Saturday, June 24, 2017

6/24/17: Woo Hoo, I Did It!

What a day!  It started at 6AM with breakfast prep and finally ended at 11PM with me on my feet all day!  Our chef was off last night and will be off again tonight, so I covered for him and cooked dinner last night.  Of course, last night was our busiest night in weeks!  Now we have to do a lot of prep today because we went through a lot of food last night, and I have to cook dinner again tonight.  I won't be up as late tonight because Carla and I agreed that I'd close Friday night and she'd close Saturday night.  I am hoping to be out of the kitchen by 8:30 or 9:00 tonight.

Cooking dinner was a challenge.  It was something I have not done before. Rene spent a little time together Thursday and I got instructions on how long everything cooked, at what temp, etc..  All of the recipes, except the crab cakes, were mine, so that made it a little easier, but I have never finished everything off on the line before.  I proved last night that I can do it, but I also proved that I don't want to do it.  It's just too much to do both breakfast and dinner and all of the prep in between. I know some innkeepers do it, but I think they are just nuts.

The good news, the really, really good news, is that I stayed on program yesterday!!  It was not easy, I almost slipped a couple of times.  The most treacherous moment was when I was plating up a strawberry rhubarb pie ala mode.  I reached into the pie plate to grab a small chunk of the filling that had fallen in the pie, without even thinking about it.  That chunk of pie was halfway to my mouth before I realized I couldn't eat it.  For about 5 minutes I struggled, the ice cream looked so coo; and delicious, the brownies were sitting right there, begging to be eaten.  I won the battle, though!  I said, "No!" to pie, I said, "No!" to ice cream, and I said, "No!" to brownies.  It is starting to get a little easier.  I feel so much more confident now that I have made it through the first two days of the weekend without any sugar or wheat (or alcohol - no alcohol is a given, by the way, when I am sugar free, as sugar and alcohol are basically the same, except alcohol makes you tipsy).  I didn't have bad cravings yesterday; there were temptations right in front of my face, but there were not any serious cravings.

I didn't do any exercise in addition to the 17 hours on my feet yesterday.  There just wasn't time.  We'll see if I can squeeze in a little exercise today.

That's all I have time for.  No real insights, I know, just a touch base, today.  I didn't get my full eight hours of sleep and I need to get in the shower and do it again.  Here is to day six and finishing the weekend at 100%

Talk to you tomorrow.  Have a great day!!

Friday, June 23, 2017

6/23/17: Weekends will be like this, no time to blog

I have to be downstairs to start prepping for breakfast in six minutes, therefore this will just be a quick update.

I stayed 100% on program yesterday (Thursday is our first night of dinner service, therefore our first weekend night of the week).  This was the first Thursday I made it through 100% on program.

In addition to being on my feet for 14 hours yesterday, I went for a 30 minute walk.

I will stay on program today.

Have a great day, everyone!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

6/22/17: Busy Day Today, no Time to Blog

Thursday is our busiest day of the week.  As soon as breakfast service is done we need to start prepping for dinner, so I will not have time to put up a post today.  That said, I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know that I was 100% on plan yesterday.  Day three is done, day four has begun.  The next three days will test my resolve, but I am going to get through it with no sugar, no wheat and no alcohol.

Have a good one!!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

6/21/17: Day Two is in the Books!

I have now been sugar and wheat free for over 48 hours!  Hallaleuah!  Can you hear the angels rejoicing?

This is a BIG DEAL.  I know this is the second time this month I've made it through day two and started on day three with the conviction that this time is THE TIME that I am starting my program for  real, but hey, if you don't keep getting up and brushing off your britches and trying again, you're never going to get good at anything.  I have failed at many things, but failing has never stopped me from trying again.  I have fallen off the wagon spectacularly a number of times.  But I am never going to give up.  I know that I have a lot of control over my health and well being and that it starts with food.  I know that I am a sugar addict.  I know I can live without sugar.  In fact, I know that I live a much happier and more productive life without sugar.  I also know there is one thing I can count on, and that is that I will restart my program exactly one more time than I fall off of my program.  I am never giving up on my health and well being as my number one priority.  I am never giving up on living a sugar free lifestyle.  Sugar is poison to me.  This I know.  Small doses don't seem to be harmful to some people, just like small doses of alcohol don't seem to be harmful to some people.  Unfortunately, small doses of sugar, for me, lead to larger doses, which lead to larger doses, yet.  Then I am getting fat again, my body starts to hurt, I start beating myself up, and the downward spiral is in action. 

Today is day three.  I am halting the spiral.  The spiral has to stop turning the wrong way before it can start turning the right way again.  It is a kind of strong arm tactic, I know, but it has to be done.

This conversation reminds me of a book I read many, many years ago.  I'm getting up there in years so I flinched when I realized it was almost 25 years ago that I read this particular book, but this book had a profound influence on the way I've lived my life since I read it.  I know I've talked about it before, but such is the way of profound influencers, they keep coming up, over and over again.

The book is, "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway," by Susan Jeffers.  Her second, follow up, book isn't very good, but Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway was exactly the book I needed at the time that I read it.  Back to the point I was trying to make.  I have a picture of life in my head that formed when I was first reading Feel the Fear.  Imagine drawing a spiral on a piece of paper.  Now imagine you are a dot on that spiral and the spiral is turning.  When a spiral turns, it either turns inwards, toward the center, like a whirlpool, or outwards, ever expanding.  There is no static spiral.  The spiral always turns.

I guess there is a reason why The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is my favorite Christmas Special
The path of least resistance is for the spiral to turn inwards, as if there is a natural force working at decay.  If we do nothing and just let life happen around us, our dot on the spiral gets closer and closer to the center.  Our world gets smaller and darker. Life gets less interesting and less stimulating.  Our options become fewer and bleaker. This option feels safe, because everyday you know what to expect, but everyday is not the same.  Each day, your world collapses on itself, however minutely, until there is not much left.  Your contact with other people is limited to your small trusted circle and you have fewer connections. Everyday your chances to interact with other people is slightly diminished from the day before, your opportunities to love and be loved by others grows smaller.

But we have the ability to turn the spiral the other way.  We have the power to stop the downward spiral and reverse the spin. Now imagine the spiral is turning outwards, and you are a spot on that spiral.  Everyday, your world gets a little bigger, you meet new people, new opportunities present themselves.  There is so much more color and vitality to your life and to the people around you.  There are so many more options to connect with others, to love and be loved in return.  Your heart grows with every new day.  But it's scary, when the spiral turns outwards, because everyday you are faced with a new challenge, something you have never dealt with before.  Everyday you are forced to confront a fear of failure because you have to try something new.  As you confront these fears and overcome them; as you fail and try again, you begin to realize that it's OK to be afraid, it's OK to fail, because failure is not permanent.  You just try again.  With each failure you get that much smarter, that much stronger, that much more resilient, and that much more confident that eventually, you will succeed.

I believe that the spiral is never static.  It is always turning, either towards the dark and small center, or outwards toward a kaleidoscope of colorful options.  I believe that it is important to always be working against the natural pull of the spiral towards the hole, and to constantly be pushing the boundaries, and keeping the spiral moving outwards.  Don't get me wrong, this is work, hard work.  The title of my blog, It's Not Downhill From Here, harkens from this theory.  People have often heard me say, the road to the top is uphill.  You can either walk up the hill and get a beautiful view or slide on your ass down the hill and be stuck in the shadows.  It's easier to go downhill, but it is much more rewarding to make the effort and go up.

When I started this blog, five years ago, as I was turning 50, I made a conscious decision not to let myself slide into old age and decay.  I made a conscious decision to truly enjoy the second half of my life, to get and stay healthy and fit, to continue taking risks, to continue working hard, throughout my life.  It is my goal to live a long and prosperous life.  Who know what 60, 70, 80, 90, or even 100 can bring if I keep the momentum going the right way. 

Coming to New Hampshire with Carla was a big change, indeed.  I have zero regrets.  I've learned so much from this experience.  My body has taken a beating as I have not gotten enough sleep and the stress broke down my resolve, however temporarily, to eat right and exercise often.  But as I get a handle on the innkeeping life and I am more sure of myself, I am able to start focusing more and more on taking care of myself.  I hope to spend more time talking about life as an innkeeper in future blog posts.  For now, though, I am glad to remind myself of the spiral, and how important it is to keep pushing against the tide.

Have a great day!!  If you have a favorite inspirational book, that has had a profound impact on your life, I'd love it if you'd share the title with me.  I have a little time to read these days. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

6/20/17: Day 1 Under my Belt. Promises Made. Love Abounds.

I made it through Day 1 100% on program.  That is a start.  This is the third or fourth time in a couple of months that I've made it through the first 24 hours, but we are attacking this thing one day at a time.  Today will be day two.

Since I've been failing regularly at keeping the promises that I've been making to myself, yesterday I made a promise to Jackie.  He is going to be here on July 12 for a 5 day visit (or is it 4?  I don't have time to look up his itinerary right this second) and I promised him that I would stay 100% on program until he gets here. I am going to report to him every day.

A friend of mine is also trying to stay on her program.  She reached out to me and asked if we could be program buddies.  I think that is a great idea!  She lives in KC, so we are going to text each other regularly with regard to how we are feeling, what we are eating, etc.

I had a long conversation with my daughter-in-law (she had time to chat because she has strep throat, poor darling), and she helped me isolate and put into words some of the emotional struggles that I am having right now.

I got words of encouragement on Facebook and through comments on my blog from friends that care and know that I have the strength to pull this off, and I also received advice on how to deal with the damn New England bugs!

My sister-in-law sent a long, thoughtful email that reinforced the conclusions I came to earlier in the day.  She also expressed confidence that I would figure this out, just as I have worked through and figured out many other difficult things in my life.

I thank all of you the called, texted, replied to my comments on Facebook, or even sent me silent words of encouragement.  The love from all of you is exactly what I needed to help me sort through my feelings and help me figure out how to overcome these obstacles.

Last night I only got 6.5 hours of sleep but that was not my fault.  The stupid phone kept ringing.  Sometimes people don't understand that a B&B does not have a front desk manned 24/7.  Please, don't call a B&B at midnight to ask them a question about a room.  It can wait until morning.  Seriously.

Have a great day!  I plan to.

Monday, June 19, 2017

6/19/2017: Reset. Reset. Reset. That seems to be my mantra lately.

If you have "an issue with food," or simply have a weight problem, then you probably know this feeling.  You go to bed each night with a sinking feeling in your gut because you went off program, again, and you wake up each morning with a new found conviction that today is the day that you will set it all straight again.

That's me, my friends.  Last night I had trouble falling asleep because I felt so fat and so discouraged with myself.  Somehow, during the day, eating sweets seems like a reasonable thing to do.  But once I am alone in my room, I have way too many regrets with regard to how I am not taking care of myself, properly.  I feel bloated and crappy and I know exactly why.  I get so frustrated with myself. 

There are things to feel good about.  My one and only drug is food.  I ended up in urgent care this weekend because I had a large lump in the back of my neck that Carla confirmed was not a bug bite.  Have I told you that the black flies and the mosquitos are miserable around here?  Well they are.  You cannot go outside to water the garden without either dousing yourself in OFF or getting eaten alive by bugs.  Anyway, it is apparent that the bugs around here are particularly fond of girls from Kansas City, because I have been their own personal smorgasbord.  Carla was concerned about the lump on my neck, so I had it checked out. It turns out that I have swollen lymph nodes because of all of these damn bug bites.  Just for the records, Colorado and Western Washington are becoming much more attractive to me as the home of our new B&B, just because of how many fewer bugs they have in those parts of the country.

But I digress, back to the issue of drugs.  I don't take any.  I mean, none.  No maintenance drugs for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  No drugs for depression or diabetes.  When the doctor was going through my health inventory and was asking me about drugs I am taking or supplements that I use, you could tell he was somewhat surprised as my answers to his questions was a consistent, "None."  I mean, I am getting to that age where one would expect that I might be on some sort of a maintenance drug.  All my vitals are good.  I am healthy and strong.  That is the bright light.

The darkness is food.  Food is my drug.  I need to stop using it.  Now.

All of the tricks I developed over the last several years seem to be failing me.  I feel like I am failing myself.  But today is a new day.  I will lick this thing.  I have to.

I hope to put up a post tomorrow that says I have 24 awesome hours under my belt.

I got 8 hours of sleep last night for the first time in a week and a half.  Yes, that has something to do with it.

Gotta run, I have to be downstairs in 15 minutes. 

Today will be a better day.  I hope it is a wonderful day for you, too.

And just to prove my life is not as miserable as this post makes it sound, here are a few pictures from our spectacular gardens.  Just spray yourself with OFF before going outside to enjoy them!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

6/13/17: Last Weekend, Too Much Work and One Awesome Evening

I haven't blogged in days and that is not good news.  If I don't have time to blog, it means my life has run out of control again and when my life runs out of control I stop taking care of myself.  So, in the interest of self interest, I have made time to blog this morning. 

To put this in perspective, before I could start blogging this morning, I had to wake up an hour early to clean my bedroom.  My room is not big, in fact, it's tiny.  But it was a mess!  My weekend was hectic and long, a lot of work and, in the end, a ton of fun.  It took a lot out of me, but it left me with a lot of great memories.  Now, it's time to get back on track.  Just in time for another weekend.

The big deal last weekend was our second Murder Mystery Weekend.  The theme was a 1942 high society birthday party.  Truly A. Snob was turning 18 and her parents threw a coming out party for her.  Everyone was here to celebrate Truly becoming a woman! To give you an idea of the nature of the mystery, here is a list of some of the guests at Truly's party.

  • Truly's dad, Charles H. Snobb, one of the wealthiest men in the nation, Charles inherited a vast fortune at an early age including two oil fields, a horse track and Snobb Steel Inc;
  • Truly's mom, Marie D. Snobb, daughter of the deceased presidential candidate Affrey D. Nott, met Charles H. Snobb at one of her father's convention. Enamored of her beauty and extraordinary charm, Charles almost immediately proposed to Marie, who was enamored at the size of Charles' estate. Now, Marie is the owner of her own underwear business, and she is known as the lady who put lace in underwear. 
  • Fuller S. Gold--Many years ago, Charles H. Snobb lost a cousin to a freak mining accident. This cousin, Fuller S. Gold, was thought to have been buried in a cave-in which happened while he was searching for gold in Colorado. A few weeks ago, Charles received a call from Fuller himself who it seems had escaped death but had been walking around with amnesia until he saw an advertisement for Snobb Steel. Suddenly, he remembered who he really was and has returned home to the Snobb Estate to surprise Charles who he has not seen since they were children. 
  • Sue D. Huktov-- The famous Russian defector has become one of the best known singers in the world. Her seductive performances always leave her fans, especially the male ones, shouting for more. 
  • Guido Raviolli--Guido is the epitome of everything a father does not want in a son. . . unless, of course, that father is Chet Raviolli, the late Cheese King of the country. When Chet died last year of natural causes, Guido inherited a vast fortune and dozens of cheese factories. Crass, smelly, lazy and utterly annoying, Guido may not have a single gratifying bone in his entire body, and he has only been invited to Truly's celebration because his is the neighboring estate. 
  • Governor Knottworth Spitt-- The aging governor has been in some sort of office for well over 20 years, and people are still trying to figure out if he has actually accomplished anything. Most people didn't even know he existed, but with the outbreak of war people are starting to look at their political leaders more closely to see who got us into this mess. It is this kind of voter awareness that is making the Governor nervous about the upcoming election, and he hopes to win some votes by attending Truly's party.
  • Scoop R. Duper-- As the ace reporter for the “National Gossip,” Scoop has been sent to cover the Snobb party.  Never have so many members of high society gathered in one place, and there are sure to be some great stories here. And he will get them no matter what it takes.
  • Father Avi Ross-- As the Snobb family’s faithful priest, Father Avi Ross has come to bless Truly in her ascension into adulthood.  Although the Snobbs have not been to the St. Bernard Church for over three years and haven’t invited him, the good Father knows a chance to spread God’s love when he sees one.  And if he gets a chance to ask the wealthy guests for a meager donation in between Hail Marys then so much the better.
Also in attendance were some of the Snobb's staff, including
  • Coleman Pinch--As the butler, Coleman Pinch takes it upon himself to make sure the entire Snobb estate is running smoothly. His no-nonsense demeanor may not make him the life of the party, but then Coleman hates parties. He believes in keeping things in strict order and he is the most valued of all the Snobb servants. 
  • Wanda Ringfingers--Wanda has been the Snobbs' head maid for quite some years, even though Marie D. Snobb complains that whenever Wanda cleans the room there seems to be something missing afterwards. Tonight, Wanda has been asked to serve the guests, and she is only too happy to do whatever she must to keep the guests smiling. 
  • Karen A. Child--Karen is Truly's nanny and has been with the family ever since Truly was born. While traveling, she met an American sailor who proposed to her. They were married on spot, and the sailor was shipped out immediately overseas to fight in the war . . . but not before Karen became pregnant. Two years later, Karen is proud mother of her own baby boy, Brad T. Child, to love until her husband returns home. 
Here are some photos of the characters, some of which you may recognize:

Sue D. Huktov and Fuller S. Gold

Scoop R. Duper and Truly A. Snob
Father Avi Ross

Governor Knottworth Spitt

The Murder Mystery is a weekend long affair.  It starts on Friday evening, after check-ins, with an 8:00 reception.  The purpose of the reception is for everyone to meet John Bailey, the Murder Mystery host, introduce their characters, and for John to go over the rules for the weekend.  Carla and I prepared light snacks for this event: cheese and crackers; guacamole, salsa and chips, and a platter of mini-cookies.  Of course, this was after being open for dinner that same evening.

On Saturday morning we had normal breakfast service.  When we have this many guests in the house we have to both be up at 6 to start prepping for breakfast which goes from 8AM to 10AM.  After breakfast it takes us about 1 1/2 hours to do all the dishes and clean the kitchen.  As soon as breakfast was over and the dishes were done, I started prepping for the 5:15 cocktail party and Carla started putting the finishing touches on all of her desserts.  Here is a photo of her dessert buffet:

Unfortunately, I know from first hand experience that everything tasted as good as it looked.  She made peach cobbler cupcakes (everyone needs that recipe!), homemade Baby Ruth Bars (it was 1942), a birthday cake for Truly with lemon curd and raspberry filling, a triple chocolate mousse parfait and apple roses made with puff pastry and Nutella.  The fact that I know how all of these desserts tasted gives you an idea of how far I strayed from my plan over the weekend.

Once we got the desserts and hors d'eouves complete, it was time to start getting ready for dinner service.  Dinner wasn't off the table before we started prepping for our breakfast buffet the next morning.  On Saturday work started in the kitchen at 6AM and was not over until after midnight.  Then I had to be back in the kitchen at 5AM Sunday morning to get the cinnamon rolls out of the walk-in so they could start rising and be ready for breakfast at 8AM.  It was a long day on too little sleep the night before.

Most of our guests checked out by 11AM on Sunday, which gave Carla and I a little time to relax, once we got furniture put back where it belonged and the kitchen cleaned up.  Much to my delight, four of our guests did not check out Sunday.  Friends of mine from Kansas City had joined us for the Murder Mystery weekend and they had booked their stay for an extra day!  Jon, Morgan, Taylor and Ashley spent the day on Sunday doing a bit of sight seeing, while I rested and read a book.  They got back to the inn around 6:00PM.  Four of us played a closely contested game of croquet (which is a lot of fun, when you play by the official rules!) and then all five of us went out to dinner.  I am not sure what time we got back to the inn, but I am pretty sure it was after 10PM.  That is when we decided to start playing a game of Settlers of Catan.  We played with the expansion pack that I got for Christmas, as well as the Sea Faring pack, so we had to get pretty creative with our board set up and spend some time negotiating the rules we were playing by.  I have no idea what time we actually started playing, but I do know that the game didn't end until 3AM.  Taylor won, by the way.  We played in the dining room and we were so tired when the game was over that we left everything where it was, as my friends were the only guests in the inn.

My plan was to sleep in a bit and clean up the dining room later in the morning, but I couldn't do it.  I woke up around 6AM and all I could think of was what a mess the dining room was in.  I knew once 8AM rolled around, anyone could walk in the inn for any number of reasons, and I couldn't stand not cleaning it up.  So I was out of bed by 6:30 and had the dining room put back together by 7:15.  Then I went in the kitchen, which wasn't too bad, except for the floor.  It was filthy.  By the time everyone else got up at 8:00, I was about done mopping the kitchen floor and we were ready to cook breakfast.

So, I had way too little sleep for several days in a row, I ate and drank off plan for several days in a row, and now I have to hit reset.  Again.  I can't say I regret the ridiculously late night with my friends.  I had so much fun playing games and being silly!  I don't get to do enough of that as I don't have friends here to play games with, and I love playing games.  It has taken me several days to begin to get caught up on everything that got neglected over the big weekend. Now it's time to take care of me again.

There is a lesson in all of this.  First, even though managing the inn is starting to feel like a reasonable job and when things are normal Carla and I can manage to find time to take care of ourselves, special events still push us beyond the realm of a reasonable work day and into the territory of overworking ourselves to the point of ignoring our own well being.  Second, when I get over tired, I make terrible food decisions.

Yesterday, I had a moment when I said to myself, "I really want to be thin again.  I am happier when I am thin.  I love the way it feels.  I just need to eat less."  I know that sounds so simple, but in a way, it is that simple.  I do love the way I feel and the way I look when I am thin.  I have "an issue with food."  I use it as a drug, as a coping mechanism, and I need to stop doing that.  I will succeed at this. 

I like innkeeping.  We will figure this out, Carla and I, and I will get healthy and fit, again.  The mind is there.  The body will follow.  You can count on it!

Right now, I have to shower and get downstairs.

See you tomorrow.  Have a wonderful day!