Mad to live, mad to talk

“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!'” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

Wind Whipped Weeds

[bctt tweet=”“the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time…” – Jack Kerouac” username=”cherylspelts”]

Deceptive Packaging

Seriously? Why would they do this?

I was just looking at a package of six cheese danish, and I decided to flip the box over and look at the calorie count, and I’m shocked to see it says 170 calories. Really? That seems so low? So then I look at the portion size, and it says 55g. But how much is that? Maybe grams should compute with me – maybe that’s a flaw that I need to fix in myself – but right now 55g is a completely meaningless measurement to me. And I almost let it go at that, because after all, the entire package is marked as 21 ounces and 6 count, so I’m thinking that means I should be able to divide 21 ounces by the 6 count, and get about 3.5 ounces – that seems logical.

Then I notice the servings per container figure. Keep in mind that the label says in large print, 6 count. And there are 6 distinct danishes in the box. But what is the official servings per container in tiny little print? Approximately 11.

Seriously? If they wanted to say that half a danish was the serving size, that I could see. That would make sense. But approximately 11 servings? How do you get 11 servings from 6 sweet rolls?

Yes, I know they can sell more sweet rolls if the consumer sees 170 calories, and doesn’t realize that’s for only a fraction, and not the whole roll. I get that. And I also get that half a sweet roll is probably more than enough, and it’s a flaw in my thinking to just assume that a serving size should be a full roll. But if the package has 6 rolls, and yet the official servings per container is 11? That just seems unnecessarily complicated and frankly, deceptive!

On patience…

When I last journaled in this section, I had just walked .25 miles one day and .5 miles the next day, after not walking at all for 19 days. And I was determined to do better.

The very next day I was in Los Angeles, and instead of blowing off walking, I *hiked* in the Hollywood Hills, which really means walking up a steep dirt path. It’s not like hiking in the mountains, where you’re going up really steep slopes, and hopping over rocks, and it’s just you and the mountain. In LA hiking means a raked dirt path, with a set end point, and lots of other people, including tourists with cameras. In fact, I was able to do it in sandals! But it’s still uphill, and it’s still good exercise! And I went 1.5 miles total, which made me very happy!

Green BranchThe next three days I was tired, so I just did my regular .7 mile loop – but I did it. And that made six days in a row, which made me feel good, really good.

It was starting to feel normal to me to go out and walk each day.

Then I took eight days off. And I’m okay with that.

I really do believe that I can do whatever I set my mind to. But guess what? Sometimes life throws us a curve ball, and we have to adjust our expectations. I thought that now was the right time to throw myself into a self-improvement frenzy, but maybe I need to scale back a bit and instead think of it as gradual self-improvement. Nothing wrong with gradual. It still gets me where I want to go, eventually.

Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I giving up? No. I may not be able to go as fast as I wanted, but I still intend to do what I need to do. I’ll get there. I just need to accept where I am right now, keep plodding, and have a little patience.

And just for the record, I walked 1.1 miles today, and it felt good. Really good.

What if I (didn’t) push myself everyday?

I walked half-a-mile today. Seriously.

The last time I journaled on this subject, I’d walked 1.1 miles, and it was hard, but doable. And I was all geared up to push myself everyday. So what happened?

Does it really matter what the details were? I think in a way it does matter. The details are not extraordinary. Soooo not! There was no big thing that derailed me – just normal life got in the way – and isn’t that what I’m trying to change? Change the way I live, and in the process change my life?

So I need to look at all the messy reasons and not-so-extraordinary details. And since this part of my blog is hidden, I don’t have to worry about becoming one of those people who drone on and on about how they’re going to do something, and yet never seem to get down to doing it. If I’m honest, I might actually be one of those people, but because this part of my blog is hidden, I don’t have to worry about anyone else finding out! I figure if you’re reading this, you love me enough to have poked around and found this post, and if so, I can live with you knowing that I’m struggling a little at moving beyond talking, into actually doing.

Pink Rose // Photo: Cheryl SpeltsOkay, so for the reasons… The last time I posted was after walking 1.1 miles, and that was also, not-so-coincidentally, the last time I walked. That same afternoon I stepped on a thorn that pierced my shoe and went into the ball of my foot. It hurt that night, and hurt worse the next day, so I decided not to walk – and that lasted for about three days. Then I got the flu, and I just could not get myself to get out there and walk, even once the worst had passed. Then we got the mega-storm that flooded the streets – and no way was I going to go out walking in that – especially since I hadn’t walked in over a week – what was one or two more days? Then it was Christmas, and once again, if I’ve taken this long off from walking, what’s another couple of days?

Finally yesterday I had had enough – I needed to walk. Yes it was cold, yes it gets dark really early this time of year, but I knew I needed it – so I walked a quarter-of-a-mile. That was all I could do. It had been 19 days since I last walked, and the flu really got to me, so yeah, a whole quarter-of-a-mile.

But today I did half-a-mile, and today it was not only cold, it was also raining, and the wind is whipping like mad. And half-a-mile is twice as far as I went yesterday. So I’m good!

Nineteen days ago I wrote about how remarkable the human body is – how if you push it a little, it responds so beautifully, and you get stronger and stronger, and can go further and further. I really do believe that. Hey, I went twice as far today as I did yesterday, so I got proof! I have no doubts about my body, it’s strong and healthy and will get stronger.

Where I do have doubts is with my motivation – and that’s hard for me to admit. I was at a workshop a couple of months ago, and someone who didn’t know me very well was listening to me ramble on about some aspect of my life, and she said, “so you lack motivation?” and I was soooo quick to rebut that! I’m ambitious, I accomplish things, I’ve done lots of things I’m proud of. I work hard, really hard. But she kept at it, and she twisted my words around, and she made me see that no matter how much I believed it wasn’t accurate, it might be just a little bit true. I’m still turning that one over in my head, two months later, so it’s not fun to see it crop up in other areas – like in my commitment to walk more.

And now see? I’ve been droning on and on about this for way too many paragraphs, becoming one of those people… Forgive me?

What if I pushed myself everyday?

I walked 1.1 miles today!

I didn’t add the extra distance on purpose, I thought I was trying a new route, and I got down the street a little, and realized it didn’t go through, so I had to turn around, which added a little extra to my distance.

The interesting part is that it wasn’t any harder than one mile was for me yesterday.

The human body is amazing! Really! I’m always amazed the day after I push myself to do something, that very next day if I do it again, it’s easier. Our muscles really can improve after just one time. So I fully expected my one mile walk today to be a little bit easier – and I was looking forward to it. And I figured it would just keep getting easier and easier, until it felt comfortable. And THEN I’d push myself again!

But today, wasn’t any easier because I added that one-tenth of a mile – in fact, it was just as hard as the day before had been. But the BIG difference, is that for the same amount of effort, I went a tenth of a mile further. Interesting!

What if I pushed myself everyday? Yes, everyday would be hard and I wouldn’t get to enjoy those days when it gets a little easier and starts to get comfortable. But, the tradeoff would be improving faster. Pretty nice tradeoff. So maybe it’s a good idea?

But what are the risks? Well, if it’s tough everyday, then I might get tired of pushing so hard. If it’s too unpleasant, I might give up entirely. On the other hand, if I go too slow, and don’t push myself as much, then my progress will be slower, and then I run the risk of not seeing enough positive change, and so giving up.

I think I’m going to go for the middle – take the best of both – and make it work for me. I will plan on pushing myself everyday – adding a tenth of mile each day. But if I ever have a day where I don’t want to walk at all, and feel like it’s just too tough – then on that day I won’t add any additional distance – I’ll just stay where I was the day before, and enjoy the fact that it’s a little bit easier the second time.

I admire those people who decide to do something, and then just do it. They don’t need to think about motivation or losing interest, or wonder if pushing too hard will backfire. They’re super-humans! But I’m not one of them, and I know that – so I do think about these things – a lot!

Pink Bougainvillea // Photo: Cheryl Spelts

Walking A Mile

Cactus FlowersI walked a mile today! That may sound like not much, but to me, where I’m at right now, it’s major!

I keep reading that for most people, if you walk an hour a day, everyday, eventually your weight will normalize. Walking longer is fine, but one hour of walking is what a normal body seems to want, each and every day.

I’ve been walking around the block, maybe once or twice a week, for several months now – a route of .7 miles – and it took me about 15 minutes, which is pretty slow. But I could do it comfortably, and I was okay with it. But then I kept seeing that one hour a day figure, over and over, in different places…

I knew I could get through it – the difference between .7 and 1 mile is minimal – right? But it might be tough. And in fact, it was tough – but I did it!

And with that, I’m just a little bit closer to getting to that magic one hour a day figure.

Trying Something New

House KeysIsn’t my new house key great!

I loved my old keychain – it was a silver heart – freeform, and unique – it looked hand-forged. I bought it just as I was making the big leap from the corporate world to my own business, and all the years I carried it around, I loved it. But on moving day, when other people were using my keys, it got lost – and I’ve felt like something was missing ever since. And I couldn’t seem to find anything to replace it. It was so unique, and so special… I don’t want just an ordinary key chain.

But then in Home Depot of all places, I saw these blank keys… and I knew I’d found my answer! I won’t replace my old keychain until I find one just as special. But in the meantime I’ll get an extra special house key cut! And you know what? In the week that I’ve had my new aqua fleur-de-lis 3D house key, I haven’t missed my old heart key chain at all.

I think sometimes I get so caught up in the way things have always been, I might miss out on something else that might be equally good. Or maybe just a fun change? Who says I need a keychain at all? Why not go without? Why not do something different?

So in the spirit of trying new things (and hoping I end up loving them!), I’ve added two new trial features to this blog. One is a log of miles walked and the other is a secret for now – but I’ll tell later.

Here’s to shaking things up a bit and trying some new things!

PS: To anyone who’s worried about how safe it is to post an image of my keys on the web – I altered the key blades in Photoshop – so it’s not possible to cut an accurate key to my house or car, using this image. The rest of the image is as shot though!

The Reasons


On my mirror… why I want to walk more, eat better, and make self-portraits. Why it’s worth doing? My reasons…

100 calorie cookie packs

I think one of the most insidious things about swearing off desert, is that it often leads to those 100 Calorie Cookie Packs – yeah, they are low calorie, but there is absolutely nothing in them that is good for your body. All those chemicals? Just a man-made pseudo food.

If I’m going to give my body something that bad for it, I’d rather it at least taste good – so I’d much rather have one super-luscious REAL cookie with fat and sugar for my 100 calories, than have a whole handful of fat-free sugar-free pseudo cookies.

Me, Today

Me, today...

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Elliot

Consider this day one. A new and fresh start.

Basic ring light shot, that really shows what I look like – not too artistic – just documenting where I am today.

This project is about being what I was meant to be – and documenting the journey. It could be the most important and interesting thing I’ve ever done.

All I have to do is start to walk, and take photos of myself, and walk a little further each day, and take more photos, and eat a little less, and walk a little further, and let the art take over…

Ring light is interesting – and perfect for this use. It’s a beautiful, soft, glamorous light – think Pamela Anderson on Dancing With the Stars – word is she only allowed interviews with journalists who would use ring light on her. It super-flattering on some faces – including mine and Pamela Anderson’s! But that doesn’t mean it hides details, or that it leads to blurry soft focus – far from it! If you get close to an image lit with a ring light, you can see every single eyelash, every single strand of hair, and every single thread that makes up the fabric, in the clothing. It’s good with the details!

So, ring light is perfect for me right now – it’s flattering, and allows me to make pretty images of myself. But it’s also scrupulously honest – in other words, good for the documentation part of this project.

Day one.