Simplicity and Honesty

I normally start all my blogs with a quote. Today – not so much.  I’m going to try to keep this simple and honest. No pretty pictures. Just raw and honest about a few things.

When I was a kid, I had all the unrealistic expectations you would expect a child to have. As I became a teenager, I had a couple of lofty ambitions. I expected I would become a journalist, the next Woodward/Bernstein, or I would work for Rolling Stone or Time magazine – travel the world and see the sights and hear the sounds the world has to offer.  But I grew older and I settled for less and I settled down. I got used to routine and the day-in/day-out became comfortable.

I never stopped to wonder why.

The time has come to take everything I have known and disenfranchise myself from my hometown and take on “new adventures.” It’s harder when we get older. Even though I remind myself I’m not old, right now – this very moment – I feel old. And afraid.

There. I said it. I’m afraid of starting completely over.

I’m afraid of moving to a new place that’s not so comfortable. This town is like a well-worn pair of jeans. But I’m scared to see if that pair of jeans is just hanging on by a thread and if my underwear is starting to show.

I’m afraid of trying to find a new job.
I’m afraid of not finding a job.
I’m afraid of looking for a new place to live.
I’m afraid of homelessness.
I’m afraid of finding new doctors because mine know me so well.
I’m afraid of not finding doctors that have a clue.
I’m afraid of driving in a place I know nothing about that has a crap-ton more traffic.
I’m afraid of getting into an accident.
I’m afraid of not fitting in.
I’m afraid of people not understanding my warped sense of humor.
I’m afraid of being “alone” in a place with thousands of people.
I’m afraid of wanting to come running “home” and home just not being home anymore.

I never thought that my fearless teenage self would be sitting in front of a computer at middle age afraid to embrace change. But there it is in stark black and white. Simple and honest. 

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Ridin’ the Storm Out

“Ridin’ the storm out, waitin’ for the thaw out…” 
– REO Speedwagon – 
It’s a beautiful, bright and sunny day in the Texas Panhandle. Not a cloud in the sky dampens the horizon. Yet, here I sit procrastinating. The storm of change is coming and I should be preparing for its onslaught, but I’m not. I’m in a state of fear and denial. I’m like the proverbial ostrich sticking its head in the sand. However, like the bird, my butt is sticking up in the air and I’m sure I’m about to take one for the team with no lube, if you know what I mean.  

My spousal unit tells me I don’t have to carry the burden alone for what’s going on at home. I’m cynical and jaded right now. I feel like I do.  I have to-do list after to-do list made up.  They grow longer by the day and there’s not enough hours to tackle even a portion of them. So I suppose that’s why it’s easier to sit and do nothing than to get off my ass and do “something.” But as the deadline for having all this stuff done grows near, the self-loathing for not having anything done sooner will grow to biblical proportions and I’ll be kicking myself in the hind-end that already took one. Double-whammy.

How does one prep for change when one doesn’t want things to change in many regards, but does in others? How does one know if they are doing the right thing or the wrong thing? How does one make decisions that alters their life, but also the lives of so many people around them for good, bad or indifferent and those people don’t have much say? It frustrates me on a level that’s almost unbearable. I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing and there’s at least one person I need help from that’s is unwilling to do so. It’s frustrating beyond the tolerable and I try to shove that fed-up part of me in the back of my mind, but it niggles at me from time to time and I just want to break like a squall line dumping rain across the plains.  (Long run-on sentence. Sorry.)

I wish I could say more as to what’s going on, but I’m not at liberty right now. Just know that my life is upside down and I don’t like the view. I’ve lost my rose-colored glasses. If I can just ride this storm of change out and wait for the thaw out, things will be okay. But right now, I’m feeling the outflow boundary, the winds kicking up and the rush of air blowing across my face. I see the lightning on the horizon and hear the distant rumbles of thunder. The storm is coming and as it hits I will just pray for the best. 

Okay… going to suck it up and get to work. Tally-Ho!

All That & A Bag O’ Chips

“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” 

― Julia Child


Every time I turn around there is some new “fad diet” or some commercial hyping a new piece of wonder-equipment.  I hear friends talking about Herbalife, Weight Watchers, Atkins, The Paleo Diet, The South Beach Diet or whatever is the name of the anti-fat game this week. (All trademarked etc.)  And I’m not bad-mouthing them though I’m sure it will seem this way. I know millions of folks have lost weight with them and I’m happy for them and I hope those people can keep it off. However, with some of these, I cannot see why I have to pay money to buy products to lose weight when God has given me natural, pure and healthy foods to eat. It’s the junk that kills. 
I have fallen prey to more than a few fad diets in my 40+ years. (The worst of which I don’t want to discuss, but cost me my gallbladder.) But about a year and a half ago it got real. It took me hitting the 200 pound mark to suck it up and face reality.  It took me hitting a size 22 to do so. Am I proud of those facts? No. It has taken me a year to admit it in a public forum.  Am I where I want to be? Not yet. But I’m getting there. I’m down over 40 pounds and 4 dress sizes and counting. Yay! Call me a happy camper. 
 I’ve been keeping it simple and I’m just calling it the Common Sense Lifestyle Change. 
First, let’s talk about FOOD! (Because we all like food.)

* Most of the foods I buy are organic or generally have ingredients I can pronounce.  I take my additives very seriously and try not to buy anything with hormones or anything that would gross me out if I were to watch how it was made. Very rarely do I buy things that aren’t “simple.” I’m probably about 85% vegetarian about now. I just can’t seem to give up my steak and seafood. Yum. However, I have tried being a raw vegan for a bit and I actually am probably closer to vegan than vegetarian… but for the love of seafood, steak… oh, and Texas BBQ. Mmmmmm. 


One of the main reasons for this is I have to be very careful of nitrates and preservatives in food because of the migraines they trigger. Makes me not so happy.  There are a lot of things in food that affect a lot of people differently. If you have health issues, you might have a food allergy or intolerance. It’s something to at least consider. 


* I generally measure out the foods I’m going to eat.  – Portion control. –  Once you are used to eating a pint of ice cream at a time (which I have done), you have to retrain your brain to understand what a “true” serving size really is.  That’s one of the reasons people are obese.  Learn what constitutes a portion and it gets much easier from there.

EXAMPLE: A chip-bender to the bottom of a 9-ounce bag is 1,260 calories sans the dip. So stick to 1 serving, about 15 chips—that’s 140 calories—or pick up some 100-calorie snack packs and save 1,120 calories

* Learn to slow down when eating and understand what “FULL” really feels like. There’s no need to finish everything on your plate. The first few times I left food on my plate at a restaurant, I felt really, horribly guilty.  (Starving kids in China…?)  But at the same time, most restaurant portion sizes are enough for two people. WHY would I want to do that to myself?  The sad thing is that I did that to myself for a long time. 


* DO NOT EAT IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION. If you eat in front of the TV, studies show you consume almost 300 calories more than if you ate at the table. 


* Last but not least, I don’t deprive myself. If I want some creme brûlée or dessert once in a blue moon, I will enjoy some. But I’m not going to go Banzai bat crap crazy and I’m not going to feel guilty. I will eat right the rest of the time and make up for it. No starvation. No binge/purge. Just pure, clean eating. 
Now, I know that I’m going to turn off a lot of people when I say the next word, but bear with me. “Exercise.”   But I’m going to add something to it… if you haven’t exercised in a long time, you don’t have to go to extremes starting out,  join a gym, do DVD’s, workout on the Wii or anything like that.  Ready? Cool secrets here:

* If all you can do is walk up and down a hallway of your house do it.


* From the hallway move to the driveway or the front sidewalk or maybe to the end of the block. (You get the picture.)  I used to tell my dad at 90 years old when he was recovering from a fall, “Just take one more step dad. One more step will get you stronger. What will one more step get you?”  

* From steps, move to a strength move of stairs or a curb.  Step up and down. If you need to hold on to something, do it. 

Something fun for cardio and to get the muscles engaged: Dance like there is no one watching. For Heaven’s Sake, put on some great tunes and get moving. It doesn’t matter if all you can do is sit in a chair and tap your feet and clap your hands or raise your arms. It’s SOMETHING. 

     Side note: It’s been said TAPPING YOUR FEET THROUGH OUT THE DAY BURNS ABOUT 350 CALORIES A DAY!!!!! Seriously… those who fidget have got to have an edge on the rest of us. 

Some of my favorite tunes while cleaning house (WHICH ALSO BURNS CALORIES:)
* Aretha Franklin – Chain of Fools
* Michael Jackson – Beat It
* Beatles – Twist and Shout
* Cameo – Word Up

* Fall Out Boy – Dance, Dance
* Fun – Some Nights
* AC/DC – Back in Black
* Toby Mac – Burn For You
* 3 Doors Down – Kryptonite

Again, those are just a few of the tunes I’ll throw on and then dance around like a loon. It’s all about getting your body moving. When you have some upbeat music on, vacuuming and dusting or moping the floor (or what have you) is not only a little more enjoyable, but goes faster and becomes a better calorie burn. 

Like I said… I’ve dropped over 40 pounds so far just using these little tips. You’ve probably heard it before, but I’m the proof that it works.  

There’s no need for anything other than eating right and moving your bod. 

“Diet food is for lazy people.” 
― Ice-T