Welcome!

A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fell in love...

...with Ogunquit, Maine.









Wouldn't it be grand if I could honestly say I was happy to be home?

Sigh.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another Fabulous Day

...but no time to touch on anything but the headlines...

THE TRAIN IS RUNNING AGAIN!!!  After over a year.  One of Mom's favorites and one of only two rides she can enjoy now.

Thrilled to see old friends still here.

LOTS of new waterfalls.

Jolly Holiday lemon cupcake.  My first true indulgence since June.  I ended up eating all of it.  And enjoying it.  (They are not always available.)

Andrew's back!  I enjoy the little history lessons he shares with the fine music.

The Wonderland Entourage arrived a little early.


Such a fan of Hatter!

And he's back.

  Gotta say I LOVE the changes.  Old friends artfully focused...



Lots of new waterfalls...




This is a gorgeous presentation.  I love that he's up high.


My favorites.

We could see the village from the river AND the train.  Two different views.  Kind of eliminated the whole diorama feel and had more a "real" village.

Still lots of animals to enjoy...



Canoes running.

The new Star Wars land is really making an impact now.
VERY excited right now.  Have a few more chores to do, then will try to get a nap in.  Will not be going to bed tonight.  Have to leave about two to drive to the fly-away, then to the airport for my early morning flight to Boston for a week with good friends.

Home for a month, then repeat the process for two weeks with my son, DIL and two grandsons, one of whom I haven't met yet. 

House to clean (no, I didn't finish) , holidays to prep for and then...

Just home from meeting my new orthopedist.  Looks like a knee replacement after the first of the year.

Gonna be a quiet winter around here.  Will miss my friends at Disneyland (although my poor Mom will miss it more.)

Friday, September 08, 2017

Disneyland Tomorrow

Cheer up time.

Then one more day to Massachusetts.

Mega cheer up time.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Stay safe.

Just...

Stay safe.  OK?  Please?

Ben Platt Performs 'For Forever'



undone

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Ben Platt & Cast of DEAR EVAN HANSEN Perform 'You Will Be Found'



Could this score possibly be any more gorgeous?

Monday, September 04, 2017

This is WONDERful.



Happy birthday, Magic.

Yeah. Wow.


My next trip may be to New York.


Sunday, September 03, 2017

Shells

Beyond Excited

(This will be a long post for journaling purposes.  Mr. Blah Blah needs to find something else to do.)


They tell me it may be too early for color.
I'm going to Massachusetts next week and will be staying with a beloved family that is - as a whole, apparently - preparing for my visit as if I were royalty.  Which is, now that I think of it, how they treat me whenever we can be together.  Heady stuff.

Actual plans will be worked out around children, work schedules and weather,  But, there may be at trip to Salem.
 
Food has become an issue, and it reminded me that I mentioned in another post a procedure I had gone through to try to "renovate my relationship with food,"  "a story for another time."  Since it is Kansas-hot here in Southern California, I've decided to just hang here and write out that story until my one-room air conditioner can cool down the room where I really do need to get some work done.



I was not a fat child.  I walked to school and back every day.  My mom can't believe she "let" me walk that distance alone from Kindergarten halfway through sixth grade.  I am also a jump rope legend, mostly because I would get up from the dinner table and jump rope in the living room next to the dining table.  I could keep a hula hoop going - well - until I got bored with it.  I was part of the generation that took our skates apart and nailed the pieces to a two by four to skateboard.

I swam like a fish and would have stayed in the water forever if I'd had access.  A year after my family moved for the last time (I was fifteen), they joined the "country club" that was walking distance from our house.  "Country Club" always makes us smile.  The rancher a few blocks away had a big pool.  He added restrooms and hired a lifeguard, called it a country club and collected dues from people who wanted to come swim.  Oh, and he had a roasted pig and pot luck dinner to begin every season.  I cut my hair to 3/4 inch because if my hair was under one inch I didn't have to wear a cap.

Vacations were all about my dad wrecking his back trying to get the used boat to pull us all on water skis for a few weeks.  I could single at eleven (I think) and while I had no interest in jumping the wake, could cut it pretty cleanly.  I enjoyed skiing but was far from avid.  Liked it much more in the swimming area or pool.

Tons of sun in the before sunscreen days (and I have the wrinkles to prove it.)

I had reached my adult body by the sixth grade.  5'7', size 34 B bra.  Goon arms.  (Family joke - on me anything with long sleeves is about three inches too short.)  When I look at pictures of myself at that age, I realize I was very slender all through school, but at 13 I read an article in Seventeen about Cheryl Tiegs.  We were the same height, but I weighed - horror - twenty pounds more than she.

That was my first experience with weight concerns.  By the beginning of tenth grade I was entering my borderline anorexia days.  I ate very little.  VERY little, though not little enough to alarm anyone.  I lost weight.  I remember the day I got on the scale and finally weighed 126 pounds - the same as Cheryl Tiegs.  I wonder if she was boob-less at that weight, too.

A silent child, I had always been introverted.  Quiet.  Shy.   In the middle of my sixth-grade year (with me excited to go to junior high the next year) we moved so my dad would be closer to work during the Cuban Missile Crisis and I entered seventh grade at a K-8 school.  A year later a new school had been built a mile in the other direction with the street in front of my house as the dividing line.  I got to keep some of my friends, but others got cut away.  It didn't matter so much, though, because at the end of the eighth grade, Dad decided to move us again away from the freezing ocean breeze and I opened another new school in a neighboring town for ninth grade.

It was too much, relationship wise.  I moved into my Cancerian shell and only came out when absolutely necessary.  And started ninth grade, crippled by my own introversion.

I just finished my career as a middle school teacher, and as a teacher look back on that first day of junior high school.  I was one of forty-two entering students without a class schedule.  They sat us out on the lunch tables.  FOR THE ENTIRE DAY.  Then we were frustrated and angry, but I realize now it was an act of compassion and genius on the part of the administration.  That fall the district had completed construction on this beautiful big school as a REPLACEMENT  for an ancient junior high school.  The entire student body from the old school moved - en masse - to the new school.  They had been together since kindergarten.  Friendships in cement.  The group I sat with at those lunch tables became my "group" all through high school.  To this day I am convinced they put us out there just so that we would make connections.  And I am grateful. 

It was in the ninth grade that I performed with the school's little drill team.  I loved it and couldn't wait to be in the high school drill team.

The high school team was chosen the spring before, so we sophomores couldn't try out, but I was one of the first to sign up.  Tryouts were a breeze, although I felt sorry for the sweet girl beside me who made THREE mistakes to my ZERO.  Her name was Dana, and I knew her from some of my classes.  We weren't friends but I thought she was a nice girl.

A couple of days later they posted the names of the girls chosen for the team.  It was my first experience with high school politics.  Dana's name was on the list.  Mine was not.

I was pretty devastated, but a few days later the new instrumental music teacher posted a notice.  The following year, instead of two girls carrying a banner in front of the marching band, he was auditioning eleven girls who would carry individual letters and do routines with them.  I was one of the thirteen girls who tried out for that position, which marked one of the turning points of my life.


I'm sixth from the left.











Again, in retrospect, I realize that I was never supposed to be on the drill team.  That the Universe knew what I truly desired and provided it.  I mean, who wanted to be in the drill team bus with the gossipy girls?  I got to ride in the band bus with those clever, talented, often hilarious, big-footed band boys.  My first boyfriend - my first kiss - came out of the band group.

I had spent most of my life planning to be a zookeeper, even had the director of the Los Angeles Zoo wanting to talk to me about it, but my dad put the kibosh on that (didn't need a college degree, which thrilled me but went against his plans for his children).  In a "whatever" mood, I followed his advice and enrolled at the local community college to get a degree in physical education.

I was not interested in sports (never had been), but decided to be a non-theater dance major.  I would eventually teach PE but work to dump the field hockey activity and teach dance instead.   I didn't drive, so my dad dropped me on campus every morning where I could get a large frosty and an equally large cup of the most delicious French Fries in the world for breakfast.  Despite the walking (the campus is built on a hill) and multiple dance classes every day, the weight started to pile on.  After two years I had enough credits for an AA and thirty-five extra pounds. 

In May of that second year, my mother (who was close to 100 pounds overweight) decided to try Weight Watchers and I decided to eat with her.  The old WW program was EXTREMELY low in carbs.  We could have one very small potato OR two slices of thinly-sliced white bread.  Protein portions made up for it.  6 oz of meat (SIX frankfurters) was a serving. 

Four months later I was free of the thirty-five pounds.  My most vivid memory associated with that success is participating in a workshop with Twyla Tharp's dance theater group.  They taught us to "extend" - not point - our toes.

And to leap.

I loved leaping.

And my dance professor pronounced that "the weight loss is really helping you."

At the end of that year I married one of my science professors, and by the end of  first year of marriage I was fifty pounds heavier.  I gained a lot of weight during my two pregnancies, and by late 2009 was over 100 pounds obese.  I lost and gained a good chunk of that weight a couple of times, but in retrospect can only say that while I didn't live for food, sugar was my drug of choice when I was experiencing negative emotions.  And there were plenty.

2009 is another year when my life took a pivot to a better place, but I look back at one special date as the date I took a left face.  Or maybe it was right.  It was the end of the year.  December 5.

Walt Disney's birthday.  I had started a little tradition the year before and had so much fun with it that I invited my sister the next year.  We left flowers at the flagpole to honor Walt's birthday, then delivered flowers to whichever castmember helped us at the City Hall, with our thanks, in Walt's honor, for all that the castmembers do to keep the magic alive.  That happy task completed, we set off to enjoy Disneyland.  My sister stopped by the big Christmas Tree in Town Square and asked me to take her picture,  "Next year," she announced, "there will be a lot less of me in front of this tree."  I took her picture, then asked if I could join her project.  We took a second picture.

As we walked by the Coke Corner (Refreshment Corner) I told her I wanted to come back later that day to check to see who was playing the piano.  There was one player who was exceptionally good, and if he was playing, I told her, I wanted to see the set times so we could come back for a couple of sets.  I hadn't been there for one of his sets in over a year, so had my fingers crossed.   Later that day we did go back.  I stopped at the edge of the patio seating area and stared.  She turned to me and said, "Aren't you going to go get the times?"  I had to finish staring.  I told her that I wasn't sure that was even him. 

After a few more seconds, I realized it was. He had lost so much weight I didn't recognize him.

We got our times and headed back out for more rides and food and so on.  Then we returned to the Coke Corner and settled in to listen to the music.  It was the end of the Candlelight Christmas concert and we all sang the end of the Hallelujah Chorus together as the piano player settled in.

At that point the sound system malfunctioned, blasting the Main Street background music at the same volume as the concert.  Even if the piano player had tried to play, nobody would have been able to hear him.  So, he came over, took a seat and we all chatted for a while.  At one point I asked, "May we congratulate you on your weight loss, or should we be worried about you?"  He explained that he had lost 32 pounds on Weight Watchers.

This was such an important moment for me.  I was sitting there feeling overwhelmed to the point of paralysis at the challenge of losing over a hundred pounds.  This man had "only" lost 32 pounds, and yet I hadn't recognized him.  32 pounds was a lot of weight, and yet an attainable goal.  I'd lost weight before and knew I could lose 32 pounds in a year.  And I also knew that the time would fly by, whether I lost the weight or not.  In a year's time, which would be here before I knew it, I could be 30 pounds lighter.  Another year, another 30, and another after that.

December 2009-2010 was year one.  In late January 2010 we learned that my dad had terminal pancreatic cancer but I was able to stay on what I remembered of the WW plan without rejoining until May.  In May I prepared to move in with my folks for the summer.  I did rejoin WW then, thinking I would need the accountability and support.  My son and his wife moved permanently to Japan shortly after my dad's death in June. In the fall I made some lovely new friends in a writing class. In spite of the roller coaster of ups and downs, by December 5 of 2010 I had lost 42 pounds.

Dec 2010-2011 got off to a slow start and the loss crawled.  Then, because I very much wanted to have lost 60 pounds in time for my 60th birthday, I made a deal with my students.  (One I feel kind of guilty about now, but it worked.)  I told them if they would let me check in with them after my weigh-ins, maybe give me a thumbs up if I'd lost or a loud boo if I gained, I would throw them a party with all the junk food I couldn't have on my program.  (Yeah, guilty.)  With their help, I reached my goal.  As I set out the food, I labeled everything with the WW points and even put out some sample lunches to show how even something as simple and accepted as tuna sandwich, chips and fruit could actually put weight on rather than take it off.

A dear friend mentioned what I was doing to a friend of hers who was the community editor for the local paper.  The editor called me and we talked for a while, then she asked if she could send a reporter and photographer to the party.  I cleared it with my principal and on that day met the amazing Robyn Flans.  Robyn had been a columnist for Modern Drummer magazine for decades (she knows them all).  Her column about the party and my students' role in supporting my weight loss ran on the front page of the community section plus a couple of columns inside.  I'm uncomfortable with that kind of attention, but it was great for my students and the district, so it was OK.

Dec 2011-2014.  By the end of 2012 I had lost over 80 pounds.  Even though my marriage was grinding to an ending,  I managed to maintain at that level.  In October of 2013 My younger son moved out and into a small house with his girlfriend, and a few months later they relocated to Tennessee.  Now I had one son halfway across the continent, the other (with wife and my only grandson at that time) across an ocean.  Halfway through that summer, Japan came home for a month and I brought younger son home for a few days.  It was a happy, magical time, and it was awful to send them to their respective homes.

Three weeks later I came home from work and found my husband dead in his bed.

Calling my sons to tell them their dad had died was horrible.  The worst thing I've ever had to do.  We shared a day of shock and grief  (good old facebook)  and the next day I started looking for paperwork.  If there was one thing I had trusted this man with, it was our finances.  Big mistake.  It took days (weeks) just to discover the issues and months to straighten it all out.  Whatever remnants of good feelings I might have had for the man dissolved in my rage when I realized what a financial mess he had left me to deal with.

Meanwhile...

A few days before finding him, I had noticed something wrong with my right eye.  The day after my husband's "Celebration of Life" I lost the vision completely, and 36 hours later was having emergency surgery to re-attach my retina.  A side effect of retinal re-attachment is cataract development, and a year after the retina was re-attached, I had a lens replaced.

Yeah, 2014-2016 was a rough time.  I turned to my drug of choice.  Sugar.  Ate my way through all the trauma.  Chocolate.  Cookies.  Brownies.  Potato chips and dip.  Nachos. 

40 pounds, regained.  Every joint hurt.  Other physical symptoms.   My thinking was getting fuzzier, which I blamed on stress.  I know better now.

Now the mess is pretty much cleared up .  My younger son and his girlfriend broke up and came home from Tennessee (with my dog).  He met someone new, someone wonderful, someone ever after and they set a wedding date for early July.  My older son and his wife added another grandson to the family two years ago.  I got through my last year of teaching without doing too much damage, and I was doubly looking forward to this year because it was not only my first year of retirement, but it is a masteryear.  A time to celebrate myself.

Part of that celebration was to - finally and finally - "renovate my relationship with food."  I posted just that on facebook, and a facebook friend noticed it.

I had never met Rich Tell (https://www.facebook.com/rich.tell)  at that point, except on facebook.  A couple of years ago he "liked" a comment I'd made about a cozy jazz club where my son had been playing.  It still creeps me out when strangers interact with my posts (especially since I have everything set to friends only), so I went to his facebook page to make sure I wasn't in any danger.  When I got to his page, the first post on his newsfeed was a quote by someone I've been studying quite a bit since 2013.  I was struck since this is not a particulary well-known personality, especially where I live.  I sent Rich a friend request with a message explaining why I was sending the request.  He happened to be on facebook at that time and we had a nice conversation about our mutual interest in the vibrational universe.  It was our only conversation of any significance for over a year until he noticed my announcement that I wanted to take care of my food issues.

Turned out (he explained) that although he has been doing vibrational therapy using sound frequencies for years, he had just finished designing a program for weight loss.  Although my interest in "fixing" my food issues goes beyond weight loss, I no longer believe in coincidence and interpreted this as a push to another level in my growth as a person.  We had a phone conversation about the treatment, then set up the first two sessions.  I liked the idea that the second session would be on my birthday, kind of a Masteryear gift to myself, if not a rebirth.

I would not presume to try to explain the depth of this program here.  In fact, it was such a complex process that I'm sure I've forgotten a lot of it.  But I am amazed at the impact, and continue to notice results I hadn't anticipated.

My goal during these sessions was to eliminate my cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.   I've done multiple attempts to "eliminate the whites."  No white sugar, no white flour.  It always worked for me.  I've always lost a few pounds. I felt better every time.  But somewhere around week two, it was like I was possessed.  I would get into my car, drive to the market and lay out $20  $30  $40 for sugar.  Cookies, chocolates, ice cream.

And. eat. it. all.

And then "come to," and ask myself, "What did I just do?"

My first session was June 20.  Since then I have had NO cravings. For any kind of food, actually.  I often forget to eat, and have to force myself to get something when I remember.

I expected those cravings to be gone.  What amazes me are the other addictive habits that got caught up in the "other addictive behaviors" that got thrown in.  My impulsive spending is WAY down.  My hoarding almost gone.  Which is kind of funny, because my last day of school was June 16 (before sessions) and I had brought home a couple of carloads of flotsam from 25 years of teaching.  Most of it is going or has gone away now.  Books to the library bookstore, four bags of stuff to the thrift store.  I made a goal to fill my trash can for every pick-up, but actually don't have that much left to toss.

Most recently I noticed that I am much more easygoing, more tolerant of folks who irritate me.  If they are people I love, it's been easy to refocus on the love instead of the irritation.  If they are people I don't know, I can just walk away.  Rich worked on my cellular addictions, which seems to have caught up the behaviors that used to trigger negativity.

I feel fantastic.  Most of the physical issues have disappeared with my diet change.  I've lost about 25 pounds in 9 weeks.  Most importantly, I am pleased with myself and optimistic that my physical goals will be met.  I need to get a new orthopedist (first one died, second one decided he didn't want to be a doctor anymore) for some repairs on a knee that was injured a few years ago.  A podiatrist is helping me get my awful feet back in shape.  I want to join the local outrigger club next March, which means LOTS of training to get my upper body strength built up, and at the top of my bucket list is a trip to Tonga to swim with humpback whales when I turn 70. 

I recently read a fabulous book called Younger Next Year 



that explained anthropologically why we need 45 minutes in one session of exercise  at a certain level every day.  Looking forward to incorporating that 45 minutes into my daily routine (as soon as my foot has recovered from minor surgery.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this story.  My friends in Massachusetts are concerned about my diet.  Thing is, I got this.  It's not their problem.  It's a lifetime change.  The cravings are gone.  I can deal with anything else.