Points Life Forever

After apparently five weeks of being MIA at my local Weight Watchers meeting, I returned tonight.  Sadly, I didn’t plan accordingly and forgot that it was the beginning of the year and the first meeting at our meeting place that wasn’t snowed out since the new year.  That meant that the line was insanely long, full of fresh faces.  They all shared the same look – that look of fear as the line slowly inched forward to the grey metal square. They watched as the seasoned veterans disrobed down to the lightest layer of clothing, ritualistically preparing their weight tracker for the kind receptionist who greats those she knows by name.  Shoes come off and the line moves forward in an array of colorful socks, each pair taking a 2 inch step up at their final destination.

ww-logo1I may have shared that look today.  Even though I have been there for a long time, having been away for a month was nerve-wracking.  Add to the fact that the month I was MIA was the month of December, also known as the month full of Christmas parties, Christmas cookies, and lots of Holiday cheer.  (You can read that as I completely threw my Points tracker out the window and ate what I wanted, when I wanted.)

I knew that the scale was going to show a gain.  I hadn’t been doing anything to promote the ideals and values that a good Weight Watcher should show.  I wasn’t saying the Weight Watcher pledge.  I got a little down on myself instead.  Alright, fine.  I beat the living daylights of out myself over it.  Positive self-talk has never been a strong point for me and those who know me would claim that I’m a perfectionist and that I don’t allow myself to make mistakes. Then, when I make those mistakes, I just spiral around the crazy-go-round with them.  It’s not always pretty.  That’s why I knew I had to face the music and really get it done. Knock on wood that I don’t need any major medical things this year.

The worst thing is that I had one of those moments when the song you hear just hits you with a 2×4 across the face and you realize that it’s now your theme song.  The daughter has been on a Disney Frozen kick (along with almost every other girl from 4 years old and up) and that means I have probably heard “Let It Go” about fifty million times now.  There’s a few lines in the song that summed up my inner voice, the one that I sometimes don’t listen to when I should probably listen to that voice all the time.

frozen

“It’s time to see what I can do / To test the limits and break through / No right, no wrong, no rules for me, / I’m free! / Let it go”

I need to let it go and see what I can do.  It always looks good on paper.  I just need to figure out exactly how to do that.  Let it go.  I need to let my mistakes go.  Let go of my not so perfect days. Let go of perfection.  Someone once told me that perfection was boring anyway.  Just let it go.  Maybe someday I might fully and truly understand what those words mean.

No matter how I slice it, I have to let go of the fact that my body cannot process food the same as other people’s.  I need to let go of the fact that I will always, no matter what age, have to pay attention to what I’m eating.  I will always count points, even if I do not write them down.  Through December, I was counting points mentally.  I knew how many points I was over every day because I was keeping count.  I can rattle of points values of foods like Rain Man can rattle off a tv schedule. I’m going to just accept that.  Maybe that will help letting go of some of the other stuff a little easier.

Tomorrow is week one, for the sixth time officially.  I’m letting go of the other times.  Tomorrow is Friday. It’s a day.  It’s one day.  It’s one day in which I’m going to count my points.  It’s one day where I will make good choices and if I slip, I will forgive and move on.  It’s one day.  It’s one meal.  It’s letting go of all the other stuff and living in just the moment.  Let go of the what ifs.  Let go of the woulda, coulda, shouldas.  Let go of the maybes.  Just deal with the moment.  Let it go, let it all go but that one moment.

Let it go.

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Under Pressure?

There are times when I realize that my self-induced state of procrastination is the cause of my anxiety when it comes to completing projects.  In 2014, I really am trying to approach life with less anxiety.  I have seen some people say that they are choosing a word to visualize and focus on for the year.  Normally, I would view this as some kind of new age mumbo-jumbo that may or may not work.  However, this year, I’m trying to cast aside my cynicism and open my mind to something new because clearly, my cynicism isn’t exactly working out so well for me.

My word is:

happy

Whatever “happy” means, that’s what I’m aiming for.  There are lots of meanings for happy and how it applies to life.  I could just have a happy day.  I could have a happy accident.  I could just try to find happiness in every situation.  Happy.

Where does that leave my procrastination?  Where does that leave my last minute pressure of making something perfect in a less than perfect amount of time?

I think that it leaves my procrastination being tossed out the window.  I used to tell myself that I only worked best under pressure.  Working at the front desk of a busy Cape Cod hotel, I was constantly under some kind of pressure during the summer months, coincidentally my favorite months of work.  There were complaints, room moves, last minute tours…all things that required me think fast, perform quickly, and get nothing wrong.  The pressure pushed me to perform at my personal best.  At least that’s what I thought.

If I’m trying to focus on Happy, doesn’t that mean I should be trying to eliminate stress that I can control?  My brain says “Duh, stress is ridiculous!”; my heart says “But, I like the pressure. It’s a big thrill to see how well I can do in the eleventh hour.”  Well, my heart might not really like the pressure because the pressure can sometimes cause high blood pressure which could ultimately kill me.  If I’m dead, then any goals I may have planned are pretty much null and void.  It’s just that I have become used to that kind of pressure.  I have convinced myself that it’s the only way that I can get things done.

Silly as it may seem, I must get over that mentality.  I have to take one step at a time.  Plan a little, not excessively, to complete goals and not leave them to the last minute and expect to have the results that I really want.  So while I may feel I work best under some kind of pressure, I have to accept that it does not make me happy.  Since happy is my word this year, I have to try to obtain that word and stay focused.  Procrastination – I’m sorry, you are no longer welcome to the party known as my life.

This post is part of the January 2014 NaBloPoMo.  This month’s theme is “Pressure.”  Today’s prompt was “Do you work well under pressure?”

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Adieu 2013!

I wish I could say with absolute certainty that 2013 was the best year ever.  I can’t though, because my mother taught me not to tell lies.  It had its high points and it certainly had its low points.  As I look back, it’s easy to say that I would do some things differently.  I think it’s safe to say that many of us may feel that way at times. That’s why looking back on a thing or event can be easier than looking forward.  It’s certainly much less daunting than looking to the future.  To be honest, the future always has terrified me.  The unknown.  The lack of control of that unknown.  It can be a scary thing.

Looking Out to the Unknown

Looking Out to the Unknown

As the clock gets closer to that midnight hour – that new year – I can’t help but feel a bit of anxiety.  It’s silly really but I dream big and I really get anxious about how I’m going to do everything I want to do.  The main reason for the anxiety is because I think of all the tiny details and let them warp my mind.  I lose sight of how to achieve every one of those goals I so nobly set for myself.

The answer is just as simple.  One step at a time.

So, as I prepare for the dawn of 2014, I realize that my list of goals and things I want to achieve over the next 365 days is truly a list of items that can be done.  I just have to do it one step at a time, just how Melinda Mae ate that whale.

One bite at a time...

One bite at a time…

 

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2013 in review

Pretty cool. Now to see if I can improve those numbers in 2014!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Toys for Boys? Toys for Girls? Why not just “Toys?”

This game has been the buzz item this season, at least it seems to me to be the buzz item.  For girls only though so boys, tough luck.  Go back to playing with your Legos, Kinnex, and Erector-sets (are those even still a thing?).

Last year, my step-mother-in-law, got this for the Daughter (who was almost 4 at the time).  While she was a little young to really get it, we have since played it together as she has gotten older and better able to understand the directions that have to be read in order to play.  Yes, it teaches her to put things together in a process and have an end result.  It allows her to experiment with different configurations and introduces the very basic functions of physics to her.  Overall, it’s an ok game for her to learn how to experiment and see what results she may get and then engineer a system to get the desired results which, for this game, include getting Katinka the ballerina dolphin in a pink tutu, to spin in a certain direction.

It is true that there is a disturbing, alarming, and frankly disheartening lack of women in science.  However, does that mean we need to “girly” up science for girls to get more involved and interested?  And then there’s the gender question – can something like engineering be turned into a girl toy or a boy toy?  Shouldn’t something like science (or any subject for that matter) be gender neutral?  Or even better yet…be ready to gasp, dear reader…shouldn’t all toys be gender neutral?

Let’s look again at GoldieBlox.  The game itself a good idea.  Get girls interested in creating something.  I just wish it wasn’t all cutesy with pink and silly characters.  I also think that it still kind of perpetuates the gender bias in toys with the colors of the pieces of the set (Pink ribbon, purple dowels and purple board) by insinuating that a girl will only play with it if it has pink and purple pieces and cute animals wearing clothing…but it’s a step.  I cannot deny that it is a step.  Though, as a kid, I played with Legos and really did love building all kinds of structures.  I always wished I had a Kinnex set just because it looked like fun to design and build stuff.

Lego also came under scrutiny recently when they launched a new line aimed specifically at girls.  They titled it “Lego Friends” and packaged it in purple boxes and made all the little Lego people women or girls.

girl legos

Again, can someone tell me when primary colors were deemed “boy” colors and that girls only like pink and purple?  Or when colors in general were deemed to have genders?  At any rate, they launched this product in the hopes to get more girls interested in architecture.  Apparently it is faring well because when you go into any toy store, you see rows of the stuff just on the shelves. But why?  Why did girls need to have this product line?  Why couldn’t they play with what was already out there?  It’s the same product, just different colors.  It’s the same concept, build a house or a castle or a wall or a tower or a whatever you imagine you have built and then play with it.  Why does it need to be specific for girls?

I know that I’m not a typical woman.  I do not wear a ton of make up or spend half an hour getting my hair to sit just right (if you know me, you know that my curls don’t like to behave anyway).  I know my fair share about cars.  I love watching the Science channel with my husband just because it’s interesting and the images are amazing on the nice pretty HD television.  I despise the color pink (please don’t revoke my woman card).  I don’t see a need for “girl” toys.  Does this factor in to my opinion of this game?  When my step-mother-in-law was explaining the GoldieBlox game, she said the creator made it because as a kid she didn’t have any toys like it to play with as a child.  At first, I probably reacted a bit rudely because sometimes, I can be a bit blunt with no filter (sorry step-MIL – didn’t mean to be rude at that moment), but seriously what did that even mean?  Didn’t she have access to Lincoln Logs or Legos?  Or was it that her parents didn’t buy those toys for her when she asked for them because she was a girl and her parents were stuck in a “this is a girl toy; this is a boy toy” mentality?

So, now let’s look at that idea – parents.  Parents are a child’s first and most important teacher.  Yes, we send our children to school to be educated and pass tests, and feel the pressure of pop quizzes, MCAS, SATs, PSATs, and ACTs.  But, as a parent, you can’t just rely on the school system to fully educate your child.  There are so many tests that the child must be taught to conform to.  There are so many guidelines that must be met in order to pass the child that parents need to have just as active an involvement in shaping their child.  Does that mean it’s easy?  NO.  Parents work a lot to maintain the basic life needs of a child (food, shelter, clothing) but, parents must also work to help their child explore their full potential.

That being said, isn’t it on the parents to introduce children to science in all forms and ultimately encourage the child to pursue what makes them happy no matter what that may be?  If your daughter wants Legos, buy her the Legos: Ninjago, Friends, Lord of the Rings…whatever.  If your son wants a kitchen set with pretend cupcakes and cakes, buy it for him. Haven’t you ever watched Ace of Cakes or the Cake Boss – those men are very manly and secure in themselves and HAPPY.  If your daughter wants dolls, get them.  If your son wants art sets, get them.  Do not tell your child, “Are you sure? Don’t you think that’s kind of girly/boyish?”  Do not perpetuate this idea that these inanimate objects have a gender specific target.  Let your child explore and discover what makes him or her happy.

As a parent, introduce your child to science.  It can be simple things at home, that are totally free like a Nature walk, a night-time “Star Party” to name constellations, a pot of water boiling.  The internet is full of great “free” activities that you can do with your child at any age.  Read your local newspaper to find local events that feature science.

science_works_better

We are lucky to live where we do because there is almost always something scientific going on somewhere.  If you aren’t as fortunate to have events to go to, just talk about it.  Just talking about it and pointing things out can help pique that curiosity that is naturally in your child.  If science isn’t want excites them, find out what does.  Nurture it and then watch as your happy child does something wonderful with his or her life.

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Eating Cupcakes While Watching the Biggest Loser?

The Biggest Loser is inspirational, a little unrealistic, but inspirational nonetheless.  Watching this show, I’m reminded, for the umpteenth time, as to why I haven’t completely given up on Weight Watchers.  I may have been moving a snail’s pace, but I haven’t given up 100%.

Watching these people stand up on national television and bear it all to help inspire others is pretty amazing.  And yet, here I sit, enjoying a chocolate cupcake.

Yep.  A chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and fall colored jimmies.  It was good.

By Kat Kellner [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Kat Kellner [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

I probably should have been doing squats or lunges.

Sometimes, I think I need Jillian or Bob to yell at me to keep my fat butt in motion.  But then I realize, that they can yell at me all they want.  If I don’t fix what is broken, it won’t matter one bit.  The broken parts will always be broken.  It’s hard work.  Having done some form of this hard work my whole life (since I was 8), I get tired of it.  It’s what’s wrong right now. I’m tired of having to weigh and measure every single bite. I’m tired of having to write everything down.  I’m tired of having to wake up thinking about it.  It wears you down.  Even if I get to a point where I’m at a healthy weight, I will still have to track, weigh, measure.  Constant vigilance.

It’s sometimes discouraging.  But, then I think about being six feet under and not being able to see the Daughter hit some of life’s major milestones…that’s even more discouraging.

It’s a constant struggle. I know that I cannot give up, but on the other hand, I have never been able to fully imagine myself at the finish line.  Either way, I’m not giving up. Time to pony up and put the cupcake down.

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Is Binge TV Watching a Sin?

You know you’ve done it.  You know that you’ve had a friend suggest that you watch a show because they know that you will like it.  For whatever reason, you didn’t watch it the first time it was on and thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Xfinity, Amazon Prime, whatever…you can stream it and just binge on it.  If you have an addictive personality, it can be very dangerous.

Supernatural is my latest binge fest.  I know it’s not one of the “hot” shows right now but you know what.  I don’t care.  I knew five minutes in that I was going to be sucked in hook, line, and sinker.

supernatural

Here’s how it went down:

Stage 1: Ok, it’s kind of like X-Files.  I dig this.  I love the X-Files. They are like funny Mulder and Scully and brothers.  Cool.  I like it a lot.  Oh look, they even make references to X-Files.  Awesome.

Stage 2: Tragic back-story, made even more tragic by the fact that they are somewhat beautiful yet broken.  Ok – fangirling may be commencing….

Stage 3: First season ends with a cliffhanger…nope…click right into the season 2 premiere – tears may have been shed.

Stage 4: Even more references to other wonderful occult shows start to make their way into the stories.  Fantastic.  Even better – actors from said occult shows begin to make appearances.  Or “actresses” who meet their demise and I may have actually cheered a little when that one happened…

supernatural_paris_hilton3

Stage 5: Comedic Relief.  These episodes are amazing.  You will never hear “Eye of the Tiger” and keep a straight face again.  Then there’s the “Changing Channels” episode…

Stage 6: Angels. That is all. Just Angels.

Castiel_(supernatural)

Stage 7: Must keep watching.  Cannot stop watching.  #TeamFreeWill.

Stage 8: Imdb’s recent searches shows the tv show, the actors in the tv show, shows that the actors have been in other than said tv show.  Internet searches may have been done for GIFs that were created because while stalking your other fandoms (::Cough,cough::Doctor Who::cough::Cough::Sherlock::Cough::cough) you couldn’t help but see them and wonder what they meant.  Now, you know them all…

It’s a slippery slope, but one I will gladly slide down.  I cannot get enough of it.  It’s like putting your life on hold to watch all the episodes.  Each one, pushing you deeper down the rabbit hole, afraid for when it’s going to end because you know you’re going to get depressed when it’s over, the same way you get depressed when a series of books you love ends.

As my binging continues, I will just keep reveling in the sheer entertainment value of it.  Guilty pleasure you say?  Maybe.  It’s fine.  We all have them.  Mine just happens to one of biblical proportions.

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TV This Year is Tough

We are well into the Fall TV schedule and most of the new shows have started.  Now it’s time to weed out the ones that aren’t really living up to expectations.

My Sunday line-up is pretty solid.  Once Upon a Time is pretty good so far this season.  I had to come to terms with the fact that Peter Pan is in fact a big, bad meanie – something my inner child just does not want to accept still, but let’s face it.  He is.  He steals the souls of children to continue to stay young.  It’s pretty awful.  I do feel that there is a lot going on though and I hope that they can make it flow a little better and not get lost with all the different story lines.  It get too confusing.

Homeland is back and is as crazy as ever.  I cannot handle Dana though.  I’m done with her.  I don’t really care about her so whenever she shows up on the screen, I’m indifferent and find myself checking Facebook or something, anything, to avoid listening to her whine.

homeland

Monday isn’t too bad either.  The Voice is back and even though I did like Shakira more, Christina seems to be a little better than the past seasons.  Cee-Lo is just as wacky but that’s ok.  We all know everyone watches for Blake and Adam.

Agents of Shield was a complete and utter let down for me.  I had such high hopes for this show. Coulson was the best and yet here he is surrounded by the caricatures of CIA/Spy characters.  Ming-Na is such a good actress but she plays Melinda May so hard, there’s so little emotion and even though you know there’s some kind of back story, it’s hard to care because she’s just so hard.  Then there’s the mole who works for the Red Tide or whatever the bad guy group is called (see I don’t even remember the name of the bad guys!) and that seems pretty predictable.  It’s sad.  I was hoping this would be the hit of the season!

agents of shield

Castle is changing gears and the jury is still out as to whether or not it has jumped the shark.  I mean, I love that Castle and Beckett are taking things to the next step, I miss the dynamic of them working in the precinct.  Hopefully this will turn around.

Sleepy Hollow, however, is pretty good.  Being an English major, I have read the Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  This is nothing like the story I read.  It’s like they mashed up Rip van Winkle and Sleepy Hollow with the American Revolution and threw in a few Salem witches and bam!  There’s the TV show.  Oh yeah – and sprinkle on some of the supernatural like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s good though.  I like it.

Sleepy Hollow on Fox

Sleepy Hollow on Fox

Tuesday is the night from hell.  Literally.  The CW is home to my guilty pleasures.  The Originals picks up some of the characters from The Vampire Diaries and moves them to New Orleans where we all know vampires swarm like rats and live lavishly like Lestat. Since I was hooked on the Vampire Diaries, this was going to clearly hook me since it was full of established characters.

The Voice night two – still good.

Supernatural.  Oh Supernatural.  I was hooked on you late in the game.  I wish I had started watching you years ago.  Then I wouldn’t have had to binge on the past 8 seasons.  I am not completely caught up but I am DVRing this season so that when I’m done ignoring the rest of my life and have watched the first 8 seasons I can continue on without interruption.

Then at 10…man…the juggling…Chicago Fire complete with its hot eye candy; Person of Interest with my crazy team of players tracking numbers; and of course Sons.  Sons of Anarchy is intense this season.  Wait, it’s intense every season.  I cannot get enough of these murderers on bikes.  The tragedy of their flawed lives, the violence of a lifestyle choice that they willingly would die for themselves…it’s such an amazing show.

I feel like I seriously could go through every night of the week, but then I realize that I watch WAAAAAY too much television and you might think that I have no life.  Wait, you might be right…oh well.  I like TV.  I’m not ashamed.  I like a good story and right now, there are so many good stories on TV it’s hard to not watch.  It’s a nice way to unwind and if you can find a show that really entertains you then go for it.

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The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Lunchbox

Back in August, we were back to school shopping.  The Daughter was beginning pre-k and she needed a new lunch box.  As we looked at the options, the Husband pointed out the My Little Pony lunchbox, the Doc McStuffins lunchbox, and the Hello Kitty lunchbox.  Each one was met with a very excited “Yay!”

That is until she turned her head slightly to the right.

She saw the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle lunchbox.

tmnt-teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles

She saw it and that was all she wanted.  I figured, what the hell.

The Husband, however, was a little nervous.  He kept asking if she was sure she wanted that one and didn’t want the Ponies or the Doc lunch box.  She kept answering him with a very confident, nope.  I told him it was just a lunch box and if she liked it, she liked it.  He watches the cartoon with her every weekend.  I just laugh because I remember as a kid watching it with my brothers back in the 80s when it first came out.

The Husband said he was worried one of the boys might mistake it for their lunch box.  I told him I would fix that.  When we got home, I asked her who her favorite Turtle was and she told me that it was Donnie (that was just that day) so I went to my sewing box and found some purple embroidery thread and then sewed her name into the side of the lunch box, which was no easy feat considering I didn’t want to puncture the lining.

The first day of school, the Daughter walked in proud as a peacock with her new Turtles lunch box and was a hit with not only the boys but some of the girls too.

I tell this story, because today, I read an article on a “mommy site” that talked about a girl who was almost in tears when she saw two books titled “How to Survive (Almost) Anything.”  It wasn’t the book itself that made her feel the need to cry, but rather the fact that there was one for girls and one for boys.

The one for boys, as the article continued on, contained things like “How to Survive a Canoe Trip.”  The one for girls had things like “How to Survive a Slumber Party.” The stark difference in the books made the little girl feel sad, to put it mildly.

As I read, I couldn’t help but think about the lunch box.  It was funny how something that was deemed a “boy” toy would make the Husband feel uncomfortable, for lack of a better word.  Having grown up with three brothers, I thought nothing of it.  I played with He-Man and Ninja Turtles as well as My Little Pony and Barbie.

Going back to the article, I read the comments with the article and found that I agreed with the comments that said they would have bought both books and allowed the daughter to read both.  I would have done the same.

I think that while the publisher was wrong for publishing those books because let’s face it, they are pretty damn sexist, it’s up to the parent to then take that negative and turn it around.  First, I probably wouldn’t buy the books because I would have been ticked off that they were so drastically different and I wouldn’t have wanted to pay them and let them think that I was ok with these books as presented.  Second, if the Daughter happened to come across them in the library or something like that, I would use that opportunity to point out how yes, learning to survive a sleepover may be something she might want to learn, learning how to survive a camping trip might be just as important (and probably more fun).

I do this all the time with the daughter because I want her to know that, to quote Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”  Well maybe not better, but at least as good as…but let’s be honest, hopefully better.

 

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Up Past Bedtime

It’s Friday.

It’s been a long week.

My eyes hate me right now.

I think my bed is calling my name…

The sad thing is I want to write in this over-tired-i-feel-drunk-i am-so-tired state.  Interesting things happen when I pick up where I left off when I am this tired.

Bed is going to win.

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