30 Days of appreciation – Day 3

1. My friend Stephanie, who likes to visit me here in Not The City, NY. She reminds me that I have something special here that you can’t get everywhere.

2. My brother-in-law, Jack, who just graduated from college. I can’t believe that, four years ago, I sat in a gym at Cornell and watched him graduate from high school.

3. My mother-in-law, Nancy, who hooted and hollered as we saw Jack during the processional and recessional.

4. Steve Karmen. I never knew before Sunday that he wrote the “I Love NY” tourism song and loads of other jingles. He was getting his honorary doctorate from Binghamton when Jack graduated, and he gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard, graduation or otherwise. I cried multiple times, as did the woman in front of me. He received a standing ovation.

5. The takeaway from Steve Karmen’s speech, that will haunt me forever: it is imperative that I follow my passions.

6. Can I be thankful for the topography here again? because it blew me away as I was driving to Binghamton and back.

7. The wonderful feeling of “regulating” after eating when I am so hungry that I am cranky and weak.

8. Air conditioning.

9. My car, which is so reliable, so pack-able, so comfortable, and so fun to drive.

10. My husband. I love watching him do chores – folding my laundry, packing his lunch for the following day. And I love that he will stand in the kitchen and talk to me while I do mine – and express his awe at my ability to whip up chicken salad. So cute.

30 Days of Appreciation – Day 2

1. Sleeping in.

2. Hot showers.

3. Cracker Barrel. Biscuits.

4. Corning Museum of Glass, and the artists throughout time who have worked with glass.

5. My life path. I am thankful that although I always seem to take an unconventional route, I once got out of unsatisfying work and went back to college to complete my degree.

6. Blue sky. Cool breeze.

7. Beer.

8. Feet that can walk for hours, hold me up while I talk to friends, and carry me to explore around the city that I love.

9. My husband, who will let me seriously talk to him about starting my own business and leaving my job.

10. My life path – again. I am appreciative for the insight I have earned through weird choices I have made in the past that have helped me define what I am willing to take and what I will not bear.

30 Days of Appreciation – Day 1

1. Coffee and Almond Joy Creamer.

2. Hands that can type, make art, make food, get pruny from dishwater, hold open doors, and clap.

3. My husband. His eyes. His hands. His hugs.

4. My friend Stephanie, who has a great mind and spirit, and always gets me talking about the things that really matter.

5. The topography of the region in which I live. It is freakishly, amazingly beautiful here.

6. The warmth of the sun on a May afternoon.

7. The band Underwater Tiger. They write great songs. They play with their guts. They make music matter.

8. My little brother, who flipped me off on the patio of Buffalo Wild Wings and giggled about my return flip.

9. The peace and quiet of small town life.

10. My friend Big Antonio, who stopped his truck in the street to say hello. Seeing his smile brought back so many good memories and made me feel massively thankful for his existence on this planet.

Something New – 30 days of Appreciation Challenge

I spend a lot of time thinking about the way that I wish my life would twist or turn. I analyze my shortcomings and try to motivate myself with shiny goals and rewards.

Some friends of mine are starting a 30 Days of Appreciation Challenge that involves posting ten things that I appreciate – every day, for 30 days.

For me, this might be hard. I spend so much time wrangling myself toward the future that I don’t necessarily take the proper time to pause and appreciate the present and the things that have led me to this point.

Ten things per day, every day for 30 days.

Join me?

A bump in the road.

I don’t know if it’s really a bump. More like a twist. Or maybe, even, I am not on the same road anymore.

I’m talking about my quest for collarbones, which started in July 2010, and sort of fizzled out a few months after that, only to renew with vigor in October 2011.

I have not really lost any weight for a couple of months. And I am not even close to finished, here. I have to lose 5 pounds many more times before this journey can end.

My weekly weigh-ins go something like this: up 4, down 3, down one, up 3, up one. And it’s not all undeserved. I am really struggling to follow my plan, I am struggling with feeling like I am on a diet, but I also know that I cannot stop this. I am struggling with eating when I am not hungry- eating when I am stressed, eating when I am lonely, eating when I am nervous.

Some friends of mine are working with a concept called Intuitive Eating, from a book of the same name by Evelyn Tribole. I am not ready to fully embrace this way of eating, but I have been reading the book very slowly. A generalized concept of the technique is to eat only the foods that you like. Sounds crazy, right? Why would I eat foods I don’t like?

So I decided to try an experiment. I try to eat more slowly and really taste the flavors and feel the texture of the foods I am eating. One night, when I was eating a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger and value size french fries from Wendy’s, the first realization hit. I don’t like these fries. I didn’t like the texture and I didn’t like the taste. And yes, I know that they changed their fries, but I have eaten them several, OK, probably at least 20 times since the new recipe came out. And I don’t like them.

French fries. Responsible for probably 50 pounds of my current weight.

Today, I went with Mr.Thor to a pizza place I have been going to since I was a kid. I LOVE their pizza. I ate it as a kid, as a teen, in my 20s. When I didn’t live here, and I came back to visit, I went here to grab a slice or two. Or three. We sat down, and a few minutes later they placed a piping hot medium pizza on our table. Six pieces. I had enough PointsPlus left to eat three smallish pieces. And, as soon as I saw that lovely cheese pizza, I decided that I was going to eat three pieces, indeed. But then I thought about my hunger level. I wasn’t feeling three pieces hungry. So I decided to eat the pizza slowly, to see if I could be satisfied with less than I wanted.

A few bites in to my second slice, I realized that I was choking down my favorite pizza. I didn’t like that I could taste the crust, and it was floury. I didn’t like how the cheese and grease and sauce mashed around in my mouth. And I certainly wasn’t about to eat the third piece.

Maybe I don’t like pizza. Maybe I like what usually goes with pizza – laughing, talking, everyone reaching for food at once, maybe at a party, maybe just tired after a fun day and wanting a quick dinner.

Maybe I don’t like pizza. This is insanity.

 

 

Party Animal

Last night, at a dear friend’s birthday party, I drank one beer and smoked one cigarette. The beer was a Nugget Nectar and the cigarette was a Camel Light.

Before you think, “woah, way to party, lightweight” or even, “ew, gross, you had a cigarette” – calm down.

What I did last night is a big deal to me because I don’t drink anymore and I don’t smoke anymore. I spent about seven years of my life drinking and smoking pretty much whenever I could get away with it. I don’t consider myself an alcoholic – but I definitely consider myself someone whose life is infinitely better and WAY less complicated and dramatic without alcohol. At the end of the day, what I got out of alcohol (first a nice confident buzzy feeling, then feeling out of control, then headaches the next day, then “did I really say that” syndrome) just didn’t add up. It just didn’t make sense for me to continue to drink. And then I met my husband, who just does not drink. Not a drop. So that made the choice very easy – I chose sobriety.

I like sobriety. I really enjoy not going to bars on a weekly (ok, not even monthly. semi-annually, at best) basis. I like not having wine around the house, because then sitting on the couch and drinking a bottle isn’t a possibility.

The last time I had a drink before this was probably on New Year’s Day – my cousin is a very talented brewer and he made some amazing apple something, and I had a glass of that.

Last night, I just had a taste for beer. My hostess picked me out one of her favorite beers, and it was cold and delicious. It went down easily, and I liked it. Then I smoked a cigarette. Almost from the first puff, I regretted it. It tasted terrible. It felt terrible. It smelled terrible. By the time I finished it, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I will never start smoking again. It’s tempting, once you have smoked and quit, to toy with the thought of picking it back up again. That’s out of the question for me.

The beer was good, but I had no desire for a second one. Actually, I didn’t even enjoy it so much to be able to say that, I if I could do it over again, I’d have the beer again.

Last night, I drank one beer and I smoked one cigarette. It was kind of a bridge to my younger self, and she sent me a message: “I don’t really like this, so let’s not do it anymore.” I’m glad that we’re on the same page. I wish I could have realized it sooner – but everything happens for a reason.