Thanks to Karen @ Waisting Time and Ann @ Dr. Fatty Finds Fitness, I have been tagged for a round robin of blogging extravaganza! It has been almost 3 weeks since my last real post and over 12 days since Karen tagged me. I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Sorry for the unexplained absence – just chalk it up to, um, misaligned neurons. Promise not to do it again without some notification.

Here are the rules:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post 11 random things yourself. As if you haven’t read enough about me…
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. (Using Karen’s since she was first tagger.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You legitimately have to tag 11 peeps!
 Eleven random things about me:
  1. I am the oldest of 4 kids by 8 years.
  2. I was the first female among all of my relatives to finish 4 years of college.
  3. I/we just bought a camping van. (Thought our RVing days were over.)
  4. I gained weight over the holidays! First significant gain over the past 2 years. ARGH!
  5. It has been 9 months since my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m just starting to deal with some of the impact of the double mastectomy.
  6. I miss having a career but cannot imagine going back to work for someone else now.
  7. I am searching for a passion – don’t ask me what that means. But some of you might understand.
  8. I am sitting in the middle of a dust storm inside the house while all of all of the tile is being redone. (Darn those flippers who redid the house before we bought it 6 years ago.)
  9. I have concluded that I am a lazy bum. Making physical activity part of my daily routine is difficult, and I don’t have my foob pain to blame any more.
  10. My favorite song is “The Very Though Of You.” Yes, I am a romantic.
  11. My favorite location is a beach – any beach where I can hear the sound of the waves.
Questions from Karen:
  1. What is the most memorable meal you ever ate?  50th birthday dinner at the Four Seasons on the Big Island of Hawaii
  2. What TV show(s) are you embarrassed to admit you watch? True Blood
  3. Would you rather hire a trainer, chef, house cleaner, or personal shopper? Chef. We have house cleaners come in twice a week to do the crud I refuse to do. I love to shop. Trainers – ugh, I can do my own stuff and anyone who pushes me too hard I would just fire.
  4. Share a favorite childhood memory.  Fishing with my Dad.
  5. What destination would you love to visit?  New Zealand
  6. What’s one food you think you don’t like but you’ve never actually tried?  Flaxseed anything
  7. What modern technology that you didn’t grow up with could you now not live without? Personal computer
  8. List the 5 websites you visit most often. New York Times; CNN; Facebook (forgive me, but my family…); Google Reader; Twitter
  9. Who would you like to meet (living, dead, fictional character, blogger, anyone…)? Molly Ivins – a strange choice, but her wit, writing, and slant on politics, especially the Texas government, I miss desperately. Others include a couple of Texas heroines – Ann Richards and Lady Bird Johnson. My favorite celebrity crushes Renee Fleming and Meryl Streep. Who wouldn’t want to meet Jesus and Buddah and Mohammad? The current Dalai Lama.
  10. What’s your favorite spot in your house and why?  Where in your house do you spend the most time? Favorite spot is my huge bath tub with air jets. I spend the most time at the computer.
  11. How long on average does it take you to write a blog post? Days to ruminate about writing, maybe 2 hours to write and and then give it rest before re-reading and edit.

For the final portion I am supposed to tag people and have them answer questions. Almost everyone I read has been tagged, so I will follow a lead from Michele @ Within Reach and post questions that readers can feel free to answer (or not) in the comment section:

  1. What is your favorite cuisine?
  2. What is your favorite hobby?
  3. What would advice would you give someone entering college (assuming they would listen)?
  4. What country other than the one you live in would you consider moving to?
  5. What is your preferred method of travel when vacationing?
  6. What is your best time of day?
  7. E-books or paper? Why?
  8. Do you have a favorite color of clothes or color scheme?
  9. How do you see your life after retirement (or what are you doing if retired)?
  10. What is your biggest fear?
  11. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or “It takes a village”?

New camping van

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…

OK, it rarely storms in the desert, but dang was it dark earlier this week as I drove through the barriers and maze in Canyon Ranch to meet up with Karen @ Waisting Time.

First, I have to apologize to Karen. Tucson recorded the 6 coldest, first days of December during her visit. Sure we enjoy the rain. Snow on the mountains 6,000′ above is beautiful. Locals, and especially visitors, expect to frolic this time of year in brisk 70° temps and sunny days. Karen experienced rain, sub-freezing nights, and hail!

I experienced a wonderful 2 hours in the cozy clubhouse chatting with her about, gosh, everything – blogging, eating, family, geography (kinda), the quest for passion at this stage in one’s life. It just wasn’t long enough! After almost 2 years of reading her blog and receiving amazing support from her comments, the meet-up felt like stepping into a friendship rather than the “internet blind date” as my spouse had labeled it. I talked too much (too excited). The conversation was immediately comfortable and connecting.

I left our encounter forgetting to have our picture taken. I also wished that we had a future time set up to talk again in person – more time, more detail, more fun, a chance to break bread (or protein). I’m dreaming of a Vegas-like weekend for like-minded blogging friends.  NYC, LA, a beach? Name the place. Have blog will travel.

100th Blog Post

The tradition seems to be that the 100th post should include 100 things about yourself. I have revealed so much that most of this will not be a surprise – it’s OK to fall asleep but stay awake for the zingers, and don’t say I didn’t warn you 😉

Personal info:

  1. I am the daughter of a Pentecostal minister
  2. I rejected the denomination of my upbringing (because it rejects my “lifestyle”) but embrace a strong spiritual practice
  3. I am the oldest of 4 children who are much younger – 2 sisters and a “baby” brother who towers over me.
  4. I hate to wear shoes or a bra (no problem with the latter now)
  5. I was born in Arkansas, lived numerous places in the Midwest, but call myself a Texan
  6. I have had 2 serious relationships in my life: one 8-year relationship (we are finally friends after many years); and my exceptional life-partner to whom I have been committed for almost 20 years, as of October 3 (or is it the 4th…)
  7. I inherited the family genetic disposition for a mood disorder and have been dealing with recurrent depression since a teen. It took the patience of two amazing therapists to convince me to take medication many years ago. A doctor should know better – right? Wrong.
  8. I finally am able to call myself retired – but would like to keep my consulting gig going in medical research & ethics because I enjoy the mental stimulation and the sense of giving back to society
  9. I enjoy online gaming but not nearly as I once did. Real life is so much more challenging interesting.
  10. I was an All-American in volleyball

Pet Peeves (bordering on intolerance):

  1. People who drive the wrong way in parking lots
  2. People who run red lights
  3. Grammar Grammatical errors (especially when I make them)
  4. Sexist sportscasters
  5. Millionaire athletes vs. underpaid teachers
  6. People who don’t vote then complain about government
  7. Those who think they have a monopoly on God’s (name the higher power of your choice) will and want to force it on others
  8. Those who would have our country become a theocracy
  9. Politicians who focus on social values rather than economic woes
  10. People who let their dogs poop in my yard without picking up same poop

Reasons I keep blogging:

  1. This provides an additional monitoring outlet for my health changes – even though I often write about other aspects of my life
  2. There is a sense of connection with others who struggle and conquer some of the same issues
  3. Blogging is another form of writing, which I struggle to incorporate into my daily life (writing – not blogging)
  4. I enjoy the challenge of writing something meaningful to me that others might find interesting (still working on that interesting part)
  5. Blogging helps externalize crud issues that I am working through as I am trying to become healthy for life
  6. This has been more of an outlet for my emotional life than expected
  7. It’s fun trying to find images and cartoons to include without infringing on (too many) copyrights
  8. I keep meeting amazing women bloggers – where are you male-types?
  9. There is are so many non-mommy bloggers – THANK YOU!
  10. I love reading and commenting as much, if not more, than posting

Things I have learned since starting my healthy way of living:

  1. If I can do it, anyone can
  2. That “one day at a time” mantra really pays off
  3. You can finally get to the point of staring down your worst trigger food
  4. Reading maintenance blogs/stories has been key for keeping me going
  5. Monitoring food intake is essential for staying mindful
  6. The “Stages of Change Model” really is useful for individuals working alone
  7. One diet does not fit all. What works for me won’t work for everyone. (But I still believe sugar is evil. LOL)
  8. Cravings eventually fade and won’t necessarily return under the most stressful circumstances (Death, cancer, etc.)
  9. Support from friends and family is crucial
  10. It isn’t about beauty but truly about health

Things I want to work on:

  1. Exercise routinely. This is on hold until my breast cancer surgery heals
  2. Write more – yeah, yeah, I know…
  3. Find a volunteer position that is truly meaningful (and doesn’t feel like work)
  4. Find some more connections to this town. After almost 6 years, I still feel like a newbie
  5. Reclaim my inner athlete
  6. Eat more veggies
  7. Gain more inner peace (How zen!)
  8. Learn to photograph local wildlife/birds
  9. Stop caring about my weight
  10. Quit swearing so much

People I admire (non-friends & unrelated):

  1. Ann Richards
  2. Molly Ivins
  3. Hilary Clinton
  4. Rachel Maddow
  5. Meryl Streep – give me one entertainer!
  6. FDR
  7. Warren Buffet
  8. MLK
  9. Nelson Mandela
  10. Current Dalai Lama

Pet memories:

  1. My first pet was a black boxer named Peppy. She protected me from wandering off while I played in the front yard at the age of 2. (Where were my parents?)
  2. Tent camping with Mattie
  3. “Running away” with a dog my parents were giving to relatives before we made one of our numerous moves. I was gone for an hour.
  4. RVing with “The Pack” – Mattie, Megan, JJ, Pokah, Scruffy, Betsy (not all at the same time)
  5. RVing with sick animals in the middle of nowhere. Nothing like cat and dog poo all over the sleeping area…
  6. The process of adopting each rescue. It has always been a joint selection; they choose us as much as we choose them
  7. Sheridan, the best dog in the world, well, because she was.
  8. The story of my parents defending Sheridan against eating a neighbor’s prize show chicken only to have Sheridan show up with chicken feathers puffing from her mouth. “Who, me?”
  9. Learning to love cats. My cats.
  10. Teaching Lucy to ride in our town home elevator because she was afraid of climbing the stairs.

Memorable vacation moments:

  1. 40th birthday at an isolated camp in Maine – one week fly fishing and resting
  2. 50th birthday at The Four Seasons on the Big Island of Hawaii, ahhhhhhhh
  3. First camping trip with Sue and running into a black bear mom and cub in the middle of the night
  4. First cruise last year – Eastern Caribbean for 11 days of bliss
  5. Snorkeling off the Kona coast and having a sea turtle nibble on my hair
  6. Sailing in Alaskan waters (38-foot sailboat) with humpbacks bubble feeding right next to the boat. Thrilling and scary at the same time
  7. Whale watching off Maui and having a large male play with the sail boat for 30 minutes, allowing us to see his grapefruit-sized eye watching us as intently as we watched him
  8. Hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire in the fall
  9. Flying over Cook’s Inlet in Alaska and following a pod Beluga whales
  10. Landing on a remote glacier in Alaska in a small sea plane to have lunch

Favorite TV shows (current):

  1. The Closer
  2. True Blood
  3. In Plain Sight
  4. Nurse Jackie
  5. United States of Tara
  6. Glee
  7. Chicago Code – cancelled!
  8. Burn Notice
  9. The Rachel Maddow Show
  10. Dexter

10 Miscellaneous Things (warning, controversy ahead):

  1. I am intolerant of intolerance
  2. I believe gay marriage/civil unions are a civil right
  3. I call my self an “Independent” politically but haven’t voted for a Republican since 1980. (Sorry, Dad)
  4. I believe in the sanctity of life but acknowledge that life is hard to define
  5. I believe universal access to medical care is essential to the health of the nation
  6. I believe political lobbying should be illegal
  7. I find nothing more sublime than music (this excludes the love of family and friends)
  8. All wars are immoral but defense is essential
  9. If women ruled the world, the world would be a better place
  10. Even my mother, who was a terrible money manager, could do a better job managing the US economy

Weight Loss Or Health Blog Or?

Since January 2010, my blog has focused on weight loss as a primary means to become healthier, along with scattered musings on life events. Now I realize that health is so much more than eating and physical activity, I have watched blog hits and comments drop as my focus has shifted to my very survivable breast cancer, angst over the choice of bilateral mastectomy, and anxiety about reconstruction. No biggie except I am in a place where my health is all-consuming – nothing like major surgery and prolonged recovery for a wee bit of cancer to make one refocus to a more holistic viewpoint. (For those interested, my weight loss continues at ~1.64 pounds/week. Amazingly consistent since switching to a no sugar/starch/grains approach in January.)

Does blogging have a place for me right now? Not certain. I can write for wellness in private. I can continue monitoring my weight loss and physical fitness on my own. And, probably no matter what will update my weight chart on this site. Support for breast cancer surgery and recovery will come from family, friends, and perhaps more disease specific sites. Truly expressive writing about my body issues will never show up in a blog. No one wants to read yet another saga of surgery. Pre and post op pics? No way. My distress is enormous. My blog is insufficient.

Hiatus time.

Hand with Livestrong wristband

Livestrong sent me a wristband - go team cancer

Blog Love (Blush)

I received 2 awards, 1 of which I found buried in a comment back from April – I am soooo embarrassed!

This process is new to me, so bear with me if I screw it up. In chronological order, first came the delightful (and hidden) Sunshine Award from Angie’s Healthy Living Blog

Sunshine Blog Award

The rules…
Nominate 12 blogs;
Put the award logo on your sidebar or within a post;
Link the nominees within your post;
Let the nominees know they’ve received this award by commenting on their blog;
Share the love and link the sidebar logo to the person from whom you’ve received this award.

Most of the blogs that I read have already received this award (I’m such a newb), but I will mention blogs that I admire for bringing sunshine into my daily reading and attempt to identify which bloggers have received the award previously and which ones have not (although they probably all have):

  1. Karen at Waisting Time who of course was probably one of the first holders of this “bloggy”. She is my role model for blogging about life style changes regarding healthy behaviors and is my second daily read after the NYTimes.
  2. Cammy at The Tippy Toe Diet, who undoubtedly has been awarded this flower numerous times, but her blog is such a must-read, that I’m giving it to her again. (Newbie me). Her tips, story, insights, writing – all keep me coming back for more.
  3. Loretta at Loretta’s Journey has an amazing story, is always inspiring, and I cannot believe that she has not received this blog award! (I probably have missed it somewhere.)
  4. Gracie at Fat to Fabulous has a blog that I have been reading since my journey began in September, 2009. I found her blog on 3FatChicks, and her story  keeps me pushing ahead.
  5. Sarah at Round is an American in France and knows much about weight loss. She shares her knowledge and motivation in a wonderful style.
  6. Shelley of My Journey to Fit is younger than me (hey, who isn’t?) and has lost 100+ pounds, is a Texan, and is a great read for lifestyle changes.
  7. Lyn of Escape from Obesity provides great recipes along with the story of her ongoing journey.
  8. debby weighs in, ah someone my age who has lost 100 pounds, loves dogs, is in the medical field, and is a wonderful blogger.
  9. Lynn’s Weigh is the God Mother of maintainers’ blogs – you just have to check it out to read about her 168 pound weight loss and years of maintenance and subsequent helpful posts. Go… now. She has been featured nationally, and this award probably is beneath her, but it’s the only way that I have to let her know (besides comments) how grateful I am that she keeps posting.
  10. The Redhead Riter is different from all of the other blogs that I routinely read (excluding the social-political ones) in that is more family focused (can’t bear to call it a mommy blog) and less about health. BUT, I still find her writing, pics, and BlogFrog community interesting. She, of course, received this award eons ago.

Sorry but I’m out of non-professional, life-style, non-monetized blogs that I routinely read.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Now for the Beautiful Blogger Award from Karen at Waisting Time – see I just had to get back home so that I could post images again. (Still mastering my iPad.) This recognition requires that I reveal 7 things readers do not know about me yet and pass it on to 7 bloggers. Here goes.

  1. I have become a daily coffee drinker since embarking on my healthy eating.
  2. I love to visit new places (the more exotic, the better) but hate traveling to get there.
  3. My favorite place on earth is the Kona side of the Big Island of Hawaii.
  4. I strongly support universal health care. (Hey, if it’s good enough for our Congressmen for life…)
  5. I despise the state of Oklahoma even though I cherish my ancestry as a bona fide Cherokee from Oklahoma.
  6. Listening to music is sometimes as good as sex.
  7. I have a list of every patient who died under my care so that I will not forget them.

My list of Beautiful Bloggers who have not received this award includes those from above who have not received this award, and I will be letting them know in separate comments or e-mails.

Thanks again to Karen and Angie for these awards and forcing me to recognize my appreciation of other blogs. We spend too little time expressing our gratitude.