Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Fresh Start, Part 3- When a Control Freak Has No Control

So...getting the food under control.

I am insanely jealous of people who find it so easy to eat to live rather than live to eat. I fall into the live to eat category. Some of the best memories of my whole life involve sitting around a dining room table or in a restaurant with family and/or friends. I don't know what it is like in other places, but in the South, we show how much we love you by feeding you and vice versa.

My nutritionist and I spent the first 30 minutes of my first visit with her just talking. I am confident that her first impressions were:

1. This woman is crazy.
2. This woman is lazy.

Then we talked about water. Not sure why exactly, but I can drink my coffee in the morning and not drink another drop all day. I just don't get thirsty. I can eat an entire meal and not take a sip of any sort of liquid.  I liked juice alright. And Pepsi. And sweet tea. Not a fan of water. Crazy, right?  I agreed that I could drink 40 oz of water a day for a month.  And I almost did.  Just not quite.  BUT, four months later I am still almost doing that. Weekdays are easy but weekends not so much. I'm a work in progress.

And then...THEN...there is sugar. If sugar was alcohol or drugs I would be a falling down out of my mind sugarholic. Again, I am far from perfect but have gotten a whole lot better. The water helps with everything. And a lot of prayer which helped me summon up uncommon willpower. I get sort of sad on the rare occasion that I decide to "treat myself" to a Pepsi.  It doesn't taste good to me anymore. I shouldn't be sad about that, but I am.

A lot has changed about what I enjoy. Things I used to like a lot, salmon for instance, just don't do it for me anymore. Fried food?  Nope. Not to mention that my body will turn on me in an instant when I eat something I shouldn't. Not sick...just lethargic. Hank asks me every morning...what do you want for supper?  I just don't care that much anymore. COULD IT BE?  Could it POSSIBLY be that I'm evolving into a person who Eats to Live??

A few strategies we are employing at home during the work week...and yes, Hank is getting on board with me:

1. Fresh lean meats and fresh vegetables only for dinner during the week. Baked, broiled, pan-seared, sauteed or roasted. Olive oil as needed...sparingly.

2. Wasa crackers are the best things ever.  Put a small smear of Smuckers All Natural Peanut Butter and some all fruit type orange marmalade or other of your choice on top and munch munch munch.

3. Smart Pop 100 calorie bags of microwave popcorn. Eat one kernel at the time while watching TV at night. Wash it down with a bottle of water with Motts Apple Singles To Go added.

4. Breakfast every single day. A Kind bar or a Special K To Go shake. Plain fat free yogurt with a touch of honey, homemade granola and fresh berries was a big hit during berry season.

Next time:  I have to exercise?????  Just kill me now.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Fresh Start Part 2- How to Develop an Action Plan When Your Child Says "Please Take Care of Yourself."

So...back to my story.

STEP 1: I procrastinated until April. Then I put on my big girl britches and made an appointment with our family physician. She referred me to a top notch cardiologist at the Medical University of South Carolina. After a thorough assessment and a number of tests, the news was encouraging. My calcium score scan came back at zero, which is perfect. I was thoroughly amazed by that. Cholesterol still high. Blood pressure under control with meds.

My Friends: Insurance does not generally cover the calcium score scan BUT it is only $125. It is non-invasive and I declare that it took me longer to walk from the parking garage to the hospital that it took for the procedure. Best $125 I ever spent.

STEP 2: Nutrition
Oh my heavenly days how I love food. The greater-Charleston area is a fabulous place to live when you are a foodie. And a great TEMPTATION when you are an overweight foodie with high cholesterol and blood pressure issues. I am a loyal person...how in the world was I going to shut my best friends Ben and Jerry out of my life??? What would they think at Magnolias when we don't show up for Sunday brunch. Kaminsky's....I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU.  River Street Sweets...stop pushing that sample tray of pralines in my face when I walk by...you know I'm weak! Husk! McCradys! The Grocery! GiGi's Brasserie! (OK I'm stop now...there's not enough room to list them all.)
My cardiologist suggested that I utilize the services of her nutritionist. And I am.  I am not proud of the fact that I cannot hold myself accountable for making good food and exercise choices.  I am almost 53 and have good insurance. I will pay the nutritionist to be my accountability partner. My visits are every 4-6 weeks and for the first time in my adult life, I have some measure control in a part of my life where I had none. Since June 1 and as of this morning, I have lost 20 pounds. I'm not taking appetite suppressants or doing any sort of crazy fad diet/food thing.

Stay tuned.  Next post...how I am changing the way I eat and how I am battling my reluctance to exercise.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Fresh Start

About a year ago, I started a post with a remark something like this...When I turned 52 on my recent birthday my brain turned to mush...I blame it on menopause.

SO...my 53rd birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks and it seems that my brain is STILL mush a lot of the time.

One day last winter, I got a call from Legare. The mother-in-law of a friend of his had passed away that evening from a heart attack. She wasn't too much older than me and it came completely out of the blue. No signs, no warning....BOOM.  She woke up that morning in her bed at home and by 6:00 p.m. she'd passed away. His request before he ended the call was that both Hank and I PLEASE do whatever it takes within our control to stay healthy.

I have to tell you, when your CHILD has a conversation like that with you, well, you jump.

I considered my family history...my daddy had his first heart attack at 52 and mother, you know MOTHER, what we used to call "eccentric" turned into full blown dementia and in the last couple of years, she has been diagnosed with diabetes.

I considered my lifestyle...little to no exercise, a serious sugar addiction, a diet that consisted primarily of comfort-type food, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, a high pressure career and the responsibilities that Hank and I bear not only to handle our lives and the business thereof,  but also shouldering the sole responsibility of handling everything for his mother, my mother and my brother Ned. And I am sort of a perfectionist control freak. Just saying...

What was I to do?????????????  Stand by for the answers.

NO...tell me it hasn't been three months since I posted!

Oh Y'ALL!!!!!  There were vacations and moving Lorelai and school starting and mother and Ned and Hank's mother and the granddog...HOW has it been three months since I posted?

I so desperately want to get back into the blogging groove but CLEARLY I don't quite know how to do that.

Is it a "getting older" thing?  I turn around and time has flown by.

Is it a "first world problem" thing? Too many resources and too much to do?

I miss blogging.  I miss reading about what you are doing. I miss all of the great ideas that I get from you.


I'm going to do this.  Life of a Southern Belle 2.0 if you will. A daily post, but not too long.

From the blog reading perspective...If you're still out there PLEASE let me know. I am going to check out my old favorites to see if you are still there. Then I'm going out to find other folks that I might not be familiar with. I'm going to fix this.  Yes I am!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Month Later!! Wedding Plans

Huge progress in planning Lorelai's wedding this week.  WE HAVE A DRESS!!!!  Wish I could show it to you, but alas...just in case the groom-to-be reads blogs, we cannot risk it. I can tell you this much...it is from the Legends by Romona Keveza collection and is just gorgeous.

We went to several shops and found the dress at Maddison RowWe took maid-of-honor Mary, and our good friend Ann along to enjoy the fun. Ann has been something of a referee between Lorelai and me over the years when clothes shopping. I'm pleased to report that she didn't have to pull out her whistle a single time. This picture was taken as we arrived at the first salon on Friday morning. Needless to say, we were dragging by the time was left the third with a couple of favorites but no clear decision. Lorelai and I were able to get a last minute appointment at Maddison Row on Saturday afternoon but had to go by ourselves as Mary and Ann were otherwise engaged.

Today, we spent an hour and a half with Ellen Robinson, of  WED (Wedding Event Design) and photographer Marni Rothschild. There is no doubt that we've chosen well...or rather HAVE been chosen. These ladies are two of the VERY best in the business. I am amazed that they were not already booked, even for June of 2015. Ellen has recommended SYGDesigns to do the florals but we won't meet with them until later. 

So...church, reception venue, event designer/planner, photographer, florist, wedding dress...CHECK!!!  We have some time on the bridesmaids dresses. Ellen is working on recommendations for the reception music. I believe we will go with a DJ. In researching bands, Lorelai hasn't discovered one that plays all of the songs she wants. Engagement photos will be done in November out and about downtown. Save the Dates will go in the mail in January. CHECK CHECK CHECK!

For now, we are set. Lorelai is going to get ready for her new job and I am going to rest. Hank is ready to talk about something other than flowers and colors and dresses. Did I forget to tell you Lorelai has a JOB!! Elementary counselor in a wonderful school in the middle of the state. She worked so hard the last two years to complete her Masters and Education Specialist degrees...we couldn't be more proud of the young woman she's become. 

So...you're updated!!  What's been up at your house?

Saturday, May 24, 2014

And Two Weeks Later...

And two weeks later, we've accomplished a lot in preparing for the wedding. The church is booked...our beautiful sanctuary at Second Presbyterian Church...for June 13, 2015.  We have engaged a wedding planner...Ellen Cohn-Robinson of WED (Wedding.Event.Design). And, after much research, we have settled on the location for the wedding reception...the Colonial Room at the Francis Marion Hotel.

The church was a no brainer. We are SO blessed to be members of Second Church. In the words of our pastor from the church website...

Second Presbyterian Church is #1 on the List of Historical Churches in Charleston.
For over two hundred years the light from the steeple of The Second Presbyterian Church of Charleston and Its Suburbs, as it was named in 1809, has been a beacon providing direction for sojourners on the sea and the sea of life. As we move into our third century, we are committed to serving our still-creating God in ways that are yet to be imagined!

The decision to work with a wedding planner was also an easy one to make. Let me tell you...the fact that we were able to get WED to take us on a mere 13 months before a wedding during the month of June--the busiest wedding month in Charleston---is nothing short of a miracle. As important as it is to us that our only daughter's wedding be exactly what she wants it to be (within reason) it is also important that we have every opportunity to enjoy it without feeling overwhelmed. WED is a gift that Hank and I are giving ourselves!!

The reception. The Francis Marion Hotel.  The Colonial Ballroom in the 90 year old hotel, was completely refurbished in 2012 and is lovely...but...there are many lovely venues in Charleston. At the end of the day, it's all about parking, parking and parking. Our guests will be able to walk across Marion Square from the church to the reception. It is also all about air conditioning!! There are a number of gorgeous historical home venues; however, they require that dancing be outside as amplified music is strictly prohibited inside these homes. Charleston...June...hot...humid...sand gnats. My nerves would not be able to withstand worrying about the heat, humidity and sand gnats.

So...the next steps...firming up details on the photographer, the guest list, the music and schedule appointments for wedding dress shopping.  More soon...

Monday, May 12, 2014


You didn't think I'd completely given up the ghost on blogging, did you?  I mean, really, it's only been almost six months since I posted.  Give a girl some encouragement with a few comments pretty please. But now...NOW, I have BIG BIG NEWS!

Lorelai is ENGAGED!!!!  Here's the story...last weekend, she graduated from Clemson (again) with her Masters and Education Specialist Degrees (two degrees...TWO!) in Counselor Education.  By the way...she's looking for a job so if you are a school administrator in South Carolina be a pal and give her a job.

Hank and I took Lorelai, her then boyfriend now fiance' Butler, and Legare out to dinner at Rick Erwin's West End Grille on Thursday night.  After the ceremony on Friday afternoon, Legare headed back to Raleigh (oh yes...other news...he's moved from Charlotte to a new job in Raleigh) and Hank and I grabbed a quick supper at Davani's, then went back to the hotel to collapse.

Hank's cell phone died so he plugged it in and promptly fell hard and fast asleep by about 8:30. I watched Netflix for a bit and was out shortly thereafter. He woke up about 1:30 a.m. and when he checked the time on his phone, saw that he had a text from Butler requesting a private conversation for Saturday morning. Confident that he knew what the conversation would be about and to his credit, he suffered in silence for the rest of the night and did not wake me.

After Saturday morning brunch with Lorelai's fellow graduates, Hank and Butler found a quiet place to chat. Long story short, Hank gave our blessing and we started back toward the Lowcountry. With the help of good friends Candice and Jesse, Butler hatched a plan to be executed that evening in the Botanical Garden at Clemson. Candice called Lorelai and requested that she and Butler come to the garden to take pictures of she and Jesse in all of their finery before the Inaugural Ball for the new president of the university. Unbeknownst to Lorelai, Candice and Jesse were hiding in the shrubbery at the appointed location ready to take photos of the big moment. And here it is...

And one with Candice just after...

And finally....the ring!

Lots to do...lots to do.  And I am going to blog about all of it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Big Talk

I talk a good game, don't I?  Posting everyday, blah blah blah.

I did a good job posting my "thanksfuls" on Facebook. The smartphone is convenient for that. Can't manage a blog on a smartphone...at least I can't.

So...today is a recap of my FB updates since New Year's Day

1.2.14- Tonight...I am thankful for a roaring fire, this cozy quilt (made by my Grandmother Mason and Aunt Zoie some 70+ years ago) and most especially my kind and patient husband. And I DO mean patent!! (I got, let's just say, angry...insanely angry (hormones...I'm going to hang fast to hormones) and was ready to fire off a communication that would have SINGED the eyebrows off of the person for whom it was intended. Hank talked me down...he is a saint.)

1.2.14- Tonight, I am grateful for our children. Legare and Lorelai are the most precious gifts we could have ever been given. We are thankful that they have become such kind, caring, and generous young adults.

1.4.14- It's pretty safe to say that yesterday, I was thankful that the TIGERS won the Orange Bowl, but I was also grateful that we got to have supper and spend some time with our good friend Ted.

1.5.14- Tonight, I am thankful for my neighbors. It was good talking with you this afternoon Dee Dee, even if was just for a little while.

1.6.14- Tonight, we are thankful for our cat Boo. He went on to his great reward today but as cats go, he was a good old fella and kept the critters out of our yard. (Lorelai got Boo when she was in middle school. Poor thing was just too sick and we couldn't let him suffer. This upset Hank the most as he is the one who takes care of the animals on a daily basis.)

1/7/14- No fewer than ten times today, I said to myself, "I am so thankful for this wonderful team of people." Our school staff is in a league of its own. (Although on Friday when I had to lay down the law on a few housekeeping details, they might not have felt the same about me...)

1.8.14- Tonight I'm thankful for wisdom. Both the occasional flashes that I might display...and the wisdom shared with me by others. (I got a very nice response from a fellow who I taught in 11th and 12th grade WAY back 1983-85...my first two years of teaching school. I recall being immature and whiny...he says I was a positive influence. He is very kind.)

1.9.14- So thankful for our "second family" at Second Presbyterian. Come join us.

1.10.14 I am thankful to live in the South Carolina Lowcountry for 100 reasons. #1= GOOD eats around every corner. Tonight...steamed oysters from just up the road a piece. (Below, you will see our oyster eating supplies...got to have Texas Pete, saltine crackers, and your own oyster knives...not sure why the heavy duty gloves from the hardware store aren't in the basket.

1.11.14- Rainy Saturdays make me happy and I'm thankful that I don't have to go anywhere today. We have a very long honey-do list.

You have a wonderful weekend. I've got to get going on MY part of the honey-do list.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What has happened to my brain?

(Case in point...you'll see what I men when you finish reading the post...I forgot to come back and hit the publish button after I wrote yesterday morning...In the meantime...our Clemson Tigers won the BCS Discover Orange Bowl. For this...I am thankful!!  The game was so exciting that it was 2:00 a.m. before we got to sleep...anyhow...)
When I turned 52 in October, my brain turned to mush. I'm blaming it on menopause.

For instance, when Living in the Lowcountry suggested that I utilize Bloglovin in place of the long gone Google Reader, I immediately clicked over to Bloglovin. There, sitting, waiting for my reading pleasure, were all of my blogs from Reader. Apparently, I set up the account and completely forgot about it.

As we were trying to get on the road for an overnight trip to a wedding on New Year's Eve, I had to come back in the house five....FIVE...times because I kept thinking of things I thought I'd forgotten. Most of the things turned out to be in my bag in the car.

I only took THREE pictures on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Totally forgot to take my camera for the New Year's Eve celebration.

And I weep...not full blown crying...weeping...A LOT.  My eyes fill up with tears because I'm happy, sad, angry...because I see a cute kitty cat on Pinterest. I don't even LIKE cats! I let Lorelai's cat Sophie sit in my lap one night, all cozied up in a blanket.

I've fallen in love with Legare's dog, Bingley. I drove all the way to Charlotte a few weekends ago to BABYSIT THE DOG while Legare went out of town. I don't even LIKE dogs!  Over the holidays, I let him sit on the furniture and sleep on our bed. ON MY SIDE!!!

I'm seeing a theme here...as I reinvent my blog the topic of the year just might be "hiding my crazy."

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Tonight, I am grateful for our children. Legare and Lorelai are the most precious gifts Hank and I could have ever been given.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Well...I'm Going To Try This Again, Folks-WELCOME ME BACK TO BLOGGING!!

Lordy, do I miss blogging. I am going to REINVENT "Life of a..." in 2014. Yes, Indeedy, Do!

How are YOU??  I've not blogged and I've not been reading. When Google Reader went away I got completely confused. Tell me...what are you using to keep your blog reading organized?  PLEASE TELL ME.

We are fine. Legare is fine. Lorelai's housemate, well now former housemate, Candice married the love of her life last night up in Anderson, so Hank and I road tripped up that way on New Year's Eve afternoon and came home this morning. It was the sweetest event...my eyes must have filled up with tears ten times. (This crying thing is a new phenomenon since I turned 52 back in October...Hank doesn't quite know what to do with me.)

Candice and Lor have lived together for two years but now husband Jesse is moving in and Lor has moved to an apartment. Candice's family lives locally and they have been SO GOOD to Lorelai. It was a true blessing to Hank and me (who just swoop in from four hours away for home football games) to know that the Bagwells were keeping an eye on her.

Looking back at last year's goals, we didn't do yoga more than five or six times and I didn't lose any weight. But I didn't GAIN any weight so I count that one as a victory.

This year I only have two goals...to be more thankful...more grateful...for the many blessings God has given to us. And to slow down...when I tell people that I do not let my job rule my life...well, I'm telling a WHOPPER. I am going to FB and Tweet my "thankful fors" as often as possible...and share here as well.  I really look forward to catching up with all of you.

SO...for today...

This morning, on Facebook, I posted...I am thankful that we had the privilege of being a part of the Bagwell Godfrey wedding...each person there came away truly blessed. And that we got to meet the entire Bagwell family, who have been so kind and loving to our Lorelai over the past two years.

And tonight...with the photo below...I am thankful for a roaring fire, this cozy quilt (made by my Grandmother Mason and Aunt Zoie some 70+ years ago) and most especially my kind and patient husband. And I DO mean patent!!