“Drynuary”: Gripped by bedtime reading

Day 6: Gripped by bedtime reading.

reading-bed-1After a hectic, busy day there’s nothing more delicious than collapsing into a comfy bed. Especially when the sheets are crisp and cool, the pillows are just the right squishiness, and the mattress cushions you like a cloud. Ahhhh …

Without the additional nightcap relaxation effect this week, the obligatory read-myself-to-sleep phase appears to be going beyond the usual one or two pages and then conk out. It’s annoyingly challenging to get through any kind of serious book with that routine. Amazing how even the least indulgence in an evening tipple can act as a powerful sleeping agent. Is this an age thing? I don’t remember this in my earlier days.

Anyway, this week I find myself reading several chapters well beyond my usual pathetic couple of pages – and, I can actually remember what I read the night before. What a bonus! Does this only happen to me? Is the book perhaps just better than some I’ve read lately? Don’t think so.

Big push to start listing the positives. Preparing for a couple of weeks hence, when the novelty will surely wear off.

Posted in Aging, Books, challenges, change, Diet, discipline, Health & Fitness, Life Coaching, new years resolutions | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

“Drynuary”: Sliding down the slippery sugary slopes

Day 5: Sliding down the slipper sugary slopes.

cookie-monsterThe lovely engagement brunch was more about delicious food and animated catching up on lives. The monster of bad habits presented itself in the form of sugar instead of mimosas. Tasty home-made treats, engagement cake and my favorite ice cream. In the spirit of moderation, I sampled all of the above, staying on the safe side of triggering the must-have-more switch.

Phewww. Then we were off to a wedding and reception in an alcohol-free-zoned Baptist church hall. This was going to be a piece of cake. Ha! That was prophetic. As can happen, the usual waiting longer than you want to for the bride and groom to appear leads to nibbling more and more on the delectable sugary treats on offer. Then came the cake served up in humongously generous portions. All good. Still keeping it within the bounds of ‘moderation’ … sort of.

Phewww. Back home for a cozy evening in front of the fire. A light supper and debrief of the wedding with the 20-somethings — who have increasing interest in such affairs. What a perfect day. Since I can’t have a glass of wine I deserve one of those last Christmas cookies, right?

I can’t describe what happens next. It’s not pretty. But really, what am I worried about? A few extra cookies?

No, not all. It’s the struggle over replacing one vice with another. It almost feels like cheating, if give up alcohol just to replace it with a sugar overload. Last year I wrote in a ‘no-desserts’ clause to the contract. I think that’s in order again!

Why do so many treats, rewards, and comforts come in the shape of food and drink? Is that learned or innate? More on that another time.

Posted in challenges, Diet, discipline, Food, Happiness, Health & Fitness, Life Coaching, new years resolutions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Drynuary”: The temptation to rattle the monkey’s cage

Day 4: The temptation to rattle the monkey’s cage.

monkey_cageNo social events to strategize my way through. No battles with my resolve as my husband mixed up a cocktail while prepping supper. No big whoop today …. Except this fleeting urge to stir things up. The puritanical feel-good rush has a short shelf-life.

My BFF’s husband used to accuse her of an irresistible peevish need to rattle the monkey cage whenever they seemed to be slipping into quiet marital bliss. That’s where I could see myself gravitating.

Eat a cookie instead! And get your mind around tomorrow and the engagement brunch that will greet you with sparkling mimosas as soon as you enter the door.

All’s well. No need to stir things up.

Staying on track …

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“Drynuary”: Finding new “Thursday Therapy” options

Day 3: Finding new “Thursday Therapy” options.

img_0194Almost at the end of a week, that grueling, bootstrapping-yourself-back-into-top-gear kind of a week. You’ve done good: You deserve a treat. It’s been a nightmare: You need some “Thursday therapy” —thanks Keri for sharing your Thursday. It’s been unremarkable: Time to put some zing into the week.

Sans vin? Ugh. Lynn, never fear, remember, you’re prepared with a new treat-comfort-zing solution. Perhaps not as big a treat, or as soothing a comfort or as exciting a zing. Nevertheless, this was designated to meet that need. I had pre-ordered a special stash of Mighty Leaf Chocolate Mint Truffle tea. After a dearth of the standard stimuli this week, even this un-caffeinated tea succeeded in creating the illusion of a departure from the ordinary.

Over the weekend, I’m planning to up my game with some alcohol free cocktails recommended in NYT’s “Don’t call them mocktails” piece last weekend. Doesn’t this Orchid Thief sound amazing?

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“Drynuary”: Alone with my soda water

Day 2: Alone with my soda water surrounded by exquisite glasses of winetray-of-red-wine-glasses

Still at the very optimistic stages of this feeling-oh-so-good-about-myself cleansing, it was easy-peasy to breeze past the tray full of beautiful wine glasses and ask for a soda water. The college parent networking meeting was in full swing at an up-market restaurant still decked out with holiday décor. The soda water request threw them off their routine, but they quickly sent a waiter running back to the bar returning with a big, bubbling glass topped with a twist of lime.

The deep crimson in the very tall and exquisitely thin wine glasses looked like the neighborhood I wanted to be playing in, but I didn’t stumble. I embraced the soda water in the chunky tumbler and relished the fact that I wouldn’t have to ‘pace’ myself. As the evening progressed, others started waving off the eager topping-up service, while I sipped on … and on the bottomless soda concerned only about the location of the restrooms.

The evening was short. The temptations short-lived. It was the perfect first adventure ‘out’ into the real world. Conversation wasn’t impacted by the light social imbibing. It did make me look forward to that first event where everyone else quietly slides into an alternate fuzzier, slipperier reality and become objects of entertainment to the sober observer.

Stay tuned …

Posted in challenges, change, Diet, discipline, Health & Fitness, Life Stories, new years resolutions | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

“Drynuary”: Why?

Day 1: Upon announcing project ‘Drynuary’, I was aksed “why”.

Wait … What do you mean “why”? Didn’t expect that. This question comes up almost as frequently as the “yeah-me-too’s”. The lanes separating the two traffic flows isn’t even the slow vs. the fast, or the young immortals vs. those of us now starting to pay for the sins of our youth.

So here’s my Answer:

younger-next-year-aging-curve-goalDancing back and forth between ‘carpe diem’ and ‘paying it forward’ I let it all rip during the holidays and then reign it back in after the new year. This hopefully restores some semblance of balance and reinstates habits that increase my odds of powering through til the end. I’m striving for that aging curve, where you fall off a cliff in a few days, rather than a long, protracted decline along the slippery slope that takes years. younger-next-year-aging-curve-typicalIf you’ve read “Younger Next Year”, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Indeed, I might be the old lady at 90 writing about wishing she had eaten more cake, skipped the gym more, slept in late and abstained from puritanical routines such as ‘drynuary’. Who knows. It’s my insurance policy – I can’t not do it.

Wish me luck!


Posted in Aging, Diet, discipline, Health & Fitness, Life Coaching | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Making sense of vacations


What do you tell people when you return from vacation?

Perhaps a tale of something gone wrong, like the painful encounter with the Viennese train police a few minutes after our 72 hr travel card had expired. Perhaps a blow-your-socks-off site, like the view from on top of the world across the ski slopes when the sun came out. Perhaps the discovery of a never-tasted-before, or even heard-of-before food, like “Schwarzwurzel” (salsify root) or “Acker Salat” (lamb’s lettuce). Perhaps the immersion into something that changed your outlook, like the now vividly multi-cultural face of places I knew to be very homogeneous 40 years ago, when I lived there. Or a crazy, wacky happening, like our ski group breaking the 7-day all-time cork count record for the chalet by day 4 already! Apparently skiing triggers an unquenchable thirst for French wine. Who knew?

Listening to an interview with Richard J. Leider (author of The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better) yesterday I was struck by some research he has done into regrets among older people. One of the consistent themes was a regret that they hadn’t spent enough time reflecting.

That’s certainly true for me and vacations. We download our pictures, write some thank you notes, sort through the pile of mail, get our to-do lists fired up again, struggle through jet lag and attempt to integrate back into the flow of our home life routines. As time passes, the vacation experience fades and is often reduced to captions on photos, and an occasional anecdote retold. I’m thinking this trip is worthy of some deeper, personal reflection.

What were the truly memorable moments? The joyful zings that make your heart leap? What were those tingling new experiences that I seek to recreate back home? What did I see or do that will have a lasting residual impact on my outlook? Where does this propel me to venture to next time?

Going offline to dig deeper.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”  Confucius
Posted in conversation, Happiness, Holidays, joy, Life Coaching, Life Stories, psychology, Spiritual, Transitions, vacation | 1 Comment