Sunday, November 06, 2011

Christmas 2011 -- 

Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
  • Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?
  • Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
  • Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
  • Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.
  • There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
  • How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
  • Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
  • My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
  • OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.
  • Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre? Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
  • Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups -- throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about?

Here's a map to find Made in the USA companies
Here's a page showing Made in the USA by products

I didn't write the message above, but thank you to the person who did! It will help if you send this around or post on your blog, site or Facebook, but it will help even much more....if you're thinking about what you're buying and where it comes from! If each of us makes an effort to "buy American", it will truly make a difference! I'm even going to start asking store managers for more "Made in the USA" products. If they get enough requests and we cut back on buying China made products, trust me...they will listen (eventually).

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Middle-Age Fall

No, not THAT kind of fall....LOL! I've been neglecting my blog sorry!! I was planning on posting every day and I only seem to make it every SEASON! Since my last post was this past Spring, I thought I'd share this lovely FALL day with you and catch you up on a few things!

First of all, I'm still walking! Hard to believe that I've been doing a mile a day (sometimes 2 miles) for 19 months! Many of you know that I was diagnosed with diabetes in March of 2010 and I feel that this unfortunate turn of events has actually helped me to lose weight and keep it off. I think I've posted several "before and after" pics, but here's one that kind of shows the whole year (although it's not the most dramatic one--but it's still painful to show how big I was). I guess that's kind of vain, and if you dig deep enough into my blog and my website you will see the full extent my journey to health. Just know that if you struggle with your weight, I understand and would be happy to help if I can.

So, what's been going on in your life since Spring? Any big news to share? Any monumental decisions or changes made? I've got a big event coming up next only daughter is getting married! I told her fiance that he's made ME a very happy woman! LOL! He's a great guy and, in my opinion, perfect for my daughter! I couldn't be happier! But now I have to find a DRESS!! Thankfully, it will be a smaller size, but it has to have certain features to cover certain flaws like a belly that's not quite flat and batwing arms!

I've been looking around (on the internet, of course) and I really like the dresses by Alex Evenings and especially this one, but the one thing my daughter asked is don't wear a "champagne" colored dress! This one is actually Taupe....wonder if I could get by with this! It IS kind of bland as far as color, but I love the length (it's an afternoon wedding), love the jacket with the 3/4 sleeves...well, to the elbow anyway, and I love the way it's not "clingy" to the body! A really good body shaper would take care of the bulging belly I think! It just looks really comfortable.

I'm going to keep looking and see if I can find something I really like that has a little more color, but so far there's always some element missing. :( 

Have to finish my newsletter today so I'll be signing off for now. I'm going to try (again) to do a daily post from today on. I had an idea (while out walking) about taking you on my walk each day and talking about something that is on my mind that day. Or maybe you have an idea of what you would like to discuss. Let me know!! Here's a picture from yesterday's walk....the Fall colors take my breath away!

Monday, May 02, 2011

The rewards of Spring and Walking!

I've mentioned several times that last year when I started walking (to lose weight), the main thing that kept me going out there every morning was the chance that I might see deer or rabbits or other kinds of wildlife, as well as the beautiful sunrises and sunsets (when I walked in the evening also). 

When I started taking my camera on my walk, it became more like an obsession! I was afraid I would miss something so I kept walking until the snow got so deep that I couldn't make it for a mile and then the ice made it dangerous. I took some wonderful photos and I've posted some of them previously on the blog for you to enjoy.

Now it's Spring again and I'm out there every morning looking for signs of Spring and renewal. It's been a long, cold winter in Michigan and the smallest thing can either make or break my day! The first thing I noticed this morning was that things are starting to fill in...the buds are spreading out and filling the spaces between the twigs that have been bare all winter.

I decided to look more closely for bird nests since in another week they'll be totally hidden. I can't believe how lucky I was today! The first thing I saw was this tiny little nest. I swear I looked inside and didn't see anything, but when you look at the photo, it looks like a little beak at the bottom of the opening, doesn't it?

I may go back later on today just to make sure! It's hard to tell how big (or small) it is so I took a few more to show the comparison with my hand.

I just have to figure out whether this is a new nest and eggs have not been laid yet or an old nest from last year. I've never seen an actual hummingbird nest before (in person). Since I've found live web cams on the internet, I've seen every kind of nest and eggs and new baby birds from  hummers to eagles!

A few more feet down the trail and I saw a bigger nest perfectly encased in a pretty thick overgrown area. It was very difficult to get to, but I finally got my camera up high enough to take a picture. At first I thought it was empty so I continued on my walk, but then on the way back, I saw a robin come out of that thicket so I decided to try again.

The robin stayed close by and was making a single chirping noise instead of the regular beautiful song, so I thought this must be a newly constructed nest and I wanted to get a picture of it. 

This picture shows how thick those branches were and I'm really surprised I even noticed the nest. Of course, to get my camera up high enough to get a shot inside the nest I couldn't see what I was shooting so it took quite a few shots before I got this one. Obviously, it was empty so I don't know what made me keep trying for a new angle! I was standing on a muddy, almost verticle hill and must have looked crazy the way I was trying to get close enough without getting stabbed in the eye with those branches!

Well....I was rewarded for all my efforts! For my eagerness to get out there and walk every day, for making it through a rough winter and not giving up, for slowing down and paying closer attention...AND for remembering to have my camera battery charged!! :) I would be amazed if I'm still able to see the nest once the babies are hatched once the leaves have wrapped the nest in privacy, but for now I am just grateful for today's adventure!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time for new walking shoes! Made in the USA!

Last year about this time I started walking. I hadn't bought new tennis shoes in many years (also hadn't WALKED in many years!) but after a few weeks of walking in my Dr. Scholls, I knew I had to get some real walking shoes. I had a really tough time finding the right ones. I actually bought and returned 4 different shoes before settling on a pair of Skechers, which have held up pretty well but after I lost over 50 lbs. from walking, the shoes are too big!

So after watching a special on ABC about finding stuff made in America, I started checking all kinds of stuff from shoes to clothes to see where these things were made and sadly, my Skechers were made in China. (So are Dr. Scholls) Very disappointing, but I'm trying to do everything possible to support companies who make their products here in AMERICA, therefore providing jobs for Americans. So I thought I had found the solution for my new shoes:

New Balance is the only athletic shoe company that continues to prove high-quality athletic footwear can be produced competitively in the United States. We are committed to American workers. Twenty-five percent of New Balance shoes sold in North America are produced by our U.S. workforce using U.S. and imported materials.

Hmmm...only 25%? Well, at least they've listed which ones are made here or just assembled here. It will take a little more work on my part, but I'll feel like I've tried anyway. It's still sad that it's only 25% and that they make their marketing sound like they're USA all the way! You have to read it very carefully.

Twenty-five percent of New Balance shoes sold in North America are produced by our US workforce, using US and imported materials. When possible, we obtain materials from domestic suppliers. At times, due to availability, economic or quality reasons, there is a need to import components from foreign sources. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we have labeled the shoe "Made in the USA." Where it falls below 70%, we have qualified the label referencing domestic and imported materials. This determination is based in part on the Federal trade Commission's survey of consumers.

It just feels like we're "settling" instead of demanding goods that are at least 80% made here from 80% domestic materials and labor. I know we consumers are always looking for the cheaper price, but look where it got us....with cheaper quality for so many products and even higher prices for stuff made in America. And the Skechers cost as much or more as the New Balance!
It's just tipped so far out of balance (excuse the pun) and  I don't know what the answer is other than what we can each do individually. This mess didn't happen overnight so the fix will not come quickly, but I can tell you it good enough to do SOMETHING, even if it's only 25% worth? After starting this article on finding some new walking shoes, I'm happy to announce that I've also found some 100% made in the USA!!  Unfortunately, NB is still the only one that makes walking/running shoes. It's still encouraging to find that there ARE companies out there still providing the choice for products made at home. Be sure and check out the Americans Working site for as many new purchases you can find.

If more of us are just aware of the choices we DO have, it will help. This is a cool map showing some of the products made so check out what is made in your state and help support products MADE IN THE USA! I'll post a picture of my new shoes when I get them. :)

Here's wishing you some great walks! 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How to eat more and lose weight!

I just had a brilliant idea after reading this article! All pre-menopausal, in the moment menopausal and post-menopausal women (and those who love them) should be eating as if they had diabetes. There are so many elements of this way of eating that will help with menopause symptoms such as (just to mention a few):

  • Weight gain (obviously)
  • Hot flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Incontinence
as well as general health issues like blood pressure & cholesterol, creaky, painful knees and low energy levels.

Many of you know that I was diagnosed with Type2 diabetes in April 2010 and I started walking and eating low carb to reduce my blood sugar levels. I'm not happy to have diabetes because, in spite of what you hear, I don't believe it can be reversed with diet and exercise, even with medication, but if I had known my blood sugar levels a year ago and had started making changes then, I probably could have prevented it becoming a reality.

One more matter what kind of eating plan you embark on (notice the avoidance of the "d" word), there is NOTHING that will allow you to do it for a few weeks or months, lose the weight and then be able to go back to what you were doing before! When you find something that works you have to stay on that plan to maintain your weight loss. That's why it's so important to find something you can really enjoy. Yes, you're going to have to sacrifice some things but it's so worth it to feel great, improve your health, fit into your clothes and like what you see in the mirror!! So mentally be prepared to make this a lifestyle!

I guess I'm grateful that diabetes has forced me to take my health more seriously and if you've read previous posts on this blog, you know that I've lost over 56 lbs. and I can't tell you how much better I feel! Well, I CAN tell you and I want to encourage each of you to give it a try! Unfortunately, because of the diabetes, I've had to cut out many of my favorite foods that are healthy for people without diabetes (whole grains, fruit, milk), but if you can make a change right now you can enjoy all the benefits WITH delicious food! And you can prevent diabetes before it happens!

About the only thing I don't totally agree with is eliminating so much fat, but I'm a proponent of the lowcarb lifestyle and believe that fat doesn't make you fat. Here's a very good video of one of my favorite doctors (Andrew Weil) talking about this. Some people can tolerate and metabolize carbs better than others so everyone has to do what will work for them, but my point here is to give you incentive to think very seriously about making some changes today! You will thank me later...I guarantee it! :) And don't forget to take your "before" picture!

My recommendation is to get your blood sugar tested and make changes (with your doctor's approval) that will help you AVOID diabetes. You will lose weight and get healthy and feel better overall....menopause or not! Let me know what you think and if you have any questions.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More "Before" and "After"

As painful as it is to show myself at my worst, I feel it is the best way to inspire some of you who might feel you are too old or too heavy to make changes. And as painful as it is to look at these before pictures of myself, it's not nearly as painful as it was to BE that heavy. It took an emotional toll as well and I replay those feelings as I look back and wonder how it got to that point, but it's also a lesson in "letting go" of a hurtful past.

This did not happen overnight, as those of you who have followed my progress well know, but I found ways to stay motivated on a day to day basis. The first step was to decide that I HAD to do something and then I told other people what I was going to do (basically I committed to walking to my Facebook friends!). I felt like I couldn't back down again and it was very encouraging to get the positive feedback each day when I finished my walk. So one day led to another and I started to feel that this time I was going to do it....and I did. You can too!! First figure out what is holding you back and then take YOUR first step forward!

Once you start losing, it's such a feeling of accomplishment! You know you're doing the right thing, that you're getting healthier and liking yourself better! I was never into exercising or walking, but when I had done it for 30 days, there was no turning back. Even when winter set in, I kept on walking every day all wrapped up like an eskimo! :) Just last week, after a month of freezing weather, deep snow and icy ground, I decided to do my walking at a gym on a treadmill. Not my favorite thing, but I was feeling guilty about not being able to do my mile (sometimes 2 miles) walk. It's something else I've had to force myself to do....warming up the car, driving into town, exercising (walking) in front of other people (lol), plus...I have motion sickness and it took me a couple of days to not feel nauseous from my "fake" walking! But I pushed through and do feel better that I'm keeping myself moving. I got some earplugs so I can watch tv while on the's that for motivation? hahahah....whatever works, that's what I always say!

So here I am back in June of I said, this is painful to show this (or even for me to look at it) and the worst part is this is 4 months AFTER I started walking and eating right! Whew! It's hard to imagine that I was even heavier. The next picture is of me today (January 2011) only 7 mo. later. 

So, again, my point is that it's never too late to make changes and if you reach out for help and inspiration, you will find many who are willing to offer a hand! Good luck and let me know if you need an extra little push! :)

I'm looking forward to Spring and being able to get back out on the Pollyann Trail and take more pictures of the beautiful sunrises like this one! I'd love to hear what gets YOU moving! What works best for you when you just can't get motivated?

I forgot to add that you can read more info about my low carb adventure here:

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Downside of Losing Weight

Well, this is it....I promised everyone more "before & after" pictures, so here goes. This blog will be evolving all day since I just got my newsletter out and I wasn't ready with all the stuff I wanted to write here. :) Blame it on menopause? hahahah...not sure I can still use that excuse.
It's taking a LOT of guts (parden the pun) for me to show ya'll some of these photos!! I guess I'm more vain than I thought I was. But for you to really appreciate the transformation I guess you have to see the good, the bad AND the UGLY! 

On top of everything, I can't make this blog look the way I want it to. hahahah...I'm just losing my touch, I guess. Oh well, I'm sure you'll get the point! 

In the photo below, I'm actually wearing the same blouse and although not exactly the same pants, it still shows the same "look". Sure look better in the 2010 version! :)

So, as the title of this post says....there IS a downside to losing 57 lbs., especially at my age when you haven't been keeping your muscles in shape, etc.  Actually there are several "downs". 

One of the first ones I experienced was spending money on a whole new wardrobe because nothing fit...and I mean from underwear to shoes! At first I was kind of happy and it was fun to finally buy new things and actually feel good about trying them on, but two weeks later my joy turned to disappointment when I could no longer wear the new clothes because they were too big! 

I finally started buying things that were a little tight because I was trusting that I was continuing to lose so that gave me a few more weeks of wearing clothes that looked good. Thank goodness Kohl's take stuff back with no questions asked, no matter how long it's been! Now I would never abuse that privilege, but it has really helped a couple of times (like when I was trying to find the right walking shoes!). I have walking shoes, boots and sandals that are all too big! I'm trying to wear heavy socks for now until I stop shrinking.

The second biggie is how much older I look without the fat to plump out my face! No WONDER I didn't have many wrinkles!! They were all stretched to the point of no return!!

Unfortunately, I have inherited some extra skin under my chin (thanks Grandma Carr) and even though it's not as fat as it was, it's still there!! 

I have found the solution though.......the Neck Perfect Machine!!! My neck muscles may be too far gone for this, but I would certainly give it a try before considering "gasp" surgery!!

So....that's two of the "downs" of losing weight. There are more, but I don't want to keep going on and on since I'm proud of myself for getting healthier and not thinking "it's too late". That's my message for all of you who have been following Minnie Pauz for many years, and yes, I'm finally ready to admit that she's more a part of me than I have let on. :)

I'm looking forward to your comments and for you to share your experiences. I really get uncomfortable when everything seems to be about me! LOL I know most of you know that my goal is to help and inspire other women to get through the tough things we deal with as we get older and I hope you've found something that starts a flicker of motivation to face whatever issues you are having trouble with.

All my best.... Dee