Losing Weight, Weight Watchers

“WEIGHT GAIN IS NOT A PERMANENT CONDITION!’


Dearest Readers:

Today is my day to face the music…stop beating myself up…and move on with life! Why? Simple. Today is my weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. Early this morning, I felt nervous. Embarrassed…All of those negative feelings we all feel whenever we gain weight.

I confess – I have used my ‘get out of jail free’ card several times lately at Weight Watchers. You know the card – if you are a member of Weight Watchers. The infamous “No Weigh In” card. Effective today, I am not using it; after all, it isn’t helping me.

Today, when I walked into the meeting, I dreaded facing the music. After the weigh-in, the wonderful receptionist who always shares encouragement with all of us said to me — It’s OK. “Weight gain is NOT a permanent condition.”

How true! She reminded me of the weight I have lost, along with all of the inches that appear to be falling off from my body and I smiled.

“You’re so right,” I smiled. “That’s a wonderful quote you’ve shared and I shall use it wisely, reminding me that my joining Weight Watchers was a lifetime, and lifestyle, change for me.

Last weekend I was bad. Very BAD! At a graduation, I reminded myself to eat wisely and carefully — and then — I committed the ultimate Weight Watchers sin. I ate cake. I could not resist it. I requested a large piece of cake. I ate every bite. Later, I went back for a second piece. I did not work out. I did not climb my friends upstairs stairs like I promised myself I would. I did not work out at all before going to bed. As I stated, I was bad.

On the way home, you guessed it — we stopped at fast food restaurants – and I was bad again. That night after arriving home, my husband and I went out for pizza. I ate every bite. I realized my life was spinning out of control. I watched an episode of “My 600 Pound Life,” http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/my-600-lb-life/ recognizing  I would never allow myself to become one of those reality show participants. At first, I wanted to write ‘reality show freaks’ – but I am trying to be positive here. I am trying to be happy and stop beating myself up.

Why Do We Beat Ourselves Up?

My actions got me thinking… If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know my life as a child was filled with unhappiness. When I graduated from high school, my parents were divorced – sitting as far away from each other as they possibly could. When my name was called – no one cheered. After the graduation ceremony, I came home with my diploma. My mother never said she was proud of me. There wasn’t a celebration. No cake. No gifts – with the exception of a few relatives who gave me graduation gifts. While watching the pride and love in my friend’s eyes when she spoke of her daughter at graduation and at the graduation party, my mind rushed back to my childhood and how different I wish it was.

So today is a wake-up call for me. A day for me to graduate from my childhood and to move forward with my life. Today is a new day. A great day to strive for happiness, instead of sadness. After all, negative thoughts only feed negativity. Positive thoughts teach us happiness, renewal, and motivation. Today is my day to move forward — to STOP beating myself up and to track all of my food intake – just like Weight Watchers teaches us.

And now, I must take that first step to have a good day. Thank you, Weight Watchers. Today is a new day. “Weight gain is NOT a permanent condition!”

 

 

Family, Fostering, Free Writing

Let The Rehearsals Begin…


Dearest Readers:

Good morning, World. Another beautiful sunshiny day! After two cups of coffee and my morning yogurt parfait, I decided to rehearse the tentative songs for the show scheduled for late May — May 30, to be exact! All of my pups, with exception of grouchy little Hanks, were outside while I popped the CDG’s in the stereo. Turning the microphone on, I recognized it is not working. “Rats!”

“Unchained Melody,” starting playing, so I belted out the notes, moving and dancing around, I glanced at the carpet. Hanks the Tank sat motionless — something extremely out of character for him. His eyes stared at me, still motionless while listening to me sing.

I patted his head to thank him for his attention. The first notes of “At Last,” began, so I belted those long notes out. Hank is still mesmerized while listening to me singing.

The last song, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” is a duet I will sing with another singer. He has a great voice and I am honored to sing with him at rehearsals. As I sing the female notes, Hanks is still sitting about three feet from where I am dancing around. His eyes are still glued to me!

When I finish, Hanks approaches me…grumbling…as if to tell me he is enjoying listening to me. Funny. I’ve never noticed him listening to me while I sing. For me, this is the ultimate compliment. My energetic, grouchy, once terribly abused and unloved mini-schnauzer, Hanks the Tank, is letting me know how much he enjoys hearing me sing!

If all goes well, I will sing one song, and a duet at the show. I suppose I’ll share more details later. Now, I must decide what dress to wear. Those decisions are for a later date…after all, we still have rehearsals for all of us. We have a great bunch of singers for this variety show. No doubt it will be fun for all.

I cannot wait to get up on that stage and sing. Of course, you, my readers, know that — don’t you! This girl simply comes alive on stage! Yes, I was born to sing — and that is why I do it!

Today is a beautiful day. Think I’ll go work on my tan! Have a great weekend readers, and keep listening for more songs. Hanks is rubbing my leg now as if to say, “Sing…Sing…SING!”  Silly boy! Some people believe dogs do not enjoy music. I say — oh, yes — dogs LOVE music!

Maybe one day I will record a CD to share and to play — for my little Hanks! More details — LATER!

Travel Writing

 Here Comes the Bride: Ways to Ease Bridal Jitters


Wedding day – the ultimate day a young girl dreams about from early childhood, until the glorious event arrives. A wedding day requires much preparation, planning the details, mailing invitations, ordering flowers, finding just the right cake, reception, and planning the honeymoon. The list of Things to Do seems endless. Exhausted, the bride starts losing sleep, she snaps at friends and family. She is described as having the wedding day blues, or maybe – she has cold feet. Bridal stress is common during this time. The bride strives to please everyone so the most special day of her life will be memorable, only to feel jittery and tearful when she recognizes everyone else is adding their viewpoints to the never-ending details. The latest trend for brides-to-be is a relaxing day at the spa. While there are a variety of spas available, many are targeting wedding events.

 

The Tides Inn

The Tides Inn, located in Irvington, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay at Carter’s Creek, is a secluded resort where privacy and relaxation are catered to everyone, especially for the bride before her big day. The Spa provides several retreat packages for the bride to be, including The Tides Indulgence Day Package, supplying an aromatherapy benefiting the body and mind. This 90-minute package includes an Essential Oil Massage with wrap, followed with a 60-minute Marine Herbal Facial and an Ultimate Pedicure.

 

The Shores Resort and Spa

The Shores Resort and Spa, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, offers bridal packages to ease the pre and post wedding day stresses. The bride will enjoy the Javanese Lulur Royal spa treatment, consisting of a Balinese massage with vital oils, an herbal exfoliation, leading to a refreshing body that glows for the special day, followed by a stimulating cool yogurt splash and a scented shower. Additional treatments include the Chocolate Raspberry Peppermint Delight Package, where the bride experiences a delicious, sensuous treatment of a chocolate and raspberry massage, followed with a peppermint pedicure. Another popular day spa treatment is the I Love You So “Berry” Much body wrap. This relaxing mask eases the tired, stressed muscles and purifies the body. Bridal pampering continues with the Bilberry Facial. The final indulgence for the bride includes the Chocolate Raspberry Hot Stone Pedicure. Imagine tired, aching feet soothing the stress of wedding day blues away by receiving a massage of warm stones on the feet and lower legs while your senses are tempted with the delicate aroma of chocolate raspberries.

 

Opulence Medi Spa

Opulence Medi Spa located in Daytona Beach, suggests unique spa treatments. Hosting bridal parties with massage and body wraps, skin services, waxing and make up tips, Opulence Medi Spa provides gift certificates, specialty gift bags and baskets, and services for the entire bridal party.

 

Practicing Spa Treatment Etiquette:

Spa treatments are a great way for the bridal party to relax prior to the wedding. Like many details of the wedding day, spa treatment etiquette should be practiced. For example, the bride and her bridal party should arrive for the scheduled appointment twenty minutes early. Many brides choose not to wear makeup to the spa treatment. Dress comfortably and be certain to leave all jewelry at home. If you carry a cell phone, please turn it off since the spa treatment is a place to meditate, relax and unwind, not chat on the telephone. Most day spas have age restrictions for guests, requiring those fifteen or younger to have parental consent. When booking a spa treatment for a child, inquire about age requirements and policies of the spa. Another consideration not to forget is the gratuity of 20%.

On Arrival

When arriving, check in with the desk early enough so the bridal party will have ample time to change into a robe and slippers. Introduce yourself to the front desk and relax. Focus on breathing and relaxation techniques while experiencing a little bit of Heaven as your body and mind exfoliates the stress of wedding day blues away. Now, you may dream about your special wedding day, knowing your body and mind will glow as you walk down the aisle to build a new life of wedding day bliss, not stress.

If You Go:

The Tides Inn Spa is located in Irvington, VA. Their web site is located at:

http://www.tidesinn.com/spa/

 

Shores Resort and Spa:

Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, visit the web site:

http://www.shoresresort.com/

 

Opulence Medi Spa is located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Visit the web site:

http://www.opulencemedispa.com/

 

Barbie Perkins Cooper is a talented, award-winning writer of travel guides, screenplays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, and numerous articles for regional, trade and travel publications. She lives in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

 

 

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ARTICLES

Remodeling 101 — A New Kitchen


Dearest Readers:

Below is a story written in 2007 when our household decided to remodel our kitchen. Enjoy!

TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

Remodeling 101 –

KITCHEN FACELIFT
The Saga of Remodeling a Kitchen, and a Marriage

For many years I’ve dreamed of a modern kitchen, filled with contemporary, custom-made cabinets with plenty of storage space, a place for the microwave and the clutter that was swallowing my work area. I dreamed of granite counter tops, traditional customized cabinets that opened easily and were convenient for storage. I wanted pretty wood instead of drab, cheapened boards containing too many coats of monotonous paint and drawers that refused to open easily. Recognizing it was time to sale our home or remodel, my husband and I decided to take on the task of a kitchen facelift. Knowing life is ALWAYS filled with unexpected surprises, we decided it was in our best interest to hire a contractor, a master of remodeling, instead of another Do It Yourself project that would undoubtedly take my husband years to complete. He has the tendency to start a project and finish it when he ‘gets around to it,’ and when he takes on a project, I serve as his helper which leads to many heated disputes.

After meeting with kitchen designers, we finalize the plans, pay for the project, including the expense of custom-made cabinets, new sink, granite countertops, faucet, a new stove and a convection/microwave oven. Our original budget was $10,000. After discussions with the kitchen designers, we decided to increase the budget. After all, we want the kitchen remodeled the right way, without cutting corners.

Next step for the renovation – packing up the kitchen and moving forward with the gutting process. The custom-made cabinets are scheduled for delivery March 22, so now, it is onward and upward! Every night after dinner, I empty a cabinet or two, package the dishes, cookware and ingredients into boxes so the facelift may begin.

Day One

February 26 – with cabinets and the pantry empty, and a portable kitchen area set up on the breakfast room table – microwave, coffee pot, and other incidentals that a family must have just to survive – we are ready to move forward with the first phase – demolition. I inform my husband that for the next few weeks, until the kitchen facelift is complete, we will be connoisseurs of microwave foods, nothing more. No gourmet dinners until. Our dining experience will include Lean Cuisines, Healthy Choice, sandwiches, and paper plates. Bon Appetit!

Thank goodness I do not have a headache today, and if I survive this date without a migraine, it will be a miracle! The contractor arrived early at 8:00 sharp. Before 9 am, the cabinets by the sink are gone. That’s where we run into the first surprise, and I am one who doesn’t like surprises.

Our old cabinets were built over a soffett, a construction term used to describe the installation process of the existing cabinets. When the top of the cabinets are removed, we discover exposed beams leading to the roofing. Apparently when the first remodeling was done in the early 1970’s, the couple who owned the house chose to cut corners and not box in this area. The cabinets they installed were built overhead, leaving the ceiling exposed. Thank goodness we chose not to cut corners and do this renovation the correct way.

Later, when the enclosed pantry is ripped out, we run into a brick wall – literally, figuratively and physically. My husband and I wondered why the pantry was such an odd and non-user-friendly pantry, designed with angles and corners leading to wasted space. I do not question it anymore. When exposed, the contractor discovers the pantry is attached to an exterior brick wall, which was built at a 45º angle. Now we will need to have the custom-made cabinets re-made. By this discovery, my husband is on a business trip and I am stuck at home to take care of all of the incidentals of this mess. Several phone calls later, I am relieved, but furious that I rarely have a husband who will take care of such things. Sometimes I wonder what the convenience of marriage is; nevertheless, I can certainly understand why marriage is referred to as an institution, and I agree with this description. My friends laugh when they hear me grumble about the business of marriage. If only they walked in my shoes. After phoning my husband, I reassure him I have taken care of the matter and everything will be worked out.

“Good,” he replies. “I’ll try to get home early.”

Knowing him as I do, I understand he feels a bit guilty for not being home now, and he should. My one request just last week was for him to be home, but Corporate America dictates his schedule, so I take this in my stride, thankful that I can write even when the hammering and banging sounds like a wild eyed monster is loose in my gutted kitchen.

Sometimes it is a good thing that I cannot crawl through the telephone lines because if I could, I would probably want to do something not too nice. Perhaps now he understands why I insisted on hiring someone to remove the cabinets. Our marriage would never survive if he took on these projects. I suppose it is good that opposites attract – since I am the partner in our marriage who is gifted with multi-tasking, and he is good at directing, controlling, and walking off when things do not go as expected. Since today is only Day One of things to go wrong when remodeling, it is the perfect day for his business trip and my stress level to be tested.
In the afternoon, the construction crew leaves and I have the luxury of quiet again. I decide to turn the stereo on and when the music fails to relax my mood, I leave the house to get a manicure. Sometimes a woman needs a bit of pampering! Tomorrow will be another day of hammering, sawing, the constant ringing of the telephone, and more unexpected surprises. Calgon, please take me away!

Three Weeks Later – March 22, 2007

D Day arrives – Delivery Day! Last week I received a call from Kraft Maid. The cabinets are on track, scheduled for delivery March 22. There is a three-hour window of opportunity set for delivery, between the hours of 12:00pm – 3:00pm. At 11:40, the truck arrives with seventeen boxes. Last week I was told, we would need 337 cubic feet of room – whatever that means. I do not claim to be a mathematician! Now, I am living in a sea of boxes – everywhere! Even the front door is backed up with boxes, especially one lengthy box exactly 94 inches in length so large it cannot turn the corner to go into the kitchen. Since we are blessed with a kitchen located in the front of the house, we have no option left. We must place this monstrous box next to the front door! The question at hand is – when the cabinet is removed from this coffin sized box, will it turn the corner into the kitchen for installation? Let us hope we do not have a fire in the house. We only have one exit/entrance now. I created a Caution Under Construction sign, taped it on the front door, in the event someone rings the doorbell, and does not understand why we cannot open the front door.

I confess, I did everything humanly possible to prepare the house for this arrival, feeling as if I was giving birth to these cabinets and this project. Why is it a woman MUST DO EVERYTHING in a marriage???

This morning, I rushed around in anticipation of an early delivery since my husband had something to do this morning and wasn’t around! I had labor pains, excruciating pains from muscles stretching to move so I can lift awkward pieces of furniture. The coffee table bit me when I moved it, leaving a nice scratch and bruise on my leg. Labor pains! I moved living room furniture around, making way – only to discover due to the tall pantry we ordered, we cannot open the front door. If I survive this disaster, it will be a miracle! My husband is receiving the cold shoulder treatment from me – well deserved. This is my way of dealing with his abstinence!
When Phil arrives home, he asks if I have contacted Home Depot to let them know the cabinets are here. My reply, “I’m working on a deadline. Why don’t you call them?” He grumbles, requesting the phone number.

Later we have a slight discussion. Phil reminds me he has done his part to prepare for this project. He was the one who rented the machine to strip and remove the wooden kitchen floor. He was the one who sanded the concrete smooth. He reminds me he worked on this labor pain for two days while I was out of town.

“Oops,” I reply, conveniently forgetting that I was out of town for four days during this process.
“Oops,” I apologize. “I’m so sorry.”

I move closer to him, managing to give him that stupid, innocent grin that usually works to make this stubborn, persnickety man respond to me and forgive me. Then, I kiss his lips. He pulls me close for a moment. Grins. We’ve never been the type of couple to remain angry for long, so the moment of silence and cold shoulder is gone. Anger never resolves issues. Never.

Friday, March 23, 2007

The representative from Home Depot arrives a bit late, due to traffic in Charleston. No surprise there. Traffic is ALWAYS a problem in this holy city. After a couple of hours of opening boxes and investigating what is inside, it appears we have one or two damaged cabinet doors. I must say, the cabinets are beautiful. Later, while basking in the sun, the phone rings. I ignore it since I am outside enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’ve been blessed with. My cell phone rings and I’m surprised to hear that the scheduled installation is set for Monday, March 26, 9:30 am.

“I had no idea,” I shriek, excited that soon I might be able to do my spring cleaning, instead of having a sea of boxes and kitchen clutter everywhere in the house. The dining room table is covered with items we might need during this process, and there is not a corner left to place anything else. At least for now, I’ve recognized that I can sort mail and put it away, instead of allowing it to clutter the kitchen and dining room tables. I make a mental note to self – Never allow mail to be left on the tables. Put it away.

This sea of brown boxes is confusing our pups, The Three Stooges, Shamus, Shakespeare, and Shasta. Shakespeare continues sniffing at the boxes, as if he cannot wait to find the perfect spot to lift his leg and claim his territory. When I scold him, he rushes away, as if to say, “I was just testing you to see if I could do it.” Our pups do not like change and this clutter is mystifying to them.

Shamus likes things clean and tidy, with everything in its proper spot. He prances quickly through the rooms, as if to say, I gotta get out of here. This mess is driving me nuts.

Shasta, our princess of a Maltese, the smallest of our troop of rescue animals, doesn’t like change – in any way, shape, or form. She is the ditzy little blonde in our household and each time I open the door to let her outside, she scatters back to her little bed, her private territory. Her tail is tucked between her legs, and she looks back at me as if to say, I’m so confused. I may never survive this change.

Tomorrow at 1:30, Phil and I are scheduled to go to Home Depot to learn how to paint a textured wall. Since the walls in the kitchen are plaster and quite defective – fifty years of age has not been graceful to them – I made the suggestion to texture the walls with a textured paint, and use stencils with a nautical theme. I found some cool looking dolphin and nautical stencils at a craft store and I’m hopeful they’ll give me the look and creativity I desire.

Home Depot was swamped on Saturday so I suggested we could play with the paint technique at home. If this textured effect works well, I have a master bathroom to do, using the nautical theme, or maybe I’ll get more creative and do a lighthouse on the wall. Wouldn’t that be cool!

Monday, March 26:

Today is the day. Installation of cabinets. Let us hope it goes well. The installers are named Scott and Kyle. Not your typical construction workers, they are tall, lean, and hard working. They arrive on time and go straight to the task at hand. I am impressed with the quality of work they do. With saws grinding a painful tune into the wood, I am reminded of dental visits, and I clench my teeth, thankful it is not me on the cutting board. I am so grateful I do not have a headache today.

Phil arrives home at lunchtime, no doubt to stupervise. Yes, I said stupervise!

He walks through the kitchen, looking at things, especially looking for things that can go wrong. He questions a few things, makes comments and suggestions. Again – stupervising!

After a few minutes of his getting in the way, I remind him the kitchen is long and narrow, only having so much room. He looks at me, turns his head, continues to ask questions. Always in charge! Think I’ve decided if we remodel again, I am running away for a while!

Losing Weight, Weight Watchers

Finding True Happiness With Myself and Weight Watchers


Dearest Readers:

Like many women, there have been many road blocks and detours in my life. Marrying at a young age — much too young — I recognized that happiness does not come from marriage, or from living with someone, or from the temptations of food. I have battled with weight problems all of my life. You probably know the drill. Diets…Diets..and More Diets. I tried high protein diets…Lost weight, only to gain again. I found success for a while after going to a doctor. I lost weight, only to gain again. Over and over I found myself on an endless spinning wheel of weight loss and weight gain.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. My doctor suggested losing weight, and so I stepped onto that spinning wheel once again. Three months later, I went back to my doctor, discovering a weight loss of 14 pounds. “I’m eating healthier now,” I said, ever so happy of my weight loss and A1C levels.

“I’ve got this,” I whispered to myself on the way home. “I want to lose 30 more pounds.” Little did I know how difficult weight loss would become.

I remembered the last time I joined Weight Watchers without success. Going to the meeting, I saw a beige curtain, with a doctor’s scale. When someone entered the curtained area, they closed the curtain, weighed and hopped off the scale, but the number on the scale was still revealed. Yes, everyone could see the weight of the previous person. I was mortified. I went to one meeting, never going back. If my memory is correct, liver was one of the foods recommended to eat once a week. Since my family would not eat liver and we rarely ate in restaurants, I knew I could not be successful with Weight Watchers; nevertheless, I wanted to continue my weight loss.

On March 3, 2011, I turned the TV on, watching a new commercial from Weight Watchers. Jennifer Hudson was speaking about how she has lost 80 pounds with Weight Watchers. Staring at her, I was envious. I remember saying to myself, “I deserve to be happy, and I deserve to lose weight. Maybe I should go back to Weight Watchers. I want to be slim. I want to wear clothes that compliment my body instead of covering and hiding my body. I can be slim – one day –someday. Sitting at my computer desk, a voice spoke to me. ‘Go to Weight Watchers…Go to Weight Watchers…’ I Googled Weight Watchers, reading about how they had new programs – with ‘confidential weigh-ins.’ I was curious. Just what is a ‘confidential weigh-in?’

Confidential weigh-ins…I decided it was time to start the journey. Rushing to get dressed I decided…today is the day…My first day in a long time…I will be the REAL ME…the one who enters a building with a gigantic smile on my face. I will lose weight. After all, I am SOMEBODY!

At 9:45, I entered the meeting area of my local Weight Watchers. I wanted to cover my head with a grocery bag. I prayed I did not recognize anyone at the meeting. Never did I establish eye contact. The leader approached me, introducing herself as Kathy.

“I’m new,” I whispered. She reached for my hand.

“Welcome to Weight Watchers.”

I thanked her, found a seat in the back row, holding my head down. Listening to the meeting, the tightness in my body eased. I left the meeting a bit confused. Just what could I eat?

At home, I read the literature, discovering all I needed to do was track my food intake, making certain to have 26 points daily. “Sounds easy enough,” I said.

Yes, I am still a member of Weight Watchers. March 11, 2015 I will celebrate four years as a member of Weight Watchers. Have I reached my goal?

Absolutely not. I haven’t even discussed my ‘goal weight’ with my leader — Yet! For now, I am somewhat in limbo. Bouncing back and forth. The holidays were a nightmare for me. I gained almost 10 pounds and was so furious with myself, I missed meetings due to the holidays and a cruise to the Bahamas.

When I did force myself to return to the meetings, I discovered a weight gain of two pounds – not the 10 I thought I gained. I missed the meeting last week due to a stomach virus. Tomorrow is my regular weigh-in day. I think I have gained; nevertheless, if I have — I will face the music and get back on track.

Losing weight is easy for some people. For me, it is a struggle. Nevertheless, I am determined. I have changed my eating habits considerably and I work out every week – usually five days weekly. My exercise routine includes walking on the treadmill, inclined at seven degrees, with a speed of 3.3 for 50 minutes. By the time I finish, I am dripping wet! My goal is to incline my NordicTrack to 10 degrees. You must realize, I have asthma and if I push myself, I end up gasping for breath. After the treadmill, I do aerobics. My exercise routine is a slow progression. I must say, the inches are melting away. I am able to wear clothes I never thought I could. My shoulders are slimming down, and a few weeks ago, I discovered I actually do have ribs and collar bones! Rejoice! Eureka! “Yes, I’ve got this!”

If you are curious about Weight Watchers, go to the website, https://welcome.weightwatchers.com/ and read all about it. I encourage others to consider joining at a meeting, not online – however, if you are the type of person who can work alone and do it all by yourself, then online might work for you. When I joined in 2011, I started to join online. Fortunately, I listened to that little voice in my head, deciding to go to the meeting — just to see what ‘confidential weigh-ins’ are all about. At our meetings, the confidential weigh in consists of two small scales sitting on the floor. NO BEIGE CURTAIN! As I approached I thought — that can’t be confidential…all the people have to do is move a bit closer to the line up and read what he or she weighs.

Surprise! I was incorrect! When I got on the scales, I expected the scales to moan or groan, so I looked down to read the number – but –the number was not visible.

I glanced at the receptionist writing on my card. “Where’s the weight?” I asked.

“We’re confidential now. Only the person behind the desk can see the number.”

I laughed. “No beige curtains?”

“Nope…not anymore.”

Silly me. She was familiar with the beige curtains!

After almost four years with Weight Watchers what have I learned? Simple. I’ve learned so much it might take an entire chapter to discover all that I have learned. I’ve made friends — loyal, supportive, kind friends, and I’ve learned that all of us who enter the Weight Watchers meeting have felt the same way. The first visit, I recall walking in, just wanting to be invisible. I did not want others to discover what I weighed, nor did I want them to laugh at me. No one did. I’ve discovered all of us at the meetings, even those at lifetime, have walked in those same shoes. The dreaded shoes of weight gain, and together, we join hands to encourage everyone. When we see someone returning to the meetings after a few absences, we smile at them. Many times I embrace them, telling them I have missed them…and many times, they will hang their heads in shame. I smile and say, “But you’re back…”

Together we can do this. So for now, smile and welcome to Weight Watchers! Together we are on an amazing journey!

Free Writing, Holidays

Happy New Year…2015


Hello Readers and Happy New Year:

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a fresh and Happy New Year, 2015. Today, all of us step into a new journey in our lives…a new year.

What will happen to our world in 2015?

What will we accomplish?

No one has a magical looking-glass to glance into to find out, or predict. Some people have the power to predict what might happen, but none of us truly know.

We must face each morning with a new outlook. A new beginning…A new breath.

I wish all of my readers a Happy and Healthy New Year. May all of us step into our new year with a fresh outlook. A positive attitude. Faith. Belief. And most of all, may we appreciate those we know, and those we will meet this year.

May our lives be blessed just to know, appreciate and love one another! May we all dance to our own music. May we see and appreciate the sunrises and sunsets in our lives and most of all, may we face each day with a new beginning!

Happy New Year, 2015!

Family, Free Writing, So...You Think You've Got an Opinion...

My Thoughts On Friendship


Dearest Readers:

Normally if I write in my blog on Thursday’s I write about my weekly accomplishments with Weight Watchers. Today’s discussion will be about the touchy, sometimes controversial subject of friendship. While at Weight Watchers today, the subject of friendship entered my mind. Why? Simple. I do not have many “friends.”

Did you notice I placed the seven letter words of friends in quotes? Perhaps. Why? Simple — friendship is a complicated subject open for discussion.

As a child, I grew up in many locations. None that I referred to as home, with exception of my grandparents home in a mill village. My parents moved us around like gypsies on the road. Roots never existed for our family. Each time I hear someone describe how they ‘love to go home again,’ I cringe. Envious. During high school (remember those years — only four years until adulthood?) Well, during those four years, I went to six high schools. In one year, I changed high school three times. My Freshman year – the year where I had difficulty passing English? It was a torrential time in my life. My parents fought like maniac cats and dogs — barking…growling…huffing…puffing…cursing…threatening, then — beating each other. When I was 15, on a cold, windy Tuesday afternoon, I pulled them apart again – this time for the last time! That Saturday my mother moved us again — this time, back to our maternal grandparent’s home. At their tiny brick mill house, there were two bedrooms. One bathroom. Four girls. Our mother, and our grandparents. Privacy did not exist.

For weeks, I rebelled. Refusing to go to school, refusing to talk…refusing life. I took walks by myself. I discovered an isolated route leading to the shores of the Chattahoochee River, and there, hovered down, staring at the shoreline, angry and hurt that my parents were divorcing and my mother forced us to live in such a crowded home, I cried. Angry because my mother wanted me to cut the cords with my ‘no good b——Daddy. He’s dead. Dead. DEAD. Don’t ever say his name around me again!”

Unbeknownst to her, I kept in touch with my dad.

I recall thinking about my roots, only I didn’t have any. Thrust in a small mill village where everyone knew everything, I refused to make friends. I hid the secrets of my childhood in the red clay riverbanks of the Chattahoochee River. During another battle with my mother, she shouted to me, demanding that I go to school so I could graduate. She pointed her finger in my face, demanding that IF I did not enroll in high school, she would see me working at the Bibb Mill. Remember, I was only 15! I did not want to work in the mill, nor did I want to live in Bibb City.

Deciding the only decision I could make was to return to school, I enrolled, went to class, but I did not make friends. I sat in the back of the classroom, refusing to socialize with other students. I was ashamed. A mill kid with only the clothes on her back. Nothing more. One of my cousins cleaned out her closet, giving me her ‘hand-me-down clothes.’ When she saw me wearing them, she laughed, shouting something about I was so poor the only decent clothes I had were her ‘hand-me-downs.’ I wanted to hit her, but I walked away, deciding to remain — ALONE.

During my final high school days, my grades improved. All I did was force my eyes into books at the library and at school. In Atlanta, I was a singer for a rock band. In Columbus, the music stopped, with exception of the church and school choirs. I made only a few friends, never inviting them to our home. Why? We had no privacy. If I brought a friend home, I couldn’t play music because ‘rock n’ roll music was a sin,’ according to my grandfather. He didn’t believe we should play with the school kids, but only the kids in the mill village. I rebelled.

Today, at Weight Watchers I listened to the new program learning how I could be more successful with my weight loss journey. Afterwards, I had lunch with two of my dearest friends from Weight Watchers. After lunch, Tammy invited me to go shopping with her, so off we went, driving around the area while getting to know each other better. I must say, I really enjoy this new friendship with Tammy and Sara. I am blessed! Now that I am home, I started thinking about friendship.

Friendship is defined as “the state of being friends: the relationship between friends” according to Webster’s Dictionary. I confess, I have a limited amount of friends. I consider friendship as a relationship between people who trust and love each other. A friend is someone you can count on. Trust. Appreciate. A person who you can spill your heart to while knowing that the trust will not be broken. A friend is someone who will NOT pretend to be your friend, just to go and share your heartfelt feelings to others.

Today, while riding with Tammy I feel a new bonding with her. A connection. No, I will not share our conversations, after all, isn’t that what true friends do — listen. Talk. Relate, while not going behind your back to as I describe, “stab you in the back.” When a friend talks with me, I do not share those conversations to others. I believe in the bond of trust.

Backstabbers are not friends. I have met many. Two that I really thought were my friends, only to discover behind my back they were whispering — starting ugly gossip. Have I shared that I detest gossip? I refer these people as ‘acquaintances,’ not “friends!”

I suppose I am from the old school — where friendship is to be cherished. I suppose my husband is my greatest friend. For years I thought husbands and wives could not be classified as friends since intimacy was combined within the relationship; nevertheless, now I say my husband is probably my dearest friend. He has seen me walk through the darkness of my childhood when I shared the years of abuse with him. He is the only one who held me tight when I fell apart emotionally. On that horrific night of my life, he listened without fighting with me. He knows my darkest secrets, and to my knowledge he hasn’t discussed those issues with anyone else. He guided me to find the strength to break away and to rise above and build a new life with him. Yes, we’ve had moments where I didn’t know if we would survive — many times when I stood my ground with him – refusing to allow him to rule me — however, he is my strength. My foundation. My Rock!

Friendship is truly something all of us need in our lives. A friend will listen. A friend comforts. A friend guides and understands — even when we think we cannot get through another day.

To my closest friends, I say thank you. To Gina, Tammy, and my high school “lifetime best friend,” — Charlotte, I say thank you. Without all of you by my side, I would not be the person I am today, while I journey to find strength and joy within my heart and soul. Due to your encouragement I discovered it is important to love ourselves, so we can be the best friend to our friends.

To those people who say “I don’t need friends…” I must remind you, if you do not have friends, you must live a lonely, isolated unhappy life.

I salute and toast my friends. I would not be the woman I am today without you. The good. The bad…The indifferent…The opinionated…The glitzy, gregarious “drama queen who loves her bling” and mostly the kind, happy woman I smile at in the mirror. The woman who permitted the music to return so she could sing again! I hope my reflections of friendship will encourage all of my readers to take a step to make friends.

Thank you! Happy Friendship!

Chattahoochee Child, Domestic Abuse, Friday Reflections, Uncategorized

Friday Reflections…


Dearest Readers:

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know I haven’t written much in this column in about two weeks. Last week was truly the week from Hell for me. Beginning with suspected car problems where the technicians replied, “The engine light wasn’t on when we checked it…” Of course, that is a typical response from men to a woman at a service department…now, isn’t it — WOMEN! They were slightly mistaken. The engine light icon returned, and on Wednesday, it took over three hours to get it repaired. Of course, the main reason it took so long is due to the fact my car warranty was purchased with the car ($1549.00) at Car Max. Still, I am furious with Car Max; however, I will go on record to say that the service tech at Dodge possessed an amazing amount of patience with them — JUST — to get the warranty approved. Thank you, Dodge…and NO THANK YOU…to Car Max!

But — that chapter is closed and I am pleased to share that the repair that I had to pay for in the amount of $477.21 has been compensated to me – minus the $100 deductible since I DID NOT USE CAR MAX FOR THE REPAIR… Heck, I could not get Car Max to return a phone call, or the Mouse Lady to acknowledge me! Can you detect my frustration with Car Max???

Enough about Car Max! I suppose this post should actually be Friday frustrations, instead of Friday Reflections; however, since I am a person who looks for the positive in life and not the negative, I will do my best to reflect with a positive attitude.

While I am reflecting on Friday and this week, I would like to share that I was finally able to attend my weekly Weight Watchers meeting yesterday — the first meeting I’ve attended in four weeks. I confess, I anticipated a weight gain of 3 or 4 pounds and was a bit happy when I had only gained .06! It was wonderful to get back to my REAL life again. This reflection proves to me that I cannot complete my Weight Watchers journey alone. Like someone with an addiction, I must attend weekly meetings to share my ups and downs with all. I confess, I think the only reason I did not show a weight gain of four pounds or more was due to the fact that I have worked out on the treadmill every day since last Saturday. It was suggested at the meeting for me to ‘shake up’ my exercise routine a bit, so this week I will go for an extended walk — on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and I will return to walking my dogs again. I’ve been slack about walking my dogs ever since we lost my precious Shamey-Pooh. The last time I walked the dogs on our three-mile journey someone actually stopped me to inquire where the ‘beautiful silver dog was,’… when I replied that he died, they apologized and I burst into tears.

Undoubtedly, there has been a black cloud over me for a few weeks, or maybe it is the full moon returning; nevertheless, this week started off — shall I say unpredictable. Monday afternoon, Phil and I left the house a few minutes after 5pm, headed to the Coastal Carolina Fair. What would normally take about 30 minutes was at least 1.5 hours. We arrived at the fair at about 7pm. Never did Phil get annoyed about the traffic and we had a great time at the fair. Little did I know how things would change within 24 hours!

For those of you who do not know – My husband has PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you do not know what it is like to live with someone with PTSD — count your blessings! Tuesday afternoon when Phil returned home from work, he had a strange look in his eyes. I know that look well — PTSD! Within 30 minutes, we were fighting. I cannot recall what set him off, or me off – but our fight continued. I decided to shut myself away in the bedroom. That night, I broke our rule – a rule made when we were newlyweds…the rule of “never going to bed angry, or without a good night kiss!”

Wednesday – we had the same scenario. No matter what I said, we could not stop the fight. Listening to someone is difficult with him. I approached him carefully, telling him ‘we need to talk.’ When someone has PTSD communication does not exist. Every time I said I needed to talk to him, we fought. The real kicker was when Phil shouted to me that I was exactly like my mother. Yes, he does know the right buttons to push! I exploded although with a calm, diplomatic voice letting him know that I was ‘nothing like my mother!’ Never did I behave, or deceive him in the manner my mother deceived my father.

I gathered my dogs and off we went to the bedroom. I pretended to be asleep! No kiss. Nothing! Breaking the rules continued. I should add, Wednesday, Phil called me several times. No doubt, he wanted to end this scenario on the phone. I stood firm.

Thursday morning, after Weight Watchers, I had lunch with a close friend from Weight Watchers. As I was leaving the car to meet her, my cell phone beeped with an e-mail. From Phil. Subject – Peace! He said he was tired of fighting…recognized that at times he could be difficult, only that is not the word he used! And he was sorry. I phoned him. Fight over.

No, I was not refusing to take the first step to end this emotional battle, but when you live with someone with PTSD there does come a time when you must be firm so they can see the issues related to PTSD. I’ve had several friends ask why I tolerate his behaviors and mental treatments. My reply – simple –he is the only person who has ever loved me. He rescued me when I needed rescuing. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, reading my issues with my mother and the domestic abuse of my family, then you must understand. When someone grows up in such an environment, never do you anticipate a life of love and peacefulness. Never did I EVER see my parents hug or kiss, so — due to LOVE(??) that is why I tolerate such behaviors. I do recall my parents shouting and I shall quote:
Mother – expressed to my father: “I hate you…You no good Son of a B—-!”

Dad’s reply: “I wish I never married you!”

Mom’s reply: “I hope you die soon…”

Those cruel expressions echoed in my ears as a child, and they still echo in my ears. Once you live in an abusive family situation, you never forget it!

Maybe that is why I strive so hard to be positive. When I hear others gossiping, ridiculing others, I say something positive about the person. Maybe that is why I’ve lost “friendships” because I do not wish to gossip about others. I do not function well with gossip or negativity. As a child, I recall my mother dragging me to the beauty shop in Bibb City, GA where she would sit for hours gossiping about women, men and the couples within the village of Bibb City. I hated these moments and would rush outside, or sit with my head covered with one of the bubble hair dryers so I would not hear their shrewd gossip. Women can be so dangerous and cruel. I suppose those ‘toxic stories’ made my mother feel better about herself, and I do recall saying to my mother, “God don’t love ugly.” My grandmother’s favorite expression! My mother’s response, “You shush your mouth, you stupid girl!”

Later in my life, I focused on a new definition of STUPID!
S – Sensitive
T – Tenacious
U – Unique
P – Passionate
I – Imaginative; Independent; Intimate
D – Dignified; Dependable; Desirable

Perhaps for today, these are my Friday reflections. I am hopeful next week will be a positive, happy week for me, and for you. What are your Friday Reflections?

Friday Reflections

Friday Reflections…Finding My Strength To Be The Best I Can Be…


Dearest Readers:

Yes, today is Friday. A day to reflect and appreciate life. A day to give thanks and be thankful for another great week of life.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will recall I am on a Weight Watchers journey. Thursday is my weigh-in day, so reluctantly, yesterday, I went to the meeting, anticipating a weight gain of three or four pounds. Why? You might say? Well, although I hate to admit it, I binged. Until Tuesday, I found myself going to the pantry to eat — of all things — peanut butter. I still do not understand what was going on with me, and why I was craving and eating that stupid jar of peanut butter. I do confess to the habit of checking my weight daily, and I work out at least five days weekly; nevertheless, I craved that peanut butter like someone who would never eat peanut butter again.

When I arrived at Weight Watchers and weighed, I read my weigh in card, realizing I had only gained one pound. Rejoice! After all, it’s the little things in life that mean so much to us, especially someone on a Weight Watchers journey.

I looked at my leader, sharing with her my week. Much to my surprise, she did not ridicule me or shame me. That is what is so great with attending the meetings at Weight Watchers. Never do we get shamed or ridiculed. We receive encouragement, even when we
“fall off the wagon,” just like I did this week. I did share with Kathy, my leader, that on Tuesday, after having a serious discussion with myself, I tossed the peanut butter jar into the trash. Thank goodness!

If you are considering a Weight Loss program, I would like to encourage you to join Weight Watchers. I joined in March 2011. For me, it has been a slow journey, but I have stuck with it, even when I miss a meeting, I force myself to continue this journey, especially this week.

What makes Weight Watchers work? For me, I believe it is the meetings…the encouragement and support we receive, even when we have a bad week. During those bad weeks, many people simply give up and quit, only to return to a meeting and rejoin months later…after gaining weight. I embrace all of the members who return and I am happy that they chose to come back. I have made a commitment to myself to continue this journey, even IF it takes me the remainder of my life to reach my goal. Never have I discussed my ‘goal weight’ — but — I do have a goal weight in my mind, and I will reach it. Meanwhile, I continue the journey. Walk on the treadmill, and on the bridge, and I work out. Sometimes, I glance at myself in the mirror and stare for a moment…Remembering WHO I was before losing 35 pounds…and WHO I am now. My “arms are smaller, along with my legs. My hips have “shrunk,” according to my husband, and my face doesn’t have the fullness it had before.

Never shall I forget the first day I walked into the Weight Watchers meeting. Never did I establish eye contact with anyone. I was too ashamed of who I saw in that mirror. Now, when I walk in I am greeted — just like others, and I embrace the new me.

My Friday Reflections for today could easily be a whipping session for myself…beating myself up…like I have previously. Today is a new day…a new beginning…a new step…a new journey…a new life…and so I embrace it while being so thankful that Weight Watchers has changed my life. I am more confident and proud of who I am becoming, as I step out into this journey called life.

For me, Weight Watchers is a bridge of strength and pride while I take the baby steps to grow into the woman I’ve always desired. A woman full of pride and strength, just like the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston.

What about you? Do you have Friday reflections to share? I’d love to read them!

Friday Reflections, Weight Watchers

Friday Reflections…


Dearest Readers:

I’ve been just a bit quiet for a while, especially with stories about my Weight Watchers journey. Why? Simple…I’m still on the journey…managing to yo-yo back and forth with the same one to two pounds. I feel as if I am rewinding, but I’m not giving up! My body is getting smaller, firmer and I am excited at that discovery. At times I will glance into the full-length mirror I purchased last year — just to see — who is that person in that mirror? “Rejoice, silly woman…it is ME!”

Today is Friday – a Friday reflection if we must. Yesterday was my weigh-in day but I awoke (actually never slept) with another headache, so I chose to bury my head in the pillows and attempt something extremely difficult for me — the blessed sleep. I suppose my body never goes into the REM sleep mode since I find myself tossing and turning in bed. And — IF I do sleep — I have dreams — sometimes nightmares. I awaken either hearing my voice speaking in such a soft and slow mode I listen to see who is speaking – only to realize it is my sleep voice…a raspy, extremely soft and slow voice. Wish I could record it, but it does sound a bit seductive!

Today is Friday…a beautiful, sunshiny day in Charleston. I walk outside, just to smell the scents of Autumn and I must say, it is refreshing to finally feel the warmth of sunshine on me after one of the wettest September’s I remember! Today I start a new column in this blog — appropriately titled “Friday Reflections.” This column will be a reflection of my Weight Watchers journey. Enjoy!

Friday reflection — Like many of you deciding to lose weight and share what you have learned or experienced on this journey, I would like to share a bit about my childhood and the eating habits I learned while growing up.

As a child, I was lucky IF we ate healthy meals. My family consisted of four girls and two extremely strict parents. We were taught we must eat “everything on our plate.” Vegetables normally came out of a can. We grew up in the projects or in mill villages, so fresh vegetables were too expensive. If we ate anything fresh, it came from the farmers market, or the garden. When we had dinners at my maternal grandmother’s home, we tasted fresh vegetables, Southern fried chicken and homemade biscuits. I loved my grandmother’s homemade biscuits. They were soft, as light and fluffy as a cloud, especially with a pat of butter and jelly and I could not resist. As a young girl, I grew to be the biggest girl in my family, and my youngest sisters teased me until I would crawl into the closet and cry. I am pleased to say, they are much larger than me now…at least they were the last time I saw them — many years ago. I suppose revenge is so sweet. The table has turned in my favor, and I am happy about that. Yes, I could be cruel and repeat to them what they sang to me, but I do not like to ‘get even’ with them. I simply smile while knowing I am the best I can be!

After marriage, I chose to cook foods a different way — fresh from scratch. Nevertheless, I still fried foods until my husband had heart surgery in 1998. At that time, I bounced from the cardiac wing of Roper Hospital to the South wing at Roper Hospital. My dad was battling esophageal cancer at that time. Food preparation was the least of my concerns as I watched my husband slowly come back to life and my father fading away. While my husband recovered, I chose to cook healthier meals. I lost weight for a while, then my body adjusted and the weight loss refused to drop. In 1999, I lost my father. Words cannot describe how much I miss him!

Oops…continuing my journey — On March 3, 2011, sitting at my computer while listening to the Today Show, Jennifer Hudson was on TV promoting Weight Watchers. She had lost over 80 pounds and looked amazing. I Googled the Weight Watchers website, deciding for only one moment to join online. A little voice inside my head said, “No… go to the meeting.” At 9:30, I walked into the meeting, wishing I had a paper grocery bag to place over my head. Three years, and 35 pounds down later, I am still a member at Weight Watchers, still plugging along wishing and hoping to reach goal. Weight Watchers is my life now. When friends ask, “Are you STILL doing Weight Watchers,” I smile…take a deep breath and say, “Yes…I will NEVER give up my Weight Watchers journey, and I WILL make goal!” Daily I work out. Sometimes on the treadmill. Other times, taking a brisk walk and I do aerobics. For me, Weight Watchers motivates me. I’ve made “lifetime friends” at my meeting, and now I wear clothes in a small size. I’ve NEVER worn small in anything previously. Just the other day my husband said to me while glancing at me, “You are getting really small now!” He’s never said that before! Yes, my journey continues…and I am proud of myself on this beautiful morning filled with sunshine on my Friday reflection! Thank you, Weight Watchers for this amazing journey!

Stay tuned, readers. There will come a day that I share — Barbie made lifetime! Oooooohhhhh! I cannot wait until that day! And now, it is time to hop on the treadmill, to do my workout! Until next Friday…!