Sunday, June 21, 2009

Eyes on Me


Center cropped, otherwise unedited. Cute?

This year has been full of challenges. Mine. And everybody’s watching me.

Almost six months ago, I kicked the smoking habit. Looking back on those first few weeks, it wasn’t extremely difficult or unpleasant but it was and continues to be a daily challenge. Early on, I was smug in knowing I was not gaining weight. Everyone knows about the inevitable weight gain during smoking cessation but I chose to ignore the issue. How could I believe I was exempt? Silly me.

A month later, a brand new four pound innertube inflated around my waist in one week. I fussed and fumed and swore and squeezed that new roll while establishing a love relationship with UTZ Special Dark pretzels and cheddar cheese, Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds or the ones with Sea Salt, and anything else I wanted all…day…long. I felt entitled to a Snickers bar every day at 2:30 because, after all, I was power walking and pushed myself hard for the good cardio. Still, I refused to get on the scale and avoided full-length mirrors.


Chloe will be 13 years old this week. She tends to constantly keep me in front of her for fear of losing sight of me. Her hearing loss is something new to deal with…

Late April, on to West Virginia I went with a suitcase full of stretch denim, elastic waist pants, and eight brand-spanking new pounds of fat wrapped around my waist. On a 5’-1” person, it’s very noticeable, especially to me.


In West Virginia I saw cameras so sophisticated that I could only dream of owning one like them. The Flock and everyone else at the festival had a camera within their reach for eighteen hours a day. A bunch of great photographers, they were, snapping away at people, places, and things and no one was off limits. We were celebrities. I would have needed to search for warblers continually, all day, to hide my second chin and chicken neck and I really got tired of sucking it in for so long. So I let it all hang out.

Naturally, these people I admire and also love, posted those photos on their blogs and Facebook for the whole world to see. And, in the late evening hours when the house was quiet, I would peek that those wonderful posts, see my plump self, and wail and writhe and whine, pleading to the computer monitor in a desperate whisper, U-u-u-u-gh. Oh, please. No more pictures? Stop?!
Pictures don’t lie. Sigh...


For me, Bella promises to keep an eye on Chloe and she does.

Is this abnormal behavior? Am I supposed to embrace my age and who I am, and love myself unconditionally? Yes.
Shall I embrace my inner tube? Well, hell no. I think not. I believe I’m entitled to be vain.
Hey, is there anyone out there, male or female, who truly embraces their chicken necks and droopy eyelids? How about female mustaches? I’m taking care of mine, thank you. And the laser hair removal technician and I had a conversation like this,

“My mustache is dark on the outer edges and I’d like it all zapped.”

“Ok, you want help with your upper lip.”

“No, my upper lip is fine. I have a mustache above it. (smiling) It’s a mustache. You can say it.” We laughed.

She still refers to my “upper lip” and I always want to laugh out loud at her professionalism. It’s a damned female mustache! If I can find the funds in the next few years, I might get my eyelids raised and my chicken neck tightened, too.


I also keep my eyes on them.

Back to the fat. Those eight new pounds turned into eleven. A week ago, I surrendered once again and began a strict, low calorie, basically no taste, no comfort-food diet. It’s a healthy diet and I’m serious about it. In three days, I lost 4.6 pounds and I’m delighted! Round two of the “3-day diet” starts tomorrow and I have a long way to go.

All without my old bad habit, foods I crave, and wine, I’m spending terribly long, vice-free days at work and taking walks every day. This is why you will not hear from me often this summer but I know I’ll want to make time to post here occasionally and share my view through the camera’s lens.


Enjoy a safe and lazy summer. Laugh often!



Beth in NYC said...

You go, girl! Do what you gotta do and keep us posted.

That dragonfly picture is excellent! Congrats!

Peg Wiggins said...

You can do it, Mary.
Hang in there.
I fight the battle of the bulge along with you and others as we age.
Along with all of the other changes life throws at us.
Just keep on trying . . .
p.s. I love a treat of dry-roasted almonds. But gotta keep it under control.

beckie said...

Mary, first-the dragonfly pictures are wonderful!!! Of course your talent at taking those photos shines through.

Next, if you want to be vain(as you call it) then be vain. Do what ever makes you happiest. We do not have to settle, especially in this age.

Well done on quitting smoking! I would love to have your will power. Have a great summer and kiss the girls.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Getting nearer to 50 and the pounds keep creeping on here too. I was just talking to my hubby today about getting serious about a diet change. We both need to do it for our health. It isn't any fun is it? But then again feeling old and unhealthy before our time isn't fun either.

I wish you the very best and hope you continue to post your lovely and amazing pictures regularly. Take care, Mary!

Cicero Sings said...

I used to be a slim young thing, around 135-140 lbs ... now I have a hard time staying under 160! Oh, and the neck wrinkles ... y-uuuuck! There are mustaches and then there are chin whiskers! I've a few of those to contend with too. But I'm contented to be gray haired ... have to be because I'm too demmed lazy to dye it and keep it dyed! I went gray VERY young. A hereditary thing.

But hey, congratulations on staying smoke free! And if it's any consolation, you take grand photos and write a mean blog!

Tina said...

What a beautiful series of dragonflies pictures, mary,..your talent with that camera is just amazing..your determination to take such wonderful pictures is strong and that same determination will see you through your desire to shed whatever weight you feel you need to shed. Keep feeding us those photos...we all need your insight to nature..we look forward to your posts!!

Susan Gets Native said...

I will tell you the same thing people tell ME when I complain about how I look, even though it won't make you feel any different:

"I think you're beautiful the way you are."

That's fine and all, but WE are the ones who have to see ourselves in the shower. WE are the ones who have to shop for clothes we don't look hideous in.
I would love to be able to tell you the secret that is melting pounds off of me, but I really don't know how I am doing it. Eating less calories than I am burning off, I guess.

Love you to pieces...and next year, you and I will be the Hot Mamas and we will be jumping in front of every camera we see and won't care if the photos get posted!

Anonymous said...

Ah Girl, you're an inspiration. Power walking, no less...and with your hours!!

Wish you hadn't mentioned the Utz special dark pretzels. I didn't know about them. (sigh...)

The photos...those precious doggy precious!

A New England Life said...

Let's face it, growing older can be hell. I've put on about 5 lbs around the middle myself this winter but with this constant rain I can't get out and walk. The stress from being so busy with the girls doesn't help my eating habits either.

You do what you need to do Mary to feel good. My very organic (never thought she would have plastic surgery) friend had her chin done and was very pleased with the results.

That Dragonfly photo is amazing! The girls are beautiful as always. They don't give a damn what you look like either ; )


Jayne said...

Making the shift from not using food as my comforter and balm was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, but it is possible. We all struggle and share your frustrations Mary. Much love and warm hugs to you.

BTW, your photos are amazing girlie.

J.G. said...

For all her beauty, Nature has a few surprises for us, too. Like how hard it is to avoid those extra pounds, and the long-term effects of gravity!

Your plans to stay healthy and mustache-free sound right on. Good luck and keep us updated when you have time!

Unknown said...

A perfect series on eyes, the eyes in all the images are extra sharp. The images of the dragonflies and the cute dog are the best in this series.

RuthieJ said...

Oh Mary, I feel your pain. But you know what, we still love you and so do your puppehs!
If you're ever feeling really discouraged, do what I do.....go right from work (in your good clothes and makeup) and take a walk through Wal-Mart. I guarantee that most of what you see there will make you realize you're still lookin' pretty darn good! ;-)

The Quacks of Life said...

well done on the weight - I wish i could :(

great dragons. but I just the expressiveness of your dogs eyes!

KGMom said...

Mary--here's a few words from a non-never-smoker. It is HARD keeping weight off. It is LIFE LONG hard. And that's what I resent. The life long part.
I have an extra reason to watch the weight--pre-diabetes. So, I try to limit the carbs. The result--I haven't lost much weight, but nothing new is going on. No new pounds jumping on me.
As for shifting body parts, damn it---gravity sucks. I feel like Maxine in the cards!
I am so waiting for that breakthrough research that comes up with a fat-smacking pill.
I do want to encourage you, but I also know from years of battling that there's only one thing to do--years of battling.

Minerva said...

Good luck with the loss. I have my own struggle. I must start walking more!
Love all the pictures, but of course, the sweet Boston faces are my favorite.

Balisha said...

Hi Mary,
We all succumb to that tire around the middle it seems. Everything in the summer tastes so good. I guess portion control is the best way. Snickers in the afternoon....I can identify :)

Beth said...

Be proud of the non-smoking, Mare. THAT is your accomplishment - and one that will save your life. And btw, having never met you before New River, I think you are beautiful.


NatureWoman said...

You too, Mary! Good luck with the walking - I know you'll do it!

Rurality said...

Your pictures are always great, but I think that top one is my favorite ever!

Good luck, I'm still struggling with the weight issue after quitting smoking.

JeanMac said...

Happy for you on your "new plan". A few pounds is still preferable to smoking but I know you'll be back in good form soon. Happy summer. Oh, and I love that first picture.

dguzman said...

The only reason I knew that I didn't write this post was that you went to WVA. Otherwise, I'm right there with ya, honey, right down to that big old tire around my belly.

Im proud of you and your willpower--first smoking and now comfort food--I wish I could find the discipline, but I just keep saying to myself, "it'll be better in California! I'll walk everywhere and the pounds will fall off!"

And don't burst my bubble!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I love the way you can talk about what vexes you. I too have a spare tire for a Mack truck and a mustache. Do I like them? NO Have I done anything about them? NO. I should but I haven't seen myself posted on other blogs lately. Thank goodness. I might be encouraged to do something about it if I was posted for the whole world to see. UGH... I don't want to scare anyone though. Happy Summmer.

Dawn Fine said...

Have a nice summer Mary..enjoy your walking time...and time off from blogging and blog reading..
I have throughly enjoyed your awesome photos and words..

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed myself lately with all the blog reading. i love reading blogs and it was a wonderful way to spend the long dark winter that it is summer there are more hours to be outdoors..and I feel bad when I dont visit my bloggy friends.....
Maybe we should all take a blogging vacation..

Angie said...

I can so empathize with you over Chloe, especially having so recently gone through the loss of sight and hearing with Badger. I will be holding all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

Hmmmm, that diet business is a tough one, but hey, you kicked the nicotene habit, so I KNOW you can shed a few pounds! :) We're all out here cheering you on, girl! Enjoy your summer!

Peg Silloway said...

You speak for so many of us, Mary. Age and weight creep up on us while we're busy living and loving and working. At the same time gravity is doing its sneaky work and making everything we have sag! 'Tain't fair! Food is part of all our celebrations and triumphs, and comforts when that's what we need, too. You're not alone in your battle (my own roll is very stubborn), and we're all rooting for you.

Enjoy your summer and your garden and your girls. We'll be here.

LostRoses said...

Life is a constant battle, isn't it, Mary? Heck, we do what we can and live with the rest. This smoker has an extra "few" pounds and I haven't got the excuse of having quit puffing. Good for you!

Wow, that's quite a dragonfly photo. I don't think you need to have camera envy!

dmmgmfm said...

Great photos and congrats on quitting smoking. I think that is an incredible accomplishment.


Wendy said...

I'll chime in here with the rest and congratulate you on quitting smoking! That is so important.
I laughed at the mustache. I must admit, I'm blunt like that too. Call a spade a spade for goodness sakes. Call a mustache a mustache. So what? I still have to do something about mine. One day...

Loved your pics. Don't see how they could get any better. You don't need an expensive camera. That first one is fantastic. And the Licker sisters! Sweet!
Enjoy summer. I plan to.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Ruthie's comment made me cackle out loud! Our band just played for a motorcycle rally and you have never seen so many fashion don'ts in one place. I felt svelte as hell.

This post distills everything I love about you--the talent and the humor and the penchant for self-deprecation and the honesty and the beauty.



Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post.. that snickers bar entitlement - know it well, lol. You are so very, very talented. I adore your dogs, your wit, humor, the way you say it, present it.. the whole nine yards - it's really good.

So I won't take up forever commenting and pointing out all the things I love about your blog and this post, I'll try to be quick and end by sharing with you something I think you might enjoy and appreciate (it's a joke, or rather a "funny" about aging - lol.)

Two elderly women - both long time friends - were chatting once again about aging and their recent doctors' appointments

One lady sighed... "I am so tired of going to the doctor for another checkup just to be told I have something new that is due to age."

Her friend replied, "Me, too! At my appointment yesterday my doctor told me I now have something called Masculine Degeneration and that I would just have to learn to deal with it!"

:) Off to enjoy more of your wonderful blog

Anonymous said...

Always love your pictures. I hope you're having a wonderful summer but I miss you.

Richard said...

your pictures show your patience level u sure do have tons of them i believe god bless you thanks for these beautiful pictures...

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