Monday, March 23, 2015

How NOT to do a honeymoon

I was reading through some of my old posts and one of them mentioned our honeymoon ..... of many moons ago.  I described it as disastrous.  It wasn't THAT bad ..... well, yeah, it was bad.

Husband-to-be had been home from his LDS mission for five months when we got married in October of 1975.  At 20 and 21 years old, we were ridiculously young.   He had an entry level job as a pattern maker, making $3.75 per hour, in a manufacturing company in which he would eventually rise to responsible positions over the next fifteen years.  I was working as a receptionist for a finance company, earning even less.  We had a small convertible Fiat that he bought a few months prior, for $300, and we were still making payments on my ring.  A very humble and drafty apartment waited for us in our home state of Oregon, after we spent what little money we had to travel to Utah to get married.  In those days, there were no LDS temples within 700 miles of home and a wedding anywhere else, for us, was not acceptable.

Did I mention that we were young?  Add to that ..... we were naive and inexperienced in travel and other things of the world, much less planning honeymoons.  We figured it didn't really matter as long as we were together.  Which, in hindsight, was true.

We were married on a Tuesday morning in Logan, Utah, in the temple that sits on a hill overlooking the town.  I had only been in a temple once before that, when I was in college.  This was my first time in the inner sanctuary of one of these holy edifices and I received the ordinances needed prior to being married, right before our wedding ceremony.   Our families were with us and I remember feeling awed that they had come all that way.  I don't remember much else.  After the temple, we attended a lunch that was hosted by New Husband's grandmother in her home.   A few hours later we left to begin this thing called Marriage, heading towards Salt Lake City.  Our plan?  A day in SL, then a visit to Provo, and then head home.  We had made no reservations, because hey, it didn't matter ......

Inserting a reassuring note to our kids -- Relax.  No need to close your eyes, cover your ears and hum loudly ..... Nothing gross here.

As luck would have it, there was a convention happening in SL and motel after motel was full.  We finally found a simple, non-memorable room somewhere near downtown.  (Let me reemphasize simple.)  The next morning we attended the stunningly beautiful, historic Salt Lake Temple for a bit of a review of what we had experienced in the Logan Temple the day before.  I quickly learned that I was no longer the bride and center of attention, but instead just one of the crowd.

As it started to get dark later that day, just before we planned to head for Provo, our $300 Fiat quit working.  Fortunately, Husband's aunt and uncle, who lived nearby, came to the rescue.  We managed to get the car to their house where Husband spent the evening pulling out the transmission and diagnosing a broken clutch lever.  They loaned us a car to go find a room for our second night.  The next morning he found a welding shop and had the part repaired and I again spent several hours in Aunt and Uncle's living room watching snow lightly falling outside, while Husband shivered under the car in their driveway, reinstalling the mended part.  Thankfully, since we didn't even carry a credit card back then, the repair only cost $7.

After that we no longer trusted our $307 Fiat, so we scrapped our Provo plan and beelined for home.  We stayed in our third humble motel room in Brigham City, and then landed in my sister's home near Boise, for night number four.   Did we realize that we broke all honeymoon rules by spending a night with relatives?  No.  We were THAT naive .... and nearly out of money.

Shortly after crossing into Oregon, still very far from home, the car started to sputter again and we nervously pulled into a rest stop.  But miraculously, it restarted and gave us no more problems.  We like to attribute that to a merciful God, who must have been chuckling at us, knowing as only He can, that all would be okay, in spite of our worries.

We arrived home to Humble Drafty Apartment late that night with less than $20 in our pockets, only to find it had been semi-trashed by my new in-laws.  I'm sure they had fun, confident that we'd both laugh at the joke, after we dragged in from our long and stressful trip.  Yeah...... right.

So there it is.  Our honeymoon.  In our defense, our options were few if any.  The trip was mandatory, the car was what it was, and ditto with the budget.

Afterthoughts:  We determined that, when our own kids got married, if needed, we would at least help them with their first night's arrangements.  No one deserves a drab little motel room like we had, for their wedding night.  That said, we figure it's all relative.  We both came from humble circumstances and had never really experienced "posh".   So, in other words, we were fairly clueless anyway.  And in the 39 happy years of our marriage, we have more than made up for it.   Besides.... when you start at the bottom, the only way to go .... is up.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My excuse, AKA .... the battle of the bulge

I have a theory which is bordering on fact, as far as I'm concerned.  It is:

Relatively few of the people whom we would describe as thin, must really work to stay thin.  Meaning.... these few stay thin by exercising obsessively and denying their hunger hour after hour, day after day.   Whereas, according to my theory, the majority of thin people stay thin because they naturally can't eat a lot of food, for one reason or another.  This is evidenced by comments they make, such as ....

"If I eat a big lunch, I can't eat dinner."

"Three small plates of sushi, and I'm stuffed."

"I'm never hungry for breakfast."

"I can't handle a lot of sweets."

"If I eat that I'll get sick."

"I forgot to eat lunch."

I am NOT one of these people because I don't believe I have ever uttered one of the above statements....  Ever.  Except when I have a stomach flu which, for me, is rare to nonexistent.  (And on that note, I don't recall ever getting food poisoning, although I have eaten along side of someone who did.)  I have been, for limited periods of my adult life, one of the minority of thin people who can keep up the pace and food-denial for a while.  But only for a while.

For me, dinner is a whole 4 - 5 hours after lunch and by then, lunch is a distant memory, having long ago exited the stomach, leaving an empty, ravenous cavern.  I can easily down six small plates of sushi, if I let myself.  I wake up most mornings starved.  Sweets are my drug of choice.   Food never makes me sick.  And forgetting to eat is like saying I forgot to go to the bathroom....or I forgot to wake up this morning....or I forgot to breathe.

The naturally thin people can work next to a dish of candy and not be so distracted by it that work is impossible.  If I was a bank teller, that little dish of lollipops or mints meant for the customers, would have to go far away.

I could eat almost all day long.  I could down a half dozen donuts and be left with soaring guilt....but my stomach would be fine.  I can polish off a Subway footlong in one sitting.  Once, when I was at college, my roommates were all gone for the weekend and it happened to be my birthday.  A kind person brought me a cake and by Sunday night, when the roommates returned, it was gone.  I had eaten the entire thing by myself in two days, granted it was probably the only thing I ate.  It was chocolate..... need I say more?  Fortunately I was barely out of my teens ..... back when I THOUGHT I was fat, but was a size I would LOVE to be now.

Often, when dining with the Husband, I have to keep tabs on my self-respect and perceived femininity (big eye-roll) by not out-eating him..... because I easily can.   Many evenings he returns home from work and tells me how little he has eaten that day (usually because he got busy and forgot) thinking he deserves sympathy.  As if.  He might as well be boasting about how he climbed Mt. McKinley that day and I didn't.  Because I, on the other hand, have been at home most of the day, where there is a kitchen containing food that calls to me constantly.

So there you are.  I am NOT one of those people who naturally eat less.  If I let down my guard and eat comfortably, I will get fat.  And from the looks of things, I'm not alone here.  Staying thin is a constant daily battle of exercise, denial, and hunger.... a battle too easily lost.  And for me, the enemy grows more fierce and gains more ground each year.  That's reality and it stinks.  And don't give me that nonsense about filling up on low cal foods.  Eating an apple or a carrot only leaves me hungrier.  My stomach feels much better (and quieter) after a milkshake than after broccoli.

If you are one of those lucky thin people whom everyone envies, don't judge.  We are working very hard at this.  We deal with a lot of guilt and conflict.  My appetite doesn't settle for one brownie, it demands four and we (my appetite and I) argue endlessly.

So as I head out, yet again, to do some hill work, just know I'm probably exercising more than most. And until SOMEBODY gets their act together and invents some good-tasting, calorie-free ice cream, these extra 10-20 pounds are most likely here to stay.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Podcasts and other stuff

I admit it.  I really really like my new iPhone.  I resisted getting one until my little flip phone died.  The only upgraded feature I thought I needed was easier texting ...... but Verizon determined that going "smart" was the only way.

I had my iPad Mini which I dearly love.  The screen is big enough to READ stuff on it.  My fingers fit on the keypad.  It slips into my purse.  I had all I needed.  Life was good.

But I didn't realize the advantages of a smart phone.  The two biggest differences between phones and tablets are, obviously, one is a phone and one isn't.  And one fits in my pocket and one doesn't.

Um......yeah.   So?

My preferred form of exercise has lapsed from running back to walking.  I don't know if this is a permanent change or not, but since my sixties arrived a few months ago, I am cutting myself a little more slack.  I LOVED what running did for me and the pounds that it kept off, and I LOVED the events and social life it brought me.  But I didn't LOVE running in and of itself...... except for those wonderful two or three minutes at the start of a leg in a relay when I felt like I owned the world.  Regular daily runs were hard, boring, and lonely.

My phone has become my walking partner.  It talks to me about any subject I choose.   My iPad talks to me too, but it insists I carry it in a purse or backpack.  Pockets are better.   So.... how do they talk?  Podcasts!  Podcasts are audio commentaries, discussions, articles, blogs, or whatever can be produced via sound.  Podcasts are almost as good as walking with an actual person.  Almost... maybe.

I am always perusing the net for new podcasts and my cache is full of favorite subjects like politics, religion, history, and my latest obsession -- camping and/or RVing.  I'm powered by my frustration at Liberals in our government, and educated on how composting toilets work and why we all need one.  I am uplifted by spiritual topics and motivated to go camping in Yosemite.  I also can download audio books like the one I just finished about backpacking the entire Appalachian Trail.  And is it just me, or does everyone marvel at how the sound automatically stops when I get a call and resumes (on its own!) after the call ends?

Another cool thing about my phone is that afterwards, it tells me, via a GPS, how far I walked w/o me having to instruct it that I'll want that info at some point later on.  It just does it whether I ask for it or not.  (How it differentiates between miles traveled on foot and miles traveled in a car, I don't know.  Please explain that to me, if you do.)

If you are unfamiliar with podcasts, you can find them somewhere in iTunes..... or look for this in your app store.

Add it to your existing apps and then start searching for whatever topic you want and subscribe.  They're all free.  Or if you're really savvy and clever and can speak without stumbling over your own tongue, you can start your own podcast, like my friends Heather and Josh did.  They fell in love with backpacking on our last hike together and decided to tell the world.  I happily await their weekly episodes each Tuesday.

Anyway, give it a try.  Go for a walk.  I recommend conquering some thigh-killing hills to offset that weight you picked up, like I did since I stopped running.  Don't forget your earbuds and your phone and burn some calories while you catch up on the latest sordid scandals in DC, or the ins and outs of installing solar panels on your RV.  You know you want to.