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I hope you all enjoy my efforts here!

Jan 31, 2009

It's An Attitude Thing

You know the most interesting thing to me, is how many people go on a "diet" (a four letter word to be avoided let me assure you), and then the worst in them comes out. I've never seen anyone beat themselves up more than a "dieter". Their mind is a nasty place to be.

Somehow, in our interest of taking care of our health and weight, we start to judge ourselves and our efforts, truly a way to sabotage those same efforts. Read some of these "thoughts" we have internally and see if any of this doesn't ring a bell.

OK, you just ate a piece or more than one of fudge (substitute any food you had that you think you "shouldn't have had)? Does that mean you "blown it"? NO! Does that mean you might as well eat anything you want since the day was blown? NO! Does that mean you have no will power and are a failure? NO! Does that mean you'll never be able to lose the weight? NO! Doesn't it mean I have no discipline or control over myself? NO!! Does that mean you're weak and can never lose weight? NO!

OK, so Suzy sitting next to you just had some fudge (again substitute whatever food you want), and she's on a diet trying to lose weight. Does that mean that she needs you to make a comment about what she just ate? NO! Does that mean that she needs your help and comments to help her make better choices, as she reaches for another piece? NO! Does that mean that she's a cheater? NO! Does that mean it's any of your business what's going in and out of her mouth, just because she thinks you're someone she can talk to about her weight struggles? NO! --OK, so this little paragraph isn't about us being unkind to ourselves, but rather people being unkind to us by judging us and our efforts and deciding they have to step in and try to keep us from "failing. What they're really doing is judging us, when they are deciding whether what we did was "good" or "bad". Does that help us? NO!

Getting the picture? First of all, don't DIET! I'm always quick to correct people who ask me about my "diet", and tell them I'm not on a diet, I'm following a program. Sometimes I'm off program, and sometimes I'm on program. When there are extenuating circumstances, I sometimes make a choice to go off program; it's ok. Sure, I may not be as successful this week, but I will be in the long term, because I saved myself some internal battles. I didn't go on a guilt trip, I didn't tear myself up my lack of will power, failure or whatever else. I allowed myself to live in the moment and not stress. When I make a choice, I am able to enjoy it, rather than hate myself for it. After that little pleasure, I'm right back on program, if I choose to be. No recriminations necessary. There is no wild seesawing, whether with the emotional ups and downs I could have put myself through, or weight ups and downs; because I'm not deprived, blowing it, building up pressure or any such thing.

Success is an attitude thing. Whatever your program or your plan, be kind to yourself. Me? I gained 4 lbs in the last 4 or 5 weeks, between Christmas and my recent vacation to Washington. Most of it was gained at Christmas time. Am I upset? Actually not! I'm pretty happy that I didn't gain more, and that I went right back on program as soon as Christmas was over. I also know that I can get it off in a month. Not only that, I made a conscious choice at certain times to enjoy Christmas, enjoy my vacation, and not obsess or worry excessively about what the food choices were. Some of the food choices were out of my control, especially when traveling or when eating at other's celebrations. The things I could control and plan for I did. The things I couldn't plan for, I relaxed and didn't stress over. After Christmas, I went right back on program. Same thing with after my vacation.

What matters to me is I had some awesome times! I have some wonderful memories. I had some good food, off and on program. I'm not upset with myself. I didn't fail and quit the program. I still went to get my Jenny Craig food every week and did my best. NEVER did I fail. NEVER was I hard on myself! NEVER would I accept other people's judgments and attempts to help me "control" what I ate (thought it is a pet peeve that some people think they need to do that!). Also, I'm still saying I lost 222 lbs. True, 4 were gained, but I still lost them! :) When I get them back off, I'll still be saying I lost 222 lbs. I'm not going to try to pretend I've lost ground. I've stayed on even keel! Yes! It's all about ATTITUDE!

Anyone out there who's working on improving their health, improving how they eat, don't forget it's not a "diet" thing. It's an ATTITUDE! thing. Make you plan, follow it, but be kind to yourselves when extenuating situations occur. No recriminations are ever needed! You're doing awesome just because you want to continue to improve and work on your health or weight! Pat yourself on the back for being "on program" again and don't give the "off program"behavior another thought! You are succeeding just because you are STILL in the game!

Jan 30, 2009


Last weekend I spent some time in Seattle re-connecting with that branch of my family. In past posts, I believe I've written about my brother-in-law and his profound impact on my life. It was because of what I learned from him that I was able to start the journey that I embarked on over 3 years ago to start my life over, find joy and love. His widow, sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren were the people who I was most fortunate to be with. I was honored to be able to spend time with the people he loved, and that I loved. Just because I want to, I'm sharing a photo of me with my my 5 young nephews. Every one of them is a honor to their parents and an example in so many way of the legacies that have been left to them. I'm sharing a photo I love, just because I want to!

Jan 29, 2009

Unintended Messages

I've written in previous posts about eliminating negativity, as well as being positive about ourselves, and others. Being positive and grateful in our daily living, helps lead us to finding joy in living and enjoying the moments in life, as there is no tomorrow, only this moment.

These "themes" are recurring themes in my life now, and seem to commingle thoroughly. At a recent event, I attended I found great joy in so many precious moments I experienced. There were sweet moments after sweet moments. I felt like I'd experienced little slices of heaven. It proved quite jarring later when I heard someone recounting the experience to others from her perspective. The same event where I experienced such continuous joyful moments continuously unfolding, she had not only been pretty miserable. She had used every miserable moment to judge others in her circle and find them wanting and inferior to her. As I overheard her sharing her perspective, she went on and on, listing so many negatives for so many people. To add insult to injury, she maligned and judged people in a way that shocked me. As I've thought about this, I've come to realize that she had communicated a whole lot to her audience, that she probably didn't realize.

She had painted herself as someone who can only feel good about herself if she put others down. She had painted herself as someone who glories in gossiping and bad mouthing others behind their backs. She had painted herself as someone that one couldn't trust or enjoy. She also had painted herself as unwilling to to "love thy neighbor as thyself". Actually, I think the truth really is that she doesn't even like herself. She struggles to tell herself how wonderful she truly is, by making others seem like less, and making sure everyone hears those opinions.

I felt sadness and pity for her on one hand, not just anger at her maligning gossip. Would you want to communicate this to others? By our words, people know us. Our lack of charity and kindness behind the backs of others, only paints our own character as wanting. Our enjoyment of gossiping and putting down others, reveals the mentally unhealthy person beneath the words. Would you want to be communicating things kinds of messages? I wouldn't. It behooves me to challenge myself to communicate in a way that leave positive unintended messages about myself and my character.

Jan 21, 2009

It's a Beautiful Noise

On Tuesday, I really was bummed about the fact that we don't have a day off to watch inauguration festivities on TV. I wanted to be able to listen to the speech of the new incoming president, LIVE. I didn't want to have to wait for news recaps, or to wait until later that night, when I could watch what I'd recorded. I guess I'm a little spoiled at times! :)

I decided to see what I can do to give myself a chance to hear it. I drove up the mountain, in my daily commute to the school districts I serve, searching for a radio station that carried the Inauguration. The funny thing I realized, was that I was able to tell within a couple of minutes whether or not they were carrying the inauguration ceremony. When I got my first cochlear implant, back in 1997, it was hard to find one radio station that I could listen to. My brain hadn't learned to understand all the new input coming in. Eventually I did happen onto an NPR (National Public Radio) station that I could understand. Most stations had people speaking too fast, too much background noise, too many people interrupting, and all other sorts of problems to interfere with my "learning to listen". I was happy with the one station.

Eventually over the years, my brain became better at hearing, and I got my 2nd cochlear implant in 2006, which just added to my hearing ability. I had noticed in recent years that I had more than one station I could understand and enjoy. I was branching out. It took some listening work to develop those. I wasn't aware of more than two or three stations I could listen to though.

Even though I had one NPR station I really enjoy, it doesn't broadcast to the areas that I travel. I knew I was going to have to find the Inauguration somewhere else on the radio dial. I hadn't realized my listening progress, until Tuesday, when I flipped from station to station, working to find a station. All of a sudden it clicked what was happening. Wow! I could tell, and I could tell quickly, whether the station was broadcasting the inauguration. After a few minutes, I found a good station, and settled down to listen. It was amazing to me that I was able to do this.

Before time for Obama to be sworn in, I had to park the car and go into the school to work with my first student of the morning. I was begrudging that, as I knew that if I was still a classroom teacher, my class would be watching the inauguration. It was history in the making after all, and important for that reason. This is a day they could tell their children and grandchildren about.

I was delighted however, to find that my student's class was doing just what I would've been doing; watching the inauguration. Immediately, I knew it was important I skip working with the student, so he could watch this. I then asked to joined his class in watching the ceremony. I was so happy when his teacher welcomed me to watch with them. There were some problems though, I'm at the back of the class, the TV isn't very loud, and there's no close captioning. I was happy I could watch it, but figured I'd miss on hearing it as much of it as I wanted to. Still, I was counting my blessings.

It wasn't long before I realized just how much I've progressed in my listening skills. I was able to understand about 95% of the speech. I was really impressed with myself. Life with not just one, but two cochlear implants just continues to get better and better. In high school, I never could have imagined that one day, I would be able to hear. As Neil Diamond's song says, "It's a beautiful noise". My life continues to be a miracle for me to enjoy.

Jan 13, 2009

Winter Walk

There's a walking path I've seen many times, by the side of the road that connects Heber and Midway. I've often thought that one day, I ought to walk that path that starts in Heber Park (where I often eat my lunch), and goes through a covered bridge on the outskirts of Midway. Today turned out to be the day .

I had finished working with my morning students in Heber and Midway. Not only was it lunch time, I had quite a bit of time before my next student in Park City, so I would be eating my lunch, then working in my truck, (or searching for an alternate work location). Despite the cold outside, the sun was beating into the window and I felt like I was overheating. Most of the time when I need to wait in the car between students, I have seats I can recline back a little. This way I can also get comfortable during lunch, or as I work in my little vehicular office. With the truck, no such reclining was possible. I guess the lack of reclining seats and the heat of the sun finally forced me out of the truck after I'd eaten! Why it took misery to get me out to do something I wanted to do anyway, I have no idea!

Despite my brisk pace, I couldn't seemed to get "winded" on my long walk! It's so funny, when I think about it. With this new body I have, I can walk a couple of miles or so a whole lot easier than I could walk 10 feet (with oxygen cranked up high no less) just 3 years ago. In thinking about that, I realize anew something I sometimes forget; I am on an amazing journey! Progress has happened in small steps over the last three years. Adding all those steps together has led me to a life, health and a body I never thought possible, not in my wildest dreams. Invisible to the naked eye has been just as huge a transformation in my mind. I've discovered the truth of the quote, "If you want to change your life, change your thinking". I've learned to relish, enjoy and appreciate all the small little moments in my life.

As I took my walk in the gorgeous sunshine, soaking up all the vitamin D, I thoroughly enjoyed the beauty around me. I had to pull out my little iPhone and take some pictures to share. My first picture is the stream running through the snow covered banks. In all the drives on the nearby road, I had never known this little stream was here. What a precious discovery.

In the distance, I can see the covered bridge getting closer as I walk.

I'd always wondered what I'd see if I ever did truly walk to this covered bridge. Here was the view as I stood on the bridge over the tumbling waters of a river. The designs of the railing in the bridge is seen in the forefront of the picture.

I loved my walk. I'm not used to taking walks this long, that aren't on my treadmill. The interesting thing about the treadmill, is that when you're tired of it, you can just hop off! Not so, when you're ready to be finished with your walk. You've got to keep going until you get to your car! It felt like miles to go before I made it back to the truck, after I felt like it was time for the walk to end! In the picture below, you can see the truck that forced me to take the walk I loved, waiting for me! I had to take a picture!

After my walk I can truly say, I'm grateful for gorgeous days, the beauty of nature, and the health to get out and enjoy it!

Jan 10, 2009

Musings While Driving

On the way to work the other morning, someone cut in front of me with their car, as they didn't want to miss the "Y" turn in the road, that would lead them to another road. At first I started to be aggravated that they cut in front of me so suddenly. No one likes that, especially on potentially bad roads after a storm, when we want more reaction time, and actions like this make it more difficult. However, before I had finished that thought, I knew that I had to find a positive way to look at their cutting in front of me the way they did.

In my head I said, "I guess you have got to do what you have got to do, to go where you want to/need to go." I can't blame a person for that. They are trying to stay the course and get where they need to go. Weirdly enough, as soon as I thought that, I started analyzing that concept. Somehow it seemed so profound to me. Go figure. My musings started from this. How many times in our life, do we not go where we need to go, because we aren't willing to change course when we find ourselves going in the wrong direction? For that person in front of me to get back to where that "Y" road was taking us, had they missed it; they would have had to detour and spend far more time backtracking. Since they were able to do so safely, they did better still to keep themselves on track, despite cutting in front of me. So often, we are so busy trying to find excuses for not taking the road that would have led us to where we want to go, rather, than just going there and letting nothing stop us.

Just a few minutes later, I arrived at work, changed vehicles to get into the state car so I could head up the mountain to begin my day's work with my students in all their different schools. I drove past my parked car, in the state vehicle. All of a sudden, I thought, "Oh No! I forgot my sunglasses". I was immediately knew how much more difficult the day would be without them. I wasn't even out of the parking garage yet, and I figured I was "too late" to go back and get them! What!? Can you believe that? I almost went about my day, struggling without my sunglasses, because I forgot them, even though I remembered very early before I even got out of the parking garage.

So many times I do this. I embark on a course, and when I realize there's something I should "go back" for, or something I should re-do, or that maybe I should consider another course of action, I think, "It's too late". I'm already on this course. I don't "Do what I have got to do to get where I want to/need to go." True, not getting the sunglasses would still get me where I needed to go, but the journey would be a lot more miserable. Isn't that absolutely crazy, when you think about it logically? On this day, I changed courses and immediately backed up my state vehicle until I was in front of my car, fished out my car keys and unlocked the car, ran over, got my sun glasses, got back in, returned my keys to their proper place, put the seat belt on and took off for my day. How much time did I lose to go back and do this? Not more than a moment, if that. It really blows my mind that so often, I would never double back, never stop early and change courses of actions. All day long, so many different times, I found myself really being grateful I had my sunglasses with me. It really did make my day easier.

As a teacher, sometimes I prepare a lesson that just "doesn't work". I never stop mid-lesson and admit, "Hmmmm, this isn't working". Maybe we need to try to do this differently. I had a teacher tell me I should never be afraid to do this, but I've always been afraid to do that. Was I afraid of looking like I don't know what I'm doing, or looking like a fool to someone else? I wonder? What ever my reasons, it became clear that I'm so guilty of NOT, "Doing what I have got to do to get where I want to/need to go". No wonder my life went so badly off course so many times. The worst thing about it, I'd "end up in the ditch" so many times and wonder how I even got there?

My challenge, amidst all my positive thinking, gratitude efforts and all the other steps I take to change my life, is to make sure I'm being clear-headed enough to see "what I have got to do to get where I want to go", then heading there. No excuses! I need to recognize what I'm doing and get in there and take action Pronto! Another way to put this, know my destination, head there and be prepared to alter course anytime I become aware I'm not making it to my goal.

I hope my post made some sense. P.S. Anyone that is re-reading my post after reading the "first edition" from a couple of days ago, I went back and re-edited. I kept all the thoughts, but stuck to the better grammar I know as a teacher, than the slang and gotta/wanna/shouldas that I thought was so appropriate at the time! :)

Jan 4, 2009


I realized, since I asked people's opinion of my "hypothetical" hair makeover a week or two ago, I ought to show the results. I ended up getting something like neither picture. I attempted to get my hair styled like the short blondish "do", but it didn't lay right on my head. So I told her to go shorter, trying to get it to lay right. Oops! It's only hair! It will grow back!

I also colored it myself. I decided to use the "golden brown" that looks blondish on the internet, and auburn on my head it turns out! :)

Oh, and I was waiting for awhile to post, as I was going to get good pictures to post, but that never happened! :) It turns out that all I have it my "not so good" efforts at self portrait!

I go through stages, tolerating it to really liking it. I won't allow myself to hate it on the days I'm not so sure about it. I don't accept negativity! :) A couple of comments from friends tell me I look 10 years younger! I hold onto that one on the days I'm not so sure! :) Love it or not, it's only hair! It will grow if I want it to, and can be colored "ad nauseum" if I want to! For now, I'll just enjoy my new "do"!

Jan 1, 2009

The Past

I was watching a very interesting Oprah re-run this afternoon. Her guest was Dr. Robert Holden and the subject was happiness. There were so many quotes I told myself I would save the episode, go back and re-watch it, then write down some of the quotes I wanted to keep! Well true to a person of my age with a memory not as good as it used to, I promptly deleted the episode after watching it!

There are so many quotes that I appreciated. However, here is one that is resonating with me today. He said, "We have to learn to let go of our past, we have to give up all hopes for a perfect past. Let the past go, it's gone." After that, he says, "Take a vow of kindness. Be kinder to yourself and to others."It's never too late to be happy."

I've had some recent experiences and seen first hand how the past can somehow grip a hold of people and stop them from the joy that is possible in life. My hope for all of you is that you are able to live a truly happy day, and from that a truly happy week, month and year. We can't fix the past, so we need to make sure we don't live in it. Only NOW matters. Live with kindness to yourself above all. It is only through treating ourself with kindness, that we learn how to treat others so. If we would never think or so a mean thing to ourselves in our thoughts, then we wouldn't do it to others either. Happy New Year. One of my goals this year is to never hurt myself or others through the thoughts in my mind as well as the ones I give voice to.