Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sounding the Bread Alarm...

This morning I stopped at our local bakery to deliver a message to a friend who works there... Fresh bread smells from the moment I opened my car door. Rustico, my favorite crusty baguette, was piled high and still warm. Oooo-la-la!

I don't buy much bread any more. It's not on my binge list, but is definitely a trigger for binge thinking and I've been known to lust for bread. Once in a while I buy a loaf, take it home, cut it in roll-sized portions and freeze them individually. Then when we're having a light, salad dinner, I take one from the freezer, thaw it, slice it in half, butter it and broil the slices, toasting them nicely to have with our salads.

In the 136 days since starting OA, I haven't had a problem with bread.... until today. Yep, I bought a loaf of that luscious Rustico, thinking I'd do the usual. But no, that nasty stuff called my name as soon as I got in the car. Just the tip of the baguette, while it's still totally fresh and warm, I thought. Oh, that was good... hmmm, maybe just a bit more... Oh, yum, guess I'll tear off one more chunk....

As I was automatically reaching to tear yet another piece, the voice of my collective OA group penetrated the yeasty aroma saying, "Can you see what you're doing here? Can you see the addict in the car? It's not your meal time. This isn't in your food plan." Yikes! That pulled me up short. Rather than eat more, I folded the bag closed and set my mind to a majorly difficult task. It worked. I got home with no further damage.

But then, at home, the monster suggested I slice the part I had torn with a knife to make the loaf look nice and tidy. How I'd love to say I resisted the monster. Nope... slice & munch. OK, but that's it!

But then, later this evening, the monster got me again. A little hungry. Rain, pouring rain. Walking partner cancelled. Woe is me... I sliced off another piece, put butter and peanut butter on it and ate it right there standing at the kitchen counter. This was a major cheat and it frightens me.

OA collective voices, I need you!

OK, I hear you... I'm going to take a short time-out here and go slice and bag the remainder of the Rustico and put it into the freezer.

Done! (with no nibbles, thanks of OA voices)

Here's what I've decided. Since bread was not on my abstinence list, I will not restart my count. However, as of right now, bread goes on Red Alert status. More than one slice per day will, from now on, be considered a breech of abstinence. And I do NOT want to start my count again. The other members of my OA group do not count their days of abstinence. I think perhaps they are not totally abstinent on any foods. For me, both abstinence and counting are important. I shall continue to do both.

High Fives

high fives to my husband
who spent the past month
restoring life to his old computer
that crashed, and crashed again
and kept crashing

his patience is utterly amazing
he's not a geek
not at all

try this, call here
read, try, call, try, call,
try, read, keep at it
baby steps
keep trying different things
work in safe mode
backup files
download a new operating system
download again
baby steps

no sound, no printer, no Photoshop
read, try, call
baby steps
try again
a little different way this time
focus, follow clues
ah, sweet success
more baby steps
more patience
not all there yet
but making so much progress

high fives to my husband
who does not abandon his old computer
who rescues it
makes it work again
bit by bit

I am admiring him
respecting him
and giving him high fives

Friday, August 27, 2010

Seemingly Random Thoughts

easy to write this blog
almost seems to write itself
my thoughts
and even my feelings
pour out of me
into a receptive environment
I'm feeling gratitude

Lois says
you don't have to loose yourself
by forming a partnership
but it sure feels that way sometimes
and the adjustment
is a constant
That is a really good thing
to remember

PJ says
it's a work in progress
her words apply to
life in general
I really must start to remember
nothing stays fixed forever
adjust and move on

Jules says
it boils down to trusting me...
saying YES! to me
aye and there lies the rub
those two little words
...to me...
if Jules can do it
so can I

Carol says
I have more questions
that I'm not asking
Peacefulbird says
ask away
questions open doors
unblock the mind

Anne H says
it's all good
sometimes I forget that
but she's right

Karen says
putting the words here seems
to be working for you
I think so too

I love her name
I hope you continue
to keep writing about
your experiences
with counseling
I will

I am feeling gratitude
in this state
it's all good
and everything seems possible

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Clearing My Husband's Name + About Fear

Yesterday I posted a poem of sorts (here) about wanting to eat 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies... My husband offered to buy 3 dozen in case I wanted more. The next line said: what's with that

I feel the need to clear his name on this one... He was just joking. He knows full well the strength of my abstinence (at least at the moment) and that it was just my way of saying The Monster was in my mind. No way would he knowingly aid and abet said monster by bringing any of my binge foods into the house. The line "what's with that" refers to my mental state... like what is causing The Monster to come forward in such a big way? It does not refer to his joking offer.

I just read the above to him. He said, "Tell 'em you're going to put a fifth of Scotch in my car to get even." (He's a recovering alcoholic.) His humor is sometimes barbed and a problem for me in our marriage, but most of the time it just cracks me up.

It was good to write the poem because I write quickly, improvisationally and more truthfully when I write poetry than when I write prose. I can fill many journal pages with words and more words, and not get close to my inner truth. Whereas, writing terse lines (I guess one could call them poems) is often a gateway to my more intuitive side.

The other way I tap into intuition is by writing off the lines... in a spiral, upside down, in a diagonal wave - anything but straight across the page. When I journal, I like to get out my rather substantial collection of stickers and let Little PB pick a few she really likes (even if it's the only one I have of that type) and put them on the page. If she wants, she can embellish the stickers by doodling around them for a while. Then when I start to write, I just follow around the stickers and her doodles. It's quite obvious, when comparing a journal page like that to one written straight across the page, that the sticker pages are way more insightful, creative, fun, truthful and compelling.

Back to the cookie poem... Writing that I wanted to eat 2 dozen c.c. cookies simply opened a door to feeling my feelings and offered a chance to look at why that might be. I'm still thinking about the answer that appeared in the poem. It surprises me to realize that I have such strong fears around staying married, even though remaining with my husband is my stated goal for counseling.

So today, which was a 15-hour travel day (solo), I had a lot of time to consider the matter. It's complicated... and probably best summarized in a ten-things list... Ten Things Regarding My Fears around Remaining Married
  1. It seems to be related to recovery and weight loss. Maybe getting physically smaller is a physical manifestation of the way I feel unimportant (small) in my marriage.
  2. Part of me misses the independence I had before we met and married.
  3. I don't trust that changes brought about through counseling will be lasting.
  4. Under my fear of staying married is a fear of being trapped.
  5. Under my fear of being trapped is a fear of becoming a nonentity.
  6. Under my fear of becoming a nonentity is my fear of death.
  7. Animal fear of being killed and eaten.
  8. Internal Critic says I'm being a drama queen here.
  9. Shut up, IC!
  10. I need to be able to say "no." We both need to be able to ask for what we want and accept "no" as an answer. I have little faith in our ability to change.

Yikes! Should I be writing this kind of thing on a blog? I don't know. He doesn't read it... and even if he did, it would be OK (I think) because my intentions are good/honorable. But is it too personal and private to put on a blog? I guess I'm really just asking myself this question... More to consider... But for now, I'll publish this post as it is.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Could Eat 2 Dozen...

Earlier this afternoon I told my husband
I could eat 2 dozen chocolate chip cookies
He said he'd get me 3 dozen
just in case I ate 2 and wanted more

What's with that, I wonder

Binge foods haven't been calling
not for quite a long time
Things are going pretty well
I got caught up on my art blog today
Check it out if you're interested
The weather's OK

Maybe it's about the counseling
Maybe there was an inkling in our session
last evening
that we could fix things up
enough to stay together
Maybe that is frightening to me
Maybe being on my own again
feels desirable
more desirable than being with
a man I care for deeply
but with whom I feel unimportant

Maybe the cookies would help
But probably they would not

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Perfect World in Ten Minutes...

We just got home from our third marriage counseling appointment. The most interesting part was when our counselor pulled the sand box table into the center of the room and asked us to build our perfect world in ten minutes. She showed us how we could sculpt the sand (but said we couldn't throw it out of the box) and pointed out 10 feet square of shelving covered in items we might add to the sand. Never have I seen such a treasure trove of toys!

Working together well on projects is one of our stronger suits. We ask each other for opinions, make suggestions, pick things we think the other would like... in work mode, we're an effective team... always have been. And that's how it went in the sand box...

In no time we had a table for doing art and two chairs with a Siamese cat and a big red heart under the table. We had a beautiful glass globe (of the world) sitting in a forest of little trees with Bambi and baby Bambi. A small cabin-like house (just like ours) was also in the forest. We had a gracefully curving river with a fish and a boat in it and a lovely bridge over it. On the other side of the river we had our four totem animals: tiger and rabbit (mine), beaver and bear (his), along with some water-rounded rocks. Back on the house side, we had an Indian warrior and a goddess in one corner, a motorcycle, a mailbox, a sea shell and a turtle. We took overview and close up photos of it, but they're in my husband's camera, so I won't be posting them right now.

We were both pleased with our world, with the comfortable way in which we made it together and with the respect we paid each other while doing it. Our counselor said we were unusual, that some couples divide the box in half, some don't talk at all, some fight over what should or should not be in it. Like what the heck are we doing in counseling? No, she didn't give that impression at all... but the thought flew through my mind for a second.

Then I recalled about us... working together on projects is not our problem, nor is communication while we're working on a project. Well, now at least we all know that.

At the end, she asked which of the pieces in the sandbox each of us identified with the most. My husband chose the Indian, the largest piece in the box (or possibly the beaver, one of his totem animals). My instant, sure and gut-level choice was baby Bambi, second smallest piece in the box. The counselor asked my husband why he chose the Indian and he said it's because he's been reading a lot about Indians and their plight since the arrival of whites. He says he identifies with them. Then she asked him why he thought I chose the baby deer. He said he didn't know and that he was surprised by my choice. Then she asked me the same question... I don't really know... I'm drawn to the innocence and maybe I have a need for nurturing? Something to ponder.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Walkin' and Blogin'

Good day! Finally feeling back in my skin and bones after the motorcycle ride. Walkin' did that for me... the pups, my friend listening and asking questions about our trip, a chance to pour out my thoughts and stories without judgements and fixes from her.

Walkin' and blogin'... morning exercises and coffee... a day to catch up on little things... all of these make me happy and grateful. Blues are gone. I'm eating right on plan and not feeling deprived. No treats are calling my name. Entitlement is not in the picture. Nice, huh?!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Home Again... (A Few Trip Photos at the End)

at this moment
nothing seems to be working very well
trying to identify and feel my feelings
a sense of despair
like low lying fog
obscuring the sun

That's the truth of the moment... hopefully it will pass, maybe later this afternoon when my neighbor and I take our 2 mile walk with her pup dogs. They're Westies - very peppy and cute. Actually, it lifts my mood just to think of them. We haven't walked for a week and a half... I miss the exercise, my time with her and the pups very much.

Now that we're home again and our county fair is over, I have no excuses... It's time to get back to my food plan and start exercising again.

The motorcycle ride was tough in many ways... extreme heat, two break downs, restaurant eating, energy depletion. It brought out the worst of my entitlement thinking, which resulted in some overeating and poor food choices.

Or, looking at it in a different way... despite stress and hardship, I made some good food choices and managed to stick with my meal plan part of the time. And despite temptations, I didn't eat any of my binge foods! (Oh, I like that better!)

The other good things about the trip are that I managed to stay fairly positive, to look for and find interesting people and things along the way, and to conquer my 30-year aversion to being seen in a swimsuit.

So why, two and a half days after returning, am I so blue? I don't know.

Think I'll end this post on a more positive note by posting a few of my trip photos...

Character we met at a gas station.

tatoo man
My bike and a horseman near a pay phone.

horseman at phone booth
Bare back highway rider.

bareback rider
Yakima River, blue highway follows the canyon.

Yakima River, Canyon Road
Temps over 100 for five days of our ride.

5 day ride with teps over 100 degrees
Some smart chalk artist marked a remedy for the heat...

chalk sign on North Cascade Highway
Sure fix for a hot biker.

waterfall along North Cascade Highway
Milky jade, the actual color of the water above Diablo Dam.

Diablo Dam
We drove into quite the headwind on the last day.

wind-blown trees at Diablo Dam

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swimmin' Victory!

OK, more cycle problems
Clutch cable got cobbled together
this morning

Got on the road at noon
102 degrees
hotter with the engine heat
and heat rising from hwy pavement

Long, long ride
to make up for time lost yesterday
gripe, gripe, gripe
sweat, sweat, sweat

Just when we thought we had it in the bag
with only an hour to go
to reach our
pre-planned reservations for the night,
husband's bike
clutch cable broke
dead in the heat

Tow into nearest town
no dealer
no cycle repair shop
oh well, c'est la vie

Husband waits for tow truck
while I cycle into town
and find a motel

motel has an indoor/outdoor
swimming pool and hot tub

I haven't worn a bathing suit
for 30 years
denied myself swimming
for that long
because of self-conscious
about my body

Virginia in motel office,
noticing my red (from heat) face,
encourages me to use the pool
No suit, I say
No problem, she says,
there's a Walmart right up the highway.

Here's the victory...

I bought a swim suit
and had a fabulous swim
and soak
and swim
and soak
and swim again!

Oh fabulous victory!!!!!
Oh beautiful cooling water!!!!

We have to find
a parts dealer
somewhere in this country
that will express ship
a clutch cable here.

In the meantime,
guess I'll be swimmin'
and stayin' cool

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

Day three of our motorcycle trip... We're passing through an iddy-biddy town in the mountains and my husband's clutch cable snaps. It's about noon and the temperature is in the high 90s. It's Sunday, so nothing except the 1865 Bar & Grill is open.

Husband stays with bikes while I go to the bar to ask if by any chance they know of somebody in the area who might be able to fix the bike today. They make some phone calls... Eventually a man staggers into the bar, looking bleary-eyed around the room. Turns out, he might know somebody named Kevin who could work on the bike. But he can't remember Kevin's last name and doesn't know where he lives. He's already drunk or I'd buy him a beer... So I borrow the phone book and return to the bikes.

Making phone calls to the nearest big town, eventually we finally find a live body in a cycle repair shop. Tow truck and extra pay for the mechanic to come on Sunday. But what price getting out of the blistering sun?

By six pm, the bike was fixed (sort of) but then wouldn't start because maybe the mechanic disconnected something or didn't connect something correctly. We're a two-hour ride from our motel reservation and the bike still isn't running.

Mechanic helps us find a motel that has a room available and here we are. We just ate at a Mexican restaurant, which was terrible. Must have been feeling very sorry for myself, because I at the whole basket of chips, every one of them. AND, I didn't order very wisely either. And everything was so salty, that I'll retain water for three days. Is that good in 100 degree temps? I don't know.

Anyhow, I am going to return to our AC room and have fun getting some sleep...

Tomorrow will be what it will be... either they'll get the bike fixed and we'll move along, broke but on the road again... or they won't. Either way, I promise, no more chips!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ten Things for the Ride...

Suzuki 800, my ride!
Here's my ride for the next six days. I ride my own bike (Suzuki 800) because it's fun, and I love it, and my husband can carry more camera gear on his bike when he's not carrying me. BTW, we're not Harley folks and don't generally ride in a group. Except this time we will be riding with some of my husband's friends for a couple of days. Apprehensive as I am about this particular ride, I'm determined to stay on program and to have a good time. Several readers of my previous post gave me some great ideas and support (THANKS!)...

Ten Things for the Ride
  1. I will ride with caution and not take any risks. If I can't keep up, so be it. I will risk getting lost rather than ride in a way that feels unsafe to me.
  2. At each stop, I will make rendezvous plans with my husband in case we get separated.
  3. One day at a time, I will not eat any of my binge foods.
  4. When things don't go my way, I will recall the serenity prayer.
  5. I will observe the people we encounter and the world around us with a mind open to inspiration and beauty.
  6. I will take lots of photos.
  7. I will give myself a little slack to eat meals in restaurants that might be a bit higher in fat and carbs than I usually do at home.
  8. I will not take my husband's moods personally. This is a tall order and may be the biggest challenge of the trip.
  9. I will be firm, yet realistic, about asking for what I need.
  10. I will feel my feelings, acknowledge them, respect them.

Oh yes, and one more... I will post a few pictures and a report when I return next week.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ooooops.... Feels Like I'm Slippin'

One fitness/recovery blogger I'd really like to meet is PJ, who just wrote a post about mojovation (here). Her word is so perfect, that it needs little explanation... and it's what I need right now.

My binge foods are still totally OK and most days I'm exercising. That's the good news.

Everything else seems to be slipping, a tad here and a tad there. I'm eating a little too much. I'm nibbling a bit more than say a month ago. I'm making less healthy food choices. I'm not doing my daily writing or keeping up with blogging. I've been compulsive about quilting and art projects, staying up until all hours of the night and not getting enough sleep. My commitment to eat lunch meditatively is failing. I'm procrastinating horribly with chores. Mojovation is lacking.

This trend frightens me.

Tonight I'm thinking about why, about what's under my current lack of mojovation?

Maybe it's troubles between my husband and me. We are in marriage counseling, as noted in previous posts. On Friday I'm going on a week-long trip with him. I never wanted to go on this trip and at first refused. In fact, that's what precipitated the blow up and got us talking about divorce and then counseling. Recently, I changed my mind about going because I figure it will lessen his resentments and hopefully make counseling more productive for us.

However, I still don't want to go. Long story why not... doesn't matter. Point is, I'm now faced with 6 travel days, restaurant meals, several make-shift sleeping arrangements (uncomfortable beds) and little expectation of good times.

A very young and very wise, friend tells me, "You need to manifest fun." OK, yes, I agree. That's what I should do. But what I want to do is to stay home! Maybe that's why I'm slippin'.

Ten things I hope want (and will work toward) for our trip:
  1. Unexpected fun happens
  2. My husband is happier with me
  3. My husband gives more positive energy to counseling when we return
  4. It isn't as hot as the forecast says it will be
  5. We ride safely (we're doing the motorcycles thing again)
  6. I don't fall off my abstinence program this time
  7. My attitude comes around to a more positive spin on the trip
  8. My husband's expectations are not disappointed
  9. I live the serenity prayer.
  10. I give "grace" to my husband and his friends

I may not blog again for a while... not until we return probably. It's 2 am and I'm beat... but I'm glad I took the time to write tonight, as I think I've discovered what's behind my hiding mojovation. Writing the Ten Things list helps.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mindful Eating ~ Not Quite There Yet...

Five days ago, I made a commitment (here) to eat my lunch mindfully every day this week.

Honestly? It's been a struggle so far.

Tuesday, I was at a restaurant celebrating a friend's birthday. Yak, yak, yak... eat, eat, eat... mindless eating right from the get go.

Yesterday, I found myself a little pushed for time and resentful that I couldn't eat and check email/blogs at the same time. I forced myself to sit and eat semi-mindfully. But my mind kept slipping away from my food and onto the list of stuff I had to do. Plus, I rushed the eating.

Today, I started out OK with a nice prayer of gratitude and slow, mindful eating, but then noticed a book my husband's reading on the table nearby. Without thought, that book was in my hand and I was reading about Elephants in the Room. (Can't wait for him to finish as it appears to be well written and a fascinating topic.) I read through half my lunch, eating mindlessly, of course, before I realized what I was doing and put the book down.

Monday was the only day when I ate mindfully for the whole meal! That day (as I frequently do for lunch) I ate a scoop of cottage cheese (with some dried cranberries and toasted, slivered almonds mixed in it) and a sliced, Braeburn apple.

Being warm, but with a wee breeze, I sat out on the deck. First I soaked up some rays while saying a silent prayer of gratitude to every provider of my food, including the sun, rain, earth, cows, cranberry bogs, almond trees, apple trees, and all the people who grow and process the food. Nice. Felt good. Took some deep breaths.

Then I ate the cottage cheese.. mindfully noticing the creamy consistency and slightly salty flavor of it, the crunch and nutty flavor of the almonds and the occasional sweet-tart of a cranberry. After each bite, I put my spoon down and didn't lift it again until I had swallowed the previous bite, cleared my mouth and paused a bit. Amazing!

Desert was my Braeburn. An apple never tasted so delicious! With each bite, I noticed the crunch sound, the flow of juice, the sweet initial taste followed by tangy aftertaste, the way it took more pressure to chew the skin.

Normally I could (and would) consume a meal like that in 5 minutes. Eating it mindfully took 25 minutes.

Yes, part of me resists taking a whole 25 minutes to eat, when I could multi-task AND finish it off in 5 minutes. Yet, on the other hand, the rest of that day went really well. I accomplished a lot and stayed focused. Maybe taking a significant chunk time to eat is a good thing.

Building new habits isn't easy. I'm well-intended. But so far, I have to admit that I'm not quite there yet when it comes to mindful eating.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I've never thought of myself as beautiful... just not a word I've applied to myself, even during the few times when my weight was in the low normal range for my height.


Except when dancing! Filled with the music muse, moving and oblivious to self... then I give myself the grace to be beautiful. Not all the time, not every time. But now and then, while dancing, beauty is mine.

I am reminded of this by Carb Tripper's post today about Belly Dancing. Seeing her pictures (here), I am filled with gratitude for dance and for the beautiful women who do it! I even wrote a poem, inspired by her pictures... here it is:

Belly Dancing

Belly dancing
is the creator's gift
to all women

No matter our size
we allow ourselves
to be sexy
and fluid
and full of grace

With music as muse
we suspend
for this time
our self criticism