Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I started writing weekly over a year ago. I wanted to keep a record of my losing weight. I wanted to hold myself accountable and hoped that my friends and family reading about my progress would keep my motivation going strong. I was hoping that it might BE my motivation when mine was lacking.

I've watched people all around me losing weight and getting healthy - changing their lives and their bodies.

And I sit here, stuck.

Oh, I'm stuck in a mire of my own making. 
I know it. 
But, still, I am stuck.

I can't even complain. It feels too much like whining (it is), and I've done enough of that (I have).

For this whole time, I've been looking at this weight loss thing not as a diet, but as a change in the way I and my family live. I've not been in a hurry, though it would be nice to just have it disappear. I have figured as long as my weight is moving in the right direction, it doesn't really matter how long it takes. The time is going to pass anyway, right?

And time is passing. And I have bounced around the same 5 pounds since August.

Eight months.

Eight months of not totally taking a nose-dive, but not really doing very well, either. If I were an employee having a review, I would SO be fired. Mediocrity is really something for which to aspire, yes? And, bah!  I'm trying to not think about the weight that I could have lost in that time.

And so, this vehicle that I chose to keep me motivated has become my weekly public humiliation. OK, it's not that bad (most of the time). That was a bit dramatic.

I'm not giving up. But, I'm not promising anyone that I'll be inspiring, either. I know that it is about my choices every day. I can make good choices. I've chosen to not walk in front of a moving car. I've chosen to be kind to animals. I've made the choice to eat more vegetables and less processed foods. I make good choices - every day. 

I just need to make more of them. And fine-tune others. 

And I need to actually make those choices. Not just write about them. It's so easy to talk (or write) about what I need to do. Much harder to follow through. I need to walk the walk - to realize that when I give in to what I want right now, I'm giving up what I really want.

So, I'm stuck. Is admitting I'm stuck half the battle? No? Well, dammit!

I'm stuck. But, the good news is, I know how to get out. 

Is that half the battle?

I sure hope so.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A Pause in the Programming...

So last night, after the boys were asleep, I was having some Internet connection problems. With my in-house technician otherwise occupied, I did what I know. I checked all the connections and re-booted. While I waited for everything to boot back up, I sat on the couch to return a friend's call.

And the next thing I knew, it was 12:30. I woke up with cold feet and lost time. 

I guess I needed it.

So...there will be a pause in the programming. 

Please check back!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It Does a Body Good

I love to read. I read a lot - not as much as I used to, but as much as I can fit in. This past week, I finished the book, The Rent Collector, by Camron Wright. It was really good. Read it, you'll like it. It was about the difference that education, and specifically literature, can make in our lives. It was also a wonderful reminder to look beneath the surface - to look for and recognize the beauty around us (because it IS there) not only in the people we meet, but in the circumstances of our lives.  

In that theme, I'm noticing the beauty in my own life. I'm calling it out. The following poem was included in The Rent Collector. I love it. It reminds me of a children's book we have called I Love You So, by Marianne Richmond.

Love Forever, by Joni Buehner

    If I were the trees...
     I would turn my leaves to gold and scatter them toward
the sky so they would circle about your head and fall in piles
at your feet...
     so you might know wonder.

     If I were the mountains...
     I would crumble down and lift you up so you could see all
of my secret places, where the rivers flow and the animals run
     so you might know freedom.

     If I were the ocean...
     I would raise you onto my gentle waves and carry you
across the seas to swim with the whales and the dolphins in the
moonlit waters,
     so you might know peace.

     If I were the stars...
     I would sparkle like never before and fall from the sky as
gentle rain,
     so that you would always look towards heaven and know
that you can reach the stars.

     If I were the moon...
     I would scoop you up and sail you through the sky and
show you the Earth below in all its wonder and beauty,
     so you might know that all the Earth is at your command.

     If I were the sun...
     I would warm and glow like never before and light the sky
with orange and pink,
     so you would gaze upward and always know the glory of

     But I am me...
     and since I am the one who loves you, I will wrap you in
my arms and kiss you and love you with all of my heart,
     and this I will do until...
     the mountains crumble down...
     and the oceans dry up...
     and the stars fall from the sky...
     and the sun and moon burn out...
     And that is forever.

My life is far from perfect. But, there are some days that get pretty darn close. These people (and many others!) bring such beauty to my life. And it is for them that I share this poem. They help to make it complete. They make it colorful and exciting and frightening and fun and wonderful and dreadful and lovely and overwhelming and funny and satisfying and hard and so, so, so worth it.
This was one of those near-perfect days

FOOD: Okayish - a few days were hard - couldn't stop munching
FOOD TRACKING: Not great - 1 & 2 partial days of 7
EXERCISE: womp, womp... just a couple hours of light yard work

Sunday, April 14, 2013

OPERATION: TAKING MY YARD BACK, an update-part deux

I have one Rose Glow Japanese barberry in my front yard. It's a lovely shrub. It is the only one left. There used to be 3 or 4 more, and we removed them from the perimeter of our yard years ago. Although I love privacy, I don't like when the entrance to a house is blocked from the street by large shrubs and other plantings. I like to be able to see out. It stems from my clerk days in Judge Brian's court room and especially the criminal calendar when I found out just how many criminals there really are out there. I lock things. A lot. I admit my paranoia.

So this barberry is the last one standing. It is planted in front of a wall on the south side of our driveway. It seldom gets water in the summer and seems to thrive. It has a nice shape and I love the deep red, especially in the Spring when the blue Ceanothus is in bloom underneath. Its fall color is nice, and I also like it's skeletal shape in the winter. It is semi-deciduous (loses its leaves), and you can see the red berries dotting its bare branches - more pops of red in what can be an otherwise gray, dreary season.

January is a good month for pruning. Most trees and shrubs are dormant and won't go into shock. If you prune too early, such as October,  there may be some tender new growth that will freeze in cold temperatures. If you prune too late, you can cut off the buds for the flowers that will create those colorful berries.  

So, do you want to guess if the barberry got pruned this year?  

I actually started this post back in January. There were a few really nice dry days and I totally planned on cutting back this bad boy. This is what it looked like when I should have done it. The Ceanothus underneath needs a good hair cut, too, but that won't happen until after it's done blooming.

Pruning is necessary for this barberry or it would soon be 10 feet tall.  You can shear barberries, and it would create a denser "hedge" type appearance, but I prefer to cut back each branch to maintain the vase shape. 

Here's what it looks like today. Yep, you guessed it - no pruning got done here.
I'm all for natural looking gardens. You won't find ultra manicured shrubs or flower beds at my house. Mostly because it takes a lot of work and I just don't make time for it, but I love the look of beds that seem to spill out onto walk ways and such. 

This grouping is bordering on the unkempt, however.  Once they are done blooming, I'll do some trimming to get them back in line.
Aren't these cute little yellow flowers?
There are some areas in my yard that are looking nice right now. 

Here are a few:

I love me some mossy rocks
On the weight loss front, I seem to be stalled, again. I keep losing the same couple of pounds over and over. My week started out strong, but a hard parenting week knocked me on me arse. Well, that and Boy 1's birthday cake. While I didn't gain any weight this week, I sure didn't lose any either.

I'm still doing the Zumba workouts here at home with my Kinect. I really enjoy most of the routines, but I have been known to yell at a couple of the "instructors". One day last week, I had to explain to Boy 2 that telling someone (even if they're not real :/) that "you suck!" is not a nice thing to say and Mommy should know better.

When my stress levels are high, I'm still struggling with wanting to binge. Finding a way to consistently work through the stress in a healthy way, is going to be my breakthrough. The stress is not going to go anywhere. I'm the one that needs to change.

I'm beat. I may just get to bed early tonight. I think I could use it. Good night.

FOOD: Nice variety of fruits and veggies - I let birthday cake derail me
FOOD TRACKING: 4 of 7 days
EXERCISE: 2 28min Zumba, 1 15min Zumba

Monday, April 8, 2013

On How I Compare Myself to an Animated Caveman

There's nothing like an animated movie to make you rethink your whole outlook on life.

Well, ok, maybe not my whole outlook on life, but The Croods really got me thinking. Thinking about my kids and me, as their mom, and how I parent.

The Croods is about a family of cave people who have survived past their time by hiding in a cave. Grug, burly cave papa, found a way to protect his family from their harsh environment. Yes, it meant staying in a small, dark space for days on end. Yes, all they had to look at was each other. Yes, every story Grug told ended with those taking a risk dying a horrible, bloody death. But know you what else they were?


Cave papa, Grug, could see his family - could reach out and touch them - and they were safe.

Isn't that what all we, parents, want for our families - to know they are safe - to be able to just reach out and have them there?

Unfortunately for Grug, Eep, his teen-aged daughter craves the light. And she is curious. And although she knows the cave is safe and that's where her family is:

She HATES the cave.  

And of course, as she's away from said cave, dangerously indulging her curiosity, she meets a guy. Well, er...., I should say, she meets Guy. He has wild new ideas, a way to make light in the dark, and doesn't seem to drag his knuckles when he runs.

While Eep's family is out searching for her, an earthquake and landslide destroys their cave home. With no safe place in which to retreat, the Croods set out, with Guy in tow (or should I say, in a log), to follow the sun.

I've decided that I'm a lot like Grug. I want what's best for my family. The most important thing to me is their happiness and safety. I'm just finding out that my way of doing things just might not be the best way to get there. This world can be a scary and harsh environment and I want to protect them from that. But when that protection starts to interfere with their opportunities for growth and development, it turns into something else.

It's hard to admit that I'm a caveman. My boys are growing up. Unfortunately, I can't do anything about that. My knee-jerk response to their need for more independence is to hold on tighter. Certainly, I can convince them to stay little forever, can't I?  No? 

The thing is, I want them to feel secure and confident out there. And here. I want them to know that their mama believes that they can do just about anything. But, when said mama is white-knuckling it, why would they believe her? When said mama is telling them to be careful, or correcting every mis-step, or swooping in to fix it, or worse - not letting them try at all, what does that tell these boys what their mama really thinks about their ability?

In the end, Grug got an idea. He was able to change. 

And I, with all my super Homosapien brain power, should be able to as well. 

I just have to convince my white knuckles.

Weight gain/loss: +2.4 lbs (Boo! But the rest of my stats explain it)
Total weight loss: -23.8 lbs
Exercise: 2 hours light yard work
Food: Good fruit/veggie intake - too many treats
Food Tracking: 0 of 7 days (I knew I blew it & didn't want to see it in black & white)
Hydration: Good - at least something positive

Monday, April 1, 2013


As I looked up into the green canopy above me, a slight breeze tickled my skin, and I squinted back at the sun through the leaves. These nice days are a welcome change from a long gray winter. I studied the branches. I took note of the healthy foliage and lamented what was required of me. 

You see, I had to hack it all down.

If you look very closely, you will see that this is not a tree. It is a climbing rose. And it was over 15 feet tall.
It did not get pruned last year (and maybe the year before that). And I am 2 months late in pruning it this year. Apparently, when it's wet and soggy outside, I seem to find plenty of other things that need doing. I have, because of my procrastination, delayed its bloom time. But, at least, I will be able to see the roses. Last year, since it blooms only on new growth, I could only see it when I was out in the yard - if I looked up. My back neighbors, however, could enjoy its full glory. No thanks were necessary. I'm a giver like that.

At various times, I had fleeting help. 

But usually only when they were allowed use of the "chompers".

I am not a professional rose pruner. I do a lot of reading and I can wield a set of loppers like nobody's business. So, feel free to offer some constructive criticism.

 I, first, cut down the height - all of that beautiful new growth. Then, I thinned out the canes. I took out canes that were growing inward - toward the center of the plant, and any that were rubbing against another. This allows for good air circulation and less problems with insects. There were a couple of canes growing up from beneath the graft point, and I also removed those.

A lot of varieties of roses are grafted onto a hardy root stock. The graft point is that roundish looking part near the ground. You can see that there are a few canes growing from beneath that. If left alone and not removed, those canes could steal precious nutrients and energy from the grafted rose I want and "take over" the plant.

I then went back and trimmed each remaining cane to make sure that it was cut just above an outward facing bud. In doing so, I realized that my loppers are in dire need of sharpening. It's a bit of a hack job.

But, this is the finished product...

It looks sad, but it will fill out. I'm giving it some good organic fertilizer to give it a boost. 

Next on my pruning rampage will be my grapes and my Japanese barberry out front - both also late. 

But on the bright side, the peas I planted a couple of weeks ago are starting to come up. 

Don't you just love all the rocks the boys decided just had to be in my garden? Oh well, I guess a little drainage can't hurt. 

It's been a full week. And not as scary as I feared it would be. I'm happy with our Spring Break. The coast was wonderful, the movie was fun - thought provoking even (more on that), and the weather has been fantastic. One more day off, then it's back to routine and schedules. I am looking forward to that, too. The Bickersons (Boys 1 & 2) need a little space from each other.

Speaking of the boys, I had asked Boy 1 to get my camera and bring it to me while I was pruning and, later,  I found some extra footage.


And this...

Oh, I love those boys. Especially now. When they're asleep. ;)

I hope you have had a pleasant Easter. We did. A little chocolate and scriptures and talking about Jesus. You can't go wrong with that.