Down With Tummy Frown—Week 5

4 Weeks-Compare

Just a note—Someone asked if I had sucked in my stomach for the 4 Weeks picture. Yes—I sucked in my stomach for BOTH pictures. :-)

A bit disappointed about this past week because no weight loss and no inches lost. HOWEVER, in other ways, this has been a fabulous week!

I finally gave in and went to shop for new slacks. Yes—I did end up buying a size smaller! No more saggy crotch pants! I can’t even remember when I last wore a size 8 pants.

Had assessment at the gym this week. I rated excellent for my age (64) in every category except good cholesterol and grip strength. (Don’t quite understand how bad cholesterol and total cholesterol can be in excellent range with good cholesterol low—hmmm…).

Had to do pushups for the assessment. Haven’t done those before. Trainer said to just do as many as I could. I did 35 pushups. Trainer was excited and told me that 17 pushups are excellent for my age. If she had told me that before, I could have stopped at 17! HaHaHa!!!

I know I wouldn’t have achieved the excellent ratings if I hadn’t just finished my first 28 Day Challenge. More energy! More stamina! Woo! Hoo! for healthy eating and Arbonne nutrition products and support! Continuing this new lifestyle!

I posted about smaller pants and excellent assessment in the Arbonne 28 Day Challenge Facebook group. Our director, Jodi, commented “Wow, Dawn! This is so inspiring. I have a sense that the way you feel is much better than the taste of any donut!”

Donut?!? Donut?!? I don’t need no stinkin’ donut!!!

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Down With Tummy Frown—Week 4

4 Weeks-Compare

Well, I haven’t lost my Tummy Frown yet. But there is a major difference in the abdomen area after four weeks, as you can see in the comparison photos!

My goal for this 28 Day Detox boot camp was to change the Tummy Frown into a Tummy Pucker–a regular belly button :-) –and to be healthier. I was excited, but I was also anxious about starting the boot camp. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to eat anything and would become discouraged.

I soon discovered that using the Arbonne healthy, yummy products, adhering to the meal plans and shopping lists, and learning how to eat healthy made my life so much better! I lost 7 lbs. and overall 20 inches in this 28 day challenge.

I also lost major puffiness under my skin—especially apparent on my back, shoulders, and arms. The puffiness was a result of inflammation and toxins in my body. My massage therapist has been amazed at the loss of inflammation and how much better my skin has become. My chiropractor is so excited that I am following this path — especially with Arbonne because of their excellent products and the support in the Facebook groups.

I am sleeping better at night, I have so much more energy in the day, and I don’t have the awful, daily cravings for unhealthy food that I used to have. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have cravings, but they aren’t as often or as strong. In fact, I turned 64 during this boot camp. My lovely coworker brought a chocolate cake with buttercream icing to work to celebrate and “just in case I might want a little piece.” The rest of the department enjoyed my birthday cake–boy did they enjoy it! :-) I didn’t even sample the buttercream frosting. I really didn’t want it.

I’ve decided to continue this journey by participating in the next 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge. Maybe I can get that Tummy Frown closer to a Tummy Pucker. :-)

I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!!!

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Down With Tummy Frown—Week 2 & Week 3

Down with the Tummy Frown

I didn’t get a blog post written after Week 2 of my 28 Day Detox Program through Arbonne (no gluten, dairy, processed sugar, or soy—and drastically reduce caffeine until I can get to none).  I was too busy discovering and trying new ways of shopping for food, new foods, and new recipes. Whew!

This experience is a mixture of challenges and rewards. Challenges—because I have to learn new things about food and my body. Rewards—because my body, mind, and overall health are constantly improving.

Week 3 involved an added specific body cleanse. That resulted in trip after trip after trip to the bathroom—flushing out even more toxins. Some tummy cramps and definite exhaustion. This all must mean some of the stuff I’ve been putting in my body all these years is not of the highest quality for health—to say the least!

Here are the body stats after three weeks:  Lost 6 lbs. so far. Lost a total of 16 ½ inches overall.

Another stat that is driving me a little crazy—I have to keep pulling up my pants so I don’t have the droopy pants crotch. I think I can handle this kind of crazy!

I’m sleeping so much better, and I have much more energy in the day. And I’m becoming much more normal. No, wait! People who know me would say it’s impossible for me to be normal.

Regular! That’s it! I’m becoming much more regular—you know, with eliminations. And that’s a really good thing. Who wants all those toxins just hanging on inside my body and adding yucky inflammation and weight. Eeewww!

Oh… and I’m down to ½ cup of coffee most days. Some days I discover at the end of the day that I didn’t drink even the ½ cup. That’s definitely a surprise because I’ve always enjoyed my coffee—lots of coffee—morning through night.

One more week! Feeling good!

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Down With Tummy Frown—Week 1

Down with the Tummy Frown

 

This is day 6 of my 28 Day Detox Program through Arbonne (no gluten, dairy, processed sugar, or soy—and drastically reduce caffeine until I can get to none). This first week has been challenging, to be sure.

I have not cooked from scratch in many, many years. I now have to cook from scratch. Yikes! That takes planning, thinking, finding stuff—like the right ingredients, measuring cups and spoons, pots and pan—somewhere in the back of my cabinets (I bought a new baking dish because I didn’t think I had that size—then I found one way in the back—ugh!), and time. Time! I’ve spent lots of time in my kitchen over the years, but this is crazy!

Cleaning up. I don’t have a dishwasher—I didn’t really need one with just me. But now I have mountains and mountains of dirty dishes—and then, clean dishes.

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I’m sure I actually have heard my dish drainer groaning and crying.

And, then, there are the reactions of my body to the detox. Not so good! Headache, foggy, irritable—very irritable—downright angry!

The thing is… there also have been rewards.

The Arbonne group with whom I’m making this journey is amazing! Major support and help on Facebook group with tips, menus, recipes, shopping lists. In town Arbonne group is giving support online and on the phone. And we have weekly dinners together.

Deciding that I will probably maintain the clean living lifestyle after the detox. If my body is reacting like this to the absence of things that I normally put into it, then maybe they are things I never want to put back in.

I have assurances that the detox funk will end very soon, and I will begin to feel better than I did before the detox began.

Oh… and there’s the weight loss and inches loss—2 ½ lbs. and a total of 4 inches in 5 days (weighed and measured this morning). I like it! Now, to see how the rest of this getting healthy journey goes.

 

 

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Down with Tummy Frown-Preparing

Down with the Tummy Frown

I have accumulated too much belly fat over the past few years! Because of that, I no longer have a regular belly button. I have a Tummy Frown! Ugh!

From things I have read, too much belly fat can be caused from stress, inactivity, and unhealthy eating. And extra belly fat is extremely unhealthy.

I’ve had quite a bit of stress these past years. In 2008, I had to start helping with finances and paperwork for my parents in another state. In 2010, my mother had shoulder replacement surgery, so I stayed with my father while she was in another city for the surgery. During that stay, we discovered that my father was suffering from dementia—and, evidently, had been suffering for several years. I had to take over finances and paperwork fulltime. My sister and I had to start dealing with all aspects of care for our parents—Dad with progressing dementia and Mom with numerous physical problems. I had to spend a great deal of time in Texas while trying to keep a fulltime job in Oklahoma. In March, 2012, I lost my job due to company-wide layoffs. In June, 2012, my father died. I had to deal with the additional paperwork and financial stress for my mother. I finally got another job in November, 2012, but it paid about 1/3 of what I had been paid before. And by that time I had lost my house, had to get rid of a majority of my possessions, and had to move into a small rental. Then, in December, 2013, my mother died. This is, of course, a very simplified inventory of the stress. But the stress has had much more than a simple effect on my life.

With everything that was happening to cause the stress, depression took away the energy and the desire to exercise. So—there is number two—inactivity.

And fast food works so well with extreme stress and inactivity. Except—it doesn’t really work well. It’s just another bad result of no time and no energy.

Finally, I’m able to work on the stress aspect, I recently started regular exercise again, and now I’m adding healthier eating with a 28 Day Detox Bootcamp. I start the new eating regimen tomorrow with help and support from a special group from Arbonne on Facebook!

The program includes getting rid of gluten, dairy, processed sugar, and soy for 28 days. It also includes getting rid of caffeine, but that can be reduced little by little instead of thrown out completely. Thank goodness! I think the total loss of caffeine right now would not be pretty!!!

Groceries have been bought, cooking some ahead has been done, and everything ready to start in the morning. I need to have as much possible ready at hand to help me stay on schedule in the morning. I think I’m ready!

The goal of the program is to help our bodies become more alkaline instead of so acidic. So we are healthier—with a side benefit of losing bad fat. Can’t wait to see how I feel and if this Tummy Frown has turned back into a regular belly button by the end of the 28 days! Let’s do this!

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Father’s Day More Difficult

My father died the Sunday before Father’s Day in 2012. Father’s Day that year was difficult, of course. But I was busy focusing on my mother and her difficulties. Then, Father’s Day last year was difficult, but I was still busy focusing on my mother and her difficulties.

My mother died in December, 2013. Though I am still dealing with the aftermath of her death, ongoing estate paperwork, and other situations, this Father’s Day has been much more difficult. Maybe it’s because I was never able to really grieve for my father after his death. After all, I was even more overwhelmed after his death with paperwork, phone calls, and texts while trying to still handle the “normal” paperwork and finances for my parents that I had been handling for several years.

I miss my dad. I’m afraid that much of him had disappeared before his death. He suffered with dementia, and that stole so much of his spirit. There were times he didn’t know my mother or where he was. There were so many things about the last two years of his life that bring tears to my eyes: the confusion and fear in his eyes, the physical deterioration from his brain not functioning well to give directions to his body, his inability to understand the frustration others expressed toward him.

Through the years when I was growing up (and even as an adult), my dad and I didn’t always agree on many things. But I always knew that he loved me. He gave me many good things–among them, a love for humor, a strong work ethic, a desire to live responsibly, a love for music, and love for God.

This year, the week leading up to Father’s Day has been more emotional and difficult than before. I wish I could hug him and tell him in person–I love you, Daddy…

Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

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Open Letter to AT&T from a Customer who Died…

(After receiving the communications from AT&T referenced below, I decided to post an open letter to AT&T as if it were from my mother who died in December, 2013. Everything in this post really happened, except for my mom writing the letter, of course. Oh, and I will pay the final bill.)

Dear AT&T Credit & Collections:

Thank you for your recent communications regarding my address change and the final billing on my account.

I really appreciate the postcard AT&T sent to me at my old address to verify that I had actually changed my address. “Dear Customer who Died:  We have completed your request to change your mailing address. This letter is being sent to the previous address on file to ensure the change to your new address is valid. Thank you for using AT&T for your communication needs.” However, the address you show as the new address belongs to my daughter. It is not my new address.

It is my understanding that my daughter called you to cancel my land line, release the phone number my husband and I (and then just “I”) had for almost 45 years, and ask you to send the final billing to her at her address. I believe this was very difficult for her because this number was imbedded in her mind and heart as her parents’ phone number. The postcard you sent—addressed to me—was very hurtful for her to receive once it was forwarded to her address.

I do appreciate that AT&T sent the final billing to my daughter’s address as she requested. However, again, it was very hurtful for her to see that you had addressed the final billing to me instead of to her.

Then, you sent me a collection letter at my daughter’s address only four days after you sent the final billing. “Dear Customer who Died:  We are writing concerning the final bill. We have not yet received payment. We realize that there is occasionally a delay in settling an estate; however, we would appreciate you letting us know when we may expect payment. Please call AT&T today at 1-800-288-2020 to discuss the disposition of this account.” This I do not understand and do not appreciate. There is no way payment could have been sent to AT&T between the final bill and the collection letter since only four days had transpired between the date you mailed the final bill and the date you mailed the collection letter. And the collection letter was addressed, once again, to me instead of to my daughter. Do you really expect me to pay the final bill or call you about payment?

I am not sure when you will receive payment for the final bill. I’m afraid your thoughtless correspondence received by my daughter has caused additional anguish to her to the point that she is now incapable of handling this situation.

I, on the other hand, can try to handle this situation; however, I am confused as to how I can handle it from my new residence. You see, I don’t have access to a post office here to send payment. And I don’t have access to a phone in order to call you to “discuss the disposition of this account.” I’m afraid AT&T and the Postal Service do not operate in this land where I now reside.

I apologize for any inconvenience my inability to mail payment or discuss this with you may cause. I hope you understand how your incompetence and uncaring attitude as a “communication” company in communicating appropriately has created such anguish for my daughter and rendered her incapable of handling the situation herself. I, also, hope you understand my inability to comply with your requests from my new residence.

Sincerely,

Customer who Died

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Goodbye, Mom…

My mother passed through the door into heaven Thursday morning December 12, 2013. She had been in the hospital this time for about a month. The doctors finished draining fluid from her left lung, the lung deflated, and there was nothing else they could do for her at her age and in her condition (after many physical issues over her 83 years).

Headshot-2 Mom

Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time. On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, I drove the 3½ hours to my mother’s town to meet with a VA rep. on Thursday to continue the fight I have had with them for the past year and a half. I spoke with my sister, Anita, after I arrived in town. She told me the doctors couldn’t do anything else for Mom, and Mom wanted to go home from the hospital.

We took Mom home late that night to be in her own apartment with her friends, neighbors, nurses, and aides. When we went to the hospital to get her, I wasn’t sure we could get her dressed, in the car, and home—she looked so bad. But we managed with help from the aides.

About 15 minutes after she got home, she was up walking all over with her walker, tending her plants, and looking better than she had in over a month. She looked at a picture of my dad and said how much she missed him.

Then she said she really needed a Coke, chips, and queso (she had been on a restricted diet at the hospital). Anita and I went and got her some chips and queso and fixed her a Coke. The three of us talked and laughed for a couple of hours.

Anita went home, and I bedded down on the futon in Mom’s living room. Nurses and aides made their visits during the night to care for her.

A little before 7:00 the next morning, I heard a crash in her bedroom. I found that she had slumped to the floor while trying to get up to her walker. She had knocked things from her bedside table. She said she could take hold of my arm to pull herself upright and lean against her chair-bed. She did. I pulled the call light for the nurse just as the aide came in with her morning coffee.

The nurse came, checked her, and they lifted Mom into her chair-bed. She was trying to speak again, but she was incoherent. She could not support herself. As I was talking to her, the left side of her face began to sag and her eyes clouded.

I asked the nurse to call my sister to have her come. I sat with Mom, held her hand, and sang to her as she slipped away. I sang “How Great Thou Art” because it is one of her favorite songs. And then I sang “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together” (Carol Burnett) because it seemed right after the party the three of us had together last night. Anita came quickly, and we shared time together.

What a special memory that last night will be for us. And what special expressions of love and caring we received afterward from residents of the apartment building, staff, nurses, aides, church friends, and others!

The funeral for my mother turned out very well! A very long and exhausting day. My nieces, Holly and Garalee, sang two beautiful songs to honor their grandmother. My sister and I sang a song our mother loved to hear us sing together when we were young. Many kind words and special memories were shared at the viewing and in the service by long-time and more recent friends. And then more kind words and special memories shared at the memorial we held for Mom at the retirement home (where she was known as the “plant lady”) for residents who couldn’t go to the funeral.

My niece, Holly, says she thinks Mom died on December 12th so she could be with my dad for his birthday on the 13th. I imagine he is playing his harmonica for her and they are laughing and celebrating together.

You were special to many people, Golda Lee Bailey Cawthon. You are no longer in pain, and you are rejoicing with your love of almost 63 years. And—if there are plants in heaven, I know you are tending them like you did here on earth.

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My Daughters Know Their Mother

I started a new job on Monday. Soon after I arrived at work, some beautiful flowers were delivered from 1st Daughter who lives in another town. Just a few minutes after that, 2nd Daughter and 2nd Grandson appeared at my new office with another vase of beautiful flowers.

Notice any similarities? Daughters had not coordinated between themselves about what flowers they were going to give!

Obviously, my daughters know their mother’s favorite colors and flowers. I just thought this was so sweet and so neat!

What a wonderful way to start the new job!!

Thank you, my fantastic daughters!

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Thank You, Dad, and Other Veterans!

Today is a day to celebrate the men and women who have served in uniform to get and protect our freedoms. We should celebrate them all the time, but today is a special day each year to express our thanks.

My father was a veteran.

After he and my mother moved into the retirement center, this picture of him would be displayed (along with other pictures of retirement center veterans) in the lobby of the retirement center every Veterans Day.

My father died in June, 2012.

My mother went to the Veterans Day celebration that the retirement center had on Friday. At the celebration, a gentleman sang songs about country and patriotism. He then sang some songs he said his grandmother especially liked.

One of the songs he sang was “You Are My Sunshine.” This is a song that Dad used to play for my mom on his harmonica.

 

She cried when the man sang it. He apologized for singing the song and making her cry. But she told him she was glad he played it because it brought back good memories.

Thank you, Dad, for serving in the uniform to protect our freedoms. I miss you.

Thank you to all veterans. You are truly Real Super Heroes!

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