other night and taking inventory of how my 142 days of resolution are going so far for 2011. I was actually awake because of two factors: snoring and snow. The snoring is rather normal in my house, but the snowstorm… it was freakishly cold outside and yours truly forgot to properly program the thermostat. So…. I was going through some old photographs and compared them to some new ones. I know I have gained too much weight when my face is “fat.” Seriously. It’s one thing to wear tents, but when my face looks like the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man… well, it’s definitely time to reverse the trend.

I’ve started reading Jillian Michael’s “Master Your Metabolism.” There’s a wealth of information in there. I also recommend Tosca Reno’s “Eat Clean Diet.” I’ve started making changes on the diet, but I’m no where near eating TOTALLY clean yet. Slowly but surely. I wish I were one of those people who could make some changes cold turkey, but alas, not so much.

Health & Fitness #33 Still sore from shoveling snow, but did take a pretty good walk around the PD and up and down stairs today. Will probably try to do something at home tonight too.

Food & Drink #33 My mother used to say that I had to chew each bite of food 32 times. I always thought that was a random BS number, but there is some science behind it. So, I’ve been taking more time to eat and to TASTE foods. Too many times I have found myself just shovelling food in my mouth and I haven’t really stopped to taste it. It’s actually how my dogs eat – three chews and it’s gone. That’s totally not healthy because the mouth does a good bunch of digesting food before it even gets to the stomach. Why do I want to make my stomach try to do more work? I have to admit it’s harder to eat this way, but I have found that I enjoy my meals more and I have found that I don’t eat quite as much. In the long run, that’s a good thing. So a couple of tips to help the process:

1. Chew each bite of food about 30 times.
2. Put the fork or spoon down between bites.
3. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Not only is it bad manners, but it impedes on eating because you are in such a hurry to speak. A few more seconds won’t matter.
4. “Take human-sized bites.” This is another of my mom’s favorite sayings, but there’s truth to it. Smaller bites means better digestion and a feeling of fullness at a decent rate so you don’t over-stuff yourself.

There are many articles on the benefits of good mastication and I promise within a week of changing your chewing habits, you will see and feel a difference in your body AND your appreciation for food. Just maybe you will become a true gormand.

Food tally for the day:
Breakfast: 1 cup chocolate Silk
Morning Snack: 2 Ezekiel Tortillas, 15 baby carrots
Lunch:2 Cups raw spinach, 1 cup cubed chicken
Afternoon Treat: 1/2 “Mounds” package, 5 peanut M&M’s and cherry Jello (not together!) and 1 cup chopped pineapple (I do sense a carb trend here)
Dinner: Tuna fish salad, ezekiel tortilla, sprouts

Feeding the Spirit #33 How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Day 30 – How’d that happen?

Superbowl 45 was a bore. I’m sorry to the Packer’s and Steeler’s fans but in the overall scheme of things, the game was boooooooooor-ing. Even the commercials weren’t really up the the normal snuff – though there were a few that reached a level of “awesome” including the Dorito’s “Resurrection”, Mini Darth Vader, the Bridgestone Beaver and the VW commercials. There were a few others, but those actually do stand out in my mind.

However… I do have a gripe. Usually Christina Aquilera can really give a great performance but when she sang the National Anthem she totally boffed it. The Diva took up an entire two minutes (give or take 10 seconds) to sing the national anthem because she wanted to put her own personal flair into it. By doing so – the lyrics went awry. When she was supposed to sing “o’er the ramparts we watched” she sang “what so proudly we watched”. This as well as the off-key singing was a little too much for this ol’ Texas girl. She did finish the song in spite of the screw up and there were plenty of director takes of crying football players, but the mistake can’t be forgotten. In fact, one wonders really why the players were tearing up.

However, at one point and time she actually knew the anthem and could actually sing it… case in point.

In fact, I dare say that if the NFL wanted to get it right they should have done a little something like this—>

In other news, been slowly and steadily working on my 142 days. As for diet… yeah, been better but not great. The Snickers bar I’m enjoying this afternoon is something I refuse to feel horrible about. It’s either eat that or fall asleep face first on the desk. While I see the comedic value of that… probably wouldn’t bode too well.

Lunch break is over. Time to get some real work done. Tally ho!

Sara Bareilles – Oh Darling (Live from Abbey Road)

Amazing how cold it is outside today. Temperature is about 3 degrees with w/a windchill of -22 degrees. (The Weather Channel @1140 hours.) Anyway, leaving the building for lunch didn’t seem like such a brilliant idea so I thought I would try to warm up the hearts and minds with a cover of one of my favorite Beatles tunes. Sarah Bareilles has an amazing and often under-rated voice. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did… and also check out her accoustic version of (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by the one and only Otis Redding. Amazing.