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Black Thumb

Black Thumb

When I was a little tike, my father would force me to garden. I hated it, basically because it kept me from doing all the things little kids like to do—play the piano, hide in my closet and create colorful art on my Litebrite, collect wildflowers, and sing on the berm of the interstate at the top of my lungs so no one would hear me.

As I grew up, every flower, every plant, every garden I ever tried to grow died unsuccessfully. I considered myself a black thumb.

My father passed on about 11 years ago of pancreatic cancer. Before he died, he said to me, “So now it’s your turn to take care of your sisters and your mother.” I felt like he was passing down some sort of mantel. It felt heavy and I didn’t want it. I was the one who travelled anywhere anytime, never had a steady job, loved being completely free of responsibility. He had it wrong. This was not going to be my destiny.

But there is something about a Father’s last wish—it tends to stick in your crawl! Suddenly, everyone was coming to me with her problems and needs. And I, for some reason, had gleaned the know-how to help all of them. I actually enjoyed it. Let’s call it… co-dependency kicking in.

Something else happened during all of this. I spent 7 years with a florist and through osmosis, I guess, I learned the what and what-nots to do with flowers and gardens.

So, when I moved into my own house, I suddenly possessed my father’s green thumb. Everything I touched grew. I even stunned myself. Right now I’m looking at two orchids that are blooming so beautifully on my sideboard.  Everyone knows how hard it is to get an orchid to bloom, and yet, alas, they bloomed with no effort at all.

If you haven’t looked at my pictures on here, they are full of amazing flowers from my five gardens. I spend, sometimes, hours gardening each day. My sisters call me. I tell them I am out in the garden. They are generally stunned. They think that my dad, whom I never got along with when he was alive, is back haunting my body. I think they might be right.

Why am I so interested in flowers and pretty things now?

My first garden was herbs. I was a vegetarian chef. I thought, grow herbs! You can, at least, put your mind to doing that. I actually was successful at doing that. That’s how it all started. Then my mother moved in and encouraged me to add some color to a somewhat bland garden. From there, it was my dear friend Brenda Batey who gave me her 100 varieties of day lilies and my neighbor Karen who kept putting flowers starters on my doorstep every morning that made my gardens the way they are today. So, it was a little encouragement from the universe and friends; but, alas, I am now what most call a Green Thumb.

I embrace it fully. Ask me any question about flowers and I’ll be glad to tell you. The only thing black in this yard is the mulch!


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Eating too much Just Hurts My Tummy

Splurging Hurts My Tummy

So, last night didn’t turn out quite like I planned. There was no diet alternatives at the party. In fact, everything that I enjoy eating too much of was right at my finger tips. And guess who kept eating until I had to ask the host for an Alka Selzer? Yes, I had my red plastic cup in my hand, and guests were asking me what I was drinking. My bland reply….”Something fizzy inside, I think!”

God, I ate guacamole until it came out my ears. Thank you Jennifer Nelson for making it exactly like I enjoy it, with a tab extra cumin. Then chocolate mud-filled cupcakes, fuzzy navels, because there were no diet drink alternatives (note to self: bring your own drinks next time.) Then the pié de resistance: Alex’s Mexican mother made homemade fajitas. Okay. I couldn’t resist, even though I had already eaten dinner. (Could I be more of a glutton?) By the end of the evening, my stomach felt like it was a bulging blimp filled with wet sand. I couldn’t move or sleep last night. I had to get up and fantasize about sleeping in a chair. And… I’m very afraid to get on the scale this morning. I’m waiting for something to give, first.

What if I’ve gained another pound or two? What then? What will be my new plan for losing now 5 pounds?

There is another party tonight? Am I going to act the same and get tipsy and laugh my way through a steak, loaded baked potato and 3 desserts? “OH, BO, WHEN WILL IT STOP?”

I promised someone I wouldn’t mention him in this blog, so the person I’m not supposed to talk about says to me: “Oh my stomach hurts,” before mine even started hurting. And what did I see him eat after mentioning that? A dish of dump cake and some fajita without the bread. I mean really. Have we all gone mad? The table was filled with babbling overeaters, partying.

I guess that’s the point. We eat until we drop. That is our culture. Look at Thanksgiving and every kind of celebration we have. Everything is all about food, volumes of food until you can’t see, or some kind of pie you forgot to taste on your forehead, because you fell asleep in front of the television from food exhaustion.

I’m not sure if I’m done with this food fiasco. I don’t know if I’ve learned my lesson yet. But this morning, there will be no Cracker Barrel pancakes I’ve gotten that far in my morning proclamation! Hallelujah.


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Ciao or Chow

Chow or Ciao?

This week I’ve decided to devote the rest of my blogs to talking about losing weight and taking care of your body. Both are my passion, as I spend half of my work day helping people every day do both.

Chow is a familiar word for eating fast and lots of it… “Chowing Down.” But we all know that the Italian word “Ciao” for hello or, more appropriately, goodbye, is going to be more like it, if you keep Chowing and not “Owling” over what you eat.

Owls sit on their perch and watch night and day for prey. This is the same kind of watchful eye you must develop over yourself to become an “aware” eater, or you will not overcome the impulse to eat anything and everything and worry about it later.

I’m a watcher of people. When someone thin comes into my office, I ask pertinent questions about his/her habits so I can help my overweight clients change offense habits that are ruining their lives.

One thing that is absolutely true about a thin person is that he/she eats only the amount of food that keeps him/her from feeling hungry. If food tastes good, it doesn’t matter. It tastes good in the bites eaten. Thin people don’t have to finish the plate to get the good feeling of tasty food. They get the good feeling in the few bites that they choose to eat to fill their stomachs.

Most thin people don’t watch what kind of food they eat. They enjoy eating all kinds of food. They simply don’t eat a lot of it. They nibble and they nibble frequently, like your little poodle that stays 3 lbs. even though you leave his food out all day, taking a bite or two every two hours.

Most thin people are active people. They are not necessarily people who are killing themselves at the gym, but they tend to be doing lots of things during the day. They are never sedentary. Most of my thin clients spend little, to no time, watching television. And we all know that when we watch television, we eat snacks. And the snacks we choose are usually the worst ones because of the input we get on the television.

So, the moral of the story.  Find a thin person to watch this week (or a miniature poodle). Copy their habits when it comes to eating. There is no better way to become something than to model your behavior after someone who is adept at that behavior!  Watch thin, to be thin!


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