Thursday, March 31, 2011

Opening Day (not) at Dodger Stadium

Today is the first time in years...and I mean YEARS...that I will not be going to Opening Day at Dodger Stadium.
And it's really ok. Really!
A number of changes on the Dodgers' end--the date and time for Opening Day changed three times--and a few situations going on in the DiLallo/Hibbard world at this point in time--looking at the calendar, it seemed as though I would be moving this week, we have family coming into town for the big party this weekend and my work schedule has been extremely inconsistent over the last few months. Add to that the fact that a 'descent' ticket to this game started at $150 plus service fees and printing fees...well, though we really could have made it happen, my dad and I made the executive decision to sit this one out.
Pops will be meeting me at my new place just ahead of game time for a little pre game festivities and to celebrate and enjoy the first Dodger game of the season together. I have planned a great meal--some Italian meats, cheeses, guacamole and chips, and a few surprises--and picked up a 12 pack of Corona. There is no doubt that the total cost of our dinner was less than the cost of gas to get up to LA, the $15 Dodger Stadium parking and a couple of beers and hot dogs at the game. (Probably our dinners all WEEK are less than that!) We'll also save ourselves the 2 hour drive up. And the long lines at the concessions and bathrooms.
Bottom line, the quality time with my dad and the Dodgers is really what it's all about. And this time, we'll have the pleasure of having our feet up, and listening to Vinnie and seeing instant replay. No one will make us move so they can get into their seats and then have us move again as they get food, go to bathroom, go get more food, etc, etc. There is JOY in my heart knowing that NO one will be playing with a beach ball in front of us. My dad and I speak the same language on nights like these--baseball. And we speak of nothing else when watching a game. We'll be able to hear each other and he will be able to see well and, yes, I'll be able to cuss at the top of my lungs at a crappy Dodger play (did I mention that we open with the World Champion Giants? Lincecum, no less!) My dad will smile and laugh and he'll tell me to calm down and that it's only the first game. We've got the day down to a science.
I know, I know, it won't quite be the same.
But, as the game ends we'll get to hear Vinnie say, "Good night everybody!" And, (this might be the best news of all) we won't have an hour wait to get out of that crazy Dodgers parking lot!Oh, and we won't have an hour and a half drive home! Nope, as the game ends, I'll say good bye to my dad, who will drive 5 miles to his home. I'll turn out the lights, get straight into bed and say, "Good night Vinnie."
No matter the outcome of the game, it just might be the best Opening Day ever.
Go Blue!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Glorious Food...

The other night I had some friends over, all of whom, like me, have had an on-going struggle with their weight. We commiserated--for hours!--about our life-long food issues and empathized with each other over our constant battle with weight.
Of course we also drank wine {and beer} and ate chips {and guacamole} and savored banana cream pie {and chocolate pie and molasses chips...}
I have, at my heaviest, weighed 201 pounds.
Granted, I was nine months pregnant with Zac, but I have, indeed, topped 200 pounds.
I was a chunky little kid. I was, according to my own notes from 8th grade, weighing in at 150 pounds at age 13. Not pretty and, actually, quite miserable. In every way.
I took that weight deep into 11th grade, when I discovered boys, Dexatrim and that order. And I stopped eating.
Yes, I lost weight. I was anorexic before there was such a term. I remember at one point,getting on the scale and seeing 98 pounds. And I remember boys suddenly being interested.
I didn't eat for years.
But I love food. LOVE food! And once I started eating again, I swelled back up. I spent most of my life--the following 25 years--hovering at about 160 pounds (I am 5 foot 2) I topped out at 175 in 2003, the year I turned 40. I literally could not stand it, but could not get a handle on my weight. I had enough that I had to endure in my life, I certainly was not going to punish myself further by taking away my one true joy of eating. Truth is, I was miserable in OH so many ways, that being fat--yes, fat!--was just a symptom of that sadness.
In 2004, I started working with the college ministry at work and realized immediately how amazingly out of shape I was. I loved the job and LOVED being active with those kids, but I looked like crap, especially comparatively, and honestly felt the same way. It didn't take long for me to snap out of my funk and realize that I had to STOP the constant eating. Salads replaced burgers, Slim Fast replaced Pop Tarts, Balance bars and bananas replaced that late afternoon snack. I started chewing GUM so that I wouldn't eat between meals and I started downing the water. I realized how much better I felt as I lost weight, as I could fit in jeans again, as I could walk and run--and how much better life was over all because of it. I do believe I became 'healthy' for the very first time in my life.
It felt so damn good.
I got down to about 130 pounds and was able to maintain that for five years. But when I found myself creeping back up in weight in January 2009, I took a drastic measure and cut out carbs, probably for the rest of my life. I am happily back to between 128-132 lbs each day and YES, I weigh every single day. When it begins to creep back up, I cut back even more.
In between meals, when I'm hungry (and I am ALWAYS hungry), I drink water.
I drink lots of water...
But I love eating and I simply LOVE food. That will never go away.
And, honestly, I miss it. It's something that gives me sincere pleasure! I love flavors and textures and SMELLS of food. I love cooking and trying new items. I take JOY in food. I think about food and take picture of food...I've been known to MOAN when I am enjoying a meal. I thoroughly enjoy eating. And, let's admit too, that every celebration in life is arranged around food.
It's a constant disciplining of myself. Constant. And I love the word 'discipline.' It's controlling my thoughts and actions, and I'm (finally) getting very good at it. Every day I am faced with temptations--Hello! I work at an amazing hotel with FREE burritos and French Toast and pastries and ice cream and cookies and Lemon Tarts available all day long!! And, like most of you, I work at an office where people bring in donuts and birthday cakes and Girl Scout Cookies--daily.
I do not partake. I just don't. Sometimes I'll go over to the donut box and take a DEEP breath of them. Dear Jesus they smell good!!! (One of my co-workers always follows with, "she's full now.") Once in a great while, I will take one bite, chew it up, SAVOR the amazing, fabulous flavor, and then spit it out. But usually, I just look. And admire.
I have made a deal with myself: I only eat pastries when I'm in a foreign country. So much better there anyway. And, except for Sugar Free Jello (God's gift to dieters), I have all but completely cut out desserts. Yes, I will--and often do--indulge in a bite or two (or three) with friends at dinner party, but, honestly, it doesn't even taste that good to me anymore. And it's just not worth it.
NOTHING--tastes better than buying (and comfortably wearing) size six jeans.
NOTHING--tastes better than seeing 128 pounds on the scale.
NOTHING--ABSOLUTELY NOTHING--tastes better than being healthier and thinner today than I was in 8th grade.
But I admit, it's a struggle and I am tempted every single day.
I always tell people, "In my next life, I will eat a giant cinnamon roll with butter every single day."
But I'll bet I won't.
I love that size FOUR dress. And I plan to wear it to my 30 year high school reunion.
Nothing tastes better than that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Soap Opera

My friend, Lu, gave me this beautiful, sweet smelling soap for Valentine's Day. The name "Better than a Boyfriend" is just perfect as the box goes on to promise that 'it will go where you want it to' and 'it's always good company.' The inside lid teases with 'reach in and GRAB it.' The bottom reads, 'use it up and then move on.'

Well, I've never really ever had a boyfriend, and well, you know me...
I fell in love.

I looked forward to lathering up in that amazing softness. I took that sweet smelling freshness to work with me and out into the world with me--with a big smile--every single day! It made me feel good! It brightened my day! I couldn't wait to get home and soak in the sweet scent again and again. It made me happy.

But, lately, I could feel it fading away.
And, sadly--it ended today. Actually, it was used up and had dried out long ago, but, again--you know me--I held on and tried to make it last. And as I tried desperately to (literally) hold on to it, to make it work, I could still just barely smell its fresh, invigorating scent. It still smelled good! Sure, it was not as great as it was six weeks ago...but I didn't want to let go.

It is gone.
And here I am relishing the pleasant smell of what used to be...(from the box)...
Thinking about it. Writing about it.
Damn, it really did smell good, didn't it...?
Although I knew from the beginning that it wasn't going to last...
it's sad to know that it's really over.

I reached in and grabbed it and it went where I wanted it to.
It was always good company and smelled so sweet.

I used it up...and it's time to move on.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Be it ever so humble...

So I moved into my new place yesterday...
and just about finished it up today.
For obvious reasons,
it already feels like home.
(Please notice Gina's addition to my 1977 bowling trophy.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I was starting to write about my long day at work...and my even longer afternoon and evening of much stuff I had to move from one house to the other...three car loads of belongings...
Then, I saw this photo.
And read, "15,000 missing people."
I teared up.
I have nothing to complain about.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I have heard this said quite often…but have only just begun to use the phrase myself.
I am never quite sure if it is supposed to mean,
“It’s hard to explain, but I’m OK with it…”
OR if it actually means, “I am completely helpless and I have no idea what’s going on with the situation, but I want you to think that I'm totally accepting of the way it is.”
Let me assure you that if you hear ME saying it--it's the latter.
I guess I always view those words as a cop out of sorts. When someone explains something to me and ends it with "it is what it is", I think they're saying that they know the situation is probably not going to change, and they're gonna try to get over it.
So is it actually a healthy way of (at least sounding like you are) accepting that which you are unable to change? OR is it really just giving up? Seriously, I wonder.
I have always been one to over-think and over-analyze situations. I dissect, tear apart, evaluate and re evaluate everything. I like to fix things--I like to work on things and make them better. I am rarely happy with the status-quo and I do not give up. Well, not easily.
To me, "It is what it is" does NOT mean you are happy with the way things are.
It means you've accepted (for now) that they are not the way you wish they were.
There are current situations in my life that completely defy definition. I've (temporarily and perhaps partially in some cases) accepted them, but I will never stop trying to fix them and make them better: having to sell my beautiful home at a loss due to my complete inability to re-finance. Dealing and relating to certain family (and former family) members. Sporadic job insecurities. A lifetime battle with my weight! Then there's the question of why I am still alone after six years, (or how about why I haven't really even dated) and, what the hell I am going to do every single day for the next FORTY plus years...
In an attempt to explain to you the absolute irony in the fact that these situations are actually incredibly difficult (if not absolutely impossible) for me to understand--but I will continue to try--you will (now) hear me say,
“It is what it is.”
Then, I guess it's up to you to figure out if I am really ok with it or if I feel completely helpless about the situation.
Oh yeah, I already told you...
it's the latter.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Moving Day!

Couldn't decide on just one image for moving day...
I think you get the picture.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thinking differently

Here's a thought: what if everyone stopped saying things like, "We're getting so old" and "Time goes by so quickly" and just started LOVING and ENJOYING each day and each season of life?

Time goes by at the same rate for all of us, and I am never quite sure why people say it goes so fast. Honestly, I think that saying how quickly time goes by, is really just a very bad habit. People SAY it, like it's the normal, acceptable thing to say.
If you want to slow time down, stop telling yourself (and others) how fast it goes by!

But I don't know if there is ANYTHING that bothers me more than someone--especially someone my age--saying, "Can you believe we're so old?" or "we're getting so old!!"
I truly can't speak for you, but I am planning to live another 40 or 50 years and this is the youngest I will ever be.
I actually feel better than I did 20 years ago, and, as far as I know, there is still only one alternative to getting older.

These comments, and my adversity to them, may be the main reason I probably will not attend my 30 year high school reunion this year.
I just don't want to hear how old you feel and how fast your life went by. Personally, I feel great and honestly feel like I've lived and enjoyed each season and minute of my life. It has not gone by quickly and I don't feel like I'm getting old.
I'm only 47...barely half way to the finish line.
I have a lot of years left to enjoy life...and I plan to enjoy each day of each one...very slowly.

I think the key to this thinking is to just stop saying how fast time flies by and just start loving each day of life.
And to keep in mind that though getting older is not an option, getting old definitely is.

OK, stepping down from the soap box.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

i was so much older then...i'm younger than that now...
(and so much happier.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yes, I'd love your help

The other night, after his birthday party at my home, my son asked, "Do you need me to help you do anything before I leave?"
I know, sounds like a normal question with lots of easy answers. But you can not believe how hard it was for me to say yes. Actually, I truly don't believe I have ever said the words, "I need your help."
Cause I never need help. Really! I can--and will--do everything myself--even if it takes a very long time or nearly kills me. I never ever ASK for help.

But, my son was offering.
Honestly, it almost HURT to say yes. I never never never ask for help. Never. Not in any way. WAY too many years of having to do things on my own and, I suppose, not wanting to be seen as weak or needy.
I swallowed all the insane pride inside me and said, "I would love it if you could take the folding chairs down to the garage." He didn't even blink--and even continued our conversation--as he began to pick them up, stack them and put them away. When he came back up I asked, "I don't suppose you could help me take the leaf out of the table, could you?" Again, without even a thought, he began to pull the table apart, grabbing the leaf and asking me where it went. He put it away and came back over to help me get the table back together.
Note: I must say that taking the leaves in and out of the table is the ONE thing that is FAR easier with two people. I have, indeed, learned over the years how to do it by myself, but DAMN if it isn't 10 times faster with two!
He didn't say anything about me being weak or needy. He actually said, very kindly, "Do you need me to do anything else?" I almost cried.

Today, two friends came over after work to help me pack up the rest of my house. They have both been asking for WEEKS if they could come over and help me, and, well...I finally said yes.
Interestingly, neither one of them said anything about me being weak or needy or unable to do things on my own. I know! I know! Why would they? But THAT is what goes through my mind!
No, instead, we laughed. We sang. We talked. We drank wine! We laughed some more!
And we packed. In fact, in just about 2 hours, the three of us packed up just about every last thing left in the house.
And, before they left, each of them said, "Should I come back tomorrow and start moving stuff over to the new place?"
I almost cried.
Instead...I said, "yes."

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Live and let go

I've just loaded up my trunk, and the entire backseat of my car, with load #6 for Goodwill. Actually, I hadn't intended on doing that tonight, but I went down to the garage to put a load in the washer and put the trash cans out...and I just kept going. The trunk was filled before the load of laundry was done.
With that momentum, and knowing that I'd be going to Goodwill tomorrow, I came back in the house and decided to do one more 'sweep' of the kitchen stuff.
That's what filled the backseat of my car.
I love letting go.
If I may say so, it actually feels damn good.
I am starting to realize that the key to letting go--for me anyway--is living in the present. If you can hold something in your hand and be truthful about whether or not this item is useful to you at this point in your life...then you'll be able to know if you should keep it or give it away. I am not keeping clothes that I might be able to wear if I lose 15 pounds. I'm not keeping the picnic basket that I've stored for 10 years--and never taken on a picnic!
Another example is the coffee thermoses that I have had in my kitchen cabinet for years. I have never used them. (OK, one night about five years ago I took Margaritas to the Mater Dei Homecoming game in one!) Why in the world would I still hold on to them? In case someday I might need them? Crazy. I also packed up a half dozen coffee mugs that I never use. Some are chipped, some are just too small for my liking and, bottom line, I am one person! A dozen large coffee cups remain--that should be plenty!
The best part of this whole process is that I have not yet missed one item that I have let go! NOTHING! I keep thinking I'll go to look for something and I'll have to say, "Dang, I gave that away."
Nope. In nearly three months of clearing out and cleaning up and 'minimalizing', I've yet to say those words. In fact, right now, I can't even tell you what is loaded in my car! STUFF. Excess! Things I just don't need and don't use in my present season of life.
I cannot begin to describe the actual physical feeling of relief and liberation and freedom that the this whole journey has brought to me! I actually FEEL lighter and breathe easier with every car load left at the Goodwill.
And I smile the whole way home.
Let me add that there is TRULY not one thing that--if I really needed it--I could not buy back again and Target or Wal Mart or TJ Maxx or online--tomorrow.

People have come into my house lately, look around and say, "What have you gotten rid of?"
Exactly! The house doesn't look empty, it just looks clean and bright and far less cluttered!
It looks simple. And peaceful. And light. And happy.
And that's precisely the look--and feel--I'm going for in this season of living.
Inside and out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Look for the bare necessities...

The countdown begins.
I am down to my last couple of weeks as a homeowner.
Next month at this time, I will be living in a tiny apartment.
No mortgage, no property taxes, no association fees. When something breaks, I'll call the landlord. (I am REALLY looking forward to NOT paying for endless home repairs any more.)
In the last couple of months I have given away most of my clothes (keeping only what I wear), most of my furniture (keeping only the essentials) and almost all of the knick knack, collectible crap...I mean stuff of course.
I am going to be moving what's left of my books--two bookshelves full rather than six--and the bookshelves themselves. My kitchen items have been whittled down to three cabinets of items, which is still a bit much for one person, but I do have company occasionally. (Wine glasses have been kept, I assure you!) Besides that, I'm down to one small TV, one dresser, my bed and my kitchen table.
The bottom line is, I've realized what I need. NEED.
And it's not much.
A place to hang my hat (not 10 hats) and my purse (down to three)
A place to sit and watch a movie (ordered from Netflix, all DVDs have been given away)
A place to rest and dream and read and smile
I will be 100% debt free and hope to live that way for the rest of my days.
Simplicity is freeing and liberating and OH so alluring and attractive to me.
Just a couple more weeks in the big house.
Then it's just me in the little place with the simple bare necessities.
Feet up, with a book...and a glass of wine.

I can't wait.