20 Comments - Leave a comment!

I Don’t Think I’ve Ever Mentioned …

Once upon a time, I went to college at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).

UCSB4
 

It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

I was on the Dean's List and an honor student.

I partied a lot too.

I majored in beach parties communications.  I also got a degree in beach parties communications.

When I wasn't studying, I was working to pay for school.  I worked a lot of hours, out of necessity.  For some reason, all that work didn't interfere with my beach parties learning.

I guess you could say, I enjoyed college.

When I wasn't studying or working to pay for school, my college life could be summed up like this:

ECBike2
  

I bet you understand me so much better now ….

© Twenty Four At Heart

32 Comments - Leave a comment!

The Last Four Days

I'm back in Orange County and back to reality.

Sigh.

I thought I'd share with you a little of my vacation today.  If you've been reading here for any length of time, you already know I lived in Santa Barbara once upon a time.  It remains one of my favorite places on earth.  I try to get weekends up there to visit friends whenever I can.  When I visit, it's as if someone pushes a "refresh" button on my soul.  There are no words to describe how renewed I feel after a few days in my old stomping grounds.

The fun began with lunch on Friday.  I went to the Beachside Cafe which is an indoor/outdoor restaurant on Goleta Beach (pronounced go-lee-tuh).  The restaurant sits on the beach right at the base of the Goleta pier.  Goleta is a northern suburb of Santa Barbara.

GPier

It was the most beautiful day imaginable.

Sboat

After lunch, I spent the afternoon at El Capitan State Park.  It is, without a doubt, my favorite place to visit in the Santa Barbara vicinity.

Dol2

There were dolphins leaping and playing and splashing everywhere I looked.  I can watch them play for hours and never grow tired of it.  

I did a lot of walking and hiking while I was at El Capitan.

Elcap
 

Did I mention, I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful few days?

It was breathtaking.

Each evening I visited some of my favorite Santa Barbara restaurants.  (And yes, I did stay on my low-carb diet during my entire visit – go me!)

One morning I visited the exclusive Bacarra Resort.

I might have seen a very famous musician on the pathway to the beach that morning.  She initially eyed my camera and big lens warily.  When she realized I had no intention of invading her privacy I received a big smile and a warm hello.  I think we found each other refreshing.  I'm sure she's tired of people fawning over her and I'm tired of people requiring fawning.

Later that day, I went shopping in downtown Santa Barbara.

_MG_3755

I found the cutest pair of shoes.  I love all the shops and boutiques on State Street.  It's always fun to spend a few hours walking around downtown.

I also visited the Santa Barbara Zoo while I was in town.  I hadn't been there in years.  It's a small zoo, but I had fun.  The zoo has an ocean view … how many zoos can boast of that?

Giraffe
They have two new, baby, giraffes.  They were adorable and very curious about their surroundings.

I also spent a few hours at the harbor.

IMG_4057
  

On Mother's Day I enjoyed a picnic on one of the beaches north of town.

All in all, it was a fantabulous few days. 

I might be back in Orange County now, but my heart is still lingering somewhere up the coast.

EC3
© Twenty Four At Heart

12 Comments - Leave a comment!

Do I Have to Leave?

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  

I've really enjoyed my four days traveling up the California coast.

I'll be back home, in Orange County, tomorrow.

In the meantime, excuse me for not writing much.  I've been busy having a lot (!) of fun.  

Bac2

Can you blame me? 

(For those of you who inquired, all three of the beach photos recently posted from this trip have been uploaded to my online gallery and are now available for purchase in the Beach 2010 album.  Click on the button on my sidebar for more information.)

© Twenty Four At Heart

12 Comments - Leave a comment!

Happy Mother’s Day

To all of you who have ever had a mother ……

Bac

I wish for you a day as beautiful -

As my weekend has been.

© Twenty Four At Heart  

12 Comments - Leave a comment!

Spectacular!

May7
I spent yesterday in one of my favorite places in the world.  I was about forty five minutes north of Santa Barbara. 

The weather was fabulous with the temperature hovering around 85F/29.4C.  There was a nice breeze.  There weren't many people around.  There were more dolphins splashing and playing in the water than I've ever seen at one time.

It was the most amazing day.

I'm in heaven.

© Twenty Four At Heart

20 Comments - Leave a comment!

Eighties Flashback!

Prepare to smile BIG by the end of this post.

First, my apologies, I have no Photography Friday post for you this week.  I will definitely have one for you next Friday.

Why?

Well, the last 24 hours have been purely chaotic.  My oldest son returned home from his freshman year at college in North Carolina.  Doesn't it seem like I was just crying my eyes out as I dropped him off?  Summer break begins early for the southern schools and he arrived home last night.  I am, of course, thrilled.

Remind me of that when he leaves dirty dishes all over the house.

My youngest son caught the crud I had a week or two ago, was home sick from school, and needed to be run into the doctor.  (He's fine … just needed some meds!)

Also, I'm on my way out of town early today for a long girl's weekend.  I'm sure you understand how crazy it sometimes gets as you're packing and preparing for a trip.  I'll be in Santa Barbara and neighboring vicinities until Tuesday.  I do plan to post while I'm gone, assuming I'm able to find decent Internet access at the dump hole in the wall I'm staying in.  I may, however, be posting when I can vs. my normal, fairly reliable, schedule.

(If you've emailed me in the last few days, forgive me for not yet responding.  See above craziness!)

Photography Friday posts take quite a bit of prep time on my part, and I just couldn't pull it off this week.  Instead, I thought I'd end the week by providing you with a smile.

Recently, I posted a photo of what I looked like in the 90's.

One of my readers and twitter friends (VanMacGuy on Twitter) asked me what I looked like in the 80's.  We agreed to swap photos.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find the right box with my photos from the 80's.  When I do, I'll post one of myself.

In the meantime, VanMacGuy was nice enough to allow me to share with you his photo from the eighties.

1jOx.jpg.gif

I love it!

If you'd like to send me a photo from your past too, along with permission to post it on 24, I'd love to see it.

In the meantime, a huge thank you to VanMacGuy for bringing a smile to my day!

© Twenty Four At Heart 

36 Comments - Leave a comment!

Two Faces of Money Town

I was running a quick errand the other day.  I was preoccupied with thoughts of all the things I needed to accomplish before the end of the day.  

As soon as I entered the store, I heard a man bellowing.  Yes, bellowing.  There is no other word to describe what he was doing.  I saw a well appointed Money Town woman cringing by his side.  She gave me an apologetic look as if she were the one responsible for his boorish behavior.

Initially, I could only see the man from the back.  He had white, thinning, hair with a bald patch on the back of his skull.  He was heavyset.  

And then he turned and glared at me.  He had blue, piercing, eyes and it was clear he was set to destroy anyone in his path on this particular day.

The man was walking around a shopping mall, not long after having had a facelift and nose job.  He looked a bit like the picture below, but he also had his nose bandaged and blood/fluid drains still attached to each side of his head.

81773402
 

When I saw the blood-filled drains I nearly barfed on the spot.

Seriously?

He had to be in his first week post-surgery.  Could he not have spared us all from seeing those?  (gagging!)  

Who goes out to the mall like that?

Not only that, the man was older than the earth itself, and I couldn't help but wonder Why?

I realize, the pressure to look young in Southern California is beyond anything most of you can imagine … 

But really

More and more, I see people walking around in public with their plastic surgery bandages on.  (Although, this particular man takes the cake with the bloody drains hanging from each ear!)

I guess the Money Town crowd figures everyone is having plastic surgery, so why bother hiding it?  Perhaps the amount of "work" a person can afford to have done has become something to brag about and flaunt.

I am still *shuddering* at the image of the man.  It seems to be burnt into my brain.

The very next day found me at the Money Town grocery store where I encountered The Biggest Bitch in The World.

There really are a lot of bitchy women here, have I mentioned that? 

Anyhooooo,

Have you ever walked up and down the grocery aisle with your cart and on every single aisle you see the exact same person?  Their grocery store run and yours are synced perfectly, in such a way, to make you feel very awkward.  It gets to the point where you feel like you should say something to the total stranger.  Like, perhaps, "How's the husband doing today?" but then you realize you don't even know the person …

You just have grocery-aisle-familiarity (GAF) with them.

No?

Well, this particular woman wore Money Town Attitude like a cloak on the coldest of days.  She was most likely in her late sixties, but didn't look a day over 50.  She had been nipped and tucked and glittered with giant, sparkling, bling.  Her clothes and shoes and handbag were weighted down with the burden of the most expensive designer labels.

She took one look at me, sniffed the air, and turned her head with a look of disgust.

Did I mention what I looked like on this particular day?

I had just walked four miles.  I had on my favorite black, capri length, workout pants.  They're a combination of sweat pants and yoga pants.  They are, without a doubt, the most comfortable thing on earth to wear.  I pretty much live in them except when they're being laundered.

I had on a sports bra which means my Bionic Nipples were undoubtedly very visible right through my v-necked, white, cotton t-shirt.  I had on my favorite sneakers and my hair was pulled back in a ponytail.  I'm sure my face was red from walking in the heat for four miles.  I had no jewelry on, not even my wedding ring.

The Biggest Bitch in The World was not impressed with me.  She looked at me with disdain when she bothered to look at me at all.

Up one aisle, and then down the next – we continued to manuever past each other as we shopped.  When her cart blocked my way, she made no attempt to move it to allow me to pass.  

Yes, she broke grocery store etiquette.  

Can you believe it?

It soon became apparent to me that The Biggest Bitch in The World was intentionally trying to get in my way.  No matter where I was, or what item I was reaching for … she'd be there, in the way, and refusing to yield.

"Excuse me," I must have said a million times as I tried to reach an item.

She would not move.  

Not one inch.

Over and over, aisle after aisle, we continued this antagonistic dance.

She remained the staunchest of adversaries, consistently refusing to make even the slightest move to accomodate me.

We finally had a stand-off by the oatmeal.

Oh, yes we did!

It was kind of like the old Gunsmoke shoot-outs, except – totally different.

She had positioned her cart along the oatmeal section and stood next to it. 

I wanted to buy oatmeal.

I waited.

I waited some more.

She didn't move.

She wasn't putting anything in her cart.  She just stood there, blocking the oatmeal.  She was fully aware I was waiting for her to move.  It was an intentional, annoying, move on her part.

She was in full oatmeal-blocking position.

"Excuse me," I said politely once again.

She rolled her eyes.

She looked at me with contempt.

"I'd just like to grab some oatmeal," I explained as nicely as I could.

Arrogance dripped off her into a puddle on the floor.

"Oatmeal?" she sniffed, making no attempt to move her cart, or herself.

"The oatmeal is right there, right behind your cart," I replied a bit impatiently.

"Is it?" she said disinterestedly.

She didn't move.

My patience with The Biggest Bitch in The World was gone.

I pushed my cart past her, and past her cart.  I put my hand firmly on her cart and pushed it out of my way.

She gasped.

How brazen of me!  How impossibly rude of me to expect someone like her to move.

I took my time and calmly walked where her cart had been.  I took the oatmeal I wanted.  I placed it in my cart and went on my way.

Behind me I heard her hmmphing and hawing over my escape.

Oh yes, I won the Money Town oatmeal stand-off and I'm proud of it!

© Twenty Four At Heart

20 Comments - Leave a comment!

Boring You On A Semi-Regular Basis

I promise I won't be writing about this topic every week.  I also promise an update on some Money Town characters tomorrow.

Seriously, I promise.

On the other hand, a lot of you have written to me asking questions about one of my recent posts.  Enough of you, in fact, to make me think I might as well answer you all at one time vs. emailing the same information out several times.

I'm referring to my recent discovery regarding being insulin resistance.

Healthy eating, and health in regard to diet, seems to be a hot issue for many people lately.

Several of you wanted to know what I'm doing regarding the low-carb eating style my doctor informed me I need to adopt.  Initially, I wasn't going to go into details, but like I said … people are asking – so here goes.

I plan on adopting a low-carb lifestyle for the remainder of my life because blah, blah, blah insulin resistant.  I know, without a doubt, I'll have days when I fall off the wagon and eat things I shouldn't.  I also know, unequivocally, I don't want to add any health problems to the already overwhelming issue of my arm.  I think I have a pretty good attitude, in that, I'm not expecting perfection out of myself, but I have fully accepted and embraced this as a lifestyle change.

In other words, I'm not approaching this as a "diet" to lose weight … 

For me, it has to be a permanent way of life.

That being said, I would like to get back to a healthy weight as I go through the transition with my eating habits.  

My doctor suggested I try Lindora.  Lindora is a low-carb diet plan.  Lindora has diet centers you can go to.  They also have the option of an online program instead, or an at-home plan.  Because I'm insulin resistant, I opted for checking in at one of their diet centers twice a week.  I did this because it allows me to be monitored by a doctor and my insulin levels, etc. are being checked.

I am, in no way, suggesting Lindora is the right diet/eating plan for you, or anyone else.  However, it seems to be exactly what I need right now based on both my insulin resistance and my desire to get back to my pre-accident weight.  

The first three days on the Lindora plan are pretty much three days of hell.  They are "protein days" with very few carbs and very few calories.  The idea is to get your body into ketosis which is the state when your body begins burning your own fat for energy.  

On the first day of my new eating habits, I was convinced my stomach was eating itself in its desperation for food.  On my second day, I felt horrible.  I guess I was going through carb-withdrawals or something.  I had a horrendous headache and … ugh!  By the end of day three, my body was officially in ketosis and I felt great.  

And I do mean GREAT!

Lindora has me eating a low carb, low calorie, low fat and high protein very balanced food plan six days a week.  Portions are small, but I'm not feeling hungry.  A positive side effect of being in ketosis is a decrease in appetite.  One day a week, I follow the Lindora guidelines for a "protein day" to keep my body in ketosis.  I'm not taking any diet pills or drugs.

This plan is different from the Atkins diet which so many people are familiar with.  High fat/high calorie foods aren't permitted.  To me, this makes sense.  Calories in have to be less than calories out in order to lose weight, right? 

By the way, I have the metabolism of a snail.  Many people can eat much more, but I have to limit my body to 55-65 healthy carbs a day in order to remain in ketosis.  (Ketone sticks are used to check for ketosis each day.)  I discovered how few carbs my body will tolerate early within my first week on Lindora.  In a way, it sucks.  On the other hand, the positive is, I now know what I need to do.  It's so much easier to accept than banging my head against a wall repeatedly – which is what I've been doing for the last four years.

I have more energy than I've had in years.  I really can't get over it.  I've since learned, being insulin resistant makes many people feel tired a lot of the time.  I don't think I even realized I was lacking in energy until I saw a dramatic, positive, change by cutting out the carbs.  I have energy to burn and I absolutely love feeling this way!  Feeling high-energy is a great incentive for me to keep up with the low-carb lifestyle.

In addition to feeling much better, I'm already seeing a weight loss.

I lost over seven pounds in the first week!  I realize, when a person's body adjusts to a new diet most of the initial weight loss is simply water weight.  Regardless, it feels much better to have seven less pounds on my body.  I hope to continue losing at a rate of one or two pounds per week although I'm sure I'll have weeks where my body plateaus.  

Yes, I'm exercising.  I work out for at least 30 minutes on my elliptical, or walk at least 5 of every 7 days.  This isn't something new for me.  What is new, is my increased energy level and the fact I'm actually *finally* losing weight.  Before, I felt like I was doing everything right, but I got no results.

I'm also skipping alcohol for the time being.  I'm not much of a drinker anyway so it isn't hard for me.  After my accident, I was on pain meds for two and a half years nonstop.  I couldn't mix the (very!) heavy narcotics with alcohol so I stopped drinking.  In recent months, alcohol has been an occasional indulgence.  Yes, I will be able to drink again … but right now I'm choosing not to.  I want to give my body every advantage in adjusting to my new lifestyle.  Alcohol metabolizes as sugar and slows the metabolism.  My metabolism is plenty slow all on its own.

Maybe after a couple weeks I'll reward myself with a shot of tequila glass of wine?

Speaking of rewards, I decided I would build an incentive program into my weight loss.  I'm still in the planning stages … but basically, I'm treating myself a little bit for every five pounds lost.  I'm making a list of (non-food) rewards.  Maybe a new pair of costume jewelry earrings, or a pedicure, or two hours at the beach with my camera … little bonuses to keep me motivated to stay on track.  

To be honest, I thought I would need these rewards to make my transition easier.  Now that I'm actually doing this, I'm finding my increased energy level, and the fact I feel so much better, is probably all the incentive I need.  Nonetheless, I promised myself rewards and who am I to break a promise?

Someone wrote in and asked what types of food I'm eating.  As an example, one night this week I had a chicken breast fillet which I baked with a low-carb teriyaki sauce on it.  I sauteed some fresh spinach and mushrooms with a little onion and garlic as a side dish.  I also had a salad with a low-carb balsamic dressing on it.  Dessert was a small bowl of fresh strawberries from my favorite roadside strawberry stand.  I was not at all hungry and everything really was delicious.

As a side note, the next morning I threw some of the leftover vegetables into an omelette.

By the way, Lindora does offer diet foods for sale but most of them make me gag.  I've opted to teach myself how to stay within their nutritional guidelines using real food.  (The exception being my first three "text-decoration: line-through;">hell protein days.)  

For one thing, real food tastes much better.  It leaves me more satisfied and more likely to stay on track.  For another, I'm in this for the long term.  I need to become accustom to what I can prepare and enjoy on a daily basis.  

Quick fixes aren't what I'm looking for.

A lot of my readers recommended The South Beach Diet.  I've picked up one of their cookbooks and it looks as if some of their recipes are compatible with the Lindora program.  I'll be experimenting with recipes more and more as I become accustom to living on a low-carb diet.

I think that covers most of the questions I've gotten so far.  I love hearing about the experiences you, or your family members, have had so please continue to share your stories.  I find my readers to be such a wealth of information.  I learn so much from your comments and emails!

© Twenty Four At Heart

12 Comments - Leave a comment!

I’m On Drugs

It's late at night as I'm writing this.

I'm on drugs.

Oh yes, I am.

I had a lot of great post topics, but something funny happened.  The pain meds kicked in and all my post topics went POOF right out of my head.

By the way, this is the type of pain that pain meds can't even get under control.  So, I took pain meds and I'm in slightly less pain, but still – quite a lot of pain.  Only to top it off, the room is kind of spinning-ing-ish and my brain doesn't work quite right and … 

What was I saying?

I did a dumb thing.  

Whoa – I'm really not used to these drugs anymore.

(Spiinning-ish-ness EVERYWHERE!)

I don't know how I functioned when I had to take these drugs all the time.

(MORE spinning-ness-ish!)

I did something which shows the stubborn-ness (is that a word? – it looks so funny!) of my nature, I suppose.

Briefcase has been traveling for quite some time now.  I am the ultimate corporate widow, in case you didn't already know that about me.

In any case, my two wonderful retrievers were running out of food.  I went to the pet store to get more food.  Since my car accident, this is something Briefcase is normally in charge of because with two large dogs we buy dog food in BIG sizes which I can no longer lift.  (Because I have one arm!  Except, I really have TWO arms, but only ONE works!)

Where was I?

Oh!

Big sizes – as in, we buy 40 pound bags of food.

I walked into the pet store and the only employee in sight was a little, tiny, very old lady at the cash register.  I got a shopping cart and went to the dog food section.

I eyed the 40 pound bag of dog food.

It stared right back at me.

"Maybe I can lift it with one arm," I thought.

And so I tried.  I half dragged it off the shelf and I tried to use my right (bum) arm just to balance it.  

But I guess I can't lift a big, bulky, 40 pound bag of dog food with my non-dominant left arm because it began to fall and there was my right arm under it trying so desperately to support it ……

And – it did not end well.

Oh, it ended sorta well.

I mean, the dogs got fed (in the end, with the help of other people).

But honestly, I can't remember a time in the last few months where I've felt so much pain.

Teeth clenching, omigod please let the pain meds kick-in, type of pain.

I texted The Torturer and told him, because I knew he would want to know.

Ok, so he doesn't want to know, but whining to him is a habit.

I'm *sure* he misses my whining.

I do miss him.

Can you even believe it?

That I could miss The Torturer?

Who knew?

And then I sat down to write a post.  I had so many ideas to write about.  

For one thing, I was going to tell you about The Biggest Bitch In The World who just so happens to live in Money Town.  I encountered her at the grocery store this week.  I am used to Orange County … I am used to the spoiled rich.

But!

The Biggest Bitch In The World belongs in a category all of her own.

But now, the room is all spinning-ish and I can't quite get the details of my story straight.  Not even in my own head, let alone trying to type the words out.

So I apologize for whatever this has turned out to be.

All the words look so funny!

They do!

Either I've spelled them all wrong or I'm high.

Or both.

Maybe it's my new low-carb way of life?

Maybe it makes the pain meds affect me more?

It's very confusing.

And the punctuation thingies?

I'm sure they're all messed up too.

I know I'm going to regret doing this, but I'm going to hit "publish" anyway.

In three, two, one …..

© Twenty Four At Heart

24 Comments - Leave a comment!

Woo Hoo!

I was really excited last week to discover Twenty Four At Heart was listed as one of the 10 Best Blogs For Baby Boomers.  There are tens of millions of blogs written.  (The last count I heard was 76 MILLION and it's probably much higher by now!)

I was squealing with excitement at the honor of being on this list! 

I was so excited, that is, until I thought, "Wha … ????  DO PEOPLE OUT THERE THINK I'M A BABY BOOMER?  Don't they know I'm only twenty four?"

And then a friend reminded me I'm not really twenty four, which totally messed with my psyche.  And then another friend told me anyone 40 and up is considered a Baby Boomer.

Is that true?

Have I become … a Baby Boomer?

Something about it sounds sorta … old.

At twenty four, am I … oh dear God, OLD?

Are you old too?

Because I don't think of any of you as being old.

Also, as much as I love and welcome all my "baby boomer" readers, I have readers of all ages.  I get comments from college students. and single men, and young moms, and well endowed men, and mid-lifers, and grandmas and grandpas.  I love all of you and all of you seem quite young at heart when you write to me or leave comments.  In fact, one of my youngest-at-heart readers signs her comments as "Old Woman" and yet, I think her heart is one of the youngest I've ever encountered.

And isn't that really the only place age matters?  

In our hearts. 

I am putting the thought of being old entirely out of my head and going right back to my mental age of twenty four.  At the same time, I would like to say I was thrilled to death to have Twenty Four At Heart recognized on such an awesome list.

I want each of you to know I'm sending you a huge virtual hug today.  I'm so happy you come to visit and spend time with me.  I'm so honored you've helped make Twenty Four At Heart grow into such a great little community of its own.  

Really, I'm tremendously touched.

xo

© Twenty Four At Heart