the family effect

424624_12994072_bAs I suspected it would, the presence of family is having a good effect on me.

With people living in the house with me I have not been able to binge eat. I don’t know why but I simply can’t binge eat when there are other people around. I may feel like doing it but I can’t. Perhaps it’s my pride that doesn’t want anyone to see how ugly a first class binge eating episode can look. Perhaps it’s because I have someone around to talk to and so I have an emotional outlet other than eating. Whatever it is, it stops me from binge eating and that aids my weight loss effort.

With my sister and my niece present I have examples of what normal appetites look like. My appetite meter is broken. I feel hungry all the time, even after I’ve just eaten. This makes me much more vulnerable to emotional eating of all kinds. I am likely to eat when bored, to eat when tired, to eat when I’m sad, to eat when I’m mad, to eat when I’m happy–and on it goes. Having good examples in the house with me helps me.

With company in the house I find myself being out of the house more often. My grand-nephew has that most basic of childhood needs: the need to move and play. That means we take him to places where he can play and that helps me get extra activity points. That has as good effect on my eating by giving me less time to eat.

It’s all part of what I’m calling “The Family Effect.” I think this will help make this summer a great weight loss season for me. I look forward to seeing more of this effect on the scale in weeks to come.

next week

I am beginning to understand the power of good customer service because I’m seeing what it’s like when that service is absence. My local example is Safeway Foods. This chain is almost always has lower prices than their competitors but they are also cheaper than their competitors. What I mean is that their prices are lower but their customer service sucks. Yes, you can pay a couple of pennies less for a can of corn but you will also have to wait longer in line and have more encounters with incompetent personnel.

Personally I’ve had it. I’ve had just one too many times when I’ve had to go searching for help at the self-checkout. I’ve had it with having a question but no personnel available to answer it. Tonight I experienced the camel that broke my straw back. I needed a checker to OK my purchase of a bottle of wine. I saw three having a conversation so I approached and said, “I need some help.” The woman looked at me as if I had just interrupted peace talks at the United Nations. I had to lead her to the big flashing red light at my checkout station so she could enter her code (which she did incorrectly). I walked out angry. Instead of thinking, “I should have been more understanding with her” I said, “I’ve given this chain over 20 years to improve and I have seen no improvement. I’m not coming back. In fact, when my niece arrive tomorrow I’m going to tell her no to shop at Safeway. When my sister arrives next week I’m going to tell not to shop at Safeway.”

Will I refuse to see this as the last of many slights? No, but I’m done spending my money there. Wow, this new Carla is kinda demanding. I hold myself to standards and I’m quick to call myself to account when I don’t measure up to it. I think I’ve been not holding the rest of humanity to the same standard but excusing them when they don’t meet it. Forgiving others (and myself) when I fail to hold to that high standard is Christ-like. Not holding others to that same standard is actually arrogance on my part because I think I’m better than others. And what do the Scriptures say of arrogance (i.e. wrongful pride)? Was that not the sin of the Serpent? If I say. “I know better than you. I know the truth and you don’t.” Am I not also saying, “I’m higher than you and better than you?” Do I hold all people to the standard by which I measure myself? Do I say, “My standard is higher and you cannot reach it.” Thus I am superior

Who will save me from this body of dead end thoughts? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

African meets Celtic

Today I went to the Northwest Folklife Festival webpage. I have been a fan of the Northwest Folklife Festival from the day I discovered it in 1993. In those days I was just falling in love with a music that was on the outermost fringe of my musical experiencing: Celtic Music. Somehow I had heard that there would be a stage at Folklife dedicated to Celtic Music.

I decided to go. Though it was 6 years before my transition would begin, I decided to go as Carla and not as Nice Guy. I had a wonderful time. I saw musicians that I had only heard on a college radio station that played Celtic Music. Suddenly, there they were, right before my eyes, making amazing music. I said to myself, “Carla, I’ve a feeling that we aren’t in Motown anymore.”

I was swept away by a feeling of wanting to dance, And even though I didn’t know the steps, I wanted to try. This was a far cry from how I have felt about the music and dance of my own tribe. That music also makes me want to dance but I never tried because I knew I would be ridiculed because I was such a poor dancer.

However in this new setting, with music and steps I didn’t know, I was welcomed into the circle. I was welcomed into the squares. I was taught as I danced. The women showed me and the men lead me. The community called to me, “Come, dance with us and celebrate the music with us.” And so i did. This was an invitation I never felt from my own folk. Please, don’t read this as an indictment. My folk value dance to point where it must be done expertly. It is one of the highest forms of expression. Anyone who does not do it expertly doesn’t do justice to the form. That is frowned upon (not the person). So we have a culture of dance experts from African dance to African-American dance.

Yet that first experience of Folklife was an invitation to the dance regardless of how inexpert I was. To this day, if you want to get me to dance, don’t play R&B (as much as I love to sing it), play a reel and you will entice me out onto the dance floor. However, no part of the black communities will play reels and so I will never dance with my own folk. That’s sad but it is true.

So May has come again and thus Folklife is on the horizon. I plan to go this year. I’ve not been able to go for the last several years. My schedule or the weather or other obligations have stopped me. However this year, unless the weather intervenes, the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend will find me at Folklife–ready to sing and ready to dance. Never seen a woman whose soul is from Africa dance to music that is from far to the north of her? Come to Folklife and see…better yet come to Folklife and dance with her.

But…slow down a reel just a bit and pick up a hip-hop beat just a little. What could happen when 1 and 3 meet 2 and 4? It could groove, People could meld from one to the other at will. It might be chaos and yet it could be magic. Let each hear what they hear and let each one dance.

the last days of preparation

The week opened with a slow day at the Print Center job. It was so slow that my boss offered me the day off and I took it. I still had a lot to do in preparation for company so I ended up doing quite an intensive clean up for the bedrooms. My niece arrives on Wednesday of this week and my sister and her grandson arrive next Tuesday. I’m looking forward to three generations under this roof for a while.

I’ve spent a good deal of time getting the space ready. Today two beds arrive and I’ll be pretty much set to receive my family. It was been a demanding physical and emotional experience.

the-llama-stringPhysically I’ve had to move and haul and break things down and cart and carry. I have not needed to hit the gym to reach my activity points daily goal. A couple of weeks ago I injured my back hauling stuff to the dump transfer center (we don’t have dumps anymore). The back has slowly improved. I suspect it would have healed faster if I weren’t doing my impression of a llama day after day. Saturday was the last big run to the transfer station and Sunday was the last day of heavy lifting. I admit that the sheer labor of the work has left me feeling spent.

Emotionally it’s been tough because I keep coming across things from the past, things that were Howard’s and things that remind me of my parents. At one point I fell into tears as I came across a beautiful velvet bag. I opened it a pulled out a remarkable piece that I had not seen before. When I fully opened it, I realized what I was holding: my late husband’s prayer shawl.

Now i’m the process of planning things for my visitors, especially for my sister’s grandson. This makes smile.

mom’s day

800px-Small_Red_RoseI had a wonderful mother. As I age, I understand how great she was. She was great but not because she did great things. She was great but not because she was recognized as great by others. She was great not because she was without flaw. She was great because her love was a mirror of the love of God. She was great because she taught us to love God and to love God’s people.

Her impact on my spiritual life is something I cannot fully appreciate but I took a big step toward understanding it when my parents came to Seattle for my ordination as a priest. It was in that visit that I heard my mom say that from her youth she wanted to be a preacher. She knew her church would never allow that so she promised God that she would preach to whatever audience God gave her. We, her children, because her congregation. Yes, we were church-going folk and we learned in Sunday School the great stories of the faith. However it was my mom who preached to us. She told us the stories of the Bible and made them come alive. I thought this was going on in every church family. I didn’t realize until late that I was in a remarkable family.

My mom and dad came to Seattle for my ordination and it was their first experience of their daughter in community. It was overwhelming for both of them. It was during that time when my mom told me about her desire to be a preacher. She was happy to send her sons into ordination. However when was even happier to send a daughter into ordination. On that evening in August, Bishop Rivera invited my mom and dad to be a part of the laying on of hands. It meant a lot to my mom to be a part of that and to have her ministry acknowledged.

The simple and abiding fact is that I would not be the preacher I am with my mom. This is my first Mothers’ Day without her. It pains me that I can’t hear her voice today. I’ve cried now three times today. And it’s all right. These are holy tears, remembering a holy woman.

4 weeks, 1 pound and hope

MP0906measureOK it’s been 4 weeks since my return to Weight Watchers. That’s enough time for me look back and evaluate how I’m doing. I must admit that the numbers are not impressive. I have lost a grand total of one pound. However when I consider the alternatives I am pleased with where I am. These last four weeks have given me a good idea of where I am doing well and where I’m weak.

So far the biggest part of the return to WW has been the resumption of tracking. I track everyday. I know how. I have the tools. I have been pleased at how easily the habit of tracking has rebounded. I learned the first time around that I need to track my food close to the time I eat it or I’l forget by the time I notice that I didn’t track I can’t accurately recall what I ate.

Part of what makes tracking work for me is that i tend to stick to foods I know. I have a stable of go-to foods that I eat frequently: my workday breakfast, the Carla salad, my PCR, and a group of fave fruits. With a good foundation of tracking I have something to build on.

As for where I’m weak, I’ll talk about that in my next weight related post.

late night failure

I was doing so well. Then I made a mistake and I knew it was a mistake. I stayed up late last night. There was a moment at around 9pm when i was sleepy. I should have gone to bed at that moment. However I chose to fight sleep and stay up. Bad idea.

binge-eating-300x237I was watching television, for no reason in particular. Then out of nowhere, a trigger. I’ve been so on it when it comes to facing my anger that I has unprepared for a sneak attack of grief. I went down like a fighter with a glass jaw. I landed face down in a mess of food. This is jaunt through the familiar territory of binge eating puts a damper on the what had been a good week when it comes to eating and activity. The scale will tell part of the story of the week in about 30 minutes.

What are my takeaways from this?

  1. Go to bed when I’m tried.
  2. Apply the same lesson to grief that I’m leaning about anger (feel and deal instead of run and stuff)

Here endeth the lesson.