As I glance outside at the window by my desk, I see gray skies…Raindrops are dripping slowly to the ground. Trees are covered with so much moisture, they almost lose their color. The mimosa trees drip with a grayish color as if to say they are sick and tired of this rain and don’t want to see or feel anymore! Pine trees are leaning over a bit. These pine trees are the seeds I planted after Hurricane Hugo, so the two that grew are just a bit special for me. My husband gripes about them always saying he plans to cut them down. Pine trees are reminiscent to me, reminding me of my childhood in Georgia. How frightened I would become while laying on the grass, noting their height and strength. I always feared those pine trees might pop and fall on top of me. Nevertheless, pine trees are prevalent in Georgia. I remind my grumpy husband that we lost five trees in our yard after Hurricane Hugo. Again, he grunts knowing that IF he cuts those trees down, he will have to deal with me – an unhappy woman sad that her little children of trees are gone due to his selfishness. We have three mimosa trees in the back yard now – planted from seeds from the hands of Mother Nature. How I love those mimosa trees, although today the branches are leaning down. Perhaps they weigh a bit too much now from all of this monsoon rain. Perhaps later, I will slide my rain boots on and walk outside, just to touch the tree branches I’ve watched growing from a tiny seedling to the height of 20′ – maybe a bit less. I’m much too short to measure them! I want those precious trees soaked and probably curious from the hands and moisture of Mother Sunshine to understand I still love them, and I want them to flourish. All in time. I am hopeful this monsoon rain will end soon…and just when I think I might see a bit of relief, I glance outside again to see sheets of rain. My yards are so wet I would not dare to walk outside in my stiletto or pump high heels. No doubt if I made the attempt, my feet would stick in the sandy moisture and pull me downwards. I don’t want to get soaked or dirty. I have a thing about dirt under my nails, but enough about that.
Last week, the rains began – at least I think it was last week. On Wednesday, Tammy, Sara, Chris and I walked the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. It was a humid, gray morning with only a slight breath of wind. Walking up the first incline, I struggled with my breath, stopping several times to use my inhaler. I encouraged the girls to go ahead.
My asthma is leaving me a bit short-winded today. Go ahead, I’ll be fine.”
I stopped several times, just to catch my breath. I counted the lamp posts, telling myself that If I made it to the last lamppost at the first twin towers, I would rest, and I did. Still, I pushed myself, anticipating the approaching rains. I am proud to say, I accomplished my walk – but it appeared to take me forever. Thank you so much, silly asthma. How I wish I did not have asthma, although it is something I have battled all of my life.
While walking — sometimes it appears I am crawling, up the first incline, I feel as if God is pushing me, guiding me, telling me – take just one more step. You can do this! And so I do. I believe it doesn’t matter how long it takes. All that does matter is I am taking baby steps to my health. I am accomplishing something I’ve always said I would do “One Day,” after the bridge opened in 2005. I see walkers, runners, bikers, strollers, and I’ve seen a few walkers walking dogs (you do realize dogs are not permitted on the bridge – don’t you?) On one morning, a dog left a calling card. I missed stepping on it by just a few baby steps. Honestly, some people love to break the rules, don’t they!
I suppose you could say I believe in breaking rules – sometimes; however, I am considerate of others. I do not take my dogs on my walk. Accomplishing that bridge walk is something I take extremely seriously. I don’t want interruptions. Now that we have about three to five women walking with us, we all move at our pace. We don’t compete. We encourage, and If one of us gets behind like “slow poke Barbie” a nickname I’ve given myself — we text to make certain all is ok. These women are the greatest! Did I mention one of them is a high school friend from — let’s say — a few years ago in another town? Her name is Melanie. In high school, we were not close friends, and that is all my fault. When I was in high school, the only thing I wanted was to graduate and leave my childhood home. I failed to make close friends, only wanting to get out of Bibb City and the traumas of my youth.
Now, a different place. A different time. A different woman. I am proud of the woman I have grown into in my adult life. Gone is the wallflower. Gone is the child afraid to speak up. Replaced by someone who speaks her mind, believes in herself and is proud for the small accomplishments I have achieved. Finally, I can smile, look in the mirror and say, “Hey woman…You’ve got this! You is smart. You is determined, and you Is a better person for breaking that mold!” Thank you, God!
So today, I suppose is a day to reminisce…to ease the gloominess of all of this rain. A day to erase all of the past, or should I say — a day to WASH the past away!
Glancing out my window again, the rain has stopped. I am confident it will start again. I’ve lost count as to how much rain we’ve had, but I imagine it is close to 15 inches, possibly more.
I imagine the mosquitoes will be increasing now, along with the disgusting mold, mildew and ragweed. Wouldn’t it be nice IF the ragweed was washed away. I think I’m looking forward to a day where I awaken to the sunshine peeping thru the windows. I am so sick of all of this rain.
It is time for all of us to smell the flowers…inhale the scent of fresh rain…and to move on with our lives.
As you probably know, I am a Weight Watcher. As a ‘weight watcher,’ I lose slowly — EVER SO SLOWLY! I have weekly weigh-ins where I cheer, and I have many weeks at weigh-in where I want to scream…beat myself up…run into a brick wall…or — QUIT! But — I cannot do this. Beating myself up – like I did as a child — is not healthy for me. Getting depressed and quitting – just isn’t who I am now. Years ago, I quit things that challenged me. Now, as an adult — at least I think I am — I like a challenge, and for me, Weight Watchers is a challenge.
Today, thanks to a beautiful, encouraging friend I am back to a wonderful, intimidating and fun challenge — walking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge!
A few years ago, I briefly discussed the bridge:
To those of you who do not know, “The bicycle and pedestrian lane is 2.7 miles long (14,400 feet), measuring from Patriots Point Road to East Bay Street. Measuring only the part that is on the bridge structure, the walkway is 2.4 miles long (12,750 feet). Most of the bridge is limited to a 4.1% maximum slope. On the Charleston side of the
main span, the long approach is a 1.8% slope. On the Mount Pleasant side, there is a section three-tenths of a mile long that has a 5.6% slope.” http://www.cooperriverbridge.org/bike.shtml
When plans for the bridge were in the discussion stages, a high school group got involved, suggesting adding a pedestrian, bicycle lane. I am so happy those plans were included in the bridge plans. Now, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge is one of the favorite spots for active walkers, runners and bicyclists to work out. Speaking only for myself, I find it invigorating just to walk on it. You must remember, I am asthmatic. Exercise, stress, and illness activate my asthma. Today, I forgot to pack my inhaler – in the event I had an attack. On Monday of this week, I had an attack – thanks to my mini-schnauzer, the oldest of our pets. He chose to ignore the command of ‘stay’, darting out to the road. I rushed after him, and he ran faster. The little brat! A police officer drove by, stopping to get Sir Shakespeare Hemingway. On the way to the house, my asthma kicked in, so I must be careful. Nevertheless, I refuse to allow asthma to stop me. As a child, I was told I could not run or play or dance, like the other kids because I had asthma. I listened. Grinned, and danced my way outside. Stubborn? Independent?? Opinionated??? Wanting to do things MY WAY????? You betcha!
I’ve always believed in breaking the rules. After I had accomplished my first adventure on the Ravenel Bridge, I walked it two to three times weekly. For those of you who have Fitbits, the incline records the steps, floors, miles and active minutes. Today, I paid attention to these records when I got home. I moved on 16 floors today. Walked for 50 active minutes, for a total of 3.66 miles, and I had over 7,000 steps recorded before 10:00 am. Today, I will surpass my goals to walk for 10,000 steps, 30 minutes active. I cannot wait to share this information at Weight Watchers tomorrow.
When you walk the bridge, you feel like it will be an easy journey. For those who haven’t walked it, or those who are not accustomed to walking, it might be a bit difficult; however, since I am a walker, and I walk the treadmill, today’s journey was not as difficult as it has been. My friend, Melanie did fine too. You must remember, as you begin the journey up the bridge, it continues to incline. Remember – Charleston, SC does not have any mountains, so we in the Lowcountry are accustomed to walking the ‘Lowcountry!’ The bridge has a 4.1% incline. Many people who have walked the bridge say it bothers their legs, but it didn’t for me, and Melanie tolerated it well too. I think she and I will be good walking buddies!
Now, that I am home, I feel inspired. There is something so special about getting outside to walk. The sun beams down onto your skin. The breeze kisses your face, and the walk gets your entire body moving. Arms are swinging. Legs are moving to the beat. Your heart is beating while the breeze conditions your body to keep moving. I didn’t mention the view, and it is spectacular. You look down to see the view of the Charleston Harbor. Perhaps you see a ship or a cargo ship floating by while the breeze refreshes your face. This is Charleston, SC. A Holy City where we do our best to enjoy this life we are given. God has given us a beautiful, historical city to enjoy the lifestyle we so enjoy and new friendships to cherish.
If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know I haven’t written much in this column in about two weeks. Last week was truly the week from Hell for me. Beginning with suspected car problems where the technicians replied, “The engine light wasn’t on when we checked it…” Of course, that is a typical response from men to a woman at a service department…now, isn’t it — WOMEN! They were slightly mistaken. The engine light icon returned, and on Wednesday, it took over three hours to get it repaired. Of course, the main reason it took so long is due to the fact my car warranty was purchased with the car ($1549.00) at Car Max. Still, I am furious with Car Max; however, I will go on record to say that the service tech at Dodge possessed an amazing amount of patience with them — JUST — to get the warranty approved. Thank you, Dodge…and NO THANK YOU…to Car Max!
But — that chapter is closed and I am pleased to share that the repair that I had to pay for in the amount of $477.21 has been compensated to me – minus the $100 deductible since I DID NOT USE CAR MAX FOR THE REPAIR… Heck, I could not get Car Max to return a phone call, or the Mouse Lady to acknowledge me! Can you detect my frustration with Car Max???
Enough about Car Max! I suppose this post should actually be Friday frustrations, instead of Friday Reflections; however, since I am a person who looks for the positive in life and not the negative, I will do my best to reflect with a positive attitude.
While I am reflecting on Friday and this week, I would like to share that I was finally able to attend my weekly Weight Watchers meeting yesterday — the first meeting I’ve attended in four weeks. I confess, I anticipated a weight gain of 3 or 4 pounds and was a bit happy when I had only gained .06! It was wonderful to get back to my REAL life again. This reflection proves to me that I cannot complete my Weight Watchers journey alone. Like someone with an addiction, I must attend weekly meetings to share my ups and downs with all. I confess, I think the only reason I did not show a weight gain of four pounds or more was due to the fact that I have worked out on the treadmill every day since last Saturday. It was suggested at the meeting for me to ‘shake up’ my exercise routine a bit, so this week I will go for an extended walk — on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and I will return to walking my dogs again. I’ve been slack about walking my dogs ever since we lost my precious Shamey-Pooh. The last time I walked the dogs on our three-mile journey someone actually stopped me to inquire where the ‘beautiful silver dog was,’… when I replied that he died, they apologized and I burst into tears.
Undoubtedly, there has been a black cloud over me for a few weeks, or maybe it is the full moon returning; nevertheless, this week started off — shall I say unpredictable. Monday afternoon, Phil and I left the house a few minutes after 5pm, headed to the Coastal Carolina Fair. What would normally take about 30 minutes was at least 1.5 hours. We arrived at the fair at about 7pm. Never did Phil get annoyed about the traffic and we had a great time at the fair. Little did I know how things would change within 24 hours!
For those of you who do not know – My husband has PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you do not know what it is like to live with someone with PTSD — count your blessings! Tuesday afternoon when Phil returned home from work, he had a strange look in his eyes. I know that look well — PTSD! Within 30 minutes, we were fighting. I cannot recall what set him off, or me off – but our fight continued. I decided to shut myself away in the bedroom. That night, I broke our rule – a rule made when we were newlyweds…the rule of “never going to bed angry, or without a good night kiss!”
Wednesday – we had the same scenario. No matter what I said, we could not stop the fight. Listening to someone is difficult with him. I approached him carefully, telling him ‘we need to talk.’ When someone has PTSD communication does not exist. Every time I said I needed to talk to him, we fought. The real kicker was when Phil shouted to me that I was exactly like my mother. Yes, he does know the right buttons to push! I exploded although with a calm, diplomatic voice letting him know that I was ‘nothing like my mother!’ Never did I behave, or deceive him in the manner my mother deceived my father.
I gathered my dogs and off we went to the bedroom. I pretended to be asleep! No kiss. Nothing! Breaking the rules continued. I should add, Wednesday, Phil called me several times. No doubt, he wanted to end this scenario on the phone. I stood firm.
Thursday morning, after Weight Watchers, I had lunch with a close friend from Weight Watchers. As I was leaving the car to meet her, my cell phone beeped with an e-mail. From Phil. Subject – Peace! He said he was tired of fighting…recognized that at times he could be difficult, only that is not the word he used! And he was sorry. I phoned him. Fight over.
No, I was not refusing to take the first step to end this emotional battle, but when you live with someone with PTSD there does come a time when you must be firm so they can see the issues related to PTSD. I’ve had several friends ask why I tolerate his behaviors and mental treatments. My reply – simple –he is the only person who has ever loved me. He rescued me when I needed rescuing. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, reading my issues with my mother and the domestic abuse of my family, then you must understand. When someone grows up in such an environment, never do you anticipate a life of love and peacefulness. Never did I EVER see my parents hug or kiss, so — due to LOVE(??) that is why I tolerate such behaviors. I do recall my parents shouting and I shall quote:
Mother – expressed to my father: “I hate you…You no good Son of a B—-!”
Dad’s reply: “I wish I never married you!”
Mom’s reply: “I hope you die soon…”
Those cruel expressions echoed in my ears as a child, and they still echo in my ears. Once you live in an abusive family situation, you never forget it!
Maybe that is why I strive so hard to be positive. When I hear others gossiping, ridiculing others, I say something positive about the person. Maybe that is why I’ve lost “friendships” because I do not wish to gossip about others. I do not function well with gossip or negativity. As a child, I recall my mother dragging me to the beauty shop in Bibb City, GA where she would sit for hours gossiping about women, men and the couples within the village of Bibb City. I hated these moments and would rush outside, or sit with my head covered with one of the bubble hair dryers so I would not hear their shrewd gossip. Women can be so dangerous and cruel. I suppose those ‘toxic stories’ made my mother feel better about herself, and I do recall saying to my mother, “God don’t love ugly.” My grandmother’s favorite expression! My mother’s response, “You shush your mouth, you stupid girl!”
Later in my life, I focused on a new definition of STUPID!
S – Sensitive
T – Tenacious
U – Unique
P – Passionate
I – Imaginative; Independent; Intimate
D – Dignified; Dependable; Desirable
Perhaps for today, these are my Friday reflections. I am hopeful next week will be a positive, happy week for me, and for you. What are your Friday Reflections?
Yes, today is Friday. A day to reflect and appreciate life. A day to give thanks and be thankful for another great week of life.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will recall I am on a Weight Watchers journey. Thursday is my weigh-in day, so reluctantly, yesterday, I went to the meeting, anticipating a weight gain of three or four pounds. Why? You might say? Well, although I hate to admit it, I binged. Until Tuesday, I found myself going to the pantry to eat — of all things — peanut butter. I still do not understand what was going on with me, and why I was craving and eating that stupid jar of peanut butter. I do confess to the habit of checking my weight daily, and I work out at least five days weekly; nevertheless, I craved that peanut butter like someone who would never eat peanut butter again.
When I arrived at Weight Watchers and weighed, I read my weigh in card, realizing I had only gained one pound. Rejoice! After all, it’s the little things in life that mean so much to us, especially someone on a Weight Watchers journey.
I looked at my leader, sharing with her my week. Much to my surprise, she did not ridicule me or shame me. That is what is so great with attending the meetings at Weight Watchers. Never do we get shamed or ridiculed. We receive encouragement, even when we
“fall off the wagon,” just like I did this week. I did share with Kathy, my leader, that on Tuesday, after having a serious discussion with myself, I tossed the peanut butter jar into the trash. Thank goodness!
If you are considering a Weight Loss program, I would like to encourage you to join Weight Watchers. I joined in March 2011. For me, it has been a slow journey, but I have stuck with it, even when I miss a meeting, I force myself to continue this journey, especially this week.
What makes Weight Watchers work? For me, I believe it is the meetings…the encouragement and support we receive, even when we have a bad week. During those bad weeks, many people simply give up and quit, only to return to a meeting and rejoin months later…after gaining weight. I embrace all of the members who return and I am happy that they chose to come back. I have made a commitment to myself to continue this journey, even IF it takes me the remainder of my life to reach my goal. Never have I discussed my ‘goal weight’ — but — I do have a goal weight in my mind, and I will reach it. Meanwhile, I continue the journey. Walk on the treadmill, and on the bridge, and I work out. Sometimes, I glance at myself in the mirror and stare for a moment…Remembering WHO I was before losing 35 pounds…and WHO I am now. My “arms are smaller, along with my legs. My hips have “shrunk,” according to my husband, and my face doesn’t have the fullness it had before.
Never shall I forget the first day I walked into the Weight Watchers meeting. Never did I establish eye contact with anyone. I was too ashamed of who I saw in that mirror. Now, when I walk in I am greeted — just like others, and I embrace the new me.
My Friday Reflections for today could easily be a whipping session for myself…beating myself up…like I have previously. Today is a new day…a new beginning…a new step…a new journey…a new life…and so I embrace it while being so thankful that Weight Watchers has changed my life. I am more confident and proud of who I am becoming, as I step out into this journey called life.
For me, Weight Watchers is a bridge of strength and pride while I take the baby steps to grow into the woman I’ve always desired. A woman full of pride and strength, just like the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge in Charleston.
What about you? Do you have Friday reflections to share? I’d love to read them!
Morning has broken and when it did, I cringed. My head was pounding with another dreadful sinus headache. Glancing outside, I noticed this morning was covered with another blanket of thick fog. If you read my post from yesterday, you will recall I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge today. That will not happen. Charleston is expecting severe thunderstorms today, so I will not take a chance…not with these headaches. Today will be a treadmill day!
Listening to the sounds of quiet, I hear fog horns in the distance, along the harbor. Oh, how I welcome those musical sounds. The long hum…hum… Sometimes, there are five fog horns sounding. Other times, there are three. I can just picture the ships gliding along the harbor. Hum…Hum…Hum. Hum…Hum…Hum…Hum…HUM! Those musical notes are so delicious to hear.
Suppose I’ll hop on the treadmill now, to beat this headache out of my head. Have a great weekend, readers.
How are you enjoying these incredible winter storms? I find it interesting that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia is having temperatures in the high 60’s while the USA is freezing in many locations, including the mild climate of Charleston, SC. Early Wednesday morning at 4:00am, our signature, landmark bridge, Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was closed due to the inclement weather — ice on the bridge. Today, it is Thursday, my Weight Watchers meeting day and the bridge is still closed; in fact, according to Governor Nikki Haley, it is the only bridge in South Carolina that is still closed.
What is the problem? Why can’t this bridge be opened. SIMPLE! The bridge has two diamond-shaped twin towers with approximately 128 cable stays. On the cables ice is falling onto the bridge. Would you want your car to be at risk due to unguided missiles falling from the cables? I think not. Two weeks ago we experienced this ice situation. Engineers and the SCDOT decided to open the bridge because if and when the cable stays thaw out, the ice will fall away from the roadbed. NOT!
After the bridge opened, the ice thawed, dropping onto several cars. Some of the windshields exploded. One woman reportedly suffered an eye injury when shattered glass fell into her eye. Thank God no one was killed! I can only imagine the lawsuits that will occur.
And so, we the residents of Charleston, SC await to hear the bridge has opened again. Many people are furious about the situation. Well, I’ve said it for years, and I will continue to say it here and in public — the antiquated city of Charleston, SC needs to build more bridges. We are having an amazing growth spell in Charleston now, but with growth we need more roads and that just isn’t happening.
According to news alerts I receive, the bridge is still closed at this moment, due to the ice falling from the cable stays.
I have lived in Charleston for many, many years. I haven’t seen many new roads built, and I doubt they ever will, but we definitely need more bridges. The only way out of Mt. Pleasant into Charleston is thru the I-526 highways, or if you take the back roads, you can travel on Highway 41. Just make certain you have plenty of gas because it is a long way to travel, just to get to your destination. Or, if you are in a hurry — just face the reality of the situation…You are in Charleston, SC — where things move at a slower pace. Yes, I love the city and the beauty, but we really do need to modernize and build more roads.
Somehow I doubt it will happen. People here are still fighting over the cruise ships in the harbor. So, fellow residents if you are looking for a way to cross the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge — just stay home, or take the Charleston Water Taxi, http://www.charlestonwatertaxi.com/
You will not be disappointed. The view from the water taxi is spectacular!