Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Orgy

Quite spontaneously, I stopped at the book store last month and without really thinking about it, purchased 6 new books to read. They are:
90 Minutes in Heaven- Don Piper
Tuesday with Morrie- Mitch Albom
A Mercy - Toni Morrison
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- Barbara Kingsolver
Stephen King- Just After Sunset
Reading Lolita inTehran- Azar Nafisi
At the time I swerved my car into the bookstore parking lot, I was listening to NPR to a critique of Stephen King's new collection of short stories. I confess I hate horror and rarely read it- especially Stephen King who I find particularly creepy. However I was so intrigued by the review, that I stopped my car as I just happened to be driving by a book store as the radio program played. I found the Stephen King book very quickly and then perused the sale table where I found the others. They are all books I've wanted to read for some time. I read "90 minutes" "Mercy" and "Tuesdays" right away within a day or two. I got bogged down in "Animal" when it became less discriptive and more preachy (I normally love Barbara Kingsolver's novels- but of course this book isn't a novel but a work of nonfiction based on her family's experiment of living for a year on food they produced themselves or purchased locally). I still intend to finish it but its been a few weeks since I picked it up. I haven't started "Lolita" yet but I look forward to reading it over Christmas break. The best surprise read hands down was- you guessed it- Stephan King. These scrumptious short stories are not skin crawling physical horror, but more psychological thrillers and very cerebrally satisfying. My impromptu trip to the bookstore (and my unplanned raiding of the family budget) proved to be a success. I should visit the library or my favorite half price bookstore more often to give my mind a more diverse and tantalizing diet.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What I know for sure

For the second time now, I have pulled a ligament in my foot while exercising and find myself limping around unable to exercise much at all. The first time, I was on crutches for 3 days after attending an aerobics class. This time, I walked for seven miles (about 4 hours) and the next day I found myself limping and having pain. Fortunately I can continue my yoga routine (a 15 minute morning workout with Rodney Yee) for now. It's a little disheartening to be so fat, that you injure yourself exercising- but I press on- with an emphasis on LOW IMPACT.
On the food front- I purchased some vegan taco mix and veggie burger mix to try. I'm excited to give it a whirl. My 13 year old is doing the veggie/vegan experiment with me- so we are trying new recipes together. Tonight I want to try to find a vegetarian enchilada recipe that works for me. I'll combine the 'taco mix' with a recipe I found in Skinny Bitch in the Kitch and see how it works. I had lunch at my favorite vegan restaurant (SEED) yesterday and I still think their veggie burger is the best thing on dry land. Last night I splurged and made shrimp for dinner (I still eat fish and seafood) and it was a treat. We ate them steamed with cocktail sauce. Yesterday I made fish tacos with tilapia that I sauteed with mushrooms, onion, diced tomato, green chilis and corn. I'm always on the lookout for vegetarian meals I can make for my family that will fool them or make them forget they are not eating meat- they don't always eat fish and seafood very well either.
I'm reading Eckart Tolle's 'A New Earth.' I'm loving this book. I read it in no certain order starting in the middle and re-reading bits and pieces whenever I pick it up. I picked it up yesterday (I keep it in my purse so I can read at spare moments) and started reading near the beginning. It was like reading it for the first time again. I'm learning more than I can possible integrate. I like knowing that I can control my mind and it does not control me. Oprah always asks 'what do you know for sure?' I'm beginning to know that my life is whatever I believe it is- if I act on that belief. I know that life is good and that I embody life and that 'choosing the good' is my decision to make every day.
My daily quiet time is very enriching for me. I light candles, burn incence, read the Bible and meditate. It's a lovely way to start each day. I'm looking forward to going the the Holy Land (my friend's spiritual retreat center in central Missouri) this weekend for her annual Winter Solstice celebration- if the weather holds and driving conditions are good.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


My exercise regimen consists mainly of 15 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes of aerobics every weekday morning. I supplement this minimalist workout with stair walking. My office at the college is located on the second floor, so I have to walk up 23 stairs to reach it. My goal is to walk UP the stairs 10 times during the day. I'm trying to figure out a schedule for re-introducing my weights. I've now completed my first week full time at my new job and have a better understanding of how my time is organized. One unexpected consequence: I didn't see my husband AT ALL this week except when he was asleep. We didn't see one another awake not once this whole week. We did talk on the phone briefly everday, but I never got to touch him. That was strange and unexpected. I expect that to change when his schedule slows down- its the busy season for his job. Right now I'm focusing on how to revv up my exercise with the schedule I have. I'm sitting on my butt or standing in place lecturing most of my day. I need more movement incorporated in my day.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

How to eat a pomegranate

Today for lunch I had bean tostadas, and a pomegranate for dessert. The beans I made from scratch. Pito beans simmered in garlic, onion, chili pepper, cumin, and cilantro, and a dribble of apple cider vinegar to mellow the flavor. I love these beans. I mash them as they simmer in a cast iron skillet, so they have the appearance of refried beans without the addition of any oil. I spread them on a homemade tortilla purchased from a local grocer that sells them fresh like the tortillarias of Mexico that I remember. Of coure I freeze mine when I get them home because I don't use them fast enough, but in Mexico, everyone bought them fresh daily. I toast mine in the oven over a low heat until they are nice and crisp. I top the beans with shredded cheddar ( real cheese, not vegan- I haven't worked up the nerve to try it yet) and generous slices of ripe avocado, and then a dollop of salsa. The tostadas are simple and delicious. Even the kids don't notice they eating meat free. For dessert I cut a pomegranate into quarters. For those who have never eaten one- it is all seeds. Each seed is surrounded by a pocket of sweet juice. They look like little jewels, the color of rubies. As you chew the seeds, you release the juice into your mouth. After you've chewed until the juice is gone, you spit out the seeds. Cumbersome to eat, but worth the effort.

Food, glorious food

Fifth, I like food. I love to eat. My way around this? Eat good food. I lean toward vegetarian/veganism but still eat fish and seafood. Less meat and dairy, more veggies and whole grains. I'm loving trying new recipes and new ways of eating and new ways of thinking about food. I must observe certain limits, but I've come to think of it as an adventure. Not what I can't eat- but what new thing I can try. My philosophy is simply this- make the best choice from what is available to me. I won't be picky and I refuse to burden others with my lifestyle choices. If there are no vegetarian/vegan choices put in front of me- I'll simply choose the best of what is available to me. I'll also plan ahead to make sure I have some choices. I'll make my lunches at home and have nutritious snacks at the office. I'm redefining my relationship with food, and acknowledging what it can and cannot do. I'm learning to delight in a healthy well-thought out, intentional meal. Losing weight does not have to mean losing my delight with food- just renegotiating what is delightful.

Move that body..

Fourth, I actually like to exercise. I will try many new things, and keep but a few. The problem is these new activities must fit my life as it is now. My daily walks have gone by the wayside with winter fast approaching, and I'll resume them in the Spring. I must find something to take its place and stair climbing presents itself. I also like weight lifting, yoga, and filling my mornings with aerobic workout tapes. My current set of tapes is the beach body workout (even though a 'beach body' is not my goal). Hell, I'd settle for a kiddie pool in the backyard body! My exercise MUST be completed prior to 8am. After that my time belongs to others and I can't get it back. So my exercise regimen must fit in between 6 and 8 am. Preferably, I'd like something I can do in my house and not have to leave. Workout tapes, free weights, exercise ball, jump rope, stair climbing, and yoga tapes all work for me because I already own the equipment. I can remember a time I had nothing but a pair of sneakers and used them to start walking. I love walking, but not in the cold. I have a gym membership, but can't sneak in a time to use it- so my home regimen between 6 and 8 is it. In the evenings I'm dead weight and can't muster the energy for exercise after putting in a full day at work. Besides that time is devoted to kids and homework. So first thing in the morning is dedicated to working out, not sleeping in.

A temporary home

Third, I am not what you see. I am so much more. What can be seen is the limited view of me. I am not a body inhabited by a soul- I am a soul temporarily inhabiting this body. This view of the world sets me free. Free from the expectations and limiting beliefs of others. No one can define me. No one can set their limits upon me. I am not this body- I am so much more.

I am not old

Second, though I'm 46 years old- I am not old. I don't feel old on the inside of me. The outside does not tell the whole story. Inside, I am ageless or even very young. The inside of me, the part people can't see, still wears pigtails and weaves flower garlands and a sunny summer day. I refuse to think of myself as old. Aging is an illusion- belonging only to this world, this limited life. I know I am ageless and that I will go on forever, long after this life is done, and this body is laid to rest. And so I am not old. I can still learn and think and do and create and contemplate and lead a relevant life, because I am not old. I am not too old to be beautiful, or too old to lose weight, or too old to break bad habits and create good ones. Because- I am not old.

I feel pretty...

First off, I'm still pretty. I tell myself that all the time, and when I look in the mirror, that is what I see- a fat, but attractive woman. I get compliments all the time on my appearance- but I know it's because I believe it first. I'm pretty. Because I know this, I act as a pretty woman would. I purchase my clothes with care. I buy colors that suit my skin tone. I dress like a pretty woman would (notice I didn't say, like a skinny woman would- I dress my size). Things that are not necessarily expensive, but attractive on me make up my selections. I am well groomed and attend to the details. I may be fat, but I refuse to be sloppy and unkempt. I am a professional woman and believe its important that I look the part. So first off I am pretty. I accentuate the positive and work with what I've got TODAY. I want to look my best today, even as I hope for a smaller, more toned tomorrow.

Welcome to my online life

Welcome to my new blog. I've been trying to get it off the ground for weeks. It took a while to come up with a title that really resonated. This is my online weight loss journal-designed to get me from one point to another by tracking my progress. You are welcome to watch, and cheer from the sidelines. Mostly I'll be tracking my daily consumption, and exercise through clever prose and with spiritual insight. I like to do everything with flair, cause I'm a big girl, with a big life...