Frankie in a Dream


It is odd

How sometimes

People from your past

Come to you in dreams.

Frankie died some years ago

Both her children too

Are gone now.

We worked together for years

In our good government jobs

(They were good back then

Long before I left to become

A minister

Long before I retired even from that

Second calling)

Frankie was my boss off and on

And I was hers once, briefly.

We always had

Each other’s backs

Fighting for the people

And what was right.

Frankie had heart.

I loved her

And she drove me crazy too


Last night she came to me

When I was in the midst

Of a preacher’s nightmare.

A big service in a big venue

(Like that is going to happen)

And I’d forgotten to prepare

The order of service.

Frankie came running up

“No worries”, she said

“It’s being printed now.”

A flash of stress.

Had she picked the right hymns

The readings that I needed?

(She was Lutheran after all)

Then a flash of memory

Of recognition.

She always had my back.

I am smiling up at you

My old, and very dear, friend.

Thank you for helping me

Even in my dreams.




Daily Bread (Week 17)



Breakfast and lunch both this week!  It feels like way too much work all of a sudden.  After almost 4 months of no thinking and no cooking, I now have to think about and prepare 2 meals everyday.  Hah!  I have gotten lazy I suppose.  Even peeling hard boiled eggs and weighing a few tomatoes for breakfast felt like too much effort last week.  I did  all that the night before, but it was still a pain.  It is hard to imagine how folks who are working or have kids they need to care for cope with this amount of change.  We really are a food-focused culture, but maybe all cultures all.  In that sense, the program has been very counter-cultural so far, with food becoming simply fuel.

Maybe I can use the metaphor of a plug-in hybrid automobile.  Most of the time, you run it on electric, but sometimes you need a little gas.  After our CRV was totaled at the end of June, we bought a Honda Clarity.  In a month and a half, we haven’t used any gas at all and the gas tank still reads full.  We are learning what the car needs, how often we have to plug it in so we can minimize our use of fossil fuels. Now I will need to learn what my body needs to be both efficient and healthy: how much protein, how many calories, what vitamins, and how much exercise.

This week I am going to try yogurt with a few blueberries for breakfast and a shrimp and spinach salad for lunch.   As always, we will see how it goes.  But in terms of the ever necessary need for self-motivation and confidence, I need to say, “I’ve got this!”  Zoom, zoom.





(My stats for the last week – down 2.2 pounds, drank over 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 280 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 44.2 pounds.)

Daily Bread (Week 16)


Food, glorious food!  Breakfast = 215 calories.

I was so excited to eat some real food, but, wow, it was disappointing.  The hard boiled eggs were good enough and so were the baby heirloom tomatoes.  The sugar snap peas were tough and stringy, however, and they got stuck in my teeth.  The carrots were boring and a little slimy after being too long in the fridge.

Before I began this program, I tried to stop eating foods unless I liked them.  I was reasonably successful at that.  Slimy carrots (even when washed very well) never made the cut.  Stringy snap peas would be left on my plate.  I would not bother with bread if it wasn’t soft and tasty.   Stale chips were’t appealing.  The meal replacements I survived on for the last 16 weeks required a different approach. They taste OK I guess, but I think of them more as medicine or fuel than as actual food.  I would not say I “liked” them.  As I transition to eating real food again, I need to figure out what my new relationship to it will be.  Will food be merely fuel or will taste matter? I still don’t see the point of eating food I don’t like when there are other options available.  For breakfast tomorrow and the rest of the week, I am going to have the eggs, increase the tomatoes, and forget the stuff that did not taste good to me.  We will see how it all goes.

Last night we spent some time talking about what we do (or can do) when we are getting close to what we call the F___ -it moment, those times when we are tempted to hit the chips, the cookies, or the cheeseburgers; and throw moderation to the winds.  Some of the stories were moving and others were hilarious.  What I do, sometimes, when it is hard, is to think of someone I know who has done these kind of programs multiple times and then always goes back to old habits.  I am NOT going to be like “X” I say to myself.  It helps that “X” has many other qualities that I also don’t want to emulate.

I remembered a song this morning, which will also help me I think.  Woody Guthrie’s Union Maid has long been a favorite of mine.  Below is a video of the song, with Woody’s son Arlo, talking about when and why it was written.

Union Maid

With apologies to Woody and Arlo and stalwart union members everywhere, here’s my new theme song:

Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the program,
I’m sticking to the program, I’m sticking to the program.
Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the program,
I’m sticking to the program ’til the day I die.
There once was a program maid, she never was afraid
Of chips and dips and her sometimes slips, and the refrigerator she wanted to raid.
She went to the Kaiser hall when a meeting it was called,
And when temptation come ’round
She always stood her ground.
Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the program,
I’m sticking to the program, I’m sticking to the program.
Oh, you can’t scare me, I’m sticking to the program,
I’m sticking to the program ’til the day I die.

(My stats for the last week – down 3.2 pounds, drank over 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 210 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 42 pounds.)

Daily Bread (Week 15)


We are beginning our last week of full meal replacements.  15 weeks is a long time to go without any real food.  My body is starting to rebel I think, or maybe I am just compensating for the anxiety I feel about this phase of the program coming to an end.

It is a finish line and it isn’t. This is a marathon and it isn’t.  Maybe it is a triathlon.  The first part “products” only, the second “transition” adding real food slowly over several weeks, one meal at a time, and the third is what they label “lifestyle” which is for the rest of our lives, 6 small meals everyday, with 3 “products’ recommended.   Maybe the line “until death do you part” applies.  I am resistant to including these Optifast products in my diet for the rest of my life.  There are too many weird chemicals and Nestle really is an “evil corporation.”  I’ll try to keep a (relatively) open mind though.  I need to make this work.  Ignoring my health is no longer an option for me, so I will do whatever it takes.  I will ditch the picture of the products starting with next week’s blog, however, as one small act of resistance.

I only lost .3 pounds last week, my smallest weekly weight loss since I started the program.  I  felt kind of bloated all week, so it did not surprise me much.  I also didn’t get much exercise in last week as I had a cut on my arm that swimming wasn’t helping heal, so I skipped several days.  Life always happens.  We do the best we can.



(My stats for the last week – down  .3 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 210 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 40.7 pounds.)

Daily Bread (Week 14)


Just two more weeks without any real food.  It is so tempting to start a little bit early.  But I have been 100% on plan the entire time and this is the home stretch.  Except of course it isn’t.  Even eating real food, I will need to plan and stick with that plan.  For next week, we are supposed to come up with the one real food meal we will eat for breakfast each morning.  Plan A for me will be 2 hard boiled eggs and 2 ounces each of carrots, tomatoes and snap peas for a total of 200 calories.  Our facilitator said that, just in case our plan A doesn’t work for some reason, we should have a Plan B (still legal, at least with the current Supreme Court).  My Plan B will be 2 3/4 ounces of turkey breast and 3 ounces of spinach and 5 ounces of mushrooms salted/steamed in 1 teaspoon of butter, with a dash of garlic powder, for a total of  234 calories.  I hope plan A works, as I don’t want to cook every morning.  Luckily, one of my sons loaned me his scale, so I can weigh the food and be super-accurate about calories.


The whole idea stresses me.  It is so much more complicated, and I have appreciated the ease of not having any choices with the meal replacements.  Then again, we make choices every single day of our lives, and not just about food.  I have always tried to make good choices, just not always about food.  It is time to ramp up my skills.

Some of you have enjoyed my nostaligia pics.  Here is one more:



This photo is from 1968 0r 1969 in the UC Berkeley dorm room of a friend.  I am the one sitting on the bed, cigarette in hand, ashtray by my knees.  Part of my weight gains over the years were due to the multiple times I quit smoking.  At least I managed to do that before it killed me.







(My stats for the last week – down  2.3 pounds, drank 7 1/2 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 360.  My total weight loss so far is 40.4 pounds.)

Some Mornings


IMG_1996Some mornings

I have to drag my eyes open

With sheer force of will.

Stay asleep please

In the land of dreams.

The world is too full

Of nightmares.

But like a dried

Lily leaf

I rise

Looking for moisture

For hope.

Daily Bread (Week 13)


Less than a month to go before I can taste real food again!  August 9th is the day and it will only be one (small) meal each day for that first week.  We will start slow and continue on plan, being very careful of calories, increasing them just enough to keep our bodies out of starvation mode, but low enough that we will continue to lose weight.  It is kind of scary. As hard as the full meal replacements have been, the joy has been not to have to think about it.  Our facilitator said that was the goal for when we are back on real food.  Do enough planning, measuring, etc. so that we will continue to be able to function around food and healthy eating will become a new routine.  She likes to call it the “new normal” but that always reminds me of the slogan “This is NOT normal.”  You know where that comes from.

Speaking of treason, it hit me in class that I was one of very few (2 maybe 3) people in the class that have stayed completely on plan for all 13 weeks.   That freaks me out some.  Is it going to be harder for me when I get my first taste of, say, an actual egg?  Eggs are a good choice, it was said, for our first non-product breakfast.

The other thing we talked about was how to avoid falling into old patterns of gaining back the lost weight.  One of my issues has been not continuing to pay attention and to assuming that any weight gain would be VERY slow.  I can’t do that again.  One thing that will help, I think, is that I am now much more aware of my body.  There is a favorite hymn of mine that has the line, “body and spirit united once more”. (Gather The Spirit by Jim Scott)

Much of my life, however, I have lived in my head and my heart, and my body was a mere vehicle for getting things done.  My weight gain over the years has been like a slow motion car crash.  I need to keep my eyes on the road and my hands on the wheel: of my body, of my life.  I also need to look out for those hit and run drivers, running red lights, bringing bagels.

In other news, I figured out that swimming with my snorkel set was easier on my neck than my usual modified, head-out-of-the water dog paddle.


Once the whiplash is completely healed, I’ll likely go back to my noodle.


But the only donuts I will play with will be inflatable.


(My stats for the last week – down 3.2  pounds, drank 7 1/2 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 340 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 38.1 pounds.)

Daily Bread (Week 12)


I have a new theory: exercising too much can slow weight loss!  Probably not true, but because of whip lash from my car accident last week, I wasn’t able to exercise much and lost more weight than usual.  Most of class this week was hearing from someone who has been doing this for over a year.  She is still paying very close attention to what she eats, this isn’t a one-time, quick-fix program.  I found her story moving and interesting, but did miss skipping the group check in.

Today is a day to mark the passage of time.  The first photo is from May 16, about a month after I started the program.  The second is from July 10, roughly 2 months later.


I can see the difference.

Today is also the 5 year anniversary of our legal marriage.  Below is a photo from that day and one from 1975 shortly after we first became a couple.

920313_421493441298152_1349425521_oanne and t 1975

I can see the difference there as well.

Ah, how times flies.

And, ah, life always brings change and challenges.  Today, I worry about a new Supreme Court that may invalidate our marriage.  I also have a deeper fear that putting immigrant children in cages is only the beginning of more and increasingly abhorant crimes against humanity.  The White Supremacist Patriarchal Culture that is in ascendence, seeks to destroy all diversity.  Almost all of us are at risk if they succeed.  I need to get healthier so that I can continue to resist.  The ups and downs, the aches and pains, are frustrating, but life is so precious.  I will continue to fight for it.


(My stats for the last 9 days – down 3.2 pounds, drank 9 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 105 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 34.9 pounds.)

Hummingbird Hearts


We live our lives

With hummingbird hearts

Beating so fast

It seems we rarely

Find the time

To breathe

Racing from flower to flower

Our fragile bodies

Are always prey

To the shadow cast

By the hunting owls

Swooping down like death

Catching us

In mid-flight.

The only lesson

Is to keep drinking

That sweet nectar

While it lasts.


My Body


Whose body is this?

Smaller than it was

The muscles firmer

The skin looser

But so much the same

The bones

The teeth

The joints

The smile

Every  ache and pain

The bruises and the scars

No miracle this

Just a change.

My body

Is the same

I pray it will continue

To carry me

As best it can.