The totally shame-free, actual-life, real-time blog where I tell all, show all--without nagging or whining (all right--maybe a little whining...)--in my attempt to stop being a fat middle-aged woman who avoids mirrors and clothing stores and start being a woman at home in her body...brought to you by a real woman, the Independent Weltha Herself. I won't give any advice, and I'm not asking for any--just companionship on my journey.

Every day...a new post. Every other real weight. Every pictures.

For every woman who has ever tried to just lose the extra weight and feel good...overall and about herself...and who lived to tell the story.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day the 143rd - Day 15 Of 30 Days of Truth

I love grocery shopping. I love coming up with cool recipes. I love food. Period. I think I am going to crack out the handy steamer and start steaming vegetables because I do so love them. And then, I think I will put them on whole leaves of Red Leaf Lettuce and make my very own steamed vegetable roll-ups, complete with my own homemade dressing...ah yes, this is food I can eat day after day, and vary so I get all sorts of goodies in my happy little system. Why, yes, I had a bagel sandwich this morning...what made you ask? I just did. I mean, I just did. And lunch was our typical...Work Salad Bar with the usual suspects...and at some point in the afternoon, I ate a banana...gave me energy and protein and potassium. All right, not so sure about that protein but still... And tonight--because I was waaaaaaay too weary last night--I am making the Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse again. Last time, I put too much tofu that was a problem. And this time, I am adding...yes, I am adding vanilla. A very good vanilla. And a pinch of salt to pull flavors together. And then, I am going to use my hand mixer...we will see. And now, the moment you've been waiting for: it's Day 15 of 30 Days of Truth. And the prompt is... What Makes You Cry? People--have you got a couple of hours? I am a weeper. Did it start with being bipolar? Or did it coincide with it? Who knows and who cares, I say. I cry. Easily. And I'm going to list what makes me cry easily:

  1. Being yelled at. I cry like crazy if someone yells at me or scolds me.

  2. Feeling stupid and as if I am not "getting" something. Especially if it's a something I think I should get. Easily.

  3. Thinking about my parents and remembering how cool they were and how much I miss them.

  4. Melanie's death in Gone With The Wind, and Scarlett getting dumped by Rhett.

  5. The Book of Common Prayer...Rite I brings the tears like nothing else.

  6. God's goodness to me.

  7. When I'm mistreated or feel I've been.

  8. Some of our anthems and hymns at church.

  9. Million Dollar Baby

  10. Being afraid for my future--I have to work on not doing allowing myself to think this way.

  11. Talking to my therapist--I don't think Janis and I have ever made it through a session without me getting weepy at least a little.

  12. Feeling heartbroken (oh, like this makes me unusual)

  13. When my bipolarity acted up all the time and even meds didn't control it too well.

  14. When something bad or sad happens to someone I care about.

  15. When I'm sick--I cry constantly then. Constantly. I do not make a good sick person. Doctors, beware!

And that about does it. I mean, I cry so easily it's not even funny...I am Weltha--see me weep!



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day the 142nd - Day 14 of 30 Days of Truth

Yes, I had a banana...I had a banana today...[imagine music note symbols which I was not able to insert...]

Breakfast was a banana--apparently our Work Cafeteria overstocked on fruit, and they are giving away fruit at $ .25 apiece, so yesterday, I bought 3 ripe bananas...and had one for breakfast today...

And there are grapes just waiting for grapes, green seedless Thompson childhood favorites, although in solidarity with migrant farm workers, I asked my mom to boycott grapes thanks to Cesar Chavez... Mom thought I was a goofball and said, "No." She bought the grapes. I probably ate them. So much for the budding radical, but oh, how I was trying...

And lots of lovely coleslaw today for lunch--less creamy than usual. Note to self: compliment cafeteria staff on Outstanding Coleslaw. I try to add mushrooms because they are soluble fiber, and tomatoes for the lycopene and cucumbers for whatever it is that they do and I know it's good, and spinach for the potassium and other minerals, and I add Louisiana Hot Sauce for a bit more flavor. It makes me happy.

Speaking of happy, I am HAPPY that SOMEONE in SPAIN is reading me and also that someone in INDIA is reading me...and someone in ENGLAND. Yes, it makes me so happy. And of course, DizzyLizzy in Aus...But where is my Russian???

Tonight is Choir practice, and I'm racing home to shower and clean up before I go...and see if my check is here (please God, please...) and then off to Choir. If I can squeeze in the time, I want to go to Whole Foods and get more carob powder and more Mori Nu silken tofu and then...WalMart for vanilla and yes, I'm makin' the stuff tonight and who knows? I might even go by Reasors and get some Fage Greek Yogurt and add some to the whole luscious stuff...and by golly, I'm gonna make that Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse sit up and bark.

Or something like that...

And now, we bring you Day 14 of 30 Days of Truth...

And here is the prompt:

What Makes You Laugh?

Things that are absurd and silly...those things make me laugh!

A friend in choir looked at me and saied "PHOEBE!" in a high-pitched voice, and I almost fell on the floor.

The line "soldiers wove a crown of thorns, and pressed them on His head" became "and Preston on his head" thanks to Preston our bass...and several of us laughed until we were almost ill...

Absurdity...I remember seeing a movie where a detective is standing in a children's room at a church and gesturing with a toy in his was a comedy but this was supposed to be a "serious" moment...the detective talking about leads, suspects, etc., and the toy in his hand--I think it was a big plastic bumblebee--made me laugh senselessly....

The silly jokes of my childhood...Danny Kaye when he had his program on TV...any southern female comedy writer--the Deep South is funny all by itsownself...

The movie Adam's Rib with Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy--they were hilariously funny...the lines from Casablanca "are my eyes really blue?" and "I'm a drunkard."

My cats when they wrestle each other or slap at each other (but not at me...Fafnir, you know who you are!)

Things that are innocent but can be misconstrued...sorry, I laugh at those too...

Kathy the Cantor saying "These people who think they know better than the Wesley Brothers!" in reference to the re-written lyrics to great classic hymns in our hymnal... favorite is: "I cannot brain today; I has the dumb." Oh yeah...

My brothers--Mr Witty and his twin...

I laugh so easily...oh, something I read almost 30 years ago in Reader's Digest called "Motel of the Pharoahs" and laughed until I was almost sick...

Former students Chris P, Franky S and Albert L. Dang they were funny!

Can I stop here? I will be writing for weeks...I love to laugh. LOVE to!



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day the 141st - Day 13 of 30 Days of Truth

Yes, it did. A whole lot better.

Remember yesterday that I said I had actually made the Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse and it wasn't all that dark or mousse-like and it didn't taste all that chocolate?

Remember also how I said I wondered if letting it sit overnight might make it taste better?

It sat overnight. It tasted better. A whole lot better.

That Vegan Mousse--made with tofu and soy milk and carob and cocoa and stevia--isn't where I want it yet, but it is indeed better...and I think I know the path forward. The path is named "vanilla." I'm convinced of it...and maybe a better cocoa...we'll see.

Yes, I had a bagel this morning. An Asiago Veggie Sandwich. I know...I just didn't want to get up and go to work this morning. I mean, I like my work--it's getting more complex which means it is getting more interesting for me. But I was tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiired, and the alarm woke me (again...) and I just didn't want to get up. So...I promised myself that I would get a bagel IF I got out of bed RIGHT THEN. And I did...and got the bagel sandwich. And the green iced tea that I looooooove.

And lunch was the salad bar, complete with loads of wonderful's so inexpensive and so...right there. It's such a good deal.

Tonight is my Lenten Study and I am wondering about having something to eat before I go OR waiting until I get home and having something...I may wait...

Last night, I didn't do much--I mean, I did some cleaning after going to the library and the next thing I knew, that was about it. I went to bed, started watching a movie (about the famous Scarlet Pimpernell of the Vatican--Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty who smuggled Jews and downed Allied troops in and out of the Vatican under the noses of the Nazis...played by Gregory Peck who was much handsomer than the original Hugh O'Flaherty. And the evil Nazi was played by Christopher Plummer, who plays such a great bad guy...with Pius XII played with great subtlety by Sir John Gielgud...) and I fell asleep...but at least I had done the cleaning, put the trash out, washed my face...and now, I was in bed, watching a DVD...

And now...on to Day 13 of 30 Days Of Truth.

And the prompt is:

Something You Appreciate Now That You Didn't In The Past

That one's easy: Writing Letters and Notes Which My Mom Instilled In Me...

Growing up, I loved Christmas (and used to pray that I wouldn't die on Christmas Eve and miss my gifts...) but I hated writing thank-you notes. I'm just surprised I didn't pray that I might actually go on to my reward AFTER receiving the gifts but BEFORE Mom could sit me down and make me write every last person...

I thought it was a major waste of time--I mean, I had already said thank you to the person who gave me the gift, just after I tore the paper off and just before I picked up the next gift...

I thought my mom was...a pain, as do most children at some point. But year after year, whenever I received a gift at Christmas, birthday or some special event such as a graduation, I had to write The Notes.

Fast forward many years, and now, I am reading Miss Manners about doing the same thing. Only this time, it's a Thank-You letter, a Condolence Letter, and who knows what...

And the next thing you knew, I was investing in Crane's stationery and writing...thank yous, condolence letters, and heaven knows what else.

And I appreciate Mom for making me do this, because people thank me for the notes and letters.

"Oh, you didn't have to do that!"

Oh, yes I did. Someone has bought me a gift--picked it out, purchased it, wrapped it, given it to me. Yes, I needed to write a note.

Someone has died...and the family member whom I know is in need of being surrounded by community. Somehow, a phone call isn't permanent enough. Often, trying to say something isn't such a great idea because people need to be alone when they "hear" what you have to say. An email? Well, who prints those out? And the sentiment is lost.

But a letter...that can be kept, put in a file, put in a pigeonhole in the desk, put in a scrapbook...and read again. It says that someone cared...and it says it again and again.

So I am thankful for Mom...I am deeply appreciative that she sat me down, once my handwriting became readable and forced me to write notes.

I developed some skill in writing them. People thank me for them--I know people save them. They speak sympathy, compassion, gratitude and thanksgiving in a way that nothing else does.

The irony is that I seldom receive a thank-you note (and sometimes, I don't end up writing them when I should), and I have never received a condolence letter. Lots of cards with the statement "I'm sorry for your loss" and I'm sure it is sincere, but nothing that helps in the difficult moments...

Yes, I really didn't appreciate Mom's labors with me, but I definitely do now.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Day the 140th - Day 12 of 30 Days of Truth

Here we are...Day 140 and no, I haven't weighed myself since last week, are you kidding me? I know better than to get on the scales every single day...that leads to...burying one's head in a pound bag of M&Ms...But in very happy news, I have a reader in INDIA! Thank you, whoever you are! Last night, I did it. I made the Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse according to directions--with the exception of using 1/2 the amount of Stevia it called for. Or maybe the original called for sugar (actually, it did...and I used crystalized Stevia...3 T instead of 6 T sugar...which was WAY too much sugar for me...) First of all, it's creamy like pudding, not fluffy like mousse. That's okay by me. Second, it isn't all that chocolatey, even with the use of both CAROB and COCOA. Some experimenting is either in order or I need to adjust. Third, it tastes...not all that great. I think it needs more vanilla (I used vanilla soy milk but I don't think that was enough) and just a tiny amount of sea salt to sharpen the flavors. Very tiny amount. This next time, I may try using my hand mixer instead of the blender. I want to see what that does. I did use Fage Greek Yogurt to top it, and that was sorta...not great. So...I might sweeten the yogurt with a bit of something. And I'm also thinking of what might happen if I used some nut butter in it. Defo make a heavier texture unless LOTS of whipping with hand mixer, and an increase in calories (which isn't that big a deal because it's not going to be a monster increase and it's also going to be even more nutritious.) Of course, the Fage Greek Yogurt wasn't bad, so we will see. And I'm thinking of using Greek Yogurt in the recipe itself, and yes, that defeats the Vegan thing, but then, I'm not a vegan all the time. Or really, at all. I eat some animal products--not a great deal, but some. So no recipe-posting until I come up with something I really am pleased with. And of course, I'm letting it sit over night to see if that helps with the flavor, so now, there are 2 (because it didn't make 4; it made 3) sitting in the refrigerator in their crystal glasses covered with plastic wrap. Again, a bagel this everything with veggie cream cheese. Because I wanted it. I have to work on me. I always have a reason: "it's Sunday morning" "It's FRIDAY!" "It's...MONDAY" I have way too many reasons to have a bagel; the moving is over. I need to stop acting like I'm in trauma and can only be helped by bagel application... Today lunch salad bar complete with lots of coleslaw. Defo have to work on this. I can make better coleslaw, and I have Julie's recipe at home. Tonight is a fun night--my wonderful housemate is out for the evening, so I will be pounding nails into the wall to hang pictures. I really didn't want to do that when she is here...I can't think that is ANY fun to listen to. And I might bake bread again tonight. Or at least try... And now...Day 12 of 30 Days of Truth. And the prompt is: Someone (Not A Family Member) You Admire And Explain Why Oh yeah, like I was going to just post a name and leave it at that...because that's just how I roll... Not an easy one...should it be someone famous? Someone famous and no longer living? Someone I know personally? Man? Woman? I'm gonna go with Keith the English Prof. He's not one of the Usual Suspects on my blog, but I do admire him. And here is why. He's a good guy. Keith and I have never been and are not and I cannot imagine us being romantically interested in each other--we are just far apart enough in age that neither of us are interested that way, and other interests that matter too much to both of us are just not shared. I mean, he hikes, bikes, backpacks, and I...go to movies. The "romance" thing isn't there, but what is there is a really good friendship. As in a really good friendship. We both hope that he finds the right girl and that I find the right guy. That's a friend! So, I'm gonna go for the easy and make a list (because Weltha loves her some lists):

  1. He's a faithful friend--and that means a lot. He always sticks with me and is on my side.

  2. He's an excellent college professor--students get a great deal out of his self-discipline and his orderly presentation of work. He grades fervently to get those papers back. Soon. That takes a lot of saying "no" to other things.

  3. He's a really good son--his mother died, and he had the comfort of knowing he had spent time with her and been a loving son. His father is dealing with some health situations as he ages--and Keith is right there with him, visiting him on Sundays and helping him negotiate his later years.

  4. He's funny! Keith has a wackadoo sense of humor and the ability to play on words. He makes me laugh.

  5. He's intelligent. I mean, he knows stuff. I like that in people. Particularly in men (take note, fellas...I like 'em smart...)

  6. We like some of the same people. A lot (don't you just love the folks who love your peeps? Yeah, me too.)

  7. He's a guy I can hang out with who really respects women, who really is a sincere Christian without some of the weirdnesses that Tulsa can produce, and we never run out of cool things to talk about.

  8. He takes great care of himself, and encourages me to do the same without being nagging or preachy. That's not easy!

  9. He is willing to go to movies with me--in fact, I've see a few of my favorites with him.

  10. He's a kind, disciplined, decent person. He cares about his students--many of them talk with him and open up about their concerns. He's a good listening ear and an adult who validates their real concerns.

I admire Keith a whole bunch. I'm so glad to have him as one of my good friends. Oh, he writes essays and poetry and is good at both. Really good--and he has encouraged me to write more.

I could have chosen loads of people, too. Bishop, Kathy the Cantor, Poodle, Woodstock, Dawn, Debbie, Mr. Debbie, Bill the Presence, and on and on and on I could go...and I chose Keith because he's not someone who thinks that he sorta deserves to be mentioned (not that the others do, either) as a person people admire.

But lots of them do admire him. With reason.

I said it before and I'll say it again--I'm glad he's my friend.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day the 139th - Day 11 of 30 Days Of Truth's Sunday (Sunday...Sunday...Sunday). I was Lector at St. Jerome's this morning, which--for the uninitiated in liturgical ways--means I'm the one who reads the scriptures. Now, I don't read all of them. I read an Old Testament passage first; then, we chant the Psalm, which is a lot cooler thing to do than you might think; then I read a New Testament passage from an Epistle. Finally Bishop reads from the Gospel. And yes, we read passages appointed for the day. A visitor told me I did a really nice job--that meant a lot. Charles F told me that he was glad I am at St. J's--that meant a lot too. The Choir did a good job. Trust me, I'm sure Jeff the Choirmaster felt it meant a lot to him! I'm sure it meant a lot to Bishop. And of course, it means a lot to us that we did an okay job. I had a lovely bowl of...yogurt+ for breakfast this morning and then got myself a big Blackberry Jasmine iced tea but no bagel. And left the tea in the, hiss... And after church, had 1 1/2 deviled eggs, very good. And then to Mexicali for lunch with choir and friends and had a very good time. Eric, Preston, Havah, Kathy the Cantor, and me. What a fun bunch!! I had a thing of guacamole, which made me very happy. Oh, and water with lime in it. And now, I am here...I very well may make the Vegan Dark Chocolate Parfait today...I'm hoping I will. It's mostly "stuff"--oh, actually, it's ALL stuff--that is good for and cocoa and well, it's all good... And I will report tomorrow on whether or not it's great or if it is fairly awful. If it's good, I'll post the recipe. It's Sunday so ON PURPOSE, I'm not unpacking any more unless I just want to. I may get rid of my old electric blanket even though it still works because I have a very nice one I have used only one year, and it would be good to use the new, updated model. The reason it's hard to part with the old one is that my mom bought it for me when I was a kid (and yes, it still works!) and I remember the first time we used it, how she turned it up to level 5 to warm the bed, and then turned it down. It was so nice to be really warm, and that blue blanket is so tied up with Mom...She bought it because my little bedroom was really cold, and it made me feel so comfortable and cared-for. It's really hard to get rid of--it is a symbol and an actual emblem of my mother's love and care for me. There is not, I don't think, a single "single person" who does not miss that someone cared for them and made their physical and emotional comfort a priority. Ah, Mom... Yes, I miss my mom... And now, Day 11 of 30 Days Of Truth. And the prompt is: Someone Or Something You Could Definitely Live Without I don't want to pick a someone because I find that cruel to another human being and despite the fact that I get all het up on Facebook sometimes, I do not want to write that there is some person I could live without. However, I think the something that I could live without is the decay of kindness and elegance in life, and the sad triumph of vulgarity and cheapness and general crudity I see so often. I'm certain I'm not the only person who feels this way, but I deeply dislike such cant phrases as "take it to the next level" when discussing the intricate dance of relationship between two people who hope to and indeed do love one another. The "therapy generation's" tendency to air its personal grievances and lash out at others, pretending that it's all a part of being "open and honest" grieves me. I don't believe in hiding pain and sorrow until the person experiencing them feels like disappearing, but sometimes, I think we "share" in the wrong place and in the wrong way. I've done this. I don't like it. I'm trying to stop. And even though I am known to cuss now and again, there are times people are so crude, so vulgar, so common that life seems deeply cheapened and poverty-stricken. I can do without movies positioned at 8th-grade bathroom humor. I can do without reality TV that seems to exalt the very lowest and poorest aspects of human nature. I can live without a world in which love is exchanged for "getting laid," where nobility is traded in for sarcasm and mockery, and where knowledge is replaced with willful ignorance. I can live without a world where position, power and posessions are exalted over becoming human, finding your mission in the world, and making a difference. I miss a world of kindness, courage, gentleness and honor. And I just realized that, in the words of a cliche, I need to be the change I want to see... Independently, Weltha

Day the 138th - Day 10 of 30 Days Of Truth

Yes, yes, I missed yesterday, campers! I meant--I really did--to get to the library but just didn't manage it. So....I'm doing TWO blog posts on Sunday AND two Days of Truth today and posting several days worth to both FB pages. Pretend this is Saturday 3/26/11... All right...Saturday...slept until 8 am and people, this is like sleeping until the late afternoon for me. And unpacked, and unpacked, and unpacked. And stressed out my joints and stuff and then went over to Kat the Fellow-Alto's house and we talked and watched Bride and Prejudice which is the Bollywood version of Pride and Prejudice and a really fun movie. Yes, a good time was had by all. Yesterday (Saturday...), I had yogurt+ twice and that's about it! Not much to tell other than lots of boxes to the trash, lots of things unpacked, three (3, count 'em, 3) loads of laundry done, and just generally trying to figure out where to put things. Anyone else find that moving seems to go on forever? I'm looking forward to the unpacking being OVER and DONE with so I can really enjoy my new place. Meanwhile, my housemate had her little boys with her--and they are three really great people. I am one lucky--blessed, highly favored, whatever you want to say--woman. And I know it. Very happy place to be. All right, and today (yesterday...Saturday...3/26/11) is Day 10 of 30 Days Of Truth. And the prompt is: Someone Who Has Made My Life Worth Living Spoiler alert: it's my time to talk about Jesus. He's the one. I don't say "Jesus" because I'm a Christian and I'm expected to say this and it's the "right answer" sort of thing--but because it's the truth. I almost didn't want to put Jesus--not because I'm ashamed of being a Christian believer--but because it seemed so...cliched. I mean, what's a Christian SUPPOSED to say but "Jesus has made my life Worth Living." But He's the one who has, and no one else on earth can even come close. Not even light-years close... And I'll make it simple. He--His sacrifice for me, His Kingdom, His plan for my life--has made my life have meaning. I can handle pretty much anything except a meaningless life. I've known my share of suffering--and the one reason I have made it through is because I believe Jesus really loves me and has a plan for my life, one that gives me purpose and meaning. One of my friends said, "You've been through so much in the last few years, and yet, here you are, still standing, still...present and willing. I don't know how." I know. It's because Jesus is not some fictional or historical being. He is a real person, and I can know Him. And his plan for me--his calling--his vocation (whatever you want to say) makes my life worth living. I believe I am on earth for a purpose and that it's a GOOD purpose. I believe I am here to teach, and as I teach, I make Him and His goodness known to others. That makes life worth living. I believe my life is of significance. Nothing can replace that. No riches, no position, no power, no importance, no possessions, no experiences--nothing at all replaces the sense that my life is meaningful and significant. So yes, it is Jesus and Jesus alone who has made my life worth living. Really worth living. And it is that sense of purpose that has seen me through the darkest days of my life and brought me out on the other side. He's real. We can know Him. And He's good. Independently, Weltha

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day the 137th - Day 9 of 30 Days Of Truth

I baked bread last night, campers. Yes, I did.

Sorta worrying that I am going off the rails, but I wanted to bake bread. It has been forever and a month since I baked any, and it was time to baptize the new domicile in the perfume that is baking bread. Thank GOODNESS Tasha the Housemate (who is wonderful, by the way...) had a bread pan because my last ones were on their last little bread-making legs when I moved, and I gave them the local scavengers.

These last 2 weeks have been a time of spend, spend, spend--and not in the "Whoa, look at the sweaters and shoes I bought" sorta way. Spend as in the paying-for-moving-stuff and paying-for-final-bills and paying-for-replacing-stuff kinda way...So, girlfriend here hasn't had a great deal of the ready $ for fun and games...or for replacing cooking staples...they cost, I was out, and you know the rest.

So...the first bump in the road to Bread Wonder (see what I did there? Sometimes I just crack me up...) was that I could not find my favorite bread cookbook...have a feeling it is packed away in the storage unit, not to surface for...a while. So...not wanting to use my Union County White Bread recipe (my favorite, but it requires 2 pans...) in My Mother's Southern Kitchen, I pulled out another bread cookbook and finally found a recipe that I could...adapt. Substituted yogurt + water for milk (and added some demerara sugar to sweeten it up a bit) and cut the salt in half because many recipes seem to have WAY too much salt in them.

It rose beautifully. Tasha lent me a loaf pan (happily, and it was so gracious of her). I split the loaf down the middle with a sharp knife. Dusted the surface with flour. Put it in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, lowered it to 400 degrees and cooked another 20 minutes--all according to the recipe. And went in my room to unpack boxes and boxes of books. And made myself tired and sore...again.

And came out to the smell of...scorched bread.

All right, it wasn't horrible--I mean, it wasn't some blackened husk with a liquid interior. It was just...very very brown.

And a crust that would rival the steel-plated deck of a battleship...

But when I [finally] cut through the crust, a lovely bread. Again, not my favorite and needs some more sweetener (girlfriend here must experiment...), but a very nice, finely textured white bread. And hot. I had two [one very large] pieces hot out of the oven, slathered with real butter for dinner.

And left the rest--with a note explaining Crust Of Steel--for Tasha and her boys.

And this morning, I managed to crunch my last pair of reading glasses so it was off to WalMart for a set of new ones and then to Old School for a comforting bagel sandwich and a Blackberry-Jasmine iced tea...

Lunch today is yogurt. Probably dinner, too. Or maybe lunch is salad bar...nah, I want yogurt. Faster, and I need the protein because I had major leg and foot cramps last night...yes, I hurt. Hot bath with soothing stuff in it tonight, I think...

And now, Day 9 of 30 Days Of Truth. And the prompt is:

Something you wish you had done in your life.

All right, if I wanted to be a little snake, I would post that I wish I had indeed taken my Junior year in Madrid, and leave it at that. You read yesterday's post (you did, didn't you??) and you know I posted that what I wish I hadn't done was to turn down the chance to study in Madrid my Junior year.

But I'm not gonna do that because it's

I wish I had traveled more when I was younger.

I mean, I'm going to travel more as the $$$ becomes available, but I wish when I was young, I had gone more places. I am extremely proud of myself for my 3 weeks in England in summer 2005 (2 weeks at Oxbridge, the C. S. Lewis Foundation conference; one week at Oxford and the other at my great love, Cambridge...)

And now, here is where I would like to have gone if money and time and need to work or be in school were not an issue.

  1. Defo do as much of the UK as possible. I love England, I am Scottish and Irish and Welsh, and I want to see as much as I can, particularly little villages and hamlets. Yes, I have seen way too many "heritage film" movies, and I cherish an image of England that probably doesn't exist. "Jerusalem" is playing in the background of my mind as I type this...

  2. France--thank you, Aunt Helen, for instilling a love for France and the French and thank you Bill the Presence for reinforcing it. I must go there. I must walk along the Champs d'Elysee...and see the Arc de Triomphe...and the rest.

  3. Italy--Thanks to Dr. Echols, my college Art History prof, I fell in love with All Things Italian long ago, and must, must, must see Brunelleschi's Dome and Gates of Paradise and the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace and the Vatican, oh dear God I have a feeling that when I walk into the nave and see TU ES PETRUS, I will fall on my knees in total overwhelm and just think I have died and gone to Art Heaven...

  4. Egypt--I have to see the antiquities in their home nation, as much of the Tut treasures as I can (after seeing them in 1976 at the still my heart...), and of course, ride a camel and go see the pyramids and the Sphinx. Why not?

  5. Morocco--I don't care if I have to wear a chador or a burka with only my eyes showing, I will walk the streets of Marrakesch and visit the local souk. And buy "stiped jelabahs we can wear at home...let me hear ya now..." And ride the Marrakesch Express...

  6. And visit all the standing camps from the Holocaust and stand with bowed head and heart before the memory of the 6 million...

  7. Russia and Ukraine--because I have to. Because this totally non-Slavic girl has a Slavic heart...

I wish I had done those things when I was younger.

But it's not too late.

PS--Peppermint Tea is the BOMB for upset works. It does.



Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day the 136th - Day 8 of 30 Days Of Truth

And...we're BACK!

Oh, that makes me feel like Larry King, except not for being a guy or married a bazillion times or so old...

Last night, I had 3 pieces of soy cheese for dinner...and after that, didn't have anything else. I get home at night, and after an "event," I am often soooooooo tired that I don't feel like eating. So I don't.

I suppose it beats compulsive, constant eating, but I am working at leveling out toward eating regularly and eating healthy foods, but not eating too much.

This morning, I made myself 25 minutes late for work (and no one gets on me; I just adjust my hours by working later and/or having a shorter lunch. But it actually has something to do with this blog: all I wanted to do was get some peppermint tea (which I did...and have had one cup...) and get some Fage Greek Yogurt. up early (5:55 am), got ready for work, and headed out at about 7 am. Plenty of time and still get there a bit early.

Off I drove to my favorite "I can get Fage" store...and they had the peppermint tea (Bigelow's Peppermint). I even got some more almond butter (not the lovely East Wind because Akin's wasn't open....)

Then I wended my way over to the yogurt and alas, there was no Fage in the large size. I mean, to have nearly the same amount, I would have had to spend much more on several small containers.

So...I drove ALL the way to the "other" store--about...4.5 miles (and of course, gas is soooooooooo cheap...ha!) and bought my Fage yogurt (not the 0% fat...doggone it...) and headed off to work.

What I did for love...breakfast is grapes this morning because by golly, I am losing this weight. I am determined to be at or under 200 sometime in early June. I like being thinner...I like being healthy...I like wearing cute clothes...I like not having my joints hurt or my head ache...

Yes, I'm at the point where I have to just grit my teeth and keep eating right because I know what the outcome will be. Period. This is the hard time. Very hard.

And now, on to Day 8 of 30 Days Of Truth. And the prompt is:

Something You Wish You Hadn't Done In Your Life

Oh sheesh-a-palooza! I really don't like some of these. So...I will pick one that's not too "yikes, Weltha, what were you thinking?"

I chose not to take a year abroad when I was a college Junior.

I could have spent a year in Madrid (I was taking Spanish Literature at the time), and for a variety of reasons...not wanting to leave my friends, not wanting to leave my church, just being...timid...I didn't go.

It wouldn't have been easy to fit my major (biology) in, but I could have. And I would have seen a beautiful city I have never seen yet. I would have been able to travel in Europe and in the UK very easily. I would be fluent in Spanish today because of it. I would have had a great reason to save and travel much more. I would have made friends in Spain itself and friends among other international students--particularly from my own college--studying in Madrid.

I really regret making that decision. I don't mean that good things didn't happen to me--they did. I had a great roommate my Junior year. I took both Milton and High Renaissance Art in Italy. I loved those two classes. I took Chemistry both semesters and received an A each time--I don't know if I could have managed doing that in Spanish. I loved my Chemistry labs.

But I wish I had at least considered the possibility seriously as something good rather than something I was afraid--in my lack of understanding about God and His nature--that I would "have" to do, and that would make me lonely and unhappy. I just think it would have been a very good thing for me to do--or at least to consider.

Since that time, I have only traveled abroad once. Oh, I've been to Canada and Mexico and Belize. But across an ocean? Only once. And I am fairly sure that if I had spent that year in Madrid, I would have made travelling abroad a priority, particularly when I was young and unencumbered...

I think what I regret the most is that I chose to be closed-off from something that could have been adventurous and wonderful. What I needed at that age was the ability to step out on my own instead of being so dependent on the decisions of others. It is the choice to be unwilling that I regret more than anything at all...
This just in...I have been drinking peppermint tea, and I can definitely say that it calms an upset stomach...either the stomach itself or it will calm down an upset colon (yes, IBS...) It works. Peppermint is also good for babies who have colicky stomachs and the tendency to not keep food down.
And now, you know!



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day the 135th - Weigh-In Wednesday - Day 7 of 30 Days of Truth

Whoa, we're busy on Blog Weltha today...Weigh-In Wednesday AND Day 7 of 30 Days Of Truth.

And now, the moment for which you have been waiting...drumroll, please.

227 on the scales this morning. I know, I was 222 LAST time...

Here's what I think. I don't think I gained 5 pounds. I think maybe--just maybe--I put on one or two (or maybe even stayed even) but I have new scales and have no idea how "correct" they are.

So...we're gonna take this as gospel (the gospel of weight-loss, not the real gospel...) and start here.

No, I don't like it either, but I'm goin' with it.

And girlfriend is gonna get jiggy with the exercise. Remember, I am buying an elliptical from my grad school friend in a few weeks...

Last night...after Lenten Study Group (which was huge fun despite sounding as boring as watching the grass grow...we laughed a whole lot. Thank you, Preston! "smaller Bible," indeed!), I came home and had some popcorn and then some homemade cocoa halvah. If you have never tried halvah, it's good for you. All it takes is tahini (sesame seed past which you can get at any health food store or in most groceries over in their Ethnic sections with the Jewish foods), mixed with some honey and then add some cocoa. It's great.

Halvah is an easy little dessert, and I have a feeling a girl could use a thicker tahini and then refrigerate the halvah and make little candies. No, you can't be swallowing honey like it's water, but a little doesn't hurt, and it really tastes good. I need to experiment making halvah with brown rice syrup or with malt something sweetener and see if that works (they have a low glycemic index; that is, they don't spike your blood sugar.) Yes, you can buy halvah but remember, it has lots of...stuff...added to it. Make your own; cheaper and better.

And remember, cocoa has antioxidents in it. It's not "the devil."

And this morning, because I was feelin' sorta better and needed to pamper myself, I got an Everything Bagel with vegetable cream cheese. And the Blackberry-Jasmine iced tea.

I mean, whatcha gonna do? Life has been rough recently, and I needed to be nice to Weltha. However, I am also going to be really nice to Weltha, stop eating bagels as if they are leaving Planet Earth in 15 minutes, and get some peppermint tea because that soothes the upset stomach and wackadoo colon. Thank you all for your kind comments. I hate feeling no bueno, but I am better today.

By the way, peppermint tea is good and it's not some insipid nasty stuff. It's good, and I can sweeten it with liquid Stevia (which is very good for sweetening cold or cool drinks...)

I swear, I'm gonna make that vegan chocolate parfait this weekend. I am. I gotta have me some chocolate. In a healthy form. I will sweeten it with Stevia crystals and I think it's going to be great. Will report back. Promise.

And now...the other moment for which you have been waiting: Day 7 of 30 Days Of Truth.

And the prompt reads:

Something You Initially Thought Was Bad And Then Realized Was Good

All right, let's take something from my youth.

I did not get a major scholarship at a private Junior College that I wanted to attend back in the Home State.

I applied for this scholarship through a women's organization that sponsored it.

"Oh, you'll get it! You're a shoo-in."

And I believed that. I had visited the college a few times, and it was only an hour away in my sister-in-law's hometown. I had played piano for ballet recitals there, and I loved it. It was a small school, very pretty, and it was close to home. Mom and Dad had said that I could defo have my own car. Woo and hoo.

So...there I was. Waiting for the news to come any day that Weltha had the scholarship.

And the letter came.

I opened it.

I didn't get the scholarship. I burst into tears. I was totally crushed. And then, I found out that the college was not offering me much in the way of financial aid. As in, not much at all. And it was April. April of my senior year in high school...

However, a family friend had walked into my mom's office a week or so earlier and told my mom that he and his wife really wanted me to apply to the college back East where both his mother and his oldest daughter had attended. They felt I was perfect for the school. In fact, he felt so strongly that he asked if he might use my mom's office phone to call the Admissions Director at the school.

He called; asking my mother for the info, he told the Admissions Director my class rank, my scores on the SAT and on a few other standardized tests, what I had been involved in as a student and a school citizen, and what kind of girl I was.

"Do you think you would have room left in the entering Freshman class this late?"

"For a girl like that, we'll make room."

And the rest...was history. I applied, was accepted, and received an incredible financial aid package. Which I needed. My dad was, after all, a school teacher. And retiring the year I graduated from high school. My mom was a part-time Executive Secretary for the American Red Cross. We're weren't exactly rakin' it in...

But there is more to the story. I went to this college. I loved it. I grew academically. I grew intellectually, and socially, and culturally. And terribly important to me, I met other Christians like me, and I grew spiritually. I found a home church--and became part of the first Christian "community" of my life.

Going back East changed my life. For the better. Perhaps the little Junior College in the Home State would have done the same thing--I will never know. But I believe that going East was God's good plan for my life. I have long-time friends from that era. I am friends with some of their children. I got to study and live in a beautiful Southern state, and I was able to travel up and down the East Coast. I loved it. I still do. I went to a great school and met great people.

When I received that letter telling me I had not received the scholarship, I felt as if it were the worst thing on earth. I felt so crushed, and I didn't know where I would go.

And then...because I lost that scholarship, and because I got such a small financial package from that school, and because a man walked into my mother's office, I went East. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me at that age. I would not trade the friends and relationships I have, nor would I trade what happened to me spiritually, for anything. This was not merely a good experience that came out of this situation--it was a GREAT experience.

Ah...bless those people for not giving me that scholarship...



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day the 134th - Day 6 of 30 Days Of Truth

Hellooooooooooo campers! How nice of you to join me today and a special shout-out to Debbie from California [whose blog "Ribbonwood Cottage" is one of the blogs I follow over to the right of this post, not to mention her wonderful Etsy shop!] who is praying for Sister Grumpy here. I am better, and am almost back to being the sparkling Weltha.

When I was a kid and I was sick or downcast or upset, my mom would say, "Well, honey, you just seem like you've lost your SPARKLE!" Years ago, I said that to Scott my Co-worker and he said, "Oooooooh, I don't like that. I don't think I have sparkle!"

Since that day, I have made it my mission in life to hang out with men who do have sparkle and are the first to acknowledge it. Anyhoodle, girlfriend here is getting her bearings back. And people praying for me is one of the reasons...

India buffet yesterday for the co-worker's b'day: it was GREAT--it's at a restaurant that I love but which for some reason I have not visited in a couple of ice ages. I had lovely tomatoes and cucumbers in that raita dressing, combined with some curried meat (yum, oh yum, oh yum) and tandoori chicken, saag paneer (creamed spiced spinach--yes, spinach!--with cubes of this incredible's great and generally the idea of creamed spinach makes me want to be very ill...), and the extraordinary mango lassi (a wonderful drink made with yogurt and fresh mangos). And of course, naan bread. I would like to propose to the onion and especially to the garlic naan. I didn't go back for seconds, and I did enjoy everything, particularly that garlic naan. It was so good and fresh--all of it. I ate joyfully without any worries.

And this morning, because I am stiff and sore from still lugging boxes and stuff, as I slooooooooooowly unpack, I treated myself to an everything bagel with chive/onion cream cheese from Old School Bagel Cafe. Said it once (or 57 times...) and I'll say it again, if you live in "my town" or you are visiting "my town," come on down to Peoria between 31st and 41st and visit Old School Bagel Cafe, owned and operated by my friend Scott the Bagelman and his merry band of bagel-persons. Sure, it's mostly guys, but a few notable women work there, and it's a great place.

And I had the blackberry-jasmine iced tea and doggone it, I left it in the car...sheesh...

And although I am still kinda stiff, I am--for the very most part--no longer in el crappo mood. Or as Susan Y's daughter says, "craptastic." I love "crap"--it's an all-purpose swear word without all the guilt. Although I must confess that I am not a stranger to swearing, as many of you are aware...However, girlfriend here is struggling today with [spoiler: potential TMI] upset colon. Just your basic colon spasms, set off no doubt by being upset. I have not had it this bad in many years...I hurt--not horribly--but just a dull ache. I am not likin' it...not likin' it at all...and in the immortal words of my friend The Ringmaster (whose blog "Because It's My Blog" is one of the blogs I follow over at the right of this post), I feel "no bueno." Thank you, Ringmaster, for giving me the words I need...I'll get over this, but the whole thing is "no bueno." Fooey and double fooey...

But now...on to Day 6 of 30 Days Of Truth. And today's prompt is:

For What Do You Never Receive Compliments?

And because I'm back at "woo hoo, let's have fun" mode, my short answer is:

my athletic abilities.

And this would be because....? you ask.

Because I ain't got any!

All right, all right, that's not exactly correct. But let's start with the "ain't got any" part.

I am not a track star nor ever have been. Yes, I have the tall and rangy (when I'm thin...) build of one, but I am not a runner. I can't play basketball; when I was in high school at 5'9", I probably looked like one, but I'm not. I'm not an especially great volleyball player although I would LIKE to think that I might have had some talent in that area. I took fencing in college and was told I had promise, but not being an athletic sort, I never developed it. I had some promise as a swimmer but never, etc., although an ex-boyfriend said I had a swimmer's body, whatever that meant and whyever he said it, oh let's not go there...never could play softball or baseball, either...

I have never played soccer in my life because I'm sorta the wrong generation for it. And unlike The Brothers, I am not a tennis player. I wish I had been because I would have loved to carry on the family tradition of being a tennis star, but it never happened. I just couldn't get into the game, and I didn't have any desire to develop the discipline to learn, practice, and perfect.

But...remember how I said that it wasn't exactly true that I had no athletic abilities?

I have two. Two areas where I actually have some skill and talent, and possibly there is a third area. Let's start with

Somehow, I have always had this idea that on a smooth, clipped lawn (preferably in Kent--the "garden of England") on a warm spring day, dressed in am elegiac [no, not a synonym for "elegant"] white linen dress and a big, swoopy hat, I might have been capable of Killer Croquet. I love croquet, and we played loads of it when I was a kid, but it has fallen out of fashion. I'd like to resurrect that fashion a bit, and have croquet parties on the lawn. Of course, actually having a lawn would help, but we do have a back one where I live, and it's a thought....anyhoodle, I think I might have developed some skill there.

But I did have one particular athletic skill in high school: I played Killer Badminton. And I do mean Killer...Why? Because I was P.E. Nerd of the Year, and sometimes, some of the other girls were...not so nice about the fact that although I could beat all of them (except Sandy Coombs...and even her occasionally) academically, I was a total Sports Geek. But something about badminton was made for me...I didn't have to have much speed or much strength, but I needed quick reflexes and agility. I had both in spades. And when I played opposite those who felt a need to taunt me in volleyball, well, I used the birdie as a weapon and aimed that little sucker straight at them...

"Ms [fill in the blank of the PE teacher...I had several...], Weltha is HITTING ME WITH THE BIRDIE!" [waah, waah, waah...]

Of course, I never got into trouble--because no PE teacher ever believed that I was capable of that much athletic skill, because I was a really good student, and because I was sort of a good kid...never made trouble, never late to class, never talked back...okay, talked in class but why aren't you surprised?

Anyhoodle, it was terribly sweet revenge...mwahahahahahahahahaha....

And finally, the actual, real athletic ability I do possess but which no one ever sees is that I can paddle a canoe. As in, really paddle a canoe...

You know, where you don't ever take your paddle out of the water, where you never switch it back and forth over your head, where you don't go up the river in an exaggerated zig-zag...the "paddle a canoe" where you never bang the paddle on the side of the canoe or even make a sound. My Aunt Helen taught me how...and I used to take Daddy fishing down at Linden.

Before you say, " sweet!" my dad--who was a man among men--harbored no sentiment toward his youngest child as a paddler of the canoe on the way to Catching Those Fish (well, if he did, it wasn't much sentiment...). He really expected me to do it right--"Don't be talking loudly, don't bang that paddle on the canoe...or you will scare the fish away...and try to get my right under that branch on the third tree, right by the shore but for heaven's sakes don't run us into the bank!"

So I learned. Long arms and agility made it possible. Not to mention that I had to live up to Aunt Helen's reputation and also that of The Brothers, who raced people up the river...right-handed Bud in one end, and left-handed Bill in the paddling on a side "against nature"...extremely long arms, and all the strength of teenaged athletes...I didn't race people, but I was good. Very good.

And I still am. Paddling a canoe is just like riding a bicycle in that once you learn it, you can return to it years later...and you won't have forgotten a thing.

On the rare occasions I get into a canoe and get to start paddling, I'm as good as I ever was. And yes, I'm really proud of this because people don't look at me and think, "You know, I bet that gal can paddle a canoe!"

But I can...and no one ever compliments me on it because no one ever knows...

But now, you do!

Either Yogurt+ or Work Salad Bar for lunch today...and remember...tomorrow is Weigh-In Wednesday...and I'll tell you the truth, you know that!



Monday, March 21, 2011

Day the 133rd - Day 5 of 30 Days Of Truth

Good morning, all! Girlfriend here is in a famously grumpy mood and is not lookin' to break out of it in the next 12 minutes as she types this blog.
Why, you ask? Because I have cried hard two times in as many days and that's more than I am likin' at the moment.
This is the continuation and fall-out of yesterday's knock-down, drag-out.
And then people wonder why I hate strife as much as I do...and why I think it's a danger...I know, boggles my mind, too.
So for the 2nd day in a row, SHEESH-A-MUNDO and I feel like CRAPPO. On top of it, wee Fafnir refused to get into his carrier today. neutering. And I feel like a Bad Cat Mom because he's very upset with me.
Add to this that I got on the scales this morning and either I have gained several pounds or at least one of the scales (old one vs new one) has been set incorrectly. Yes, very very depressing. And without occasioning political commentary (code for "I don't want any comments on this blog about Obama or the Democrats or the Republicans or General Kaddafi or anything of that ilk or so help me, I won't post your comment. And I will not be happy."), add to that that we are at war with Libya...I swear...anyone else want to have a piece of the US? How about Canada? Sorry, Canadian reader. You all are more civilized than we are in the US, and I'm only kidding. By the way, I have a CANADIAN reader and an ITALIAN reader. And of course DizzyLizzy from Aus and Evelyn from Sverige! And possibly someone in Ireland! And it means ever so much.
Foodwise, last night was INDEED yogurt+ and I almost didn't have that...and I indulged in a little retail therapy. No, I didn't go buy a pair of $500 shoes...I bought some things I had been planning to buy--a really great set of OXO (do you know that brand? I get it at Target and it's GREAT!) measuring cups and measuring spoons. The metal ones. The really nice metal ones. And then, a movie. And also some killer eye-makeup remover from...BOOTS of the UK. "Boots the Chemist"--when I was in the UK 6 years ago, I visited Boots almost every day. I love Boots. If you ever go to the UK, Boots is a must. I love me the Boots!
This morning, despite a longing for bagel-o-rama (and yes, I had a bagel yesterday morning. I have decided a bagel of any sort each week on either Saturday or Sunday--yesterday was a Jalapeno bagel with vegetable cream cheese. I would have made it onion-chive, but I was going to be singing in the Choir...had I known, I would have had a doggone GARLIC bagel with the ONION-CHIVE cream cheese...and maybe asked for a slice of REAL ONION. Yes, grumpy mood...), I had grapes. Of course, it is my very nice co-worker's birthday celebration today )and grumpy here didnt' even get her a card...when I get mad, I get selfish...), and we are going for India buffet at lunch. Yes, I'm stoked. Tomorrow, I'll report what I ate. I love Indian food...and I love this particular buffet!
All right. It's Day 5 of 30 Days Of Truth. And here is the prompt:
Something About Which People Compliment You
Okay, it didn't really say it like that, but I felt the need for Grammatical Correctness...
My hair. People compliment me on my hair all the time for a couple of reasons.
First is that DAN cuts it great. Really great. He's so talented and he really wants it to look good. He succeeds. If you live in "my town" and you need a great stylist, just contact me and I'll tell you ALL about Dan. He's Dan the Man in my book.
Second, it's always a great color, and I have the bottle to prove it! It has ranged from REALLY RED to a deep warm brown (right now it's the latter...)
Third, it's thick. I really feel for anyone whose hair is thinning (particularly women because we can't just go shave our heads...well, we can, but people gawk...) and mine is like astroturf. It's thick. Very thick. Too thick sometimes but if I had to have one or the other...besides, Dan is a Master with the thinning shears.
I mean people talk about my hair a LOT. I love that. I love it because I know it's sincere and to a degree, I can affect the outcome. I mean, I can get a great cut, give it a great color, try to style it the best I can. So...I don't feel uncomfortable with the compliment. I mean, it's partly because of me. It's partly due to my effort. The thickness is Mom and my genes...that I can't affect. That's okay.
Indian in half an hour. I am hoping a really good meal and great company will improve my crappo mood.
Sorry, I'll be doing better soon...