Friday, October 14, 2016

Motivation to Lose Pounds

Both my husband and I are overweight, inspite of eating what I think is a really good vegetarian* diet(*mostly vegan, but we do occasionally give in to cheesy or eggy dishes and even the occasional surprise chicken in a wrap that we thought was veggie).  We grow a lot of berries and eat our own veggies all summer, so by and large we are 'organic' in our own home-- but not so much when we leave the house and join in at potlucks or eat in restaurants.  At home we also try to be 'low fat' and admittedly our digestion is better when we eat less greasy stuff.

So, we are fat vegans, let's say (apologies to the "real" vegans out there). We are convicted of healthful benefits of the low fat vegan lifestyle, and have certainly explored any number of other ways of eating for health (including the ovo-lacto and pescatarian vegetarian styles, paleo, 80-10-10 raw vegan, etc. etc.).  So, what is the problem?  Why aren't we trim and slim and walking advertisements for the low fat vegan choice??

I think it is partly because we are both people who like to explore the borders of what others consider 'healthy'.  We are curious about the extremes (like 100% raw vegan or water fasting for 16 days) and look at the plunge into those relatively uncharted waters as an adventure in our sunset years.

So we plunge, but we are so interested in such a broad range of ways to live life, and so pampered by the Internet to think that way, that we metaphorically skip around like a porpoise in the waves of possibility and get distracted from our original intention.

And we like sweets.

I would say that yummy chocolate-y treats and high-calorie desserts are our biggest downfall.  We know how great we feel when we eat like the guys in the film, "Forks Over Knives" but we also get distracted by the dessert table at our weekly church potluck or by the samplings at Costco, again etc. etc. etc.

There are lots of other reasons for our being overweight.  And lots of health concerns and embarrassment about our appearance should provide motivation for immediate measures to take the unhealthy pounds off.  It is obvious to us that we need some additional motivation.

So, on our recent road trip to see our granddaughters and their parents we listened to an audio CD of the book, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness.  The authors, Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, give fascinating examples of how people can be influenced (or nudged) into making healthier decisions.  We 'borrowed' the one about having to pay out to the Nazi Party if we fail to keep our eyes on the prize.   We did try to think of something more repugnant to us, but couldn't.  The other one that sticks in my mind is 'doctors with addictions' who actively 'use' various harmful drugs and seem unable to 'stay clean' without discreet professional help.  A psychologist who works with such clients has them write a letter to their licencing agency confessing their 'lapse' back into using these drugs, a letter which will be sent IF they return to using the drugs. This, of course, most assuredly means that they would lose their professional licences and probably they would also face legal prosecution.  That is just the sort of scare-tactic motivation some of us need to do what we know is right!

I have my charts all made up for weekly weigh-ins and am quite excited about the possibility of weighing less than I have in years, by March 1st.  Ed is hyped too (it was his idea to pay out to the Nazi Party of Canada) but is mystified that, overnight, he seemingly GAINED two pounds. Hahaha.

I plan to stick to the low fat vegan way of eating and lifestyle (go to bed earlier, don't eat between meals, get in some exercise, etc.).  This weekend is a real test for my being strong enough not to rationalize a fall-back into comfort foods: there are projections of a dramatic couple of rain and wind-storms fueled by Typhoon Songda and it hasn't stopped raining for several hours.  The other point of anxiety is that Ed has headed over to the Mainland to a Men's Retreat until Sunday evening and I have not been alone in my house without our little dog Zoe in over ten years.  She left us in late April this year.  Will I stay true to our goals?

I plan to post about the journey on here pretty regularly, so if you want to follow along, that would be greatly encouraging... particularly if you post the odd hurrah in the Comments below.  You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter and Instagram.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Nostalgic Songs for Parents Whose Kids Are Growing Up

This is the bitter-sweet time of the year when parents are sending their kids back to school... or when kids have made the actual flight from the nest.  Sweet for some parents who are overwhelmed with responsibilities and jobs and who are happy to see the kids "safely" back in school... but bitter when parents are not ready to release their quickly maturing child to a non-familial environment, like a school, a college, a work place, a move far away from home for whatever reason.

These are some of the schmaltziest, most gratuitously sentimental songs ever recorded.  They exploit the tenderness that a parent (or grandparent) has for a child, the fears they have for their loss, and subconsciously, hark right back to a time when the listener was negotiating his/her own passage to independence from her/his family of origin.

Some of this music will sound downright cornball, but you will likely catch a phrase that will touch you heart, and you will generally begin tearing up.  There are lots of possibilities here... pick ones that speak to you.  A little crying is good for the soul... actually, toxins are released in your tear drops, so crying really IS healthy.

So, go ahead and enjoy yourself.  Please share which sentimental songs bring up sad nostalgic feelings about your children as pre-schoolers or kids leaving home-- in the comment section below.  

I'M YOUR LITTLE BOY sung by the German boy, Heintje, somewhere in the early 70s. This song really moved my mother to tears, both about her little grandsons, and her sons.  You can also listen to these other heart-breakers sung for/to/about mothers and grandmothers (um, of another era).

ALWAYS BE YOUR BABY written and sung by Natalie Clark-- written for her Dad

DADDY'S ANGEL recorded by tcartermusic .  Described as the "perfect father-daughter wedding dance song"

MY LITTLE GIRL sung by Tim McGraw about his growing child.

I LOVED HER FIRST by Heartland.  I'm of a couple of minds about this particular song.  It sounds fiercely protective of a child but sort of nudges on the border of the kind of possessiveness of chattel that women have had to fight to free themselves from.  When you read through the comments below this song you will find a number of 'trolls' with disgusting remarks to young women disclosing how much they miss their fathers, and a reference to this song being part of a TV show about sexual predators that has apparently stimulated the inappropriate comments.  But there is something rather sweet Daddyish as well.  If you have comments, please add them below in the comments section-- I'm curious about what you think.

FOREVER YOUNG by Rod Stewart.  This poorly replicated video has over 14Million hits so you know that it has viral/classic status as a sentimental tune about Daddy loving the young you forever (or is it that he is "forever young" in his memories of being a young dad?)  Here is the follow-up several years later with his daughter Ruby Stewart

SONG FOR MY SON- by Mikki Viereck - billed as the first Mother-Son Wedding Son.  Quite lovely.

YOU GAVE ME A MOUNTAIN sung by Elvis Presley.  Written as a little chat with God, a sort of lamentation and a missing of the little son that the song writer's wife left with at the end of their relationship.  There is no doubt that loss cuts more ways than one where separation and divorce are concerned.  Here it is sung by Marty Robbins-- some prefer this version.

NEVER DIE YOUNG by James Taylor -- a little veer off into another sentimental place, this is apparently James Taylor's tribute to his grandparents who were childhood sweethearts who loved well into old age, a good model of a loving couple.

SUNRISE SUNSET from the movie "Fiddler on the Roof".  The biggest tear-jerker of them all.  Speaks to handing off the torch to the younger generation of adults, to letting go of the hand-holding stage of parenting, to celebrating the passages while mourning the loss of the little child, and to the rhythm of the seasons that inevitably brings change.

Our quotable 10-year old granddaughter's most memorable quote of the 2-week end of the summer with us when I suggested that in just 8 years she would be 18:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Blessing of the Fig Tree

In our yard we have a little green fig tree that has launched into an abundance of fruit-bearing over the recent past.  In its initial 8 or 9 years, it languished.  Its little buddy expired fairly early on (not unusual for fruit trees in our front yard soil, which could be described as a gravel bed with a slim overlay of topsoil.
An idea of how many figs this tree is putting out-- every branch is laden like this with a couple of crops.

And a shot of some of the 'baby' figs that will form the second crop later in the summer/early Fall.

The same fig tree just four years ago-- barely hanging on, and only producing a few figs that year.

We have fertilized/amended the soil around its roots with lime and rock phosphate.  Those mineral nutrients have made a huge difference.

Here my d.h. is demonstrating that the tree is about 6' in breadth, not that the big one got away.

What do you do with your harvest of figs?  I would appreciate some more ideas. Comment below!

Yummy Quick and Easy Fig Jam (on Hubpages)

These are recipes I have used:

Yummy Quick and Easy Fig Jam (along with some interesting facts about figs)

Fig-Quince-Ginger Jam (yes I also have a quince tree-- not thrilling, but good in this jam)