Sunday, June 22, 2008

Married--Without a single date! (Beat that!)

Tim and I never dated before we got married. Saying that even now makes me laugh. Tim and I both grew up around the Covina, California area, but attended different high schools. We belonged to the same church and had seen each other once or twice at different church events. I was the same age as his older sister Patti and never thought of Tim other than as an annoying little brother who was a little geeky and awkward.

We attended the same college but at different times. Tim left the country to live in Central America for two years while I worked at a company in the City of Industry after graduation from college. I developed a best friend who also worked for the same company. She and I did everything together. We had a deep love for the Dodgers and often would ditch work and attend day games. Her name was Susan C.

When I got bored with work, I decided to leave the state for a time and went to live in Kansas and Nebraska. I didn’t find myself in either state, but it was there I fell in love for the first time.

He was a Lieutenant in the Air Force. He worked for the Strategic Air Command in Omaha. I had never felt such passion for a man before in my life. It was heady stuff. His name was Michael D. I had visions of marrying him, moving with him all over the world and living happily ever after. But that was not to be.

Full of hurt and frustration about not being able to continued to pursue a relationship with Michael at that time because of his commitments and mine, I finally went home to San Dimas, where my parents were living at the time. Michael and I corresponded for a while, then I received a marriage announcement from him and was devastated.

My best friend Susan lived in San Dimas. I think she was a little jealous of my time spent away from her because our friendship always seemed a little strained after that. In 1980, Tim purchased his parents home in San Dimas and had moved there and before I returned home from Omaha. Susan and Tim were dating. In fact, on the second day of my return from Omaha, Susan felt sorry for me and invited me along on her and Tim’s date to Disneyland. It was a wonderful night, at least for Tim and me. We had so much in common as we had both moved away from home for a time of self discovery and learning. We talked the entire time comparing our journeys. Susan sat in the front of the car next to Tim in a huff. For the next couple of months, the three of us did all kinds of activities together. We went to the movies, the beach, church activities and parties as a threesome. Tim and I always had plenty to talk about and Susan would most likely endure the evening with a scowl on her face.

Upon my return from Omaha, my good friend Debbie R. got me a job at a furniture manufacturer in the City of Industry and I started work as a secretary to the credit manager. It was a job I really loved. It gave me plenty of time to flirt with the gorgeous salesmen who worked there. The personnel manager knew I was a Dodger fan and offered me box seats for a game.

Now normally, I would have jumped at the opportunity to invite Susan along with me to a Dodger game. She and I were big fans. But for some reason I called Tim on the phone and invited him. He said he would have to meet me there because he didn’t want to come home to San Dimas from North Hollywood, where he was working at the time, and go all the way back to Los Angeles. About the third inning of a rather boring game, the Dodgers were behind as usual, Tim informs me that he had sent Susan a dozen roses and confessed his love for her that very day. My heart felt like it had torn right out of my chest, ripped in two and had the two halves strewn about on the hard cement floor of the stadium. I fiddled with my program and drew a little broken heart on it surrounded by little tear drops. I had no idea that Tim noticed my little drawing and it caused him to think about me and wonder. I left the game in the sixth inning.

The next day was a Saturday and I busied myself cleaning up my mother’s home. Tim called on the phone and wanted to talk. I was curious as to what he wanted, so I invited him over. I was dressed in my shabby work clothes and covered in dust and dirt when he arrived. Sitting down on my couch he gently asked me why I had drawn the little broken heart on my program. I struggled to find the right words to tell him that I loved him. But as we sat there together, and compared our lives, our goals and dreams, he confessed that he felt the same way about me.

Sunday he proposed to me over my mother’s roast beef dinner and in two months, on July 10, 1983, we were married. Oh, by the way, we named our only son Michael!

Monday, June 9, 2008

How Carol got her groove back

Motivation. Where do you find your motivation? I’ve been searching for the key to unlock the door to motivation in my own life for almost 53 years. Only 53 years because that’s how old I am. Wow! When it was ten and my mom 50 I thought she was almost dead. Now that I’m in my fifties, it doesn’t seem so old.

Anyway back to motivation. As I look back over my last year’s journey into exercise and losing weight, I can’t quite put my finger on the motivation that pushed me to walk into Contours in Camarillo and sign up. Was there a single moment that I decided in my head to add exercise back into my life. Was it the fact that I’d come home every night from work and collapse into my easy chair and watch endless hours of mindless TV? Was it the fact that I started suffering from panic attacks and let fear rule my life? Or was I over saturated with medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart problems or the fact that I was losing hair and gaining pounds from the meds? Looking back now, I’d have to say no. Those things were horrible but not enough to motivate me to take the first step towards better health.

When I first moved to Camarillo, I used to go to the water aerobics class taught at Pleasant Valley pool. I enjoyed that. Didn’t lose much weight, but I didn’t gain any either. Then I started working and the four hours it took to drive to the pool, change, exercise, drive home shower and dress for work had to be put aside. So I went to work and gained weight. I went from 278 to 308 in nothing flat. I attribute a lot of that weight gain to a medication for blood sugar I was taking. But I was not in control of the things that entered my mouth either.

I had some dear friends, Alice, Martha and Marty who were losing weight and toning by going to Contours gym, so I think that helped motivate me. They were an inspiration to me. So on February 20, 2007 I walked into the door of Contours and signed up with Judy, a tiny lady with a great capacity for caring. I trained a 6 a.m. and learned that Sonja Sharp owned the gym. She was a great teacher and motivator. I owe a great deal of thanks to Sonja.

Then I met the six to eight a.m. group. A more wonderful group of ladies could not be found anywhere. I express my deep appreciation to them for their continuing support and encouraging me in my weight loss journey. Monika, was our ring leader from six to eight. I became fast friends with Murielle, Phyllis, Ann, Donna, Claire and others like, Sue, Sara Jane, Leslie, and another Carol. I know I’m forgetting someone. I should have written names down when I was there this morning. Please forgive me for not remembering everybody who has become wonderful gym companions to me.

Even though I was highly motivated to keep going to Contours, I still didn’t lose much weight in a year’s time, mostly, because I didn’t reduce my food intake. I guess you could say I started my health journey backwards. Most people diet first and then add exercise. I did it the other way around. Early in 2008 there was a weight loss challenge in the gym. As I have mentioned before, my partner Murielle and I won with a weight loss total of 17%. I was amazed.

To make an long story much longer, my husband and I started taking a writing class in January at Moor Park College. It was simple class where we had to write essays every week. I felt an inward drive to complete a novel I had started years ago as a dream. I had already written the romantic part, so from out of the blue, (another stroke of motivation), I wanted to put the rest of the story with the best chapter. It took me about three weeks of non stop writing to finish a 108,000 word romantic novel. It may only be for my own benefit to see if I could actually do it. The work may never see the light of day. But I did it! I wrote a book. I heard a great person once say that everyone has at least one novel in them. I found mine.

I considered then that I wanted to be the heroine of my own novels. I wanted to have a hand-spanable waist, thighs that could crack walnuts, rock solid six pack abs, buns of steel and arms and shoulders like Cheryl Burke from “Dancing with the Stars”. Just before Weight Watchers annual “no fee” registration was up, I took the leap. I had attended Weight Watchers once before, (as mentioned in my previous post), but now I had a purpose. I had drive. I found my motivation. My leader Jill is a great motivational speaker. She told me I would always be a weight watcher and that my journey was just to take one step at a time. I had already made that all important first step. I will always be grateful to Jill and Weight Watchers.

My motivation didn’t come in a single moment or a flash or one single event that I could put my finger on or single out. It was more like a wave. A tremor in the ocean floor, a slight ripple along the surface of desire that started pushing me forward towards the shore of accomplishment. Then swelling up to a massive mountain of urgency and persistence until I was at the crest and plunging for the beach of success. But even as the ebb flowed back out to sea, my next wave was much bigger. Matching the force of the Bonsai pipeline along the north shore of Hawaii's Oahu. Taking a year from when I started exercising to losing 64 pounds, it built up like a tsunami, an all encomposing wave swamping out all my resistance to change. I was hooked.

I have discovered hidden treasures of strength, excitement and energy. I’m happier, healthier, and maybe a little sexier. (Just ask my husband.) I have a new zest for life. I have moved through all the clothing in my closet. I have purchased new clothes at K-Mart for goodness sake, the first time in 26 years. I can buy extra large clothes instead of 4X. I no longer want to wear moo moos. My doctor was surprised and took me off of six medications. I have now written two complete novels and will finish a third shortly. I no longer sit in front of the TV for hours or fall asleep before bedtime. I don’t suffer from panic attacks. I can walk all over Ventura Harbor and not get out of breath or have to sit down every few steps.

Do I believe in motivation? You bet I do. Do I know where it comes from? Haven’t a clue. Motivation is for everyone to discover and I can’t give you mine and I couldn’t take yours from you. What works for me will probably not work for anyone else. I had to have a hunger to replace my passion for food. I found that passion in writing and now I feel great. Prayer helped a lot too. Seeking a higher power in one’s life is often a great motivator. That not only sustains my faith, but adds a great dimension to my life.

Motivation. I consider it the greatest mystery of our time. Well at least, among one of the greatest. I know you can find your motivation. If I can help, let me know by adding your comment.