Redefine beautiful!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Change is the only absolute.

It is sort of comforting to hear that.  Change can be kind of scary like when moving to a foreign country or going through a divorce. But if we want to change for the better, it is a good thing.  I guess if we want something bad enough, we'd be willing to change those patterns of our behavior that has lead us to our current outcome.  If the current outcome is starting to look shabby, change is the only absolute!  It will either get worse or it will get better.  We get to choose.

I dislike (immensely) dealing with financial matters.  Whether it is all that confusing small print from the declarations of some financial institution (see, even the word institution sounds so uninviting!) or balancing the household checkbook (which is often confused with my business account), I have severe avoidance issues.  But, the only way I will be able to one day have financial freedom one and financial confidence today, is to start crossing off those financial "to-do's" from my list, now!  I need to make the last thing I want to do the first thing I do!

The truth is, I want to know where I stand financially and I really want to understand things like investment portfolios and IRA's, and why I can't seem to have a consistent increase my retirement accounts.  (Actually, I'd welcome a stable balance!)

So, I did the last thing I wanted to do on my list, I paid my bills, de-cluttered my pile of bank info and anything that wasn't important I tossed.  Now I take a break to blog, another item on my list.  Done.

Next, I'm going to finish that online fitness seminar to complete my certification requirements.  (Ughhhhh....oops! new attitude!  I'm going to do it!)

OK, I'd better get on it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

One Day She Faced Her Fears, Part Two

(Continued from last week.)  I didn't know what to say to Mary that day having seen the scale go up not down consistently for two months.  And, she had made it clear she'd freak out if she saw her weight.  At one time, demonizing the scale served a purpose for her, and for many women of our generation, because our cultural desire for thinness had become obsessive.  But, the problem is not the scale but the type of power we give it.

Mary had worked as a financial advisor at a large firm prior to becoming a mom so I asked her, "How important is it to know your bank balance in sound financial planning?"  The bottom line is the scale cannot vocalize a thought or opinion about you, good or bad.  And you can use the scale for YOUR benefit; as a tool to provide helpful feedback for losing excess fat or for maintaining a healthy weight.

There is no end to this story.  Most times Mary feels trim and strong and sometimes she forgets to check her balance.  And Mary's happiness doesn't have a bit to do with what number is on the scale that day.

After reading Part One of One Day She Faced Her Fears, Christine, my friend and client, started a blog, Personal Priority to share her experience with weight loss.  Losing the fear of not being good enough can be really liberating!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One Day She Faced Her Fears, Part One

Mary (not her real name) is now twenty-nine pounds lighter than she was two and a half years ago when I first met her.  She is strong and energetic, too, but she had to go through months of denial and an additional gain of ten pounds before she faced her fear and walked through the uncomfortable door called truth.

I remember with great detail our very first meeting, when her weakened musculoskeletal structure was not only blanketed in thirty pounds of excess fat, she was also layered with nondescript folds of faded sweat fabric.  And even though she's an attractive woman, her over all look said, "I'm not worth it."

At that initial visit with me Mary told me she had just turned fifty and by her own admission could be identified as a career mom; her three children's hectic education, activities and social schedule kept her extremely busy .  Mary took her job very seriously and I'm sure her kids were better off for it.

Mary had sat uncomfortably in a comfortable chair and stated her goal:  she wanted to get into better physical condition and to lose unhealthy excess fat from her body.  "I really can't believe how I've let myself go.  I'm always so exhausted that the very idea of exercise just seems like living hell right now."  She replied to my question about her current exercise routine.  "That's why I'm here, I know if I pay someone, I'll show up."

"So tell me how you think your goal benefit you?"  I asked.

"I really want my kids to be proud of me."  She answered quickly.

After getting a pretty good picture of Mary's current lifestyle, I asked her if I could do a body composition analysis and fitness evaluation.  "I won't get on that thing!"  She declared as I started to pull  out the scale.  "I absolutely do not weigh myself.  I just know it would send me over the edge!"
Courtesy of
Because it is very important for my clients to trust me, I acquiesced and put the scale back.  "I can understand your anxiety, but the scale has gotten a bad rap.  To me it's simply a tool to see how your body is responding to your lifestyle changes."

She spent a moment in consternation, "I guess it's OK, I just don't want to know what the scale says."

I wrote her weight down  discreetly in her chart and once I'd collected as many facts as I could about Mary, I discussed some ideas I had about how we could proceed with her fitness program.

Three weeks later, she was five pounds heavier than she was that first day.  "I'm really starting to feel like I'm getting stronger.  And, I think I've gotten lighter!"  I wasn't sure what to say.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

120 Days Later....

120 days ago today I made the decision to go alcohol free.  Free of alcohol?  Yes, free.

As a result:
  • I seem to have become a bit more creative.  I entered three pieces of my art in the Sonoma County Fair and received a first, second and a third place.  And I really enjoyed the creative process while I was painting these pieces.  
  • I feel improved sleep, digestion, skin, memory, energy and overall aging issues in general.
  • I feel more confident; I mean there is nothing like knowing I could be called on in an emergency late at night after a party.
  • I feel more available to my loved ones and more present in my daily routine.
  • I feel powerful as a role model to my children and others.
  • No longer have the "monkey-on-my-back" syndrome.  ("Did I say something stupid last night?  What did so-and-so say again?  I wouldn't be feeling like this if I didn't have that last drink at the party.  Oh, gawd!  Did I really do such-and-such?"
  • I do not count calories.
  • Feel a bit leaner around my waist and face. 
  • Love seeing the bright whites of my eyes when I wake early (feeling refreshed and not groggy).
  • I cannot dull the anxiety of stress from my roles in life and relationships (with the wonder drug of America!)
  • Have learned to cope with the hard edges of life with a new found attitude; I like myself and and I do not need to fix everything right now.  I am OK today!
  • I am more calm.
  • I am more patient.
  • I am more forgiving of myself and others.
  • I bounce back from my monthly, long (airports, cancelled flights, delays, on my feet non-stop) weekend, travels seamlessly and ready to train and teach upon my return.
  • Feel a new high!  Clear energy!

I have become a fan of the San Francisco Giant's.  Now Randy wants me to go with him to the games.
He is still far more intense and into the actual game.  I like the personalities of the players...and the food!
This time last year I was thinking about cutting back on my drinking.  I thought perhaps 4 ounces of wine a day (for health purposes) would be the way to go.  I think I thought the same thing a year before that and even the year before that.  An on and on.  I do not judge the moderate drinker (or the heavy drinker, for that matter) because I know how much a part of our lives alcohol is, especially here in the wine country!   And, a drink or two is considered "good for you".  (Adrienne, of the Rich Life on a Budget, wrote about her personal experience with A-Fib and it's relationship to alcohol.)

I also know the flip side of the overall "benefits" of drinking alcohol.  We are all different in what we want for ourselves and how we spend our time on this earth.  And we will change our priorities with age.  Alcohol simply ceased to work for me anymore.  It became more of a nuisance than a pleasure.  

I never thought I had a problem with alcohol and I still do not think I had a problem with it.  I didn't go through withdrawals or anything physically uncomfortable, but I did go through a period where I had to make the conscious choice to not drink.  It wasn't that difficult and it is really OK if it were occasionally.  I don't have to be comfortable all the time.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

Get Out of Your Way!

I moved out of my way and into to my life.  Yep!  My Life.  And right now I feel fantastic!

There was a bit of catching up to do, so I didn't make my blog a priority for a while.  I had bigger fish to fry like finishing all those half-done projects that took up precious space in my world, not to mention, made me feel guilty.  I also got rid of the old and out-dated piles of stuff (or those projects that never made sense in the first place).  I had to decide what was no longer working for me and be prepared to change it.
The pool was no longer working for me.  It cost a bunch of $ to maintain and I felt guilty for not swimming more.
So I had it changed it into a Koi pond.  (Thanks Randy!)

First, let me share with you how amazing it feels to not lug around that heavy, old, tired load of doubt, guilt, worry and shame.  I still have just enough of those feelings to make sure I am not living in exalted joy twenty-four/ seven, but, I have to wonder why I continued to do those things that kept me pretty much in the same darn place I'd been at for a while; unfulfilled. (And guilty because how dare me not feel fulfilled when I have so much to be grateful for!)

I have worked at being on a spiritual path for most of my adult life and have read most of the self-help, spiritual and psyche themed books out there, but often, I'd feel more shame after reading those books than I did before; maybe I'm just not as good a person as they are.

But this isn't about spiritualism, this is about self-acceptance and without it, I would never be able feel the gratitude I was supposed to feel or "live in the present" when I was constantly worrying about my future.  I finally forced myself to get rid of what was creating the self-doubt in the first place so that I could get the hell out of my way and on to living my joy.  There comes a time in our lives when we need to get over our childhood, or whatever the story is we hold on to that keeps us a victim in our life.  So, I worked in a practical mode; no more reading about it!

I decided to work on one thing at a time, just like I suggest to my clients.  And, I decided, I would begin with what I never thought I would ever get rid of from my lifestyle:  The first thing I got rid of was drinking alcohol.

And then everything just started taking care of itself.  It is pretty cool what those kinds of shifts in our lifestyle can do for us!  We are the ones who make our choices...

Friday, May 27, 2011

What is Better?

realistic?  yes, all it takes is the development of new habits.

Intensity or moderation.  Longer or shorter duration.  More protein less carbs.  Less protein more carbs.  No fat.  No sugar.  No dairy.  No meat.  No life.

Regarding shorter vs. longer workouts, I am of the mind to say any workout is better than none.  Efficient programming is better than duration.  If you are pinched for time, do a harder, quicker workout targeting the major muscle groups (chest, lats, glutes, hamstrings, quads and abs) is great.  When you need to be a bit more careful due to injuries or limitations, go a bit longer and moderate your movement.

Regarding carbs, proteins and fats:  be careful not to delude yourself into thinking one type of diet is the answer to your weight issues.  ("I'm going to eat vegan now because I hear it is the best for you and I want to lose weight.")  The key is to eat as organic, natural and whole as possible and to eat LESS than you are eating now.  Most everyone I train says, "I really don't eat that much."  Well, they are eating more than their body needs if they are overweight.  If you want to weigh less, you must eat less even if you exercise regularly.  Even if you exercise a whole lot!  If you are overweight, it doesn't matter what else you do, you have to eat less.  I have now said that three times, so I hope it sinks in.  I have to repeat this to myself for about a month before I truly get it.

I realize there are some conditions that make it very difficult to metabolize calories correctly and one can still be over weight while consuming minimal calories.  But those cases are not common and most likely you do not have a medical condition that makes you gain weight even though you hardly eat.  (If you truly think you have a medical condition, consult with your physician to get the correct tests.)

Once again, the tried and true habits that work:


Monday, May 23, 2011

I want to get into great shape!

I have been challenged to get off my butt and write!  A person close to me called and said, "please tell me what to do!  I want to get into really good shape, but I have a busy schedule and feel overwhelmed at all of the diet and exercise advice.  Where do I start?  What should I do?"

Let me make this easy on you and me.  If I allow myself to simply write without worrying about grammar and typos, I will be most inclined to stay on track and give you regular posts.  Huh?  This sounds a bit like getting in shape.  It is the small and doable tasks that keep us moving forward.  Trying to be perfect is no good when it comes to making changes!  Let's start with the basics:

1.  Stop eating junk!  Start with fast foods and sugar filled drinks.  Limit alcohol to one (tops two if your a guy) drinks per day.  Avoid deserts and candy as much as possible.

2.  Get moving!  When in doubt, do one of my videos

I will be adding some new exercises after I teach my class this morning.  I need to get moving.  See you soon!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Imagine That

Now I had thought about her before I left to Nashville.  "We live in this darling little town just out of Nashville.  My neighbors are such and such and so and so (not their real names) country music stars.  I am now running my own business, can you believe it?"

Annette, a beautiful stay-at-home mom, had been a training client and a friend for close to ten years before she, her husband and four kids moved away a few years ago.  I had heard through the grapevine that she had opened a business and "Sweet Ce Ce's" was doing gangbusters.

You might imagine how blown away I was when I happened upon "Sweet Ce Ce's" practically next door to the John Lennon art show in the little town of Franklin.  "Is Annette, I mean Ce Ce here?"  I asked the impeccable employee behind the immaculate counter of one of the most comprehensive self serve yogurt and goodies shop I have ever seen!

Julie, the employee, texted Ce Ce and within a few minutes I received a call.  "Where the *@#* are you?"  Small world we live in, really.

Yes, this is how Ce Ce looks after staying up all night  with her daughter's prom friends for an over-nighter!

The show was crazy as we were the main attraction for an annual street fair that weekend.  We had a mob within our walls and a mob waiting outside for twelve hours straight.  Finally on Sunday it rained and when we opened our doors, we had just a roomful of John Lennon fans.  Ce Ce (aka Annette) came in early and we hugged and poured out as much catch-up as we could in fifteen minutes.

When Ce Ce used to train with me she was pretty convinced that her best talents and strengths resided in her dedication to her family via the domestic route.  Her ambition was to raise healthy children and take care of her home while her husband brought home the bacon.  But, as the recession loomed over their heads, California became too much a financial burden.  Her choice to open a "Sweet Ce Ce's" had much more to do with her love for sweets and a mission to create financial freedom.

After only a year in business, Ce Ce had been written up in People and other national tabloids.  Just take a look at what this amazing woman accomplished in a few short years!

Oh, and by the way, such and such and so and so are regulars at "Sweet Ce Ce's".   Now they have sold franchises and there are twenty-six stores with another twenty in the works.  I have no doubt that most of you will find yourself in a Ce Ce's one day.

The crowds came in spite of the rain.  After all, some of these folks came from neighboring Alabama as their home was leveled by the tornadoes last week and they were in need of some "Instant Karma" and a little positive energy.   I think it is safe to say that survivors believe that when the sh*t hits the fan, you turn the fan off and get moving in a new direction.

What can you accomplish with a new attitude and a lot of hard work?  What is your passion?  What is holding you back from moving forward?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

To Take Drugs or Not to Take Drugs

I flew to Franklin, TN last Thursday for another John Lennon art show. Convinced my homeopathic and naturuapathic remedies would have me in the pink by the time my flight took off, I blew off LS's suggestion to have my doctor prescribe antibiotics just in case I got a respiratory infection  from this hateful bug. "I'll be fine!". I laughed with certainty.

Ha ha.  My laugh sounded like an emphysema victim on her last leg.  Do sinus infections spread to your lungs?

There is nothing worse than blowing copious amounts of yuck from your nose in a packed airplane.  People look at you like you're a Leper.

 "Allergies", I mumbled to the woman on my left as the man on my right pulled his intrusive elbow away from the armrest. Dozens of wadded cocktail napkins later I contorted my body to rummage through my smaller carry on under the seat in front of me to retrieve a capsule of Advil Cold and Sinus and a few snorts of Nostrella.

What do you do when you have no choice but to ignore a raging respiratory infection and work a room packed with people from ten in the morning until ten at night?  You decide to deal with it later, that's what.  And you take drugs to abate symptoms long enough to finally collapse upon the hotel bed only to suffocate from nasal congestion in the middle of the night.

On my drive back from the airport yesterday I stopped at Walgreen's to buy more Advil cold and sinus and then called my doctor for a Z Pack.  I had Randy pick it up so that by the time I was home, I could start my dosage.  I'm not there yet, but I am beginning to feel like I may live to see another day.

How do people deal with repeated sinus infections?  I am telling you I will never ever let myself get this close to an infection again.  If I even think I am coming close to a sinus anything, I am calling my doctor and taking whatever I am prescribed.  Maybe sinus infections are like poison oak, once you get a really bad one, you become immune.

On  happier note, something really fantastic happened while at this show.  I will tell you, it is a small world.  You won't believe who I saw.... (next post)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

13 days later...

I am still alive!  Wow, I used to brag how I rarely got sick, but when I did, I would be the first getting over it.  Not this time.  I have been humbled!

Now on my second week with an awful head cold, I am due to leave to Nashville for another John Lennon art show.  It will be held at the Franklin Art Fair and we are the featured main event.  I would love to travel with a clear head, but I guess I have been really lucky all these years and this time is an exception to the rule!

OK, I must confess:  I have been completely alcohol free for a month.  Yes a month and I want to say, I do not miss it.

Do not get me wrong! I have never been the kind of person to think drinking alcohol was "bad" for you and, in fact, have a reputation as a trainer to be very lenient with alcohol.  Well, I kind of had to be, after all, I would be a hypocrite to suggest to a client to give up something I wouldn't.

This is the fuel source now.  It's just water!

All the power just seemed to fizzle from my nightly glass of wine or vodka/ soda with a squeeze one day.  I had just gotten back from Sarasota, Florida and I became obsessed with trying to lighten up our monthly expenses.  (Those boys in college, you know!)  My husband and I decided to turn our pool into a self-sustaining pond, complete with fish and lily pads.  Then the sun came out and my energy escalated and the next thing we knew our vegetable garden was planted.  Without my even realizing it, I had not had my nightly fix!  Was it because my stress level went down?  Was it because my husband decided he didn't want to drink anymore?

Whatever my reasons doesn't matter much to me.  I have had my share and if I should want to have a drink in the future, so what?  But for now, this feels really good!  Oh, and I don't have that monkey on my back saying, "Well, you drank alcohol and it depletes your vitamin C, so that is why you got this cold so intensely!"

No, I just got a bad cold.  So what?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Purge, Organize, Beautify"

That is my mantra when I am stuck in some area of my life.  It is a simple formula for moving forward and making progress, but in the case of this being about making fitness (and lets face facts, appearance) changes, this mantra is especially effective!  Don't believe me?  Just try it!  All you have to do is repeat the mantra when you are feeling like you are not making progress.  Then actually do as you say!

First word is purge and it is one of the most important of the three, really.  The word has gotten some bad rap lately, but the truth is, in order to bring in something "new" in your life, you must make room for it.  Because of the very nature of weight loss, losing those energy blocking piles of stuff we accumulate over time, is powerful medicine!

To purge the piles of dated offers, correspondence and magazines, whose presence only seems to stress you, not comfort you, is cathartic and transformational!  Finish preparing or paying bills that have sat unopened on your desk.  Get rid of those things around you that only take up valuable space and feel your energy flow!  Start slow, but continue throughout your life to make room for the new!  (I could write an entire book on this subject.  And will continue to touch on it throughout my life as a blogger, but for now I am just going to outline this strategy for body changing success.)

Second word is organize and for those that know me know I use this word a lot when discussing strategies for weight loss and fitness increases.  You are your best when you have organized even the most basic areas of your life.  So, after purging, organize the valuable and important stuff left in your domain.  You don't have to be Suzy Secretary, just give it your best shot and leave it alone!

The areas that most affect our moods when we are working on body changes is:  the kitchen, office, bedroom, closet, bathroom and car.  Get these areas updated and easy to maneuver around and within them and you will be more empowered to persevere and stay the course.

The third word is beautify and let me tell you, life is about beauty so you have no choice but to create it whenever you can.  Revamp your bookcase and store the extra books, placing one or two interesting objects in the open space.  Hang your art in new locations.  Indulge in new bedding or candles for a softer more relaxed bedroom.

But nothing beats what happens to you when you beautify YOU!  Taking the time for your appearance is by and large the single most powerful strategy of all.  To take care to put yourself together, even if it just clean skin and a pony tail with jeans and a t-shirt, you can take the extra time to be polished and feel your value and confidence exude!

It was time to beautify!  Help, Karen!!  I need to feel young and fresh again.  Can yo help me?

I needed a little pick-me-up last week and saw my Esthetician friend and owner of Hello Beautiful Skin Clinic, who thought I'd be a good candidate for an Opulence Infusion treatment.  all I can say is I am hooked!  After the first treatment my husband said immediately after seeing me, "OMG! Your skin looks amazing!"  Seriously, he said this, like that.  That is my before photo of my face.  Next week you will get the after and let me know what you think!

Stay tuned!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"I Am Afraid I'll Fail"

"Fear is the dungeon of the mind into which it runs and hides and seeks seclusion.  Fear brings on superstition and superstition is the dagger with which hypocrisy assassinates the soul."  -Philosopher

Out in front of my house, Helen was willing to play as a part of her workout.  She said, "What the heck!" as neighbors walked by.  Here she is balancing on one leg as she bends to pick her "marker".  (No fear.)

The only man (woman) who makes no mistakes is the man who never does anything.  Don't be afraid of mistakes, providing you don't make the same one twice."  -Theodore Roosevelt

"Perfection is the scariest of all flaws."  - Debra Devincenzi
Helen said she was never able to keep a hula hoop going, but tried it several times until she got it!

Yes, I came up with that one!  I love it and it is so true.  If we have nothing else, we have hope, right?  If you believe you can make health improvements, you will.

Jumping rope can burn more calories than can hula hoop!  Try it!

Just, get away from your computer for a few minutes right now.  Go for a fast walk, bound up stairs, do some yoga, whip out some well performed push-ups or crunches.

Or go play!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Start with what you LOVE!

When I am wanting to live a bit more lean, I will wear clothing that moves.  This way I can do my exercises on the run.  A bit here and a bit there.  For my "go to" exercise I will do my  Plank Dogs Start in downward facing dog.

If you are wanting to lose unwanted and unhealthy pounds you must first shift your thoughts from, "I have to lose weight; This fat makes me feel like such a loser; or "I don't want to have to deal with thinking about this right now." to that of, "I enjoy everything in moderation because it makes me feel so much better to eat lighter."

Then move carefully and seamlessly to plank.
Instead of panicking and dousing your energy with fear, ("I'm afraid I will fail again.") it is time to calm down and give yourself a big hug!  Diets usually fail because of the state of mind of the dieter.  Most people think of losing weight with fear that they will suffer and be deprived.  Fear makes us become emotionally charged and the result is irrational assumptions of failure, suffering and overall negativity.  "I will have to stop drinking my wine; I'll never get to eat chocolate again;  I can't go out with my girlfriends!"

You can modify the plank by taking it to your knees.  You will  still want to keep your core muscles active and shoulders very stable!

When lowering body in chaturanga, keep your mid-section strong and straight!

Just for today, make the decision to NOT panic about eating or working out.  Instead, eat just a bit less than normal or make a better choice whenever you can.  Just for today give yourself permission to only workout for five minutes.  If you end up doing more, double hugs!!

End in cobra or, your back can handle it, upward facing dog,   Push back to  downward facing dog carefully and slowly.  The slower, the harder!

Monday, March 28, 2011

"I'm Back!" (Rebound Weight Gain)

It's the little things we do that create the big changes.

One of the most difficult aspects of my profession (fitness training) is when a client realizes ten to twenty pounds later that she has gained her lost weight back.  I would say twenty-five percent of my long standing clients have had this frustrating experience.

When in doubt: water, water, water!

It usually starts like this:

"I don't want to weigh in today.  I went totally crazy over the weekend and ate copious amounts of chocolate (or whatever)."  To which I reply:  "This is the best time to weigh in, so that you know where you are, now, as a result of going overboard and get focused again."  (Now I have to ask, why is it perfectly OK to check our blood pressure, cholesterol and our temperature, but not our weight?)

"No, I don't think I could handle it."

And on it goes, week after week until her favorite jeans have been sitting in the closet for a few months.  In the mean time, her denial about what is happening to her body is keeping her from wanting to be willful with her program.  Old patterns resurface like eating mindlessly while watching TV.  Or more excuses as to why she didn't go for her usual walk (link to my YouTube video's for a no excuse fast workout!) and opted instead to "deal with something more important" like putting stray photos into an album.

I alsways feel better when I have my favorite healthy, lean foods around to keep me revved and ready for action!
This well meaning woman then starts to justify eating two helpings of mac and cheese (or an extra large wedge of homemade carrot cake) because she "hardly ever eats stuff like that".  I am here to say that most women in the US eat more than they need to maintain good health.  So why do we think it is down right obsessive if we endeavor to moderate our caloric intake?

Discover new recipes that you can make easily.  This one from Ellie Kreiger, "the Foods You Crave" is fantastic.
I am going to dedicate the next few weeks to getting on or back on track with your fitness and diet and learn ways to stay the course even with the occasioned pig-out or lazy slump.

These were the pants she used to wear at the hospital.  Nurses are always giving to others, she started giving to herself

For now, take a good look at what and how much you are eating.  The best way to do this is to write it down.  And, please, this is not crazy and overboard!  We do not learn anything new without study and practice!

The sun will eventually come out and you will likely want to wear something that will expose your arms or legs.  Don't look at regaining weight as "all is lost and I'm a loser".  It is the small and doable steps that get you to your goal.

Oops, can't wear those anymore!  She has always made sure she enjoys her favorite treats, only now she has just a bit.

Remember Helen?  She almost slid and she got right back on the scale and began being conscious.  She is much happier with her leaner, healthier body and feels the small amount of time she puts into her body is time well spent!

We can do many things to work out, such as clean our floor.
The End

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Have you ever felt that way?  Powerless, that is.

We lost power this last weekend.  Fifty-five hours of dark, cold, quiet.. so quiet.

We had a party to go to on Sunday and I felt like my hair was greased to my head.  I'd jumped into our hot tub trying to feel fresh.  Yuck, it was luke warm.  (Get over it, whiner!  There are people in Japan who would give their I-teeth to have your suffering!)

You know what?  The perspective helps, but, let's face facts, it can also make you feel worse that you feel crappy and shouldn't.

This is a photo of myself taken on Monday night.  Randy hooked me up with an ineffective book light we'd purchased the night before.  He finally clipped it to a baseball cap and stuck it on my head so I could read the last pages of the book I'd been reading:  "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest". 

It was interesting;  neighbors, that we had at best perfunctory conversations with before the storm, were suddenly like family.  We shared our "wealth" with each other.  They had the ability to charge my phone in their car, we had a pool, thus water for flushing toilets and bathing.  We also had fire wood and gas in case one wanted to heat a kettle for coffee.  They had a connection with someone at PG&E.  They had a few bottles of wine or vodka.

I thought about my best friend, Celeste, who is so not like me.  She plans for a month's back-packing along the Pacific Coast Trail as a leisure trip.  She lives in a cabin with very little amenities.

Who would I go to if the going got rough?  Her.  She'd put me in perspective.  She'd love it.  Finally a world without the Internet or the comforts of heat warming us without having to haul wood or several blankets draping their weight upon our bodies.

I am spoiled rotten.  I am used to the comforts of being a kid who grew up with mid-century advancements and I have known of nothing else.

I know we must be prepared for the very real possibility of not having power, but that doesn't mean we are powerless.  Take the time to prepare for a life without electricity.  Learn to live without it and to appreciate the amazing sound of nothing.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Secret Life

When I was young, I wanted to be an artist.

I drew this of myself when I was 17.  I held a mirror up to my face.

This is my husband before he was my husband.  He loves to fish.  It helps me to paint when I am angry at him.

This is Rosa, my younger son's girlfriend.  Painted when she had just graduated from high school.  

We all have something about us that most do not know about.

He also loves to watch baseball.  That is where he is right now, in fact.  Spring training in Arizona.

I love to hike and this is of a photo of me taken by my best friend.

I didn't have the kind of parents that understood the value of being an artist so they encouraged me to make art my hobby and to focus on my typing skills or how to keep my knees together while sitting.

The hills around my home are like my friends.

Don't get me wrong, now, I had great parenting, just no artists in the family and therefor no positive reinforcement for my passion.

Rocky and Boomer.  
In my secret life, I am an artist.  Mostly I paint with acrylics and I almost always paint people; especially ones I know.

A fantasy phase I went through when I was 18.
I just started this painting of Kirby.  I have painted her before.  She and my oldest son had a three and a half year relationship.  It helps me to paint when I am feeling sad about something.

What is your secret life?  What is it you love to do, but aren't recognized for it?

I am curious...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Your Choice

Today is a new day and it is your choice on how it is experienced by you.

This is Tickle's my cat.  From the very beginning, she has lived on her terms.   Her reality is what she decides it is.

Yes, the world is what it is.  Most of what happens is beyond your control, but the way you see it is within your control.  You get to choose your experience.

Just for a moment suspend all doubt that you don't have control over your experience; your productivity, your weight or fitness level,  your personal power!  Guess what:  you have one hundred percent choice as to how you view yourself within in the world.

She's won the hearts of those who seemed resistant to her charms!  (Here with Jordan and Rocky)  Well, she is the most adorable little cat ever to be born!  No offense, that is just how she sees it.

Do you see yourself as the victim of circumstance?  Stop!  Look closely at what is really true and then transcend your negative thoughts and be present with what is and what is possible!

When you live life on your terms, true to yourself and your highest standards, it will not matter what is going on around you because you will be free to choose your experience and what you do with it.

"I am fantastic. aren't I."
You can choose to see opportunities and possibility.  You can imagine your ideal life and see what is needed in order to achieve it or you can moan and complain that you are a victim of circumstance.  All it takes is a nudge, a reminder, a shift in your attitude as to the way you see yourself within this world!

The choice is yours.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Rough Landing

Walking the path in my 'secret garden' just before Spring livens it with warmth and color.
Last week I didn't have a clue as to why I felt so....weird!   And, even though I was homesick on the road, I re-entered my life at home with a droopy melancholy.   I love the energy of doing the art shows, but, I miss my life after a few days.   So, I entered last week with random, out-of-the-blue crying jags and about as much ambition as an old dog sleeping on a warm bed.  The weather was windy-nipped, cold and gray and I am sure it made me feel just a bit more blah.

I tried to post on Friday but my brain was frozen; devoid of all creativity, so I bumped along to check out my blog buddies  With automated mindlessness I passed down my blog roll, clicking at what ever the little arrow landed upon.  Adrienne de Pitera's was the second blog I hit and her post was a simple one: she was highlighting a video of an old gal dancing.  In all honesty, I didn't really have the oomph to watch one of those  feel good YouTube videos but I went ahead and clicked play anyway.

The longer I watched the lower my jaw dropped as Sarah "Paddy" Jones, seventy-five year old Salsa dancer, shimmied, glided, twirled, leaped and back-bended her way across the stage.  My first reaction was, "wow how freaking cool is this fit, spunky, beautiful, naturally aged woman!"

A gradual smile began to sprout slowly across my attitudinal-sagged face and as it grew, so did a joyous feeling inside my solar-plexus.  Aha!  No matter what our age, our lives will always include challenges, like mud to wade through.  I'll bet Sarah "Paddy" Jones has had few rough landings herself.  Of course she has!  Everyone does!  Hello!!

I would like to think I am as mentally, emotionally and physically flexible as I was when I was twenty, thirty, or even forty-something.  Maybe I am.  Maybe I am more flexible.  I have had rough landings before, often after I have challenged myself to do something new and different.  But, I know if I didn't take on those challenges, I would always regret it.  I've had those regrets, and while they may not be as intense at the moment, they stick around and become like an old wart that won't go away.

It's a new week and for the most part, my routine is effortless.  I leave again on Thursday.  Back to the long flights and connections, restaurant food, hotel rooms and travel sized toiletries, meeting and greeting lines of people and smiling and talking from morning till night.  It's all part of my new routine.  It's just like learning a new dance.  And, I am doing it, dam it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The All-In-One Exercise

I call it the 'plank-dog', but in the yoga world it is called chataranga.  If you can tolerate the weight bearing on your wrists, it is by far the most comprehensive single exercise out there!

A.  Start in downward dog.  (You can do this on your elbows.)

B.  Move smoothly into plank.  Keep all of your muscles 'active'.

C.  Lower your body slowly, keeping elbows in and shoulders stable.

D.  Come up into cobra maintaining stability and form.

The 'plank-dog' is difficult!  Try B. and C. from your knees!

 What is your single favorite exercise?  If you only had five minutes to do something fitness related, what would you do?

Janet of The Gardner's Cottage asked us what is our perfect accessory.  I must say it is my Sergio Gutierez cuff.  But I also love my Cartier timepiece and my wedding ring!  If you get a chance, post your perfect accessory or, if you don't have a blog,  email it to Janet,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life Happens

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans", are words from the lyrics to "Beautiful Boy (Darlin Boy)" by John Lennon.

It's true.

Life's difficulties and challenges are a part of the journey.  Attitude is a choice.  This image I captured of a painting by Grace Slick, gave me food for thought as I prepared to leave Orlando, exhausted.

Give to yourself as you would a loved one.  It helps my attitude when I take care of me.  I took today off to rest.  Had to cancel quite a few clients and usually that makes me feel badly.

"Choice"   by Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship lead singer.)

I feel great even though I haven't slept more than three hours in 30 hours.  I feel great because I am allowing myself to take some time to gently re-enter my regular routine.

How do you give give to yourself?

Friday, February 11, 2011

When in Rome

I did the unexpected yesterday.  I upgraded to first class on Virgin America, which is like the royalty of first class.  I wish I had taken photos of this seat I lounged on throughout my flight!  Virgin is like a classy New York nightclub inside the cabin.  Cool lighting, great TV screens, good food and  ordering made easy.  And the coach seats can fit the average sized person without folding their legs under themselves.

I am staying at a Best Western.  My "boss" usually goes for a bit more upper class, but this Best Western boasts the "oldest lounge act".  I have yet to check it out, but this was the draw.  

The days of the lounge act.  What is Sophia looking at?

I know I am supposed to write my "Feasting Friday" post, but I am not feasting.  Well, I did last night.  Starved to death, I followed the gang to a Trattoria near the show headquarters.  I ate two slices of lightly crisped Italian bread, two slices of pizza Margarita, a delicious dinner salad with goat cheese and balsamic vinegarette and we shared the filet mignon with a wine, mushroom sauce that demanded sopping your Italian bread in.  I can't remember the name of the desert we stabbed our spoons into like it was a wild beast, it was kind of a cannoli/ eclair thingie.  

I was stuffed and dragging by the time I checked into my room.  I collapsed into crisp, soft cotton (is that possible?) sheets.  I think reading a trashy novel in a hotel room is a must, but all I had was my book, Poser, by Claire Dederer.  It's a memoir as it relates to her yoga practice.  Funny, dark, unpretentious and truthful, this book isn't a gripping page turner as much as it is a book I can relate to.

I am off to the lounge for the breakfast that lasts from 7 AM to 2 PM.  Lot's of retirees live around here;  all day breakfasts are a must.

Then it will be time for my "lounge act";  Selling the art of John Lennon.  Wish me luck!  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blue Suede Traveling Shoes

When traveling, stretch your spine!!  How often?  Every chance you get, darlin!

I'm here.  At the USC campus for a quick visit with GianPaolo before heading to Florida for another John Lennon art show.  I am writing this post just outside the buildings of the School of Cinematic Arts and all around me are tones teeming with creativity.  I just love it!

Lucky kid!  I will reap some of his education by asking a whole lot of questions.

Background:  musical scales on a trumpet and a soprano voice sings an obscure tune just around the corner.  Bicycles whiz past me, their spoked wheels beating time to the melodies filling the spit shined, blueness atop the buildings.  I pretend to be one of the students; just a regular gal in a world of genius.  No biggie.  Yeah, I can pull this off.
Just a regular old building here.

On the predawn flight down here, I snap a shot of me performing a perfunctory stretch.  Lady across the aisle looks at me like I'm twisted.
I call this my "number 4" stretch.  I do it constantly during flights.  (Sorry neighbor!)

As I wait in "ground transportation" at LAX for Eugene, our favorite cab driver, (retired engineer with two USC grads to his credit) to pick up my Starbucked body and deliver it to the campus, I release my tight hamstrings by putting one foot up on the bench and leaning into my outstretched leg.  Oh my, I am tight today.

All you need is a bench.  Maybe a few dips?  Nahhh..

My neck has been kind of crunchy, pinchy so I resort to my old faithful; open my chest, lean back without arching my low back and take a deep breath.  The exhaust almost chokes me, but my thoracic spine feels looser.  (See photo above, taken last summer.)

I elevate my legs for a few moments, people watching.  We are all so different.  I love it!

Ahhh, I am alone and nobody knows me!  Yes, use your luggage for an ottoman! 
I will walk a lot.  I will stretch whenever and wherever I can.  I will be someone else for a few days, but I will be myself.

Do you travel for business?  Do you have a fitness related routine that helps you feel your best?  Give me the scoop!  I need to hear from you well seasoned travelers.