These boots are made for Rockin’

CarolwowmugHoly cow, it’s been a long time.

A lot of things have changed. For the better, I might add.

For one thing, I’m down 75 pounds from that day last spring when I was seriously depressed about my cowboy boots not fitting anymore.

As you can see from the pictures, those babies fit again.

And I am one happy cowgirl.

It has been a really busy four months. Since having the gastric sleeve surgery Jan. 15, mealtime has been very different for me. I’ve learned to slow down and focus on enjoying what’s on the plate instead of trying to finish it in record time. I’ve gotten more in tune with that little voice in my head that says “I’m full,” especially since its backup singer, my highlighter-sized stomach, is sometimes louder, with the familiar chorus “STOP!”

We also had family visiting, numerous trips to The Park (you know, that Disney place) and I worked the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival as an emcee. Oh yeah, and my freelance work.

“Sorry, been busy” should be my new tattoo.

Don’t worry, it’s not all traumatic. It’s just been a big learning process. I never realized how much attention I would have to pay to what went into my mouth.

Some habits die hard. My fridge and freezer are still packed. Even though the kids are gone and our family of five has dwindled to one hungry husband who loves my cooking and two eager pitties waiting for what I can’t finish, my mindset is still “shop for a crowd.”

But to answer those wondering “what can you eat?,” let me offer this:

Gone forever: carbonated drinks. I don’t miss soda, but I do miss Perrier. Water or iced tea for me, thanks very much. And, of course, coffee. Without coffee, adulting is really hard.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 9.29.44 PMAlcohol is on vacation until November, when I’m going wine tasting with my girl gang – although I know that I’ll be stopping at one glass instead of the “several sips, then why not get a glass or two or three” of the past. I will learn to choose wisely.

Fried foods are verboten. They are so bad for you on so many levels and over my lifetime, I’ve already consumed enough of them to be content with the memory.

Bread, traditional pasta and rice (especially rice) are history. I haven’t had a sandwich since December. Tried once. When you have this procedure, one try is all you need to give you an unforgettable reminder that sandwiches are not your friend. I am discovering the joys of quinoa and farro, some more protein-friendly whole grains. I still need fiber in my diet and they are delicious.

ahi_tuna_pokeAhi tuna and poke have become my new addiction. Chicken breasts and a good steak (gristle makes me very cranky now) or some tender brisket are my go-to. Keep the sides.

If I’m a guest in your house, don’t hide the cookies or cake. Just be prepared to share. I’m seriously good with one bite, just to enjoy the flavors. That’s really all I want.

Two trash bags of clothing have already gone to the Assistance League’s thrift shop and I’m working on the third. I have to find a dress to wear to present scholarships this week and I’m hoping that one or two of those I kept aren’t too big. Isn’t that crazy? Maybe I should wear pants and the infamous boots.

notthereyetbutdown

I’m still walking near the Iron Horse Trailhead at least once a week. I move a LOT more around the house, getting out of my office chair at least once an hour. Walking around Disneyland is a daylong adventure that ends when I want it to (around the 10,000 step mark) instead of gasping and sweating and wondering if they would deliver a scooter to Frontierland so I could just make it to the parking lot. When it gets a little bit warmer, I’ll be back in the pool for water aerobics. I tried Pilates, and I don’t think that’s a good fit; the difference is that I’ve made a deal with myself that if I don’t do the Pilates, I must do the pool. That feeling is definitely new.

SadiekissOf course, my favorite exercise is “weight lifting” and dancing with my 18-pound granddaughter. On one of my support pages, a woman posted a picture of her grandchild, saying that she was the reason she had the surgery. I posted Sadie’s picture and wrote a similar sentiment. Other sleevers (yes, we have a name) did the same and I realized that I was in great company with grandparents willing to make changes for the better to keep company with these little ones for a long, long time.

When everybody was home for Christmas last year, we took family pictures. They were wonderful and captured our unique spirit. But when I saw the pictures, I saw how much more there was of me than there should have been. I vowed that after I lost a good chunk of the weight, I would have head shots done, justifying the effort because I can use them for my blog and other marketing purposes.

I did that photo shoot a couple of weeks ago (with the amazingly talented Sarah Kreig, who also did our family shots) and I cannot tell you how much seeing those pictures gave me confidence and boosted my self-esteem. Even after all the doubt and self-examination and “could I have done this without the surgery?”  – I knew I did the right thing and I was so glad I would be able to share that with the world. Sarah did more than just headshots, she shot from top to toe, making sure to capture the slimmer middle, the fewer chins and included my Eight Second Angels with the hearts and scrollwork.

The boots fit. Now it’s up to me to take them in the right direction.

morning collage

 

Carol Rock is a writer based in the Los Angeles area. She is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years experience covering all areas of news and features. She works as a freelance public relations and media consultant, with writing remaining her strong suit. Her tattoo, if it were real, would read “Don’t Die Wondering.”

Infinity Dreams – aren’t they all?

This morning I had a lovely message from Debbie Diljak of North Carolina, telling me that she nominated me for the Infinity Dreams Award – an interesting concept for the relative newbie that I am. Thank you, Debbie, for nudging me toward getting the word out about my blog, because, as we all know, writers LOVE to have more readers! Here’s to both of us picking up another thousand or so followers. Shoot for the moon!

Because this is a spread-the-word kind of effort, there have to be some rules…and here they are:infinity award

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back.
  • Post the award badge and rules.
  • Tell 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set questions for them.

 

First of all, THANKS to Debbie, find her blog at https://writerdiljak.wordpress.com

Now – You read the rules – so here goes:

Eleven (no, not 10, not a dozen, ELEVEN) facts about me:

  1. I am avid photographer, preferring a photojournalism approach to capturing my subjects instead of the studio look. What can I say, I like edgy.
  2. I draw strength from people around me and have little patience for negativity.
  3. I used to like politics, now I abhor them.
  4. I’m a California girl, grew up in the SF Bay Area and always wanted to live near the ocean. Still working on that.
  5. I love cruising, traveling (fave places: New York City, San Diego and San Francisco) and am looking forward to visiting New Orleans next year and cruising to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Roatan and Hawaii in 2017.
  6. I am married to an amazing visual artist who is patient, funny, affectionate and kind. I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world.
  7. I believe very strongly that we all have an obligation to make this world a better place – no effort is too big or too small.
  8. I love to cook and am a Food Network fan. I host a spaghetti party every January for about 100 people on a very eclectic guest list.
  9. I am a pittie mama, our American Staffordshire Terriers, Booker and Gracie (both rescues) are our favorite furry clowns and cuddlers.
  10. I just became a grandmother for the first time and it is every bit the miracle and joy I imagined.
  11. I cannot imagine going back to a cubicle farm or newsroom after experiencing freelancing. Except for chasing clients who pay late…..

Debbie had some interesting questions for me – here are my answers:

  1. If I didn’t have to work for a living, I would do more work with young writers and artists, walk on the beach, read more and expand my culinary skills
  2. Even my best friends would not know that I can’t ride a bike. (My imaginary tap dancing is amazing) My balance is comical and I saw someone get killed riding a bike in front of my house when I was a child, so there’s a little underlying trauma there.
  3. I am best at being a listener.
  4. Describe me? A take-no-prisoners writer. An exuberant life participant. A loving wife, mother, grandmother and friend.
  5. Why do I like blogging? I like the freedom of writing without silly guidelines and sharing it with the world.
  6. Best advice ever given: Don’t die wondering.
  7. If I could change anything about my life: I’d be a little more active. I’m trying to get into walking and exercising at age 61. This might have been easier if I started sooner. Other than that, it’s been pretty darn perfect.
  8. How many books do you read each year? Yikes, not enough.
  9. Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? I like a mix of both.
  10. If the new ninth planet turns out to exist, what would you name it? Phineas. Just because.

And we’re supposed to pick 11 bloggers to recommend for the Infinity Dreams honor, but I could only think of five that I really, really like … right now:

leahdipaola.com – This is a girl I watched grow up, she worked for me as a reporter and I told her lifestyle writing was more in her wheelhouse – and she does it beautifully. She recently made a big move across the country and is in the blissful state of finding herself

broadwaymusicalblog.com – I am a performer as well as a keyboard artist, and I love to read the backstage notes, written to actor/tech theater geeks like me.

doIhavetowearpink.blogspot.com – Katie is a former news colleague who is a wonderful writer, mentors young women writers and recently kicked breast cancer’s ass.

dramaqueenyc.com – Great reviews that feed my fantasy life of having tickets and living close enough to see all the amazing shows on- and off-Broadway!

melissadell.com – Friend, mother, cook, motivator, savior, crafter, lifestylist. One of the most giving humans I’ve ever met, and helping my daughter (the new mom) realize she’s going to be OK.

And my crazy questions for them:

  1. Superman or Batman? And why?
  2. What is your secret indulgence or guilty pleasure?
  3. What is your biggest fear?
  4. What is your biggest joy?
  5. From where do you draw your strength?
  6. If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
  7. Think local: what is your most favorite and least favorite thing about the town in which you life?
  8. Sweet or savory?
  9. What is your proudest achievement?
  10. What is your biggest embarrassment?

There you go. Thanks again, Debbie for the nomination and I look forward to hearing from my five nominees! Enjoy!