Game On Update

I can’t believe its been six weeks since I started my first round of Game On!!!  Where did that time go??  Anyway, I thought I should give an update / report.

I’m sorry to say that, in the end, I really feel like it made zero difference.  I suppose the fact that life here was turned sideways by the fires has something to do with that.  Its difficult to focus on healthy eating, exercise, making new habits, letting go of old habits, drinking enough water and sleeping enough when the county is on fire (not literally the entire county but that’s what it felt like some days), people are losing their homes and livelihoods, my Mom is living with us, and I have extra dogs running around – all because of fires.

And then, October 1 rolled around which means I get to eat these:candy corn

I really, really love candy corn.  And its only allowed in our house during the month of October (even if its in stores earlier).  I’m one of those “OHAAT” people . . . “One Holiday At A Time”!!!!!  So, since I only have 31 days of candy corn, I have to get my entire years’ worth in.

And then, all that Halloween candy comes home!!!  candy

Have I mentioned that I really like sugar??  My kids have Halloween candy from last year left over!!!  So they certainly don’t notice if a piece or two or three (or four) are gone each day.

With all of that being said, I’m starting a new round of Game On tomorrow.  I’m certainly not feeling geared up for it, motivated, or anything else.  But I’m going to give it a go nonetheless.  Hopefully, the next five weeks will be calm and smooth and, this time around, I’ll actually make some new healthy habits.  Or at least lose a couple of pounds.  Or at least decrease my candy consumption to one or two pieces a day.  I’m hoping for all of those things.  But I know its going to take more than simple “hope”.

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Living on the Periphery

I live on the periphery.  At least, that’s how it feels.

I drive around in my nice car.  I have nice clothes.  I always look “put together”.  My outward demeanor tells you that I can handle anything.  I smile.  I come home to my nice house.  I have nice kids who are straight A students.  I have a nice, yellow lab.  I ride horses.  I travel.  I like to read.  And some days, I think I’m smart.

You assume that I have a lot of friends, go out, and have fun on the weekends.

But you’re not correct.  And you don’t know because you don’t ask me to coffee or invite me out to lunch.  If you and the other girls are going out for a drink, you don’t include me.

Why?  I don’t know and you might not really know either.

I try to participate in conversations.  “Oh, I really like chicken fried steak too!”  And you tell me about the restaurant that has really good chicken fried steak, where you and the other co-worker are going out to lunch today.  But then you turn around to finish discussing what time you’re going out to lunch and don’t invite me.

So I live on the periphery and am left to wonder why.  Left to imagine what I’m doing wrong.  I come home to my nice house, pet my nice dog, and drink my nice cup of coffee.  Alone.  I don’t always mind being alone but I so desperately want to be part of the group, want to be thought of as fun and someone you want to hang out with.

But apparently I’m not.  So I live on the periphery.

Fire!

Its been quite awhile since I’ve posted.  Yet again, everything I was doing, got interrupted.  In case you didn’t hear, we had a bit of a major fire here in the North Bay area of California.

On Monday, October 9, my Mom called us at 3:00 a.m. to say there was a fire nearby and she thought that maybe she should leave.  Having no clue what was actually going on, Husband and I woke up the kids, decided to take two trucks so my Mom could take whatever she wanted from her house, and headed over.

We turned on the radio as we drove to her house and began to get a first inkling of the disaster which was unfolding.  When we arrived at her house, the magnitude of the fires became clear.

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That’s a photo I took from her front porch.  The neighborhood approximately 5 blocks from her house would wind up being leveled.  The explosions we kept hearing were propane tanks exploding.

In the face of that, I took my Mom through her house, room by room, to choose what to take.  She would point to an item and one of our kids would take it and put it in a truck.  Everyone was calm and efficient.

We could hear the fire getting closer so it was time to leave.  After a brief discussion of how best to get out of the neighborhood, we jumped in our cars and joined the line of people streaming out.

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It was really smokey!  I have to say though, everyone was polite, patient, helpful and scared.

We did make it out safely.  Our house was never threatened.  My Mom’s house thankfully was unharmed.  We spent the next few days watching the disaster grow.

At this point, things are beginning to return to some sort of normal.  The fires are nearing containment; mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted; roads are re-opening; many schools are back in session.

The statistics from our county are staggering:  1 in 10 people in the county were evacuated at some point in time.  Upwards of 2,800 residences destroyed, as well as businesses, schools, wineries, hotels and a few iconic landmark buildings.  Two of our three hospitals were evacuated (one of those two has reopened.)  I believe the death toll currently stands at 23.

We were one of the lucky ones.  Our direct impact was limited to having my Mom with us for a week and taking in our friends’ two dogs.  My kids were out of school for awhile – my high schooler went back Tuesday; my middle schooler should go back Monday.  My work is still closed.

There are many, many who have suffered devastating impacts.  My heart goes out to all of them.

Game On!

I’m on Day 3 of a new get healthy plan.  This one is called “Game On!”.  Its a program which focuses on all aspects of health – diet, sleep, water consumption, exercise, making a new healthy habit and letting go of an old, unhealthy, habit.

Plus, its all done in a friendly competition!

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“Kick your friend’s butt while shrinking your own.”  Ha!  I love that.  The competition goes for 5 weeks.  A friend of mine set it up; she’s done it before.  We have 5 or 6 teams of 4 or 5 people each.  So far, its been great!  Every day, all day, there are a ton of emails that go around offering support, encouragement, tips, what’s working and what’s not.

So far, what’s great about it is that I feel like I have a plan for being healthy every day.  If I need some help or inspiration, there’s about 25 people who are ready and willing to lend a hand.  Plus, there’s the aspect of not wanting to let my team down.

I really need to do something because I weigh more than I ever have before.  I know 138 at 5’4″ isn’t the end of the world but a lot of my clothes are not fitting.  And I just haven’t felt well.  I’m tired a lot; I get out of breath easily.  And that’s not how I want to live.

I know I’m only on Day 3 of 5 weeks but I feel like this just might do the trick!

First Farrier Visit

This morning, Smokey, had his first appointment with my farrier.  He’s clearly had his feet trimmed before but we didn’t know what that experience was like for him.  We can clean his feet but his “pony timer” runs out pretty quickly.  So, instead of trying to do it in the cross-ties, which just make him mad, either my daughter or I hold him while the other does his feet.

I took the morning off of work so I could be here to make sure little Smokey had a good experience.  Not that I have any concerns about my farrier!!  Demetri is very kind, extraordinarily patient, loves horses and truly believes that his job will be far easier in the future if he takes the time to lay a good foundation with a horse and gain the horse’s trust.  But, nonetheless, I thought little Smokey would be comforted if I was here.

It went really well!  He stood fairly still quite a bit.  When the pony timer ran out, we just gave him a little break.  He only tried to lay down once.  He did that the other day with my daughter and I – he was tired of us cleaning his feet so he just laid down! It was pretty funny.

So I’m feeling like that was a big success in little Smokey’s life!

Grape Harvest Night!

In 4 hours, I will have been up for the past 24.  I’m up so late (or so early, depending on how you look at it) because its grape harvest night at our house.

We grow pinot noir grapes.  This year, for the first time, they are going to Truett-Hurst Winery.  Visit their website at http://www.truetthurstwinery.com/  In our part of the grape-growing world, grapes are often harvested at night.  This keeps them cooler during the harvest process and on their road trip to the winery, which means they don’t shrivel and raisin as much.

Harvest has to happen at just the right time, when the grapes have reached their perfect brix, or sugar level.  Its been hard this year because we’ve had crazy weather.  We had 100+ degree heat, then it cooled way down and rained, then the heat came back in force and was quickly followed by rain, thunder, and lightening.  Neither grapes, animals nor people seem to know quite what to make of it.  So I’m just glad to have the grapes off the vine before they shrivel from heat or mold from rain because who knows what weather is coming next!

Harvest night is kind of exciting.  The crew started arriving at about midnight.  We have all the barn and other outside lights on.  This year, they did not bring in large lights, which light up the entire vineyard like its noon.  Each of the crew has a headlamp so they can see the purple grapes in the dark night.  They work fast!  There’s singing and laughing and talking as they move quickly along the rows.  Our grapes are hand-picked so they swish, swish, swish with their knives, grapes go into a bin, when their bin is full, they run it to the waiting large bin on the forklift at the end of the row.  A quick dump of grapes into the big bin and they run back for more.

We have a small vineyard – only a generous 2 acres.  They’ll be out of here in a few hours most likely.  And then, the cycle will start over again with new worries about late frost, early heat, unseasonable rain and a host of other things Mother Nature can throw at us.  But, in the meantime, there’s a glass of pinot noir to be enjoyed.

September 5, 2017

This is like my third attempt at this blog post.  Ugh.

It was going to be about learning to be better to myself.  But it was sounding lame, cliche, and uninteresting.

Its hard to be good to yourself.  I’m not sure why, but it is.  I’m trying.  Today, I sat down at 11:00 and took twenty minutes to eat a lovely peach and some Marin Cheese Co. brie on my back porch.  I love sitting on my back porch, looking out over the vineyard, sipping my coffee.

Twenty minutes just for myself seems so indulgent.  But I’m beginning to understand that its really not.  Just like texting with my friends and posting in my blog is not indulgent.  Neither is taking the dog on a walk or working my horses.

Collapsing at work and having my doctor tell me that I need to follow up with a cardiologist (finally got an appointment) sort of puts things into perspective.  But I’ve been surprised that I’m finding it so hard to be kinder to myself.  I always have wondered about the people who are told, “If you don’t make lifestyle changes, you’re going to die” but fail to change.  And, here I am . . . one of them!!

Its really easy to blame others:  “My husband doesn’t help enough.”;  “My job is too stressful.”;  “I’m so busy with the kids’ activities.”  But, realistically, it comes down to me, myself and I – my choices, my decisions and how I deal with the things life throws at me.

I can talk to my husband about our division of tasks.  I can have my kids help out more and take on more responsibility because they are 12 and 14 years old now.  I can find healthy ways to deal with my job and other stress.  I can take a look at our household schedules and see if it can be managed differently.

And I can stop feeling guilty about 20 minutes on my back porch, drinking good coffee and reading the paper.