Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Last Meeting at Weight Watchers.....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010.....

I finally found a leader at Weight Watchers I like and have been going to meetings for the past several weeks instead of just weighing in and leaving.

The topic for the last meeting was how Weight Watchers is not a diet, but a lifestyle change. To some extent, I agree with that, but I think of WW as training a person to be more "mindful" of what they are eating.

Weight Watchers has you track and count points, and when I track food, exercise and drink water, I can tell you the program works. However, I don't always stay on track or program. I hate to track what I'm eating for several reasons: 1) I have to remember just how much I ate; 2) I have to see what I ate in black and white; and 3) Often I eat things I shouldn't have and don't realize I put them in my mouth.

I think if you're mindful of what you're putting in your mouth when eating, you may eat less and I know I enjoy it more.

Now that you have a background of Friday's discussion, there was this thin woman sitting in front of me and she was nodding her head how WW is definitely a lifestyle. She was excited because she reached 5% of her goal and told us the story of her recent trip to the doughnut shop with her daughter.

She explained how WW's lifestyle mentality gave her the freedom to buy the doughnut, but not knowing the points, brought it home and looked up the point value. She divided the doughnut into 6 parts and ate 1 part putting away the rest of it. As she was putting it away, she told her daughter she could have some tomorrow as a treat.

Is it just me in thinking this isn't a lifestyle choice? Get the doughnut, but instead of eating a whole doughnut, eat half of it and then either exercise or make better food choices for the day.

I don't want to become so obsessed about eating things I love for fear of the "point value", but am learning to be mindful of what I'm eating.

Sunday, I met a friend for brunch at this place I had read about. I had a very tasty breakfast. When I got home, I looked up the point value (I'm tracking) and learned hollandaise sauce is deadly on points. Luckily, the portion sizes were not ENORMOUS and I've made adjustments to what I ate for the rest of the day.

I'll definitely go back with hubby, but may choose something else. But, I know I feel no guilt for what I ate and enjoyed it immensely.

Sometimes, people forget food can be for enjoyment. It doesn't have to be the enemy. Enjoy it, but be mindful of what you eat instead of just eating to eat. Personally, I think that should be Weight Watchers' message.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Mind is Like a Puzzle Box.....

Monday, August 30, 2010....

Ever put together a puzzle with 500 pieces? The first thing I would do is open the box and flip it over on a table. All the pieces would scatter on the work surface with no rhyme or reason. Well, that's how I feel....

I have a zillion little thoughts running through my head and it feels impossible to put them together into a cohesive pattern. Instead I've been trying to chase down all the possible little ideas without being effective.

Next step I'd take with a puzzle is to flip the pieces over and pull out all the border pieces and match these pieces up to create the border of my puzzle. But, with the thoughts in my head, I'm just letting them consume me and it is somewhat paralyzing and I'm beginning to understand how frustrated a greyhound would feel chasing the mechanical rabbit at a track (note: I've never been to a dog race, but that's my vision supplied from Bugs Bunny cartoons).

I decided to take the many thoughts racing around in my mind and make a border -- I need to take, and feel in control of my life. The only way I know to do so is by taking small steps.

Everyday, I am going to do something for my body, mind, soul, financial well being, career goal and dream goal. I've also given myself permission to take a day off from any of these daily goals without beating me up. This last part is crucial because I'm always beating myself up becoming frustrated and counter productive. Does this ever happen to you?

So far, I've meditated, organized my living space, exercised, paid some bills and revisited my journal.

I realize these changes will take time before I see any real results, but I feel better already.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This weekend I met Shane....Shane the goat....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010....

Wow! I can't believe it is less than one month till my birthday (that shout out was specifically for YogaGirl)....

Oh yeah, where was I....

Shane, the Goat. Very cute, lovable and fond of my cotton jeans. But, I'll give Shane some slack as he is but a kidd and probably doesn't know better.

Where did I meet Shane? On our travels to Norway, NY. The metropolis of the world (if anyone knows anything about this town they would be laughing because it is that small).

Before I met hubby 4 years ago, he had a life, albeit it couldn't have been that great because I wasn't in it, but he had one. He did a lot of things and one of things was to purchase some property in the foothills of the Adirondacks and that is where we headed to.

When he mentioned camping on the property, I thought how fun until he said, I'll bring a gun because there are more bear than people and I thought WTH??? I began to wonder if my unemployed status was taking a toll on him and this was his way of handling the situation, but it wasn't.

Since the drive would pass Sharon Springs, I suggested we stop at the Beekman 1802 store. Does anyone know who the Beekman Boys are? Two guys from NYC who moved upstate to run a farm. Their show is on Planet Green and very amusing.

Unlike other reality shows, there are no cat fights or girls crying hysterically, but just a fun show depicting life on a farm and what is needed for it to work.

We decided to stop in town, eat lunch and check out their store. We bought some goat milk's soap, cheese and this great canvas bag which I highly recommend if your grocery stores require cloth bags.

The store was decorated nicely, the person behind the counter (which is a refinished piece of antique furniture) was incredibly nice and people were streaming in and out of the store while we were there.

Besides the merchandise, one thing that caught my attention while in the store were 3 people who complained how long the drive to get there was. Ummmm... I know where they were coming from and hubby and I traveled 45 minutes longer and thought the drive was wonderful (sometimes traveling country roads is just what a person needs). They were clearly disappointed that Brent, one of the owners, was not working out front, but cheered up when they were told he was in the back and would be happy to come out for a photo opp.

Yes, I love the show, but I thought it a bit odd to pull someone out from the back just for a picture. Geez, the guy was obviously in the back working on something. Anyway....that's just me.

However, I did take shots of the building because it's very cool and made friends with the 2 baby goats in front of the shop. One ate the hostas and building flag and the other loved being petted and enjoyed trying to eat my jeans.

One of the nice things that these guys state on their show and website is to go to all the shops on Main Street (there is only about 5). They are really trying to help the town grow and in this economy I like that they're doing that.

Today, I wrote them a short email. I thanked them for directing us off the beaten track to our final destination and asked for the cute goat's name. I was informed his name was Shane.

Obviously, if I'm writing this post, there were no visits by bear, just Mother Nature with rain. Even with the rain, it was a wonderful getaway and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remember my pole dancing dream and Ernest Borgnine....

Thursday, August 19, 2010....

Tuesday, I wrote about a dream I had where it was between me and Ernest Borgnine for a pole dancing gig. Luckily, I won out, but in real life he's the winner.

Last night, my sister, YogaGirl, emails me this blurb from Entertainment Weekly:

Ernest Borgnine to be honored by SAG: It's about time. "Veteran actor and Oscar-winner Ernest Borgnine will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild during the group’s annual awards presentation on January 30, 2011. It’s about time. After all, the 93-year-old actor who won an Oscar for his heartbreaking portrayal of a loveless mama’s boy in 1955′s Marty and who’s graced both the big and small screens with his smiling, gap-toothed mug is an overlooked Hollywood treasure."

You go Ernest!

Imagine my surprise at having a dream about a random actor I've never thought about, and two days later reading a heading that he's getting a lifetime achievement award from SAG. A little bizarre, but I'm glad it wasn't his obit.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Someone Please Explain this Dream to Me.....

Tuesday, August 17, 2010....

I've been told dreams are a window to your soul, and many times, they hold the answer to some problems you may be trying to resolve. I actually agree with this statement.

In the past, I've had some dreams that were incredibly insightful, but last night left me wondering what the message was.

Last night I dreamt I was asked by a pole dancing agent [Note: I've never taken a pole dancing class] that she wanted to book me for some guy's bachelor party who was looking for an Oriental girl [Note: I'm French Canadian and about 5'7", so petite is not a word used to describe me].

Apparently, all her girls were booked and it was between me and her husband. He resembled Ernest Borgnine [Note: In my dream Ernest Borgnine was actually her husband.].

The client wanted me [Note: It's nice to know I beat out a 93 year old MAN for a pole dancing gig].

In the end, I didn't take the job -- hmmm....not that shocked, but WTH???? Why am I dreaming about pole dancing and Ernest Borgnine? I had fluke for dinner that my husband caught last weekend fishing off the coast of Rhode Island. I wonder if the fish was swimming in some scary contaminated waters for me to have a dream like that.

[Note: Until this morning when I looked up the correct spelling of Borgnine, I thought Ernest Borgnine was dead. He's not according to what I researched. Mr. Borgnine, if you read my blog, I apologize for thinking you were dead.]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time to Relinquish My Girl Card....

Monday, August 16, 2010....

Confession: I am not a fan of purses or shoes. There. I said it.

Yes, I'm female, but I really hate to shoe shop or to buy/change or match a purse to an outfit. However, I will admit I'm on the hunt for the world's smallest purse I can get away with carrying.

I had one and I wore it out. Now I carry my standby. A Coach bag that I've had forever, but it is bigger than I need and I'm always fishing around in the purse for the one item I need. Because it is too big for my purpose, as soon as I put my hand in the purse, things shuffle around as if they were running away from my hand. Nine out of ten times I end up emptying the contents out on the dining room table.

In the movie You've Got Mail, I was in awe of Meg Ryan's character. Sure, she was cute and lovable, but SHE NEVER CARRIED A PURSE. It was amazing. Whatever she needed just magically appeared. Money at the farmer's market "POOF". A key to get in her house "POOF". I wonder why the magic fairy purse doesn't follow me around.

I also have to admit, when I was working in an office, I did enjoy shoe shopping. There was a purpose to buying fun shoes. However, the moment I went virtual, well comfy slippers replaced the heel. Why wouldn't it? I don't think my cat cared what shoes were on my feet (unless her tail was under my foot and that happened more than I like to admit). So, it's been years and, other than sneakers and slippers , I haven't shoe shopped in probably 4 years.

Wow. I guess I'll be giving back my girlie-girl card shortly.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Writer's Workshop

Tuesday, August 10, 2010....

For quite some time, I wanted to join a writer's group, but was too scared. The art of writing, while easy for some, is not for me.

Initially it was my grammar that had me running from joining a group, but eventually, it was my fear of the unknown that had me stay away from writing groups. When I say the "unknown", I mean rejection of my work or fear of not being able to finish any writing projects or knowing what I wanted to write.

So...now that we know why it took forever for me to join a group, let me tell you about the one I joined. It's not a traditional group you'd find associated with your local library or bookstore, but one run by a husband and wife team who have a business geared towards writers. They have a physical location which is open most of the day for writers to go to write instead of the coffee shop. An alternative to the noisy Starbucks or your home which offers up 1000+ distractions.

In addition to offering a place to get your writing mojo in place, they offer writing, screenplay and poetry workshops as the main portion of their business. The workshops are moderated by one of the owners who was a professor of writing at various colleges and an actor in his early career (I'm not sure if he also wrote for the screen, but would imagine that having acted on stage and screen rounds out his knowledge for his screenwriting groups).

I take the writer's workshop. I meet once per week with 4 other women and share what we have been writing on from the prior week. The three rules of the group are: come with 4 to 5 double-spaced pages of something you've been working on, you leave negativity at the door and when you offer your comments on other author's works, you have to be positive.

The moderator, Patrick, is the only one allowed to offer CONSTRUCTIVE criticism.

Constructive does not mean negative, but offers suggestions how to pump up the work, or tell you where the writing is weak.

Everyone in my group is writing something different. Some stuff I like, some I don't. However, when your only comment is to be something positive you put on different listening ears. You may not enjoy a piece on peeling sunburned skin, BUT, you can appreciate the lengths she went to show you her thoughts that run through her mind about peeling sunburned skin.

As a listener of a writer's group, you listen for the details and to see if they captured the scene.

One woman is writing an autobiography which is beautifully written even though the events she is writing about are sad. Another is starting a career as a stand-up comedian and her pieces are written from such an unique viewpoint that you find yourself lost in her thoughts. Another, a murder mystery and the other women in my group is writing pure fiction.

I'm writing a memoir disguised as fiction. There is a name for it, but it has slipped my mind at the moment. It is the period of time after my separation and how I grew as a person. However, at the moment, I'm a bit bored with the character and have been procrastinating on the character development. I just need to write and not listen to the negative thoughts and go back and edit.

The beauty of writing a memoir disguised as a fiction piece is that you can embellish the story and take great liberties you couldn't with the truth. Plus, I don't really want to hurt anyone's feelings.

What we do in the workshop besides read our pieces is interesting. We talk about the craft of writing and Patrick creates interesting and mysterious writing exercises for the group. For example...I'm told to think of a time period, another person is told to think of a setting, another to describe 2 male characters, another 2 females and finally the last person is told to describe 3 moral situations. We have 2 minutes to write down our descriptors and then we read them aloud to the group. Next is the fun part. For the next 10 minutes we write about one of the characters in the setting and time period provided with one moral issue. We are just to write. Patrick stresses this because it helps to clear the mind and lets you have fun.

The above scenario happened in class and the interesting part about it was the twist that happened because I had time period and chose the 1930's. Everyone chose 21st century situations and they had to adapt the character from a jet setting movie producer to a Broadway play producer traveling by train. For me, I could easily adapt a character into a different period, but others really struggled. It was interesting to see how difficult it was for some people to have lost control over their writing direction.

For me, the workshop is just want I needed to get what I need to on paper. I've also learned that you need to write daily on the piece (blogging, journaling and free writing are nice, but don't count). I knew this, but didn't know that it only takes 4 days for this to become habit. I'm not sure I believe this. Why don't I? Well, it takes 11 days to break chocolate cravings and 21 days to create an exercise routine. Four days seems too short (can you tell I haven't done 4 days in a row).

My biggest obstacle is me. My negative thoughts and my fear of grammar (although, I was informed POV was more important and that is why there are copy editors -- I'm still out on that one).

If you want to join a writer's group and don't have the $$, check out your local library or bookstore (both mine didn't offer one) or meetup.com or craig's list. If no luck, approach the local bookstore or coffee shop to start one. Years ago, when I had a small dried flower business, I approached a local craft store to give dried flower wreath workshops and gave 2 of them.

If you have a fear of talking in front of a group and really want to do this in a virtual atmosphere - The Next Big Writer offers you this option.

If you have any questions, just ask. I'll try to answer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Mish Mash

Monday, August 9, 2010.....

Where have I been? Here. Doing things, but nothing to get me in the police blotter of the local newspaper or anything worthy of receiving a medal. However, I've had a lot of little things/thoughts go on so I'll share....

1) A Moment of Jealousy - Yup. You read that right. Here's the scenario...Several weeks ago my friend sends a blast email out about a new fridge her and her hubby were selling. Long story short, they bought 2 fridges because the first one was too big and in the end, made adjustments to the kitchen so this fridge could fit. So why am I jealous??? Well, I live in a 1940's Cape Cod style house and the rooms are very small and all appliances are small! The size you'd buy for a Barbie Dreamhouse. In fact, I'm taller than my fridge...translation: I'm always cleaning, reschuffling or reorganizing the fridge out. It's annoying. Is it too much to ask the refrigerator god that when I open the door of my fridge I can a) see what's in there; and b) easily place a new item on the shelf.

2) Started going back to Weight Watchers again. Although the first meeting went well, my body already went into alcohol makes me feel icky mode. Saturday night, I had a friend over for her birthday and made some blueberry vodka/lemonade/presecco drinks (in addition to champagne cocktails) and Sunday, I paid for it. I wasn't drunk Saturday night, but was exhausted from going out the night before for some great reggae played at a local street festival. Champagne always gives me killer hangovers (typically, they start the same night) and yesterday was no exception.

3) YogaGirl is in Scotland and it's weird not talking to her daily. Although, I heard from her yesterday and she's having a great time. She even tried haggis which won't be on her must have foods -- something about an odd after taste.

4) Writer's workshop is going well and actually pushing me far out of comfort zone. I'm a girl that likes to give you the basics of a situation, but don't elaborate on the details and that's what I need. I need to describe a room my character enters or an item of clothing I focus on, but in much greater detail. For instance, I may write about an enormous purse one character may own and it is important to the scene, but I need to describe the detail (e.g., designer, color, plain vs. glitz). At first I didn't understand why, but now I do. Details help the reader round out the person. However, after years of writing from a legal perspective, I'm a girl that likes to write in short, concise sentences. I feel the rest is over sharing (just like this paragraph), but am glad I'm doing it. It is making me ponder over the detail of the scene and where the character is headed.

Okay, that's the end of my mish mash for the moment. There's probably more on my mind, but it's early and I'm not a morning person. Basically, thinking is at a minimum before my caffeine.