My baking cabinet – I like to have everything in one spot. This holiday season I plan to bake… but not nibble!

A Baker’s Dozen on day 12 of 210 of no sweets

It’s been dozen days for me now, no sweets.

And to commemorate, here are a few things that are a dozen. First off I just want to ask a little question, how comes a baker’s dozen is 13?

  • “A baker’s dozen” assures the baker isn’t cheating anyone. The appearance of propriety is kept by the baker throwing in an additional to bring the dozen to thirteen. Historically a baker would have to pay a fine or according to my research, pay some other severe consequences for cheating people such as getting an earlobe nailed to a post. Sorry bout that but history is brutal. I am pretty sure that if they’d teach those interesting tidbits in high school kids those sometimes unreachable teens might just pay attention.

There’s a bakery near me always throws in a couple donut holes with the bag of donuts. (Of course I’m not eating any presently.)

A dozen things that are a dozen, or twelve

  • eggs,
  • cupcakes,
  • muffins
  • Cookies
  • Pack of hot dogs
  • Hours in half a day
  • Months in a year
  • Inches in a foot
  • School grades 1-12
  • Tribes of Israel
  • Days of Christmas,
  • Roses

Counting, Not by Tens

Primitive counting by duodecim

Not by the neat metric base of ten

Gives us a dozen right out of the oven

Cookies and cupcakes and muffins in tins

And when months of the year and hours of the day

Look to the moon and the sun to arrange

And the length of the foot times three is the length

From the right shoulder to the left finger, a yard, three feet,

Wonder where the dozens come from

That gets moons and planets and measurements going,

Those dozen roses, and holidays aglowing

And the creation adoration bestowing

~Julie Robinson

Above photo: my every morning: oats and coffee, a little listening, studying, planning, and a lot of writing On DAY 11 OF 210 OF NO SWEETS, YAY! It’s getting so much easier too. Right now I’ve been taking a little break from painting because the poetry and other creative writing endeavors have taken top place in my creativity.

Here’s my poem and below the poem is a number line showing my sweet progress.

SAVORED LEAF

A dust devil destroys stacks

Of carefully raked leaves,

A Skittering dustup which the wind wins.

But one bright leaf, whisked up by a kid,

Mesmerized by the skirmish,

Having kicked a rock as far as he could,

But finally losing it,

Crams the new find deep in his pocket

And later tries to pull it out

A crumbling faded memory

Better to savor but not to save,

To leave it where it lay

~Julie Robinson

210 DAYS NUMBERLINE – The progress looks so tiny below, bottom left in pink. But it serves to remind that this experiment has an end. Join me in the journey, never too late to jump on!

Spaghetti candy on Day 10 of 210 giving up sweets

A serving of jarred spaghetti sauce can be loaded with sugar. I about flipped out reading the label of my favorite brand. 12 grams*.

I think it could be renamed spaghetti candy.

I decided to compare it to actual candy.

A package of Reece’s peanut butter cups is 8 grams

One Hershey’s kiss is 2.6 grams

*And 4 grams = 2 teaspoons

After additional research I found maybe I ought to steer clear of some salad dressings as well as most barbecue sauce.


Keeping it simple!!! WHAT I’M GIVING UP ON THIS 210 DAYS OF NO SWEETING

Sweets – which is defined as desserts (self-explanatory)

Semi – Sweets – which is pancakes, waffles, muffins

Drinks – I already drink no sugary soda or coffee

Canned or bottled Spaghetti Sauce and other dressings and sauces where the serving size sugar grams is more than 5


Sweeting Ways

Aren’t there other ways of sweeting

Better habits, ways of living

Having cake, not voraciously eating

Cookies pies and candy

One way is grateful

Ahh, enjoy a whole plateful

Of thankfulness both body and soul

For care and provision and love

Another’s a road where we carry the load

Of another, much encumbered

A sweetness together inspired

Our brother, a neighbor, a stranger, friend

Then there’s the path of suffering

It’s not to be compared

It’s defeat over worldly desire

It’s a better way, there

It’s sweet victory

And a better way of sweeting

What we all are truly needing

Look up, cause it’s not here

~Julie Robinson

Fatigue – Symptom on day 9 of 210 no sweets

Sweets as Uppers

Usually, well 10 days ago and further back… I combated afternoon sleepiness with eating sweets. Was I doing anyone a favor by doing this? It was like a drug … I was popping candy pills and living crash to crash on a sugar trip.

And, that was (sort of) effective. It allowed me, along with caffeine, past the sluggish 3:00 pm. But after time I needed more and more sweets to fill the need. I knew though that I needed to do something about it. And, the problem was greater than body fat. But, right now I’m going through withdrawal and currently am having…

Fatigue

The first few days off sweets I felt more energy. Now on day 9 I have been experiencing more fatigue than ever . I think my body must be trying anything it can to get me back on sweets. In fact, I have heard tell that it is your own body

………bacteria

which live on sugar are the ones doing the craving! Sorry but it’s true!

Funny considering that for a moment as I call a body meeting where brain and spirit take the head of the table, take charge of this body and Say NO!!! to the bacteria. That should be easy to do except when the bacteria clobber you with fatigue.

Some people ask … No, I didn’t go hog wild and do completely no carbs. I do eat a little bread and pasta. I might decide to cut those out except for whole grain in this little 210 day sugar free experiment.

I’ve been drinking afternoon coffee or tea but that doesn’t seem to lift the fatigue but it does give me something to do and it is momentarily soothing.

I was so fatigued by 9:15 pm that I couldn’t concentrate to write. I fell asleep while looking up fatigue definitions vs fatigues for my poem today.. Funny thing was my brain was just fine, wanting to create poetry but my hand/eye coordination wasn’t doing too well. Anyhow, I thought, maybe I ought to sleep. Duh, right?

That worked. I woke up early and refreshed with new calm and collected enthusiasm. (Yesterday’s poem)

Fatigued Poetry

Fatigare, To work, To tire out, a Latin word

Brings us fatigue, tired out from work

Either mental or physical

Some have it chronic

Caused by so many different things

They slog to different doctors hoping for a cure

A different use but meaning same is fatigues in the military

My dad, military, used to wear dress whites once in awhile

But most times he told mom he needed to wear his fatigues which meant hard work

I never new the difference as a kid but I remember

How she heavy starched and ironed his uniforms

Both serving their country.

Then there’s things causing fatigue

Caregiver stress, motherhood

Too much news and menopausal stew

Then there’s compassion fatigue

Which is what? Tired of caring?

So all the things you’re tired of

Just create yourself a phrase ending in the word.

~Julie Robinson

Day 8 of 210 no sweets

A Joke, a Riddle, and a Poem – day 8 of 210 no sweets

You might say that I’m writing my way out of eating sweets… Instead of munching, I’m punching… the keyboard.

A Joke

My children have all told me this clever joke. I must pass it along here. It’s clean and clever, and so appropriate for day 8 of 210 no sweets. Of course, kids hear a joke for the first time and figure mom or dad don’t know it. Sorry to my third child who with all the shiniest best of her first grade self asked me…

“Why is six afraid of seven?

And I forgot all parental protocol and answered…

“Because seven eight nine.”

Even though I knew the answer I could have pretended not to. I could have allowed her the pleasure. We could have both been happy then. And why did I follow with “You are my third child, you know,” with a wink that was all about me. We moms must forgive ourselves. Stop the mom guilt! (Please don’t get me wrong: all’s fair in… teens or adults to answer right off)

A Riddle

A little about my youngest daughter: she has baby status, yet first child status, and oldest child status. How can that be?

Ok, here’s the answer to the riddle: She is the third and last child of mine and the only child of her father’s and the other two are my children from a previous marriage and there are a dozen years between. I know, who wants to do all that math? I’m sure all of you got that riddle first off anyhow.

Now that I am an older and wiser mother, I can’t help but raise her differently. First, we are doing homeschool high school. And, she 11th grade has a year and a half to go. Second, until a month ago we were caregiving her father with advanced dementia at our home, and third, her brother and sister left home when she was about eight.

A Poem

Before I wrote this poem today I had looked up the word enthuse “to cause to become enthusiastic”. As I was thinking about that… is it possible to have contagious enthusiasm – an enthusiastic crowd, for example.

Then I was considering how I’ve maybe heard the term used more often in the negative as in “over-enthusiastic”.

And, what must happen to cause a person to be enthused in the first place is something within themselves if it is actual enthusiasm, because people can seem enthusiastic but it wanes with mood. I think we see it in American politics, but even more so in a basketball game.

Actual enthusiasm is a thing to hold on to but it is a really difficult thing to transfer, because what gets transferred is a feeling, a mood. And as I show in my poem, over-enthusiastic people can be killers of enthusiasm, really, though they don’t even know they are doing it. The worst possible dose of other people’s enthusiasm is if someone is enthusiastic FOR another to do something and keep reminding them of it and “encouraging” them. Anyhow, for me that’s the way it is…

ENTHUSED, MUCH?

Enthusiastic came, early, shining, ready

Attracting others needing extra

Feeding the fire, going steady

Hearts full, wills ready

But, over-enthusiastic burst right in

And as usual, over-doing,

Pushing, burning, maddening, stewing

Bites off more than it is chewing

And with this terrific tragedy

Of misplaced motivation,

Mood walks out

Depressed, Deflated

~Julie Robinson

Ode-ing my way through day 7 of no sweets

No sweets for a week! Not as easy at it might seem!

I had a more difficult day with temptation for eating sweets.

I’m not sure why. But, I think it was because I was feeling tired towards the afternoon. That bowl of candy sits there… because it is part of my experiment, to see if it is possible to have such accessible candy and still stay sugar free. It was only twice I felt like eating it. The first time was more difficult. Talked myself out of it, the end reward, greater than the temporary. And, the second time was a fleeting thought that fleeted, quickly fizzled.

LEARNING POETRY AT TOO YOUNG AN AGE

Now, I bring you Ode to an Ode which I write in sorrow for not having paid more attention in my life to academics. True, I have a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. But, do you know I just did it to get it done. Truly, I wasn’t interested. Or, I was interested only briefly in snippets of time where I cared about the subject, where somehow a combination of my mind/heart was engaged – I will never forget learning in Western Civilizations about the cradle of civilization being in between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. I remember that because the professor came in and drew it on the blackboard every lecture and then he clanked that chalk down into the curve of the dusty metal below, every single class, before he began his lecture where he used slides on an overhead projector. Me, the visual learner, was stimulated by that. I also remember instruction in creative and expository writing class but that was because I was able to get it. Didn’t mean to get so far into the weeds on my college education but I have to say one more thing…

A TINY MENTION OF MY COLLEGE CAREER

It was back in the day where you go sign up for your classes standing in long lines set up in a gym or student center. I had been in line for a class but it was all filled by the time it was my turn in line. So, I had to find another class that would fill that credit. By then there was only The History of Rock and Roll. I remember the guy there telling me that I could always drop the class and sit in on the one I wanted and try to add it. That seemed crazy to me. Now, some of you might think that a class on rock and roll would be an easy blow-off class. But, like classes you might think are easy and fun, this professor made it the most difficult class ever. He lectured, never about what was on the final exam, and left us to study the material and answer multiple choice questions about the nuances of rock and roll and its effect on our world.

Here I am… back on track… As the below poem alludes, I never could figure out poetry and of course evidently couldn’t figure out rock and roll – beyond the beat – at those young ages.

But, all in all, I wish I had paid better attention in school and not been as concerned with my hair or whatever boy I was excited about passing me a note… I might have actually enjoyed poetry, odes and all things learning.

Ode to an Ode

Oh, Ode, I promised you

since i oded oats

and Mondays too

I thought I’d ode an ode to you

Ah, you style unused today

Writer affected by a thing

Talking to it poetry

Highest speak to give it wings

To fly above, to set a tone,

Eloquent and thought provoking

Words and phrases higher than

The object sitting, poet poking

Most famously the poet penned

Ode on a Grecian Urn

and I too young at the time

Could never fully learn

Couldn’t they just save that class

Of poems and prose and odes

Where it can thrill the end of life

Passions burned, wisdom won

~Julie Robinson

Mondays are my favorite…on Day 6 of 210 not eating sweets

This post has nothing to do with giving up sweets … but it has everything to do with staying with it. It’s a Monday attitude sometimes the only thing that’ll get you through!

What can Monday be good for? Don’t most people relish hating Monday’s? My answer’s in the Ode.

Ode to Monday

Monday comes dressed to impress

Smart and clean

after the weekend

Of t-shirts and jeans

You freshly greet us

And you don’t make a fuss

“You still sleepin’ you lazy bumpkin!”

Oh no, that’s not a Monday voice

You leave that to other days

You’re sharp yet sweet

Like a first grade teacher

It’s discipline first you know we need

You come each week

Ready, rain or shine

To do but mostly be,

Always so refined

Good thing you are a Monday

So you can never see

Me rumpled up on Friday

While you, neatly pressed, pristine.

~Julie Robinson

IPad Pro Art… Tree at the Guadalupe by Julie Robinson

Coasting on day 5 of 210 no sweets

You have most likely coasted.

..In a car, downhill.

..In a relationship, where it gets comfortable, seen in the stoppage of flowers and deep conversation

..On a skateboard, with one foot on the board and with the other you’ve pushed off to get a good speed

..In school, after working hard at the beginning and getting excellent grades and then you for some crazy reason deciding to pull back effort

So when I say I’m coasting it means I know full well I had better watch out.  Right now it is easy but after it gets less exciting, mundane, difficult, then I will have to climb the mountain (see poem below).

Here is a little secret… For 2 years…From 10/4/2006 to 10/4/2008 I did not eat sweets… for anyone who thinks I can’t do it…!

BUT ended up that I was coasting..

Until one day I was telling someone about how I don’t eat sweets and had not for two years and I was embarrassed that I was so proud of myself and also maybe I was a little bored of doing it and talking about it.

So this time I decided to give it an appropriate window of time which I want to call:

THE SEASON OF SWEETING

which begins at Halloween and ends at Easter.

Because it’s a challenge it makes not eating the sweets a game instead of giving something up.  Does that make sense?  It’s a game where I get to win:

a thinner body – I know I will lose weight and I did pack on more than a few

a stronger will – That will muscle is getting exercised and boy was it flabby!

a clearer mind – I’m thinking more clearly and excitedly than ever.

a quieter spirit – Can I just say it?  JOY!  There’s a song my daughter turned me on to and I’m sorry I don’t remember who sings it – but when I first heard it “I choose Joy” I about came out of my skin.  Cool song, really!

Ok, so I got to write a poem now that I’m all excited about the no sweets.

How Long to Make it

We’re fools if we think

we can keep self destructing

That Monday’s the day,

We’ll make a change then

But it comes and it goes

and in despair throes

We get down,

and fall in

Can’t get out of that hole?

It has one direction

There’s no place to go

but climb

Could hover in copter

and get you out faster

could throw you a rope

but you’ll pull me in

No, you dig in your toes

and climb out your pit

and dirty your mits

jaw set, teeth bit

Don’t think you can make it

without any pain

If out cause you faked it

It’s nothing you gained

~Julie Robinson

The crow wants to know “what’s in that oatmeal!”

Ode to Oatmeal on day 4 of 210 No Sweets

and

a Thank You to Morning Star Memory Care in Fredericksburg, Texas

Before I go on an oatmeal ode, let me first say…

Visiting my Husband at his Memory Care

goes better with Coloring Books…

I think part of my ability to go off sweets is that I am not under the continual distress of being a constant caregiver. The memory care, Morning Star Memory Care, is now my husband’s caregiver.  I visit him as often as I can.  Today I took along some markers and an adult Christmas coloring book I found at the dollar store.  We three, me, my husband, and our sixteen year old daughter,  sat and colored and then read the book.  It was a shortened story of Ebenezer Scrooge.  After we colored a little while we had fun doing the voice drama.  He just loved it.  We invited a new resident who was wandering around looking for her husband, to join us in the coloring.  She talked to us like she knew us and then asked if we all wanted to walk around outside with her.  So we enjoyed the beautiful Fall Fredericksburg day in the lovely back yard of the memory care.  Peaceful that whole place is, inside and out.  I highly suggest anyone who is going to visit a person in a nursing home or assisted living to bring some kind of thing to look at together.  If they can’t color, then pictures and a story are nice to share.

So thanks to Morning Star Memory Care!

A sweet place … isn’t that a cheap yet sweet segue into my …

It’s true, Sweets are Addictive, and I’m an Addict!

Now, on to how I’m doing giving up sweets.  Have you heard that it has been discovered that the link in the brain to sweets – and therefore a sweet addiction – is the same place in the brain as an addiction to cocaine.  I can believe that.  I went to bed last night with heart palpitations.  I believe it was my body reacting possibly to the few days thus far of not eating anything sweet!  If there was a place to go “dry out” from sweets, I’d go there.  I can picture it by a white sandy beach…. AHHH!

WHY DOES OATMEAL HELP?

Oatmeal with nuts and fruit and cinnamon fills me up for breakfast and it is naturally sweet.  It’s full of protein and “sticks to the ribs” well.  I think it evens out my blood sugar… but I’m no expert, just a practicing artist.

An important part of my giving up sweets is eating my morning bowl of oats.  I get the Quaker Oats original oatmeal, not steel cut, not quick cooking.  The oats cook in the microwave in 4 minutes anyhow.  I put that in and then put the coffee on so they are done about the same time.  And, I don’t add any sugar or sugar substitutes, of course.

Snacking today:  Same as yesterday, I ate a handful of salty nuts and prunes. It was helpful to keep from eating the sweets. I don’t think I mentioned before but I left the bowl of trick o treater candy by the front door right where it was on the fateful night of my “before binge” as an experiment. So far I haven’t wanted it.

Important note to reader:

(My Ode to Oats is below, but let me preface it by saying: CHOCOLATE CAKE… THE ULTIMATE, HANDS DOWN, SWEET THING I LOVE WHEN I’M NOT RAVENOUS FOR SWEETS. WHEN MY SWEET TOOTH IS CHILLED OUT AND I’M WANTING, NOT CRAVING, I GO FOR GOOD CHOCOLATE CAKE.)

What happened to me in previous occasions I have given up sweets is if I ever end up wanting something it would not be junky candy which is why having a bowl of it still isn’t at all causing me trouble but if I ever do want something it would be higher up like a slice of perfect homemade chocolate cake, not store bought, not box, not even Texas sheet cake, but the kind made by the lady who brought it to Baptist church potluck when I was eight years old, moist, with fudge icing with just the right amount of chew. It was The Lord’s Work she did, that delicious cake maker lady. In April after my 210 days are up, I am going to try to recreate that cake in my kitchen. By that time I will probably only desire a tiny slice. Right now because I have lost the ravenous crazy, I can wait ’til April. Hopefully…

So, I know you’ve been waiting for it… so here’s my Ode.  I wanted to do the ode because that way I can talk to an inanimate object that I really like and people won’t think I’m nuts. I think. Oh, and when I make that chocolate cake in April I will write an ode to it. That, I will put on my calendar so so as to not forget.

ODE on Oats

By your natural tendency,

And spiked by added raisins,

You soothe me in the morning

You’re exactly what I’m cravin’

When’d it start, this love of oats,

Not omelets, burritos or cinnamon rolls,

‘Twas what my mom cooked on a cold winter morn

When we’d all whine, “Not again!”

Now how’d it happen, a little older,

Eating breakfast much more sober,

You humbly greet me at my table

Cinnamon topped, fully able

Your gentle steam and quiet content

Your pleasing ways are solid, endure

And I’ve learned not love another

 Your pleasure, sweet and somehow pure

Slow but sure,

You stay all morn

All the way to lunch or after

Keeping me from eating sweets

~ Julie Robinson

Want to join me on this quest, want to cheer me on my way, like me, leave comments, tell me what you have to say!  If you aren’t a sweet junkie, what sweet do you enjoy in that more rational way? If you are but want to give up the junk, then join me! I’m only day 4 and not eating sweets til after Easter.  Already I feel more clear headed, and got a better spring in my step.

Come, like, comment, join me?

My current unfinished oil painting yet unnamed.  I think it looks like the forest is rolling out its blue carpet.