For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Taste of City Life

Sami and Halle got a taste for what it's like to be city dogs this weekend!

Our kennel had an outbreak of kennel cough
and we didn't want to risk getting them sick,
so we took them with us to Rochester to visit Annie.
This is the lobby of her apartment building.

They experienced their first elevator ride on their way to Annie's 6th floor apartment.

Annie was extremely happy to see them!

Taking them outside to pee was very different than anything they've ever known.
There were so many things to smell and Sami smelled them all.
We stopped at every tree, pole, and fire hydrant!

Luckily there was a nearby church will some grass for Halle to use.

After an exciting evening getting petted by more students than I could count
on the street outside the school, they were tired out 
and settled nicely on their dog beds for the night.

Bright and early the next morning,  I took them for their morning walk.

Evidently, the students eat lots of pizza after their time in the bars.
Halle may have enjoyed a few bites here and there.

We also came upon a sandal.

A very large giraffe.

And very large houses.

Street cleaners.


And a Boy Scout troop selling Christmas trees!

It was very nice to have a garbage can nearby after Sami took his morning poop!

 In front of the science museum was a large reflective ball
which invited us take a few selfies.

When we got back from our walk,  we woke up Annie!

It was a short visit, but I believe they had a lot of fun.

They never made a peep during the 5 hour drive back to Connecticut.

Back home to the regular old routine.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How I Lost My Muffin Top

My mother used to call it a midriff bulge.
Now it's called a muffin top.
In August, after a summer of bagels, granola, and ice cream,
(among other things)
I had a sizeable muffin top.

In fact, I had reached my highest weight EVER.
135 lbs
Being only 5'2" tall, I was definitely overweight.

I could have hidden beneath loose tops, but I wasn't willing to accept
this as "me".  I've always been pretty slim, and at 56 years of age
I knew if I didn't make a big change now, it would only get 
more difficult to lose as time went on.

On August 15, after wearing a tight pair of Spanx under my dress
 to a wedding, I knew this was enough.

I put my husband's Jawbone UP24 on my wrist to
begin measuring my steps.  
I set my goal to 10,000 steps/day.

I also began using the Jawbone app on my iphone to keep track 
my food intake.  Not just calories.  For my height, it suggested
a 1200 calories per day including a max of 100 carbs 
and at least 20g of fiber each day.  It also tracks unsaturated fat,
protein, sugar, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Calculating these totals was easy with the barcode scanner option
in the app.  I just had to measure/weigh the portions.

I believe tracking my food intake was the single most valuable
tool that helped me lose weight.  It was very eye-opening.
I was consuming so many excess calories, and way too many carbs.
It forced me to be creative in my food options.
I never went hungry. But I needed to make different choices.

Becoming more active was also very important.
I have walked 4 - 5 miles every day with my dogs,
rain or shine.  I biked 3-4 times per week until it got too cold.
In the past month,  I've begun to run 2-3 miles almost daily.
On a recent vacation,  I hiked at least 2 hours each day.
And my friend Karen introduced me to the sport of "pickle ball".

Taking weekly pictures of my body helped me to "see"
my progress and be encouraged.

The progression of my weight loss is shown here:

I'm not done yet.  My goal is 115 lbs. 
I have some toning to work on too.  
But I no longer track my food because I now
have a good idea of what/how much I can eat.
I am MUCH more active now than I've been in the last 15 years,
and this helps me eat normally without gaining weight.

Here are the changes in my measurements:

      Weight:  -16 lbs
               Waist:  -4.4 inches
                 Hips:  -3.2 inches
           Thighs:  -2 inches
                 Arms:  -1.5 inches
              Neck:  - 3/4 inch

I don't think I've been at this weight for 20 years
and it feels wonderful.  I am enjoying being able
to tuck shirts in and still have room to breathe!
I feel younger.  I feel strong. 
I have so much energy.

As a final note,  my intention of this post is not to boast.
It is to show what can be done when you really work
 and put your mind and heart in it.  
So many women, including me,
have complained how impossible it is to lose weight 
after menopause.  That, and my "slow metabolism" 
because of hypothyroidism, were my scapegoats.

These past few months are proof that I simply ate too much 
and was too sedentary.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Heaven Under the Earth

A few years ago,  I clicked on a Facebook link with photos of the most colorful natural wonders in the world.  When I saw a picture of Antelope Canyon in Arizona,  I stared at it in amazement, trying to figure out what I was looking at.  It was abstract and beautiful - and yes, very colorful!

When I discovered that Antelope Canyon was only a few hours away from the Grand Canyon,  I told my husband we need to visit there while we were in Arizona.   We did!

There are two different canyons which offer tours - Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.   They are both on Navajo land.  To the Navajo people, entering the canyon is like entering a cathedral.  The canyons are named "Antelope" because this area is a place where antelope used to graze in the winter.

We chose "Ken's Tours".  Vance chatted with our tour guide, Thurman, as we walked over the sandstone with our group of only 12 people toward the opening of the canyon.

To enter the canyon,  it was necessary 
to descend a series of steep metal staircases.

It was already so cool!

The Antelope canyons are "slot" canyons.  
Slot canyons are formed by the erosion
 of soft sandstone by flash flooding,
 sculpting natural corridors in the stone.  

The sunlight, shining through the openings in the canyon,
illuminated the rock formations in truly magical ways.

I couldn't help but think 
that beauty like this 
can't happen by accident.

I understand why the Navajo see this like a cathedral.
God is so wonderfully creative and imaginative!

Vance liked it :)

Thurman pointed out rock formations, like this one of an Indian chief.

Whenever we rounded a corner,  we were in awe.
It kept getting more and more beautiful!

All shades of orange, yellow, red, pink and purple 
could be seen in the swirls of sandstone.

It took about an hour and 15 minutes to go through the canyon.
There were times we needed to climb stairs to different levels.

At the end of the tour, there were quite a few steps to climb.

Stepping out into the sunlight, we were literally
 walking out of a crack in the stone!

This was almost unbelievable! 

This is what the landscape near the exit looked like.  
You would never know that such a remarkable place
exists below all of this barrenness!

This dreamy, magical canyon 
- though small in size - 
was very grand.