What's Not to Laugh?

Almost everything about aging–except grave illness and death–can be funny as well as disturbing. I try to find the funny and help us all get through it!

Archive for the month “October, 2013”

A Message from Maude: What the…?

Maude_wonderingI think my owners have gone crazy. Both of them. I still get fed and my litter box is almost always clean, and I still get to cuddle up on their bed at night…if I want to. But there’s something strange going on. Both she and he have started prancing around as if they’ve swallowed Mexican jumping beans. (Never mind how I know about Mexican jumping beans.)

There I am, lounging around on my newest favorite place (that is until I barfed on it yesterday), the loveseat in the family room, and as soon as a commercial appears on TV, one or both of them get up from their seats and start marching in place—or even odder, marching in circles around the furniture! I have also seen them stepping from side to side. She will sometimes step sideways and then kick, as if she were doing the hora. (Never mind how I know about the hora.)

I suspect all of  this extra activity that disturbs me—they should be petting me instead—may have something to do with a little device that I see them checking every few minutes. She has it attached to her bra; he looks down at his pocket. I don’t know what all that is about, but I can tell them that they are not going to get anywhere anytime soon if they march in place or walk around in circles. Don’t humans know anything?

I don’t understand much people talk (except “food”), but I think I’ve heard the strange word “Fitbit” a lot lately. I suspect there’s a connection.

There is a bright side to this behavior. This prancing is far better than the times they say something silly to me, like “See ya later, alligator,” walk out that mysterious door, and don’t return for several hours. When they’re doing the marching and circling, they are right there where I can keep an eye on them.

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My high-tech underwear

The title of this blog post is a bit deceiving. I don’t wear panties that tell me I need to lose a few inches or bras that notify me when I need to go up a size (wishful thinking?). What I do have is a little device that clips to my bra (or wherever I want to clip it) and tells me daily how many steps I’ve taken, how many flights of stairs I’ve climbed, how many calories I’ve burned, and how many miles I’ve walked. And if I wear it to bed on a wrist strap, it will tell me how I’ve slept. As in how many restless hours or how many good sleeping hours. I’ve decided not to track sleep for now. With all the times I get up to go to the bathroom or placate a meowing cat, I would drive it crazy.

This amazing little device is called a Fitbit. I got the bug to buy one when a couple of my friends and one of my neighbors showed them off. Since I have a hard time motivating myself to move, I thought this gadget would help. And it has. Once you have it, you register for the app and, if you like, you can set goals. I decided on a goal of 6,000 steps per day. I know we’re all supposed to do 10,000 a day, but did you ever try to do that every day?

One evening, after noting that I had walked 5,732 steps, I was playing Boggle on my iPad. (You’ll remember that this constant Boggle-playing is one of the reasons I gained weight.) Right in the middle of the 3-minute game, a notice from the Fitbit app appeared at the top of the screen: “You have only 268 steps to go to make your goal!” Nag, nag, nag. But I took the advice and started prancing around the house, checking the Fitbit every few minutes to see if I’d gotten to 6000 yet.The Fitbit

And here’s the cute thing about the Fitbit—although some may call it creepy. It talks to me, silently. Every time I pick it up in the morning, it greets me. My favorite greeting is “SMOOCHIES, BONNIE.” I’m not sure who would be doing the smooching, but I think it likes me. In fact, the other day it said, “I LIKE U, BONNIE.” It never seems to run out of motivational greetings. I still can’t figure out what “WOOT” means, but I’ve received that message twice so far.

At this stage of my life, it’s comforting to be liked by man and machine. And my cat too, I think.

Watching my weight…with a capital “W”

I finally did it. I came to the conclusion that “enough is enough.” (Now I’m channeling my mother.) I got tired of struggling to button my bigger jeans.  After months of telling myself, “I’ll start next week” or “I’ll just cut out sweets, ” or “I can take more walks,” I realized that nothing was working, probably because I refused to work at it. I knew I had to take drastic measures. I joined, for the first time but probably not the last, Weight Watchers!

I’m pretty much chained to my iPad, so the online system would be easy for me. But I also knew that I needed accountability, so I signed up for a meeting in my neighborhood. Now, every Thursday morning —my day off, when I’m supposed to be able to sleep later—I put on my lightest weight clothing and go to church. The church that rents a meeting room to Weight Watchers, that is. I hold my breath as I step on the scale and wait for the check-in person to tell me the good or bad news. But it’s all been good. So far, since July 25, I’ve lost 11 pounds. Pants that I’ve only glanced at as they hung in my closet (mocking me?) now fit. I haven’t gone down a size, but I can now comfortably wear the size that was too snug or made me look like a sausage. That feels good.

It hasn’t been easy, nor has it been too challenging. The great thing about Weight Watchers since they’ve instituted the Points Plus system is that you can eat almost any fruit or vegetable and not use up a single point. Luckily, I love vegetables; I’m also learning to love fruit more. When they first told me I would be able to eat 26 points a day, that didn’t sound so bad. But when I discovered that my beloved nightly glass of wine was 4 points, I wasn’t so sure this would work for me. But now, I have wine only when we go out to dinner (once or twice a week tops) and occasionally at home. Last night I figured that I could have some wine because we didn’t go out at all this past weekend. And it was Kendall Jackson chardonnay, one of my favorites. But after the first couple of sips, my reaction was “Meh.” I could easily wait until the next dinner out to have it again. I prefer my ice water with a lime wedge.

There are also 49 extra points you can use at any time throughout the week. And the greatest concept of all is earning points through exercise (even slow walking) that you can add to your points allowance. I love knowing that a 30-minute walk will allow me to eat an extra something or other at dinner.

I got lucky with our meeting leader too. LuAnn is so beloved by veteran WW members that people come from other suburbs just to be in her group. She has a wonderful sense of humor and engaging presentation style. Once, when the meeting room was being used for a church-sponsored rummage sale, we had to meet in the sanctuary. After we had all weighed in and gathered in the pews, she looked out at us and said, “Now turn to page 753 in your prayerbooks.” (Maybe you had to be there.)

I’ve also learned from fellow WWers. We share recipes and inside knowledge of what brands of salad dressing are fewer points, and what restaurant sandwiches won’t set us back. I’m happy to know that a Babybel light cheese is only 1 point. And a Fiber One brownie is only 2.

The action I’m most proud of occurred in Wildfire restaurant. One of the specials, something I never pass up, was macadamia-crusted halibut. I love halibut, and I love macadamias. But I heard myself asking the waitress, “Can I have that without the macadamia crust?” I admit it looked pretty sad on the plate: A slab of white fish on a white plate—offset only by a side of asparagus. It was delicious. Especially with the glass of pinot grigio.

I have my struggles too. For example, one day I walked down the hallway at work and when passing the microwave area, I saw two boxes of Dunkin Donuts just sitting there and, I swear, calling my name. I picked up the pace and made it to my office unscathed. Then there are the birthday celebrations. Sometimes it’s not just a decorated layer cake. It’s also brownies, cookies, and sweet rolls (probably depending on how well-liked the birthday person is and how many thoughtful work friends he or she has). When it’s one of my department colleagues, I take a piece of cake. I ask for a sliver (with frosting). Otherwise, I try not to pass the area where the goodies are spread out.

Be assured this is not a paid promotion for Weight Watchers. I agree with Jennifer Hudson when she says, “It works.” But my main reason for writing this is to show that even the most stubborn procrastinator can have success at any age. And I apologize to my friends who are sick of hearing, “I can’t eat that. I’m on Weight Watchers.”  I promise to practice smiling and saying, “No, thanks.”

(To those of you who want to see before and after photos:  Before, I made every effort not to be photographed from the waist down. After, well you’ll just have to wait until I hit my goal…4 pounds to go!)

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