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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You Cooked? For ME?

Last night, I left school at the usual time (5pm), went home and let Jack out then went to Whit's for dinner.  Now we usually do have dinner together at least once during the week, but last night, he cooked for me!  He cooked chicken tenders (not fried), loaded mashed potatoes and carrots.  It was really NICE, even though the potatoes were a little overly salty. He even packed my "lunch" for tomorrow!

It wasn't a special occasion--it was just dinner.  How cool is that?  We laughed, ate, watched Jeopardy! and just enjoyed some "us" time.  Over the weekend, he had the girls, so our "us" time was a little limited.  And you have to know that this was the FIRST time a man has cooked for me.  Such a sweetheart!!

As I was leaving Whit's house, I received a text from my youngest brother, which read, "I was going through photos of you on Facebook.  Look at December 17 vs. February 14.  It's fun! You should hit 100 pounds by Thursday at midnight."  Ha ha!  Not sure where he came up with "Thursday at midnight", but I HOPE!! I am NOT going to wear that necklace until I've hit that 100 mark!  But the truth is, my looks HAVE changed--even since December!  Not that I'm complaining--these changes are good changes!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!  (The week is half over! Yaay!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Cut or Not to Cut...

I've been thinking about cutting the posts back to every other day--or maybe once a week.   I feel like I'm repeating myself often--and how exciting can that be for you as readers?  What do you think?  Should I continue to post daily or cut it back a little?

I have a cold/sinus problem/allergies (and yes, I think it's a combination of all three) and went to bed early last night!  I also am SO tired; my mother says I'm "burning my candle at both ends" which is her way of telling me I'm doing too much!  And I suppose she's right--last week, I was home right after school only once the entire week, and that's because the game was cancelled!  But I love going to basketball games--and seeing and spending time with Whit and the girls!

Let me know your opinion on posting less...this is brief today because I have to get ready for school!  Have a terrific Tuesday!
PS: How about The Artist?  If you have a chance, see it!! 
 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars and a GREAT Weekend!

Sunday night was MY Super Bowl.  People who know me that I spend nearly every weekend at the movies--so the Oscars are such a treat!  I saw seven of the nine nominated pictures--I had no desire to see either The Tree of Life or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close--but I DID see the other seven: Hugo, The Artist, War Horse, The Descendents, Moneyball, The Help and Midnight in Paris.  Of the seven I saw, I think that The Artist was wonderful, and Midnight in Paris was easily Woody Allen's best picture in years.  I liked but didn't love Moneyball or The Descendants and wouldn't have nominated either one for Best Picture!

I had SUCH a great weekend.  Saturday, Whit and I went to Goldsboro and watched my school's basketball team win their playoff game.  We spent the evening with his youngest daughter and had Chinese food for dinner.  On Sunday, I cooked for Whit, his daughters, Jenny and Jackie and Jackie's boyfriend, Adam.  I made roasted garlic chicken and potatoes, which turned out so well that the kids had seconds and thirds.   We all laughed and enjoyed dinner together and then Whit and I cleaned up and spent the rest of the afternoon watching Bambi, and even though I've seen it a dozen times, I still cried when Bambi's mother died.

The Oscars are on and I'm going to go finish watching!  My pick for Best Picture?  The Artist.  It's different and charming, and I LOVED it.  By the time you read this, you'll know how it (and I) did!  Have a merry Monday!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ch-ch-changes!

It's nice to buy clothing in smaller sizes.  My mother said something to me about the fact that I shouldn't be buying clothes now because I won't be wearing them for very long.  I laughed and told her I have to wear something!  And really, it's a nice problem to have--having to replace clothing for being too big rather than too small!  Last weekend, I put on a pair of jeans to go over to Whit's and picked up a pair that were way too big.  I didn't realize it when I held them up--it was only after I had put them on, but I was running late so I left them on.  They practically fell off!  I told Whit I felt like I was wearing someone else's pants--and it occurs to me that I was!  I'm not the same person I was 98 pounds ago! 

Yes, the total is 98.  I so want to lose those last two pounds so I can wear my necklace!  Nearly 100 pounds...amazing, isn't it?  August wasn't that long ago, but wow, so much has happened!  I know that the sidebar has my "before" picture, but I thought I'd show you this one with my dear friend, Jeanie. (I hope she doesn't mind--eek, I guess I should've asked her!)  It was taken a month before my surgery. The photo below it was taken a week ago this past Tuesday.  A little different, huh?

Yes, my hair is different and I wear smaller clothes, but an even bigger difference than that is the smile.  My smile these days is genuine, not forced.  When I see a camera, I'm not inwardly cringing, hating the fact that someone's taking my photo.  Yesterday, Whit told his mother, who lives near the beach, that we'll have to come see her soon.  Instead of worrying about meeting her, I'm excited.  I feel good about myself these days--really good.  I spend most of my time smiling these days...it's so funny to catch my reflection in the mirror and see a big grin looking back at me!

It's not just my weight loss that's making me so happy, of course.  In part, it's my relationship with Whit; in part, it's an amazing sense of accomplishment.  Life is so good these days!  I wish that everyone could be this happy--and I do think that everyone CAN.  Remember the Abraham Lincoln quote: "Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be."  Make up your mind.  Commit to being happy and have a serenely sensational Sunday!



Saturday, February 25, 2012

Aesthetics vs Health

When I decided last May to have this surgery, I did so because I wanted to feel better.  I wanted to walk without (or with minimal) pain.  I wanted to have more energy.  For me, this surgery was never about wearing smaller and prettier clothes.  It wasn't about looking good.  It wasn't about rediscovering my cheekbones or anything else "looks" related.  But oh...what a benefit!

Yes, I feel better.  My left knee still bothers me a lot--remember,  that's the knee without cartilage on which I've been walking bone on bone since high school.  I definitely have more energy than I ever did.  I wake up less achy and feeling better than I have in years.  Even my fibromyalgia symptoms are lessened, but what I'm surprisingly happy about is the aesthetic benefit to this surgery!

Yesterday, someone called me "the incredible shrinking woman".  He said, "Every time I see you, you're smaller!"  And I saw him less than two weeks ago!  One of my yearbook students who was looking at photographs to use in the yearbook said to me, "Ms. Harvey, you've lost a lot of weight just since the Toys for Tots assembly."  It's been fun to look at photos from just December and see how different I look today!  A couple of weeks ago, Whit pointed out that I've lost more than 20 pounds in the time that he's known me.  

I don't know where I'll stop as I figure that when my body is ready, the weight loss will stop and I'll plateau.  I don't know when or at what size that will be, and truthfully, I don't care.  I look a lot better than I did which is an added plus to the fact that I FEEL GREAT!

It's Saturday!  Whit and I are going to go see "my" team play today in Goldsboro.  He has his girls so I may go to a play tonight--the troupe with which I sometimes act is doing Narnia,so I may go see that.  Have a SUPER Saturday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A New Little Extra!

At the bottom of each post is a "reaction" button.  Now you can "comment" without commenting!  If I write something that you like, let me know!  And thank you for continuing to read! xox

The End of the List--and A Beginning

The "To Do" list has provided me with two weeks' of great ideas for posts.  And today's post is the last one based on the list, but I do want to talk about beginnings.

Starting something new can be exhilarating and thrilling, but it can also be frightening and anxiety causing.  Since the surgery, I've had several "new starts".  But the beginning I want to talk about today is the beginning of a relationship.  (Yeah, I know...I'm going to talk about him again.)

New relationships are scary waters to navigate.  Yet those same waters can be so much fun to be submerged in that one can forget to come to the surface to breathe (also known as reality!)  Of course new relationships are fun...it's exciting getting to know someone new...you date and go fun places and eat good food and maybe see good movies.  But what happens when the shine of brand new wears thin?  What then?  Is there anything left on which to base a continuation of the relationship? No one is perfect--but sometimes early in a relationship, we try to put on a persona that isn't exactly truthful.  In my relationship with Whit, I have been so amazingly happy--happier than I ever thought I could be.  AND I've remembered to surface and breathe!  By that I mean that I've taken regular reality checks.  I ask myself if I'm being genuine with Whit (I am.)  I've asked myself if he's being genuine with me.  (Oh, yeah.) 

He and I "fit together."  It's an incredible experience for me.  We have fought.  We have made up.  We have talked.  And talked.  And talked.  We have bared our souls and hoped for the best, and we have found ourselves closer than ever.  I am in love--perhaps for the first time in my life.  What a great beginning! (At the ripe old age of 54!)

Today's the last day of the "To Do" list--and the item is an easy one: Have a great day!  I hope you've enjoyed the list as much as I have...recapping it:

1) Say something silly.
2) Laugh 'til it hurts.
3) Take a risk.
4) Tell a secret.
5) Sing out loud.
6) Rock the boat.
7) Shake things up.
8) Flirt with disaster.
9) Buy something frivolous.
10)Color outside the lines.
11)Cause a scene.
12)Order dessert.
13)Get carried away.
14)Have a great day!
 
I'm going to go one better than that--have a great weekend!  It's Friday! Hope yours is FANTASTIC! 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Basketball, Junk Food and Me...

I love basketball...at least high school basketball.  Our team this year is extraordinary, and we may end up going to the state championships.  For now, however, we're in the playoffs.  Monday night, Whit and I went to the game, which was nearly two hours from home.  Wednesday night's game was about an hour away from home, but because I went as chaperone with the cheerleaders, I got home much later than expected--after 11pm.  That makes for a long day--leaving the house at 7:00am and getting in at 11:15pm.  And the food choices on the road?  Not the best.  This afternoon, I had half of a kids' hamburger at Andy's with five fries, and I completely skipped the stop at Bojangles' after the game.  I carry protein bars in my purse for just such occasions!

The next-to-last item on the "To Do" list is "Get carried away."  For me, this is pretty easily done.  I do almost everything with passion, and that's how I interpreted "get carried away".  When was the last time you let yourself get carried away?  When you became so caught up in what you were doing that you lost total track of time?  When you laughed until you cried?  When you became so captivated by a conversation that you didn't even think about looking at your cell phone or at the clock?  I'm sure it's been too long!  I'm happy to say that Whit and I get carried away often--he makes me laugh so hard that I've cried on a number of occasions.  Laughing until you ache!  It's great medicine!  I highly recommend!

It's nearly midnight--and I'm fighting a sinus thing, so I'm going to cut this short.  But I wish you a thankful, thoughtful Thursday--this week FLEW by!  Enjoy every moment you have!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Part Eleven of the "To Do List"..."Order Dessert"

I know, you thought I'd NEVER give you that advice!  And I have to be honest--I've never been one to order dessert!  Even before the surgery, I didn't order dessert because I was usually full after eating dinner!  However, once in a while, Crystal and I would order the zeppoli at Olive Garden, and we'd enjoy them tremendously--even if we took half of our dinners home with us!

And I think that's the point of today's "rule".  "Dessert" may be the best part of a meal--why are we waiting?  I know people who adhere to that belief, "Life is uncertain; eat dessert first"!  Do something you enjoy!  If you're talking about actual dessert, don't eat your entire dinner so that you have room for dessert.  If you're talking about the sweetest part of the day, then allow yourself that, too.  Skip the gym--once--so that you can spend time doing something else.  Turn off your phone so that you can watch your favorite program.  Buy the "expensive spread" rather than chemically loaded margarine.  Treat yourself!  It doesn't have to be actual dessert but instead something that you love. 

We tend to treat our friends and family better than we treat ourselves.  Why is that?  Why don't we treat ourselves with the same love, compassion and kid gloves?  "Order dessert" is my way of telling you to start treating yourself as sweetly as you treat others in your life!  

We have just two items left, so recapping the entire list so far...

1) Say something silly.
2) Laugh 'til it hurts.
3) Take a risk.
4) Tell a secret.
5) Sing out loud.
6) Rock the boat.
7) Shake things up.
8) Flirt with disaster.
9) Buy something frivolous.
10)Color outside the lines.
11)Cause a scene.
12)Order dessert. 

Have a winning Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Part Ten of the "To Do List" - Cause a Scene

Have you ever heard that expression, "Dance like no one is watching"?  That's what I thought of when I read this one, "Cause a scene."  I don't think it means "get loud and obnoxious and demand better service", but instead, do something that's going to make people watch.  And don't "censor" it, don't worry about who is or isn't watching but just have fun.  Whit and I are, as I've told you before, same-side sitters.  I had never done that before, and the truth is, I used to scoff at the couples who did.  But Monday night, we sat in chairs on the same side at dinner.  I leaned into him a bit and a server (not ours) said to us, "Just look how cute y'all are!"  She is not the first person to mention how "cute" we are together, and I have to tell you--I LOVE it!  

Whit is a touchy-feely kind of guy--the kind of guy I'd heard about but didn't believe existed.  He loves holding my hand, caressing my cheek, putting his arm around me no matter where we are!  We sat arm-in-arm at the basketball game last night, and I didn't think twice about it.  He'll lean over and kiss me without feeling embarrassed or self-conscious, and I'm proud to say I've become the same way!  We like each other--a lot--so what's wrong with a little public display of affection?

Life is too short to worry about who's watching what and when.  Go for it.  Cause a scene.  It's your life--shouldn't you have a starring role in the limelight?  Be your own superstar!  Cause a scene, and have a terrific Tuesday!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Part Nine of the "To Do List" - Color Outside the Lines

When I was a little kid, I used to work very hard to make sure I colored inside the lines.  In fact, I found that by taking a crayon and outlining the lines, it kept my coloring inside the line! Why the desire to stay inside the lines?  I think it's a desire to do things "correctly".  So when I saw today's item on the list, I thought long and hard about it--and how "coloring outside the lines" can translate into advice for how to live life better...

I think we have to forget that there are lines!  Life is hard; and it's hard for everyone!  If we are spending so much time and effort trying to stay within the "lines" whether or not their are real, something else has to give.  Something else is being ignored because we are putting so much effort into "staying within the lines".  Just who has created those lines in the first place?  

Do things a little differently!  Do them the way you want to do them.  Color outside the lines and don't apologize for doing so!

To recap the list so far:
1) Say something silly.
2) Laugh 'til it hurts.
3) Take a risk.
4) Tell a secret.
5) Sing out loud.
6) Rock the boat.
7) Shake things up.
8) Flirt with disaster.
9) Buy something frivolous.
10)Color outside the lines.
 
Have a magical Monday! 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Part Eight of the "To Do List" and a Significant Piece of Jewelry

Okay, for me, this is the easiest one on the list!  "Buy something frivolous". I love buying things for myself (and others) that aren't necessarily "smart" purchases.  For example, I don't need earrings, but last weekend at the Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh, I bought three pairs of earrings!  Now that my face is thinner and my hair is shorter, I love showing off awesome earrings!  I buy "frivolous" things all the time.  For Valentine's Day, one of Whit's gifts was a bottle of ale that I bought at World Market called "Arrogant Bastard"!  The label is hysterically funny--and that's why I bought it.  I don't know if he even likes ale, but the bottle (and the matching glass) were funny enough to buy!

When is the last time you bought something frivolous?  When you didn't say to yourself, "Yeah, well, I don't actually need it, so..."  How many times have you found the perfect purchase but put it down and walked away because you didn't think you "needed" to buy it?  What are you waiting for?  Life is short, people!  If you REALLY want a purple striped purse that you'll only carry once, but that one time is your high school reunion, buy it. 

Now, I'm not telling you to go bankrupt buying frivolous things.  With gas prices these days, sometimes you have to choose between eating and putting gas in the car!  But I am telling you to consider going a little crazy once in a while!

Jewelry is never something we need, but ohhh, how I love it!  And yesterday, my necklace arrived.  The necklace.  For those of you who are new, my friend Daisy suggested that I get a piece of jewelry to commemorate my 100-pound loss.  Great advice!  I went on Etsy and found a lovely little bezel-set turquoise necklace that I just love.  But I'm not wearing it until I've hit the 100-pound mark, which is a little less than 4 pounds from now.  I put it on when it came, and Whit and I had a "FaceTime" session so I could show him, but I took it off and put it away until I can wear it "legitimately".  (For those of you unfamiliar with FaceTime, it's an Apple application--I have it on my iPhone and Whit has it on his Mac at home.  It's a true video call, and we think a better picture quality than Skype!)

When I hit that 100-pound milestone, I'll put the necklace on and take a photo to show it off!  In the meantime, I hereby give you permission to go buy something "frivolous".  Enjoy your purchase without guilt, and if anyone criticizes you for it, tell them to come see me! Have a sensational Sunday!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Part Seven of the "To Do List"--Flirting With Disaster

Flirting with disaster.  THAT's the eighth item on the list.  Whose brilliant idea was that?  Who wants to flirt with disaster?  Flirt with cute boys, sure.  Flirt with old men?  Why not?  But flirting with disaster? Well, why not?  First, let's talk about that word "flirt".  According to Dictionary.com, the word means:

1. to court triflingly or act amorously without serious intentions; play at love; coquet.
2. to trifle or toy, as with an idea: She flirted with the notion of buying a sports car.
3. to move with a jerk or jerks; dart about: butterflies flirting from flower to flower.

So flirting isn't supposed to be serious.  It's supposed to be light and playful.  Do NOT invite disaster into your home--disaster is like a vampire, if you invite it in, you'll be devoured!  Instead, tease disaster a little...live close to the edge but not so close that you fall in!  Have FUN with the potential of disaster...the rush of taking that risk without the painful reality that accompanies disaster when you have a REAL encounter!

I have flirted with disaster...and am happy to report that I came close to the edge but survived nicely!  First, let me say that I regret nicknaming my guy "Buddy".  It implies a platonic relationship, and ours is much more than that.  So...from here on, I'm going to call him "Whit".  That's a really appropriate name because he is so smart, so witty, so funny!  Anyway, he and I, through a series of miscommunications, almost crashed and burned Thursday night...and trust me, that's as close to disaster as I ever want to be! I really walked "the edge" by pouring my feelings out in an email to him--something that I probably wouldn't have done before.  It was the communication that was needed.  And although it was very risky on my part--I made myself completely vulnerable--it WORKED.  He and I are back on track--and probably stronger than ever.

Remember--you're flirting with disaster, NOT inviting it home.  Be careful!  Have a sweet Saturday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day Six of the "To Do List" and Smiling for the Camera!

One of the biggest changes I've noticed since the surgery is my lack of reluctance to get in front of the camera. Before the surgery, I hated having my photo taken...in fact, I'd hide in the back or behind someone.  Not any more!  Here's a little proof!  This is Nick, one of my former students who's now in the US Army and who came to visit me today!  He looks great and was REALLY complimentary when he first saw me!  I love this pic--he looks so grown up, and I look rather small!  Especially my upper body!  If you compare this picture to the one on the side that I took the day before my surgery, I think it's pretty impressive!  When I weighed in this morning, I'd lost another pound, which takes my total to 96 pounds!

Today's item from the list is Shake things up.  I think that this has become my mantra!!  Between the new body size and my new hair cut and color, I think I've shaken things up pretty well recently.  How many of you are stuck in a rut?  Working at the same job without even looking to see what else is out there?  Are you wearing your hair the same way that you wore it in the 90s?  In the 80s?  What about your clothing?  Are you wearing clothes that flatter your shape--whatever that shape is?  One thing I've discovered since the surgery is that clothing that doesn't fit well isn't flattering at all.  I used to hide behind big tops--well, I thought I was hiding, but the truth is, those baggy clothes just made me look bigger.  Shake things up a little.  Cut your hair.  Color it.  Get contact lenses or buy new eyeglass frames.  Eyeglasses!  So many times, we fill that prescription and wear the same glasses day after day until we need a new prescription!  How crazy is that?  Would you wear the same shirt every day?  The same jewelry without changing things?  Of course you wouldn't!  Eyeglasses are accessories! (Functional accessories, but accessories, never the less!)  Switch them up!

Choose a different route to work.  Look around and notice the world around you.  Shop at a different grocery store.  Read a book by an author you've never read.  Try a food you've never tried.  There are so many things that we do day to day--try something new!

Recapping the list:
1) Say something silly.
2) Laugh 'til it hurts.
3) Take a risk.
4) Tell a secret.
5) Sing out loud.
6) Rock the boat.
7) Shake things up.
 
It's FINALLY Friday!  Have a fantastic day!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Part Five of the "To Do List"...and the "W" Word--Wrinkles!

Today's "To Do List" item is Rock the boat. I have to laugh at this one, because if there's anything I've never had trouble with, it's rocking the boat.  If I don't like the way something is being done, I ask why we're doing it that way.  I've never been one to accept the status quo "just because".  I was asked to do something at school with which I wasn't comfortable.  It would have been easier to just let it happen--but I couldn't do that.  I definitely did rock the boat.  And was happier with myself for having done so.  How many times have you let someone walk all over you because you didn't want to "rock the boat"?  How many times have you kicked yourself for not speaking up when you had a chance?  Stop hesitating.  Don't let people take advantage of you because you're afraid of upsetting people.  Take care of you first--and the way to do it is to rock that boat! (Just don't fall in!)

The response to my hair at school was really positive.  The kids all said complimentary things, and even one of my male colleagues called me "cutie".  I am really enjoying this, although I wish I didn't have the wrinkles that are emerging as a result of "letting the air out of the balloon"! (And I'm NOT just talking about my FACE!!) My surgeon's office said that patients have to wait until their weight has been stable for a year before they have any plastic surgery.  Before this surgery, I never would have even considered plastic surgery, but now I'm at a point where I'm moisturizing like mad and STILL not loving the wrinkles!  So I think I'm going to start stashing away money toward my "get rid of excess skin" fund!  PLEASE click on the ads on this blog--I actually get paid by Yahoo! (Although it isn't much, it sure will help!)

To recap the list so far:
1) Say something silly.
2) Laugh 'til it hurts.
3) Take a risk.
4) Tell a secret.
5) Sing out loud.
6) Rock the boat. 

Thanks for sticking with me--and have a thankful, boat-rocking Thursday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Part Four of the "To Do List"...and a New 'Do...

Tuesday, I practically ran out of school to my hair appointment with Charley.  She had expressed an interest in adding highlights when I saw her for the cut a few weeks ago, and I agreed to let her to it.  Here's the result:
I think I like it, but it's too soon for me to tell.  I'm just getting used to a different look in the mirror, and I go and change things up again!  Go figure!

And I'm not the only one who isn't used to the different look.  My friend Toshia walked right past me at the basketball game last night, and didn't recognize me until I grabbed her arm!  When I went to get my car's oil changed Saturday, the mechanic's wife, who works the phone/desk, didn't recognize me right away.  Granted, she hadn't seen me in 93 pounds, but still...!

Part four of the "To Do List" is this: Sing out loud.  Buddy's youngest daughter asked me if I sing.  I answered, "Not well!"  But truth is, my voice isn't terrible.  I can certainly carry a tune, but I'm often too shy to sing in public.  Why?  I was in chorus as a kid, although I didn't make the cut the first time I auditioned.  And I do love to turn up my iPhone and sing my heart out in the privacy of my home or my car, but I think it's time to stretch a bit!

So...recapping the list thus far:
1) Say something silly
2) Laugh 'til it hurts
3) Take a risk
4) Tell a secret
5) Sing out loud.

Have a wild and wonderful Wednesday!
PS: Our boys won their play-off berth in basketball, and they play again Thursday night in Graham, NC.  I haven't decided if I'm going, but if I do, I may not post that night!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Part Three of the "To Do List"...and Valentine's Day...

Monday night was my Valentine's Day with Buddy because my school has a play-off basketball game at school tonight.  I wish Buddy could join me, but it's kind of late for him on a work night--the boys' game doesn't start until 7:30pm, which means it won't be over before 9:00 or 9:30pm, and then he has an hour's drive home, and he gets up really early for work. So we had our Valentine's Day last night.  

We started with dinner at Olive Garden, where I arrived earlier than he, so I went in and got a table.  He hadn't "shopped" for Valentine's Day yet, so I waited for him, and I was really happy when he walked in with a beautiful single, deep pink rose.  So sweet!! I had told him not to buy me flowers because I hate that the stores put the prices up just because they can!  So one rose was perfect!  We had a great dinner--he ordered the Tour of Italy (lasagna, fettucine alfredo and chicken parmesan) so that I could eat off his plate!  Our server, Amir, misunderstood that we were sharing and split the meal onto two plates, but I don't eat pasta, so I slipped everything back onto his plate except the half piece of chicken.  And even at that, I couldn't eat the entire half.  I ate three bites of salad, half of a breadstick and almost half of the chicken.  We even ordered dessert--the zeppoli, which are Italian "doughnuts".  I think they're made of fried pizza dough, rolled in sugar and served with chocolate sauce.  Before the surgery, my friend Crystal and I would demolish an order, but I had half of one and a third of another.  (They're about two inches long and you get about eight in an order...)  We ended up taking home two boxes--Buddy will eat well for lunch tomorrow!  After dinner, we went out to the cars.  I pulled over so that he could pass me so I could follow him home, and he got out of the car and brought me another 11 roses!  Then we went back to his house for a little while.  We exchanged gifts--I bought him a "Power Pass" from the IMAX theatre in Raleigh and a few other things.  He also had three adorable little stuffed animals--ostensibly for Jack, but no way would I give such adorable things to Jack who would decapitate them in a second!  And probably the sweetest gesture of the evening?  He bought two bags of candy for me to give my students tomorrow!!  I feel so lucky to have such a great guy in my life!!

Okay...so part three as promised.  Today's directive: Tell a secret.  Wow.  I have shared so much with you that I don't know if I have any secrets to share.  Okay...here's a biggie: When I first went to the surgeon in May 2011, I weighed 305.  Over THREE HUNDRED POUNDS!  Arghhhh.  I have never been about numbers, but I'm sure that people are curious.  So...I did.  I weighed 305; this morning when I weighed in, I weighed in at 210.  That's 95 pounds less than I did in August!!  I still have quite a ways to go, (although I don't have a specific goal--I'm just sure that when my body is at the "right" weight, I'll stop losing.)  Right now, I'm losing a little more than the expected 10 pounds/month, but that's okay.  I feel great.  I eat plenty.  I'm really happier than I imagined I ever could be!

Recapping the "list":
1) Say something silly.
2) Laugh 'til it hurts.
3) Take a risk.
4) Tell a secret.

It's Tuesday; hope yours is just terrific! And Happy Valentine's Day--I LOVE you ALL!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Part Two of the "To Do List"...

I hope you all had a great weekend.  Today's list item: Take a risk.

I know I've written about this before, but I want to readdress the topic.  Yes, by all means, you should take a risk.  Or two.  Or three!  There's little chance of reward without risk.  There's little chance of achieving your dreams without risk, too.  If things worth having came to us easily, would we appreciate them?  I don't think so...

I'm a firm believer in taking risks--calculated risks, of course.  I don't just jump into things blindly, but I do jump in! I moved to NC nearly 10 years ago without knowing a soul.  I had this surgery, not sure of its outcome.  I have fallen in love with Buddy--even though I didn't have any intentions of letting a man that close to me again.

Evaluate your situation, for risks are nothing if not personal.  What do you want?  What risk is involved, and what's the worst that could happen?  If the worst that could happen isn't death, arrest or mayhem, go for it!

So...recapping "the list": 
1) Say something silly
2) Laugh 'til it hurts
3) Take a risk

Have a meaningful Monday, everyone!  And risk it--it's worth it, I PROMISE!!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The "To Do" List

Saturday I ran errands, first to the mechanic in hope of getting my oil changed.  I say "in hope" because even though I had an appointment, they didn't have a filter for my car.  I waited for 45 minutes until the filter came; more than 40 minutes passed before I found out that they also didn't have a wrench to remove the plastic cover of the filter.  Argh.  So I asked them to replace the oil that they'd drained, and I'll try to get there one day after school to get the filter replaced.

After that, I ran to Raleigh and bought Buddy's "big" Valentine's Day gift.  He says he's not reading the blog anymore--and he probably isn't--but I'm not going to tell you what I bought him until after the big day. (He's not reading it anymore because my writing about him/us is a little weird for him.  I don't blame him and offered to stop mentioning him, but he wants me to write whatever I want.)  A "first" Valentine's Day is tough--how do you buy the "right" gift?  You have to find something that isn't "too".  Not too serious, not too "lovey", not too casual...just not "too".  The "big" gift is something he can use for the year--and yes, I am hoping that by the year's end that we're still together!  I also got him some "small" gifts, including some of his favorite (thanks to my introduction) Kinder chocolate from Germany.  I also put together adorable gift bags for his two youngest daughters, "Jenny" and "Jackie".  They are 14 and 16, so I bought some chocolate (of course) and a few little "heart" gifts.  I also bought them the sweetest pop-up gift enclosure cards--Jenny's is a puppy in a florist shop, and I bought Jackie (who loves Paris) a little pop-up Paris scene with an Eiffel Tower surrounded by hearts.  

I bought myself a couple presents today, too.  Of course, I bought earrings, but that's for another day.  What I wanted to tell you is that I bought this great poster at World Market.  It's entitled "To Do List".  I thought I'd share the list with you.  I showed it to Buddy (he and I had dinner Saturday night while the girls were at a dance) and told him I planned to share the list with my readers.  His suggestion was to share one idea a day, which was brilliant!  So here's today's:

Say something silly/laugh 'til it hurts. Okay, this is actually the first TWO on the list, but I think they go together perfectly!  When was the last time you laughed until you hurt?  I'm so happy to say that Buddy and I do this often!  One of us will say something silly; the other will follow up with something sillier, and the next thing you know, we've got tears streaming down our faces as we giggle until we ache!  Buddy is a master of the pun--and he and I will go back and forth until we can barely breathe!

So...your homework assignment for today: Go for it.  Say something silly and then laugh until it hurts! And have a supreme Sunday!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Choosing Happiness

Yesterday, I read an article that I wanted to share with you.  The author, Inna Segal, states that there are seven keys to choosing to be happy, as listed below:

1) Value yourself.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I completely support this one!  I think that we tend to devalue ourselves in a huge way!  We would never treat our friends the way we treat ourselves.

2) Be committed to happiness.  In order to be happy, you have to want to be happy.  Now you may be saying, "duh!", but I wonder...have you ever thought about being happy?  I mean truly happy?  Did you work to make it happen?

3) Be open minded.  I love this one!  Being open minded opens you up to all kinds of possibilities that you've probably never even considered! When you're open to anything, anything really can happen!

4) Look after your health.  Well, I can certainly speak to that!  When you take care of your body, you feel good! If you're not the "gym" type, go for a walk.  Buy a couple of free weights--you don't need a lot of equipment.  Swim.  Keep your doctor appointments, and have an annual physical.  Get a mammogram or a prostate check. Take care of you!

5 and 6) Keep your sense of humor/believe in the power of laughter.  What is life without laughter, other than dull, dull, dull?  One of the things I love most about Buddy is how much he makes me laugh!  I have never been shallow--looks aren't important to me at all, although I happen to think Buddy's very good looking.  But I've always wanted to share my life with someone who could make me laugh.  Laughter allows you to get through the most difficult times of life.  I hope I never stop giggling the way I giggle now with Buddy.

7) Appreciate the "lucky charm" of happiness.  Realize that happiness is a blessing.  Being happy invites further happiness--at work, at home, with friends, loved ones and even strangers.  Have you ever noticed that when you're in a great mood that other people seem to be in good moods as well?  A positive attitude is TRULY contagious!  When you are happy, people are naturally attracted to you.  You'll find that people listen to you more, trust you quicker, want to spend more time with you. 

Do you want to be happy? If you do,keep these keys in mind. The U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee us the right to happiness but the right to pursue happiness.  So pursue it. Chase it.  Tackle it to the ground and make it yours. It's your right and so very worth the effort!  Have a spectacular Saturday!

PS: If you want to read more about Ms. Segal's theories, her book is entitled, The Secret Language of Your Body, and her website is www.innasegal.com.

Friday, February 10, 2012

There's a New Girl in Town...

And she is...drumroll, please...93 pounds lighter than she was!  Ninety-three pounds!  Yay!  I lost five pounds before I had the surgery, so "technically" I've lost 88 pounds since August 5, 2011.  Six months!  I had a great appointment today--the PA is as impressed with my progress as I am, and the amazing news?  She said that most people continue to lose for 18 months!  Of course, I won't continue to lose at the rate I'm losing now, but still!!

On the way home from Raleigh, I stopped at Harris-Teeter to pick up a couple more of those Healthy Choice entrees and to see one of my former students.  She was busy at the customer service desk, so I waited a minute.  She looked up and jumped, saying I startled her.  When I asked why, she said, "Because you don't even look like yourself!"

And she's right.  I don't look like "myself".  At least not the self I've lived with for the past 25-30 years!  This woman in the mirror?  I don't even recognize her, but I do like her looks!

And yes...as the photo shows, I'm ridiculously happy!!  Have a fabulous Friday, everyone!  Long day for me--school then basketball--last home game of the year! 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Do We Stop Playing?

I watched a YouTube video the other day of a polar bear playing with fruit enclosed in a block of ice.  He/she seemed to be having so much fun! You can search the name of nearly any animal on the planet coupled with the word "playing" and there's probably a YouTube video for it!  My cats are always playing; in fact, Oscar brings me milk bottle "rings" and food bag tear strips that he steals off the counter or out of the garbage so that we can play fetch.  Yes, my cat plays fetch.  He and Mary Shelley are always clowning around, and my Corgi-Pom mix Jack loves a good squeaky toy.

Playing is fun.  Step onto any playground or in any kindergarten class and what you'll see is pure joy.  Think back to your childhood, even your teens.  Remember the fun you had?  Why do we stop playing?

Yes, I know that the demands of the "real world" often keep us from the playgrounds in our minds, but why?  Why don't we visit those lands of joy more often?  I have discovered that when Buddy and I are together, it's like we're kids, even though neither of us really are.  We giggle, tickle, and play.  A lot.  The laughter is fabulous--I laugh with him all the time, even when we're just chatting for a few minutes, like Wednesday night when we Skyped for ten minutes before bedtime.

I feel 17 again, I really do.  My heart flutters with anticipation when I'm going to see him.  I stare into his eyes like I'm examining rare diamonds.  I giggle like a teenager.  I think about him all the time! The only teen activity I haven't picked up--yet--is scribbling his name on my notebook, but that may be coming!

The weather here in North Carolina is unpredictable this time of year, but we've had warm weather--so warm in fact that some of the farmers have already plowed!  Spring comes early--planting will be done in the next two or three weeks.  And with spring comes one of my "playful" goals--I want to go horseback riding.  I haven't been on a horse since I was a kid, but I remember it with such fondness.  My second cousin Jan had horses, and my cousin Nancy and I went up to the farm (my father's Uncle Bill's farm was up the road from my grandmother's house) and rode with Jan a few times.  How I loved it.  I love ALL animals, and horses are just so magnificent.  I haven't ridden in years because I was so self-conscious about my weight.  I didn't want to "break the horse's back"!  But now, I'm looking forward to it, and Buddy says he'll go with me!  Yay!

Now that I'm thinner, I am going to be much more active, and I plan on doing a LOT more playing.  (Buddy and I have talked about going go-karting, horseback riding, maybe even bungee jumping!) When's the last time you played?  (And I don't mean on the computer or your phone--video games don't count!)  Do we stop playing because we get old?  Or do we get old because we stop playing?  If it's the latter, I'm never going to get old because I'm not going to stop playing!  I hope you don't either!

Have a thoughtful Thursday!


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Happiness...and Ribs!?

I had a great Tuesday.  Things at school went well; it was payday and I was paid a little extra for hours I've been putting in but hadn't been paid for doing so.  I bought tickets to Wicked in May in Durham for Buddy, myself and his two youngest daughters.  I saw it on Broadway in the summer of 2010, and it was such a great show!  Jenny and I talked about it the other night at Buddy's house, and she saw the show in Charlotte last year.  She, like myself, is a theatre geek, so it's nice to have that in common!

After school, I went to Greenville and met Buddy for dinner.  We went to Texas Roadhouse where we had an absolutely wonderful meal!  I ordered ribs off the kids' menu.  They were $7.99 with one side.  I figured it might be two ribs, but it was a huge slab!  (When they advertise "fall off the bone", they mean it!) They were so delicious! I nibbled at the ribs and had two bites of mashed potatoes.  I was careful not to eat the fat of the ribs, and other than a little more "full" than usual, I was very happy with my choices.  Buddy had steak and ribs and enjoyed his meal, too.  The service was excellent, too!!

Yesterday I posted about being incredibly happy--and I am.  My question for you is this: are YOU happy?  Really, truly happy?  This life we have is fragile--and none of us have a guarantee of how much time we have.  So if you ARE happy, that's great.  But if you could be HAPPIER, work to make that happen.  Start today--you won't regret it!  Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happiness and a Recommendation...

Tonight I posted on my Facebook that I'm "so happy I almost feel guilty--ALMOST."  And I am.  I am happy with my progress--I don't have an official total but will on Thursday.  I am happy at school.  I am happy in my relationship.  I've never been this happy before in my entire life.  It's an amazing feeling--and yet because it's so unfamiliar, it's also oddly disquieting.  It's weird not having anything to cry or complain about.  It's new and wonderful and scary!

And my dinner tonight was so delicious that I thought I'd post about that, too.  I also thought you might want some other options.  First of all, tonight's dinner was a "Healthy Choice" steaming entree--Rosemary Chicken & Sweet Potatoes, "chicken tenderloins with sweet potatoes, yellow carrots & pearl onions in rosemary garlic sauce."  It was a larger portion than I could eat, so I didn't finish all the sweet potatoes or the carrots, but I did eat all the chicken.  12 grams of protein is a pretty good amount as well, and this was all for 180 calories!  (For my Weight Watchers friends, it's 3 points!) 

Healthy Choice entrees are actually pretty good.  There's a Whiskey Steak & Potatoes that's delicious, too.  They aren't terribly expensive, but the prices are definitely better at Walmart than anywhere else.  I've bought a lot of Lean Cuisine over the years, but I haven't really found any that thrilled me.  I'm a very picky eater, so if I endorse anything, please know that it's truly delicious!  

Atkins protein bars are a very good source for protein.  The chocolate peanut butter are truly delicious--thick, almost...well, sorta...like a peanut butter cup.  Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but considering it's 19 grams of protein for a complete bar, I wouldn't expect it to be too yummy!  And they're pretty large--I can't even eat a half of one at a time!  Buddy likes them, too, so I share them with him as well!

Cooking for one is never much fun, but I'm going to start using my crock pot and cooking pork and chicken barbecues and things like that so I can have protein easily available. But because I keep irregular hours, cooking isn't always practical for me.  If you have a favorite frozen entree, please share it in the comments.

Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

A GIANT Weekend!

I had a wonderful weekend.  My brother Kriss' team, the NY Giants won the Super Bowl, Buddy and I had a great time at two good movies, Big Miracle and Joyful Noise, and I met Buddy's youngest daughter, "Jenny".  Jenny is fourteen, which is the age I teach, and she's adorable.  We seemed to get along really well, which was a relief! :-)  Being the "friend" of a dad is sometimes tough because you don't know what to expect!  But Jenny was funny and personable, and she hugged me goodbye, which I took as a great sign!

Such a good weekend...and I feel confident that there are more good weekends ahead.  And now it's Monday!  I hope you're ready for the week; if not, take it easy today...and have a manageable Monday!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

No Risk, No Reward!

When was the last time you took a chance?  Risks are so scary, I understand that...(maybe better than you think), but it's so important to take that risk if it means the difference between being happy and unhappy!

Friday night, Buddy and I had a fight.  Over what?  It doesn't matter.  But it felt like we were close to being "over" when a friend of mine gave me the best advice I've ever received.  He told me that my heart loves too hard (I have to agree) and then asked me if I ever fought for a man.  I had to admit that I hadn't...nor did I really know how.  But his words resonated with me, and before long, I was showering, getting dressed and on my way to Buddy's house.  Please know I was terrified...what if he didn't want me after I showed up at his door?  What if his daughters were there?  What if he wasn't home?  What if?  What if what?  What if he was glad to see me?  What if he was willing to talk things out?  I was so scared, but I did it.  I went to see him and we talked things out--REALLY talked things out--and we're fine.  Better than fine.  I'm happier than I've ever been in my entire life!  

We saw Big Miracle--it was wonderful...it was a real "feel good" movie although sad in places.  (I cried like a baby!)  After the movie, we went to Cheddar's for dinner.  I ordered a hamburger off the kids' menu with steamed vegetables (broccoli and carrots).  Buddy ordered a hamburger, too and got fries with his.  He ate my broccoli (I just don't like it--I even tried it again!) but the carrots were amazing! I also took five of his fries, but only ate two.  I did eat half my hamburger, and it seemed to settle well.

Buddy and I might never have spoken again had it not been for my taking the risk and going to see him.  The old Rhonda wouldn't have gone after him, but the new Rhonda did what she had to do to get her guy.  It was worth the risk.  So...my question again?  When is the last time you took a risk?  Remember that there is no chance for reward without a little risk at least.  Have a SUPER Sunday--and let's hope the Giants win!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I Just Don't Learn...

I just don't learn.  Not when it comes to food.  Not when it comes to relationships.  Not when it comes to much of anything.

Ironic, since I'm a freaking teacher!  Sigh.  I love pizza.  Um, scratch that.  I loved pizza, past tense.  I can't eat it anymore.  I stopped at Pizza Hut after school today and bought a "personal pan pizza".  Yes, they are having a "any size for $10" sale, but I can't eat that much.  I ate one teeny slice and immediately felt sick.  I can't eat pizza.  Remind me of that from time to time, would you?

Not sure what the weekend holds, except that I definitely want to go see "Big Miracle".  It looks amazing to me, and I cried the first time I saw the trailer.  Yeah, that's me.  Crybaby extraordinaire.  Anyway, I'm going to go see it--probably alone, which is okay...I'm pretty good company.

Have a super Saturday, everyone...and whatever you do, do it with a smile

Friday, February 3, 2012

Same Side Sitters and Other Tongue Twisters...

Buddy and I are "same side sitters".  For the unfamiliar, "SSS"s are those couples who sit on the same side of the table or booth even when it's not because there is someone else sitting across from them.  You've seen them in restaurants--they are the sickeningly sweet couples who either make you smile or roll your eyes in disgust.  I had never been an SSS until I met Buddy.  The first time he suggested that I sit next to him, we were in Cracker Barrel and ostensibly, the idea was to sit where I could see the fireplace.  I sat next to him, which threw our server off a bit since I had been sitting across from him when she took our orders, and I felt a bit odd for a little while.  When I relaxed, I realized how nice it was to be sitting next to him rather than reaching hands across the table.

Since that first time, he and I have sat on the same side in every restaurant in which we've eaten.  Not only am I used to it now, but I really like it.  And yes, I see the looks--the wistful smiles on women who remember sitting like that when their relationships were young, and the "oh, brother" looks from those who either never sat that way or cannot remember doing so and the men whose looks seem to scream, "What are you, nuts?  Now my wife/girlfriend/mistress is going to expect ME to sit like that with HER!"  I used to be one of those glaring women--I thought it was so "yucky" (for lack of another word) that a couple would demonstrate their feelings in such a way.  Used to be.  87 pounds and a (seemingly) lifetime ago.

I am genuinely amazed at how great I feel about myself and how open and adventurous I've become.  I really am willing to try anything these days...I've even thought about going skydiving and bungee jumping!  The sky really IS my limit these days!  Yesterday morning, I put on my new-from-the-dryer black jeans to wear to school.  Now as I said before, I honestly do NOT remember the last time I had zip-up jeans--or slacks of any kind for that matter.  But yesterday, as I lay on the bed so that I could zip them up, I was transported back to my teens when lying flat was the only way to get freshly dried jeans zipped up.  No more "mom" jeans for this woman.  No more stretchy waistbands.  I'm back in the "lie down to zip up" club!  And boy, does THAT feel good!

It's Friday, folks.  Have a FABULOUS, FIERCE, FANTASTIC day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Who is That Woman?

Public displays of affection!  I would never have allowed that, and yet on Tuesday night Buddy and I were making out in the parking lot of the Fresh Market when a man who was watching the scene yelled out, "Oh, don't stop now!".  I was mortified.  I had never been part of something like that!  We giggled and the man went on to yell, "It's okay--I've got my own redhead here!"

It was so funny--and while I was slightly embarrassed, I loved it.  I never had anything to do with PDAs when I was with James.  He tried to grab my butt in public once or twice, and I quickly quashed that!  Buddy's all over me, and I just go with it.  Certainly that has to mean something!

I am still battling this sinus thing, so I'm going to cut this very short, but I wonder how many of you are saying no to PDAs and other fun things because you're 1) worried what people will say, 2) with the wrong person or 3) not confident enough about who you are to enjoy a PDA. (or whatever...)  I spoke to Buddy about this, and he asked me why I didn't let James. I had to think about it for a while.  I think in part it was because I was uncomfortable within my own skin and in part because I didn't want him to touch me like that.  With Buddy, it's so easy, so natural, so...sigh.

Thursday!  Make it thoughtful! Love you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Do As I Say, NOT As I Do!

After yesterday's post, I cried.  I didn't sleep well.  I went to school and cried some more.  (It didn't help that my throat is so sore that I felt like I swallowed razor blades!)  Well, again, what a difference a day makes!

After a few texts from me, Buddy sent me a text yesterday morning that explained some of Monday night with a cryptic, "Did not feel up to facing my feelings."  I had things I wanted to say, so I wrote him a long full-page letter.  He responded with a REALLY nice letter and we ended up making plans for dinner so that we could talk about it.  And the feelings he didn't want to face?  He loves me.  (Although we are avoiding the L-word [or L-bomb as one of his daughters says]).

Okay--here comes the part about do as I say and not as I do.  I gave him an ultimatum--he could either have ME or have the other women, but not both.  Fortunately for my heart, it went MY way.  I hate ultimatums, and the truth is, you have to be willing to lose.  I was.  I was ready to walk out of that restaurant (and his life) if he decided that was his only option.  I am very grateful that things worked out the way I wanted them to, but it could have gone the other way!  Therefore, I do not recommend--at all--giving an ultimatum unless you are completely--and I do mean completely--ready to lose everything.

My proposition?  I told him that if he wanted ME that he had to forget all other women and spend time with just me for six weeks.  After the Elton John concert, if he wants to be with other women, I'll let him do so with my blessings.  But for the next six weeks, he's all mine.  We'll see where things are in March, but I do like this man SO much! It is scary, but this man is someone with whom I share so much.  We finish each other's sentences.  We laugh every time we're together.  I can understand why it would scare him.  It's like a drug that magnifies and intensifies everything else in life!

I am proud of myself and that I stuck to my guns in this situation.  And I'm so very happy that this went MY way, but I know it could've gone in the other direction--and I was ready (painful as it would have been) to deal with it.  

It seems that this blog has been more about my dating drama than my weight loss, and for that I apologize.  Of course, just having dating drama is a definite side effect of the weight loss.  When I was my former size, it was amazing just to have a date!

I'm fighting a sinus infection or something, so I'm going to call it a night.  Please have a WONDERFUL Wednesday--I feel like I will!!