Tag Archives: optimism

Reason to be Optimistic Again!

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This morning found me busy decluttering documents that go back to 2002. They are taking up lots of real estate in my already very crowded filing cabinets and since my responsibilities have changed in the last decades, I think it’s time to close my eyes and just start dumping. I am not sure what I was waiting for. In retrospect everything either remained exactly the same or changed so drastically that starting over seems like a good thing.

What about this pandemic? Is it possible that things had gotten so out of hand in our world that we needed this strong reset? We are hearing now about how colleges in the U.S. are re-evaluating their tuitions…and parents and their children are re-evaluating the need for leaving college with the burden of such heavy debt. And not only colleges but all kinds of businesses.

I have always been astounded by the college education costs. I am a strong believer in public education because I have seen for decades that the world is run by average people and you can find those as easily from a public college as from a fancy private one. In my experience, oftentimes the fancy college graduate has lot of knowledge, little in terms of a grasp of the “real” world and very questionable ethics. The bottom line seems to drive businessmen everywhere and here we are today: the world is in complete chaos with the novel virus and little was done by smart leaders from good colleges everywhere to stop or control its spread. We are still unsure what the answer is. Some people say we need to learn to live with it, I say, okay, I’ll come out again in 2025…maybe!

I am very optimistic about the Biden/Harris ticket. Fortunately for me, I am a retired person who has managed to save some money and live in a nice house and have a good life that my husband and I worked hard for. I don’t have to hide my politics, nor will I. I would say that philosophically I agree with some Republican ideas, with some Liberal ideas, with some leftist ideas and with some Democratic ideas. The White House current occupant, however, shames me because he is just so mean, so wrong in every way for the job he currently holds…so hope for a new day. America is just awakening. There is hope.

 

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No Looking Back

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In my last post on this blog, I asked about what the world will look like in 2021. I wrote that my world has not changed very much since the pandemic and its restrictions because I was mostly indoors anyway. But this week has held so many changes it is hard for my feeble brain to get around to documenting them all. This is not the intended purpose of this blog which is mostly devoted to health, weight and dieting, so I will focus on that for the moment.

I wake up each morning and the first thing I do is check my emails. Although I have long been retired from the remunerated workplace, I still like to keep abreast of the issues and I do subscribe to newsletters that deliver the news of the day. An hour or two can be spent reading material. Then I go to the pool to get my laps in (during the week) and by the time I step out of the pool 45 minutes later (lots of laps, slow swimmer), I have figured out everything that is wrong in the world at large and in my section of it and all the ways I can fix it.

I can’t fix anything of course and by the time I am finished with my breakfast, the real tasks of the day begin for me. I promptly forget all of the societal ills that had plagued me earlier and get on with my day. I write for a while. I do housework, concentrating these days on decluttering with real purpose. I take a few minutes to water my plants, contemplate the outdoors, make decisions for the week, etc. It is a very rewarding life and even though I sometimes believe myself the recipient of some lucky award, I know in my heart of hearts that getting to this point in my life has involved overcoming many real obstacles.

My recent weight loss journey has been very slow. My metabolism was never fast, even in my youth, probably a result of constant dieting. In the last couple of months, I have given up alcohol and chocolate entirely. I have restricted consumption of sugar and flour, limiting myself to an occasional teaspoon of sugar and one slice (or equivalent) of bread. I have seen slow but steady progress and that makes me feel optimistic that I might get closer to my goal by the year’s end. I am in no hurry, I am working towards lifetime changes not quick fixes that will result in regaining the weight and then some more. I know how it works.

The current situation in the U.S. with peaceful protests turning into opportunities for misbehavior by some sectors has made me think that there is almost no point in dieting when the world might not last. I slap myself out of that attitude as quickly as I can and return to the utopia that I like to imagine. Me at goal weight going into my closet with the hundreds of options and reaching for any outfit with confidence because I know it will fit. I had that life once and there is no reason for thinking I cannot have it again.

Onward and forward, as we say in Spanish…don’t look back, not even to get a second wind!

 

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Size is just a number

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What size I wear is really not of any interest to anyone and yet I allow myself to be so judgmental of myself when I try on an outfit I think I can squeeze into and find that I can´t.

I once had a boyfriend who I loved very much. One day we were talking about this and that and the fantasy of a life together came up. We joked about getting older and I remember saying that I would absolutely balk if he ever became fat. He was shocked by that statement, my only excuse today is that I had worked so hard to have a lovely figure that the very idea of losing it was a very scary prospect. We eventually broke up, the timing was just not right for us.

We met up several years later. By that time both of us had married and divorced and I had put on a few pounds. He teased me gently and reminded me that the person he fell in love with was still the same, that it didn´t matter to him … instead of graciously and lovingly accepting his comment, I vowed to take off the weight…and I did. The timing again wasn´t right for us, indeed, it never would have worked out

I married a wonderful person, had a family and have an successful marriage. Somewhere along the line, both us of became complacent married folk and have gained a lot of weight during our 30 year marriage. I am tonight spending time at my dad´s house and as I do every time I am here, I look into my deceased mother´s closet just to familiarize myself with the clothes she left behind and try to make some decisions. Although our tastes were different, there are a couple of items that are nice and others that bring her immediately back to me. Tonight I tried on a couple of things (sizes 16, 18, 20)…too tight, okay, too big..I am horrified I am this fat, shocked I let myself go like this. And mind you, I am 20 lbs. lighter than I was at this time 2 years ago. It is hard to get my mind around it, I am trying to focus on the weight loss and I know I can still lose the 25 lbs. that would make me fit into a more acceptable 12-14. But my body has taken on an unusual shape…gravity and excess weight are not a good combination!

For today, I skipped the wine, the chocolates and the cookies. Tomorrow is another day, I started this blog feeling a bit down but expunging my feelings has allowed me to get a grip, it´s not the end of the world and nobody cares what size I wear!

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The world is angry!

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I live in a small town. You know what they say about small towns: Big Hell!
Until recently, I was very content in my small town, living my life, enjoying
the odd social gathering and essentially knowing how my days would begin
and end. The last several months have been increasing my discomfort level
as I hear and see many acquaintances really get into the misery the rest of the
world seems intent on living.

My writing has always been a need for me. I cannot agree with people who say
they “love” to write, for that has never been my feeling. I need to write, I want
to write and get paid for it, but even though I don’t get paid for it, I still need
to do it every single day. Some days it is just a sentence in my head. Some
days I actually draft things out in a notebook the old-fashioned way, with pen
and paper and then I forget how important the particular prose felt in the
moment and I lose the paper, or the notebook until I am clearing off a particular
space and come upon it again.

The social media rants that I voluntarily read increasingly rob me of time and
energy and deplete whatever optimism lives in me; yet I find myself having to
really exercise discipline to sign off or at the very least, put my phone aside to
do other things. It is amazing, I rarely respond to posts even though many of
them stir deep feelings. I get a kick out of those who do because they often end
up saying things I am sure they regret. Not to mention getting “blocked” by the
administrators for offensive and crude language. I can’t entertain the idea of
ever being blocked so I simply do what many others do, read and move on.

I live in a small town that has a large quantity of expats. Although I lived in a
different country and learned its culture well, I am now living in my birth land
and identify more with it. I find that the typical expat (whether originating in
U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia or Africa) believes their new country is somehow
lacking and wants things to be just the way they were “back home”. This attitude
irks me but I remain silent because silence is the path to peace and understanding.

There are so many things that can be said about learning a new language, about
preparing mentally to make a huge move, especially when the one certain is that
wherever you go, there YOU are. I lived in Puerto Rico once. I do remember that
the absence of family and friends was a bit lonely, but it was also tremendously
liberating. I found that I developed some new (positive) traits by not being labeled
or thought of the way family and old friends can see and pigeonhole one. Rather
than wanting things the way they were in my past, I was thrilled to be living in a
completely different culture and learned to love it just the way it was.

I don’t really remember where I was going with this blog, but there it is. I guess
the lesson for today is that if you want to make a smooth transition into a place,
it is best to go gently and quietly into its spaces to first absorb and understand
and then to pitch changes if they are necessary or even wanted.

 

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Welcome Monday

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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.

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Has implosion finally come?

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Because of who and how I am, it has been pointed out to me that I can cause other
people not to like me. The first time I heard this, it was quite a shock, I have always been
a people-pleaser so hearing that someone didn’t like me was very disconcerting. The “who”
and “how” I am from my point of view is simply that I am a perfectionist who really, really
cares about what I do, no matter if it is cleaning a toilet or writing a chapter in a book. So,
I take time to think through whatever problem I am working on or whatever assignment I
have volunteered for and I do my best to make sure the end result is satisfactory to all.

It came as a surprise also when I began to realize that many (dare I say most) people don’t
feel or act the same way. Once, when I was a PTA mom, I was told by another mom that the
school’s headmaster didn’t like me because he was “afraid” of my power. My power? I could
not believe it and when I asked her, what power? she answered that it was my power of com-
munication and convocation that he resented. I had no idea, I only know that he was totally
unscrupulous and relentless in scapegoating and sabotaging me at every turn. I ignored him
until he did something so awful to me that I simply had to stop engaging with him altogether.

It was not a circumstance unknown to me. There have been several times in my life when the
only adult choice left to me was to stop talking to someone. And so I did. But this solution for
me proved quite disturbing to him because he had heretofore relied on my inability to NOT
talk through everything that upset me. Now he met with silence and since my silence also
included everyone in his inner circle, there was no one left to tell him what I was thinking.
It was never my intention to harm anyone, I just wanted to be left alone to decide the fate
of my children’s education: do we stay or do we go? If we stay, I need to remove myself as
soon as possible from the PTA. If we go, I just need to hold on till the end of the school year
and then we could leave. We decide to go and I held on for the ride.

A few weeks went by and I noticed that more and more of the headmaster’s behaviour was
really bizarre. If I saw him coming towards me, I chose a different route. Once, he even
tried to get someone to cajole me into taking a picture with him; another time he invented
a game that would have had us face one another in a silly competition. Since I had nothing
to lose at that point, I simply declined any opportunity and left whatever arena we were in.

I continued my work as PTA mom because I had a commitment to fulfil. The strain was too
much for him, though, and a physical altercation (meaning he actually hit a student) ended
up eventually costing him his job. Although everyone thought this would make me change
my mind about leaving, it actually strengthened my resolve to always listen to that inner voice.

I bring this up because I feel politics in the U.S. is imploding. Don’t you feel it too?

 

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Learning something new every day!

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Although this is not exactly the graphic I felt was perfect for this post, it is the only one I can
put my finger on at this time. What I really wanted is not available to me and I wish for the
umpteenth time that I could illustrate because I know exactly what I want but I can’t draw it
and no one else will even come close to the picture in my mind…I don’t think I can learn how
to illustrate at this point in my life, so I will just have to assume my readers know the learning
I’m talking about is not necessarily book learning or technological learning, although those are
good too.

I suppose the kind of learning I am talking about is a little more amorphous, if you will. It does
not translate easily into structured graphs or codes…instead it is the learning that comes from
living each day in an awake state. An awake state means that in this world of bizarreness (because
what other word would describe where we are in the world today?), most middle of the road
humanoids can still separate what kinds of things are simply NOT acceptable conduct for human
beings. It is impossible to live a day when we don’t hear about really awful people doing truly
unspeakable things against their families, communities, employers, and they do not get called
on it. It is not possible that those of us (and I believe most of us are) who are ethical, honest,
persevering, optimistic, etc. can continue to stand on the sidelines as if current political and
human rights violations are being carried on as if it was okay. I believe that all of us can do at
least one small thing each day: from making sure our children don’t witness in us the kind of
behavior that they would later copy and not blink because this is the environment in which
they were raised.  Think of the Trump kids. They are not aware their behavior is not right
because of the environment in which they grew up and their father before them and so on…

Not sure how many of my readers are political…the family currently in the White House
simply does not belong there. Things fall by their own weight and I believe it will not be
necessary for the common decent person to do anything more than simply wait it out.
There are strange men and women in those offices now. Something’s gotta give…

You know how after you read a mediocre book, you ask yourself, heck why did I spend money on that, I could have written it? Well, I ask myself why I never went into politics. Any clown can win, obviously, and I have always wanted to be a clown…no offence to clowns by the way.

I’m so scattered right now, as I am sure many of us are. There are real stories, fake stories, real stories about fake stories and fake stories about real ones…if you are not feeling the stress, then you are simply
not AWAKE…Set the alarm!

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This girl is on fire…

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I was listening to Alicia Keys yesterday and I felt wonderful when that song was playing!

Maybe enough with the negativity and going back into the past, maybe what I need is to
simply change all the silly voices and enjoy whatever the rest of my life is going to be.

I got a new car today! A gorgeous vehicle that will probably be the last one I buy in my
lifetime; nothing to be sad about, I have a lot of years left in me, God willing but another
brand new car is probably not in my future since it is time to begin to scale down the outings, the expenses, etc.

But for today, it is great and I feel great!!!

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A month gone by, really?

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Wow, it hardly seems possible that almost a month has gone by since my last entry.  But that is exactly how life goes, before you know it, the day is gone, the week is gone, the month is gone…well, you get the idea.

What has transpired for me in the last month? A lot of soul searching which usually takes me to the same thoughts, over and over again.  I am determined to stop this crazy cycle but before I know it, my thoughts (the same negative ones) invade my space and keep me from doing what I know I need to do in order to: write my book, lose weight, and declutter my beautiful home.

I go away for a week next week and I am very excited.  Hopefully this week will find me doing some of the things I know I need to in order to get ready for my adventure.  I need to remember to go to the bank, to pay some bills, to get some money, to charge my camera, to launder and press a few outfits to see me through the week and generally to give myself permission to be selfish…in a good way.

Yesterday’s massage made me aware of kinks and pains I did not really pay attention to while attending my dad and husband on their hospital visits.  Mindfully aware that all dis-ease begins in the mind, I am also determined to focus more on the things that I need and that keep me sane.

As I write this short blog, I am aware of my husband’s soft snoring on the couch nearby.  I am happy that he can rest, his operation has taken the umph out of him and I know that he is too stoic to complain of any pain but I can see clearly that he feels it. I am glad I can minister to his needs, as he so often takes good care of mine!

 

Monday Surprise!

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After a few days of feeling yucky, I finally woke up feeling almost 100% today.
So I decided to weigh myself, not sure when the last time was, certainly earlier this
month! A wonderful surprise, my scale registered a 2 lb. loss and I can confess I have
not felt a bit deprived because I am not actually ‘dieting’ just trying to be moderate in
my helpings and healthy-thinking in my choices.

I feel so good for a Monday, Mondays are always tough. But today, I did the laundry, I
did my laps, I just came back from my massage and I have an afternoon with nothing but
good things planned.

I hope the rest of the week feels this great, and why not??