My Little Piece of Heaven

Bullough’s Pond, Newtonviille, Mass.

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Weight Watcher’s Redux

It helped that L. with her warm smile and vibrant colors waved me over to the scale. Pealing off layer after layer I slipped my boots off and stepped gingerly on the scale.
Sparing L. tales of my holiday eating sprees I awaited the verdict. Up .8. Not bad but my competitive spirit was dashed as I thought I stayed the same or even lost a bit.

What warmed me most about the meeting was the community of folks assembled around our incredible leader.It felt good to know that I belong and will continue on the journey.



For 40 years I have experienced a nightmare in which I am lost, disoriented, displaced, penniless, parent-less, and friendless. At 22 I was Girl Interrupted.

I didn’t need an analyst to decipher the meaning of my distressing dreams. On May 4, 1970 Boston University banished all students from campus in the wake of the Kent State Killings and ensuing protests and tumult.  Numb, and  traumatized by the callous murders and injustice , I was not about to concern myself with the cancellation of a graduation ceremony I no longer felt right about attending.

My dad drove  from New York to Boston to pick me up. In a prior post  I described the ride, the mood and the rancor. There was no time for goodbyes, collective processing of  Kent State and the questionable actions of the National Guard.

Any relationship between Boston University and I was severed and I looked back in anger for years. History was altered with an email I received from BU Alumni Relations asking my class if we would be interested in a graduation 40 years later. I responded immediately and within a month received an invitation. Next came an article in the Boston Globe in which I was interviewed as a member of the class.

BU Article

Part II will describe the incredible event and the lives it touched by bring this incredible class together.

When the Woman You Called Mom Didn’t Really Like You

The question a simple one.  In conversation with a close friend about  the difficult relationship I experienced with my mother she asked, “What did your mother like best about you?”  My answer,  “not a thing.”  I   have mulled this over for weeks wanting to come up with at least one thing she liked about me.  For most of my childhood and adult life I struggled for my mother’s approval and worked hard at being more likeable. As she aged her dislike and disapproval grew even stronger making our relationship untenable at times.

My mother died in February of 2001 and the loss was significant despite our alienated relationship. The craziness  is that I loved her and in her own way she loved me. Translating the love into a viable and sustainable relationship never happened. In my deepest dreams my mother surfaces as an ageless shadow figure, hauntingly beautiful, and with  a low guttural voice.  As I step towards her wispy visage with wide open arms  she steps back and bows her head. It’s  both painful and impossible.

My life with mother is the stuff that “tell-all” memoir is made of. I can  jump on the “Mommy Dearest” bandwagon and  regale any reader of this genre with dark but hilarious vignettes  of dialogue stranger than most fiction. I always knew that my mother was less than pleased by just about everything about me from my  appearance to personality to goals, to values, and in the heady late 60’s my politics.  “Oh Marshy,” was her usual preamble to a scathing critique of my outfits, make-up, hair, inflection of voice, body weight, vocabulary, grammar, sense of humor and my choice of friends and lovers.

“Oh Marshy, YOU”RE not wearing that tonight, are you?” This whispered at the moment I nervously descended the spiral staircase to meet a first date.

“Oh Marshy,  promise me you’ll never wear that skirt again.” This at a packed high holiday service at our Westchester temple;  provoking looks and frowns of one too many congregants. Impervious to the reactions she rasped on, ” It cuts you in all the wrong places. You look like a house.”

When she died I thought that I would be free of her powerful  impact upon my compromised self-image. Was I ever wrong. Like  most children of narcissistic parents  I instinctively  internalized her negative judgments as she lives on as one hell of a “”looking-glass self”.
Constantly editing and criticizing  things I say, frowning  upon my choice  of a particular outfit, begging me not to make an unwise business decision,  or asking when will I toughen up or why did you do that?

At the ripe old age of 64 it is time I pop the question. “What is it that I like most about myself?”

I have made some progress on this and now talk back; countering her judgements with my newly discovered confidence about what I do, how I act, how I dress, how I relate and how I parent my children. It’s a journey but a journey worth taking as I contemplate the last chapter of a life worth living.

Kale-Fail; Adventures in Dieting

I have never met a vegetable I did not like; that is, until today. My husband and I have been following the WW program since December 4 and have both been successful in shedding some pounds.. We have adapted to the program by continuing to track points on a daily basis, planning ahead by shopping, trying new recipes and filling up on WW power point foods.

Our wise and spirited leader Beth is fond of reminding us, “Is there any way you can add fruit or vegetables to your meal?”My husband and I have followed this sage advice and feel so satisfied by the “powering-up” of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Recently, we purchased two  attractive WW  cook books- Points Plus and Power Up and have enjoyed the few recipes we have tried until today. Blame it on the Kale “groupies” (who number many) in our Saturday morning class. We have been hearing about all of the incredible wonders of and ways to enjoy kale since our very first meeting. The deal was sealed when our leader showed a picture of a Kale Stew on page 188 of the Points Plus Cookbook. She and the kale contingent oohed and aah-ed so much that we were influenced to try the recipe and finally, kale

From the moment I purchased  a bag at TraderJoe’s I was not encouraged. Forging onward I shopped for the other ingredients and was determined to at least try the recipe.My husband wrinkled his nose as I pulled the ingredients for the Kale Stew out of my Trader Joe cloth bags. “You’re not making that now?” His big blues pleading with me to say “No, not now.”

Somehow I  conned him into helping with the assembling and preparation of  the ingredients. Kicking off with the sauteing of onions, green pepper and garlic infused us with optimism as the pleasant aroma filled the room. We were also heartened by the addition of  threads of saffron, oregano, and sherry. From the minute the four cups of kale was poured into the pot we were turned off. We soldiered on, however, adding the diced tomatoes, beans and vegetable broth that the recipe called for.  As the unfamiliar concoction came to a rolling boil my husband and I exchanged frowns. It did not look good. Not at all.  As the soup simmered for 30 minutes the room was no longer filled with a pleasant aroma.The intrepid experimental type, I was the first to try the stew. I filled my bowl with the one and a half cups recommended by the recipe. That would be five points. I added one points worth of reduced fat cheddar chess and melted and spread it on top hoping to make the kale stew tastier- more inviting.

I sat down at the kitchen table and took my first bite.It really was a total bust. My husband finally sampled a “smidge” with a teaspoon gingerly hoisted into the pot. It became instantly clear that he would not be wasting his points on this for lunch.Who knows why I stubbornly ate the whole bowl? I felt totally unsatisfied and as if II didn’t eat at all. Yes, we gave the kale a chance. This will be the last time.. As I write this post I am ravenous and feel like raiding the refrigerator. I won’t. Dinner will be a tried and true chicken stir fry recipe, on a bed of brown rice coupled with a crisp, fresh salad and my special dressing.

Kale Stew

The joy of being first time grandparents is unparalleled- we are so very blessed.

10 Reasons for Celebrating My 1st Weight Watcher’s Milestone

I have posted twice about our experience with WW. As the weeks progress my husband and I find ourselves 100% in. We track our foods and exercise on a daily basis, shop ahead to stock our home with “power foods”, go to weekly meetings and stay, plan creative and delicious recipes to keep our taste buds happy and define this as our “journey” NOT diet.

Yesterday I achieved my first milestone as I lost 5% of my beginning weight. Was thrilled- 8 pounds off and already feeling and looking better.  Here are my top 10 reasons for celebrating this mini-success.

1. I no longer dwell on or obsess about food and my daily intake. Tracking takes care of that.

2. My upper arms no longer make that embarrassing flapping sound as they slap my ribs when canoodling down a staircase.

3. I look and feel considerably better. Try not to get too excited when people actually notice and remark! (felt really good when one of my gym buddies asked, “Hey, how much weight have you dropped?)

4. Clothes that have not fit suddenly do and increases my wardrobe and outfit possibilities. Back into my fav jeans is a homecoming.

5. Feeling victory and in charge of my own weight loss is a confidence booster. If I can achieve these results in this area of my life why not in others?

6. When shopping at TJ Max I now have fun looking at and trying on clothes. Pre WW I stuck to the housewares, cosmetics and handbag departments.

7. My sciatica is nowhere to be found. 8 pounds less and I have rediscovered a bounce in my step and a total reduction of pain shooting up and down my left leg.

8. WW has brought my beloved and I closer together as we share this very positive experience and journey together. The support that I feel from my husband is invaluable.

9. I actually taste my food again. Fruits, vegetables, protein and other power foods are a revelation.

10. My cravings for too many carbs and sweets are pleasantly reduced. I have new habits that are effective and sustaining.

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