Family, Friendship, Uncategorized

Learning To Walk Through Grief


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Dearest Readers:

Exactly two weeks ago today, I had to say goodbye to sweet, precious almost 14-year-old Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. While writing this, tears gush from my eyes. How I miss that precious little mini-schnauzer, my best friend who loved for me to rub his ears.

If you’ve never had to make the decision to say goodbye to your precious four-legged friends, you might not understand the tsunami of tears I’ve shed, along with the aching break of my heart.

People say I’m too sensitive. Tender hearted. He’s just a dog. Get over it. To them, I say – you are not my friend. You do not understand. Shakespeare was truly a member of my family. We took walks together, until Prince Marmaduke Shamus passed away in 2012. I continued walking Shakespeare after losing Shamey-Pooh…just not on a regular basis.

That was my mistake. Selfish and painful. Each time I attempted to walk after his loss, I missed Shamus so much. Now that I’ve lost Shakespeare I still have four-legged friends. I will take them for walks, in memory of sweet Shakespeare Hemingway, my little “Shake n Bake,” and I will move on. I haven’t a clue when the tsunami of tears will leave. I still feel Shakespeare’s presence. The other night, I heard a sigh. His spirit was here.

Earlier today, I felt something touch my leg, just like Shakespeare would do. Another tsunami of tears, and I struggled to breathe. At home, I’m finding myself a bit short of breath, so today, I forced myself to go away for a bit. I went shopping, or maybe I should say window shopping. I dropped by Petco, bursting into tears again. I rushed back home. Lately, I’m a hermit, lounging all day in pajamas. Truly not the person I desire to be.

I know I must walk through the grief, just like I did with Shamey-Pooh. Now, the question is how to walk through the grief.

As a writer, I should know how to handle myself during grief. I’ve lost many loved ones, including my dad in 1999 after a terminal illness. Losing Shakespeare is different. He depended on me and he loved me unconditionally. We shared 13 beautiful years together. I am so thankful for that and for how he always greeted me when I came home from trips or work. Rushing to be first, he leaped towards me, barking with excitement and happiness. The last few months of his life, he didn’t respond unless I clapped my hands three times. There were many times he refused to eat for an entire day. In 2015, he weighed 27.5 pounds. On the day he left, his weight was 17.6, losing 10 pounds in less than two years.

Yes, I will ache. My heart will burst with this indescribable pain, and the tsunami of tears will gush from my eyes. Tomorrow, I must attempt to take steps to walk through this grief. I have a new leash to use for Shadow, my giant schnauzer. Perhaps tomorrow will be a good day to walk – In Memory of Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. How I love you and miss you!

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Friendship, health, Holidays, Losing Weight, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers… Building A Bridge To A New Adventure


Dearest Readers:

Today, I will share a bit of my experience and dedication to Weight Watchers. I joined Weight Watchers in March, 2011. On the day I joined, I was mortified. Afraid. Horrified I would see someone I knew and they would share with the world that “Barbie was in Weight Watchers today…”

I’m certain some of you have acquaintances who love to spread gossip…the wicked and ugly truths some women love to share! Years ago, I referred to these ‘acquaintances’ as friends…I do not anymore! Friends do not spread ugly gossip. Friends accept you for who you are. True friends embrace you with love and acceptance, even when you are down.  I’ve known and lost a few ‘friends’ since in all total honesty — they were only acquaintances. They pretended to be your friend to your face, but turn your back and you almost feel the back-stabbing and the poisonous words they spat, and so — I keep my distance!

At my first meeting at Weight Watchers, I did not know anyone. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was apprehensive about the ‘confidential weigh-ins’ too. Approaching the desk, I did not see any curtains, or a doctor’s scale. You know the type. The weight measurements slide across until balanced, and the person who balanced the scale always leaves it to the latest weight. Everyone can see the weight of the person who weighed previously, and I cringe whenever I get on them. My newest experience with Weight Watchers was a scale sitting on the floor. I was certain others could stretch their snoopy eyes over to see how much a person weighed. That didn’t happen. The scale does not show anything, with exception of the person (a receptionist or leader) standing at the desk. Only she knows what the weight of each individual is, and they do not share the number to anyone! Believe me, the confidential weigh-in does exist!

Maybe this might work this time, I thought to myself as I approached the scales. Just maybe this time I will succeed.

I imagine you are thinking — what? Does she really think Weight Watchers works?

My reply to all of you reading this is a simple, “Yes! Weight Watchers, because it works!”

I recognize it has taken me five years to lose 35 pounds. And, in the past year, I have bounced back and forth, just like a yo-yo. Undoubtedly, 2016 has been one of the most stressful years of my life. In February, we had the roof to our home completely replaced. After that accomplishment, we searched for over two months to hire a general contractor to do the inside repairs on ceilings, walls and other areas due to the torrential rains we had in October 2015. On May 28, 2016, the repairs were completed. My husband had reverse shoulder replacement surgery on May 31. His recovery was a whirlwind of ups-and-downs. The summer of 2016 was so stressful, I found myself slipping away from Weight Watchers and everything I loved. No walking. No exercising. No writing. No dancing…No music or singing…Nothing!

Since the summer, I’ve found myself giving in to weaknesses. After all, it didn’t matter IF I gained weight. I’m happy to report, I did not put those lost 35 pounds back on; however, I have not met goal. I don’t even have a clue what my goal should be!

Today, while sitting at my meeting, I glanced around the room. Like most Weight Watchers meetings during the holidays, we had only a small group, including a 93-year-old woman and two men. Every time I see this precious, sweet and beautiful 93-year-old woman I am inspired. Many people would say, ‘at her age, why should she be so worried at her weight?’ I say, I think she is an inspiration to all of us. Yes, she uses a walker and maybe her shoulders slump a bit, but she is still full of life. To her, her weight is important. Today, she was furious with herself. She was baking cookies with her son this week, and that is why she gained a pound. Sitting in front of me, I tapped her on the shoulders. “Just look at how blessed you are to be baking cookies with your son.”

I’m so envious. During the Christmas holidays I do not see my son, even though he lives less than 30 miles from me. How I would love the opportunity to make Christmas cookies with him again. I suppose a mother can dream.

Every year since joining Weight Watchers, I tell myself the new year will be my year. I will break this plateau and achieve goal. No, I haven’t achieved my goal yet. At least I haven’t gained the weight back!

Not only have I kept the weight off, I have gained in confidence and self-worth, much to the credit of two wonderful friends I’ve made, thanks to Weight Watchers. Since I am a writer, my life is a bit isolated. I find myself spending too much time keeping to myself. Last year, before the torrential rain storms, and the storms brewing inside my home, I kept to myself. I quit walking. Now that I think about it, I realize those walks I took with my friends energized me by encouraging me to continue. Feeling the fresh air on my face, walking the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and enjoying the views, birds, flowers and freedom of walking, I found myself inspired. Refreshed. Now, I realize, I need to take a first step again to walk, to find that inspiration and motivation. Tomorrow morning, I plan to take that first step!

Today, at Weight Watchers, I gained. Big deal! I’ll get those two pounds off again. As for 2017, I will go on record to say, my journey and adventures with Weight Watchers will continue. I will walk. I will fill my body and my mind with new energy while telling myself:

THIS I DO FOR ME!

Although 2017 is only a few days and steps away, I will not fail. After all, You only fail in life when you stop believing…and trying…and moving.

I plan to continue my journeys, along with Weight Watchers! Tomorrow is a new day and I will embrace it!

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ARTICLES, Chattahoochee Child, Friendship, Holidays, Losing Weight, On My Soapbox!, Uncategorized, Weight Watchers

My Thoughts About The New Weight Watchers…


My thoughts regarding “Oprah” and the changes are simply this: Those of us who are overweight have had difficulty with belief in ourselves…We have the tendency to cater to ourselves via comfort foods, sweets…temptations…etc…when we should be caring about ourselves. Instead of negative thoughts and “I’m done with Weight Watchers” posts, what we should do is say this — “We are good…We are worthy…We are strong…and together…We Can Do This!” I have the tendency for depression, and when I am depressed, nothing will stop me from eating bad things. Thru Weight Watchers, I’ve seen changes — in myself…my faith…my belief…I am strong…I’ve made loyal friends with several members at our meetings. I am blessed! Maybe I am beautiful…Maybe I truly believe in ME — now! Thank you, Weight Watchers. I believe change is good. Without change, we cannot grow. If we do not grow, we do not find success, happiness and belief in ourselves. Just my two cents worth for today! BELIEVE!!!

I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers since 2011. Four years. During my four year journey, I’ve seen changes. I am one who believes in life we ALWAYS have changes. Weight Watchers has been around for 50 years now, through many changes – everyone of these changes is for the better! I’m one of the rare people who truly believe life is all about change. Without ‘change’ we cannot grow. If we do not grow, we are not successful. So, you ask — what is the BIG DEAL with the changes at Weight Watchers.

Honestly, I cannot answer those questions. My meeting is on Thursday of every week. It is my “Weight Watchers” day. I plan my schedules around this day. No doctor’s appointments…meetings, etc. on this date. After our meeting three of us go out to lunch – to do what most great friends do together — to talk…to get to know one another…to build friendships! To support!

At the moment, people who are members of Weight Watchers are FREAKING out! On social media sites, they are asking, “what are the changes?” And — “why are they changing things?”

I suppose they want someone to tell them ahead of time about the changes. News Flash – people — Weight Watchers, their leaders and those who work for Weight Watchers are FABULOUS about keeping secrets!

No, Weight Watchers is not a secret society. They are there to help us; nevertheless, there are many changes rolling out this week. ALL of these CHANGES are to build a better Weight Watchers for all of us to succeed. They DO want US TO SUCCEED! By now, you’ve probably heard millions of complaints about the new plan…”It isn’t working…I can’t log in…” And — “Why did they change something that isn’t broken?”

Correct me IF I’m mistaken, but Weight Watchers is interested in the self-worth of a person…not only is it a corporation established to help those who are struggling to lose weight…Weight Watchers is helping us to BELIEVE IN OURSELVES!

We’ve had discussions about Belief. Self Discovery…and How We Can Break the Plateaus. Activity…Mind Over Matter…How to Cope With The Holidays and Social Events…and so on. All of these weekly discussions are building us to truly find the person we want to be. None of this is related to Oprah Winfrey. These “changes” were in the works earlier this year, not when Oprah signed on.

Speaking only for myself, Weight Watchers has changed my life for the better. Yes, I am eating healthier. I am more active – able to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge…able to dance and to sing. I have found a new and better person previously locked away, deep inside my soul. In March, 2011, Jennifer Hudson was the spokesperson. I was struggling to lose more weight, and I kept telling myself — “One day, I plan to walk that bridge.” For those of you who do not know, that bridge [Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge] opened in July 2005. Just WHEN would I walk it?

In 2011, my life changed for the better, and I feel confident that the New and Improved Weight Watchers 2016 will lead the way for me to embrace the change and get going with my weight loss. After all, I have goals (secret goals) I will not share – yet. Hopefully soon, I might share a few of those goals on my site.

Today, I will go on record to say – Hello, 2016 — it is ready, and it is time for me to move on with my writing and my story, “Chattahoochee Child,” and it is time for me to get moving more with Weight Watchers. Many members are throwing their hands in the air, as if to say — “I’m done.” The question they should answer is this — as a member of Weight Watchers — online, or a weekly member who attends meetings — are you really ready to give up on yourself? Think about it. Change is good. I embrace it!

 

 

 

Charleston, Friendship

If It Wasn’t For Weight Watchers….


Dearest Readers:

As you probably know, I am a Weight Watcher. As a ‘weight watcher,’ I lose slowly — EVER SO SLOWLY! I have weekly weigh-ins where I cheer, and I have many weeks at weigh-in where I want to scream…beat myself up…run into a brick wall…or — QUIT! But — I cannot do this. Beating myself up – like I did as a child — is not healthy for me. Getting depressed and quitting – just isn’t who I am now. Years ago, I quit things that challenged me. Now, as an adult — at least I think I am — I like a challenge, and for me, Weight Watchers is a challenge.

Today, thanks to a beautiful, encouraging friend I am back to a wonderful, intimidating and fun challenge — walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge!

A few years ago, I briefly discussed the bridge:
To those of you who do not know, “The bicycle and pedestrian lane is 2.7 miles long (14,400 feet), measuring from Patriots Point Road to East Bay Street. Measuring only the part that is on the bridge structure, the walkway is 2.4 miles long (12,750 feet). Most of the bridge is limited to a 4.1% maximum slope. On the Charleston side of the
main span, the long approach is a 1.8% slope. On the Mount Pleasant side, there is a section three-tenths of a mile long that has a 5.6% slope.” http://www.cooperriverbridge.org/bike.shtml

When plans for the bridge were in the discussion stages, a high school group got involved, suggesting adding a pedestrian, bicycle lane. I am so happy those plans were included in the bridge plans. Now, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge is one of the favorite spots for active walkers, runners and bicyclists to work out. Speaking only for myself, I find it invigorating just to walk on it. You must remember, I am asthmatic. Exercise, stress, and illness activate my asthma. Today, I forgot to pack my inhaler – in the event I had an attack. On Monday of this week, I had an attack – thanks to my mini-schnauzer, the oldest of our pets. He chose to ignore the command of ‘stay’, darting out to the road. I rushed after him, and he ran faster. The little brat! A police officer drove by, stopping to get Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. On the way to the house, my asthma kicked in, so I must be careful. Nevertheless, I refuse to allow asthma to stop me. As a child, I was told I could not run or play or dance, like the other kids because I had asthma. I listened. Grinned, and danced my way outside. Stubborn? Independent?? Opinionated??? Wanting to do things MY WAY????? You betcha!

I’ve always believed in breaking the rules. After I had accomplished my first adventure on the Ravenel Bridge, I walked it two to three times weekly. For those of you who have Fitbits, the incline records the steps, floors, miles and active minutes. Today, I paid attention to these records when I got home. I moved on 16 floors today. Walked for 50 active minutes, for a total of 3.66 miles, and I had over 7,000 steps recorded before 10:00 am. Today, I will surpass my goals to walk for 10,000 steps, 30 minutes active. I cannot wait to share this information at Weight Watchers tomorrow.

When you walk the bridge, you feel like it will be an easy journey. For those who haven’t walked it, or those who are not accustomed to walking, it might be a bit difficult; however, since I am a walker, and I walk the treadmill, today’s journey was not as difficult as it has been. My friend, Melanie did fine too. You must remember, as you begin the journey up the bridge, it continues to incline. Remember – Charleston, SC does not have any mountains, so we in the Lowcountry are accustomed to walking the ‘Lowcountry!’ The bridge has a 4.1% incline. Many people who have walked the bridge say it bothers their legs, but it didn’t for me, and Melanie tolerated it well too. I think she and I will be good walking buddies!

Now, that I am home, I feel inspired. There is something so special about getting outside to walk. The sun beams down onto your skin. The breeze kisses your face, and the walk gets your entire body moving. Arms are swinging. Legs are moving to the beat. Your heart is beating while the breeze conditions your body to keep moving. I didn’t mention the view, and it is spectacular. You look down to see the view of the Charleston Harbor. Perhaps you see a ship or a cargo ship floating by while the breeze refreshes your face. This is Charleston, SC. A Holy City where we do our best to enjoy this life we are given. God has given us a beautiful, historical city to enjoy the lifestyle we so enjoy and new friendships to cherish.

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Chattahoochee Child, Free Writing, Friendship

Backstabbing Friends — What It Is And How To Cope…


Dearest Readers:

All of my life I have experienced situations with — and I USE the term loosely — “Friends.” I consider friendships something to be cherished — the chosen few — the friend we stand by through thick and thin. If you read my blog regularly you will know I have written about friendships many times; nevertheless, never have I discussed backstabbing friends. Not until now. I suppose recent assignments have got me thinking.

Have you ever experienced backstabbing friends? You know the type — in front of a crowd, they hug and kiss and pretend to be such good friends…Turn your back and you can almost feel the knife twisting inside of you. I have always thought backstabbing friends are filled with insecurities. When they criticize you with hurt and discontent, yes, it does hurt — but only for a while. My theory has always been when I am your friend, I am loyal to you. I trust you. I believe we are friends because God has a purpose for us. However, if you become vicious, let’s just say — I have no use for this type of friendship.

I’ve been wrong many times, and now, I am skeptical of friendship relationships. I keep to myself most of the time, simply because I do not need backstabbing friendships — AT ALL! Good friends — we all need good friends, just not the poisonous back stabbers!

You might be curious as to the definition of backstabbing friends. Who they are. What they are…and Why? In a nutshell — backstabbing friends are indeed insecure. Ridiculing you — behind YOUR back makes them feel equal. Powerful — in all reality — they are powerless. Perhaps they do not understand how vindictive, deceitful, conniving and UGLY they really are. They have loose tongues…and when they see you coming…suddenly, they retreat. Yes, they will whisper…Yes, they will pretend and when you turn your back — the game is on.

Backstabbing friends are users. They will pretend to have the upper hand, hoping you will share your secrets with them…and if you do share — trust me — those secrets are spread like a California wildfire!

I’ve dealt with backstabbing friendships in the Corporate World too, finding them the most destructive.

Today, I am proud to say, I do have many friends; nevertheless, only a few close ‘best friends.’ My best friends know who they are so I will not reveal their identity here. Never have I shared secrets with anyone — not even my husband. I suppose I am from the old school – ethics and morals taught to me by my amazing grandmother. She always said I should be pretty on the outside — but beautiful and Godly on the inside. “Never reveal secrets to anyone,” she said…and “NEVER break those secrets shared. Be kind to others and never do unto others what you wouldn’t have done to you.”

My grandmother was an incredible, soft-spoken woman. Living in a mill village, she was the therapist lots of people would come to — to vent — to cry…and sometimes, just to scream. Highly religious, she taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School in the Pentecostal churches, and she practiced her beliefs and faith in her daily life. She never turned anyone away and when I asked her why the people came to her she always smiled and said, “She has a burden we needed to lift.” No explanation of what was stewing, just words of wisdom. Many times I was curious as to how nice, caring and angelic my maternal grandmother was, compared to my mother. Now that I am just a bit wiser, I realize my mother chose to be more like my maternal grandfather — backstabbing friends — only these were blood relatives. It is a bit difficult to turn away from them!

Dealing With Backstabbers

How do I deal with backstabbing friends? Normally, I kill them with kindness, and then — I STEP AWAY!  The highest compliment is to prove by your actions and your diplomacy how kind and diplomatic you can be — even when the enemy is nearby. Suppose I forgot to mention — backstabbing friends are enemies…and you’ve probably heard the cliche about enemies… “Keep your friends close — YOUR ENEMIES closer.” And that is how I deal with them. I might speak. I might laugh, and I might compliment — while watching them with a careful eye. Getting close again — not on your life!

I refuse to resort to the destructive tactics of backstabbers. I am cool…calm…and collected… If these backstabbers invite me to an outing, my calendar is always full…after all, I have stories to write, important things to do.

I prefer to keep my private life – PRIVATE! Once betrayed by a backstabber, never do I trust them again.

I simply do not need passive-aggressive, backstabbing people in my inner circle of friends; after all, I lived with a mother who was passive-aggressive, almost bi-polar and meaner than the most vicious snake one could ever meet.

Backstabbers cut like a knife, and I imagine they are extremely lonely people. After all, living well, being happy and complete within yourself — well — to me it is priceless!

Think I’ll continue being a fair weather friend. After all, I am horrified of thunder and lightning. I don’t need all of that drama from untrusting, cruel people.

Backstabber friends — just stay away! I have bridges to cross…journeys to take…and much life to live!

 

http://www.lifescript.com/well-being/articles/b/backstabbing_friends_and_co-workers.aspx