Dec 032014
 

Death has been on my mind a lot lately. A few people I know peripherally have lost someone close to them in the week, both were children. One was due to a long battle with an illness, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Recently Michael and I met with an attorney to to have a Will drawn up. It seemed like the responsible thing to do as adults and newlyweds who have assets. It didn’t bother me going into it because I’m practical and pragmatic in most things. I’m a planner. If I can plan for something, I will over-plan for it. That’s just who I am. So we met with a local attorney and had the papers drawn up. It still didn’t bother me until it got down to the nitty-gritty stuff. Like who gets the animals if we both go at the same time? I sure as hell don’t want them sitting in a cage at the humane society, where my cats will most likely be euthanized because they are older. I know that when we have kids someday and update this shit it’s going to be even more complicated and emotionally trying–who will take care of them when we both go?

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We also filled out Advance Health Directives–you know, the unplug me if I’m not waking up kind of forms. I’ve always known that I didn’t want my life prolonged if I was never going to wake up or get better. I watched two aunts die very slow, very painful deaths due to a genetic disease that had them in a nursing home with a feeding tube unable to communicate for the last decade of their lives. As a little kid visiting them, I knew then and there I didn’t want that. So it was fairly easy for me to fill out my wishes for the Directive.

It wasn’t comfortable, by any means. Especially when Michael and I started discussing different things and scenarios. We both tried to make jokes, to lighten the mood, but it was still uncomfortable.

I don’t know that anyone deals with loss very well. I know that I didn’t deal well with the big loss of my life, my grandfather. That was the start of my weight gain and depression issues. I had a flare-up of similar feelings this summer as I was preparing to marry the love of my life. It should have been a happy time. Mostly it was, but the stressors that popped up in the planning process triggered feelings in me I didn’t know how to deal with. Well, I did, I ate food I shouldn’t have. Hence the pounds creeping on. The closer the wedding got, the more anxious I felt. I withdrew from a lot of people, I was irritable and cranky, I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something horrible might happen to interfere with the wedding. My internal monologue was, I don’t deserve to be happy, something is going to ruin this. I won’t get my “DAY”.  I talked about this with my therapist. She tried to help me address the irrational anxiety attacks I was suffering from and honestly, once the wedding day was here, everything WAS alright and I WAS happy and nothing was ruined.

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Sure, these are all irrational fears and thoughts, everyone has them. But they were really overwhelming for me. I struggled. I didn’t share these feelings with very many people. I tried to share them with Michael but he doesn’t understand anxiety. He thinks it’s just something you can shut off. “Just stop thinking about it.” Mmmm. Right. I’ll do that.

Anyways. Last night after I got home from the gym, after Michael and I had eaten a delicious dinner he prepared for me and we settled in to watch some TV and relax, I saw something on Instagram from another blogger that made my heart stop and the breathe in my chest pause. She lost her husband.

You may have seen her blog, My Bizzy Kitchen, or you may have seen her comments on my blog. I’ve been a huge fan of her blog for years, since I first discovered blogs. She’s diabetic and counts her calories and her outlook on life has always been upbeat and positive when it comes to weight loss and keeping it off. Her recipes always look delicious and I’ve just enjoyed her posts over the years…

I knew her husband was really sick. He’d been in the hospital off and on this year and most recently he was there for an extended period of time. While I knew it it was serious from the bits and pieces she shared on her blog I had no idea it was this grave. When she posted last night that he had passed away at home surrounded by family, my heart broke for her and everyone there with her. Words just can’t describe how sad it made me feel.

It reminded me just how fragile life is. Things can change in a moment, completely unexpected, completely unplanned for. The rug is pulled out from your feet and you are on the floor on your back with a dazed feeling. That shock of grieve is something that, once you experience, you never forget. The disbelief. The sadness. The anger. All of it. I’ve felt it several times in my lifetime–my grandfather, my coworker a few years ago and one of my coworker’s daughters that died suddenly.

I hugged Michael and tried not to cry, feeling really sad about this blogger’s sudden sorrow. I started to think about the things that make me unhappy in my life and once again I asked myself, “If I died tomorrow, would I be satisfied with how I spent my time?” Would I be glad I spent time at a job that, while I enjoy the WORK, the environment is a toxic cesspool of unhappy, negative people? Would I be satisfied with how I spent my free time? Spending hours on Netflix disengaging because I just needed to escape? Or should I have spent that time doing something more fulfilling?  What about the countless hours every week I spend in the gym working out when I could be spending it with my husband and friends? People I love? Is the calorie burn more important than that? Is getting up early on the weekend to make a fitness class more important that sleeping in or snuggling with my husband for hours and being lazy? What about that Lean Cuisine I ate for dinner when what I really wanted was something REAL and delicious and nurturing? Was staying under my calories for the day more important that a happy, healthy, satisfied body?

These are things I think about often. I don’t know the answer to any of them. I’m sure we all have feelings of regret like this. It’s important not to be overwhelmed by these feelings. Not every moment of every waking person’s life needs to be focused on the bigger picture…sometimes the stuff we HAVE to do, or SHOULD do really are the priority. But what about that trip to Italy I’ve wanted to take my whole life? I keep putting it off because the money saved should be spent on something PRACTICAL and I don’t want credit card debt…but what if I never get to see Italy?

I think we all get hit with these thoughts and feelings once in awhile. If you are a fan of MyBizzyKitchen, go over to her blog and send her some good vibes. I’m sure this is a really hard time for her and her family. My heart goes out to them. Hug your loved ones.

 

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Oct 112012
 

Recently I went out to lunch with some coworkers to celebrate another coworker’s birthday. It was a different kind of birthday celebration, more a memorial. Some of you long term readers might remember last August, my office experienced some tragedy. It was a really sad, dark time and no one should ever have to attend two funerals in one day. But this post is not about sadness, it’s about food!

So to celebrate Flo’s birthday, we all went out to lunch to her favorite place, Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Portland. It was a nice way to kind of honor her memory. It’s still weird not having her in the office and I think we all think about her pretty frequently still.

Anyways, back to the food. I rarely eat at chain restaurants. Michael and I are kind of foodies and love trying new (or new to us) restaurants. Portland has a fantastic food scene, many restaurants boasting Michelin chefs, so it’s fun exploring that. In preparation for going out to lunch, I checked out the Rock Bottom menu online to see what they had. This is the norm for me. I like going into a restaurant prepared. This doesn’t mean I always go with the “healthier” option but I at least try.

I was happy to discover that this place offered nutritional stats for all their food! You have no idea how exciting that was (I know, I live an exciting life). It’s just rare that I get to know ahead of time actual stats.

I’d already decided I was probably having a salad or soup. That’s what I was craving. I looked through their stats and was shocked. Here are a few of the ones I had considered getting:

Blackened Chicken Salad – 1026 calories

Salmon Spinach Salad – 927 calories

Crikey! That’s too many calories for a salad. But guess what I discovered? Those calorie counts do NOT include salad dressing. There’s a whole section for that. And that section was really eye-opening.

Balsamic Vinaigrette (the one I usually order because it’s a “safe” bet) – 200 calories for 1 ounce

Caesar Dressing – 174 calories for 1 ounce

I’m not sure how many ounces of dressing a typical salad has, but it’s probably not one. Counting calories is tricky enough, it’s even harder when you realize that you’re not counting correctly! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been mislead by a tricky label that doesn’t clearly state it’s multiple servings, or restaurant foods with hidden add-on calories that I forget to count. It’s easy to miss these little things, but doing the best you can is better than throwing in the towel completely.

Being tricked by labels and servings is easy to do. Look at that above label. What the heck is it telling us? Can YOU figure out how many calories are in whatever that was? I sure can’t. I think I need to sit down with a calculator, a protractor and some graph paper to figure it out…

I ended up ordering the soup of the day, creamy chicken with artichoke. It was fantastic! I am definitely a fan of creamy soups, which I know can tack on the calories but they are simply my favorite. The calories for a bowl of the soup was 183 calories according to their website. I rounded up and called it 220 just in case my hunch that they were a bit off was right. It also came with a roll.

The soup was creamy and had carrots, artichoke and celery in it, too. I loved the flavor and creaminess. I definitely detected a heavy-hand with the salt, though. I’m really glad I ordered what I planned on ordering and I managed to stay within my calories for the meal.

A few of my coworkers ordered the Chicken Fried Chicken–it was Flo’s favorite thing. Fried chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and coleslaw. It looked absolutely decadent. Another coworker got the nachos–which ended up being big enough for 5 people to share! Way too much food. (I realize this post is kind of all over the place, forgive me!)

We reminisced about the old days and Flo. She would have been 56 this year. Her cancer took her really fast and it’s still weird that she’s gone. I was glad we could all get together to remember her and have a laugh about the old days.

QUESTION: Have you been tricked by deceiving labels before?

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