Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m in between trips and scrambling like mad not to fry in our current heat wave.  It was hot in Texas, but somehow it’s worse here which is just not right.  Thank heavens for AC!

The Texas trip was originally supposed to be to attend my nephew’s wedding, but it morphed into a family gathering at my brother’s ranch (140 acres in the middle of nowhere between my parents’ house and my brother’s place in Houston). They have very photogenic cows 🙂

My mom’s sister was there from California, nephew Rob from Massachusetts, and me from Connecticut.  Rob didn’t stay long, heading west to spend the weekend with his brother (the former groom) and friends going to a baseball game and country western concert.  My youngest niece ran a triathlon that weekend (I can’t imagine doing it in that Texas heat!) but my goddaughter (above) came from Lubbock for the weekend.  We celebrated our June/July birthdays together with carrot cake 🙂

Everyone flipped over my new look and I realized while I was there that I’ve almost lost my mother in terms of weight.  She weighs 115 lbs and I’ve lost 110 – which really is a whole person.  Puts things into very clear perspective.

I had a great time but was glad to come home (as was Tessie).  But I’ve been scrambling again because I leave on Friday for my national conference in Denver.  I have several meetings to facilitate so I have agendas and prep to finish, plus catch up on my paid job.

My conference wardrobe was all thought out, including a few dresses that looked good and were cool and comfy.  Except I’ve realized that all of them – ALL of them – are too big. Great problem but a bad time to figure it out, since the stores are starting to stock fall clothing (just after July 4th, go figure) and only have very picked over summer things.  I did get a few tops today that I can wear with black pants that will work.  I’ll find out soon enough.

I found it pretty easy to eat while in Texas.  My mom generously stocked up on some Greek yogurt, berries, chicken, and guacamole, and there were plenty of good options for me at the ranch.  Mostly people were interested in my choices and asked a lot of questions about the band and how it worked.  It was good practice for going out with more people; I’ve been reading menus for Denver and practicing restaurant eating, at least in my mind.  We’ll see how it goes!

I’ll try to check in from Denver but am not at all sure when I’ll have free time to write.  My time is pretty scripted.  But I’ll check in and at least keep up with y’all even if I can’t write until I’m back.  Stay out of trouble!



To DC and Back Again

Rain bootIt’s another rainy day here in Connecticut – one of many that we’ve had this summer.  It’s really strange.  Don’t get me wrong, being inside listening to the rain is a nice relaxed thing to do, but the saturated ground, flooding, and constant humidity are getting old.  I went out in it today anyway to take my stinky garbage to the dumpster and make a trip to the grocery store to get edamame and a few other things.

Note to self:  make sure you actually have edamame before you start making edamame salad.

On my birthday, I headed down to DC on the train with some colleagues to attend the annual meeting of my professional association. I’ve gone to almost all of them for 28 years and always enjoy the chance to see old friends and meet new ones.  This time, though, I really found myself hampered by my unhappy knee.  I brought my cane to help with balance with all of that standing and walking (our hotel was still a bit of a hike from the part of the convention center populated by librarians). I also had some Biofreeze with me to take away aches and pains.  The stuff is awesome; I highly recommend the roll-on or spray.

It didn’t help that DC was hot and humid, especially by New England standards.  I know this is normal for the end of July but honestly, I found that easier to deal with when I’m thinner and more mobile.  So as a result of sore knees, long distance, stairs, and heat/humidity, I really cut back on some of the socializing I usually do.  Part of me regretted that and part me was just relieved to get off my feet.

Twitter on iPhoneMy friends and I realized as the conference went on that we were no longer the cool kids; that role has been taken over by the Gen X/Gen Y caucus folks, many of whom we know and like.  But when they were all together, it was clear that they have the energy and ideas that we used to have.  It was a bit depressing and sad to realize that I’m in the old guard now.  I still have a place but it’s a different place.

At the same time, we were graced with free wifi in the convention center, thanks to one of our vendor sponsors, which let me twitter to my heart’s content.  It was such fun to be in program sessions talking with other people in the same session or in others about program content and ideas to implement at home.

Now I am home and much to my surprise, I lost another 3.2 lbs in the last 2 weeks.  My total is now 23.6 lbs in 4 months.   I knew that I’d eaten carefully at the conference while still indulging a few times on food that was truly worth it. Why waste those extra points on just average food?


Happy Birthday to Me – Let’s Take a Train Ride

Birthday cupcakeTomorrow is my birthday and I will spend a big chunk of it on the train with some of my colleagues, going south on Amtrak to Union Station in Washington, D.C.   It’s kind of like a road trip in a really long car with someone else driving.  It’s also very easy transport, especially here in the northeast corridor, where trains are frequent, relatively inexpensive, and much more convenient than flights.  Plus there are plugs so we can charge up the electronic stores that we are bringing with us to this conference – Kindle, cell phones, iPods, laptops/netbooks, etc.  Actually, I have all of those but promise I won’t use them all at once.

I called Amtrak today to see if I could have Red Cap service to help me with my stuff getting on and off the train, as well as getting in FROM the train in DC, which is huge.   I feel a little bit like a fraud since I’m not immobile, but on the other hand, my knee hurts a lot and the service is free, other than tips.  I have a feeling I’ll really need it for the DC end of things, especially coming home.  Walking and standing (which is worse than standing) for the length of the meeting will take their toll and I’ll be very happy for the help on the way home, which I do alone, since my colleagues and I are all coming home at different times.

Birthday dinner will be with some friends who served on a committee together in 1999.  We liked each other so much we’ve had a reunion and this will be another, in the same town where we first celebrated.  We’re going to a Spanish restaurant which promises to have excellent sangria.  I don’t drink much but adore sangria – and it IS my birthday, so I’m planning on having a glass or two.

At this point in my career, much of the conference is about networking, committee work, and spending lots of time in the exhibit hall talking to vendors, as well as selected programs.  It will be busy but there are social events thrown in to keep things balanced — a reception at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, followed by a reception at the Library of Congress, catching up with friends, a bloggers and tweeters get together, and, of course, karaoke night.  I’ve never actually done karaoke but this could be very entertaining – and a nice break.

Stay out of trouble until I get back!

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The Parents Have Airline Problems

The Maids Working InsideAlmost everything on my to-do list is done, except polishing a few silver pieces that came from Mom’s family.  Yesterday was very busy.  The Maids arrived as a team of 2 instead of 4 (people were sick) but they cleaned up a storm and everything looked and smelled fresh and beautiful.  I’d tidied everything in sight before they arrived, partly for them and mostly because my parents are coming and I want things to look uncluttered.   I might even be inspired enough to keep this up on my own for more than a week 🙂

After The Maids left, I did a run down Dixwell, ticking things off my list:  1. Get gas.  2. Carwash (which undoubtedly caused the torrential rain later).  3. Buy wine.  4. Stock up on groceries.   And after all of that, I did three loads of wash, leaving me clean towels, sheets and clothes.  Phew.

But then around 8pm, my mom called to say that the airline had cancelled their 6:30am flight and rebooked them on Sunday, putting them into Hartford at 5:45pm, almost 18 hours after their planned time.  I know they are upset and confused, but at least they weren’t stranded in an airport for days (visions of my Christmas trip delays at Newark Airport flashed through my head).  They can relax today and leave tomorrow at a humane time instead of having to wake up at4:30am.

AirplaneThe airline reassigned them to new flights but they don’t have seat assignments and were in a tizzy beccause online the seats showed as full.  At least I knew to tell them that seats are held back to be assigned at the airport, but I made some calls to American and confirmed some info, which I passed along, as well as the 800 number for customer support. I have it programmed into my phone and I’ll make sure Mom has it in her cell phone when she’s here (she hasn’t figured out programming in numbers yet).

So instead of having a packed morning ending with a run up to BDL to pick my parents and a full day with them tomorrow, I have today and most of tomorrow to myself.  Not what was planned but I can enjoy the very clean and tidy apartment and my kitty, who is mostly recovered from the trauma of having a team of loud people invade her little space.  Maybe I’ll throw in a trip to BJ’s which isn’t exactly a visitor’s destination, but fun for me.


Non-Scale Victories on the Road

Princess Minnie dollsI had a really good week, most of it in California at my conference.   I intended to concentrate hard on eating differently so I didn’t get sucked into the eat-everything-not-nailed-down mode that usually infects me as soon as I leave the house with a suitcase for an event. But I discovered that I didn’t have to concentrate all that hard.  I just listened to my body and the head went along.

Every morning I bought a big hotel breakfast instead of eating muffins and overpriced coffee at Starbucks.  I figured that a good balanced breakfast would tide me over better and treated myself to things I don’t eat at home, where I always have yogurt with fruit and an English muffin.  Instead I ate egg white omelets or scrambled eggs with bacon and sourdough toast and fruit.  No orange juice either, which they usually pour as soon as you sit down at $3.50 a pop. I love it, but I was happier with Diet Coke 🙂  One morning I ordered blueberry pancakes because I wanted them, ate about 1/3 of the portion, and was finished.  I was kind of astounded to have recognized I was full and stopped.

We had lots of snacks available, including HagenDaz ice cream bars and a lovely dessert reception.  I ate none of it, sticking to an occasional Late July cheddar cheese sandwich cracker pack from my stash or a small Tootsie Roll, also brought from home.   I went to Disneyland after sessions one day, expecting to have dinner there, and didn’t see anything that fit what I was wanting so didn’t eat anything there, either.

Me in Mouse EarsActually, the only things I bought were a pair of dangly earrings with teeeny tiny sparkly mouse ears at the bottom – and a pair of clip on Minnie Mouse ears for my head.  Instead of eating or shopping, I enjoyed watching the wide-eyed delight of little girls dressed in princess costumes, honeymooning couples with wedding mouse ears (with veils for the brides or little tuxes for the grooms), tired parents pushing strollers, and the incredible assortment of costumed Disney character dolls everywhere.  The place is a merchandising mecca.

I also thought of my parents who took my brother and me to Disneyland back in 1964.  I don’t think I ever quite realized what a big deal that was, to fly us all across country, staying at Disney and taking the monorail, riding the rides, watching Tinkerbell fly at night, sprinkling pixie dust on us all.  I remembered it as a magical time and I could see the magic still working in the small faces around me.  I called my parents from a bench on Main Street to tell them I loved them and was thinking about them and everything they’ve done for me.

It was a productive conference and I had the chance to visit with bunches of friends, many of whom I only see once a year.  I found it easy to concentrate on conversation rather than focusing on food, and came home feeling happy with not only what I learned but also how I handled myself.  It showed up on the scale today with a 2.6 lb loss – but the real victory was won before even stepped on it.  Yayyy me!


Quick Checkin from Anaheim

It’s 5:30am here in California and I’ve been awake for half an hour – after sleeping like the dead for 10 hours.   Yesterday was a very long day, up at 2:30am to do my “get ready for the day” stuff  (I’m not a fast-starter in the morning) and having some cuddles with Tessie before heading to the airport.

Flights went smoothly except for some weather in Dallas, but nothing that messed up flights too much.  After the 3 days I spent at Newark airport on my Christmas trip, a small delay and bumpy air was not a problem.  I sat in rows with moms with small children which is NOT my favorite thing to do – but I had two seats “for my comfort and safety and that of the passengers around me” and on a trip this long, it did make a huge difference.

Food actually was good.  I fixed some little sandwiches of Arnold’s sandwich thins (1 point each) with Laughing Cow cheese, had some cut up apples and Late July cheese sandwich crackers, and some tootsie rolls for a chocolate fix.  In Dallas I picked up some pineapple and yogurt at a little shop along with some soy crisps.  I didn’t eat anything after I got to California other than finishing off the soy crisps.  I just wasn’t hungry and concentrated on downing as much water as possible to help with dehydration.

And I had a massage that was awesome.  The woman used a combination of Chinese and Swedish techniques and really concentrated on some horrible muscle knots and tightness made worse by a long day in the plane.  I’m feeling a little sore this morning but in a good way.

Now it’s time to dry my hair and sit down to a nice hotel breakfast because I need refueling.  I can’t afford to do this every day but a breakfast buffet with fruit, protein, and carbs is a good thing.  The conference stuff starts at noon for me, with a workshop on electronic resource management.

Have a great day!


Taking My Balance to California

BalanceI leave for California on Saturday to attend a computer users group conference.  It’s one of my favorite events and I’ve attended every one since this started in 1993.  We’ve grown from a group of 300 attendees to 1800 at last year’s meeting.  This year, though, because of the economy and tight budgets, I know that attendance will be down, but it will still be a fun and productive time.

What comes with it, though, is 6 days of eating in restaurants.  I know how to do this but admit that I’m nervous of upsetting my still-new-feeling balance with healthy eating.  Airport eating is particularly hard because I want to eat everything not nailed down.  There’s something weird and “out of place” about airport waiting areas that just make me want stuff, plus there’s a 3-hour time change on this trip on top of having to leave the house at 3:30am to get to the airport in the first place.

I’ve been checking restaurant listings on the local arrangements website to see what kinds of options are available and likely to be visited, and checking foods in the WW book to get an idea of points values.  But really, how hard is it to make good choices – assuming they are available to find in the first place?  I’m bringing some Fiber One peanut butter bars to throw into my bag so I have an alternative to pastries and cookies out for breaks and snacks, and I’m hoping there will be fruit around.  It’s California so hopefully that won’t be a problem.  Maybe I can take a cab to a little market to pick up some stuff after I arrive.  We’ll see.

I just want to be prepared but not so rigid that I can’t enjoy myself with friends while keeping boundaries around this balance that I’ve rediscovered.  To get myself started right, I’m going to a WW meeting on Friday night before I pack, throw some good options in my bag, and not beat myself up if I slip.