Thursday, December 30, 2010

What a Difference a Year Makes

I decided to go back and read some of my early posts. One year ago I wrote the following post:

  • How does one get off the weight loss rollercoaster after 45 years of dieting. Since I was 11, most of my life has been spent either dieting, thinking about dieting, refusing to go on another diet or just plain giving up. I am tired of the twists and turns and obsession with the number of calories of each bit of food I put in my mouth. And after all these years, where has it got me. As fat as I have ever been. So at 55, and weighing about 210 pounds, it is time to get off the ride for good. I will try just one more thing-Gastric Banding. My surgery is booked for February 10th near Toronto. Will this time work. I am pumped by all the other bloggers who tell me it has changed their life. What the heck. After at least 40 different tries, why not one more. This might be my turn to win the lottery!
This is me a little more than 1 year of age.
It's amazing the difference a year can make.

And so I can say, 1 year later, I did win the lottery. The band changed my life and for that I will be forever grateful.

I am also trying to come up with a word for 2011. Last year it was Believe. Gotta put some thought into it and hopefully by next week I will have one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life

It has been a lovely time of eating and drinking and being with family and friends. The difference this year is that I am not in a sugar induced stupor after bingeing on sweets and treats. I am also down 40 pounds from this time last year. I know it might not seem like much to some of you who have lost 100's of pounds but for me, those 40 pounds have been really hard to lose.

I chatted with my SIL at our Boxing Day (26th) family get together. Her husband (my hubby's brother) weighs over 300 pounds and has lost and re-gained a 100 pounds. She is worried that he will die and so am I. She recently lost 40 pounds too-put on when her mother was dying. But her weight came off easily with cutting back the amount she ate. What we talked about was that her DH was not intentionally staying fat. He knows he is fat, just like I knew I was fat. I love that she is now thin but it isn't the same as her DH and me. It was something that is in our brain and in our genes. They have 5 boys and I do hope he will live to see them grown, with families of their own.

I finished watching "It's a Wonderful Life" today. It only took me two sittings and is one of my favourite movies. It shows that we really do have a place in this world. We will never know how our life or actions impact someone but I do know that this blogging world is my saviour. You have all helped me get to where I need to be and will continue to get me to my spot. We all have rough spots but also good times. Each has that little ripple effect on our lives. Mucho Mucho Thanks to all my friends.

It's been almost a year since I started blogging and I know that by writing down my thoughts helps me immensely. As does reading about all your adventures. I haven't been able to read much or comment these last few weeks but I will be back in the saddle soon.

I found Christmas and it wasn't just about food. My scale read the same number as a few weeks ago. I didn't gain weight. I feel wonderful. The band really works.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Finding Christmas #6: Decorations and Ornaments

Barbara from My New Life Rules is going through a bit of a rough time right now and mentioned that she had only been able to put a wreath on her door this year. And as I thought more and more I realized that a single wreath can have more meaning than a houseful of decorations. I found this from a google search:

Much symbolism can be attributed to the wreath. The shape of a circle has no beginning and no ending. This may represent the eternal nature of a god's love, or the circle of life. It is a sign of faith in humanity and life and of victory over life's challenges. Evergreens are used to represent immortality and the victory of life through darkness and challenge. The fact that evergreens live through winter signifies the strength of life. 

Wow, did I just make myself cry? Yup.

I have two wreaths hanging on the front of my house and until now never realized just what they represent. I did put up my lights outside and they sparkle when it gets dark at 4:30. And I will also admit that I have only put up about half of the decorations that I usually do. It's really nice though. My tree (artificial) is up and in my basement because that is where I spend most of my time. There are even presents underneath because I did some wrapping tonight.

The ornaments I hang are eclectic. Love that word, Meaning, they are all a bit different but as I hang them I am awash in memories. Years ago I began buying ornaments when I travelled, as souvenirs. I think Lori from A Journey to Embrace does the same thing. I have some from all over the world and this year I have my Chicago ornament hanging in front. It reminds me of all the people who have been there for me in the bad times and the good over the last year. But this ornament does not just represent the bandsters I met in person. Chicago was a symbol for this whole bandster community whether you were able to come or not. When I found it in one of the stores (can't remember-memory going!) I loved the little feathers and sparkly thingy's.
And I love my band. Without it I would not be where I am today. I still have a ways to go but I will get there. No one can change that. Today I left a comment on Dinnerland's blog (someone who is also having a bit of a bad time these last few days). It said: Let's get on with our journey because we are all taking a different path to get to the same place. Some are on the freeway, some taking the backroads, some are doing stunts on motorcycles to get noticed. Me-I'm just taking the scenic route and stopping whenever I can to enjoy the view.

Here are a few of my favourite decorations I have put out this year, some with history, some new. I will show you in pictures.
New last year, it hangs on the inside of my front door.

In the late 80's I did a lot of Tole Painting. Here is my Christmas Goose.
I add the bell and ribbon and greenery to make her pretty.
I also painted some Santa candle sticks, the one on the left with the Maple Leaf to represent Canada, the middle Wizard Santa and then there is Flaming Head Santa given his name because the wooden candle holder on the top of his head (no longer there) caught on fire one night and burst into flames. The picture on the right is skinny leg Santa (with a wreath!). But he is kind of cute.
And my last Santa is Jazzy Santa. Push his button and he plays 2 different Christmas Carols. I will say it gets rather irritating when the small ones push it repeatedly. Thank goodness the batteries can be easily removed.
Sitting on my mantle is SNOW. Sorry to all who are still digging out from the major dump in the Midwest and Southern Ontario. We have about 6 inches on the ground here, just enough to use the snow blower and make it feel like Christmas. You should come visit if you like. And no, we didn't have to stock up with food or bunker down for days til the roads were clear. We venture out in our SUV's with snow tires and freshly plowed streets and life goes on. 
Lastly I have to show you my tree. It holds all those ornaments collected over the years. It isn't Martha Stewart but it is full of memories. We used to have real trees until DH's asthma got really bad and we had to resort to artificial.

Well peeps. That's just a little look into my house this Christmas. I also hope I have not offended any of my Jewish friends who recently celebrated Hanukkah earlier in December. Many of the lights, candles, traditions are celebrated at that time just as Christians celebrate in the coming weeks. I find this year, with these multiple posts that I am getting more reflective about the true meaning of the season. It is so much more than food.

I will be pausing my Finding Christmas posts for a few days because I am going away. Not to the funny house but to visit my BFF in Hamilton. We met at University and instantly bonded. We have been friends for over 36 years. It is a respite during this busy time. A time to talk and laugh and reminisce.

I leave Friday after work and come back on Tuesday the 21st just in time to bring on Christmas. I work between Christmas and New Years but only 3 days and since many will be off, it should be rather quiet. I have one more post about Food and Drink. But after all these posts I have come to realize that Christmas or any holiday is no longer just about food. Food is only one piece of the puzzle. Isn't it nice to be free from the constant thoughts of food.

I hope you are gathering some spirit in your soul by now. And if you can, light a little candle or hang a wreath to remember those in special need this year. It's the least we can do.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finding Christmas #5: Gifts and Giving

I ran out after work last night into the madness of the mall. But it wasn't all that bad. Bought a DVD and found it cheaper at the next store. I was too lazy to go back for a refund. We won't be overdoing it on gifts this year. We only buy for my son and daughter (and the BF). My DH and I exchange small gifts. In fact I usually buy a few things I really want and he wraps them. This year he got his new TV so there are lots of DVD's to watch.

In the past I have been involved in the wretched gift exchange. Hate them. I think I was traumatized as a kid when I took a gift for an exchange and another person didn't. I was the one left without a gift. It happened again years later, although the gift did arrive a few days later. The person who drew my name "forgot" to bring the gift to the party.

It was at that point that I decided never to do a gift exchange with acquaintences. I felt it was more important to actually donate to those in need. A few dollars in the Salvation Army kettle, our homeless shelters to put on a dinner, donating gifts, mittens and food to the Christmas Exchange for families not able to make ends meet. It makes more sense to me. I feel a bit selfish at times that I don't do more for others.

A few years ago, when I was still a stay-at-home mom, I was a driver for the Cancer Society and drove people to either radiation therapy or chemo at the hospital. I didn't take any money for the gas unlike a lot of older retired men who drove to make money. One lady and I became friends and we would get together for breakfast occasionally. She would tell me about the other drivers and how they would complain about the cost of gas and she would ask for me when I was available. She had radiation therapy 5 days a week. The Cancer Society provided drivers for 3 or those days and they were on their own to arrange the other two days. Another lady I drove once a week was in her 30's and had to take 3 buses to the hospital for her radiation on the other days. She was an immigrant and had few friends in the city who could drive her. I loved those few months and had to stop when I went back to work. It was rewarding to do something for others and not expect anything in return. A gift in itself.

I know I don't do as much as I could for others and that will be something I will try to improve next year. Giving to others be it monetary or just being a good friend, sister, wife, mother, blogger can make a difference we can never measure. We see it everyday in blogland when we get a great comment about our progress. And yet one negative response and we are devastated for days. I have worked hard to surround myself with positivity and won't get sucked into the toxic people or situations that can pull us into the depths of despair. I think it is also why I always watch "A Christmas Carol" to see the transformation of Scrooge from a codgy old man to one who lives a full and rich life. I want that.

Each year I set up my little Nativity figures. Baby Jesus is a tiny little guy and I sometimes forget to pull him out of the styrofoam pocket where he lives for the rest of the year. But out he comes and I rearrange the figures so they are just right. Here was a tiny little baby and great men were bringing gifts to him. Poor and homeless. Even 2010 years ago we were helping those in need.
Well guys, that concludes my thoughts on gifts and giving. I love the phrase, it isn't what you get, it's the thought that counts and really that is the truth.

(Except presents under the tree are nice).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finding Christmas #4: Family and Friends

What would this time of year be without spending time with our Family and Friends. Earlier today I had my sister's family and mine over for Lunch and a Movie. My grand-nieces are both 2 years old and I don't remember it ever being so busy with little ones around. I love them dearly but I was glad to finally have everyone leave today.

We squished together to watch "A Christmas Carol", the animated one with Jim Carey in it. Great graphics. A bit scary in parts but we learned to laugh and make jokes so the little girls wouldn't get scared. We had a lovely lunch of sandwiches, salads and for dessert, I broke down and made the Toblerone Cheesecake. Man it was rich, but yummy. I couldn't even finish my piece. Love my band. And here is where we watched the movie. Love the projection screen. Everyone is so big. We will be watching lots of movies this Christmas.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are pretty quiet for us. Usually just the immediate family. In fact it may only be DH and myself for dinner that day. Just waiting to hear if my daughter and her BF will be joining us. Peaceful, relaxing, no frantic activity. A few years ago we changed to have hubby's family over on Boxing Day, the 26th. DH has 5 brothers, there are 4 wives, and 12 kids mostly older now. I used to cook everything but this year it will be more of a pot-luck. I'm serving lasagna and a bunch of appetizer type foods. I will ask the others to just bring something to add to the table. Funny but I don't want to make it about food. This year is getting back to basics and just enjoying family. I want to eat lots but my band says no. I haven't been stuck since before my last fill but I definitely can only eat half to one cup of food and it keeps me full for 4-5 hours. I haven't lost anymore weight this week but then the few cookies and bites of chocolate (and let's not forget the cheesecake) have slipped easily through the band. I will be content to maintain this weight until January.

And I can't leave out friends. Everyone is so busy this time of year that I rarely see any of my local friends. I am travelling to visit my BFF near Toronto. We will spend some time together and enjoy the lights and liquid enjoyment. And I am hoping to meet up with Gilly during my travels. Lets hope the weather holds out. I was watching the news and the Midwest is being pummeled with snow. We have a bit of freezing rain and they are predicting only a few inches tomorrow. South of us, they are digging out of 3-4 feet of snow.

Family and friends. Can't live with them, can't live without them. Even though it can be stressful getting together, it really is about enjoying the season. My present this year has been losing weight with the band and feeling so much better. Without it, I would still be struggling, praying for a magic diet. Someone else posted that they don't have to make the New Year's resolution to lose weight. Me either.

What a difference a year makes.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finding Christmas #3: Music and Movies

Although this isn't really Draz's BYOC, it inspired me to remember the Christmas Music and movies I watch every December. I begin listening to Christmas Carols on November 12th. I have 3 CD's in my car and need to burn a few more to include all my Christmas songs. Listening to them makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I sing along too.

My Top 5 Christmas Carols:
  1. O Holy Night by Aaron Neville
  2. Little Drummer Boy by Faith Hill
  3. Happy Christmas (War is Over) by Neil Diamond (originally by John Lennon)
  4. Silent Night by Alan Jackson
  5. Do You Hear What I Hear? by Third Day
And does anyone remember Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer & Mele Kalikimaka

Now the movies that make Christmas special for me.
  • A Christmas Carol is my all time must see movie every year. I first watch the one with George C. Scott and then the one with Alistair Sims, the ultimate Scrooge. His dance at the end of the movie makes me want to cry with joy. He found Christmas. We're watching the new animated one on Sunday with my nieces.
  • It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. I got the colorized version last year and also found out that my brother has to watch it every year.
  • Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. I know many of you despise it, but I still find it funny when the cat gets electrocuted or the tree crashes into the neighbours house. It speaks about us wanting to have a perfect Christmas with family but we know it can never be. But it is funny.
  • Miracle on 34th Street. Both the old version with Natalie Wood and the new version which came out a few years ago.
This weekend, I will have to catch up on the movies. Love my big 92" screen. It is amazing. Guess the DH was right (but just this once)!

Fa La La La La, La La La La!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding Christmas #2: Traditions & Symbols

Our family doesn't have a lot of Traditions that must happen every Christmas like a lot of people I know. Some traditions faded as life changed over the years. Other than food and treats and chocolate I had to think long and hard about what I repeatedly do each year. 

Advent Calendar: When my kids were little I was an Avon Lady (yup me selling makeup and bath gels!). One year I bought the Avon Countdown Calendars. We only have 1 left since my daughter moved out but on December 1st, I make sure the one for my son is full of Hershey Kisses. This year I picked up the candy on November 30th and filled the calendar pockets at 9:00 at night. But I knew my 25 year old son would like that. He gets two Kisses everyday. I also fill one for my DH but he only got 1 Kiss in each pocket this year (you might remember me eating half a bag of kisses a few weeks ago—otherwise he would have had 2).

Candles: I adore candles and light as many as I can throughout the year but especially at Christmas as it gets dark so early—by 4:30 pm. The room glows and along with the fire burning, it is so cozy. Candles are a symbol of light in darkness and universal in spreading hope.

Christmas Cactus: Every December my Christmas Cactus begins to flower for about 6 weeks. Since it blooms during Christmas it became a symbol of the birth of Christ. I have two which die down by the end of January and sit dormant only to flower again around Easter. Not all plants do but Easter symbolizes the resurrection and rebirth. When I first notice the blooms, I begin to think that Christmas will soon be here and it gives me a good feeling.

Hoping you enjoy your holiday traditions in the coming weeks.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Finding Christmas #1: Remembering the Past

I didn't really lose Christmas. After my post about Christmas no longer revolving around food, I began looking around and realized there really is much more. So today I start a series of posts on Finding Christmas to help me realize just how wonderful this holiday time can be. I need to understand my feelings and writing them out seems to be the best way to make them real. So my first Finding Christmas is remembering the past.

A few years ago my sister gave me this plate because she thought it looked like my dad. I thought so too. He died in 2000 and so each Christmas when I pull it out I think of him. I add the reindeer because he was a big hunter (deer and moose). The ornament in the upper right corner is falling apart but it is one I remember hanging on the Christmas tree when I was little.
My mom died in 2007 and that year at Christmas I saw this teardrop ornament with a star and knew she would have loved it. I now hang it on my fireplace to let her be part of my Christmas. No one else knows about this particular ornament.
(well I guess my daughter will now because she reads my blog)

This makes my first post on finding Christmas. I hope to post a few more.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Where Are You Christmas

Last week someone posted one of the songs they enjoy at Christmas. I've been listening to Christmas carols since November 12th and there are a bunch I like: War is Over, O Holy Night but this year it seems different. I couldn't figure it out until I saw a bit of the Grinch last night and lo and behold there was the song "Where Are You Christmas" by Faith Hill.

And it seemed to express my feelings this year. Something seemed lost and I was wondering why I wasn't feeling the excitement that I love. Well, guess what my chickadees. It's food. I was missing those feelings of excitement that come with all the gatherings centered on food.

So just like CindyLew Who, I've come to realize that Christmas is more than food. Its the warmth of the lights on the tree which I finally put up last Sunday. It was getting together with my sisters and their kids for our family baking day. Yup, we made some good things although much less than other years. For dinner we had one of the 7 tourtières (meat pies) we had made that day and yum! My only disappointment was that I could only eat half a slice. A bunch of cookies and other sweets and treats but not many made it in my mouth. They sit in my freezer but I don't have the same compulsion to eat it all.

Last night I finished putting up a few decorations and tonight, finally, I pulled out my Christmas Plates. Last year I bought "A Christmas Story" series of plates and tonight I ate on the plate with the writing "Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house". It's cool. I have a set of dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, serving dishes, platters and mugs. It will always bring a little Christmas when I pull them out.
It's time to make Christmas more than the food. The sugar highs (and lows) will be a thing of the past. It has been such a big part of my traditions for most of my life. But this year with the band it will be different. My tree is in my basement media room (not the family room). We will probably not have turkey for Christmas dinner as it will only be DH and me and I'm thinking Shrimp in Garlic and Cream sauce will be much more band friendly. We will still host our boxing day family celebration with 25 people but this year it will be potluck. I'm not doing all the work. And I know no one will go home hungry. So this year is about some new traditions. Because it's different this year. The one line in the song that started me thinking was: My world is changing, I'm rearranging, does that mean Christmas changes too. Here are the lyrics to the song:

Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go
Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh
If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love
Where are you Christmas
Fill your heart with love

May you all find your own special traditions this year.

Friday, December 3, 2010


It's been a long time coming but I can now say I have lost 40 pounds. Plateau is over. It took 3 months to lose 1 pound but it's gone. My word for the year was Believe. I sometimes forget when the pounds drop so slowly. But here it is...

Christmas tree going up today. Baking Day on Saturday. Panic under control (beer helps!). Peace is settling in and I am 40 pounds lighter than this time next year. 

Onward to the next 10.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Panic Attacks and Baking Day

Last night I had a panic attack. It was a culmination of work and some upsetting news from my sister. It's been awhile since that has happened but it can be very exhausting. I almost called in sick this morning but braved the day and fumbled through work. Funny but the band didn't let me eat much last night. Except for the half bag of Hershey Kisses.

Now you will ask why I even had them in my house. Well... I had to fill the countdown calendars for the 25 days til Christmas. Not sure how I feel about Christmas this year. I've been putting off the decorating but am determined to put up the tree tomorrow night. I've decided it will go up in our basement, the basement that we have spent the last two months fixing up as a media room.

We have this big honkin' 92" projection screen. Can you say size envy. I love it. I gave DH a hassle about getting a big screen but Wow, oh Wow. I love it. Which has kept me on the couch for the last few nights watching all my favourite shows. And munching on Kisses. They're gone now and my DH and son each have their own countdown calendar full of kisses.

Saturday the 4th is baking day. It started a few years ago when my sister, nieces and my daughter and I got together to bake. Lots of stuff. A couple of years, my other two sisters and my sister-in-law came along. Exhausting. And so much sugar and butter.

So this year we decided to cut back on the sweets and teach our kids how to make pastry. We'll make some tourtiere (meat pies), tarts, peanut butter balls, ginger cookies, walnut cookies and a few other things. I made some fruit cookies last weekend and could only eat 2 before I was "full". Strange how the band is working. The weight loss may be turtle slow but at least I'm not gaining. After this weekend, I might avoid the scale.

Here is about half of the baking we did last year.
We all had our own handmade aprons made by my Martha Stewart sister.

Til next time ladies and gents...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...