No Resolutions for 2009

New Years CelebrationI don’t make New Years resolutions anymore.  The things that always were on the list – lose weight, exercise regularly, eat healthy, save money – were almost always unattainable because I made them too specific, trying to stretch myself to be a Good Person and making myself miserable.

The fact is that I’m a Good Person without the resolutions.  And I already know that losing weight, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and managing money better are things that should be part of my life, and I’m working to improve them.   I know what to do, it’s really a matter of setting small achievable steps and then building on that.

I noticed on my Texas trip that I wasn’t eating low-fat healthy food all the time – and also wasn’t snacking between meals the way I often do at home.   I was just more satisfied with the flavors and textures, and didn’t want more.  Nothing was off limits or hidden away – so there was no need to sneak. We had good protein, complex carbs, veggies (even sweet and sour red cabbage for Christmas dinner), desserts of all kinds – plus fresh fruit sitting around all the time.  We ate out and had Chinese take out.  It just felt normal.  I didn’t gain any weight and didn’t feel deprived.  I liked it.

My niece gave me a copy of Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food for Christmas and I look forward to reading, learning, and expanding the things I eat in 2009. Of course, right now I’m hampered by a fractured clavicle and my right arm is in a sling.  Somehow I think this is going to be a hindrance in the kitchen for the next few weeks, not to mention facing snow piles outside that need to be shoveled.  How can I cut up apples for applesauce, or onions for roasting or all sorts of other things using only my left hand?  I think a fair amount of processed foods are in my near future.

Happy New Year – without resolutions – from me and the kitty.

Honey, I’m Home

Christmas Stockings Handmade by MeDid you miss me?  I’ve been in Texas for a week, spending Christmas with the family.  The plan was to travel one day, visit five days, and fly home on day seven.  That was the plan.  The reality worked out a bit differently.

I left home last Monday, climbing over banks of concrete-like snow and black ice in 14 degree temps.  Trust me, roller suitcases aren’t their best under these conditions.  I swapped out my snow boots for clogs and stashed the boots in the car, knowing I wouldn’t need them in Houston.  Roads were clear and the sun was shining, but on the way to the airport, I spotted about 4 vehicles off the road stuck in piles of snow.

My on-time 1:30 flight started getting delayed and delayed until they quietly started transferring us to another flight at 3:30 – which was only big enough because they swapped out equipment and sent a jet instead of one of those little mosquito-sized planes.  We boarded but then sat on the runway for an hour before departing for Newark.  Which meant that everyone on board was stewing over possible/probably/definitely missed connections.

I missed mine and ran like crazy to the next one, only to find there were 40 people waiting for standby, some of whom had been there since Friday when the first wave of snow/ice came through our region (the second storm was two days later on Sunday).  The reality is that whenever airlines cancel flights due to weather conditions, there simply is no way for passengers to rebook on other flights because there are fewer planes and the ones that fly hold fewer passengers because they’re smaller.  Add in holiday crowds and you have a lot of unhappy travelers in crowded airports.

My friend Jen wrote some time back about her experience buying an airline club pass while traveling.  I remembered her experience and decided to do the same.  That $45 for a day made a huge difference in my sanity.  I got someone to help me look at flight options immediately and not after a 3-hour wait in line with surly agents and unhappy travelers.  There was free wine and snacks, comfy chairs, free wifi, lots of power outlets, privacy, a sense of humanity.  I would do it again in a heart beat.

First real option was to be high on the standby list for the 5:30am flight the next morning, after spending the night in the airport (area hotels were booked already with other stranded travelers).  The club wasn’t open all night so I hung out by the gate with other poor standby hopefuls.  Unfortunately, there were 45 of us and only a few options so I went back to the club – where they took pity on me, thanks to a note written on my receipt by an agent the night before.

The problem was that all flights to Houston for three days were booked solid.  There were some options in First Class, and that was how I was flying, since it’s more comfortable – and because I figured someone would take better care of me if anything happened to my flights.  Good Idea, Grasshopper.  I ended up booking a confirmed seat on Christmas Eve afternoon, found a room in a local hotel (people having left for the airport freeing up room), and crashed early.  Got clean, good sleep, real food (heavy on the protein), and watched TV.

My final outbound travel day was crowded and there were lots of standby passengers still, but I had a real ticket in my hot little hand and was happy to finally be on my way.  My bag was already there (I guess there is no standby status for suitcases) and my nephew met me – tho I needed help climbing up into his truck.  We short non-athletic types with bad knees usually stick with shorter vehicles.

It’s funny but I knew that something was going to be wrong with flights, just not which direction.  I packed stuff in the carry-on bag that I’ve never really taken on board before, including power cords for everything, extra underwear in a baggie, and meds for 3 days.  Not to mention my new iTouch which proved to be a godsend with its built in wifi access to the web for browsing, email, and Twitter.  Since I didn’t travel with a computer for a change, having this little pocket device kept me sane.

Now I’m home and have a million things to catch up on, but mostly have a cat attached to me with velcro.  I think she missed me – and I know I missed her.

On my way

ElfThe sun is out, I’m checked into my flight, the house is clean (okay, cat fur is vacuumed up), and I’m packed.  Of course, I still have to get dressed but I’m delaying as long as possible since I prefer being comfy in a robe and slippers.  The dishwasher is running one last load that I can empty out before leaving.

Because I’m going to visit family, I know I can find shampoo, hair dryers, lotions and the like so don’t need to bring those with me.  Thanks to weather.com, I know that temps will mostly be in the 60-70 range, which means no heavy sweaters.  Usually I overpack and bring almost everything I can fit into in hopes some of it will work.  This time I’m being more realistic and as a result, the suitcase actually is a bit roomy.  Yayyy.

The trick is that it’s about 16 degrees here right now, and I need to bundle up and wear snow boots and stuff to get to my car through the frozen concrete snow piles with black ice on top.  I’m a little worried about getting more than one thing at a time to the car while keeping my balance, so will bring the car to the building instead and hope no one else needs to get by (the plowed section isn’t very wide).  When I get to Hartford, I’ll change from boots to clogs and leave the boots behind.  I know I won’t need them in Houston and refuse to go through security wearing boots!

I’ll check in when I can but know I’ll be busy with family and activities almost non-stop while in Houston.  Know that I cherish my blogging friends and wish you all the best for a Merry Christmas / Happy Hannukah / Blessed Yule.  Enjoy yourself, wherever you are and however you choose to spend the season.

Ho Ho Ho!

Watching the Weather

funny-pictures-upset-lion-snowWhen you travel in winter months, and especially if you live in the Northeast, you watch the weather forecast like a hawk.  Multiply that with extra stress when the travel plans are for holiday travel.  I refuse to mess with it for Thanksgiving, which is just one day plus football, crammed into a narrow window of time.  Christmas is also just one day but then there’s Christmas Eve and extra days for visiting, parties, caroling, shopping, decorating, etc., so that makes this my holiday of choice for travel, though I admit that I’m not always upset when it doesn’t happen.

Today I’m sitting warm and cozy in my house with the kitty, watching the snow fall and blow outside.  The weather guys are all excited about the first big storm of the season and you never know when they start babbling if things are real or exaggerated out of enthusiasm for a Weather Event.  Since I’m a winter weather driving wimpette, I opted to take a personal day and stay off the roads entirely after running errands first thing this morning – and they could have been deferred had the snow started earlier.

After the storm today/tonight finishes up, we have a little break on Saturday and then another storm roars through on Sunday.  This is the one that has me worried.  Oh, I’m not traveling anywhere on Sunday and can stay warm and dry except for maybe some shoveling out behind my car (which lives in a carport).  But Monday I’m off to Texas for a week with the family and I don’t trust the weather to make this work without delays and snags.  Take heavy holiday traveling, add in weather delays and cancellations, mix with fewer planes, and you have crowded, uncomfortable flights and grouchy people.

I can’t help but remember news stories a few years ago about horrible winter storms snarling flights over Christmas, leaving people to spend days in airports trying to get to destinations.  I don’t anticipate that but it’s hard to block out the possibility.  At what point does it make more sense to say, yanno what?  Just send me home instead.

The kitty knows that something is up and has been wanting to sit on me more often today. Usually she wants to just sit nearby but not today.  I’m wondering if she’s planning to sneak into my suitcase.  Which reminds me that I need to do laundry tomorrow to be sure everything I’m taking is clean, dry and ready to pack — which means that I need to know what I plan to take in the first place.  Guess I’d best get cracking.

Let’s Try This Again

funny-pictures-kitten-and-stuffed-animal-make-a-punLast night I wrote a blog post on being the fat one.  But once I had it out of my system, I saw how overly whiny it was, not to mention self-absorbed.  My friend Phyllis calls it navel gazing and she’s right.  I deleted the post this morning.

So let’s try this again.

I had an epiphany of sorts last night (though this is Advent, not Epiphany, so maybe it needs a different name).   I just agreed to chair the program committee for my national association’s annual conference in 2011.  It will be a ton of work but also a lot of fun.  I’ve served on the committee before as a member and certainly have attended most of the conferences since joining years ago, so feel pretty prepared as to content.

But I do have a previous experience chairing a national conference for a different organization.  When I finished that year and stood up in front of the gathering to talk about the program, I was at my highest weight in my life.    I had allowed the program committee work and stress to take over and I ate and ate to help me deal.  When I came down from the podium to my seat, I vowed that I did not want to feel as bloated and uncomfortable the following year when I chaired the entire conference.

That was my turning point.  I joined WW within two months and had lost 67 lbs by the following spring when I went to my meeting.  The motivation wasn’t to LOOK better, though certainly that was part of it.  But really it was about how I felt and dealt with stress.  Eating better and getting regular exercise (what a concept to pair those up!) made a difference.

So now I’m facing the same type of situation.  Because they are so similar, it’s easier for me to look back and say, hmmm, remember then?  remember what you felt and said and did?  Why not try it now, too?   My goal is to lose 10% of my current weight by July 2010 when I have my first “stand up in front of people to talk about program” activities, with the bulk of the stress coming after that point.  I want good but not obessive habits back in place and a realistic plan.  I think I found it.