December 16, 2004

Last night, Nathan had his school Christmas program, so all of Grizzly Flats made the trek (practically in caravan) down to the school in town to join up with them for the fete.  Needless to say, Nathan's class was LAST, so we had to sit/stand (standing room only at first) through 5 classes and one band of 2-3 songs each.  I have never particularly enjoyed school events, except for seeing what my own kids are doing.  Maybe other people feel the same way, but wow, there were some people there having a really, really good time.  Out of a school auditory crammed with people, elbow to elbow, there were probably about 3 people there who didn't *look* like Mountain Folk.  (We were not of the 3) 

It is so amazing to me how we start to resemble our own "folk" so quickly.  It's not just a style of dress or degree of makeup.  It's...something.  As an Air Force wife of 22 years, I have traveled all over the world and it's my impression that people from different regions have their own "look," people from different religions (Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Mormon) have their own "look" and people from different social classes have their own "look."   

Anyway, that's just my thought.

I was finally able to get a fire going and wow, that wood smells amazing.  I have wood on top of the wood stove to dry out well before I toss it in and it is making this wonderful, cedar wood smell in the house.  Yum.  Eric has lucked out a few times and found wood on the side of the road, not around any houses, which has been a real blessing.  If it's clear this weekend, he can go scavenging again.  Free heat is good.

So anyway, went to the program last night and little Nathan was such a trooper, hopping right up on the stage and signing his little heart out with his K-5 classmates.  Seeing them up there and contrasting it to the town school, which is still a really, really good school, made me realize how happy and blessed I was to have our little school up here in the mountains.  Knowing that Delena is in the best school she can be in and both of the little boys are going to be in a great little school gives me an incredible peace for the first time in my life on that particular subject.  I've never liked schools much, not just the programs but how so many of the teachers really hate being there and the jungle atmosphere among the kids.  For the most part, Delena's school isn't that way.  There's no gang activity (first school I've ever had a kid in that didn't have it), no violence, no overcrowding.  A couple of months ago, a couple of kids at the middle school were caught with some grass and it was a really, really, really big deal.  Of course, the enrollment is only 185 kids for grades 6-8, which isn't hard to track.  The school she would have attended in Sacramento had 965 kids for just 7-8th grade. 

I'm telling you, folks, move out of the city.  I never thought a year ago I'd say something like that. The convenience and entertainment value of living in the city was something I was completely unwilling to give up.  Had some guy in Las Vegas not decided to sell the house I was renting (thereby ruining my life, I thought), I never would have known what I really wanted. 

Sure, there are downsides.  Like having to drive a half hour to get milk (or wait until the next day when Eric gets home from work), paying too much for gas for Eric to get to and from work, missing friends, my sons and my grandchildren terribly and only getting to see them once a month or so, never, ever getting to go out with Eric.  Almost never getting to see a movie.  Having shitty dial up (28.8, baby!) instead of a rapid fire cable modem.  Being nearly 3 hours from the airport, making travel a pain.  Not having real calla lillies.

Still, I know this is where I am supposed to be.  This is home.

[Sidebar:  Can you see how hard I am working to not think about the refi and the fact that it's taking so long for the broker to get back to me and that I've been calling and bugging her and that Eric talked to another appraiser who works in the area and said we shouldn't have any problem hitting our mark.  Eeeep.  I hate these last minute things.]

A Christmas funny:

And it is now officially 19 minutes past twelve and I said I was going to start cleaning at 12, so I'm out of here.  Control what you can control when other people have control of the things you really want to control, right?

Still worked out this morning and have been on all protein all day since I know I'm doing my Christmas cooking today and tomorrow.

This afternoon, the kids and I are going to make tree ornaments and watch "Spiderman 2" together (good ol' Netflix).

Love to you all,

December 15, 2004

Time to roll out the Santa stuff for the year.  :)  I decorated my house Thanksgiving weekend and now I'm decorating my journal.  I figure intermingling Santa with my little deer buddies (and minus the holly garland, which my furpals sadly lack and would likely resent, these look remarkably similar to my living front yard menagerie) might bring Christmas to the mountains in a literal sense.  Life imitates art and follows the energy of intense visualization.

When I got up this morning, it was still dark (as it is every morning when I get up).  The house was still and quiet.  That's one of the things that I especially appreciate about this place is the palpable silence.  We've had a little more traffic on our road lately since there has been a good bit of construction going on up here, but still, it is overall very quiet.  Our other house was like living on the track of the Indy 500.  All hours of the night, there was loud, close, traffic, baselines to bad raps songs booming, exhaust systems altered to make loud, whistling sounds and that was just from the vehicles.  It doesn't count the gunfire from across the street (this was a nice neighborhood, too), the sirens many times a day or night, the "screaming man" who used to walk up and down the sidewalks (we were on a corner, so we got him for two segments since he always turned on our corner) screaming obscenities at himself, dogs barking all the time, helicopters (Eric called them "ghetto hawks") overhead a few times a day...  It was like a war zone.  Now, I can be inside my house and have it be so quiet that I can hear the deer walking around in my back yard with the doors and windows tightly closed.  It's heaven.

I still can't believe the circumstances that brought me here (kicking and screaming).  I am so grateful that sometimes, The Universe knows what I need better than I do or better than I could even know to imagine.

So this morning, it was dark, inside and out.  I lit some candles and said prayers, both of thanks and reinforcing the requests I have on the table.  I still have faith. Total faith, in fact. The miracles have never let me down before.  Besides, Eric saw the callas.  I just have to trust what a friend told me a long time ago:  Everything is in its perfect place and everything is absolutely on time.

Someone else recently quote to me, "God loves a cliffhanger.  So keep hanging onto the cliff."

I had a really odd thing happen about a week or so ago.  We'd had a day or two of good rain and it was about 9am.  I was standing at my kitchen sink, which looks out onto the yard and a fence facade (because it is only the front of a fence rather than a full circumference).  As I looked out, I could see what appeared to be a good bit of smoke rising from behind the fence.  ??!!  I walked through the mountain misery (smelled SO nice!) to where I'd seen the smoke and... nothing.  Went back, looked out the window again... smoke.  Made careful note of the location, went BACK out again and...nothing.  I was pretty perplexed.  I walked away a good piece from the fence, looked back and wow, there was the smoke, coming right up off the fence.  I finally realized that the sun was shining very brightly on the wood of the fence and the water inside from the rain was evaporating so heavily that it looked like smoke when you were far away from it.  Weird.

All of the home school materials have been returned and the last of Dylan's assignments turned in.  Even though it has only been 5 months, it felt odd to close off that chapter of our life.  It was really, really good to have him here, separate from the other kids all day long.  Since Nathan is the baby, I got alone time with him when Dylan went to school.  Since Delena is the oldest of the second batch of my children, I had alone time with her.  With Dylan as the middle of the little kids, he has always been around the other kids.  It was a joy to get to know him individually as his own little person.  Now, I am happy for both of us for this opportunity to move on now.  I know he'll be happy being around friends again and it will be good for him academically.  I'll enjoy my alone time, but I am still a tiny bit melancholy for our special time.  I'm just going to mark it up as a really, really good thing that happened, say "thank you" and open up to what comes next. 

What comes next is the movement through the height of the Diva time of my life, moving toward Croning.  A chapter has really closed, of my little children being at home.  Nathan will be going full days and Dylan will be with him.  This morning, I was watching the two of them, out in temperatures around 40 degrees, blowing bubbles on the porch while we waited for Nathan's bus.  I was again really taken with how much they genuinely care about one another and how good they are to each other.  That tends to be the norm with any conflict between the two of them very rare, even though they share a room together.  I am under no illusion about what a gift that is.  My first three sons were horrible to each other and fought their whole childhoods.  It was a horrible thing to have them always in conflict and I am sure it wasn't easy for them either.  No doubt, their relationships reflected conflict in my relationship with their dad and the instability they all felt with the two of us splitting up, getting back together and splitting up again, all that on top of living a military life and relocating every few years.  Very little was assured or stable in their life, so it makes sense they would rebel against the people around them who were the most vulnerable.  More fallout of a bad marriage.

I am just so grateful for the relationships I have with my older sons now and that they are still in my life.  I love them so dearly and between the three of them and my three little ones, I feel inundated with MommyLove, which is a blessed and sacred way to live.  My kids are some of the most interesting, fun people I know. 

The diet and exercise kick is going well, which is an interesting thing to say when I got onto the cursed, lying scales yesterday morning, only to find that in 8 days of dedication, I have lost exactly no pounds.  That damned needle refused to budge.  The difference is that I feel 100% better. The B-12 is such a kicker.  B-12 & chromium info is below.  Gooooood stuff!

The exercise helps too.  Like I said, I am doing the Body Flexing this week and it feels really, really good.  By the end of the work out (18 minutes) I am as heated up as I am after doing 30 minutes on the treadmill. The main difference, other than 12 minutes extra, is that after the BF, my hips, my butt and my abs are actually a little sore.  I can really feel the burn during the positions, even though they are not all that hard.  My pants feel bigger on me and I feel smaller overall, so pfft, I'm not worried about that scale and I am thinking about shoving it away.  I am under no illusion that I am going to be a tight size 10 and still weigh over 200 pounds, but meanwhile, I am just going to keep on eating right and exercising and not worrying about the numbers.  Today's breakfast was two eggs fried in Pam (I'm telling you, we need bacon flavored Pam) and lunch was a huge bunch of fresh green beans cooked with a ham steak (that's what was cooking in the pressure pan on Sunday when it exploded, but yayyyy! The beans lived). Dinner is cod and corn on the cob, with the corn being my big carb investment of the week. 

At least that is the plan.  My challenge really starts today when I begin my yearly Christmas cooking.  Eeep!

Maybe it was dumb to start a diet and exercise lifestyle change right before the holiday, but hey, when the spirit calls...

Last night (because I always remember Scrubs at 8:30pm and I am so grateful that I do), I again watched the end of "The Biggest Loser."  I was reminded A) of why I don't watch reality shows and B) that there are some people who are actually disappointed by a 3 pound a week weight loss.  Weird (again).

I got most of the cleaning done yesterday, changed the turtle tank out this morning (Skeevy little bastards don't even care that I put them back in the bigger tank.  They are just determined to be sullen) and started the dishes soaking a bit.  Just have to finish dishes, do some necessary laundry, think about cleaning the kids' room some, start the Christmas cooking and make some ornaments with the kids.  For now, I think some dozing on the couch is in order with Nathan here in an hour. 

Today feels like a gift of comfort and nurturing.  I intend to take, say thank you and let Goddess sort out the rest.

Much, much love,

Four Common Supplements Found to Slow Weight Gain for the Middle-Aged
Contributed by Carla Sharetto | 08 September, 2004 23:00 GMT

Common supplements effective in slowing middle-age spread.

Like many milestones, reaching age 55 has its benefits. For example, weight-loss research shows that American women gain an average of 16 pounds of body weight from age 25 to age 54. Only at about age 55 does their weight decline.
Men gain an average of 10 pounds of body weight from age 25-45. They too begin to lose weight at about age 55. Is there anything that can be done to change the slow march of weight gain that precedes middle age? Several researchers involved in a study examining the effectiveness of supplements suggest that the ingestion of four common supplements could.

This conclusion is reached in a study, Association of Ten-Year Weight Change with Use of Supplements Marketed for Weight Management, conducted by M.C. Nachtigal, ND, Emily White, PhD, and Ruth Patterson PhD, all of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Dr. Nachtigal will discuss the study at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) 19th Annual Convention & Exposition, being held September 8-11, 2004, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Seattle, WA.


The findings from this research originated with the VITamins And Lifestyle [VITAL] study. Using names from a commercial mailing list, 330,000 men and women in 13 counties of western Washington State, age 50-76, were contacted by mail between October 2000 and September 2002, with the goal of recruiting 75,000 people to join a cohort study of supplement use and future cancer risk.

Respondents completed a questionnaire covering detailed information on vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplement use over the previous 10 years and information on other cancer risk factors including diet, physical activity, medical history, and demographic characteristics.

The National Cancer Institute, a component of the National Institutes of Health, sponsored this survey. The researchers reviewed the responses of approximately 15,000 respondents with an average age of 55, specifically looking at weight change, energy consumption, and the use of supplements cited in the survey responses.

Fourteen supplements were selected for review by the researchers, as all promised the user weight loss and increased energy, through either over-the-counter or Internet advertising. The 14 supplements the research team reviewed included multivitamins, fiber pills, soy, gingko, St. Johns Wort, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, chromium, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Respondents were assigned one of three body weight categories at age 45: normal, overweight or obese. Using the survey data, the researchers then correlated body weight changes from age 45 to 55 with the consumption of any of 14 supplements respondents had indicated they had been taking during the same 10 year time period.


Using correlational and observational methodologies, an analysis of the survey results revealed the following:

Respondents who consumed multivitamins, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12, and chromium had less weight gain than their counterparts.

However, the positive effect of less weight gain was found to be most prevalent among those individuals who had been categorized as overweight or obese.

Gender had minimal impact on the survey results.

Racial differences were not considered due to the overwhelming Caucasian demographic of the master survey respondents.

The researchers concluded that individuals who gained the least weight were those who had consumed multivitamins, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin B-12 and chromium and were categorized as either overweight or obese at age 45.

The researchers suggest that chromium, found to help regulate blood sugar for diabetics, led to less food consumption by the study sample. They also hypothesize that individuals lacking micronutrients such as B vitamins might eat in excess; thus correcting B-6 and B- 12 vitamin deficiencies could lead to lower caloric intake.

The next step in the effort to determine the impact on supplements on weight gain is a clinical trial for a specified age and weight group.