Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

Another Voice, Same Refrain

“What did you expect – a name of something that you can eat or drink and the next day you’re fit?”

I loved this post by fellow blogger, Eduart (who lives in Albania!): The Solution on Losing Weight Is…

Thanks, Eduart!

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That’s Normal

This morning, my Wii informed me: “That’s normal.”

It meant my weight. Normal. Finally. Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Yes, I was THAT excited when an inanimate object rewarded me with these coveted words. Sad, isn’t it?

It’s even sadder that I was also THAT pissed off when, day after day, it proclaimed (in its sing-song, condescending tone): “That’s overweight.” While it annoyed me, it also motivated me. I’ll show you, smug Wii!

Today was its come-uppance. Take that! Normal. Hah! In your face, white box. (Imagine appropriate gang-style hand gestures. Then let me know what they are, because I have no idea.)

Does that mean I’ve finished obsessing about my weight? Snort. You’ve followed my story thus far. What do YOU think?

“Not overweight” isn’t the same as “healthy weight”. My BMI is just a smidge under 25. That’s a start, but for optimal health, I would like to see it under 23. The saga isn’t over yet.

philnick

PS: for those of you who have been following my blog, you may have wondered where I’ve been for the past ten days.

Weddings, my friends. Weddings. I’ve enjoyed the nuptials of both my ‘adopted’ son, Phil and my youngest son, Nicholas. By enjoyed, I mean photographed. Cooked. Entertained. Traveled. Absorbed the joy of these events, so when all is done, I can close my eyes and wrap the memories around me, like a star-strewn shawl of love.

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The Need to Nurture

_DSC3269Does a woman ever get over the need to nurture?

I got lonely when Bryan was gone last month. I found myself perusing humane society pages, wondering if perhaps a doggy could provide the solace I sought. I whined about it a little to my friends, emailing them pics of adorable canine faces.

Then Bryan got home, Nicholas and Hanna returned, Gabriel flew in for a visit. Loneliness problem solved!

But apparently I’d planted a seed in the universe. Two days ago, a young woman poured out her plight to me in a phone call. On impulse, she’d obtained an eight-week-old poodle mix from a rescue shelter. She bought it a kennel. Food. Wipes. Toys. Took it home along with the good news that she’d been accepted to college and was starting in a few weeks.

She didn’t detail the conversation, but I imagine the response was something like this:

Mama: “Oh, honey, we’re so proud of you! Well done. Now rehome that puppy immediately. If not sooner.”

So Taliesin (Tahl-ee-EH-sin), Tali for short, came to live with us. Look at that face. How could I resist? He’s bright, mellow, and appropriately playful. Tiny. He’ll weigh only 8 – 12 lbs. full grown. Did I mention, smart? He already understands that going outside means its time to go potty. And then run around like a madman. 🙂

Oh, and he sleeps through the night in a crate beside our bed. He loves his crate. He’s relaxing in it now (at my elbow) because I can’t watch him and type at the same time. Potty training requires CONSTANT VIGILANCE. Or crating when I’m busy. As long as he’s close, he’s a happy guy!

He’s good for my mental health. He completes the life we’ve started here in Portland. NOW it feels like home. I’m praying the landlords understand. I let them know immediately, and I await their verdict. I think it will be positive. They allowed the upstairs neighbors to keep two kitties a few months ago, and we’ve wordlessly put up with the cats jumping and playing and cat box pawing above our heads every night. Good karma has to count for something, right?

If not, well, there are always other homes. But a puppy like Tali doesn’t come around very often.

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The Grace of Grandma Betz

hanna grandmaThis has been a death-filled two weeks. It started when my friend, Cher, had to make the choice to put down darling Mo, a fifteen year-old chihuahua, her constant companion through joy and travail. Next was my friend David’s cat, also fifteen. Then Ryan’s ancient kitty (Guess how old?) Then Neil & Miriam’s  gentle Katie, a – you guessed it – fifteen year-old Chow. (Interesting that most of my closest friends were in ‘pet acquisition’ mode a decade and a half ago.)

Death hit closer to home yesterday, not a pet, but a beloved grandparent – Hanna’s grandma. Hanna and my son Nicholas’ wedding is less than two weeks away. In a time that should filled with nothing but anticipatory joy, death has elbowed in.

That’s not fair. I’m still a momma bear at heart, and I want to step between my children and the dark interloper, hold my hands up and say, “No! You will not bring sorrow here!”

But I can’t do that. No one can. We can’t shield each other from the pain of a loved one’s passing. In fact, we shouldn’t, because grief reminds us that we love and have been loved. It reminds us that we matter, that our lives – and the lives of those we mourn – have meaning.

Hanna’s grandma lived an optimistic, active life, even in the face of cancer. She remained positive and determined, winning round after round. But when it became clear she would not prevail in the last skirmish, she acquiesced with grace. She modeled how to live courageously and die well. It’s what we all hope for – to live fully and die peacefully.

These recent encounters with mortality remind me that I have only one go-round in this configuration of space/time. I want to live it with gusto, like Hanna’s grandma. I want to experience it with exuberant joy, like our beloved pets.

It’s what drives me to personal improvement. It’s not so that the surface looks prettier – though I’m shallow enough to consider that a significant bonus. No, as I float through this amorphous cloud called ‘being’, I want the physical strength and spiritual wisdom to appreciate it fully. Because then maybe, just maybe, I’ll have the grace of Grandma Betz when it’s time to let it go.

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Update (New Pics, too)

I figured it was time for an update on the great Cherie slim-down and health-up. (Be sure to check out the pics below to see my progress.)

I’ve been pretty faithful about my caloric intake. With the help of the Lose-It app, I’ve kept my total below 1000 calories most days, below 1100 all days. Three things have resulted, all very good.

First – I’m not willing to eat anything that isn’t AMAZING. I’m not wasting a single mouthful on food that is empty, either of taste or nutrition. I don’t have that many mouthfuls coming to me, so I’m going to make EACH ONE COUNT.

Second – I’m eager to exercise! An hour of exercise equals two hundred additional calories that I can add to my daily total. Two hundred glorious, precious, delicious units of heat.*

Third – my energy levels are much higher. I’m more productive. I’ll admit, I’ve added at least 20 minutes of rest time to each afternoon, because I’m pooped after exercising. But a nap is a good thing!

The scale STILL isn’t budging from the initial ten pound weight loss. But my waistline is. And the size of my thighs. The firmness of my butt. The difference is noticeable. I’m feeling better and looking more like my old self. Onward and downward!


* A calorie is defined as the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree centigrade.

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What I Would Show You

A photo odyssey of my graduate school, Pacific University, and what I would show Lee, if I could. (Lee, my late husband, took his life on October 3, 2002.)

A classroom of fellow students. I would have known them better, but your shadow loomed between us, and I burned my foot when I tried to step across

A classroom of fellow students. I would have known them better, but your shadow loomed between us, and I burned my foot when I tried to step across.

She bears the weight of the world on her shoulders. Even with extra arms, it's sometimes too much.

She bears the weight of the world on her shoulders. Even with extra arms, it’s sometimes too much.

Here's where I sat when a ready reminded me too much of you. I called a man who wasn't you, for comfort.

Here’s where I sat when a reading reminded me too much of you. I called a man who wasn’t you, for comfort.

Scattered patterns of clustered blossoms. There are some patterns I choose not to repeat.

Scattered patterns of clustered blossoms. There are some patterns I choose not to repeat.

I still don't like impatiens. They look too real, or not real at all. They look too good to be true.

I still don’t like impatiens. They look too real, or not real at all. They look too good to be true.

This bench has the best breeze. A man, not you, showed it to me, and we sat and talked. About you.

This bench has the best breeze. A man, not you, showed it to me, and we sat and talked. About you.

This reminded me of me: a curvy, sweeping path of a life. There's you - see the narrow, straight road that suddenly veers away?

My curvy, sweeping path of a life. There’s you – see the narrow, straight road that suddenly veers away?

I thought I caught a glimpse of you down the straight path, but then you got lost in the shadows.

I thought I caught a glimpse of you, but then you got lost in the shadows.

I'm sure there was a message, but it's unreadable now.

I’m sure there was a message, but it’s unreadable now.

I still don't know who Alice Hoskins is. Amazing how you can spend years in a place, and still not know someone.

I still don’t know who Alice Hoskins is. Amazing how you can spend years in a place, and still not know someone.

I couldn't catch a clear photo of the butterfly. It's because my camera was set to manual. I tried for too much control. Sometimes you have to let the camera, or the butterfly, decide.

I couldn’t catch a clear photo of the butterfly. It’s because my camera was set to manual: I tried for too much control. Sometimes you have to let the camera, or the butterfly, decide.

I don't have to look up to know the season. The dappled grass tells me summer has returned, that the trees are in full leaf. Deep maturity allows the light through in the most beautiful patterns.

I don’t have to look up to know the season. The dappled grass tells me summer has returned, that the trees are in full leaf. Deep maturity allows light through in the most beautiful patterns.

Hydrangeas still bloom, even without the man who loved their color best.

Hydrangeas still bloom, even without the man who loved their color best.

I know you assumed seminary, but I chose writing.

I know you assumed seminary, but I chose writing.

Time hides its face from me. At least, that's what I tell myself.

Time hides its face from me. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

The rock weeps, but I don't, not anymore.

The rock weeps, but I don’t, not anymore.

A spray of grassy blades, reminiscent of water fountaining up - life renewed again and again. I could have moved to my shadow didn't show, but I decided it was part of the picture. Your shadow isn't here, not anymore.

A spray of grassy blades, reminiscent of water fountaining up – life renewed again and again. I could have moved so my shadow didn’t show, but I decided it was part of the picture. Your shadow isn’t here, not anymore.

Transmuted from flora to fauna, from fixed to free, the feathery frond is poised to fly.

Transmuted from flora to fauna, from fixed to free, the feathery frond is poised to fly.

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