Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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Have You Written Your Obituary?

There are three things that you can do now to make things easier for your family when you die. You don’t need to be sick to do them – in fact, it’s better to do these while you’re healthy and have time to think and plan. You can do them in any order. But trust me on this: taking the time to do these three things is a gift to your loved ones.

In Memory OfFirst, write your obituary. You’ve read many of them and if you haven’t, just pull up any local paper and read a bunch. Some of them are boring and just have name, birth and death dates, spouse, children. My favorite obituaries, though, tell me who the person was, what their passions were, what made their lives better. My dad read to first graders for over 20 years and you can bet that will be in his obituary. I read a wonderful one years ago about a 102-year old woman known for her pie baking – I knew who she was after reading it. Include basic information but go beyond it to tell people who you are and why you mattered. Pick a good picture for the obituary, too, preferably one that looks like you as a mature person and not the army picture if you are in your 70’s.

Second, plan your funeral or memorial service and give a copy of what you decide to your church office as well as your own files. A funeral service is conducted when the body is present; when it’s not, as in the case with cremation, there is a memorial service. Different religious faiths and denominations have structure or liturgy for their services, but it’s up to the family – to you – to select scriptures or readings to be included, and to decide on music that’s significant.

This doesn’t have to be hard! There are websites with ideas, such as 30 Top Funeral Bible Verses. Hymnals and prayer books also have suggested music and scripture that’s appropriate. Do you want to have a choir sing, or maybe someone sing a solo? Write it down!  Nothing is written in stone and it can be changed as you change and want something else. Also remember that a memorial service is for the living, so if your family decides on something else, that’s okay, too. But at least they will know what you want, and that will help enormously.

TombstoneFinally, plan what happens to your body. Do you want to be cremated or buried? Do you know where the body/ashes will be interred?  Sit down with a funeral home (or several, to decide on one), and make plans. Even better, prepay it to lock in prices (they call this “pre-need arrangements”).  Your family won’t have to do anything when you die except call the funeral home and meet to review what has already been arranged.

I work in a church office and deal with memorial services and grieving families all the time. I’ve seen what a difference it is for them when these three things have been planned in advance. Make thoughtful decisions about what you want, write them down, and make sure your family and your religious home have copies. It might be the best gift you can leave them.

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Flying off to Chicago

I’ve been running around like a crazy person tonight after getting gas and making an ATM stop on the way home from work.  I vacuumed, changed the litter box, did laundry, packed, sorted out my computer and paperwork stuff and made a fuss over the cat.   The clock goes off at 4:00 am so I can finish up in the morning, cuddle the kitty, and head for the airport.  Since I am totally not a morning person, this will be interesting.  At least this flight doesn’t leave at 6am; those are the pits.

This is a short combo work/play trip.  The work is first — meetings on Friday from 1:00-5:00, then again on Saturday from 8:00-3:00.  We are selecting programs for our professional association’s annual meeting next summer.  I’m chairing the committee next year so I’m shadowing the current chair to learn the ropes.  My best friend is picking me up after the Saturday meeting and we’re going to just hang out and visit for the rest of the weekend.  It’s not a long visit, but it’s long overdue.  I head home on Monday around noon.

Five weeks from today is my surgery and I have lots to do before that.  Many medical visits for pre-op tests.  My health plan requires that I do the EKG and bloodwork at the health plan building, then go to the hospital for the rest of the pre-admission screening.  Though I’m not totally sure what else there is at that point.  The schedule is getting crowded, though, and I hope I can keep it all straight.  Plus other stuff like haircuts, oil change, cat to the vet for checkup, visit to the nutrition store to check out protein powder, etc., etc.

For now, though, it’s Chicago on my radar.  As soon as CSI is over, I’m off to bed so I can wake up way too early and start the weekend.  Have fun, everyone!


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Doing My Homework

Buddha in SunglassesI’ve been back at WW for two weeks and am feeling good.  I didn’t even care what the scale said yesterday; I’d had a good week of eating food I enjoyed, both out with friends and at home. I’m not going to tell you weekly weight loss because I don’t want to promote losing pounds as the only thing that matters – but know that I did lose and I’m happy with where I am and how I’m doing.

How can I feel deprived when I can have Pad Thai, taco salad, spaghetti pie, pizza and souvlaki?  Not in the same day, of course.  But still.  And there’s my beloved Fage yogurt with fresh strawberries, and vegetables that don’t taste like plastic.  I’ve eaten more salad in the last two weeks than I probably ate in the last year and it feels good.   I’ve done this before and it’s not really hard to actually follow a food plan when you know the details.  When I was resisting mightily, I at least knew exactly what I was doing that was self-sabotage.

One of the best things I do is to use a little time in the evening to plan out my food choices for the next day.  I put it in my tracker and play with the options so I know the structure, what I can have, and where I have wiggle room.  I love doing the etools with the easy online resources for points and better options, especially when going out to eat with friends.  Which is one reason this email from Arlene really opened my eyes:

Wait ’til you read this.. a study from Yale university found that out of 4,311 people who visited Starbucks, Burger King, Au Bon Pain, or McDonald’s, only a ridiculously pathetic number of them (six… yes, SIX!) took the time to find out the calorie counts in foods before ordering.  Granted, the info wasn’t right in front of their faces on the menus — it was posted on walls, printed in pamphlets, or available at computer stations inside the restaurants. But still — SIX people out of 4,311 is 0.1%. POINT ONE PERCENT! That is sad, especially considering that a meal out can contain enough fat for three days if you’re not careful.

So what is it? Are people lazy? In denial? Unaware? Whatever it is, we need to do what we can to change that. Restaurants need to make it WELL KNOWN that their nutritionals are available. And everyone needs to remember to seek this info out when visiting fast-food joints. Don’t be all “out of sight, out of mind” about it — if you don’t see the nutritional stats, ASK for ’em! And/or go on to their website before you go to eat.

Do you know the food values, however you care about them, of the foods you eat out?  Go visit some websites, look at pictures of the food, and arm yourself with information.  You never know when it will come in handy.


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Of Beignets and Bread Pudding

BeignetsI’m off to New Orleans this morning for a conference and will be there for a week (if you count the two travel days – and we all know how well I do on travel days). It will be great to see friends and catch up with folks I haven’t seen for a year, and to be back in New Orleans. I realized this morning that the first time I went it was for this conference the year that I moved to Boston. Now I’ve moved again and hey! we’re back in NOLA.

Wonderful city, very hot and humid temperatures, fabulous restaurants. It’s going to be hard, it always is for me at this thing. I’ve been reminding myself that I don’t have to eat bread pudding at every restaurant I visit just because I love it and it’s on the menu. I’m eating out every meal, though breakfasts should be easier to manage since I’m on the concierge floor (one of the perks of being on the board) and I know I can get fruit and yogurt there.

I decided that I can eat one full dessert at a dinner meal and that’s it; I can share with other people or simply not have it. Bread pudding, which seems to be a specialty down in NOLA, has 13 points for a 1 cup serving, which is ridiculous. But better to know that before I eat it every day and then feel bloated and stuff. Beignets, those wonderful French donuts famously eaten at Cafe du Monde with good strong coffee, are definitely on my must taste list, as are good pralines. Made with sugar, buttermilk and pecans, they are so easy to eat and then your teeth rot because of the excess sweetness.

I’ve been looking up points values and checking out restaurant menus to try and get a grip on myself before I leave. Main dinner entrees will be fish, probably blackened, or a combination of appetizers and/or salads. I know I’ll have desserts to at least taste but I don’t have to demolish everything on the table. As my friend T used to say, “the last bite tastes the same as the first”- it won’t get better just because I keep eating it. I’m also going to allow myself a few glasses of wine over the week but wine makes me retain water and I’d rather have bread anyway. Choices to make.

The point of this trip is to attend a conference, network and learn things, NOT to go and eat everything not nailed down. The food part is what is always hard, though, so thinking it through and looking up points and menus in advance helps me feel more in control – hey! I’m using the “mental rehearsing” WW tool for living. Yay me 🙂

Time to get dressed and head for the airport. I’ll be back to check in when I can.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rollez!