Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Still Here

I am still here ... just not very productive in the blog world.  But life has marched on regardless ... and here is a summary of me running to catching up to it. 

Milo

A sad event.  Although I don’t own a dog, I have been an active participant and “grandma" to my children’s dogs.  The 3 dogs shown in this picture grabbed my heart for the whole of their lives just as securely as if they lived with me full time.  From left to right: Meathead, Milo, and Grimace in much younger days.

Meathead and Grimace passed away many years ago taking pieces of my heart with them.  Milo died last weekend at the age of 11 after a long struggle with pneumonia.  He was the last of this trio to leave us and my heart aches for him so much.  I hate that he is gone.  As searingly painful it is to let them go ... and to stand with them as their heart stops and they take their last breath ... it is a final loving gift of comfort for them surrounded by "their people” in those last moments.  This was my daughter’s first experience with euthanasia.  So the pain was particularly intense for me watching her part from her most beloved best friend, Milo. 



You lived a long life fully devoted to my daughter who is now missing you terribly. 

Your grandma is missing another part of her heart.

Rest In Peace my sweet boy. 

Aja

Aja continues to surprise us.  This past May she passed her one year anniversary with us.  Just when I think she has reached her full level of comfort with us, she moves forward another step.  I don’t think people realize (or in some cases accept) the amount of time that is needed for an adult pet adoption. 



If she is looking a little chubby in that picture - it is because she has gained some weight.  When she came she was a gaunt 7.8 pounds.  I suspect she didn’t eat much during those 2 weeks at the shelter.  At her last check up she was over 10 pounds.  She loves her meal times.  And we carefully cater to her likes and dislikes.

Here are her ‘achievements' since I last wrote (No photographic proof, of course.  She avoids any documentation that she is evolving.  She would loose her “cat credentials” if she allowed pictures of her exploits.🤣)

  • Jumps on the bathroom counter top. Seriously, I didn’t think she could jump at all - she did it so seldom. Now she leaps up like it is no big deal!  How she disguises her abilities!! 
  • Jumps up on the bed when my husband and I are both on it - big WOW!
  • Lays beside my husband when he is lying on the bed - not for a long time and not all that frequently - but Aja is all about baby steps.  My husband was so stunned when she did this the first time, he didn’t want to move - or even breathe, fearing he would scare her off.  She was definitely “testing” the waters.  Always testing!
  • Roams the condo many times a day.  A bit skittish when she does it, but is learning to be daring!
  • Has picked a living room window to watch the world from that is not in the bedroom. That would be her “chubby” picture above.
We are really happy she is our “special girl."

Eskarina

We have finally reached the point of normalcy in grand daughter visitation.    What an amazing little person she is becoming.  


Although she is not vaccinated yet, being only 3 years old, everyone around her is vaccinated so the circle of protection is safe for all.



Her use of language continues to astound me.  Such sentence structure and complexity of thought coming from that little mind!  Of course, now that she can parrot back everything she hears, adult speech has to be carefully monitored.  No “f” bombs - as my son recently discovered!  😂 All words are fair game in the mind of a 3 year old.  

Knitting /Crochet

For me, this is the Year of the Blanket apparently!  No pictures yet but soon. I am working on two afghans now, and one or two more are waiting in the wings to be started.  And ironically they are ALL crochet!!  I also want to knit a sweater for my grand daughter.  She has finally reached the age where she won’t outgrow a handmade item in 3 months.

In other areas ...

As I grieve the passing of Milo, my normal reaction is to clean, declutter, re-organize. Basically just keep moving.  Action and distraction lifts me out of obsessing out of my sadness for a time.  Sitting still and thinking about the loss makes the whole grieving process so intense.  Walking would do the same thing, but the heat outside right now would sap my strength, so staying busy inside air conditioning is the next best thing.

Yesterday I vacuumed and steamed cleaned the carpets.  It is a job that takes hours because I also try to move things to reach areas that normally don’t get cleaned.  As much as I would like to replace this 18+ year old wall-to-wall carpeting, it cleans up beautifully when it has been steamed cleaned. It is just a lot of work to do it.  Next up - the pantry and the fridge.  Both need attention.  

And in my walking around I routinely simplify the spaces and surfaces in my condo.  After years of having tons of bricka-a-bracka all over every surface, I now find peace in cleared spaces.  As it turns out, it also helps my blind husband who would find maneuvering around “stuff” very difficult.

We also did a few big things this year.  This winter we replaced all the windows.  Part of that process was stripping them of the double hung drapes the previous owner had installed.  I am not fond of curtains or drapes but I kept them for 4+ years while doing other big improvements.  I am very pleased with the blinds we installed this spring.  They are the traditional size - not mini - and they are white with gray highlights similar to the markings of wood.  My carpet is gray so it works well.  They have a nice header and are complete as they are without the trappings of additional drapery.  Simple clean lines.


This coming August we will be in this condo for 5 years.  The list of condo improvements seems enormous when looking back.  New windows and window treatments throughout, new kitchen appliances, a new bathroom toilet in the guest bath, a new garbage disposal, 3 new lights/ceiling fan combinations, a new screen door for the deck, a new deck light, 3 new10-year smoke alarms, and a new air conditioner.  With each change this condo feels more like my space and less like someone else’s space I am visiting - a feeling that still haunts me at times.  

Next year we will probably tackle the flooring.  And there are other items that need a more current update. But I may change my mind on all these future changes.  They will be expensive and very disruptive.  When I was 30 or 40, or even 50, I could anticipate staying put in a home and enjoying the improvements for another 20 years or so.  Now, at 74, our future is harder to predict. We may have reached the point that condo improvements would not be a good use of money or time. Time marches on.

If I could just slow down that marching of time ... or even just roll it back a bit so I could give that dear dear grand dog Milo - one more hug.

That’s all for now.  Hope it isn’t months before I write again. Thanks for stopping by.


  












Saturday, April 10, 2021

Commenting on the Comments

I rarely respond to comments and questions on my blog now that I use the Pop Up commenting.  I can’t reply in real time on the same post unless I choose to add a separate comment of my own to my post.  I am not sure if that method of reply would be seen since most people never look backwards on the blogs they follow.  Then I got to thinking ... why not have a “Reply Post” that follows the main post a few days later.  So here is my Reply Post.  We will see how this goes.

”Have you made a date [to see Esk] with dear Eskarina and her parents?”  YES!!  I should have mentioned that in my previous post.  In fact, the date was scheduled on my calendar the very first moment I snagged the first shot date!!  I went right to my calendar and counted out the days and marked my “Liberation Day” in bold red print. And there will be a blog post, Michelle, when it happens. “Liberation Day” is April 20 around 12:30 pm (yes I know the time as well) -  not that I am counting the minutes or anything.   However, she goes to day care during the workweek so we are holding off our reunion until the weekend when we have a “Sleep over at Grandma’s" condo all planned on April 23.  It will be joyous in the extreme.  I hope I can get through the first hour of the visit without crying.  Even in the Google Video calls with her - which do happen frequently - I can see that she has grown and matured.  During one of those video calls Esk asked me if I could show her the toys and her bed at my house through the phone 😢.  As I "walked her” on the phone into the guest room, I was fighting tears. While it is lovely she remembered these things and wanted to see them again,  it made me so sad that the only way we could do that was through a cell phone.   And although I am looking forward to seeing her parents as well, I know they are just as eager to have some time to themselves - even if it is just to get some sleep.  😄

And as for Aja!  She is definitely a female, Cynthia.  And I can assure you that the difference between female and male cats is like different solar systems.  The males (we have had 9 of those) are the party, party, party animals.  Pretty much happy-go-lucky!  More dog-like than cat-like.  The females (we have had 2 counting Aja) are the business end of the species.  It is nature’s way of assuring that kittens will survive.  Even in the wild, the female lions are the hunters and the male lions are the “figure heads” who wait for the meal to be brought down by their female mates. The true power is in the female.  It is probably true of most mammals.  It is just more evident in animals like cats - who are unlikely to hide their true nature.

I also learned some interesting things about orange female cats yesterday.  Orange females are relatively rare. This info came from another female orange cat owner who asked if Aja’s personality was “spicy.”  Why, funny you should ask.  Yes!  What a perfect description of her personality.  Spicy. This informal source said spicy personalities are a common trait of orange females.  So off I went to Google to do a little research.  Yes,  pretty much all sources agree - about 81% of ginger cats are male.  Ginger females carry the orange gene on both X chromosomes.  Both her parents had to be orange according to the sources I read.  But the “spicy” personality observation was not supported.  In fact, it was suggested be  the reverse.  While the strongest influence on personality tends to be early socialization, males tend to be the “spicier” of the two.  That observation does not appear to be based on any science like the color of the fur.  You can’t help but wonder, however, ... since there is only observational evidence on personality, maybe there is something to it - just not proven.  Everyone agrees, however, that orange cats are very friendly.  And Aja is.  She just doesn’t always know how to contain that joyous feeling at times.

Terra, Leigh, Marie and Lefty, thank you for your kind comments on the crochet.  I am definitely a novice in crochet.  The actual stitches aren’t hard but knowing where to begin and end rows still is sometimes a mystery.  Last year I started a crochet blanket and got about 5 inches done when I discovered the blanket was getting wider.  Obviously I had been unintentionally increasing on the edges.  I ripped it all out and decided crochet just wasn’t for me.  Then I discovered the Annie’s Club Kits - I liked the patterns and each kit came with video assistance. You could see quite clearly where the hook needed to go to begin or end.  While the cost of the total Kit is pretty high for what is acrylic yarn, the assistance and knowledge building more than make up for the cost.  And when you commented on the colors in the blanket I had to smile. I like browns and tans also, but there are no browns and tans in the blanket.  I tried so hard to capture the colors and failed miserably.  The colors are in the plum family with a pop of turquoise for contrast.  Even the professional pictures that came with the directions don’t show the colors correctly.

Finally to my walking friend, Karen, Happy One.  I think of you often and how lucky you are to have such a beautiful place to walk every single day (for 6 miles - yes, folks, she walks 6 miles every day - my hero!)  While our move to this condo was perfect in many ways, walking paths or even just sidewalks are in short supply in Elkridge.  It is not Columbia, where the developers were following the vision of James Rouse with pedestrian friendly neighborhoods. And Sandy, your idea for audio books while walking is something I used to do when I was on my own walk.  It does pass the time.  I am trying to get out later in the evening by myself when he has gone to bed.  He is an early to bed (7:00 pm) but late to sleep (10:00 pm) person - listening to his audio books for a few hours before sleeping.  With the longer days this works ok.  I get in a short walk around my condo development. (boring, but walking). But I miss wandering around randomly and spontaneously like Happy One does. 

Not sure how this worked for you guys.  I feel like I closed the loop on the last post with responses.  I probably won’t be back blogging again until I see Esk - in the flesh - on the 23rd - with a box of tissues in my hand and my other arm around her slim little body.    

Stay well all! 


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A "Don’t Fence Me In” Update

The habit of writing seems to be lost on me of late!  The thought of writing pops up at regular intervals but the action seems absent.  Lately, if there is a structure to anything in my life - I seem to resist it!  Regardless, I am here now, so update time.

COVID-19 VACCINATION update

I am within a week of being fully vaccinated - meaning that I will soon pass the 2 week waiting period after the 2nd shot.  I won’t be barred from seeing my family anymore (specifically my dearest grand daughter.)  FREEDOM!  But I have been fortunate in this pandemic.  No illness and little to no reaction to either shot.   But I will continue mask wearing and social distancing until we are closer to herd immunity ... because that is the sensible, logical and the “adult” thing to do - until we ALL can be free!!

DIET update 

I spent time thinking about my diet - not for weight loss but mostly for health.  I finally settled on a mostly Mediterranean diet.   But it isn’t really ‘mediterranean' if you aren’t being semi compliant!  In the end I settled on listening to my body’s needs! And what is needs are smaller meals, more veggies, less meat, lower carbs and no 'no-nos!’ That is as much limitation as I am willing to do.

EXERCISE update

I miss walking.   Walking "my way."  And during this pandemic,  any kind of walking has been scarce.  I refuse to blame the pandemic. Nothing has kept me from going outside and walking during these months.  Nothing but myself and one small deterrent.

What is most satisfying about walking is the solitary time, walking by myself.  Setting my own pace, viewing the scenery, thinking about things - mind drifting, no socialization or expectations.  But my husband also needs to walk and due to is disabiity, he cannot walk alone.  Oh I know there are blind folks who can do absolutely everything independently, but those kind of people are very rare when you lose vision as a senior.  That means when I walk (with him) I am "on duty."  I have to be on alert the whole time to make sure the obsticals are announced or avoided, always checking our pace since he has exactly one speed - fast - but he doesn’t have the heart and lung capacity for that speed any more.  His mind drifts, he forgets to “listen” to the messages his cane gives him.   I know it sounds (and feels) a little selfish to want to have some alone time on my walks.  But the only fix for this is to find time for 2 walks a day.  Working on this.

CLEANING OUT update

I joined a blog event last fall called Making Space. But as I suspected, I found the discipline of blogging about it hard.  I enjoy reading the posts of others, but I am happy to clean out on my own when the spirit moves me.  

My current decluttering has focused on exercise tapes and cook books.  

I get absolutely NO satisfaction out of exercising indoors.  If I am forced to exercise inside, I prefer to have a list of exercises that I can do while I watch some sort of distracting TV.  And yet I had a shelf and a half of exercise disks - each one I thought would be “the one” that helped me get in shape indoors. I am down to about 5 disks.  Big declutter there.

I hardly ever crack open a cookbook.  Same logic - I buy the book thinking this is “the one” that will help me enjoy cooking.  I will make wonderful tasty things from that book. Never! When I want a new recipe, I just hop on my computer and print something out.  I have several loose leaf binders of recipes I have pulled from the internet that I use when menu building.  I have donated a great number of cookbooks, and now I am in the process of cannibalizing a few - pulling out any recipes I made that were good, but never repeated because ... well ... hardly ever crack open a cookbook.

Funny, I never thought I would get rid of exercise tapes and favorite cookbooks.  And here I doing both.

KNITTING AND CROCHETING update

Scarf - my only knitting project right now. Finger weight yarn and it will take a long time finish because ...



... I started an Annie’s Club project called Plumberry Sampler Afghan in crochet.  


This is an indoor shot of the first 6 rows of this Afghan.  The colors are hard to capture correctly.


This is an outdoor shot and the colors are closer to normal.  
And even with natural light, the colors don’t show as true.

I am enjoying working on this - it is a great crochet learning project.  And the yarn they use for this is wonderful stuff.  Acrylic, but hard to tell without the label.


Queen blanket, also crochet, is well underway.  This is the most satisfying project I am working on at present.  No pictures to share yet but the finished object should look something like this.

My colors will be somewhat different, but you get the idea.  It really is a fun and easy project.


And then there is this little lady, Aja.

Yes, that is a smug and self-satisfied face.  Don’t those eyes say it all.  

She has made large strides with my husband.  And he has put great effort into it.  Several times a day, he goes into the bedroom to “visit” Aja.  He sits on the bed and she jumps up and rubs and rubs and rubs - and he pets - and usually it ends peacefully.  She gets herself over stimulated ending in a hiss or a swipe, but that is more rare now.  Oh, she does come out of the bedroom and wanders around the condo regularly, but she is most comfortable where her two beds are and food and litter - and she has safety behind the gate at the bedroom door (it has a cat door in it - and no one but her can pass through.) So she can come out any time she wants.





Here she is behind my recliner.  And if you look close, Milo is in the recliner.  Guess she felt the coast was clear if he was asleep.

Next month it will be the first anniversary of her adoption.  She has come sooo far since that skinny frightened and distrustful cat came to live with us.  Change is hard for her.  Not everyone could give her the time and distance she needed to adjust.  I kind of feel like she was just meant to be with us.  We love her so much and she has shown in her own way that those feelings are returned.

I think I hit all the topics.  Until next time ... 





Tuesday, March 9, 2021

February Wrap Up!!

Slipped off the blogging radar again.  The whole month of February - just gone!  How does that happen.

Thankfully nothing negative was involved.  Just time getting away from me.  Lets see what I can do to catch up.

I finished the knitted blanket I made for my grand daughter - it is a blanket she will use here - should we ever get back to normal times and she can visit again.  I was glad to be done with it.  It was huge and easy to work on in a mindless fashion, but I had other stuff I was itching to get to!



Then we had a little scare with this old man “grand child,” my daughter’s dog Milo!  He had some breathing issues and she got an initial evaluation from her vet with an X-ray ... the vet thought he had lung tumors - probable cancer - and at his age, extensive testing was just not an option.  Quality of life care was the recommendation ... and maybe some steroids to slow down the tumor growth and make him comfortable.  Her vet wanted him seen by a vet internist to evaluate and make suggestions since he is already on pain meds for his back issues.  That visit provided a different opinion, thankfully and it is not cancer.  But without expensive testing and maybe some uncomfortable treatments involving anesthesia, (also not an option), a definitive diagnosis could not be given.  At present we are just content that it is not cancer. Making him comfortable in his very senior years is now the goal.



And after the scare of maybe losing him, I found this charming picture of him when he wasn’t so gray. Now his is the wall paper on my computer screen.  My daughter isn’t going to be the only one devastated by his passing.  We just need to enjoy him now.



This month my grand daughter turned 3.  We, of course, could not be with her so her parents held a virtual Birthday Party using Zoom.  All her family joined her on the computer and we enjoyed watching her open her presents and eat cake.  (Have I said recently just how much I HATE this pandemic?). I think I could tolerate it better if I had full access to my family.


And here I am in line (6 feet apart, of course) at CVS waiting to get my first Covid VAX shot just yesterday.  The effort required to get that appointment was just too much.  So many people and not enough vaccines.  But I am grateful I managed to get onto a schedule. I have had no reaction to this first shot, but I understand that the second shot does produce some fatigue. My second shot is scheduled for the end of the month.  Of course, now I start all over again trying to get my husband on a schedule for his shots.  I check the schedules for 3 pharmacies, 2 max vaccine mega sites and the health department when I wake before I even have coffee and about 6 more times during the day and last thing before I go to bed at night.  It just never ends.

I have started 2 more new projects - both are crochet.  The first picture is a sample of a technique called mosaic crochet.  This is new to me.  The pattern is from the Queen blanket (on Ravelry) that I plan to make very soon.  This Queen blanket was part of a CAL last fall and it has extensive video support on YouTube. For the sample I chose 2 light colored yarns - which was stupid.  The patterning would be so much more dramatic with more contrast. The yarn I have purchased for this pattern has plenty of contrast so it should be more fun - and the pictures will be better.


The second project is from Annie’s Craft Club.  I kept getting ads for this club in my Facebook feed.  I finally just gave up and started the club. The blanket is striped and each stripe is a different crochet stitch.  The acrylic yarn is called Premier Anti Pilling Everyday Worsted and it is my new favorite acrylic. It doesn’t split, the colors are really lovely (although my photos don’t do it justice) and it is very soft.  Feels nothing like typical crunchy acrylic.  This project, too, has video support which I follow very carefully.  I am mostly a knitter and I know the basic crochet stitches, but I have learned so much from watching both videos.  Being able to “read” your knitting or your crochet is so important.  I understand the structure of the knit stitch very well - and these projects with their video support are helping me understand the crochet stitch at a much better level.  I am really enjoying both very much.


Anyway, that is my February all summed up in a single post.  

Hope that all of you are doing well - and staying well.  We are so close to the “finish line” of this pandemic now that a vaccine is finally available.  Everyone, keep wearing your masks and stay 6 feet apart ... and if you are able, please get vaccinated so we can all return to a normal life with herd immunity in place.




Sunday, January 31, 2021

Puzzles - Winter Themes and Current Challenge

Seems my puzzle completions have gotten ahead of my blogging!

I finished this winter puzzle called After The Snow Has Fallen by artist Joseph Holodook purchased through Bits and Pieces. The theme of snow matches what I see outside my window right now.  SNOW! It was fun and not very hard.  Maybe a week to complete.  I do enjoy these simpler art pieces where the colors and the lines are pretty well delineated without out much guessing involved as to where they should go.


The second puzzle I finished is another wintery scene called Home Again, artist H. Hargrove and purchased through Bits and Pieces as well. This one was little harder due to the blending of colors but even so ... not hard.




Left side of the puzzle.


Right side of the puzzle.

This puzzle, however, had a tricky element to it.  Pictured below on the left is a bush that appears to have need of more bush pieces to complete the image.  There were no more bush pieces!  I got out my magnifier to see if the pieces I put into place really look like they belonged.  They did, line, color and shape.  But obviously not right because I had no free bush pieces left to place.  (Images below) Then I started mixing up the arrangement of the pieces based on shape alone ... and the picture on the right shows the finished bush.  What I have noticed with the Bits and Pieces puzzles is that the way they cut the pieces sometimes results in incorrect placement - even if the shape and picture seem to match.  Not sure if that is common across other puzzle brands or not, but it has soured me a bit on Bits and Pieces puzzles.  


I have a few more to complete but will be interested in seeing if this if this is true with other brands.

Currently I am working on a Disney puzzle called Tangled which is the Disney version of the story of Rapunzel.  I plan to glue the pieces together, frame and give to my grand daughter for her play room.


This 500 piece puzzle is only 14” x 18” and the pieces are measurably smaller that the other 500 piece puzzles I did which ran 18” x 24”.  The pieces show small bits of blended colors and is making this much more of a challenge.  But the picture is beautiful.  

Tangled is part of a 4 puzzle set - all 500 pieces and all 14” x 18” and all painted by Thomas Kinkade Studios. The other 3 puzzle themes are Lady and the Tramp, Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Fantasia, and Winnie the Poo.  I suspect they all will be somewhat challenging because they are all done by the same artist in the same size pieces.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Aja and The New Windows

Time for another Aja update.  

I don’t think I have ever done this with any of my previous cats ... regular updates to share adjustment progress.  Nope!  But all those cats came to us as kittens - moldable as clay!  No big deal.  Aja came fully formed with a life and experiences before us ... and as such, she has been evolving on her own schedule with every month that passes! And, of course, she had an owner who loved her before and wanted to know how she was doing!  She is doing great! 

 

And then I threw a sledge hammer into that delicately built relationship we have worked on.

 I decided to do something very big, very messy, very noisy and somewhat cold!  


The big event that happened this month were window replacements - all 10 windows in the condo were ripped out in what appeared to be a very noisy demolition.  See, I got this great idea in October (when the weather was moderate) that a major home improvement project during a pandemic made perfect sense.  But what I didn’t count on was a January instillation.  


All ten windows were removed at once - letting in all the wonderfully cold January air (not!).  And, of course, there was noise!!! Lots and lots of it.  And there were 4 strange men walking in her condo, walking in her sacred bedroom where even the dog isn’t allowed.  And they were making very big holes in her bedroom walls.  And they were here from 8:30 am until 3:00!!  And it was cold.  



As this was all going on, all I could think was ... we are going to lose all the ‘brownie points’ we had accumulated with our little Diva, and we would be starting ALL OVER AGAIN!  Sigh!

You can’t see her but she is hiding behind the laundry basket.

After all, we had achieved a lot ... “lap time” on both our laps!  Yes, she had even taken to visiting my husband - the blind guy who stepped on her the very first night!  Whatever was I thinking when I scheduled this back in October.  Well ... what I was thinking was that the windows would be installed as promised in early December when it would be warmer.  And I sincerely didn’t understand that ripping out old windows was such a destructive process. 

As the work was going on, I started to worry that Aja, who was hunkered down in my husband’s closet might decide to come out and sit on the window sill - where there WASN’T A WINDOW THERE ANYMORE.  I was fixated on that thought. My God.  She could fall.  I tried to encourage her to come out so I could put her in our bathroom - where it was warmer, and had litter, had food and her comfy cube bed. Nope!  She wasn’t moving.  In fact, she looked at me as if she didn’t know who I was!! My husband assured me that Aja was definitely not leaving her hiding place to sit on any window sill - not with all these men and the noise!  

The condo temperature surprisingly didn’t drop below 50 degrees.  We sat around in our coats freezing but the temperature really was reasonable.

New and Improved.

When all was said and done ... the job was completed, the 4 men left, the heat was back on and the quiet returned ... out she came!! Like nothing had happened!  All was right in her "Diva World!"  Amazing.  How she recovers from stuff is one of the measures I have used to see how she is really adjusting and how confident she is.  How well she “recovers” from a trauma.  In the first few months any interruption in the routine took a day or more before we saw her again.  Now ... within the first hour ... she struts out like she is reclaiming her kingdom!



All in all - I think she has decided this is definitely her home

and we are definitely her servants!  

And she is definitely right on both counts!!


Monday, January 18, 2021

The Diet Game Decision

After days of reading, researching and experimenting a bit

 ... I have come to a sort of decision.

At my age and with my long experience with eating - (ha!) - I know that my ability to adhere to a strict eating regimen will fail eventually even if I am successful for months and months.  It comes down to a simple fact.  I need listen to my body better to feel better - and a structured regimen change with lots of rules and no-nos just never works for long.  

Thankfully the current messages coming from my body fall in line most closely with the Mediterranean diet way of eating, but with a few modifications that I know are realistic for me.  So, let the transition begin.

What does transition look like for me:

  1. There will be no "kitchen purging" - an activity I typically did in the past when I attempted to eat differently.  Items we would normally eat will stay and get used up. But the ’seed’ change will happen in the grocery store - by purchasing the right options recommended.  That means simply, that I will be weaning myself off what I do now.
  2. Finding new recipes to make that are appealing yet simple are a serious transition goal right now - a cook I am not!  For example:  Crushed avocado mixed and chopped hard boiled egg with lemon juice, a little hot sauce, and salt and pepper on whole wheat toast filled the bill perfectly for the traditional egg salad (with mayo) I was craving this morning.  Tasty, simple and somewhat nutritionally improved! 
  3. I love vegetables and can make of meal out them with no effort.  This is the biggest plus of moving in this direction.  I even discovered a website (thank you, Michelle, of Boulderneigh Blog) called A to Z Alphabet of Vegetables - A Veggie Adventure at aveggieventure.com.  It is a grand site for vegetable identification and ideas for cooking them (like 1300+ ideas!). I was stunned that there were soooooo many vegetables. Next summer visiting farm stands will be more exciting.
  4. Backing away from most animal proteins will be easy for me.   I’ll experiment with plant based proteins. Fish and chicken will be my occasional options.  I still will have a tablespoon of evaporated milk in my coffee in the morning.  But my body won’t miss beef or pork at all. (Although full fat bacon will beckon me I am sure  😀) 
  5. My favorite bread is Sour Dough - and that showed up on Mediterranean diet lists as a good choice along with high fiber choices in moderation. Healthy breads are ok for me, but  making bread the “devil" will never fly for me.  
  6. I already use Olive Oil - with almost everything.  I love it especially with bread!  Yum.
  7. I can move away from my high sugar desserts if I substitute another sweet item when my tongue says “Don’t you want to top off that meal with a sweet thing?” - which happens all the time!  I just discovered dried figs as a substitution - knocks out that “gimmy a sweet” reaction.  Fruit sometimes does the trick but not always.  Sometimes a teaspoon of honey tricks my mouth and brain.  I need to retrain this auto reaction to top off meals with a sweet (even breakfast, haha.)
  8. I love red wine and red wine is on "the ok list” in moderation, but most wines upset my GI system.  Vodka with diet tonic (quinine) and diet coconut water (potassium) is my cocktail of choice (in moderation as well - being the daughter of an alcoholic who is extremely careful to avoid that illness,) but vodka is not on “the ok list.”  I did find one wine that was GI acceptable from Black Box called Red Blend - yes, a box wine!  Significant changes in this area probably will not happen. 
  9. And, finally, there will be no calorie or carb or fat or points counting at all.  For some reason, that counting and tracking triggers the strong desire in me to eat up to and sometimes just over my permitted levels regardless if I am hungry or not.  It focuses me too much on food, and not enough on eating just enough to avoid hunger.
I really want to “eat to live” rather than “live to eat.”  In fact in my researching I found a book called Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD.  Reading about things I want to do is always inspires me to stay focused.  I haven’t begun to read this book, but one statement in the 2011 summary of the book on Amazon really rang true for me.  It referred to a new added chapter in the updated printing: 
It explains how and why eating the wrong foods causes toxic hunger and the desire to over consume calories; whereas a diet of high micronutrient quality causes true hunger which decreases the sensations leading to food cravings and overeating behaviors.

Toxic hunger!!  Now doesn’t that paint a descriptive picture.  I know that sugar causes a toxic hunger in me.  After the blood sugar ‘high' is over, the blood sugar ‘low' takes over ... and I am at the refrigerator once again looking for a snack.  Carb rich foods do the same thing.  Once I have read this book I will update it here on the blog.

Anyway, I think I have a plan that just might be sustainable.

  And that is the real crux of the issue, isn’t it.