Sometimes loss is about acceptance…

The stages of grief are universal. Trust me when I say that death is not just for loved ones.

Three years ago, my more than10-year PR career became a job.  Sorrow was etched on my face and in my jaunt as I was forced to leave my office and join a cube farm. The privacy every writer deems necessary to create, to write, to think flew out of my now windowless coop.

Anger reared its head quickly as I purposefully turned in assignments late and half-heartedly. “What’s the problem?” I was asked. Honestly, I didn’t know. I didn’t understand that I was hurting, or may be I couldn’t accept the loss of my career for what it was…death. I suffered in silence because the salary was decent; silence lead to isolation and overeating.

I began bargaining with God everyday. “Father, if…” became my mantra.

I became depressed when God answered my prayers. Why? Because leaving an unsecure job with benefits definitely was not the answer I was expecting.

Honestly, I’m still depressed over my career, but I am smiling, joyful and scared as I daily accept that I am on a new journey to be a published novelist and screenwriter.

Acceptance is the final stage of grief and while I’m not totally healed, I’m well on my way. Thank you Father.


I’m not your buddy or your friend…

It seems I’ve adopted a cat named “Cat.” I’m pretty sure Cat belongs to someone in my little cul-de-sac. She has a nametag and she’s fat. Cat has only gotten fatter this winter because I’m feeding her too. Don’t judge me, I hate to eat alone.

In an effort to fight fat and winter malaise, I purchased Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred.” Yesterday was Day 1.

I hate Jillian and not because she has an AH-mazing figure. No, I also hate her for yelling, “pick up the pace,” and for calling me “buddy,” for well, picking up the pace. Actually, it’s “buuuuddy.” I want to kick box her in the face.

Today is Day 2. It’s a repeat of yesterday, but maybe I can get through the entire workout without stopping to catch my breath every 30 seconds. Geez, Jillian, what’s with the freakin’ jumping jacks? I haven’t done those since I was 10.

I think she’s trying to kill me. In fact, I’m sure of it, but I’ll let you know on 30 days because that’s how long I have to suffer through this exercise regime. But no worries, I have a will that leaves my house and my food to Cat.

Whipped cream can’t keep you warm, but…

I eat way too much sugar. I binge on ice cream when I’m bored. I gorge on Oreos when I’m stressed. Last night I drank a 20 oz. soda ‘cause I had a headache. Sadly, it worked.

Definitely time to do a sugar detox. Sigh. But isn’t “detox” just another word for diet? I am so freakin’ tired of dieting.

A few years ago, I joined a Christian-based diet group ‘cause a friend’s husband lost 50 pounds. I didn’t lose a pound, but I did gain a few new friends. I’ve tried Slimfast too. It worked, but it kept me running. Yes, that was a potty joke.

Weight Watchers was okay, but I hate tracking points and I’m pretty sure I hate Jennifer Hudson. Seriously, have you seen those commercials?

Just recently I decided to go forgo dieting and go cold turkey. I stood in front of my refrigerator and proclaimed, “No more sugar. No more cream. No more candy. I will be lean.” By day three, I was sitting on my kitchen floor having a romance with a can of Reddi-Wip.

My sister, Dani, wants me to join her on Ian Smith’s 6-week “Shred Revolutionary Diet.” I’m cautious. Is this another diet disaster waiting to happen? I’ll tell you more later, or I’ll let you know where Reddi-Wip and I are registered.

What’s the deal with Steinbeck?

After yesterday’s eating fiasco, I decided to make a healthy-ish meal for my nephew and me. Whole-wheat spaghetti with ground turkey and homemade tomato sauce, plus a side spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette sounds yummy, right?

We chatted while I cooked. At 15, Jeremy has a lot to say. It’s quite nice. He mentioned his love of basketball, football and math. He spoke of his distaste for literature and all things related to junior high English.

Jeremy (in Jerry Seinfeld’s voice): What’s the deal with Steinbeck? 

Me: He won a Nobel.

Jeremy (eye roll): How noble.

Me: Jerk

Did I mention this brat is great? What I like most about Jeremy is his strong belief in his goals and dreams. It’s awesome. I wish I could bottle that awesomeness and sell it on eBay.

Hmmm? When do we adults lose belief in our dreams and goals? Maybe we don’t lose ourselves. Maybe we simply become bogged down in the dreams of our bosses, spouses, lovers, and that cute guy down the street that I really should ask out—soon.

I’ve found my dreams again and I am slowly, but surely working towards becoming who I’m meant to be.

Hey, have you found you?





Hanging in Elvis’ land with cheese covered fingers

My brother, Jerry, and his wife, Tina, decided to celebrate 20 years of marriage with a trip to Montego Bay. The adorable couple will renew their vows in front of more than 30 friends and family members this weekend.  Yeah, just go ahead and say “awww.”

Their son, Jeremy, and I will be flying to Jamaica in a few days. We couldn’t go immediately because school hasn’t dismissed for the summer. So, like any good auntie, I’m hanging in Memphis with the kid until the last day of school. This is good and bad. It’s good because Jeremy is a great kid. It’s bad because this kid can eat!

Yesterday we ate pizza. Today it was Wendy’s. And, yes, I joined him at both fat-laden meals. I know I’m on vacation, but does that mean I should eat like a 15-year-old boy. Jeremy can get away with stuffing his stomach with junk food because he is 15! For goodness sakes, I ate Doritos for lunch! Yes, you read right.

So, day one of my vacation was a bust. Tomorrow will be better; I went out and purchased healthy foods that won’t leave my fingers covered in orange goo.


Blogging and following my bliss…

I’m following a series on Linkedin called “My Best Mistake.” The premise is simple: high-profile individuals describe an impulsive rebellion that led to quitting an ill-suited job.

Today’s blogger, Dr. Deepak Chopra, recalled landing a fellowship with a leading endocrinologist in the 70s. Like many 20-year-olds, Chopra still had passion for his chosen field. He just didn’t have passion for his jerky boss.

Chopra’s discontent came to a head when his supervisor tried to humiliate him in front of their peers. Chopra walked away and eventually started a career in integrative medicine and as a writer.

It’s easy to walk away from a job in your 20s. Well, not easy, but it’s easier than doing so in your 30s or 40s.

Chopra said to “follow your bliss.” Okay, that I can do and it’s preferable to being unemployed in today’s economy.

So that’s where I am now—trying to follow my bliss.

Before writing this blog, my bliss would be feeding my insecurity and discontent with added sugars and refined grains (sounds like a sugar high rather than bliss). Now I read books that strengthen my resolve to write more creatively. And more importantly, I write—daily.

Yes, doctor, I am taking your advice to follow my bliss.

Brokeback Mountain is gone with the wind…

I’m beginning to dislike my food journal. A 3-week perusal shows that 1) I love sweet coffee cream, 2) I eat all day, and 3) I eat when not hungry.

The last discovery is the scariest because it means I’ve successfully stuffed my hunger cues into submission.

Now what? Honestly, I don’t know, but I just happen to work at the state’s flagship university, which means I have access to some of best dietitians and nutritionists in the nation.

In less than 5 minutes, I’m chatting with an intense woman, who explained that I have, in fact, subdued my hunger cues. She noted that as a hypoglycemic, I should eat every 3 to 4 hours. The new schedule is simple: breakfast at 7 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m., mid-afternoon meal at 3 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., and a 100-calorie snack before bedtime, if needed.

“Sugar is really, really bad for hypoglycemics. You should go cold turkey to stave off diabetes,” she added.

Me (yelling to no one in particular): Sugar, I wish I knew how to quit you.

You: (dramatic eye roll)

Me: Great Brokeback Mountain reference, huh?

You: (long, uncomfortable pause)

Okay. So, I’ll just worry about quitting coffee cream—tomorrow.


Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…

For some insane reason I allowed my cousin Cynetha to talk me into participating in a 10-day ab challenge. Yes, it’s as painful as you imagine. Yesterday, I successfully completed a torturous workout that included 20 sit-ups and a 20-second plank. Today, I did 30 sit-ups, followed by a 30-second plank.  

Uh, I don’t about you, but I hate planking. It hurts. Seriously! My arms are still burning.

As I sit (trying not to breathe ‘cause my abs hate me), I’m wondering if I should add Cynetha to my growing list of enemies. It’s a long list and I’m quite proud of that fact.

Challenges—some are scary and some are downright painful.  But, most are life-changing, life-altering, life-affirming.

I set a goal to lose 5 percent of my current weight by June 30. Still, I keep derailing myself. Some days I realize that eating a box of cupcakes negates hours of exercise, but some days I don’t realize what I’m stuffing in my face until I’m fighting the ants away from the cookie crumbs on my desk.

I am my own worst enemy, and yes I’m #1 on my enemies list.

Stress. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.

I’m still trying to incorporate “HALT” in my vocab. The acronym stands for hungry, angry, lonely or tired—the four most common triggers for emotional eating. Today I’d like to add “stress” to the list.

SHALT? Nope, that’s not a great acronym. HALTS is a bit better, but I digress.

According to WebMD, stress is a normal part of life. Stress becomes a problem when a person, say me, can’t relax between challenges. What’s more, 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments. Huh? So, does this mean stress caused me to gain weight? Don’t laugh. I think I’m on to something here.  

Last Tuesday I admitted to craving ice cream after 5 p.m. I should have admitted to eating ice cream at the end of most work days. Work has been, well, painful lately. I’m not dealing well and haven’t been for a long time. I can’t seem to de-stress after work without junk food and it’s showing in my blood pressure numbers.

Rebecca suggested I take up knitting. This led to an inane conversation on whether knitting is the same as crocheting. Is it?

Anyhoo, I wonder where I stashed my hooks and yarn?

Yes, Virginia. I ain’t ‘bout this life, either…

My sister Danielle is a long-time teacher and part-time assistant principal in Indiana.  She’s great at both. Being a principal at an elementary school is trying for my tender-hearted sibling, and yesterday was particularly trying.

While disciplining two little girls for fighting, one little Mike Tyson-wannabe taunted my sister with, “You ain’t gonna do nothing. You ain’t ‘bout that life.”  While my sister’s brain screamed, “aren’t,” she willed away her inner grammar Nazi and marched Mike Tyson, Jr. to her office.

Yep, it’s been a trying five days in America—bombings in Boston… thunderous explosion in Texas… street-smart little girl in Indiana. The Onion said it best—we Americans have reached our weekly quota for carnage, misery, confusion, heartbreak, and rage. I know I have.  

In his prime, Tyson could TKO an opponent in 91 seconds. Spinks, Bruno and Holmes walked (or were carried) away with a bevy of bruises and missing teeth courtesy of the former undisputed heavyweight champion.  

Bloody and bruised—that’s how I feel. No, I ain’t ‘bout this life today. Oh well, at least I didn’t bury my worry in food, and my sister didn’t lose an ear.  

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