Category Archives: building good habits

Therapy

Bruderhof Communities

Playing in my art room is therapy for me. An escape from anything that is bothering me. A way to work out feelings. A joy in experimentation.

We converted a third bedroom into my art room several years ago. I helped my husband put up extra shelves all the way across one wall. We got extra stand-alone shelves and a drafting table advertised in the newspaper. We put up a few more shelves on another wall. I converted the closet into a supplies area. We put up another large table that is as long as one wall.  There is a ceiling fan from which I hung a cute mobile of merry-go-round horses.

Years ago my husband and son got together to give me a present of a lot of my favorite songs on CDs. I have a player up there, so I can fill the room with glorious music – some of which I danced to as a teenager a hundred years or so ago – and lose myself in the world of music and paint.

The only limitations is my imagination and my ability to make my visions come out on whatever I’m trying to paint. Lately I’ve been having ideas for tees on which I have spots that won’t come out in the wash. Since I’m a slob, I seem to have a never-ending supply of tees that can use a face lift.

Yesterday I finished another.

 

Lately I am trying to do things each day that make me stronger.  I’m getting back into exercising, monitoring what I eat more carefully, working in my flowers when the weather isn’t lethal, playing in my art room, spending time with our son, walking outside several times a day, and reading.

The result of all this is hopefully a stronger, happier, calmer me. I don’t have to be able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but being able to handle whatever comes as well as possible would be good.  I am in DAY 4 today. So far, so good!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, aging, Attitude, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, fun in my art room, Giving New Life to Old Tops, Health Alert, Lewis Art, playing in my art room, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Patting Myself on the Head – Just a Bit

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I’ve been a good girl today, doing some of the things I hate most – balancing checkbooks, filing, and tax prep for 2019.

I have the equivalent of a doctorate – plus in the fine art of procrastination. For years I have paid for it and the end of the year/beginning of the next year – being buried in receipts. I HATE tax prep and my husband calmly washed his hands of it years ago. He does bring me cups of coffee every once in a while, as encouragement, but that’s as involved as he gets.

When I finally could dump all of the organized receipts for 2018 on our wonderful CPA, I promised myself I would do things differently from now on. (Truth be told, I promise myself a LOT of things, only to procrastinate until the promises become meaningless.)

This year, though, I’m happy to tell you I have just finished

  • balancing our checkbooks
  • filing (I can see my desk!) – AND
  • converting receipts of all types for the month of March into the spreadsheets for taxes for 2019 I started at the beginning of the year.

Instead of cramming all the monthly receipts into monthly folders and then trying to make sense of things at the end of the year, I am going through the monthly receipts, listing things on the proper spreadsheet, then putting the receipts into a folder labeled for that deduction. No monthly folder anymore once the month is over. This way, at the end of the year I can simply total each category on the various spreadsheets, print them, list the information on the tax form booklet our CPA provides, already having the receipts ready to take!

I have officially finished 1/4 of 2019 now – can you see my grin?

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Bright Ideas, building good habits, Cause for Celebration, Changes, character-building exercises, learning new things, Organizing/DeCluttering, THINGS I HATE!

Something You Might Consider Doing

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I created a document for our son that answers questions such as, “What should I do about…?” and “Where is the….”

In this document I list financial stuff, insurance information, loans status and sources, contact information for important people, and more.

We all know there are no guarantees in life. No one knows how long he or she will live. I’ve tried to picture our son trying to deal with things if

  • I die, or my husband dies, and the remaining person needs help dealing with things
  • My husband and I die together and our son is left with the house, cars, and STUFF

We have taken advantage of the expertise of our lawyer, our CPA, and spelled out what we want done as far as burial arrangements, made suggestions as to what to do with the stuff our son doesn’t want, and mainly tried to answer “where is the” with lists of what is in our safe deposit box and other secure places.

_______________

We update the document every six months. (I procrastinate, thinking not much has changed – but each time I do it, I’m surprised how out-of-date much of the information is!  We have tried to handle things as much as possible so that our son can do things from across the world, if needed, or he can get to everything he needs if he comes home. We probably haven’t thought of everything, but we try to rethink things twice a year, as if we were looking at the problem with fresh eyes.

We think it’s a very important way we can help the remaining spouse or our son take care of things as easily as possible.

It’s never too early to plan for when you’re not here anymore. We think it’s a good way to show our love.

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Filed under building good habits, Challenges, Changes, character-building exercises, Family

This Week’s “Flex” Lunch/Dinner

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If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that my husband and I are on NutriSystem, trying to get the lard off. Since we were on it the first time, many years ago, they’ve added lots more food choices, plus frozen foods, plus a new emphasis on making this a lifestyle change, rather than a ‘diet.’ They are including ‘flex’ meals, one breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack each week to help you learn to function in the real world.

By trial and error, mostly (on our part) we’re learning to –

  1. ask for a doggie bag when we order our food. I am putting half of the meal in it, and my husband is adding part of his meal to the bag.
  2. modify our eating the rest of the day to make up for the larger calorie real world meal so that it fits into our plan, not blowing our efforts out of the water. (For example, since we ate our big ‘lunch’ today, we’ll have a salad for dinner if we’re hungry. If not so hungry, we’ll be satisfied with a snack. (We’ll eat more of what we brought home tomorrow.)
  3. we got combo seafood dinners at The Dari, today. We learned that next time, we can order ONE dinner, split it between the two of us, and still maybe bring some home.

Eating out takes the curse off of dieting for us. We’re happy enough with the Nutrisystem meals, but since we can eat out, we don’t feel deprived. If we want to share a meal with friends, they don’t even have to know we’re dieting. Eating a real-world meal is a quality of life thing, making it much more reasonable for us to stay on Nutrisystem until we both meet our goals.

We’re also learning how to modify our cooking so that we are building healthy eating habits with a much better sense of what a ‘portion’ is.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Healthy Eating

I DID It!

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I FINALLY  reached 30 pounds off in my efforts to get the lard off!  I went on chat on the Nutrisystem website, since I hadn’t received any notification or ‘reward’ redemption thingie in my email, and the kind lady said she would make sure my 30# off bear was included in my next order. :0)

To date:  30.6 lbs off. 28.5 inches off.  I think I’m about half way to my goal now, but I’ll see how I feel when I get there. My progress has been slow, but steady, so I’m happy that I can definitely see progress since April.

I still have to talk to myself about exercising, having a LOT of interests that involve sitting – computer stuff, like my blog, reading, working in my art room, etc. When the weather is good, though, I’m outside at least once a day, working in the greenhouse, weeding, or hacking something down, killing ants, and more.

I’m doing better since I decided to do my yoga stretches and exercises one day and my elliptical trainer the next, rather than trying to get both into one day. I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you that I bought sheets of gold stars – putting one on the calendar each day I do one or the other. Stupid – but it works for me. I say, “If it works, run it.” :0)

I’m especially happy that I lost weight this week. We splurged a lot this week, eating fried fish dinners at the grocery deli once, and eating breakfast out twice this week due to a botched attempt to get a blood test yesterday and a successful attempt today. Tomorrow is Lunch Bunch, and we’ll get chicken ‘thingies.’

The thing we’re learning is how to modify our eating the rest of the day when we eat out one meal in the real world. We’re still following the eating plan, but modifying our choices so that we stay on track better as far as calories for the day.  I have also found that, since we’re eating out more often, I don’t tend to get into the “YIPPEE!” mentality, where I eat completely bad choices like ‘this-is-the-last-time-I’ll-get-to-splurge,’ eating for 6 and feeling remorse later.  If it’s reasonable, I eat half and bring the other half home to eat some other time. I’m making better choices, such as a veggie omelette today, with no sides.

Slowly, we’re making this eating plan more ours. A life plan, rather than a way of eating for some specified period of time. I’m not feeling as tied to the program, panicking when we get off for any reason. I’m starting to cook more, bit by bit, though we ARE enjoying lots of raw veggies and salads now than ever, and my husband lives for his ‘grapes-and-nuts’ snacks.

 

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Filed under building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, getting the lard off, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

Still Riding on a High

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My husband and I are just starting to be able to acknowledge and enjoy the fact that there is less of us than there used to be. I’ve lost almost 30 pounds and almost 28 inches now. It’s only about half way to my goal, and to be honest, other than going down a size or two in jeans, I haven’t seen much difference in clothes.

This changed, finally, with my cleaning-out-the-closet project, switching warm weather stuff for cool the past several days. I forced myself to try on everything I had moved to my closet, finding a really full leaf bag full of tops that were too large. Not just really roomy, but falling-off-the-shoulders and exposing-my-whole-front type too large. :0)   I showed you some pics recently of the sweater/jacket I am finally able to wear after several years of moving it back and forth, always way too small, and now it FITS.

I’ve seen a change in my husband, too. Not only can I see a difference looking at him, I’ve noticed that he’s taking more interest in his clothes now. He just ordered some new jeans, asking me to measure him to be surer of the size. (We’re in a mystery area right now. We KNOW we’re smaller, but tend to still order as we did when we were larger. Even though I tried to use the charts provided at an online store, I found the clothes were too large when they arrived.)

Anyway, he’s wearing some new shirts, some brighter colors, and tries to think about which of his flannel shirts he’s wearing over the tee underneath, where it was haphazard, at best, before. I’ve been complimenting him, and it’s delightful to watch him try not to show how pleased he is. Now I’m working on encouraging his efforts to do some exercise…

We’re both trying to change our eating habits. When my husband finally got serious about giving up sugar to try to get a handle on his Type II diabetes, I gave up salt. I didn’t just add salt to almost everything, I even added salt to salty things. We figure that losing the weight and getting healthier is a good trade for our former addictions.

One new addition – we’ve been having a salad nightly, along with our Nutrisystem entree. My husband has been enjoying this, and was even pleased that I’m adding cherry tomatoes to it. When I added a touch of chopped walnuts to the mix (thanks, Mary Lou) he liked THAT, too. I’m adding a few garbanzo beans to my salad, and my husband still nixes that, but he says he looks forward to our salads in the evening.

We’re still working on portion control. This is a really alien concept, since the two of us apparently have routinely been eating for ourselves and several other folks at each meal. Now we’re learning to have ONE portion of something with a side of veggies or salad. I told you yesterday that I was learning to divide my meal from a restaurant in half, bringing half home to eat some other time. It’s a process, but one we’ll build with exercise.

By the way, I FINISHED the closet-clean-out project yesterday, organizing the warm weather stuff in the guest room closet so it’s ready to move easily next time. Hopefully, by the time we’re ready for warm/hot weather stuff NEXT time, I’ll be able to fill another leaf bag!!!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, building good habits, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, quality of life, taking care of yourself

I’m Learning!

Chicago Tribune

After we had run most of our errands this afternoon, we stopped at The Dari for lunch. Last time, I ate like a pig, doing everything except lick my plate because it all tasted so good.

THIS TIME, I thanked the waitress for bringing my plate, and asked if she would bring me a doggie bag. She asked, “Large or small?” I said, “Large, please.” She brought it right out. Before I touched a bite of anything on my plate, I divided each thing in half, putting one half of my meal into the doggie bag. THEN I cleaned the plate.

I don’t feel stuffed now. I didn’t exceed my quota for lunch calories. I don’t have to feel guilty. The doggie bag goodies are now in a freezer-safe container marked with my initials + ‘dinner’ for another day.

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Filed under building good habits, DIET!