The Dreaded D Word

If I had been around when Rubens was painting, I would have been revered as a fabulous model.  Kate Moss?  Well, she would have been the paintbrush. ~Dawn French

I’m on a Diet. According to LIVESTRONG.COM (which is the free on-line program I’m using) 45 million Americans diet each year, spending $33 billion on weight-loss products. That’s a whole lot of people and a whole lot of money.

If you’ve never been a Top Secret Agent, you might think that there’s tons of exercise and tons of money involved in our action packed work. As it turns out, not so much of either, really. I get very little exercise other than going up and down the 4 steps at my TSL multiple times a night.

Indoor exercise like say, jumping jacks, would be out of the question because all the up-ing and down-ing would shake the RV and wake up the sleeping person. (Of course, that’s just a pretend excuse because I wouldn’t do it anyway.)

Walking back and forth and back and forth (TSA’s have to stay on a short leash) is possible, but my car-wrecked knee objects. It’s also moderately creepy for those of us TSA’s who work nights.  There are a surprising number of things at many TSL that aren’t people friendly and can sneak up on you, or at you or under you, in the dark.

Henry VIII has decided that he needs to do his business at 4 a.m. So far we’ve encountered tarantulas, scorpions, mad bulls and happy cows, donkeys, raccoons, armadillos, wasps, hornets, bees, giant beetles, brown spiders that may or may not be reclusive, black spiders, translucent spiders – really spiders of about every color –  brown snakes, green snakes, bats, mean dogs and inebriated strangers and the list goes on… Nothing major, but just enough to be jarring.

So I’m on a no exercise diet. This isn’t my first rodeo or my first dance with the D word. I gave it a try last year. I give it a try every year.  Mostly, my diets have been about 10% effort and 90% wishful thinking.

Having finally given up on a magic pill that lets me eat whatever I want while the pounds melt away, I decided on New’s Years Day – which is the fashionable time for that sort of thing – to try again. I messed around a bit with it during Jan and Feb and March and lost 10 pounds. I made small changes in my eating. I acknowledged that coffee wasn’t meant to be a condiment for my Chocolate Raspberry Creamer.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends. ~ Unknown

I wasn’t so closely bonded to those 10 pounds. We’d just become acquainted during my first year as a TSA. But the other extra 56 pounds and I had been together for 5 or 6 years. This is the year of 5 and 6’s for me. I’m 5’6″, I was born in 1956, I’m 56 years old and as of April 1st, I still had 56 pounds to lose to reach my goal weight.

I’ve been at this place before. The year is coming to an end (and maybe the world, too, on Dec 21st, right?) and I would always wonder how much weight I could have lost by now if I’d just applied myself back in January? This time I shopped around for a plan that made sense with my sedentary life style and very limited budget.  Of course, as soon as I started, all I could think about was food!

You know how it is when you’re in the market for a new car and all of a sudden you see that type of car everywhere, especially if it’s a Honda Accord? I’ve found that same phenomenon is true when I’m on a diet. There’s food everywhere! In my life as a TSA, someone brings us food almost every day – pastries, enchiladas (yesterday), catered dinners with man size portions of steak and shrimp and sausage and potatoes! It’s so generous.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I find I think about food so much more often when I’m dieting. I do a lot less eating of it and lot more thinking about what I can eat.  It’s a little bit harder during the holidays because there are traditions associated with food. But to be honest, you could say Thanksgiving or Memorial Day or Friday(s) and I would think of food. 😀

My Mother, who was lovely and kind and a fabulous cook, loved people with food. I can hardly remember a time when the bed in the spare bedroom wasn’t covered with homemade noodles (they have to dry, you know) or a lunch or dinner that didn’t include desert. I grew up knowing how to enjoy eating!

I like to eat. I’m not an emotional eater unless you consider every emotion a trigger. I like to eat when I’m happy and sad and mad and scared and tired and energized. I like to eat with people and I like to eat when I’m alone. I just like to eat. I’m an emotionally/socially indiscriminate eater.

My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four. Unless there are three other people. ~ Orson Welles

Motivated by my fear of developing serious heath issues, my inability to comfortably bend over to find Henry’s Kong under the cabinets and being tired of cropping myself out of all the vacation pictures, I re-committed myself on the first day of April (no fooling).

I’m writing about the D word just in case one of you happens to be among the 45 million who are trying to lose a little or a lot of weight. I like the LIVESTRONG program because you decide what you eat. You type in your food and it’s instantly broken down into carbs and proteins and fiber etc… You enter your age and weight and activity level and goal. I had no idea how much too much protein I was eating or how fast I could rip through 1000 calories when my favorite food is pizza.

~

~

I’m not overweight. I’m just nine inches too short. ~ Shelley Winters

I know what they say about how hard those last 5 pounds are to lose. They may be but believe me, the first 60 were no walk in the park either. 😉 I’d like to be done by the end of the year. I may not quite make it, we’ll see. I’ve learned a lot this time around. I can look at almost anything and instantly calculate the calories and nutrition. And I’ve learned (we’ll see, I think I’ve learned) that just like with money, sometimes just enough is better than too much.

The biggest seller is cookbooks and the second is diet books – how not to eat what you’ve just learned how to cook. ~ Andy Rooney

Advertisements

If I Lived on Mars…

If I lived on Mars, I’d be missing many amenities like say, oxygen. But I would have a half way decent internet connection which is something I don’t have at all at my current Top Secret Location.

According to FedTech Magazine, the internet is sort of slow on Mars. That’s because they’re comparing it to regular places like Bug Tussle, Oklahoma and Smiley, Texas and What Cheer, Iowa. I haven’t been to Bug Tussle (although we had one yesterday with one ugly specimen of an arachnoid).

Extra spaces provided here for those of you who want to read the rest of this post without having the smiling toothy spider watching you.

~

Mars is there, waiting to be reached.  ~ Buzz Aldrin

~

So, while I haven’t been to Bug Tussle, I’ve been to Smiley, Texas and What Cheer, Iowa many times.

Maybe what keeps them smiling and cheering is that their internet doesn’t have to go into orbit all the way to the red planet and back to find a signal?

We moved to a new TSL 10 days ago.

I’ve had maybe 5 or 8 times when my internet S.O.S. has bounced off some tower somewhere in OZ and popped on right before my eyes.

But most nights, even with the Wilson booster and 2 internet air cards (AT&T and Verizon), I’m left wave-less. My weak signals have proved to be complete aliens to the world of connectivity in the great Southwest.

The Land Rover, Curiosity, crawling around on Mars, can send the equivalent of an Instagram image in 1 minute and 55 seconds. It takes me 5 days to post a snap shot on Facebook.

In addition to regular internet connectivity, there are a few other pluses in the Mars column:

Mars is a dead planet so it doesn’t have toothy spiders to grin at me or bee-ish bugs that borrow in my head (had another one of those last night).

Mars orbits the sun every 687 days which means it would take me almost 20 years to reach age 65. I’m not certain if that’s actually a plus, but maybe?

It does mean that Thanksgiving would last for two days so people could have a proper Thanksgiving celebration the first day and then rush off to Walmart to begin their frenzied Christmas sales search on the second Thursday and still beat the Black Friday crowd which will soon be in need of a new name.

It’s very cold on Mars so I’m pretty sure my hot flashes would disappear altogether.

The gravity on Mars is about 37% of what we experience on Earth which means I could jump about 3 times higher than I can now. That wouldn’t help me much since I’m not a big jumper but it would have helped Heidi who wouldn’t have had to get the 3 step-ladder out of the truck to kill the toothy spider that was on the wall above the cabinets.

It also means that I could finally quit dieting.

I’ve been on a diet all year, sort of. I messed around with the idea from January to April and lost 10 pounds.

I finally got serious (no fooling) on April 1st. I’ve lost some weight. As a matter of fact, I’ve lost some of it twice since I had to re-lose the 8.8 pounds I gained during my 3 1/2 week vacation.

But on Mars, they say that a 100 pound person would weigh 38 pounds. Even at my current weight, which is 7 pounds from my goal and about 30 pounds over what the insurance charts think I should weigh, I would be WAY underweight for the first time in my life!

That means, with my new internet connectivity, I could order a pizza and eat the whole thing without a bit of guilt, when it arrived in 6 or 7 months!

 

Learning to Roll With It

The older I get, the more necessary it becomes to learn to roll with it.

I was pretty athletic when I was younger getting straight A+’s in P.E. in every unit except gymnastics. I wasn’t flexible. I’d Run, Tuck and Splat Out Flat. I never did get the Roll part down. I’d just thump over onto my back.

In the past several years, my athleticism seems to have left me. I now tip over so often. I’ve had to learn to roll to prevent seriously damaging any one single section of my body.

In my life as a Top Secret Agent, being able to roll with things is crucial. I can’t tell you what things because they’re secret so you can just make some up!

Here’s a visual. It has nothing to do with my TSA job or with rolling with it, but Heidi did make rolls  today and the RV still smells like fresh bread!

Which would be a grand thing if I could eat any.

I won’t because I’m still on a diet. And yes, I did say diet. No I didn’t say a I’m on a quest to learn how to eat healthier.  I’ve always known how to do that. Pretty much everyone knows that.

Heidi’s on the pathway of healthy eating because she’s all done with her diet, as of last week! When I’m done with mine, I’ll hop and skip down the healthy eating pathway, too.

But, for now, I’m on a diet.

The word Diet has become very un-PC, even to the diet industry. Funny. Pretending I’m not dieting would be like that word game where I say I don’t have problems, I just have opportunities. That’s one of those motivational sayings that was made up to sell books and posters. Of course I have problems. We all have problems. And I really am on a diet.
I’ve had a bit of success with this diet thing and I’ll write about that soon, but tonight I’m just concentrating on rolling.

Back to vacation – no worries, Fork isn’t going to turn into a travelogue – I just have a couple more stories to share. Vacations require a different set of rolling skills. For me it means being awake in the daytime and sleeping at night, which plays havoc with the cogs in my TSA clockwork. Since a segment of this past trip involved a cruise, some rolling was automatically attached.

Holland America – Amsterdam

We successfully joined up with our luggage and my cousin T and her husband B (sticking with code) to begin our all expense paid vacation that we’d won (like the 6 cruises before this one) by virtue of the Generous Cousin Foundation.

Me and T before things went bad

We stayed at The Edgewater Thursday night, just down the street from Pikes’s Market. It’s built entirely on a pier – but it didn’t roll.

Definitely not Sleepless in Seattle at The Edgewater

In addition to being on a pier, which is very cool, it’s famous because The Beatles fished off the balcony of their room when they stayed there.

I have no idea if they caught anything? Probably not – but it sure made for a great photo opp!

We boarded the ship Friday afternoon feeling full of anticipation and optimism.

Heidi  is all happy here because she had no idea what I was about to do to us.

We sailed away out of Seattle’s beautiful harbor.

Leaving Seattle and Mount Rainier

We met our cabin stewards, Wala and Jocko. This was the tipping point – literally and figuratively. I’ll be coming back to this moment in the next post. We had a lovely dinner and everything was pretty perfect. We slept to the soft sounds of the ocean and woke up Saturday to rolling seas.

Heidi starting feeling sick right away. She’s a little prone to motion sickness. She tried all the conventional cures – Bonine, ginger, sleep, tea, Tums etc… but she kept getting worse. A half a Bonine (I assumed named for My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean – sick at her stomach) and she’s  usually good to go. Not this time.

Saturday was an At Sea day (no port – Tracy Arms Glacier).

Tracy Arms Fjord

By noon, I wasn’t feeling too well either and I’m a Tilt-A Whirl kind of girl. I love motion!

In my TSA job, I never drink the water. TSA’s all know better than to drink tap water (we never know what might live in it). I had been drinking tap water (because it’s free) on the trip. We diagnosed Heidi with seasickness and me with tap-water-sickness.

H spent most of the day on the veranda sleeping and glacier gazing.

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

I spent the whole day doing very little gazing – mostly just glazed over, lying on the sofa. It’s tradition to serve split pea soup to accompany glacier gazing. I can’t tell you how terrible spit pea soup sounds when you have motion/drinking water sickness.

My view of Icy Straits from my vantage point on the sofa. (If you ever take a cruise, spring for a veranda. It’s so worth it! Thank you, T!)

We were glad for the At Sea day to recover since the next day held the promise of a Float Plane Bear Hunting trip in Juneau. I had no idea that things were about to go from not so good to really bad, all because I was trying to be polite.