Dog Facts and Living with Them (dogs)

Last year, after living in my own place for over 17.5 years, I decided to sell and make a joint purchase.  My mother and I wanted to pool our resources and purchase something together.  I discovered that there were a few things I never knew how highly I valued them, my privacy, my space and my independence.   When I sold my place, I came along with my 17.5 years of collected items and an energetic almost six-year-old yellow lab named Sunny.  As a child, I did not have pets so my mother has never been in the house with a dog before this experience.  She grew up on a farm where all animals were outside animals.  This one adjustment alone would provide many moments of extreme tensions between my mother and I.

Dogs  Shed(Especially Labs) One of the first things my mother had issue no matter how much we train them or bathe them they are still a dog and smell like a wet dog when wet.  You can place the food in a dog-feeding bowl but the dog will often remove it and put it on a surface so he can eat on his own terms.  Shedding is inevitable.  Labs shed, period.  People shed too just not as much.  However, you know all that dust on your furniture; it is from human and pet skin shedding.

Dogs lick their butts, another dog fact.  We might find it disgusting but they do it for a few reasons.  Dogs’ anal glands get full and need cleaning out at the vet’s office.  If they are not cleaned out, it beings to itch them like crazy.  Therefore, they lick to try to stop the itching.  Gross, but true.  Best advice, every 8-10 weeks take Fido to the vet and get those glands expressed.

Dogs are messy eaters.  You might put the food into a bowl but some dogs will take the food out of the bowl and carry it to another location in your home to eat.  In addition, other dogs will take the food out of the bowl and unceremoniously drop it on the floor to begin eating.  Dogs are not fussy about their food many times.  You have two choices; one can constantly clean up behind them or once a day clean up, your choice since you know this about your dog.

Dogs want/need attention.  Dogs generally do not understand that you are busy and cannot take time to play right then.  Dogs will try other methods to get your attention either by acting like they have been set on fire and have to stop drop and roll, barking at you, or the more subtle I will stare at you until you pet me.  Then there are the dogs who will keep scooting closer and closer to you and put their head on your lap and on top of the paper you are reading and force you to at least look at them.  They have the most pitiful looks on their cute doggie faces and you cannot help but laugh, stop, and give them a pet or two!  Mine will even go off and pout if all else fails.

Dogs bark aka Dogs can be moody too.  Not only can dogs pout, they can be moody too.  They can “voice” an objection when you least expect it and will keep on objecting until you give them an answer or resolution they are seek.  This can be very frustrating when you are getting ready to leave for work in the morning.  Usually, it ends up being “I do not want you to go!” or “Take me too!”




Facing a High School Reunion

I will have to admit when the date was finally set I was not sure about what I would be getting into.  After all, I had not been to a high school reunion, yet.  That was about to change.  Something inside of me said I really did need to reconnect and make peace with that part of my past.

First let me say I LOVED school.  I loved my teaching and learning.  I was an overachiever wanting to the best that I could at everything, but….algebra!  I was overweight and the social side was something else.  I was not part of the “in” crowd or the “popular” crowd; I was more of an “invisible crowd.” Part of me did not mind being invisible but another part of me yearned to be a part of all the social buzzing of high school.  I took four years of art classes and chorus.  I acted in a school production of A Christmas Carol but mainly worked behind the scenes creating scenery.  Behind the scenes was my theme in high school for the most part.  I was active in the clubs at school and even some athletic endeavors.  I was one of those kids the teachers liked, as I was more “mature” acting than many of my peers.

I used my fat as a protective barrier between others and me.  My subconscious thinking was that if I stayed aloof I rejection was out totally of the picture.  Rejections came and were emotionally hurtful.  Some emotional scars stay a lifetime and others vanish in time.  Perspectives change in time as well.  Over the years I have gone back to my old high school when I was in state and visited with a few of my former teachers but I really had not connected to many of my peers until Facebook.  Facebook opened many doors for me to reconnect with many of my high school peers on an adult level.  I found so many of my former acquaintances from high school had faced many of the same challenges I had in their lives since high school.  Some more, some less.  Many from high school were able to find spouses and jobs in the same area and have been living happy fulfilled lives in the same county and some the same city where we went to high school.  Others of us ventured out of the city, and even out of the state.

Driving around the area where I grew up recently was quite an eye-opening experience.  Where once there was fertile farm fields now are the home to huge homes, McMansions as many called them and lots of them!  Several of my family members lived in very rural areas and surrounded by these McMansions and many new homes.  The area is growing at a very rapid pace and experiencing a construction boom.  The school district where I went to school is now the fastest growing school district in the state of Indiana. With all the new people, there are many changes.  Main roads now have three “layers” off the main street with stores and shopping centers, traffic is now busy all the time and what was once anchors of the small towns are no more.

Even with living a thousand miles plus from the area, I was to help plan our 40th reunion and while fun, I felt very handicapped not living there to give more “hands on” assistance.  Being on the planning committee brought a few things to light about my classmates that were fun and amazing to learn.  One classmate had become a nationally recognized motivational speaker, another was a professional events planner, another a professional photographer and videographer, and another an accounts manager for discount stores.  Several of us had been through divorce and others were proud parents and grandparents.   We were all united to make this event happen with all are many different experiences and life directions.  I did see shades of “high school” at times but never enough to keep the event from happening or being a success.

I will admit I was wondering if I would slide back into my “clam” “invisible” (shy/bashful/backward) mode/pattern that I was in high school.  I was able to keep my ‘now’ self-present.  I was no longer the chubby overweight girl who was happy being in a corner and remaining quiet.  I was able to speak to all of my classmates at one point in the reunion and enjoyed it and no feelings of insecurity or invisible-ness came back.  I was just me who I am now and it was ok! Everything seemed to be “ok” all the way around and fitting in at this age seemed far less traumatic than as a teen.  I did have to shake my head (figuratively) at a few things I saw and heard but people do not change in many ways no matter how much time passes.

I am happy I went to the reunion and found out how many of my classmates have been living amazing lives!  On a sad note, some my classmates have passed away from health issues varying from cancer, to heart attacks to brain aneurysms and respiratory ailments.  Ten years from now at the next reunion that number will most likely double or triple.

In retrospect, it was so good to go to the reunion and remember some of the fun times before work, taxes and life took over.  The reunion removed the negativity I had surrounding some of the high school memories.  The surprise was others memories and perceptions of how things were back then.  We all live our lives through different filters.  But it was good to relive some shared experiences through some who experienced the same events.

I am already thinking about planning some type of reunion for the elementary school where I attended next year. There were many very fond memories of the Elementary days!

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The Importance of Chewing: A Lesson Brought Home

My mother and I recently went on a cruise vacation and there were some “firsts” for me even with this being my 21st cruise.  One of the most shaking was what happened to me a couple of days out into the cruise.  Here is what happened.

This day was landmark in many ways.  While on vacation we were at our first port of call and the weather was amazing.  We had a sea day with it cloudy and rainy all day long.  Secondly, at dinner tonight I got a piece of fruit, which I thought was pineapple stuck in my throat and it would not go down.  I drank water, nothing.  Got more water, nothing.  It was not impeding my breathing but felt like something was just stuck and would not go down.  I knew I had to get it out if it would not go down.  I walked out of the Lido dining area to a “lobby” of sorts and bent over and coughed.  It shot out into my hand. RELIEF!  Much to my surprise it was not a piece of pineapple but a piece of watermelon.  It should not have gotten swallowed when it did.  It was too large of a piece to be swallowed.  Luckily I could still talk and breathe while it was stuck.  A female crew member came over to me and asked me if I was alright.  I told her I was now, I had something stuck in my throat.  Luckily, I did not panic I did not cause a scene nor try to attract any attention or involving others.  AT the moment it was uncomfortable but not scary.  Afterwards, I realized it was scary!  Moral of the story is to make sure you chew your food thoroughly before swallowing it!  I think talking and taking a drink before I should have contributed to the situation.  It went down before it was supposed to!

Chewing not only aids digestion, the bottom line it can save your life!  CHEW before swallowing your food! Stop talking long enough to finish chewing or you could have a mishap!

In reflecting on this incident, this situation triggered a memory of my dad while he and I were out eating one day for lunch.  He too had gotten something “stuck” in his throat and had to leave the table. I knew he was eating very fast and wasn’t chewing properly luckily there were no life threatening incidents but it reminded me to not go down that same path.  It was scary for me when those times happened to him and I was an adult.  That memory scared me more than the incident but I am being much more mindful of chewing and talking and swallowing while I am eating.

Mental Fatigue of Dieting

When you begin to feel that maybe it is not worth the effort any longer since you are not seeing any results you want to see and then you realize that you are not doing what you need to do we get those results.  I call it “Diet Fatigue” You might notice the following are happening:

  • Sloppy Eating
  • Sloppy Tracking
  • Sloppy Portion Control
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Not making good choices the majority of the time
  • Relying on exercise only for results

Sometimes we need a “shake up” to regain focus, motivation and shift attitudes.  I started a recent cruise just two tenths of a pound from having to pay and being over my Weight Watchers goal.  That gave me some much-needed focus as I knew I needed to be “good”  to not have to pay upon my return.  By changing my environment and not being at home I felt this would give me a good “push” in the right direction.  I was forced to be more ‘mindful’ about my choices and portions.  I knew I could not “let myself go” and eat with abandon onboard the ship.  I sat a personal goal to weight less than I did when I got aboard the cruise.

One thing I did not count on was catching a bug while onboard the ship.  That put a big wrench into my plans.  I started getting sick about half way through the seven night cruise.  For 24 hours food smells did not set well with me and I was very limited in what I ate but when I got off the ship at the end of the cruise, I weighed point four tenths of a pound more than I did when I got onboard and was still sick so I did not have my official weigh in as planned.  My mother then caught what I had onboard and we did not make the meeting on February 10th but will hopefully both be well enough to make the meeting on the 17th.

I do feel I am being more selective of what I am eating and how much but I still am fighting the mental side “is this really worth this effort” at times too.  After five years of being on Weight Watchers, I am assuming this happens to all at some point in time on the journey.  I began in January of 2013 and we are in February of 2018 so five years and I have to get a grip on this mental hurdle for sure!

Weight Watchers Freestyle – Week 1 Weigh In

This past week was cold here in Florida and weighing in wearing just thin shorts and a short sleeve tee-shirt was not something I was planning on doing.  So I was making the switch back to jeans the first weigh in of the new program.  Jeans instantly add weight and bulk and I want to do this the first week?  Yes I do! I do not want to freeze to weigh in first week or not!  Keep in Monday a week ago it was 37 degrees outside in the mornings and each day afterwards was a few degrees warmer but with another anticipated cold front on the way.  Shorts were not in the picture! I washed the shorts and tee shirt and packed them away and got out a pair of Levi’s and a thermal shirt, I was ready!

The second cold front arrives and instead of cooling us down or keeping us cool, it warms us up!  I decided to keep my plan in place about switching to the jeans to weigh in.  Last year I had switched the week prior to Thanksgiving, this year it was two weeks before Christmas.  But this was not only two weeks prior to Christmas it was my birthday week and we had a few “food” events at work, it was PMS week which normally yields a 2 pound gain and the first week of the new Freestyle program!  I must have lost my sanity to choose this week.  But it is what it is.

At our Saturday morning meeting the leader figured I had freaked out a few times during the week with the changes and she was right but I kept trying to trust in the new program.  So many were having great success.  But I knew the cards were stacked against me this first week but I kept reminding myself there is science behind all this and things would be fine.  I also reminded myself I would be up but the jeans and PMS would be the culprit and I had already done my official monthly weigh-in so at least this would be a good barometer of how hard I needed to work the next week.

I handed Kathy, one of our receptionists my book and climbed onto the scale.  I was indeed up but it was a point two up. Yes, .2! not Two pounds!  In my head I knew that in reality I was down and the jeans were masking the success but next week it would show a little better since I was wearing the jeans again and a lack of food events should help too!

Bring on week 2 of Freestyle!



Weight Watchers Freestyle – Day 7

It has been cold all week here in Florida and staying warm has been a major issue for me.  To those that live in the north that sounds very whiney but it is one of those realities that I have dealt with since losing excess weight.  Where I work the buildings have been very cold as well this week so that has not helped.  I recall when I was actively losing weight, I stayed cold all the time so I am HOPING that the to the bone cold I have been experiencing is the program working some “magic” and assisting me getting off the six pounds I gained in 2015 while on vacation, I have see sawed back and forth on them up and down and I am wanting this new program to help me put them behind me once and for all and some additional pounds too!

Tomorrow is my weigh in day and I am not sure what to expect being it is the proverbial PMS week which explains the grips the salty chips have had over me all this week!  I will “peek” at the scale this evening as I log my Friday night weights to keep a handle on what to expect on Saturday morning.

I have chatted with some members online about the program and several who felt they were eating too much lost two pounds their first week.  I have heard of a great deal of success from those who have already completed their first week.  I am excited but cautious about what my results might be!