What is a "bottom line"???

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, there are numerous "bottom lines"...a biweekly alternative newspaper at the University of California Santa Barbara, the running scores and news for ESPN (the ticker at the bottom of the screen); net income (revenue minus costs and expenses); music venue in New York City's Greenwich Village; a World Wrestling Entertainment syndicated television show; catch phrase of Stone Cold Steve Austin and John Vespa; a publishing company...and my backside!!!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly…

I debated whether to post about this or not…but I have decided that it is worth mentioning…even if ever so briefly. Let me say that by doing so, I hope that there’s no hard feelings. This is just my opinion about this particular subject. I welcome your thoughts, as well…but not to the point of being cruel. I guess that it's a fine line, actually...I can handle the truth...but I don't believe that one should be nasty or ugly about anything--no matter how truthful.  There's always a "better" way to say something, I guess...

So, if you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I am an active member of Weight Watchers. (And by active, I mean that I have never come close to my goal weight (yet)…but I do believe in the plan and continue paying my $39.99 membership fee every month. I believe that his plan works…I have seen it, and I think that it most closely mirrors what I am looking for in a weight loss plan (most especially now, with Points Plus!).

Anyway, my membership has always been active…though my actual participation has not. Late last summer, I thought that I knew best and could do it on my own…but then I began missing the members that I sit through the meetings with on Saturday mornings…I missed the leader’s pep talks…I missed being able to celebrate when another member reached a milestone or Lifetime…those sort of things. I think that it’s kind of like group therapy (no disrespect to anyone who actually is/has been/will be participating in group therapy…after all, therapy comes in a wide variety of forms. I certainly don’t mean to make light of any serious or deeper topics that are discussed in such sessions). Anyway…I am pretty sure that I have always been supportive of the members in my meetings (and even other meetings when I couldn’t get to my regularly scheduled meeting for one reason or another). I have learned a lot from the folks in those meetings…recipes, exercise tips, and just general points of wisdom. On Saturday morning, that came to a grinding halt!

One lady, I will keep her anonymity here, was talking to my friend (and co-1/2 marathoner), Kim when I arrived. It was just a lighthearted conversation and Kim just generally brought up the fact that we are signed up for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, on April 30th and that we were starting to train for it…because we wanted to do well (and by do well, I just mean finish under our own power not on a stretcher and not crawling). This lady (and I use this term loosely, because really, my grandmother and Mom taught me that a lady would never do this…because a lady knows that if she can’t say anything nice, she shouldn’t say anything at all!) looks at Kim and says, “Aren’t you too big to do that?”. In all honesty, I think that we were so shocked by her response (and for the record, Kim will be your biggest cheerleader in whatever it is you want to do…so you want to start underwater basketweaving? She will help you find a location and be the one right there cheering you on…I know, because she’s done it for me on so many occasions!). So, with all of our own self-doubt and wondering what were we thinking…we now have this psycho-hosebeast who has decided to take the miles out of our Asics…the wind out of our sails. I sat through the meeting—fuming. I know that she had her own reason for saying what she did…and maybe it’s just curiosity (in her defense, if you can call it that, she is a tiny petite (maybe 5’1”, if that tall) lady…so maybe my 5’9” stature was too much for her to comprehend…I don’t know. After the meeting, heading toward our cars, we discussed that sometimes folks need a filter. I mean, I know that I might not agree with a lot…and we are certainly all entitled to our opinions…but I really think that the lady should have maybe just said something along the lines of “that’s interesting” or “wow” or whatever…And maybe that’s what her comment meant…but I took it along the lines of how are you going to get your fat a$$ 13.1 miles anywhere, if not in a car? Maybe I am a bit too sensitive…

So, for clarification…I am not too big to go 13.1 miles. If I set my mind to something, train and prepare, I can do it. No, let me correct that…I WILL do it!!! (And for the record, I did a half marathon in October of 2008…so I know that I can do it!).

Okay...time to go and see if my filters need to be changed...

Have a great one!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Update

Let's start with the obvious question...I did record a loss at Weight Watchers this week.   Down 1.2 lbs.  (significantly better than last week's loss!).  I had a fantabulous week on Plan.  I ate out once last week...and made a great food choice for lunch on Friday.  I would have loved to see a higher loss...but as my husband says, "It's a cumulative effect". 

At our meeting on Saturday, our fearless leader said something profound..."If you are weighing more than once a week (at your weekly weigh in, for me, before the meeting), then your actions are saying that you do not trust the plan".  I thought about that statement long and hard--and realized that she's right.  I am paying a lot of money to help hold me accountable and do this plan...so why don't I trust completely--instead of halfheartedly?  So...I came home, took the battery out of the scale and put the scale in the closet.  It will take me a while to retrain my brain...but I have to say that it was pretty liberating to not get up and weigh first thing in the a.m. (and sometimes I weighed right before bed, too).   Anyway...stay tuned...just like everything in my life.

I have prepared several meals (including the veggie soup that likely helped me out way more than I even know!) for lunch next week.  I am also excited because I know that it has to be helping us with our budget.

Albert had a pretty bad week last week...he just look generally sad all week.  He went for treatment #5 (of 12).  They took bloodwork, so I anticipate that next Friday we will get some news.  Again...stay tuned.

Okay--off to bed...tomorrow starts the work week!

Until next time...be good to yourselves!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Living for the Moment...

Just heard this Jason Aldean song on my MP3 player at work (with my headphones of course…not everyone has an appreciation for country music mixed with some Kid Rock and some Black Eyed Peas…). Anyway…this song’s chorus, though it says “we”, in the actual song, I have altered to “I”…just so you know…”I was living for the moment…loving every second” (Bonus points if you can name that tune…not a JA fan? The song is “She Loved Me” from his first CD, “Jason Aldean”. Okay—I totally digressed there…hopefully impressing you with my country music useless information trivia…back on track (what a great segue to more country music songs…but I will leave that alone…for now! The words of this song really spoke to me…I do need to live every moment…and try (though it might be super difficult given several challenges as of late) to love every second…will make that a mission for this week!!!

So, I have signed up for the Country Music Marathon (see my previous post)...it’s 14 weeks away. Luckily, I have a 13 week training plan! How smart is that? Actually, I am hopeful that I can stick with the training plan (it’s a run/walk plan…we’ll see if it’s more walking than running (have never considered myself a runner…EVER. However, folks like Shelley totally inspire me…so I suppose that it could happen!). I started yesterday (after a about a 6 week hiatus from exercise). And I did all of my workout outside. Kyle Busch (my Garmin--thanks again to Shelley who named hers Ricky Bobby...I just continued on the race driven/NASCAR theme) showed dismal results (maybe I should rename it Jr...if you are a NASCAR fan, then you know what I am talking about)…but it’s all about the effort, right? I walked/run (way more walking than not) for 47:00 and a total of 2.62 mi. Please remember—while the weather has vastly improved in the ATL over the weekend, there was still lots of ice and snow…and parts of where I was killing myself exercising was still shaded and ice was prevalent. Not wanting to spend the next 13 weeks in an orthopedic boot, I exercised caution…extreme caution. So, I can only hope that those stats vastly improve as time goes on...(Fingers crossed).

I did lose this past week, according to the scale at Weight Watchers. A whopping .2 (that’s not two pounds…that’s 2/10 of a pound…but it’s still a loss, so I guess I will take it!). I am making a concerted effort to track all seven days this week (which I have done since Saturday…yay me!!!). I also bought the ingredients to cook at home and prepare lunches all week…including tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, and all of the ingredients to make a huge crockpot full of the Weight Watchers staple, vegetable soup. Hopefully, the scale will be good to me (or would that be me being good to me? Hmmmm…). I have also made a concerted effort to intake lots of water…lots and lots of water. Another thing that I did, at the recommendation of Joy (my Weight Watchers leader) and several other members is to take the Weight Watchers smoothie mix (didn’t think I would be a fan…but man, these things are awesome!!!) and add fruit (I added an overripe banana in lieu of tossing it into the garbage). This thing was so filling—I was stuffed. I do make my smoothie with the mix, fat free milk (counts as 2 daily dairy servings (Healthy Guidelines)!!!), ice, and the banana. Combine all ingredients into the Magic Bullet…and Tada! Magic Breakfast. Was so super impressed....a banana “milkshake” on the way into work…does it get any better than that? The other “new” thing I committed to this week was spaghetti squash. What you might not know about me is that I can be a pretty picky eater. I like most veggies (can only think of a couple that I loathe—and will not put into my mouth)…so again, at the recommendation of several at the Saturday morning meeting, I decided to buy one…a small one. After wrestling with it in the kitchen (totally not prepared to be taken down by a squash!), I was up and running…Unfortunately, I totally overcooked it…so my “spaghetti” resembled more like a pasta mush…I did taste of it (and was surprised there was no more taste than that…guess that’s why it’s a good pasta swap!). So, I will try it again…cook a little less, at a lower temp…stay posted!

So…until next time…remember…”Every Man Dies…but Not Every Man Lives” (thank you, Jason Aldean).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January in Atlanta....Really?

This has been a dismal week for me…first all of the snow, which led to ice, which led to two days off of work (Monday and Tuesday). I am sure that it was out of boredom, but my eating habits were horrible…not sure if it was just the wrench in my planned week (I am a creature of habit, after all!), the cabin fever, or something else…but I just ate and ate. The food choices were not too bad (luckily, we didn’t have a lot of “junk” in the house), but I ate a lot! When I am at work, I am not sure if it’s just the planning that saves me, the lack of an abundance of food or what…but at home, I have no self-control…NONE! Needless to say, I was ready to go back to work by the end of Snowcalypse 2011…and by Day 2…I was looking for anything (and I do mean anything) that would keep me out of the kitchen and away from the fridge.

Anyway—back to work yesterday (which was an equally harrowing experience, driving into work with ice to complicate the commute!). I made it to and from work without incident…which was apparently a huge feat! Anyway…today was a bit more normal, thankfully! Of course, losing 2 days of month end close due to Mother Nature has provided its challenges..but we are on our way!!! Yay!!!

Then, I found out that we are likely not to get paid for Monday and Tuesday’s closure. I guess that in the grand scheme, it’s not a huge ordeal…but the company was closed!!! I understand that if you didn’t make it in when the company was open that perhaps one should have to use vacation time or something…but the company was CLOSED…should we have risked life and limb to get here? Apparently so. I know that it’s a bunch of whining…but I was not expecting that revelation. The decision hasn’t really been finalized…and it’s not my boss that is fighting it…but the VP of the company. I would think that morale would deeply be affected if they decide to stick with his decision. Oh well…will worry about that when it’s more of a reality, I guess.

Another big  massive step in the right direction…I have signed up for the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville, TN! I am hopeful that this will keep me motivated (and help me undo some of this week’s damage) to train and do this the right way. One of my great friends (also named Kim…and the similarities in our lives don’t end there) has signed up for it…and since we tend to do better working together, we are going to do this! We completed 13.1 miles over 2 years ago. I don’t think that either one of us really trained the way we should have, but it didn’t help that Pottygate struck! Kim went to the port-a-potty at mile 2…and tripped when she came out and twisted her ankle. Against our better judgment, she trudged on (walking mostly, but at one point, I thought she might have to crawl)…and we did finish (won’t even begin to discuss the passive aggressive behavior study that she could have completed, too…”I can’t”…”I didn’t go this far not to finish”…). At any rate, we did finish…which was our only goal (okay, so we didn’t want to exceed the official time or be last, either…we met those goals, too (barely!)!). Anyway…the date is April 30…about 15 weeks from now. I have a 13 week training plan…that’s a “Beginner Walk/Run” training program. Stay tuned for details of how that’s working out for us…Anyway, I am looking forward to revisiting (hopefully not crawling) through Nashville.  I love that city!!!  (And am hopeful that I will get to see some country music superstars...okay, Chris Young! while I am there).  I think that I am equally excited about having someone at the finish line cheering me on (I have never had that...and always think that it's super cool...and am secretly envious of those that do!).  My mother in law has said that she will come down (from Louisville, KY) if it's after tax season (how quaint! It is!!!  April 30th is way after April 15th!!!).  Plus, Kim will have her kids and Mom there, too (and I consider those kiddos and Mom mine, too!).  Will be super exciting!!! 

Anyway--think that's enough big news for today!!!

Be good...and if you can't be good, then be good at it!!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Not the best weekend ever...

Well...I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting of 2011...the weigh in was not what I had hoped for (though, I knew it wouldn't be pretty...was just "hoping" for a kinder, nicer number).  I was up three pounds for the week...some of this is explainable, as I discussed previously, due to my TOM (or is this TMI?).  I hope that I can shed some of that bloat next week...if not take it all away.

It is snowing furiously north of Atlanta right now...I cannot believe that the weather folks got all of this junk right this time.  It's pretty serious for those G.R.I.T.S (Girls Raised In The South) like me...I know that I need to be at work tomorrow, but am doubtful that I will make it (the company has not officially closed...yet!).  I understand that snow is drivable, but they are predicting that this junk will turn to sleet/freezing rain (wintry precip) by early morning.  That's where I draw the line...Just hope that if it turns from a snowy Winter Wonderland to a Icy Igloo that the power lines hold up...no heat, no way out...Kim is not a happy person (and begins to refer to herself in the third person, apparently).

If you get a change, be sure to visit Tammy (from Fat to Fab's) new site.  This is a new endeavor for her--and I think that there's real promise for a true niche here...Who doesn't want an Errand Fairy???

Well, off to bed...need to include a few extra blankets just in case the power goes...My furry friends don't always like to snuggle...:)

Have a great one...and power pending, I will be back tomorrow!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Year...New Outlook...Hopefully!

I was told that it's too late to say "Happy New Year"...thus, the title of this blog.

I am not going to make this a post about crazy resolutions (because let's face it, we already know what we are supposed to be doing...and how to get there...yada, yada, yada).  So, I have to say that I am not going to change the resolutions (that have likely been the same for the past 5 years (if not longer)...but to expand on those.  Yeah...that's it!!!

I ended 2010 on a positive note, as far as weight loss is concerned...from the week of Christmas Eve through New Year's Eve, I lost a whopping 6.8 lbs.  I could not believe it!  I officially weigh in tomorrow at Weight Watchers--so I will post after my 9:15a meeting...good, bad, or indifferent.  I was quite pleased with myself (although I was sick for part of the holidays...so that counts for part of the loss).  The week of Christmas Eve, I lost four pounds....and then the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve, I lost 2.8 lbs (I was sick from Christmas Day forward).  Anyway, I have kicked the crud...but this week was TOM, so I am expecting some gain (happens every month...dang bloat!).

But it's not all glitter and glam for me (as if weight loss signifies glitter)...my (canine) boy, Albert, has been diagnosed as of late with some pretty serious issues.  Last summer, we noticed that he was panting excessively (as if he were in hot temps and high humidity all of the time)...so we took him to the vet.   Our vet, who is exceptional, ran a battery of tests, including bloodwork and the like, all of which came back "normal".  We didn't panic (although in hindsight, isn't it funny how everything is crystal clear AFTER the fact?) but we noticed in October (when temps were significantly cooler in GA) that he was still panting--so again, we were concerned.   We took him back to our vet, who took a chest x-ray this time along with more tests.  This time, because they noticed something suspicious on the chest x-ray (could be something...could be nothing), we were referred to an Internist...Yes, my dog has an Internist (I do not...but my dog does...how bizarre is that?).  So, she looked at the x-ray (says that the spot on the x-ray is nothing to alarmed about) and suggests one of two diagnoses...laryngeal paralysis or Cushings Syndrome.  Both of the tests were costly..but the scope was a bit less invasive and we could get an answer to confirm/rule out the laryngeal paralysis almost immediately.  Turns out my boy, Albert, did have laryngeal paralysis.  This was treatable with surgery...so we got a referral back to a surgeon that had previously done work on Albert (he had TPO surgery, basically replacing parts of his hind legs due to a congenital defect, about 2.5 years ago).  So, the surgeon looks at Albert and does a preliminary exam on him...and notices that there's a lump on one side of his neck.  He re-refers (is that a word) to the Internist, so that she can verify that it's nothing or that it's something.  So, we go back to the Internist...who performs an ultrasound.  (Note:  I have never met this lady at this point...only know what my husband has relayed to me about her).  She comes back and the first words out of her mouth were, "I feel so badly"...Well, that was nothing compared to what I went through the next few days.  Albert has a huge thyroid tumor that not only consumes his thyroid but has grown and "wrapped" itself around parts of his trachea, his carotid artery and his jugular vein...it's massive.  She recommends surgery to remove it immediately--that week (did I mention that this was the week of Christmas?).  So, we (husband and I) discuss...and decide that we will do the surgery (she said that if we didn't remove it, he would die within three months due to the tumor growing and cutting off the respiratory function...horrible!).  So, the next day, I take Albert (after no sleep, worrying obsessively about whether this was the "right" thing to do for him, was he suffering?) back to the surgery center, I am just supposed to be dropping him off ...and the surgeon wants to meet with me.  Again, my  husband has always been the one dealing with the doctors (his schedule is a bit more flexible than mine, as he can work from home), so I knew this was nothing good...He tells me that he can/will do the surgery but wants me to understand all that's associated with it...due to the massiveness of this tumor, he knows he will not be able to get all of it (I get the feeling because of this, he doesn't want to do the surgery); there's major risks associated with infection and morbidity and it would, in all likelihood, leave Albert disfigured on the left side, due to nerve damage.  He says that he is willing to refer us to an Oncologist who will be able to give us a better treatment plan for Albert. I ask about numbers...how much and the odds of this working out for Albert...he refuses to give me either, telling me that he's a surgeon that canine (and other animals, most likely) oncology is so specialized...he's not qualified to speak on such matters.  (Nice...).  So, we get our referral to the oncologist (by the way, in the state of GA, there's only one local place w/in Atlanta...otherwise you have to send your family member to UGA's vet school or Auburn's vet school.  I am sure that either of the last options are superb in what they do...but it's just not geographically desirable).  We go with the local option...They do a terrific job on December 23...they took another chest x-ray, did a full work up and met with the husband (again, I wasn't able to go...).  Unfortunately, the news wasn't so great...the cancer has moved to Albert's lungs.  Radiation (which was the surgeon's suggestion) is not an option.  We are doing a 12 week round of chemotherapy with two different meds (we travel once a week to the local facility) in hopes of prolonging Albert's life.  There's a 50/50 chance that this will "help"...by "help", I mean keep the cancer from growing, as we all know that lung cancer is not one of the treatable ones.  Luckily for me, the side effects of chemo in dogs is minimal (the oncologist has been practicing for over 22 years and says that the vast majority has no side effects)...Albert's not losing his fur or his appetite...and truthfully, if I didn't know he was such a sick boy, I would never guess it...he still wrestles with his brother, runs upstairs at bedtime for his nightly treats, and is still wagging that tail like a madman.  I can only hope that he is truly not suffering...and if/when he starts showing signs of pain that I know it and can make those tough decisions in life.  Yep, Albert has taught me a lot (that's another post for another day, as this one is way too long...)...but most of all, I have learned (again!) to tell those around me what they mean to me...to not wait for a special occasion or holiday.  Albert and I have our (new) nightly ritual.  I lay on the floor with him and assure him that I love him with all of my heart...and good thing for me, he loves to be hugged and cuddled...otherwise, I just might be a basket case!

So, I leave you tonight with a few photos of my Great Pumpkin...
 Until next time...(which will be tomorrow...with my weigh in results)...