I Hate Treadmills

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My favorite Willow trees

I feel like, for the last few years, I have been running in place. I have made a few strides, kicking smoking and losing twenty-five-plus pounds. I work a little towards something every day, but I feel as if I am still in the same place. For a while, we were waiting on the sale of our house with bated breath, and now we are waiting for my husband to find a new job.

Waiting and hoping isn’t something most people excel at; the feeling of hopelessness doesn’t seem to abate, even when I’m doing my best to be optimistic. So what do I do to live in the now? Yoda says to Luke Skywalker, “All my life has he looked away, to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, hmm?” This describes me perfectly, always thinking ten steps ahead, if I can and when I can’t, I am in agony.

I was reading a book called Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh. In it, he talks about a term called “mindfulness.” This is a practice of being in the present at all times. An example he gives in the book is the Buddhist monks who drink a hot cup of tea and take an hour to do so. They focus on how the tea engages their senses: the color, taste, smell, temperature, and texture on the tongue.

My husband, Brad, was the first one to introduce “savoring” to me. All of my life I have flitted about, living a life of fun, but not really of depth. My senses were mostly dulled in my attempt to live. One of our first dates Brad took me to a small Greek restaurant here in Boise called the Cazba. Enamored with Brad, I paid attention to his every move: the way he took in the way I smelled and looked, the way he savored every bite of his dinner, how he slowly chewed and took deep resonating breaths to really taste everything fully. Senses heightened, I too enjoyed that meal more than any other meal in my life. I can still picture him looking at me and taking his first bite of lamb. Watching him savor it, I could live within that memory.

That night we sat for what seemed like hours in the car, just talking or sometimes holding hands in silence. It seemed as if touching his skin forced my mind to shut off and only feel, that sense overwhelming the constant chatter of my mind. It was the first time in my life when I have felt that blessing.

Those times are far between now. I struggle for that sort of life-giving focus. I want my body to be overwhelmed by the joy of touch. My mind combats the idea of giving into such frivolous pursuits. As a Midwesterner, I combat my base compulsion to feel useful at all times. I am making a vow to stop that. I need that peace, and so does Brad. I haven’t noticed him enjoying himself mindfully as much anymore.

We need to live in the now, even if it is a smaller scale. Last Friday, Brad surprised me at work and took me on a dinner picnic. He made some roasted chicken, Greek salad, and brought bottled water. We sat on the bench watch the geese frolic, the sun glistening on the lake, and wind flowing through my favorite weeping willow trees. We laughed as the geese squawked at us.

We are trying.

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That is my gorgeous man!

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Dancing, dancing, dancing, I am a dancing machine!

 

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Husband impressed us all with his smooth moves during this dance.

Ability is one of the best reasons I can think of for losing weight. Being overweight I do get discouraged sometimes after a long shopping trip when my ankles are swollen, or after an energetic family outing where I caused everyone to take breaks because I couldn’t keep up. My Aunt points out I am the youngest in our family but I am the weakest and the one with the most health problems.

What is sad is I can’t dance for as long as I used to. I think “getting down” is what kept me from ballooning in my twenties. I danced almost every day. After work I would shake it for hours with my girlfriends. The booze that came on the side was why I never got skinny. I just maintained for about ten years. Then I met my beautiful husband.

Love helped me to slow down and savor things, but I dance a lot less. I can get husband to dance on my birthday. I usually make him take me to salsa dancing. I love it so much. The rhythms of salsa are so joyous, and the dancing is so inclusive. It is also so sexy and romantic, holding hands and shaking your booty. There is almost no choice but to shake your booty.

However, I can only strut about one dance before I have to rest, and usually rest for at least two or three songs. No longer can I boogie the night away with abandon. There is so much freedom in dancing until my hair is sticking to my face and my heels are in writhing in pain. Walking to the car with my shoes in my hands, the cool air refreshing my worn body is something I miss desperately.

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My friend Amanda and I cutting it up at her wedding.

I dance in my chair at work sometimes. I get caught up in the music. I don’t think of myself as someone who is deeply into music. I can’t quote a lot of songs or even names of singers. I own some records that I inherited, but only own like one CD because it hasn’t been a priority. I am a listen to the radio player person, and Pandora. I like my music spontaneous. My husband has CD after CD, and a playlist a mile long. He likes to program the songs to play in a certain order. When I go through station after station it annoys him. He likes to put in CDs on road trips which doesn’t bother me because I still don’t know what is coming. I feel the most spontaneous to music, dancing and laughing at myself. Silliness can be filling. When I dance at work I am sure people think I am so weird. That makes me giggle a little to myself.

I need to lose weight so I can feel this on a full scale. Everyone should be able to dance wildly in the night. My husband and I should be able to salsa to our hearts content without having to take “a breather.” We need to work out so we can have the endurance to learn all the steps of the salsa, and maybe more dances. My husband Brad is a very good dancer, light on his feet. I want to take him dancing and not to get tired until the club shuts down.

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Husband is so suave on the dance floor.

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Priorities

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I have a confession to make, and I am really embarrassed about many aspects of it. I will attempt to describe why I have been so irresponsible but really there is no excuse. I missed taking my medications for about a week. I know my health is nothing to play around with especially considering that I rely on these meds to regulate my blood sugar, my moods and my allergies.

Please allow me to back up and complain a little. This year my company has rolled out a new mandatory mail order subscription service. This is supposed to be cheaper and more convenient. It is neither for the consumer. First of all, with the eight prescriptions I am currently taking, the bill ends up being about three hundred dollars for the three month required subscription. This is a sizeable chunk of change to spring on people who aren’t that great with budgeting. Secondly, gauging when to order them is confusing. Do I need a week, two or three? Will they let me order it three in advance? I don’t want to put it on auto pay because who knows when three hundred dollars will just randomly withdrawal from my account.

Every seven days, I put my pills in one of those dispensers. So I forget sometimes how many I have left, until the end of the week. So basically, I got to the end of the week, realized I only had four more days left and no money to buy refills. Ergo, I ended up not having my meds for a few days.

Needless to say, I need to pay better attention to the mail order process. It really wreaked havoc with my system. I take an anti-depressant. I started taking it about a year ago when I was having an extreme menstrual cycle. I have talked about this before. It lasted about six to nine months and I ended up in the emergency room on morphine. I broke down in the doctor’s office crying uncontrollably. While the wonderful Dr. Baxter backed away slowly she wrote me a subscription for this wonderful pill. Even after my horrible sickness passed, I continued taking it. The prescription helps me be a normal person.

Everyone knows not to skip days of an antidepressant. So, almost a week without my medication was bad.  My moods swung wildly, and cried a lot. Add to that other side effects of going off my meds- diarrhea and allergies- I was a droopy, stoned, nearly catatonic mess for the first part of this week. Even knowing being off my meds was the reason for my mood, it didn’t make a difference. I still was a weepy and sad.

The good thing is that now I am beginning to adjust to my meds again. I have been super hyper the past couple of days. That is the other side of my emotional problem. I get sort of super excited about everything. I have been writing, editing, swimming and jumping up and down.  It’s good for your bones!

I think my husband gets less annoyed by the depressive times than the manic, but he is dealing. In recent days, he is living with a cheerleader on crack, and we are normally very calm people with a sedate, quiet lifestyle.

I have concluded- in order to stay sane I need to put this prescription service as a priority. Maybe I can avoid divorce with the reason of insanity. I am tough enough to live with, without going off my meds.

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Okie Observations

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Getting better-

I went to the pool last night with the beautiful husband. We swam for a good twenty minutes straight. I was pretty excited because seemingly swimming is getting easier. I was gliding through the water. My arms were less sore while free styling and back stroking. I felt like I could go on, and on, but we haven’t been swimming in so long, I didn’t want to overdo it. I felt strong. I felt strength in my tiny pterodactyl arms for the first time in years. I was doing a side stroke and unbelievably keeping up with strong powerful husband.

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Motivation-

Through my Okie ways, I always seem to make friends at the pool. I am a compulsive talker, much to the dismay of my husband. These encounters usually happen after swimming while we are sitting in the hot tub catching our breath. For instance, last night two beautiful ladies were hanging out, dipping their feet in the hot tub. I got to talking to them because they smelled so lovely, in contrast to the bromine or chlorine of the hot tub. After a meandering conversation, they asked me what time we usually visit the pool. I said very pridefully, “We are usually here from nine in the evening on, because I get off at eight.” So tonight, husband is trying to back out, but I am thinking, those ladies will think I am a lying liar if I don’t. Here I was bragging. I know that sounds silly, but perhaps bragging is good because then I have to follow through or get egg on my face.

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Will power-

I have seen several articles/studies that posit wise choices strengthen your will power. Equating will power with muscle growth, these studies show good choices lead to other good decisions. For example, if you choose to have a low calorie healthy breakfast, you may not choose to back out on your afternoon walk. The theory is that you won’t want to ruin the work you have already done.

This week I haven’t eaten out, I have worked out at least three times, and finished all my writing goals. I found myself saying, okay I edited today, and swam, after I brush my teeth, if I put lotion on and that anti aging stuff, I will have accomplished all my goals for the day. Good behavior is spilling all through my life! I went to bed that night feeling smugly good about myself. Accomplishment feels good, even the everyday ones. Also, I am winning in my war against my vast arid skin.

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Exercise-

I am counting “chair dancing” as exercise. If it counts, I have exercised every day this week at work and had fun doing it too. I am enjoying it, much to the chagrin or my coworkers.

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Indulgence-

If husband makes a large plate of super chocolate chip cookies, we are gonna EAT a plate of super chocolate chip cookies. It is best for my goals, if I don’t eat a plate of super chocolate chip cookies.

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The Nearly Impossible Traveler

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Husband and I in Vancouver sitting

 

Husband wants to go to London, and I want to go to Venice. These aren’t cities where I can go, sit around and get drinks poured for you. I don’t want to be sitting around when there are museums, castles, architecture, and book and film locations to check out.

We can walk a little but not very much. If there is shopping at the end of a walk I can go longer, but still not enough to hit a couple of museums a day. I think at the shape we are in we would get grouchy after walking around Buckingham Palace.

I don’t want to settle on just any restaurant because Brad and I are too tired to walk to the perfect risotto. Also, are there weight limits on gondolas? I can’t wait to ride in one with my husband. Also, all the best places, stores, and restaurants are off the beaten tourist paths? In our current state husband and I aren’t walking any paths. We certainly don’t have the stamina to just walk until we see something interesting.

I day dream about the day my husband drinks the perfect cup of tea that makes him smile in the most spirited way I have ever seen. I long to walk down narrow streets, hand in hand, shopping at markets and tiny book shops.

Tourism is mostly walking. Even taking public transportation you have to walk blocks upon blocks to get to it. When Brad and I were in Vancouver, I thought I was having a heart attack towards the end of the walk home from the sky train. There were so many hills. As I lay on the bed afterwards, I was holding my chest gasping for air. Brad said, “You’re fine.” I think he was also regretting not taking the car. Then he went to the bathroom and got me a cold wash cloth. I was cursing myself for not being in better shape.

On our walk in Vancouver

On our walk in Vancouver

In a world of water, I think I would be fine and weightless. I could go anywhere, but gravity is the bitch that gets me every day. Swollen ankles, aching calves, and a painful back are the worst part of me being so overweight. I think it is the worst part because it might keep me from my dream of experiencing all the places in my day dreams.

I think a lot of little girls from small towns want to visit large cities, different cultures, and see the world. I am not alone, but I may never be able to see more of the world if I don’t get a handle on my health. There is the ten hour plane ride, the diabetes that could get me before I raise the money, but mostly I think all the walking would be too much with all the weight I have piled on my five foot three frame. I have to lose weight if I want to live the dream. My passport stamps will be a reward for a healthy lifestyle.

A picture from the road - driving...that we can do!

A picture from the road – driving…that we can do!

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Some Ah Ha Moments Really Slap you in the Forehead

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Some weeks I totally forget to feel guilty about not exercising. I do. I just go to work, come home, hang with husband, shop, eat, converse etc. I give no thought to exercise, at all. It is like exercise doesn’t exist. I have to say, it is a little freeing. I hate sweating so much. I have struggled with that for so long. So these weeks when my mind is free of the responsibility kind of fly by, but then the next week or month…blushes…I remember I haven’t exercised in a long time and the shame comes rushing back.

The weeks when I do remember that I should be exercising go like this. Wake up and start getting dressed, telling my husband, “Tonight we will exercise.” He replies with either a grunt or a very serious, “Oh, yeah, we should do that.” Cut to 8 pm when I get off and we look at each other with a mix of dread and impatience and decide to go home and couch it. There are many variations to this dance. Sometimes he picks me up and I am in tears. Sometimes he hasn’t slept well so he has a migraine. There are also hundreds of other reasons not to go sweat. Hundreds that I won’t list here…I bore and shame myself just thinking about them.

We did try to work out while watching TV, once. Once. It is sort of hard to watch TV over each others heavy breathing, okay, over my heavy breathing. Husband just looked at me with that look. It’s the look when your husband is doing something he doesn’t want to do, but can’t argue because it is the lesser of two evils. He is sort of stone faced, not smiling but not frowning per se. He just has the stern and disappointed look in his eyes that says, “I don’t know how you don’t see how lame this is.”

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So, then there is this wonderful time of the year when my apartment complex starts busting out the lawn furniture. It is the most uncomfortable iron lawn furniture, but it surrounds the most wonderful part of the complex…the pool. We caught a glimpse of the guys hauling them out of storage as we were getting ready for work a week ago. Then we saw a note go up on the gym door saying the pool is closed. We watched it every day to see if it would go down, but no.

Then I sort of bugged my apartment complex management. I have stopped by to ask about the pool. They didn’t give me the exact day, just next weekend some time. Friday I was anxious to find out exactly. I texted my husband and asked him to call because I was working. He never responded so when my break finally came I called and left a message. They called me back and told me it would be open the next day! Then they told Brad again when he called.

We were in the water that day, and have been every day since. So I am kind of thinking…duh Danielle, do you think we should have access to a pool year round? I mean it sort of feels like a no brainer. Brad was also very excited to get in the pool, after months of pushing, plugging cajoling and motivating, to no avail. First day we can swim, we are ready and willing. Basically come August, I may have to sell things but husband and I are getting a gym membership with a pool. Apparently it is the only thing that is going to get us off the couch.

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Plagued with Self Doubt

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My Momma praying for me

Self doubt is my worst enemy. I seem like a very confident strong woman. For the most part I am but there are days and those days sometimes turn into weeks in which I don’t believe in myself. Keep in mind that I am an Oklahoman. I am one of the proud people of the plains who believe that with enough elbow grease you can get anything done. If you don’t get it done, you must not have wanted it bad enough. I do to a point believe that. I do believe that the fact I am not at my goal weight is because I didn’t want it early enough or have enough gumption to get the ball rolling. I also believe I haven’t had enough passion to keep it rolling. I know that seems simplistic. There are so many factors in achieving a goal: environment, personal health, and support etc. However, isn’t desire the most important part?

I would say desire, confidence, and hope. I mean these are the only things that I can bring to the situation, no matter the goal. Want and confidence I guess factor into hope. I feel like hope makes the time go faster when you are working on something. Hope makes the minutes on the elliptical machine speed by, and hope for a better future makes toiling away listening to a customer screaming at me now more pleasant or I at least more tolerable.

When I doubt myself, it is the coldest place in my heart. It’s like I have no confidence, and therefore no hope, except for prayer. My momma says, “Give it to God.” Now she says that, but she used to say, “Got helps those who help themselves.” I mean I can pray all the day long while eating pizza and my goal of losing weight will still go out the window. I do pray for strength, but I think my mother’s first thought was the correct one. I have to also help myself.

I have to believe that God gave me the strength and the fortitude to accomplish my goals. So where does that come from. I know that some days I feel it, but sometimes I just don’t. Inner strength seems to come and go, but I don’t know what causes it to go. More importantly, it seems so hard to dig myself out. Not only that but it seems like I store self doubt in my closet and when I pull out one box, all the other boxes come out and clobber me. When I am knocked out under the boxes and boxes of doubt, I think, I can’t do anything right. What’s the point? Why apply myself with anything if I always fail? How do I stop this thinking? How do I slowly pick box after box off the floor and clean them out and return them to the closet. Because by the time I recognize it is happening it is always to the point where I am down there on the floor.

Well, there is prayer. I ask God for strength and to help me get back my gumption. The second thing that I usually do is try to do something small I know I am good at. My go to move is to make a dinner I know I cook well. I personally believe I make the best chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy in the upper northwest. The practice of making this meal makes me feel capable and smart. I know that too seems simple a task but sometimes I have to go back to step one. Okay I can do this. Not only is this meal special in that I make it very delicious. It is the meal that most reminds me of and makes me proud of my home. Don’t get me wrong, if I could make a decent pie that is what I would do. Pies are also what make me proud of the Midwest. I can’t do that, but I make a mean gravy. It is not good for my waist line but boy is making that meal good for my soul. I feel competent, I get compliments, and I am transported home. Then I can move onto bigger things like getting onto that elliptical again, not eating after a certain time of night, or editing that book I have been working on. I have to go back to walking before I can run.

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