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Grade- G for Good

October 25, 2010
Chocolate Fountain First Birthday Party

Image by stephbond via Flickr

I was so proud of us at that first wedding! The  meal was a luscious buffet that had a loaded salad bar. We both stuck to our new regimen and ate only salad. Then, we both only took two tiny bits of a delicious wedding cake. As for the CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! we each had one chocolate covered strawberry. Neither of us felt deprived either and had an amazing time. The couple were as couples committing to each other should be; clearly in love, clearly best friends and clearly already deeply committed to each other and their relationship.

Last year, my older daughter married. I was able to dance most of one slow dance with Lee. Just one. I remember how exhausted I was and how difficult even walking was that beautiful night. Friday night, I danced four times with my beloved spouse! All were nice and slow, but four times I got up and danced! By the time we got home (late!), my feet were hideously swollen and legs and feet were aching and somewhat numb, but I was still walking.

Saturday, we had to skip the reception. The bride for the second wedding was two hours late! So, we went had to dash straight to the Celebration of Life gathering for our friend who had passed. There was a buffet there, too, but plenty of raw vegetables and fruit. We weren’t very hungry anyway given the circumstances, so other than an occasional sad glance at the crammed full dessert table (there had to be a dozen cakes!), we didn’t feel deprived. There were lots of people there who had been apart of the emotional heartbreak that preceded my physical heartbreak. It was the first time I’d had to see some of them, but it was easier than I’d thought it might be. I have healed far more than I thought. Some pretended nothing had happened and we were still great friends. Others were cold and distant, but we were all there for the same reason and the reason was not any of us.

Sunday morning, we drove up into the mountains and bought another bushel of Mutzu apples. Not only do we love to eat them, but sharing them is just as delicious.

The birthday gathering yesterday was where we did a flying leap off our heart healthy wagon. My daughter made the birthday cake using my mother’s pound cake recipe. If you remember, my mother passed in March, two days before my birthday. Before she had a stroke, she made me that pound cake every year for my birthday. The years we lived in different states, she would bake it, freeze it and mail it to me. I had cake and I ate it, too.

My son-in-law’s (the birthday boy) parents came and his mother made their family favorite cheese and butter laden potatoes. I felt obliged to at least try them and did, about a two tablespoon serving. It was deliriously delicious, but felt like all oil in my mouth. I found vegetarian baked beans at the store. They were sugar laden but no pork was added. Lee grilled chicken, Hebrew National Hot Dogs and some veggie burgers. I roasted asparagus and we offered individual bags of chips that not even the kids opened.

Oh, and I made caramel apples, enough for everyone to take one home. I didn’t just use the caramel wraps either, but made the heavily dipped, dripping with caramel ones that take an hour to eat. It was a mother’s grand moment, what can I say? We ate one ourselves once everyone had gone home. So, not only did I have a piece of pound cake, but a caramel apple, too, not to mention those buttery cheesy potatoes.

I did clean out the pantry before the girls went home, sending all the non whole grain pastas and pork added canned veggies, butter flavored microwave popcorn, chips and such home with them. I kept only the things we are no longer using that will be needed to cook for Thanksgiving.

Rudi and Birdie got special canned dinners complete with candles, celebrating their respective birthdays as well. A friend and his granddaughter came down from Tennessee and it was an over the top gathering.  I am a very lucky lady.

Today, we both feel sluggish. Lee says if it feels like jet lag. My right leg feels a bit like there is a large rubber band around it (it does that sometimes). Here’s our eating score for the weekend.

Friday wedding- A

Saturday wedding- A

Saturday memorial- A

Sunday daytime- A

Sunday Night Birthday Party- F-

I promised to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly. One thing we’ve talked about today, is the difference between Ornish and Esselstyn. Ornish allows a lot of gray, a lot of leeway and choice. He also allows some dairy. Ornish also says that meditation and exercise are vital for the success of the program.

Esselstyn, on the other hand is much more strict with the food, allowing  no diary and has no gray area. His guidelines are very black and white. He also says meditation and exercise, though can be generally helpful, are not vital to the stopping or reversal of heart disease.

I use to meditate every day. For years that was a big of my life. It came very easy to me. I taught others how and led large groups in meditation. So, I suppose I’m a little biased about whether or not meditating can reverse heart disease. It just seems to me if it’s so necessary, it might have at least helped me not have such advanced disease at such a young age. Maybe I’d have died at thirty had I not meditated, but I lean more towards thinking it’s cool but not really related. Anyway, Lee and I are both thinking that Esselstyn’s plan is more the route we should follow. Maybe we just need things a little more black and white and don’t do well with a gray zone, not that caramel fits in any gray zone we’ve read about.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Donna permalink
    November 4, 2010 1:12 pm

    Scores, Studies, Statistics!
    Well, there always seems to be “data” available to support any scientific or medical program. It does not seem to matter which side of an issue people are on, they can spout a study or survey that shows conclusively that they are on the right side, the winning side, the best side, the good side! Everyone wants to be a winner – we strive for a goal – like reversing heart disease – and we desire to make the very best choice of the available “data” to reach that goal. What a dilema! How do we choose? What factors of our personal situation have to be added to, or subtracted from, the equation??

    Thirty-six years ago I set a goal – release from the addiction to alcohol I had suffered with for so long. I set out on a path that most “autorities” on the subject deemed the “only really sucessful program”. To my amazement, instead of hard, fast rules (black & white) this program was full of suggestions (gray). Much of the program was supported by anecdotal information. One of the huge bumps in the road for me was – prayer and meditation! I had a very basic belief system:
    A.) There really was no God.
    B.) If by some outside chance I was wrong, if I did not bother him, perhaps he would not bother me.
    Prayer was useless, as I had tried it as a child and it never worked – meditation was some strange behavior practiced by fringe religions, cults and really weird people who used drugs. Besides, both of these things required sitting or kneeling still and quite for specific periods of time…in my early days of recovery I was unable to remain still for more than 3 minutes at a time. Besides, it was impossible to meditate, chain smoke and drink coffee at the same time. The phrase “clear your mind” was hysterical – as far as I could tell, clearing my mind would have to be preceeded by death!
    Finally, concerned for my ability to refrain from drinking again, I discussed this issue with the woman who was “sponsoring” me (guiding me through the program of recovery). Well, she said, let’s look at it this way – there may or may not be a God. If there is a God, he may or may not be interested in helping you. What do you think the odds are? 50/50 ? Maybe yes, maybe no. So from a gambling view point….if you pray, you have a 50% chance of it helping you. If you do not pray, you have 0% chance of this type of help. After careful consideration of this, I began to pray regularly. For more than 36 years I have remained alcohol free. Is this the result of the prayer? I don’t know….I have done so many things to stay sober over the years, and continue to do them, it would be hard to say what actually worked…or what combination of things worked…or if one single thing like prayer was the thing that turned the tide. If I stop praying would I drink again? Often, as I pray something stirs inside me – not sure what it is, but for now I will continue…the only way to find out if I would fail without it, is to stop……but I like the odds better this way.

    As for meditation, I have never mastered the art…every year or two I read another book, try another method, talked to another “guru”, yet I remain non-meditative. (I have learned to sit quietly for periods of time – and on rare occasions, my mind clears – althought the later may just be the result of early dementia)
    Anyway, my little point here is – anytime prayer and meditation is suggested or recommended – I try. The odds seem to be 50 to 0 it might help, and so far, nobody has presented me with a study that says it hurts – although I am sure there is one out there somewhere.

    • November 4, 2010 1:42 pm

      I was so hoping to hear from you today and read some small smidgen of your infinite, albeit, hysterical wisdom. You have such a way of cutting through the chase and even the gray. Yes, those odds seem pretty indisputable. As you may be aware, God and I at a sort of impasse, or so it might seems to someone looking in from the outside. While this might end up temporarily on the blog as a comment, each one runs its course, so the odds of anyone really reading my response, anyone that it matters to them whether or not I still pray that is, is rather remote.

      That being said, I will confess that my lack of prayer is quite a spiritual thing, truth be known. Not only does it imply faith in the goodness and truly nonjudgmental nature of whatever power is out there, but is rather an act of redemption on my own part. I know, I know, I seem to be doing quite a bit of that lately, but the fact is, for years I actually taught that there was a correct way to pray.

      I, in all my infinite ignorance, stood before crowds of seeking, searching people and professed that certain actions and words, thoughts and even deeds would lead one closer to God. Poppy-cock.

      Whatever It is, the great and powerful It behind the curtain of life, places no requirements of the how or what or when or even the if of our communication. At least that is my now belief, subject to change with my next near death encounter or threat thereof.

      If this It does in fact reside within me and animate me and provide me this life I cling to, my every breath is indeed a prayer and my every thought our conversation (Good Grief to that thought!).

      The more I write of this, the more it sounds exactly like what I use to teach. And here I am, preaching away. I admit I am powerless over the compulsion to preach… Let’s just leave it at “I know nothing!” and I still like your odds. Oh, and as for this pseudo admittance to praying, let’s keep it between us, okay?

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