Blogging in the Universe

A Place to Collect Thoughts, Ideas, and Visions

Thinking Makes It So

I’m writing this as I sit on my beach chair in my house that is devoid of all furniture. I slept on an air mattress last night. My ties to living in Florida are complete in 2 days as I wait for the final closing on my house.

As I look around, everything I see is because of a decision I made. My plantation shutters, my hammered dulcimer, my pink petunias in a pot. It is empowering to know that if I no longer like what I see, I can change it. In this particular situation I no longer like how I feel.

I am a different person than I was three years ago when I moved to Florida. I came here, unbeknownst at the time, to capture an old relationship with my daughter. But she is no longer the 19 year old girl that joined the US Air Force. She’s a grown woman now with a husband and four teenagers. In other words our mother daughter relationship changed while I wasn’t looking.

I had also gained about 60 lbs and had to put my beloved basset hound to sleep because of lymphoma. I was very depressed. When I realized that my daughter’s relationship with me was different I was forced to look deep inside of me to find out who I was; how do I want to engage in life. Not what my daughter wants or my family wants but what is it that I want. This was very weird for me because I had lived my entire life for what others wanted.

I have lost the weight and have found things that I like to do. I have finally started on my own journey. I owe a lot of my journey to accepting life as it is. Bryon Katie has good books on this. She also offers insight into changing destructive thoughts. And she offers this for free. Find her website if you want to unlock the key to a happy life.

After all was said and done, selling my house, moving my stuff, forwarding mail, turning off utilities, etc. , I found myself being very sad. Sad for leaving my daughter, for selling my house, for leaving behind a few good friends, and a comfortable life (but boring). And I turned to The Work app and started to process the sadness feelings. Thinking made it so – Thinking made the sadness go. I am excited now to be turning to a new chapter in life. I am at a healthy weight, I am vegan, I like to cook, I have a nice retirement income, I made a nice profit on the sale of my house, mortgage interest rates are the lowest they’ve been in 30 years, and I’ve got all the time I need to find a new place to live. A place to call home. A place to settle into and make mine. Thinking makes it so.

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Plateaus

It’s been six months since I began my focused decision to reach a normal body mass index (BMI). This past few weeks have been a struggle. This is usually when I revert back to old habits and overeat. But this time I am wiser and have learned to rely on my new good habits and the power of controlling my thoughts. My determination is as strong as ever and I press on: prepare my menu, incorporate one new menu item, prepare my food so it is available when I get hungry, weigh and measure everything (no eyeballing ever), track calories and distance walked on Lose It app and Steps. The Lose It app now allows a timestamp to help visually with spacing out of meals and snacks.

There is nothing magic to losing weight. It is hard work, determination, and controlled thoughts. The reward comes from feeling energized and wearing smaller clothes sizes. It is work. It is discipline. Just as anything else is. I’m learning Italian and practicing my hammered dulcimer. It is not easy; it is determination knowing the reward will come with time.

If negative thoughts pop up in my mind I know to quickly let them pass on by. I do this by replacing them with affirmations or pleasant thoughts in the moment, i.e., my dog or recipe ideas. Just anything to turn negative thoughts away. The same goes for my past. There is no point to dwelling there. None. It is gone. All I am is what is now. I think this might be why I am not one to enjoy looking at old pictures. They make me sad and long for a time that is gone.

Plateaus come and go in life. The key is to daily keep doing disciplined habits and stay in the present, hold affirming thoughts, and always have dessert.

Vegan Banana Muffins
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Getting to the Other Side of Life

I always knew that I wanted to not eat meat; to eat healthy greens, fruits, and beans.  I wanted to be at a healthy weight and have low cholesterol and blood pressure. I could not do it in all my 65 years of life until one day, just like Forrest Gump stopped running, I stopped eating meat. My new life began when I bought a new, thick, cutting board – never to feel the touch of animal flesh. It was also Lent and I reasoned I could stop eating all meats for six weeks. Six weeks turned into six months and by the time Lent came around again,  I decided to stop eating all animal products – milk, honey, eggs, cheese.

This new vegan lifestyle required being able to cook and so I started to cook. The vegan meals I am making are so delicious and filled with beautiful colors. I love them so much that I had to start controlling my portion sizes by weighing and measuring them. I began tracking my foods in the free Lose It app so I could make sure I was getting enough protein. I bought into the myth that you only get protein from animals but now I know that is not true. Plants provide all the protein we need. I have lost 43 pounds and am well on my way to being a healthy weight or a BMI below 25.

I discarded all of my old cookbooks because they were geared for animal flesh and animal by products. I found several new vegan cookbooks and am becoming very knowledgeable about combinations of foods and substitutions for animal products like eggs. I make the best, dense, delicious oatmeal raisin cookie ever!

On my journey to the other side I am learning to meditate and do light exercises. I have turned off the TV and listen to quiet, gentle music and read so much more than ever – something I’ve always wanted to do but could not.

I rescued a little dog named Lilybug and we go for long walks every day.  She is my somebody to love which is all I need. I enjoy our solitude together and each night when we go to bed we are safe knowing we are close to each other. When we wake up each morning she lets me pet her and talk to her for a long while before we get up for breakfast.

Dream until your dreams come true.

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Chapters of Me

I believe I am ready to begin the second to last or possibly the last chapter of my life. It has taken this long to become a separate, happy individual. Each chapter has a few main lessons learned and I plan to detail those lessons in an orderly fashion in the coming days. As I leave this chapter the most important lesson is this: we need someone to love not the other way around.

Perhaps this is why I dislike Disney movies so much. Their stories model true love consisting of a man rescuing a woman and living happy ever after. This is not true and it drives home the message that we are losers if we don’t have a partner. I can say unequivocally that I am truly happy loving and caring for my rescue dog. I take care of her and she needs me. Even if I had a pet fish that fish would need me.

I do not need a human partner to add angst to my life. All relationships require compromise. I’m not willing to compromise my life any longer. Sure it is hard at times being alone; every decision is mine. But in the end it is my life to live.

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This Little Virus

This little virus: more powerful than the most powerful that rule this world.

I had to turn the television off for a while. I can feel my stress level rise as I see the incompetent president speaking. The man has had direct contact with a positive Covid 19 patient and yet he is still shaking hands and surrounding himself with many of his administration. He is so clueless and irresponsible. He kept test kits out of the hands of practicing clinicians so the Covid 19 numbers would stay low – better for his reelection. But nothing new from this guy my fellow Americans elected to lead this country. Just as I must watch the world destroyed by climate change, I must also watch my country destroyed by a narcissistic con man. I have no control over these things. I just try to take care of myself and my family and control my thoughts.

I am socially distancing myself which is really no big deal as I live this way most of the time. I won’t go to choir practice or church until this virus is under control. My days usually consist of cooking and walking my dog, watching Netflix, and some political television. I’ve cut back on the politics though as it is very stressful. I’ve voted in Florida’s primary. That is in my control. The only thing I will have to do is go to the grocery store every so often as I will need more food.

It must be very difficult for parents with young children or parents with children away at college right now. My heart goes out to them and the struggles they face. No one can count on the grandparents for babysitting. It is expensive to buy plane tickets to bring kids home from college. Italy. Iran. Kids in cages. It is very sad right now. I turn to my cat groups and rock groups on Face Book for a break from the dire news. And Fiona, the baby hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Perhaps this is the Universe’s way of getting rid of Donald Trump? Who else could have made the stock market crash and spread panic among the world like this virus is doing? Who could make Trump stop these inane campaign rallies? Maybe his supporters will realize this is not a hoax. I’m waiting to see how karma works in all this.

Keep safe and wash your hands often. Clean surfaces and door knobs. Even your car steering wheel. The virus could be lurking anywhere.

10% bleach solution – ¼ c of bleach in 2 ¼ water (add the water to the bleach)

Wipe everything down. This to shall pass. Hopefully I live through it.

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Determination

The challenge I’ve taken on, getting to a normal BMI, is hard. I have developed some very bad habits over my lifetime and these all have to be undone and replaced by new habits.

My bad habits surrounding food developed in response to unidentified and unprocessed feelings. As a kid I never learned how to name feelings and work through them in healthy ways. I’m better at this today but it can still take me days or weeks to identify them.

I have diligently worked to identify feelings and have narrowed most of my anxiety to one feeling in particular: thinking that I have a lack of money. I’ve trained my thoughts to reject this by replacing “I don’t have enough money” to “I have what I need.” I have money saved in my annuities and I have a sufficient amount of monthly income. I’m using the Mint app to track my spending. I have a budget to follow. My taxes are done and I got a refund. My biggest anxiety now has a name.

When I feel this feeling, I name it and let it go. On those days that I can’t let it go, I try to self medicate by eating healthy snacks; hummus and raw veggies, tea and fig newton cookies. I am getting better as I practice. The past couple of weeks I really struggled. This week I am back on track – maybe because my money stress is no longer with me. I am able to pay off my credit card, meet all of my monthly expenses, and even have enough money to have my round, brilliant cut diamond my grandma gave me years ago, set into a necklace.

In addition to tracking my money and spending, I track my daily intake of food and how far I walk in a day. These things help me to visualize the new habits I am forming to get to my normal BMI. I’ve lost 30 pounds so far; I have 30 more to go.

Lunch – veggie soup, toss salad, Melba toast
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Quiet Saturday

Being retired requires fortitude. The routine of the work world no longer exists. A new routine needs to be put in place. It is our choice to make it whatever we want. Doing nothing is an option; doing everything is an option. Finding the sweet balance requires diligence, revising, and courage.

Some days I start my morning off by watching some TV shows I recorded from the night before. Some of my favorites include The Good Doctor, Emergence, and Manifest. Love it or List it is a fun show. Some days I don’t even turn the TV on. I read, paint a rock, or dabble on the piano. Today I am blogging just to touch base with my feelings.

I’ve stopped watching political shows as it is too stressful. It is like our democracy is crumbling in front of our eyes and we the people, who put our trust in elected leaders, must sit and watch it crumble. FaceBook is a big contributor to the demise of our republic, so is Fox News. There is nothing I can do about it except vote in November. I feel so bad for the younger generations – they are so apathetic; one day they will realize what they’ve lost and it will be too late. I will most likely not be alive when that happens though.

I still watch the national news every evening. It is one of the things I do everyday. Other daily activities include first morning coffee (decaf) feeding my dog, and a daily walk of 1 mile. Then there is meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking. Wednesday is choir practice; I really need to practice the proper way to sing. Two church services on Sunday and small errands in between. I mentor a student once a week for 5 minutes who really doesn’t need me but I continue to mentor her because I made the commitment to do so. That is it. My daily journey.

Recently I’ve been asking myself “how do you want to engage the day?” It is a different way of thinking about what to do. Then I make one promise to myself that I will keep. Today’s promise is to eat 3 meals and 1 snack.

Breakfast

Special treats for me include having coffee with my daughter or going to her house to visit with my grandchildren. Two of them are not there very much because they go to there dad’s house every other week and they have jobs. That is why it is so wonderful to see them when I do.

I have always dreamed of being retired. Now that it is here I am so surprised as I never really believed that dream. I never felt it before. It teaches me that our dreams do come true if we are patient.

My new dream is to be at a normal BMI. I patiently pursue that dream.

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Farm Sanctuary

My passion and purpose becomes clear to me. Giving up eating meat after many years started this journey. This past year I’ve been vegetarian (no meat but animal by products such as eggs, cheese, honey OK). On March 7th, my anniversary date, I will be completely vegan and oil free.

My health was suffering and my heart breaking over the horrible cruelty all animals suffer on a daily bases. It is not OK. I found Farm Sanctuary online and am so grateful for the compassion people have for animals. They rescue them from terror and abuse. I am not strong enough to do that but maybe one day I will be.

Joking and mocking about killing innocent animals is OK in our society. It has got to stop. It stops with me as I feel empowered to speak up. I’m also using my FaceBook page to post awareness to my few followers. This is my cause. Kindness to all things.

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Moving Home

It is almost as if I was forced to move to Florida to wake me from stagnation. As difficult as it has been, I am beginning to understand it was necessary to complete the journey to find me.

As I prepare my beautiful home for the market, I move forward with confidence and courage to do the difficult. I’ve settled into a comfortable life here in Florida so why must I move?

I miss the four seasons. I miss the closeness of my cottage. My sister and I have developed a good relationship; one that we did not have three years ago when I moved to Florida. My Ann Arbor daughter, a single mom, can use my my help with her young daughter, my youngest granddaughter with whom I have a close relationship. My daughter here in Florida is so happy with her life. She is a joy to be with but she doesn’t need my physical help. A phone talk or texting is all she may need from me.

I want to find a part time job which I am unable to do as long as I travel back and forth from Florida to Michigan. I am old fashioned about responsibility. I cannot take a job knowing I will have to quit it in the next six months.

I found who I am here in Florida. Time to move back home and live my life.

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A Journey, My Journey

I’ve recently reframed how I go about my day. Rather than list what I need to accomplish in the day, I think of how I want to engage each day.

Engaging in my life this past week has helped me firmly realize that this is my journey; my life. I’ve always heard that said before, that you alone must decide what you want, but what that meant never resonated with me. Until now. My daughters or my siblings cannot decide for me. They are on their own journey. Their input is always encouraged and welcomed but it is I that must make my decisions.

When I tried to be married, I deferred decisions to whatever my husband wanted. I pushed for a few things (my first house, my swimming pool, my college degree) but rode in the passenger seat for most everything else. When I divorced the second time I had to learn how to make major decisions in my life. What was best for me and me alone. In looking back I struggled with this. I was always influenced by my daughters. Would my choices be OK with them?

My kids are now in their forties with kids of their own. Moving to Florida has helped me to see that my baby is a very healthy, happily married, career woman who can stand on her own. She doesn’t need me like she used to. It is a freedom that I couldn’t have known before moving close to her. I do not belong here anymore.

After realizing that she is OK, I feel I can move back to my home state of Michigan where I do belong. I can have another chance for a fresh start in my life. I can take my time finding the perfect home without wearing any of the veils that used to cover me; veils that used to influence my decisions.

I have a new game plan and I am excited about it.

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