Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Weight Watchers Wednesday.....

Soooooo sleepy and sooooo insanely brain fried! But I take this Wednesday post very seriously. So I shall persevere.

My tip for today is to read! What? This is a post about Weight Watchers, correct? Yep! Grab a book and read.

I purchased a book at my local Weight Watchers meeting location. I can not...for the life of me...remember the name and I lent it to a friend so I can't reference it. However, I can tell you it is one of the only two books available at Weight Watchers. This book contains probably fifty success stories. (And of course the introduction is written by The Duchess of York.) I read this book in the very beginning of my program. I found the stories inspiring. They provided me with a lot of hope and the wherewithal to stay focused. I imagined myself into each one of the stories and could taste (no pun intended) success. Another place to find inspirational stories is in the Weight Watchers magazines and at Weight Watchers on-line.

Imagine your own story. You are at the beginning. What would be in the middle? How does your story end? I know my story made sense in the beginning....got massively scrambled by circumstance in the middle and as a result the end was completely different than I had imagined! The end weight loss was as I imagined it....but the circumstances were TOTALLY, 180 degrees, different than what I had anticipated. In the end I felt even more proud of my weight loss because I had not let a "tough time" throw me off course!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apologies...In Advance

I am going to apologize in advance! My week is going to be crazy and as a result I am fairly certain I will not be posting anything lengthy; if I get a chance to post at all! I know you are all wondering..."Why? What takes Patty away from the blog?" Really...I bet no one at all is wondering because everyone that reads this already knows why....but I just wanted an opportunity to use this cool, new graphic.....
This week will be completely focused on getting our first (and likely, only) round of solicitation letters out. They will need to be printed by Tuesday night at the latest. That means my five different databases and mail merges will NEED to be finished tomorrow and they are about 95% done right now. Wednesday-Friday is the "graffiti party" where the board members personally sign each letter AND then Saturday is the big fold, stuff, lick, address, stamp party! I will be wiped out! Hang in there....I will post soon. Lots of photos to share! Oh...and if anyone out there wants to donate....time, money, an item...talk to me! If you are curious about The Bereavement center...click HERE! A wonderful organization....fauxcheaux!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sweet Tony....

Today I celebrate my gentle, gracious, beautiful, soulful little cousin Tony.
Please click HERE (but before you do...scroll down to the bottom of this page, press pause, scroll back up and click on the link) to listen to his angel voice and feel his sweet, sweet spirit. I am so proud of you!

Happy Friday, friends. Gonna head to bed early. I have quite a bit to do tomorrow. May each of you have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Return of Gilmore-isms

It's 4am and I can't sleep...AGAIN! So I thought I would update the blog. This will be a quick entry because I am going to read my bible study notes.
Today was the first "cool" day of the season. I celebrate the tiny cold front! This is my favorite time of the year....hands down. I feel about autumn the way Lorelai feels about snow. All the greatest things in my life have happened in the fall...or at least that is the way it feels. I look forward to keeping the windows open, taking pictures in a pumpkin patch, pulling out my boots and sweaters, purchasing pumpkins and gourds and baking a pumpkin cake! (Who will I invite over? Maybe Jace's love of sweets will trump her disdain for my kitties just this once?) Admittedly this day was filled with hope and didn't exactly play out the way I imagined it....you know...there was rain involved. But on the whole....the cool breeze felt yummy on my skin!
This tip came to me recently. Do you love chips....Cheetos, Doritos, etc? You CAN eat the regular chips....in moderation. Or you can eat a few more of the baked version. You would be surprised how many baked Cheetos you can squeeze into a portion size AND how similar they are to the REAL thing! When you purchase your bag of chips read the nutritional information on the back. Grab some small plastic Ziploc baggies. Immediately count them out and separate the portions into the Ziploc baggies. This serves a couple of purposes. First it is easy to grab the baggie and throw it into your purse or lunch box. Second the portion size is already counted out for you. And finally....the temptation to grab a few more is GONE!
Lorelai: I hate admitting it because I fancy myself Wonder Woman; but I really want it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Little Green Men by Ella

Today is ho-hum, hum-drum, if you will. Not much has transpired. It has been pretty quiet and I have been counting down the hours until I need to start getting ready to attend a memorial service. I remembered I received a package in the mail yesterday. In the rush of the day I placed it on the dining room table and forgot it was waiting for me until about five minutes ago. I knew the package was coming in advance. Ciara and I spoke on the phone earlier this week and she mentioned she had just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love and suggested I might want to read it after I finish The Shack...sort of in keeping with the themes of God, humanity, love, self, relationship, communion, etc. She mentioned she would drop it to me in the mail. As a result, the contents of the package were of no great mystery to me. However, feeling "blah" today, I walked downstairs, brought the package upstairs, sat on my bed and pretended for just a moment that the contents were unknown, from a mysterious sender, from a far away, exotic location. I opened the package carefully, slowly, gingerly....full well knowing Eat, Pray, Love was waiting on the underside of the industrial strength tape. And while the book, in fact, was inside the envelope...so was this beautiful reminder of the real, good, meaningful things in life. It is a piece called "Little Green Men" by Ella Bearden (Ciara's daughter). I immediately burst into tears of joy, laughter and longing. What a gift! Ella's picture is better than any mystery package I might ever hope to receive! I love you Ella Bella and I love you Sister C for always being a part of my life! Auntie Patty is most pleased and the day just took a turn for the better.....

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Feature.....

Today I am introducing a new feature to the blog! Weight Watchers Wednesday!!!! NOW....let me be VERY clear (lest I receive some punishment from the ACTUAL Weight Watchers Organization) I am not officially representing them in any capacity. I am not a leader at a meeting, nor am I receptionist at one of the centers. I am just a very satisfied customer! I have several friends and family members who have recently incorporated the Weight Watchers system into their lives. I have consistently been asked the same question, "Do you have any tips? Any advice?" I found myself repeating the same things over and over again....and YES....I, Patty Vela, actually got tired of hearing my own voice. Having given it some consideration I have decided to add this feature to the blog. I know it isn't of interest to everyone. But who knows....you might come away with a tip that is beneficial to your specific daily diet.....not necessarily related to weight loss; rather healthy living and conscientious eating.

My first tip for my Weight Watchers friends is keep your goals small and simple. Certainly you have been encouraged to set 5% of your start weight as your FIRST goal. In other words....your first goal should be to lose 5% of what you weighed on your FIRST weigh in. Roughly that is the first two numbers...divided by two. So if you are starting at 180....5% of that would be 9lbs! While I found that 5% was easily attainable...it doesn't necessarily happen the first week, or the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. That is when I would find myself frustrated! So...a few weeks into the program I decided to make my goals MUCH, MUCH, MUCH smaller. I surrendered to the idea of, "Oh in three months I might be a size 6 or weigh 132.5 or fit into those jeans, etc, etc." I realized if I did that I was setting myself up for failure. So this is how I approached weight loss. If I lost 1.2 lbs one week, I would set .8 lbs loss as my goal for the next week. I almost always reached my goal, if I made the goal that small. I would reward myself with a sticker (I just bought my own stars and kept them in my journal.) I would weigh in, sit in the meeting and write down my goal for the next week in my journal. That held me accountable. Eventually the small losses added up to one huge loss and here I am...still maintaining after roughly five months. Baby steps....and remember "If it is to be, it is up to me!" Good luck and I want to hear all about your successes! Each and every one of you and you know who you are! Call me, text me, email me....but I want to know and I want to help! In an emergency...call me. I WILL tell you to step away from the carrot cake because...let's be honest...you already know what carrot cake tastes like. Do you really need further confirmation? Nope, didn't think so! Of course...if you saved up your points....go for it.....cream cheese frosty goodness waits for you at the end of the fork!

One final thought....keep 10 baby carrots in your purse or lunch box at all times! In a pinch...you've got something you can munch on before your hunger burns out of control. (I found myself without snacks today.....just forgot....and I ended up snacking on some cheese and peanut butter crackers because there was nothing else! Trouble!) And remember...10 baby carrots are zero points....but 20 are not zero points. In Weight Watchers 0+0 does not equal 0! Don't fool yourself. Err on the side of caution when adding up your points for the day!

Good night friends.....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Family Vacation Part IV-Airstream and Cemetery (And some other stuff, too!)

I am currently sitting at Sara and Rico's watching the Steelers play the Titans. I don't particularly care for NFL football...but I wanted to spend some time with Sara and Rico and their Steeler enthusiasm is infectious and borderline fanatical! I have been meaning to post these photos for a long time. Given that I am supposed to be participating in a sports party I will keep this short. Additionally, my brain is mushy today! Too much stuff "on it" or "in" it or "surrounding" it or "escaping from" it.
In lieu of a trip to the beach for Labor Day I spent some time with my Sandbar gals. We spent an afternoon in downtown San Antonio. (Something we NEVER do! Sad, isn't it?) Dad was kind enough to give us his gift certificate to Mi Tierra. We had a blast; despite the hour long wait.
This is the botana platter we had while we waited for our table.
Jace' and Danica enjoying a drink before lunch.
Christine and I in the Mariachi Bar at Mi Tierra.
We headed down to SoHo after Mi Tierra and spent a very, very, very long time there!
Jace' and Christine cuddlin' on the couch at SoHo.
On Labor Day Christine, Jace' and I spent the day at my neighborhood pool. La Tejana and I enjoyed ourselves immensely. And then all the "people" showed up! Ugh...why can't we just have peace?
Tuesday Jace' and I went to the Maker's Mark Mixer at SoHo.
Cemetery photos from Charleston. I know, I know...morbid...sort of! If it wasn't so pretty in that overgrown sort of way......
Ya'll know about my Airstream dreams, right? Check out what I saw on the way from Charleston back to Jacksonville. I was hanging out the window and I am CERTAIN the owners were looking at me like I was completely insane! I took action shots....these are in order of how I snapped the photos. (Turn up the volume! I LOVE this song by Gomez and I think it is so appropriate to this post. This song makes me want to cross the country in my "imaginary" refurbished Airstream.)

Okay....back to the football party. Some guy just walked in wearing a shirt that says "Sweep the Leg." I don't get it....but everyone else does!

Goodnight, friends!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Another Teeny Tiny Departure From Family Vacation Series

Lazy Saturday! I love it! I just downloaded/uploaded (whatever) tons of raw and gritty lady songs and I am jammin' out, singing (Oh No!), french doors and windows wide open. I honestly believe if I just wish hard enough a soft north wind will ease through. In my heart...it is Autumn. (On TV it is Autumn....lots and lots of college football!)

I received generally good responses to my last blog post. I only had one challenging email....you know who you are...and you know I love you so much I will listen to your litany of protests just to be in your extraordinary, intoxicating, beautiful presence!

Dad wanted to comment but he hasn't quite gotten the hang of "commenting" to my blog post. Instead he sent me an email and has kindly given me his permission to post it. He is my "guest blogger" for today.......

My dearest Patty,

I enjoyed the commentary on your blog tonight, sad as it was, regarding the President’s address to the youth of this country. I too think it is a shame that one or more would think that this man has intentions that are less than noble especially knowing how he feels about education and opportunity for the less fortunate. It is politics at its best in this country and sometimes it stinks.

But, it is all part of growing up and good for you for taking to the pulpit on something that is important to you. I’m proud of you for your commitment to honesty and the truth.

God Bless You


Congratulations to Melanie, Scott and Miss Wren Adams on the newest addition to their beautiful family. Baby boy Callan Adams was born yesterday at noon weighing 8lbs 7 oz. Mel had been waiting on his arrival for QUITE SOME TIME! Best wishes to you all and I can not wait to meet Baby Callan. Sorry...no photos. Just as soon as they get sent I will post one.

My much anticipated trip to South Padre Island (aka The Playground of my Youth) was unfortunately cancelled. Gracie still isn't 100%. She more like 85%. I was having major reservations about leaving for the weekend and the vet cautioned me against boarding her because of the possibility of an angry kitty hunger strike. So...here I am. At home. Kind of lonely. A little bit bored. But I shall persevere! Anyhow...The Sandbar '08 crew (minus the "dead weight"/"black balled" member) have a weekend of fun, frolicking silliness and michelada drinking planned. You girls make me strong. Even when you are having dinner without me. But whatever....you all have to look at yourselves in the mirror and deal with knowing the pain you have caused me.

Happy Saturday. Go Horns!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Post Script

With no intention of biting the hand that feeds me...I would like to mention that my employer has offered to create a link to the Presidential address on it's website so that parents may have the option of allowing their child to view it...or not. An admirable compromise...to be sure. However this is a nice option provided every one of those 90,000 students has access to a computer with internet connection at home. Just a thought....

Thank goodness I have DVR. If not...I might have had to call in sick. Hmph?

A Sad, Sad Commentary...But A Commentary Nonetheless

As many of you know I started blogging as a means towards healing from a rather devastating circumstance. I realized focusing on what was "right" with my day rather than what was "wrong" with my day was a task I needed to focus on to mend a terribly troubled heart. At the time I vowed to keep the content light and only chronicle good and happy things. I know there have been some posts that have not always been in keeping with the original intent; but for the most part I have tried to turn even my greatest "negatives" into reasons for "daily celebration." I also vowed to keep my love life out of it (although Ciara swears that would increase my readership a million fold) and I made a promise to myself I would try to keep my personal religious and political beliefs out of it. Sure....I worked on a campaign and I chronicled that. I hope I kept the focus on the "act" of campaigning and what great joy and purpose it brought me during a very troubling time in my life. I don't think it is any great mystery what the gentleman I campaigned for believes in and what his leanings are...although party identification is generally left out of the race for mayor. (I say that loosely...I don't want any ranting responses to that statement, please!) I have also tried to keep my religious beliefs as benign as possible on this blog. I know not everyone believes what I believe and I appreciate those differences. My story wouldn't be complete without sharing my basic and fundamental belief in God's grace. But that is what works in my life. And this is my blog.....so I get to say it as much as I want. But I am not going to come into anyone else's blog and tell them what to do, how to vote, where to worship, etc. I realize some people may interpret that as not standing for much. But I have always prided myself in standing for an individual's right to make decisions for themselves. If someone wants to ask me how I feel I am happy to share. If my thoughts are offensive then people don't need to read or can scroll down to less threatening content. (Though I don't think I am a terribly threatening presence!)

I am certain that what I am about to write will not settle well with everyone. And we all know how hard I try to please everyone and the thought of offending anyone makes me want to crawl under the sheets and hide. But as I said before...this is MY blog, MY forum and something happened today that has me on the verge of absolute tears. For the first time in my life I am nearly brought to tears by the power of ignorance...on a national level. Certainly...in my lifetime...I have been brought to my knees by ignorance on a personal level. But what I learned today is so troubling to me I could not pass up the opportunity to get it out. Perhaps I should keep these thoughts in a personal journal...but the thing is...I don't have one. So this is the medium. If you know what is coming and you don't want to read it then by all means scroll down to the pretty, pretty pictures of Charleston. I will not be offended. But please allow me to say what I want to say and if you would like to read...please, continue on. (Aunt Alfie be forewarned! I love you too much to get in an argument with you....EVER!)

I have given this issue an enormous amount of thought today. For every point I made to myself, I also had a counter point. So I am pretty sure I am going to talk myself in circles. But isn't that the thing....true thoughtfulness often encourages deeply examining issues from a variety of perspectives. My dear friend and mentor, Karen, always reminded me (in the 8 years we worked together) that there were always two sides (if not more) to every story. Please understand that I know that...especially with regards to this issue.

So I think I have prefaced this enough! I am deeply, deeply, deeply troubled by the debate that is raging around President Obama delivering an address to school children. I learned today that my employer will not allow the address to be viewed (despite the blessings of a television and computer in EVERY SINGLE classroom) by any of it's 90,000 students. Apparently the argument is that they do not want their employees to be placed in the precarious position of having to explain to an irate parent why they chose to switch the "on" button. While I can appreciate the districts position to protect it's employees from harassment and chastisement I can't help but wonder, "Why has it come to this? When did it become fashionable, nay acceptable, for a parent to admonish the leader of this country to the extent that they will not allow their child to listen to the encouragement to perform to their fullest potential in a system that is unselfishly provided them?"

Of course one might come at me with the argument that no one should be "forced" to listen to anything they don't want to. (Much like the way I appreciate that no one HAS to read this blog unless they WANT to.) Okay, I understand that. And I also appreciate that by the very definition of the word "parenting" an adult is well within their right to protect their child from rhetoric and content they consider unsuitable. But really, is the President of the United States encouraging our most precious resource all that likely to indoctrinate and hypnotize young children into full on socialism (as is the favorite buzz word of the day) or any other -ism for that matter? Really....? Really? Really!?!?!?! I mean...the only -ism I can imagine might come out of his address might be intellectual-ism. And I might be going out and an ENORMOUS limb here...but he might also encourage hard work, academic excellence, pride in learning, a hunger for knowledge, the power of reason, logic, curiosity. He might highlight the many and varied benefits of earning, at minimum, a high school diploma like work, food, money...the basics. (Sure I could throw health care into that mix...but I really doubt he is going to toss his health care plan out to elementary, middle and high school students. I could be wrong....but I just don't see it.) So...best I can imagine, President Obama will very likely be encouraging all the things any good and decent parent would HOPE for their child....!

My heart aches for this man. It really does. I certainly don't know him personally....but I imagine that in the quiet of his day he might be thinking something along these lines, "All I want to do is send a simple message to our future. And the message is that an education is what shall set you free and it is something that no one can ever take away from you (as my father always reminded me...thank you, Daddy). So take advantage of the road that has been paved for you whether that be as a student of our public school system, charter system, private school system, home schooling system." I imagine he must sit back, close his eyes and shake his head in quiet disappointment. He must wonder why the best of his intentions are being received with such criticism. Hope for our children isn't a partisan issue. I believe parents of any political leaning be it Democrat, Republican, Independent, Socialist, Fascist, Communist just want the best for their children; and I don't think anyone can argue that an education isn't ABSOLUTELY FUNDAMENTAL to that.

The individuals at the helm of this campaign against this public address to school children should be ashamed of themselves. Is this really THE message we want to send to the children of this country? The message of censorship and political mind games and disregard and even hate. I can't help but think the message President Obama is trying to send to the children isn't a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH healthier one?

I am so saddened by the mere idea of censoring this presidential address I don't even feel like I am living in the same country. I do not like the way I feel today....not about this. I can't believe that any decent and thoughtful individual would believe this man would ever send a message of ill will, disrespect, ignorance and disregard to school children. But he doesn't have to....they are already sending that to our school children all on their very own.

So...today I celebrate that I DO live in this country...and I am so, so, so proud of that and have been every day of my life...except today. I celebrate that it is okay to write about it and not suffer a consequence. I celebrate the men and women that get dressed everyday to make my life possible and safe. I celebrate ALL the men and women who serve publicly...because it isn't easy and there are people like me who throw their opinions at them constantly. (Even though this is the first time I have ever done anything like this! Feels good. Now I know why my Aunt Alfie does it everyday. Again...I love you!) It can't be easy to be the President of this country and I know that things aren't perfect. But when did guiding children towards success become reprehensible? When did it become okay to send this message to our youth? When, did I ever think, in my lifetime, a President of THESE United States would be silenced in our schools?

Please direct all complaints to someone else! So typical of me...say what I want to and then run! :)

Goodnight, friends. Please know, and believe, I am so proud to be a citizen of this country...the greatest country in the world. I am just so, so, so disappointed today. However, as my Mom likes to remind me, tomorrow is a new day. Maybe I will be less sad tomorrow?

And PS....I need a serious lesson from all my English teacher friends on apostrophes. Help! I just don't remember anymore.