Category Archives: Health

Puzzling musings


Whenever I have some “down” time I feel guilty, like I have to fill the minutes with
some important chore. Even as a child, I felt compelled to always be doing something
productive. I remember once (I was a pre-teen) my parents had a party and they had
about 40 guests. When the party was over, it was late. My mother took one look at
the kitchen, with its dozens of dirty plates and glasses, sighed and said she would
clean up in the morning. I don’t know if I imagined it or if it was true, but when the
morning arrived, Mom was pretty upset by being confronted by the mess! We did
not have a dishwasher yet and although she never said it, I suppose part of the reason
she was cranky was that she might have been suffering from a hangover!

My parents enjoyed entertaining so that parties and social gatherings at our house
were common. Mom’s reaction after guests left was always the same: she would take
care of the mess in the morning. I don’t remember when I actually began to clean up
the kitchen so that when she woke up the next morning, all was in order. I do remember,
however, that my life was always that much more pleasant as I didn’t have to deal with
her “whine” which was worse than any yelling she did. I’m not sure where my Dad was
in all this, though I do recall that before the parties, he would be the one vacuuming the

In those early teenage years, I established a personal habit that requires my kitchen
sink to be clear of dishes and the kitchen itself to be clean. Since my parents both worked
outside the home, we had our “chores” to make sure the home was functional. I don’t know
when it became my self-appointed responsibility but as long as I lived at home, no one had
to deal with dirty dishes or greasy counters or tables full of crumbs. I remember my older
sister referring to me as “Cinderella” more than once in her inimitable sarcastic manner.
My parents purchased our first dishwasher during the days that I found myself recovering
in the hospital after an operation. I have never believed in coincidences!

As I write these musings down, I am filled with frustration and confusion. When and why
did I decide to take over management of the house? Was the fact that I was such an affable
take-charge individual the reason for my elder sibling’s jealousy? I learned early on that my
sister was not on my side, so I did everything I could to keep her from physically harming
me. I would do my chores and hers. I would give up my “leisure” time in order to get her
out of the many scrapes she got into. I would save my allowance to have it taken away from
me by her because she spent hers quickly. I would not refuse my mother’s requests that my
older sister go with me places because my mom convinced me that I was the lucky one who
made friends easily and had to be the “good” sister. It took getting to age 60 before I accepted
that my sister and I have no real bond. It was a sad realization, one that I still have trouble
coming to terms with, after all, aren’t sisters supposed to be friends and have each other’s
best interest at heart?

Going off into these stream of consciousness reveries have become very cathartic. I feel I
can only heal by writing and more importantly by writing publicly. My sister and I have been
estranged on and off several times over the years. The estrangements have always been a
source of great peace and tranquility for me and have lasted as long as she has had no need of
something only I can provide. I feel in my heart that there won’t be a next time, that she can
now enlist the help of one of our two younger siblings and I don’t know why I didn’t think of
that years ago. It feels good to get it out and down on paper…and out into the ether to see
where it lands. I am sure I am not the only one in the universe who has a less-than-stellar
relationship with an older sister, but I can bet it didn’t take others as long as it did me to
finally give up and move on! public domain graphic


Welcome Monday


Yup! It’s Monday, laundry day and YAY, I’m all done. Now I am sitting at my desk
and trying to dash off a few sentences to this blog before I need to get dinner started.

Unbelievably, I actually lost another pound! I say unbelievably because though I
have not been “bad” (as they used to say in WW), I did consume chocolate cake,
cognac and popcorn last week. I tracked everything and tried to stay within reason
by not using all my points but I expected to find that my weight had stayed the same.
To my great delight, the scale registered a tiny loss. It’s not really a tiny loss for me,
one lb. after the week I had is actually very, very good. So I started the week off in a
good manner, feeling positive about the discipline and motivated to make this week
even better. My husband is doing his best to support me and I can see that he is also
considering moderating his own eating habits for the good of his health. I wish I could
do something to help him but everyone must work their program their own way. free to share image

Losing weight, losing sight


It’s been a very busy week, still lots of documentation to gather before my father can
claim some of his benefits after my mom’s passing. It has been a lesson to me about
having everything set up and in an orderly fashion so that our beneficiaries do not have
to go through so much red tape when we go.

My mother was an incredible human being with lots and lots of faults but with qualities
so excellent that the negatives pale in comparison. I am proud of the parents I was born
to and I hope that she knew how much I loved and admired her. I faulted her for not
saying “I love you” to me very often (if ever), I now think that I am guilty of the same
thing with her.

The first time I joined Weight Watchers, I was 15 years old. I did it at my mother’s prodding
because I was about 20 lbs. overweight at the time and she was fat also and decided that we
should do it together. That was in 1970! WW was just a few years old at that point and I do
remember that our “leader” was male. That has always stayed with me. I lost my 20 lbs. and
became a lifetime member which meant that I could attend meetings for free for the rest of
my life unless I went over the 2 lb. limit in my goal weight. Then you had to pay for attending.
I don’t remember why I stopped going but within 6 months, I had gained the weight back and
then some. It was not the first time I was on a “diet”, mom was always so concerned with my
weight, she was constantly looking for ways for me to lose it. I don’t remember every being
held back by my excess pounds. I was not athletic but that had nothing to do with my weight.
I was very sociable and rarely looked in the mirror except for my face and hair so I really had
no idea what my body looked like. I also made my own clothing so that it was not important
to me whether there were clothes to fit me in the store.

Back in those days, Weight Watchers terminology was less politically correct than today. For
example, if one ate a “forbidden” food (and there were many) one was “cheating”…or “bad”.
Today’s plans allow for eating whatever you like using a point system to keep track of things.
No food is bad or forbidden and no one is cheating. You simply track your points and move
on. Each day is a new beginning and that is how I have come to look at it this final time. In
the last 3 1/2 months, I have only lost 13 lbs. (slow metabolism as a result of years of dieting)
but rather than despair, I simply remind myself that this is a lifestyle change, not simply a
few weeks sacrificing to get down to a specific weight. At least the numbers are going in the
right direction.

There are so many choices and “hacks” available to us these days. I feel frustrated sometimes
because I allowed the weight to creep back on my small frame after so many years of maintaining
a healthy and comfortable weight. But I will be there again and hopefully some of my beautiful
clothes will still be in good enough condition to wear them.

image public domain


Another weekend …


They come so quickly, the weekends! On Sunday afternoons, I usually feel the blahs that so
many of us are prone to as we start to make the switch from two days of (mostly) relaxing
to the upcoming obligations of work, school and general parenting.

When I was a young, single gal in “like” with a co-worker, I used to hate weekends and love
Monday mornings! Naturally, it was because my quasi SO would be there to greet me. I am
happy that I have those memories because sometimes I can remember what it felt like to be
excited about Mondays and try to “fool” my brain into thinking all those things that made me
feel giddy will be mine again.

I have not been writing in this blog, although I have been quite busy writing everywhere else.
Ever since I was a child, I have placed many responsibilities on my shoulders, something that
I can’t explain and maybe I shouldn’t try. The reality is that while my siblings were out there
enjoying their allotted 1/3 of the day of “their” time, I was busy doing whatever it took to keep
the home fires burning and the household running smoothly. It was not my job, and in fact
try as I may, I cannot place any blame on my parents for this self-imposed mandate. My
mother worried sometimes that I was not social enough. I never thought of myself as a wall-
flower but I can look back and see that indeed when all my friends were out having fun, I could
be found listening to music in the background while I vacuumed, loaded or emptied the dish-
washer, did the laundry, started dinner, etc. I guess I felt needed in a way and then it just
became a habit so ingrained in me that to this day, I feel I am wasting time if I am not doing
something I consider “productive”.

My life is very different right now. At this moment, my children are grown and living in another
country. We have a wonderful relationship and communicate almost on a daily basis. My husband
in away for the next 12 days or so. We have a dog who is about to turn 8 and of course, I have my
dad who is 89. These are my very strong connections and I love them all. Today, after the cleaning
lady left (my house is spotless for one day!), I realized that I have a very blessed existence. I can
do or not do anything I want after I meet my obligations. I have fed my dog, turned off the water
that is making the lawn a lovely green in this dry weather and am eating a comforting lentil soup
that I made earlier this week. My kitchen is spotless, just the way I like it, no dishes in the sink.
My food plan has been successful this week and for that I am also very glad.

I look forward to this particular weekend because I get to indulge in a massage tomorrow. It has
become a necessity rather than a luxury and I am blessed to be living in a country where household
help and massages are affordable. My writing is coming along and hopefully this weekend will have
me taking out my latest attempt at a novel and begin again to work on it. My protagonist needs to
get some attention, he is so superficial I can’t even fall in love with him, how do I expect my readers
to do so.

Let’s all have a great weekend, and us writers especially! image


A slow journey


I went to get a massage for the first time this year. I have been doing so regularly for
the last 10 years or so but since I haven’t been home until this week, I was unable to do
it. It was wonderful. I allowed myself to just drift away under the skilled hands of my
masseuse who has known this wonderful body for the last 10 years. It felt relaxing and
totally necessary.

While I was away taking care of all the necessary documentation after my mom’s passing,
I somehow managed not to eat very much and lost 3 lbs. It is unusual for me to lose that
many lbs. in a matter of days and I was elated when I stepped on the scale after so many
days away. Naturally, this week I have been back to eating more or less “normally” which
means adding the odd chocolate, the extra 4 oz. of wine or being a little more relaxed about
tracking. What has happened is that the scale is not showing any loss, just staying where it
is. I have today and tomorrow to curb the appetite in time for weighing myself on Monday
morning. Although I would love to say that the long-term goal is what matters, the days can
become l-o-n-g when snacks become boring and cooking is on the agenda.

For today, I have logged onto the Weight Watchers Connect section of my on-line Plus
program and I am inspired by people who have to lose so much more weight than I do
and who are not daunted by the sheer numbers. I have downloaded an app (Happy Scale)
which seems like it will allow me to add another dimension while I lose. I know if I work
the program, the program will work for me, as it has done in the past and continues to
for all who really apply it.

My goal is not only to lose weight but to get back on track with my writing, decluttering,
and preparing myself for a television debut in 2019! Best wishes to me, and may I continue
to do this just for me because I know that my health deserves it and that my family can do
with a good example to follow. image



I’ve only been doing the Freedom plan for two weeks and I feel great. Granted last week’s
weight loss (.8 lbs.) was very modest and I could feel a little disheartened until I talk a close
look at my food diary and could come up with very good reasons for the fact that the loss was
not more.

After my husband came home from his trip, there was a slight slip and instead of keeping very
close watch on the quantity of (my favorite) cognac, I had a double and counted it as a single.
Then there was the odd (extra) piece of bread, the chocolate, the tamal that is so in vogue at this
time of year. So when I jumped on the scale yesterday and didn’t see the expected loss, I became
an investigator. Yesterday I behaved very well, tracking everything and today when I stepped on
the scale, the number was more pleasing.

I know all about weight loss and weight gain. I have tried everything, from eating when and what
I want to keeping strict tabs. From not weighing myself for weeks and months, to weighing myself
every few hours.  I have come to realize that we are all different in our approach to weight, weight
loss/gain, and in the way our bodies work. For me, it is necessary to write things down, to become
excited about using new spices in different ways, to imagine myself wearing clothes I haven’t fit
into for years. I enjoy discipline and I am glad that there is so much freedom in this new plan.

Every now and then I feel the days are long, hunger is not a sensation I have felt for a long time
and I am feeling it now, but I also realize that I haven’t met too many +80 year olds who are
obese and know myself to be newly hopeful that I will live beyond 80 and will be at a good
normal weight. I admire people who have to lose more than 100 lbs. and are doing so, their
stories inspire me and their before and after pictures even more so. public domain image



No shame in being me!


I have been feeling pretty good lately. I admit that there is an underlying anxiety about
“stuff” sometimes but then I remind myself that there are things I can’t really control and
losing peace of mind over them is helping no one.

My emails this morning included a TEDx presentation from one of the “life coaches” that I
follow and whose newsletters I subscribe to.  I really enjoy watching her, she is young and is
passionate about her career and about connecting with people. I identify with her because if
I were younger I might actually look into a similar path for myself. Alas, at 61, frankly, the list
of things I will really be able to do before I’m 100 is getting shorter and shorter which is okay
with me.

I bring up the TEDx talk because about 10 years ago, I decided that I wanted to one day give
a TEDx presentation. I was so full of energy and I was involved in an organization in our small
town that was becoming somewhat successful at getting things done in the community. I felt
that I had the passion and the talking skills necessary to stand up in front of an audience and
energize them to feel the way I did: that the world was a friendly and wonderful place and that
we all had an obligation to be active participants in our lives. I felt I could really transmit the
message and that we would all benefit. Plus I thought it would be lots of fun.

My colleague (and up to that time, a person I thought was my close friend) mocked me and
essentially questioned not only my talent but my thinking that anything I could possibly put
forward would interest an audience. I remember being disappointed about the reaction but
I was so naive (embarrassingly naive, in fact) that I quickly decided that my “friend” had my
best interests at heart and probably knew best. A couple of years after that incident, our
friendship was permanently severed and it took me a few years to get back my early confidence.

Several years passed.  I was left to lead an organization that I didn’t want to be a part of at first
but was committed to finishing out my tenure at. I worked tirelessly and pro-bono because I
had pride and a reputation to protect. I did more than anyone but was humble when people
praised me. Looking back today, I can actually point out the many areas in our small town that
improved as a result of my personal attention. Rarely do I point these things out. However, today
when I watched the TEDx talk that the life coach shared with us, it took me back! And we all
know what happens in the world of Youtube! Suddenly you find yourself in that unavoidable
“rabbit hole” that brought me to a couple of other talks that had fat/body acceptance/living life
NOW rather than waiting to lose weight…that really, really motivated me.

In 2015, I was asked to give a motivational speech about bilingualism. I prepared my talk with
the usual energy I bring to everything and I was wonderfully fulfilled that it went exactly the way
I had hoped. I think of that speech as my TEDx talk and look forward to another opportunity to
be myself. At 61, I think I have earned the right to do so!

Here is the link to one of the talks I listened to today. Enjoy. image


More random thoughts on fat…


I have been thinking about the post I wrote yesterday. I wrote that I could say someone was fat because I am fat and know that we prefer to be called fat rather than overweight, etc. But when I woke up this morning, I realized that it’s not true…we would rather no one singled us out for description of any kind. On the other hand, I am a writer. That means that when writing fiction, or a screenplay for example, there are elements of a person’s physique that need to be described. If a character has a big nose, or crooked teeth and these are aspects which are somehow important to the development of the story, then they must be described as such. I am not sure what I am thinking is translating properly onto the written page but I am going to continue to write without too much editing. I don’t think there is much danger of lots of people visiting my page, it is an exercise that I do mostly for myself because it (blogging) is by far the easiest way to make sure I write every, single day.

My mother was always preoccupied with my weight. I have never felt it as much as I have in the past couple of years (probably because I weigh more than I ever have in my life!) and I see my mom every week as she lies on her bed and stares vacantly at her surroundings. My mother was fat during most of her life, although she did have a couple of successful encounters with Weight Watchers. She worried all the time about my weight and decided to go to Weight Watchers once herself so that she could force me to join her. I was only 15 at the time and really didn’t have the wherewithal to refuse. It was a very bad thing to refuse my mother anything, she could be very unpleasant to be around although at the moment it escapes me what particular thing she did to make
it so. Yell? Silent treatment? Physical violence? I really don’t remember because I mostly complied with her directives and kept her happy. But I digress.

Mom has been bedridden for more than 6 years. She has dementia. She is cared for at home because she was a very hard-working woman who was smart about making sure that when she retired she would have a steady source of income. She continues to earn her keep by living. I am glad she is alive. I love my mother beyond words even though our outlook on life and people were so different. Anyway, back to the weight thing which is on my mind constantly even though I have tried all kinds of ways to simply accept the fatness and move on. I went to renew my driver’s license earlier this week. They took my picture. I compared my picture to the picture they took 6 years ago, the last time I had to renew. 6 years ago was probably also 40 lbs. ago. How did this happen?

I am never hungry these days, probably because I rarely skip a meal or a snack. I would say my weight has been the same for the last 3 years and each morning I wake up with new resolve to have a “good” day. In the evening, I do enjoy a bit of chocolate and one or two small servings of cognac! Gotta be about 500 calories right there. In my opinion although there are no good or bad calories, calories are calories and whether you have “thyroid” problems or not, too few calories will make you lose weight and too many will make you gain weight. I need to give up something during the day so that I can indulge in my tiny slice of heaven in the evening. Today for example I ate a large croissant for breakfast with butter (not very much) and a tiny bit of jam. I just tallied an approximation of calories and it is about 600 since the delicious-tasting croissant was on the large size.

I am fat and I am very short and my metabolism (probably from dieting) has always been very slow. When I am in New York, I walk a lot and since I am mostly on my own, I find that I am too lazy or absorbed in other things to cook or go out for dinner so my eating (though healthy) does naturally scale down. My calorie intake is reduced and I am usually 5 lbs. lighter when I come home. I would love to blame my husband’s cooking on my weight gain, I would love to say I have a thyroid condition, I would love to say anything…but the reality (and I am good about facing reality) is that I have gotten older, it is no longer easy to lose weight and I have not been very diligent about portion control. My husband is already planning lunch, I am not hungry! I will not skip lunch but I think it will go in a different direction from breakfast. Perhaps a bit of cottage cheese and some vegetables. I am actually looking forward to that. clipart


Father’s Day!


Here it is again, another Father’s Day celebration in which we must/should all
remember our dads. My dad is a quiet man whose perseverance despite all the hurdles
he’s had to face inspires me. I watch him as he tends to my mother who has been
bedridden for these last 6 years. It is amazing because I am not certain that if the
roles were reversed, she would have been able to do what he does for her day in and
day out. He is not a perfect person but he has qualities that I deeply admire and
for which I am thankful.

I was reading the other day about a book that recently came out called “Hunger” by
Roxanne Gay. I just finished reading an interview and I also came across some very negative
comments directed at a woman in Australia who also interviewed Ms. Gay prior to the launch
of her book and who then made some very unkind comments in the introduction. Backlash from
the public made her delete her comments and apologize but the damage to Ms. Gay was done and
I can identify with how cruel people can be about fat people either directly to them or
behind their backs.

I am not sure right now where I am in my weight loss/body image journey. I never really
think about being fat until I see pictures of myself where I don’t recognize me as me
but resemble my much heavier older sister! I think it is an ironic kind of punishmen,
self-punishment if you will, since I used to wonder how my sister “allowed” herself
to become so fat. I have had plenty of pictures to look at recently, as my son’s wedding
photographer took and sent us over 1,000 pictures to choose from. On the one hand, I look
too fat to me, on the other hand, I also look extremely happy! I joke that I’m never hungry
(a true statement) but I also know that being winded after climbing a flight of stairs or a
short hill is an aspect that might be changed if I lost a few pounds.

Anyway, my ramblings actually had to do with remembering that my father never, ever made
any comments about my weight when I was growing up. I understand too well the connection
between trauma and weight and always resented Mrs. Obama’s assumption that obesity in
school children was the product of unhealthy foods; it is a much more complex issue.
I believe that there really are ways in which our brain lets go or holds on to our fat
but most “normal” people can’t get that idea and focus only on food consumption. It is a
very complicated journey and as soon as I am finished with a few books I have recently
purchased, I will probably buy Hunger and see where and if I can identify
with Ms. Gay’s take on it.

Happy Father’s Day!


First post of July

Cluster of colorful Fourth of July fireworks

Cluster of colorful Fourth of July fireworks

I know I’m a little late with the fireworks but the days just seem to slip
by without pause. I live in a place where the 4th of July is just another day
so it’s not always easy to remember. I hope everyone had wonderful holidays.

There is something in the air that doesn’t feel quite right. Lots of mis-
communications are happening in my town and community right now and it adds
lots of stress to my days. All I long for is to be free of hassles and the
responsibilities that came with my life as a young adult, then wife and mother.
Now that my children are grown and I am beginning my “golden years” (60+) I
feel I deserve to take it easy.

Mercury is not in retrograde so something else must be at play!