Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Out of It or Now I Get the One-Day-at-a Time Thing

This is your one and only TMI warning. 

For the last 4-6 weeks I haven't felt like myself. It's allergy season, which basically means I turn into a walking talking phlegm factory. A runny nose, itchy eyes, and a general feeling of malaise does not make for a happy springtime. In addition, my asthma is flaring up, which means I'm not breathing well, which means I'm not sleeping well, which means I feel lousy.  On top of all this, I'm having that-time-of-the-month issues; I will spare you and not delve into too much detail here.

What all of this means is that I feel my fervor slipping when it comes to my weight loss/weight management. It has been way too easy to slack off on exercising. Granted, it's hard to push myself when I can't breathe too well, but I can't say that's been the case everyday. It's also been way to easy to eat out especially when I don't feel well and don't feel like cooking. Also, my taste buds seem like they're asleep, so it seemed like a good idea to wake them up with spicy, salty, or extra-sweet food. Bad idea, I know.

In no way do I want to compare myself with people who struggle with alcohol addiction. I cannot emphasize enough how much respect and admiration I have for those people who overcome their addiction to alcohol and become sober. But I think I'm finally beginning to understand the Alcoholics Anonymous slogan "One day at a time". You see, it's so easy to slip back into old bad habits especially when we feel physically or emotionally overwhelmed. I now realize that when I'm feeling the way I currently do that I have to consciously choose my new pattern of health and fitness over my old pattern of unhealthy choices. I have to consciously choose the new over the old every. single. day.

I've started this attitude today. I half walked and half jogged most of my usual route. When breathing became difficult, I walked. I chose a breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit, and almonds over the muffins that I made yesterday. I've logged my calories thus far to keep me honest. I'm not even thinking about lunch or dinner. One meal at a time. One day at a time.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's Never the White Wine...

...that gets spilled on the white carpet; it's always the red wine.

Maybe you've heard or said something similar to the red wine always getting spilled on the carpet. In our house we've also said, "It's never the white grape juice that gets spilled on the grout; it's always the purple grape juice, dammit." (Fortunately, the tile counters in our kitchen were replaced with Corian, so I no longer care what gets spilled on them.) If you're not familiar with this saying, this gist of it can be summed up like this: Out of all of the possible outcomes to a situation, the worst one will always happen. I guess it's kind of similar to Murphy's Law.

For some reason, I've been thinking about this with regard to my eating habits. For example,

"It's never the plate of fruit that gets devoured; it's always the plate of cookies."
"It's never the spinach salad that I overindulge in; it's always the crackers or chips."

Believe me, no one can ever accuse me of eating too many fruits and vegetables. No one has ever said to me, "Whoaaa there, missy, you better lay off the carrots because eating that many is not good for you." Seriously, no one has ever said that to me. Even after losing 50lbs, I wish I could say that my cravings for unhealthy foods has disappeared with the extra pounds. Sadly, they haven't. If something is loaded with sugar, salt, fat, or MSG then bring it on baby, let's have a party!! It is against my nature to choose the carrots over the cookies.

Even so, my mind set has changed this past year. I now realize that I have a choice. It sounds silly because it's obvious that I have a choice. But after nearly a lifetime of making poor food choices and engaging in poor eating habits, it wasn't always obvious that I had a choice. I now know that if I overindulge at lunch time, I can get right back on plan at dinner time. I don't always have to choose the cookies (although today I did); I can choose the carrots, too. The opposite is also true: I don't always have to choose the carrots; sometimes, I can choose the cookies.

I guess the moral of the story is: if you have carpeting, then don't serve red wine.

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dare to Not Compare

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a blog entry - Accepting Defeat or Rethinking Perceptions? - about my feelings toward the seemingly slow progress that my youngest son makes. Actually, it's not seemingly slow, it is slow but it's progress nonetheless. Even with the progress, I still catch myself comparing him to other 9-year-olds. I still visit Fantasyland and imagine what he would be like if he were a typical boy.

But he's not a typical boy. First, he is legally blind and must use a cane. That's the most obvious thing that sets him apart from others. Next, he doesn't talk. He uses an iPod Touch with the SoundingBoard app to help him communicate. Because he is blind, he uses the Blue2 Bluetooth Switch to enable him to listen to the choices and then make a selection. Third, he is cognitively delayed so learning takes a bit longer. He is learning to help out around the house. Is this cool progress? YES!! Is it slow and cumbersome? Yes. Do I wish it wasn't so? Yes.

Comparing ourselves to others is a hopeless and futile exercise that generally leaves us feeling frustrated and inadequate. Yet, many of us do it anyway. Even worse, sometimes parents compare their kids to other kids. I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if comparing ourselves or our kids to others isn't a sin, then maybe it should be. Now that I think about it, maybe it is. Maybe we draw comparisons out of our envy or covetousness. Oooh, that's a good word - one that we don't hear too often anymore. Whatever the reason, it's counterproductive.

I can fret and wring my hands every single day over the fact that my youngest son can't do a whole list of things that most 9-year-olds can do; but at the end of each day, where does that leave me? Where does that leave him? By doing so, I miss the opportunity to enjoy the uniqueness of this little boy. Having a special needs child has really made me appreciate and look for the uniqueness of each person. Many of us are on a similar path: we reach our developmental milestones, go to school, go to college, get a job, etc. His path won't look like that. He didn't walk until he was 3. Some developmental milestones were never reached. And yet everything that he has accomplished has been nothing short of a miracle because it was never supposed to happen. Watching him everyday, I get to see the ordinary as extraordinary. What can I compare with that?

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sudo Apt-Get Install....What?!

Still in use
A few years ago, our computer died a slow, horrible, painful death. Painful to me, anyway. It wasn't so much the hardware as it was the software; the Windows operating system choked completely and all was lost. Thus began my interest in Linux and the world of free software. What is Linux you ask? I will let you follow the link to Wikipedia, but in a nutshell, Linux is a free operating system. That's right: free. As in no cost, free to distribute, and free to modify.

We ended up buying a laptop, but I was still determined to salvage what was left of our desktop computer, because gosh darn it it was still useful. I did some research and discovered a flavor of Linux (of which there are many) called Ubuntu, which was designed with the average desktop user in mind. I downloaded the Ubuntu OS and copied the files to a CD, thus creating an installation CD. I inserted the CD into the old computer and voila, it was able to read it. I'd be lying if I said that at the time Linux was just as easy as Windows. I think "easy" is a relative term. IMO, the reason why Windows is easy is because it's familiar. I had to be willing to peruse the geek forums and the Linux magazines to learn about this new operating system. I had to be willing to learn how to run the occasional command line, like

sudo apt-get install nameofprogram

My laptop - a sampling of programs
However, the reality is, I only run a command line when I want to fly my geek flag, and I am by no means a hardcore geek. I'm sure the true Linux aficionados would laugh at me. Thankfully, most everything is done through a pretty picture interface. :-)  Currently I'm dual-booting my laptop (are you impressed?) to run Windows 7 and Linux Mint.  Linux Mint is, for lack of a better description, a different fork of Ubuntu. It truly is easy to use "right out of the box" so to speak. You never have to run a command line if you don't want to. About the only time I use Windows is to watch Netflix movies. Seriously.

The best thing about using a Linux distribution - and perhaps the most overwhelming - is that it comes with a repository of free software. In Linux Mint, the office suite is LibreOffice; the default music player is Banshee; the web browser is Firefox. And you know what? If you don't like those, you can always check the software repository for a replacement. If you don't like Banshee, you could use Rhythmbox. You're not limited to what comes pre-installed. And best of all, it's all free.

So, if you have an old computer that's about ready to give up the ghost, you might try using a Linux distribution to breathe a little life back into it.


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