Not a Sweet Tooth – a Chocolate Tooth

I started my Not Fueled by Chocolate Diet and Exercise program in April of this year. Six months into the project – I’ve come to the realization that it is going to take a lot longer than six months to achieve my goal! That means I still can’t have a stash of dark chocolate in the house.

Why?  I am  1/3 a Chocoholic. That is to say, on the few occasions I have had access to a dark chocolate bar,  I am Chocoholic Signal 1 – not particularly good at limiting my intake to, lets say, a square a day. Fortunately,  I am not Chocoholic Signal 2 – having intense cravings and Chocoholic Signal 3 – eating it despite the consequences!

No, I am not inclined to nibble a mere 70 calorie chunk and be content. It takes a full 200 chocolate calories (or more) to satisfy my palate.  I’d have to add another 3 miles of walking a day to make that calorie neutral. That isn’t going to happen, which brings me back to where I started – I can’t have chocolate in the house.

But I’m down 6 to 8 pounds on average (can someone tell me how a woman’s weight can fluctuate by several pounds from one day to the next!) and some of my clothes are visibly too big – that’s the progress that keeps me going. There is no grand secret to my success. It comes down to changing a few habits.

I kickstarted my Not Fueled by Chocolate program by reading the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It is an excellent book to read if you want to change something in your life, but you don’t seem to have the willpower to make the change ‘stick‘!

Rather, to change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine… This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future: THE HABIT LOOP… This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.
― Charles Duhigg, The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business

What habit have you changed or what habit would you like to change?

Looking for Puppy Faces

Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
– Winnie the Pooh (by A.A. Milne) –

Six years ago I wrote a post called A Perfect Storm – The Motorcycle Accident. It was the story of the day (Friday, July 13!) that The Car Guy and the Harley abruptly parted company – both landing in a farmer’s field, both with considerable damage.

I reread that post yesterday. I also reread all the comments left on posts then and after the event – words of encouragement, concern and prayers for a speedy recovery! Thanks again, from the bottom of my Canadian heart, to all these kind bloggers who reached out to me during those dark days:

The Cvillean
Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings
Virginia Views
Before Morning Breaks
Joys of Creating
The Other Side of 55
Mark Armstrong Illustration
Coming East
composerinthegarden
Year-Struck
Nylon Daze
MountainMae
From the Drawing Board
Fear No Weebles
Bless Your Hippie Heart
k8edid
The Sandwich Lady
Winsomebella
I Need a Play Date
Layton
Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge
Caryn Caldwell
pouringmyartout
timethief
boomeresq
Barb-The Empty Nest Mom
Carrie
Azara
Cheryl
Rose L.

Some of these writers are still blogging! Some have ‘ceased blogging operations’ and moved on.  The ‘ceased’ bloggers – some left a farewell message; some just packed up (I envision it as happening on a dark and stormy night) and disappeared, leaving us all to wonder what they moved on to, or if they are actually ‘deceased’!

Now, for the update on The Car Guy.  There were certainly some interesting and amusing moments during his recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). For  the first few months,  he was unable to retain memories, but more spectacularly – sometimes he saw people that the rest of us couldn’t see!

One afternoon he woke up after a nap in the Guest Room at the Cabin and announced there were puppy faces on the ceiling over the bed. This was a new hallucination. He insisted I come and look. We stretched out on the bed and looked up at the wood paneled ceiling.

“See – there.” He pointed at the wood grain knots and swirls. “Two eyes and a nose. And over there. Two eyes, a nose and ears. And another one over there!”

Relief – yes, I could see puppy faces in the knots and swirls too! Then – I thought about all the people who had slept in that bed, but had never mentioned seeing puppy faces! It takes a certain freedom of thought, I guess, to see things like that.

I think of those puppy faces when I read the news.  Much of Mainstream Media (MMM) has the single goal of telling you what you should think. Often their message is biased and designed to create fear. They want you to only see what they see in their knots and swirls.

Fortunately, there are many  Not Really Mainstream Media (NRMMM) sources of positive messages that encourage the grand diversity of human thought. They encourage you to look beyond the knots and swirls for the other messages.

I try to start my day with positive sites like these: Thoughts of Dog,  Human Progress, Mike Rowe and Regie’s Blog.

A puppy face – the Grand-dog – right after a bath: “Where is the treat you promised me if I went along with the foolishness of a bath?”
The grand-dog – finally dry and back outside: “My price for not digging in the garden again is… double treats!”

Where do you go to get a balanced spin on the news?

This is my Crone Voice

On one of my recent ‘wanderings’ I came across the word ‘Crone’ or more specifically, the Crone Archetype. Initially, I had a not so pleasant vision of a ‘Crone’, but further reading made me realize that some might say I AM a Crone! Perhaps you are too. (If you are a man, then your corresponding Archetype would be Sage.)

If you are a woman of a certain mature age, have abandoned the need for ‘properness’, are up front, and don’t mince your words – you might be a Crone. If you are seen as a being a straight talking mentor, occasionally a trifle crabby  and perhaps even  a bit flirtatious and sassy – you might be a Crone. If you have found an inner peace and accept who you are; if you are realistic and have practical expectations – you might be a crone.

I ticked off a lot of the ‘You might be a Crone’ boxes. When I reviewed the content of my blog, my ‘Crone Voice’ was evident in so many of the posts that had defied all my attempts to corral them into a single category. This was the birth of  My Crone Voice.

That resulted in a new Facebook Page, This is My Crone Voice. I began posting links to all my favourite stories from conservative, pragmatic environmentalist, climate change realist, garden variety, common sense folks like myself.

Apparently this alarmed an algorithm or actual person at Facebook, because within  a few weeks of starting the page, I was issued a warning that ‘Limits have been placed’.

I don’t know what these limits are, nor what I have done to deserve them. I can’t find any explanation or documentation other than this:

I’ve appealed it, of course. I pointed out to Facebook that I only have one follower, a Sage called The Car Guy,  and I only get one ‘Like’ on most posts. I don’t publish spam. I publish links to posts that I agree with.  I am not being misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive – unless those are the descriptors Facebook assigns to conservative pragmatic writers…

I eventually decided to delete the page. I’m getting real close to deleting Facebook from my life…

 

The Upside to Absent-mindedness

For some reason there is a malfunction, some disconnect, between my imaginary hello and, well, my actual hello… Just know this: if you have ever passed me in the hall and I appeared to ignore you, it actually wasn’t like that at all…
– Stuart McLean, The Vinyl Cafe Notebooks –

An imaginary hello. Yes, that describes the greeting I sometimes don’t give.

It’s caused (they say) by a condition called absent-mindedness (also spelled  absentmindedness or absent mindedness.) Often, I don’t even know that I’m being absent-minded. On other occasions, it is quite apparent: I search for my glasses and find them on the top of my head or I walk into a room but forget what I came there to do.

I don’t think it is something to be stressed about. On the whole, my memory usually runs fairly smoothly and  I’m fairly adept at focusing when I need to. I see the shift into absent-mindedness as something that sets me free to think in abstract or creative ways – (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.)

What was your most interesting absent-minded experience?

When Do You ‘Put Your Affairs in Order’?

The Quippery

Unless your Doctor has given you notice that your ‘Best Before Date’ is rapidly closing in on your ‘Expiry Date’, you might not have thought about the most important thing you can do for yourself now AND leave for your loved ones when you depart this world.

This important thing costs no more than a sheet or two of paper, but it is priceless. It is a List of All the Things you know now – but might not remember later. It is a list of things the Executor of your Estate won’t know until they have rifled through your desk, file cabinet and all sorts of places obvious and obscure – so that they can wrap up your estate and deliver it to your rightful heirs.

Think about this: Do you keep your documents in obvious locations like your desk, file cabinet or a shoe box under the bed? Does your family know you also stash important papers in a fake cabbage (or lettuce) in the fridge, a former box for fish cakes in the deep freeze, a secret cubby hole, a hidden safe, behind a trap door, or in a plastic case under a paving stone in the garden?

The QuipperyOur Experience: The Car Guy’s Dad passed on to the Great Fishing Hole of the Beyond a few months ago – without making The List.  The Car Guy is the Executor of this relatively simple Estate and fortunately he knew that the Original of the Will was in a safety deposit box – but he didn’t know which Bank owned the box nor where the keys were kept. That was just the beginning of what The Car Guy didn’t know.

Fortunately, The Car Guys Dad kept just about everything in a desk and file cabinet (and a Safety Deposit Box that the Bank won’t release the contents of until some unknown date in the future). It  took weeks to sort through all the documents, make a list of  possible assets and trace accounts back to their source to see if they were still active. Multiple layers of Government, Banks and Financial Institutions had to be contacted. Each of them required a large number of detailed and correctly filled out forms.

The whole process is like doing a Jigsaw Puzzle, except you don’t know how many pieces there are and you don’t have the box lid to see what the picture is going to look like. This experience has been the incentive for us to make our List of Things our Executor will need to know. It has been a good motivational exercise that has encouraged us to reassess what we are responsible for, and what we can get rid of. If you are similarly motivated, here are some things for you to consider, roughly in order of when your Executor will need the information:

The Basics: Full Name (‘Fishin’ Fred isn’t going to be good enough); Birth Date and Place (somewhere ‘down East’ before the crash of the stock market’) is just a bit vague; Location of all government issued documents and the ID numbers.

Burial or funeral instructions – that aren’t in your will.

The Family: Names and Contact numbers for all Immediate Family; Parent’s full names, where they were born; Spouse – Full name and location of the original marriage certificate.

Government, Career, Financial Information: List Company Names, Policy or Account Numbers, and Contacts for: Employment, Pensions or benefit plans; Health and Insurance plans; Government Insurance and benefits; Income tax documents; Bank and Credit Cards; Investments.

Real Estate: Properties you own; Loans and Mortgages; Utility companies you have accounts with. If the deceased owned property in another country, the transfer of the deed could be difficult to do, and possibly costly.

Affiliations: Groups, associations, memberships, newspapers, magazines and all those things that will have to be redirected or cancelled.

Online: Internet accounts and passwords.

Final Tax Return: Keep previous income tax returns for the number of years your government suggests is advisable. A list of all sources of income and deductions will be needed. Also keep a list of items that will be subject to Capital Gains, such as property. Itemize when these items were purchased and or disposed of. Retiree’s should also list when they retired.

Wrap it Up: list all the places where you keep documents and valuables. Explain what is in those places. Summarize  your assets and liabilities.

That is it! It will take some time to gather this information, but it will be as valuable to you now as it will be to your family when you pass on!

Have you been Executor of an Estate? Do you have a secret hiding places? Have you made a List?