Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Trapped In Paradise!


We're back from vacation!  Until I have enough time to write an entry that would do our trip justice, here is the Reader's Digest Version...
Ray and I went to Punta Cana for a week of fun, sun and romance.  My ex-husband recommended the trip to us, but I guess he forgot to mention the intense heat and humidity.  I'm sure that if he realized I was prone to multiple hormonal hot flashes recently, and this climate could be a virtual HELL to any menopausal woman, he would have warned me.  On the bright side it was refreshing to see EVERYONE with a sweaty face, limp hair and wrinkled clothes for a change.  I don't recall my ex describing the nightly mosquito spaying ritual either, but I'm sure he did.  It's really wasn't that bad.  The clouds of insecticide blew by quickly and gave any food you were eating a sort of... tropical/bar-b-que flavoring.

It rained the first two days we were there.  Desperate to get a tan, I went out without using ANY lotion on the third day, getting myself an awful case of sun poisoning.  My hands and feet were so swollen they looked like little sausages.  I had to avoid any activity that included sun exposure for the next three days.  Considering we were staying at an All Inclusive Beach Resort... that left only eating, drinking and sleeping.  A lesser woman may not have exerted any measure of self control under these circumstances.  But I knew from prior experience that you can't make many trips to the all-you-can-eat-buffet when you're plastered.  I am ashamed to report that I gained back every ounce of the ten pounds I lost on The Atkin's Diet.

I did spend some of my idle time wisely.  I figured I might as well try to expand my mind as well as my waistline.  I learned many fascinating facts about the Dominican Republic while convalescing in the shade.  In Punta Cana, bananas are found growing in abundance, hanging upside-down, off of vines suspended from ceilings of outdoor, hut-like bars.  Apparently this fruit can also be used to make an alcohol, and the natives spend a great deal of time creating many varieties of beverages out of it.  I tasted as many of them as I could.  I also learned that hollowed out coconuts make convenient containers to hold those beverages.  They're festive AND environmentally friendly.  I started to learn to speak Spanish.  I can now say that I like "frutas fescas" in my Pina Colatas, and "pasteles" with my coffee in the morning.  I transformed myself into a student of Dominican culture and attitude.  "Do eveything slowly."  "Eat a lot.  And often."  "If you're not sure  you've had too much to drink... then go ahead and have another one."  I even conducted a few scientific experiments.  My research proved that crushed ice doesn't melt as quickly as ice cubes, Mr. Bubble must NEVER be used in a Jacuzzi, and time passes by at a much slower rate in Punta Cana than anywhere else.  Thusly...a Dominican minute is equivalent to an American half hour.

We did finally get out there and have a few real adventures, but I'll tell you about them in another entry.  Wait till you see the pictures!

In closing, let me say that I hope you didn't get the impression that Ray and I were hopelessly spoiled and lavishly pampered.  Please note that we had to rough it on several occasions and do without more than once.  There is no Half and Half for your coffee in the Dominican Republic.  They do not serve drawn butter with lobster.  And ... there were a few times at the pool when we had to get up and get our own drinks.  We could have just waded over to the swim up bar, but the walk up one had peanuts.  And ice cream cones.

And yet... despite these hardships... they call it Paradise. 

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Do Not Disturb

Picture from Hometown

Looking for ... me?  You just might

have to travel a little further than you thought!
I'm having a wonderful time in Punta Cana!

One week of warm sun, white sand,

palm trees swaying in the breeze

from the turquiose colored ocean waves...
Nothing to do but sleep late, eat,

lay on a hammock while sipping a  tropical beverage,

make love, eat, drink, dance, eat,

and if we get bored...

look for seashells or snorkle before we eat and then drink.

Such is life!

Sometimes... you get to have it


Friday, April 16, 2004

Free to a good home...

Picture from HometownNow that I've realized and accepted the fact that I'm all grown up, I can see that there are many things I need to change.  In the past, responsible, mature, reliable, and dependable have not been synonyms used to describe my personality.  I think one reason is because I have never, ever been a morning person.  Even as a child, I frequently reminded my mother that it was time for my nap.  Anyone who knows me well, understands that it would be ridiculous to expect me to show up for any event and/or appointment scheduled before 11am.  Even breakfast.  But since I have spent every spare minute during the first half of my life in bed sleeping or on the couch relaxing, I have to make up for it by spending the next half of my life out of bed and fully awake.  What I need to do now is become... productive.  I don't have an inner child.  I have an entire playground of children running amuck in my mind with no supervision.  Fighting, arguing, teasing, and telling on each other.  Every one a spoiled brat.  I have allowed them to live in an eternal state of recess.  A perpetual spring break followed by a long summer vacation.  But no more cutting class for me.  I have to be the mother, the teacher and the hall monitor of my own life.  I have to become my own boss.  Answer only to myself.  No more excuse notes to me from me either.  If I want to accomplish anything during my life, I better start doing it before I run out of time.  I want to travel.  Show my kids how important it is to see and explore the world.  I want to dive a shipwreck and see the ancient ruins in Greece.  I'd like to get out and meet some of my fellow Journalers.  Write a book.  Star in an action/adventure/comedy movie.  Be a spokesperson and role model for Menopausal Women.  I'd like to be an investigative newspaper reporter with a weekly column on anti-aging beauty secrets and household products that actually work.  I want to learn to ice skate and take lessons in Latin dancing.  Wear a skin tight, sexy red dress and do a routine with Ray that will make everyone out on the dance floor stop, gasp and applaud when we're finished.  That's just the beginning.  I want to make a difference in the world, too.  I've always believed that people should ALWAYS leave a place better than they found it, and the world is patiently waiting for my contributions.  In order to do all of this, I need to be disciplined.  Make a commitment to myself and stick to it.  So now it's official.  I'm ready to start, but we're leaving for vacation on Monday.  No point in turning over any new leaves until we return.  I'll have to go right back to work at the hospital of course, but the very first day I'm off, I'm going to get up early and begin Part II of My Life.  I will be ready to start immediately after I write a Journal entry on how much fun we had in Punta Cana.  Oh, and do all the laundry that will be piled up from the trip.  And see the kids and Baby Brandon.  Not to mention Ray's birthday on the 29th...  I should probably make a dentist appointment.  There's nothing worse than a toothache when you're trying to make the world a better place...  Maybe get my hair cut again so I won't have any other interruptions in reaching my lifetime goals.  Then there will be absolutely nothing left to distract me and I will be totally focused.  That reminds me... I should also make an appointment to see the eye doctor... and get the oil changed in my car.  But that's it.  In fact...I'll make a list.  Cross out each thing as it's completed.  I'm starting to feel more organized already.  I'll be thinking of you guys!  See ya when I get back!

Thursday, April 15, 2004

It had to happen sooner or later...

I guess you could say that I am an Atkin's success story.  I've been on this diet for almost a month and I have lost 10 pounds of fat so far.  My clothes fit better.  I can even button my coat without straining the buttons and I wore a pair of jeans this past Saturday that were too tight a few weeks ago.  The candy in my desk drawer at the hospital doesn't call out to me anymore, and I've been alone in a room on several occasions with open boxes of cinnamon rolls without finding myself 10 minutes later, licking icing from my fingertips.  In fact, Ray left for Chicago on Monday, and I haven't eaten so much as a jellybean since he's been gone.  The last time he went away I went on a carbohydrate feeding frenzy.  I am very excited about our upcoming trip to Punta Cana, and I know that I'll look much better in a bathing suit when I get there.  But despite all this progress I feel disappointed somehow.  Lonely.  Bored.  Left out.  Like this is the end of a wild, fantastic party where everyone had the time of their lives, and now they're gone.  Just me and a broom standing there surrounded by empty champagne glasses, deflated balloons and confetti all over the floor.  It's not because I miss the carbohydrates.  Oh, I am absolutely tired of eggs and cheese, and I'm still thirsty for an Arizona Ice tea.  But it's more than that.  Much more.  I think I'm missing... that way of life.  The innocence or ability to indulge without giving a second thought to what the consequences might be.  I miss having the feeling that I was indestructible.  Believing that there was still plenty of time left to correct any mistakes I've made.  Just one month ago the last thing I stressed over was what I was going to eat.  If I was hungry, all I had to do was tear open a package, or pick up the phone and have something delivered.  The only time I used any self-restraint when looking at a menu, was when I was trying to decide what I could have for dinner and still have enough room for dessert.  I didn't avoid caffeine or artificial sugar.  I didn't care about sodium content or calories.  But those days are over.  I am no longer innocent.  I know that I am responsible for what goes into my body and I must now suffer for a lifetime of bad habits.  Myprior indiscretions are here to haunt me.  Water weight gain.  Tooth decay.  Stomach ulcers.  High percentage of body fat.  Cellulite and wrinkles.  High blood pressure.  A cholesterol level of 250, even after taking Lipitor.  A fat tummy that has me well on the road to diabetes.  Weak and flabby muscles.  Bunions from years of wearing tight, pointy high heels.  Arthritic joints from lack of exercise.  Shortness of breath on any exertion from smoking most of my adult life.  I guess it's time to pay the piper.  And the tab is much higher than I ever thought it would be.  The day that I never thought would come... is here.  I'm all grown up whether I like it or not.  I can hold my breath or lie down and kick my feet for as long as I want to, but I'm not going to get my own way this time.  I have to face the fact that I am not going to live forever, and even if I could, it wouldn't be long enough.  My irresponsibility, laziness and poor judgment have caught up with me.  Damage control is all I can strive for now.  And, just to show you how seriously I am taking this, I'm going to resist the urge to ask if I can get that control with a side order of cheese fries.  I'm just kidding.  I'm on it...

Friday, April 9, 2004

Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery...

I now realize that I have the power to make my life easier, happier and healthier without even leaving the comfort of my own living room.  I can change my very destiny with just a TV, a telephone and a credit card.  Where did I get this power?  Infomercials.  Don't laugh.  Try watching one for just a few minutes.  These glorified, blockbuster commercials are fascinating and addicting.  See for yourself how these products have changed the lives of ordinary people like you and me.  Still not convinced?  Let a celebrity show you.  Or a... doctor.  From health and exercise, make-up and beauty, to cooking and cleaning, these ads of epic proportion will show you the way to a better life.  You can awaken in the morning feeling completely rested after sleeping on a mattress specially designed by NASA.  Refreshed because thanks to your new breathing device, you didn't snore.  That knowing smile on your face shows that you have discovered both whiter teeth and the secret to true passion (no prescription necessary in Cuba, St. Croix or New Jersey).  In the past, you may have awakened with a headache from drinking too much.  But not today.  You ordered the Hangover Prevention pills and took one before you went out last night.  Not only were you able to avoid a potential prison sentence by checking your blood alcohol level before driving home using a Personal Pocket Breathalyzer, you also just missed a head on collision with an 18 wheeler you may not have seen if you weren't regularly taking your new Eyesight Vitamins designed to increase night vision.  Once home, you enjoyed your partners recent male enhancement…  Three times.  And what a day it will be.  Looking into the streak free mirror (using only micro fiber cloths and plain water) you know you look marvelous.  Your skin is clear and you have a lot less wrinkles.  You tanned in one hour, got thicker, softer hair and quickly removed all the split ends.  After showering you can remove unwanted hair from your legs, bikini zone, and upper lip with a disposable, battery operated device that can also trim shrubery .  Looking down, you raise your perfectly sculpted eyebrows.  Is that a stain on the bedroom rug?  No problem.  Just clean it with your bottle of 'Carpet Psychic' to completely remove it right down to the padding underneath it.  Now that all of your furniture rests on plastic disks, you can move any piece across the room without needing physical therapy afterwards.  You notice that the walls are looking a bit dingy.  With your new fast and easy roller kit you can paint like a pro in less than an hour, and your electric air purifier with the hepa filter will get rid of the odor.  You roll out your personal Complete Home Gym In A Shoebox, conveniently stored under your bed and work out all of your major muscle groups in less than 3 minutes.  You could afford those 3 low monthly payments of only $999 each, since you recently quit smoking in just seven days.  With no cravings.  Soon you'll be saving even more money when you start doing your own dry cleaning at home.  Oops!  It's time to go and pick up your great grandmother.  How she loves being able to do her own shopping now that she has an Electric Granny Go-Cart.  That company even did the paperwork for her, and threw in a handy shopping basket (some assembly required).  The sun is shining brightly, but it doesn't bother you.  You're wearing your polarized, glare and distortion free designer sunglasses worn by the cast of 'Friends' themselves.  Fortunately after you accidentally dropped them last week while installing your virtually maintenance free gutter and downspout screens, you were able to borrow your neighbor's Eyeglass Cleaner/Polisher and Scratch Remover Pads.  It was almost fun climbing up onto the roof with the new safety ladder.  It really can be used in 1400 different positions and be kept in your wallet for easy storage.  You wave at your sister as you drive by her house.  She smiles because she is effortlessly watering her lawn with a garden hose that never kinks and rolls up flat.  She looks great, too.  She recently lost 420 pounds while taking a pill that worked.  Really worked.  She knew it would.  It cost $158 a bottle.  She's a new woman with a bright future.  She completed an at home study course that not only taught her how to do her own taxes but how to purchase real estate for less than $5 down.  She now owns half of Los Angeles.  Oh no!  Is that a ding in her new Porsche?  Not to worry.  She can borrow the bonus tool for popping out your own dents that came with the video and 400 page booklet, 'Why Pay A Professional When You Can DoIt Yourself?'  That kit sure came in handy last year when Uncle Phil suffered a heart attack and the doctor told him he needed bypass surgery.  After reading chapter nine, Aunt Mae saved them tons of money by doing it herself using a sonic toothbrush and her food sealer (purchased separately).  Thanks to infomercials, life is not only better, faster, easier, and cheaper, it's damn near perfect.  Guaranteed or your money back.  Less shipping and handling, of course.

Inspired in part, from an Entry by fellow Journaler, Pamela, author of 'One Girl's Head Noise' :  

Monday, April 5, 2004

Rules To Live By...

Dieting is hard.  Our entire lives revolve around food.  After the bride, what's the most important thing at a Wedding?  The food.  What's the best part of a cruise?  The food.  And lots of it.  I've been consoling myself while on The Atkin's Diet by collecting these little tidbits.  They don't actually work, but you can't eat and laugh at the same time.  And sometimes, not gaining any more weight is just as good as losing it.  Enjoy! 
1)  Eating a chocolate candy bar right before dinner will help curb your appetite and you'll eat less.
2) Foods purchased and eaten in a movie theater have no caloric value, as they are considered part of the total entertainment package.
3) Food additives do not contain any calories or fat.  Examples:  Icing on a cake,  gravy on top of mashed potatoes and any topping on an ice cream sundae.
4) A good rule of thumb is that all foods of the same color will have the same number of calories.  Example: spinach and mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Please note that since brown is a neutral color, chocolate can be substituted for any other food color. 
5) Any food eaten during a mandatory or obligatory event given by or for any close friend or family member, will not count in your daily caloric total.  Such events include, but are not limited to weddings, showers, graduations, funerals, fund raisers, birthday, retirement and Tupperware Parties.
6)  There are no calories in any of the cakes at the Church Bake Sale.  God said so.
7)  It is always permissible to eat some, if not all of your own birthday cake.
8) Candy consumed in the course of inspecting a child's Halloween Bag or creating an Easter Basket is not subject to weight gain.
9)  No matter what the label says, all packages contain only one serving.  A half gallon of ice cream, a bag of potato chips, a box of Girl Scout Cookies... have always been one serving.
10)  Always increase your daily caloric requirement right before each menstrual period.  Being an unrelenting bitch takes a lot of energy. 
I hope these suggestions have been helpful.  They are even more meaningful if you read them while eating a cream donut.

Friday, April 2, 2004

Message from the front lines...

Day 17 on Atkin's.  I'm surrounded by forbidden carbs everywhere I look.  Even innocent children offer them to me.  But so far, I have remained strong.  The actual weight loss has tapered off but Ray, my underground carb control contact, assures me that it will start again.   Ray is an Atkin's Legend.  He was so deep into ketosis the other night, he smelled like a cantaloupe that had spent a few too many weeks under the hot sun.  He had to go and eat a couple of rolls.  I should be that lucky.  The thirst and dehydration got to the point where even I wanted a drink of water.  Prior to this week the only water that ever entered my mouth was to brush my teeth.  I've had several glasses so far, with no apparent ill effects.  I discovered that it goes down a lot easier when it's ice cold.  It doesn't hurt my stomach as much and I can't feel it sloshing around while I walk.  I should have read more of the Atkin's Book before I started  this diet.  I had thought that the Induction Phase only lasted for 2 weeks.  That's the first part of the diet where you eat no more than 20 grams of carbs per day.  I used to eat 20 grams every ten minutes.   But I picked the book up again last night to see what things I could eat in Phase Two.  After trembling with anticipation I was shocked and rather disappointed to see that Dr. Atkin's recommends a MINIMUM of 2 weeks in Induction.  He says that a person can safely stay in this phase for more than 6 months.   SIX MONTHS!  I guess if I was dying of some fatal disease, and my doctor told me I only had 6 months to live, the time would just fly by.  I am going to try to stay on this God forsaken diet as long as I can.  How I miss the days when I used to pop just about anything put in front of me into my mouth.   And I never, ever read food labels.  Now I spend most of my time boiling eggs, mixing up chicken salad and making sugar free Jell-O and home made whipped cream.  Who knows?  Maybe next year I'll be chopping my own fire wood.