“Year 2 ! It’s a tradition!”

I met my only cousin on my dad’s side last night for an event and dinner. It’s the second time in two years. Before that, it had probably been 10 years since we’d seen each other.

We didn’t grow up together with lots of cousin visits. I have a few pictures of us as kids – she’s a little older than me, and her family lived far away, so we just didn’t see each other much.

We reconnected via WordPress University – a blogging class that WordPress offered several years ago. We both blog – she about her family genealogies, and me about depression as a Christ follower. We were excited to share comments back and forth as we read each other’s blogs. She has done quite a bit of research on our grandfather, and it’s been so fun to read about our grandparents and their families.

A year ago, she told me she was coming to the area for the Virginia Festival of the Book. So I found a presentation on mental health books, and we met there. We enjoyed the panel, but had even more fun at dinner and a wine bar. I spent the night in her hotel room – she showed me love letters from our Papa Joe to his wife Kitty. We really had a great time reconnecting.

This year’s Festival of the Book rolled around, and we met for a panel last night, then went to a local pub. It was fun again to connect and catch up. And we made plans for June when my folks visit, to take a trip to Washington D.C. and see places of our dads’ and grandparents history! She’ll be the guide, as she knows the places. But we’re expecting “the trip down memory lane” to spark some stories from my dad. I’m excited!

And I’m so happy to have renewed a relationship. The older I get, the more important family is to me. So I’m thrilled that “cuz” and I have a new tradition. Two years and counting!

First Impressions, part 2

So maybe first impressions are accurate.

My therapist was 20 minutes late to our first session. She didn’t show at all for our second one!

Calorie Count

I joined Noom, in an effort to change my thinking about food consumption. And because it was a good sale price.

The science behind the psychology of Noom is good. Lots of pointers and hints. All in an effort to modify the way I think about food. It’s supposed to be a lifestyle change, not a diet.

The program starts with the question, “How much do you want to lose, and how quickly?” And this is where I struggle.

Obviously, to lose weight, “calories out” needs to be more than “calories in.” But I get to the end of the day and go over my calorie count. every. time.

So I have two ways to address this. Less food consumption, or more exercise.

I took a nice walk yesterday, really enjoyed it. I had my headphones on, listening to music with a good beat to keep a steady pace. But I didn’t walk today, though I should have. The sun was shining, and while it wasn’t exactly warm, it was nice enough to get outside. Instead, I took a nap and read a book.

I can always find something to do that keeps me from exercise. Even though once I get out there, I really enjoy walking and listening to my playlists. It’s a matter of getting out there.

So what’s my problem? I suspect I won’t be able to reduce my calorie consumption, so the only way to lose any weight is to be more active.

If I had a dog, I’d have to walk, to give it some activity. But I don’t have a dog, nor do I want one.

I’ve started wearing my activity tracker, in an effort to monitor my steps. Which were minimal today! So where’s the incentive in that? Obviously it’s not motivating enough to just keep track of my steps.

I guess there’s another alternative. And that’s to just be satisfied with my body in the shape it’s in. And I’m mostly okay with that.

But I know I need to eat better and get more exercise to be healthy, particularly as I get older. The extra weight around my mid-section is shown to be conducive to health problems, so I need to do something about it.

I guess all of this means that I know what to do, but I’m not doing it. How do I overcome this inertia?!

How do I “Just Do It?”

First Impressions Aren’t Always Accurate

Today I met with a new therapist. And I really like her. So my second impression is great!

My first impression wasn’t so good. My appointment was at 9:15am. I got there at 9:00am in case there was additional paperwork. Though the hours listed on the door said the office opened at 9:00am, no one arrived until 9:05am, and it was another therapist. She commented that it looked like everyone was running late. There was no receptionist, so I held on to my intake forms.

I entered the waiting room with another client, after signing in on the clipboard. My phone rang – a “No Caller ID,” so I didn’t answer. I’ve been getting lots of robocalls, so I tend to let them go to voicemail, if they even bother to leave a message. I then turned on Do Not Disturb, so my ringer didn’t go off during my appointment.

The therapist who had unlocked the doors came and took her client – the other woman in the waiting room – back to her office.

I checked my phone, and the caller had left a message so I clicked voicemail. It was the therapist, telling me that she was running 15 minutes late, and that the receptionist was out this morning. Good to know – at least I was assured that she was on her way.

I dropped my Starbucks cup into the bathroom’s garbage can. There were scraps of paper towel on the floor, and the can was overflowing, though I pushed it all down.

As I sat back down in the waiting room, I noticed a wear mark on the opposite wall where a chair had apparently worn through the paint. There was a small table with crayons and paper, and toys nearby. I looked at the artwork on the walls, which was a hodgepodge of pictures. There was no pattern to them, but each picture was pretty and relaxing. Maybe that was the theme – calm!

My therapist arrived at about 9:35am, and took me back to her large overflowing office. I think she is the owner of the practice – her name is first on the letterhead. She’s a very busy woman – owner of this practice plus another office in a nearby town plus teaching at a local college. Given her many commitments, I was impressed with the time and attention she gave me.

She asked great questions – there’s lots to share as we get to know each other. She was open with me about her personal faith in Jesus, which is really important to me in a therapist. She was friendly, kind, genuine, and has a wonderful smile which reaches her eyes. Her schedule is very full, but she found a slot in which to schedule me next week.

I’m excited to see her again. I won’t let those first impressions darken my judgement. My best friend reminded me of my “lateness factor in our relationship” and she “loves me still.” So I’m extending that same grace to this new therapist’s office. And now that I realize how busy she is, I’m all the more grateful that she’ll take me as her client!

Allergic to the produce department?!

Yesterday, my husband and I went “over the mountain” to spend the afternoon in Charlottesville, VA. We shopped for table lamps and a new entry light, ate at a crowded Chick-Fil-A (I love their grilled chicken sandwich), and went to Alamo Draft House – a unique movie experience.

We ordered food and drinks to enjoy while we saw Captain Marvel. Good movie! Delicious Brie pizza and champagne cocktail. A very fun time.

My main purpose for our trip to C’ville was to go to Wegman’s – an enormous grocery store with everything you can imagine! We were looking for a particular item – grilling cheese, or Halloumi – which we couldn’t find here. Not even at The Cheese Shoppe!

After wandering through the bread department, we circled around the huge cheese section – finally asking for help in locating grilling cheese. And we found it! I’m so excited, because I love the Grilling Cheese recipe we’ll be making. With grilled sweet potatoes and tomatoes and avocado. Yum!

As we made our way to the checkout, we walked through Wegman’s gigantic produce section. Everything was neatly arranged and absolutely beautiful, unless it was sold out, like the broccoli heads. We passed the stacks of apples and paused at the prickly pear fruit, right next to the yucca root. My husband picked up two cactus fruits and I grabbed a papaya. Then we checked out and headed home.

As we were driving through the fog at the top of the mountain, I noticed that the roof of my mouth was itchy. I thought it was strange – it’s too early for my seasonal allergies to start breaking through.

By the time we got home, my face was itchy. I took off my makeup and put on my pajamas. I took an allergy pill – the one I take for spring and fall allergens. But the itching didn’t go away.

Pretty soon, my eyes itched. And my head. The inside of my nose. My feet all the way up to my hips. There was no rash or swelling, just the feeling that the inside of my skin was irritated!

I crawled into bed, hoping the cool sheets would help. Instead, I felt immediately hot. After texting my sister and daughter, I knew I needed some Benadryl.

My darling husband went out into the rain to get the antihistamine from the nearby grocery store. I took two, and crawled back into bed. Then I googled produce allergies.

It turns out that food allergies can come on suddenly, and are most common in folks who have seasonal allergies. Something about being allergic to the trees, and the fruit that comes off those trees.

I thought back to what I had touched in the store – only packaged cheese, the yucca root, and the papaya that I carried. Hmm.

It was fitful sleep until the middle of the night when I woke up completely. I was still itchy, so I took two more pills. Then I went back to bed, to restlessly sleep some more.

When I got up this morning, I still had some mild irritation, but nothing as crazy-making as last night. Even now, my tongue is “scratching” the roof of my mouth.

I had a banana for breakfast – no bad reaction. I’m nervous to eat the fruits in my fridge, but may run a little experiment by trying them one at a time to see if I can figure this out.

Time for some investigative work!