Sunday, August 30, 2020

It Works for Me

It has always been my credo for blogging - say what has worked for me, but never suggest it is good for everyone. 

Naturally, because it has worked for me, an idea seems like something to pass along. Yet I believe the best part of learning something is in the process where learning happens. 

It's all about 
the journey

Recently, I've been trying to find how to do something to reduce the size of my over-large front and, hopefully, lose some weight at the same time. 
For years others have made suggestions - vegan, low calorie, low carbs, high protein, and the list goes on. 
Clearly, I wasn't ready to listen. I wasn't ready to deal with the problem myself. In point of fact, having someone else tell me what to do hasn't often created long-lasting changes for me. 

After a lot of commiseration with a good friend in the same situation, we discussed a particular book that she had read and its cookbook, which I had purchased and put on a shelf. We promised each other that we would stop whining about the issue and do something about it.

To illustrate the change in approach, here is the recipe I shared almost five months ago in the post Food, Glorious Food!
Old Fashioned Baked Beans

If you compared this recipe to the one given in April, you would notice two changes - the number of servings is given and a nutritional facts sheet is included, courtesy of VeryWellFit

In the past two weeks I have done a lot of research. A spreadsheet has been created to keep track of what I eat and its nutritional value. Not surprisingly, much of what I am learning relates to what those advice-givers of the past were trying to persuade me to accept. But this time I am absorbing the ideas at my pace as I need them. 

What I like is that in the process of making a spreadsheet and keeping track, I have become more aware of my own behaviours (eating wise and otherwise) and can make better decisions on the fly because of it. 

I know this is helping me, but I am certain that if I was to share that spreadsheet, it would do little good for anyone who hasn't followed the same path as I. This is something that I needed and that means it is good for me

It is fun making new recipes, and looking again at old recipes, while at the same time adding nutritional information to them. I have fun designing spreadsheets and adding features as I learn new things. 

The reason I posted is to promote the message at the top. Whatever you do, I hope you do it because you think it is the right thing to do. I hope it is a well-informed choice that you make, but above all, make it your choice and not something some expert, self-appointed or otherwise, has told you to do.

That is what has worked for me. 

Saturday, August 15, 2020

How Will I Forgive Myself?

A time of increased isolation is the very worst and the very best of times for someone who, as I do, examines her life constantly. Worst, because I have enough unoccupied time for memories of certain events and the remorse they bring to haunt me. Best, because it has forced me to meet those feelings head on. 

Remorse is a bad thing to carry around. Yes, I mean remorse, not its sometime companion, guilt. Both have to do with what has happened in the past and how one has acted but, in the case of remorse, there is no belief that you are an evil person because of those actions or inactions. 

I feel remorse because I wish there had been different outcomes during events in my past - events where what I said was not as well thought out as it could have been. Yes, in some cases those outcomes might have been different had other participants' actions been different, but this is about me. It isn't about blame. Everyone did what we believed to be right - at the time. In some cases, I even feel remorse for not getting angry at the way things were unfolding and giving the problem a chance to be cleared up. I have to accept the sort of person I was in the past. 

K gets a bit upset with me when she catches me second-guessing myself, reminding me "you cannot go back". Not only is going back impossible, in the case of the actions that haunt me sometimes, I cannot even act in the present to heal the rifts that were caused. Many of those involved are now dead - a curse of getting older I suppose. I have to get on with living in the here-and-now and to do that I must forgive myself. 

Self-forgiveness is different from making excuses. It is about accepting what was done. It requires a change of heart that reflects awareness of my failings. 

By forgiving myself and others, when those memories return, I can let them wash over me with acceptance and a feeling that lessons have been learned. I am not that person now and, hopefully, the way I act in the present might lead to fewer feelings of remorse in the future. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


Why are some songs so catchy and others so forgettable? More to the point, why do some songs come, unbidden, to play over and over in our heads? I’ve heard these called various things ... ear-worms, sticky music, … my favourite, coined by a musical friend is hum-clinger. 

Where do ear-worms come from? The term stuck-song syndrome would seem to indicate that there is a pathology involved and certainly when you have one it can drive you quite crazy. My suspicion is that dreams and ear-worms come from the same place in the mind. It might be the same place where ideas are generated and, like dreams, these pieces of music that pop into our head could indicate something about our concerns or desires of the moment. 

The best way I’ve found to rid myself of an ear-worm is to find a temporary replacement that I know will go away - The Stars and Stripes Forever is a favourite of mine.

Great composers, like John Phillip Sousa, composer of The Star and Stripes among many other memorable marches, were masters of the use of repetition and development of a musical phrase. Beethoven was ‘the’ master of repetition and development. His Fifth Symphony is, perhaps, the very best example, and a frequent ear-worm for me. Those four notes in the pattern da-da-da-dahhhhh appear over and over throughout the piece. 

Songwriters who are successful are aware of the phenomenon of a song becoming popular because of repetition of both rhythm and melody. Some refer to it as the hook. As well, in a song, words can be repeated and emphasized using rhythm, making the song unforgettable ... like this one sung and played by an unforgettable artist. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Teachable Moment Lost

I want to be as generous as possible here. One could easily get cynical about a place where they use washing machines as a measure of volume. 

A sinkhole roughly the size of six to seven washing machines has closed the northbound lanes of State Line Road near 100th Street in Kansas City, Missouri

A sinkhole roughly the size of six to seven washing machines has closed the northbound lanes of State Line Road near 100th Street in Kansas City, Missouri

In fairness, it would be worth mentioning that if you want people to be able to relate to the news in the 15 seconds you give them on television, a familiar way of describing makes good sense. We shouldn't  blame 41 Action News - it isn’t their job to educate. Their only job is to get the viewer's attention long enough so you will still be watching as they cut to a commercial break and pay the bills. 

Being me,  I cannot help but think that if they used square metres or even square yards, it might stimulate some younger viewers to care what that meant. It might give them some knowledge of the way things work. Heaven forbid, it might make them want to know more about how to measure things.

Sinkholes happen everywhere in the world - being proud that you hate science and mathematics is not a universal characteristic ... yet. Happily. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For your enjoyment ... somewhat related, but not closely ...