Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hey, Rita! You survived 2008! Whatcha gonna do now?

We're going to Disney!

And we did.

It's just about impossible to adequately explain how much fun we had at Disney. The trip exceeded every expectation I had, and I can't tell you how fantastic it was to be able to enjoy it, walk the parks, ride the rides, and keep up with the kids. Hub and the kids were amazed that I was able to go and go and go and go.

Me too, actually. Before, I could only walk for short distances before my back and knees would scream with pain and I would be exhausted. I could have never, ever taken on this trip. Not in a million years. That's why we haven't gone before now.

Not to sound too dramatic, but it almost feels like I have been cured of a debilitating disease and have been granted my health back.

Now that I think about it that way, I guess that's EXACTLY what its like. Actually, its as though my FAMILY has received the cure. More than once, I heard "I'm so glad you had the surgery, Mom. It's made you new!"

It sure has.

On with the photos! They are right over there, on the right, in the Flickr thingy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Smackdown!

Hubby and I took The Boy downtown to Philips Arena on Monday night to see the WWE (for those of you that DON'T have 7 year old boys, that's World Wrestling Entertainment.)

I remember watching grainy wrestling on TV back in the 70s. Andre the Giant and Dusty Rhodes, The American Dream . . . those guys paved the way for what is the majesty of the modern WWE. These days, wrestling is a slick, packaged, professionally choreographed high dollar business, son. Walking in, we saw that the arena was ringed with huge RVs wrapped with glossy slick images of all of the wrestlers, flanked by caravans of Lincoln Navigators and limos.

The stage show rivaled anything I had ever seen, concert-wise. Pyrotechnics, jumbotrons, marquee lights running around the packed stadium.

A thing of beauty.

The boy was stunned by it all. It's one thing to have all of this on the television screen at home, and its quite another to have it there in front of you.

When the majesty was over, we were able to pick up some swag (t-shirt, John Cena dogtags and Hornswaggle green hat). Even THAT process was slick! Orderly lines, throngs of merch, credit card machines at the ready.

You know what the best part was, though? I was seated comfortably in my seat before I realized that I had sprung from the car, walked across the highway to the auditorium, walked to our portal, climbed the stairs, and hadn't even breathed hard. I was actually sitting in public seating with room to spare on each side. I can't remember the last time that happened.

Awesome. Oh, and go Rey Mysterio!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Big 5-0

This week will mark a momentous occasion . . . I will see my handy-dandy SkinnyR chart reflect 50 pounds lost.

I still think it's a fluke. I've never lost 50 pounds in my life.

Sure, I've lost 10, 20, 30, and one time, I managed to banish 35 pounds for a minute before it stormed the castle of my metabolism, reinhabited it and brought 10 or 15 of its Atilla the Hun-like brethren along for the party.

It's been 8 weeks now since my surgery, and it's still hard to believe that all of this is happening. It's surreal, really . . . just the seeming effortlessness of it almost makes me feel like I'm not working hard enough, not struggling hard enough, not paying enough dues to deserve it.

Until I think about the $50 large it cost, and the recovery.

You know what, though? It's alot like what everyone says about having a baby. You soon forget about the pain once you have the results of the labor. When I concentrate on what I went through to get here, I have a moment of clarity, and realize that I HAVE paid my dues.

Except I have been reared, raised and weaned on the idea that this has to be hard. I mean, it always has been, right? Haven't I had doctors and specialists tell me my entire life that this is hard work, and if I have the right attitude and the right motivation and the right willpower that I would be able to solve my weight issue?

Isn't that what they always told me?

I was thinking about all of this as I watched the premiere of "Ruby" last night on The Style Network. I have been looking forward to this show for a month or so now, because I felt a connection with Ruby Gettinger. Like me, she's Southern (she's from Savannah). Like me, she has 2 tiny dogs. Like me, she seems to have an affinity for keeping her tresses red. Like me, she has been fat since she was a child. Like me, she has had family and friends give her well-meaning but pointless ultimatums (i.e. "I'll marry you if you lose weight" or "I'll buy you a new wardrobe if you stick to your diet."

She seems to be about my age, but I'm not sure exactly how old she is. According to the previews, she's nearly 500 lbs and has been as high as 700, but damn if she isn't beautiful. I was rooting for her before I ever saw the show.

Then I saw the show. Ehh.

It was an hour of watching Ruby hoist herself up and down and in and out of her house, uncomfortable chairs, even MORE uncomfortable visits with doctors that were quick to offer horror stories about what would happen if she stayed fat and short on good advice and treatment for what would help her live longer. Everyone (the doctors, specialists, friends, family) said the same thing: Willpower and exercise.

Bullshit.

They filled the show with all of these extremely healthy fitness trainers and "experts" who assured Ruby that she was on the train to early death, and that she had it within her power to turn it all around with her treadmill, water aerobics and sensible eating.

Uhh, no, she doesn't. Wanna know why?

A shocking statistic that my surgeon shared with me stuck with me as I watched the show, and at one point someone whispered something similar, although it was quickly glossed over:

When you reach obesity the chances of you reaching and obtaining a healthy weight on your own with diet and exercise (what experts term long term success, which is 5 years of maintenance, kind of like cancer patients that are considered "cured" after 5 years of remission) are about 20%, so 80% of people that are considered obese will never reach or maintain anything close to a healthy weight with diet and exercise alone.

That was the bad news.

The WORSE news is . . . the bigger you are, the lower the percentages go. People that are morbidly obese (BMI 40+) have only about a 5% chance of long term success without surgical intervention. So, out of 100 really fat folks, 95 of them will die as big or bigger than they are today, more than likely from nasty complications of their obesity.

I'll keep watching, and rooting for her, but I sincerely hope that the Style Network isn't exploiting this wonderful woman for their own gain by putting her through some feel-good, shortsighted, odds-stacked-against-her-worse-than-Vegas craptables failure of a plan.

I wonder if she will ever get as pissed off about that as I did when I learned it. I wonder if she will ever see through all the smoke and mirrors and peptalks and demand better care for herself. I'm sure if she does, the show will be sure to point out (actually, they already have) that she is "a strong personality" and "manipulative" and "cunning", so the audience is already prepared to see any pushback on her part as some sort of ploy to get out of the "hard work".

Of course, if she fails, all of the experts have already said that she will die as a result of her own actions (or inactions) because she just couldn't control herself and "do the right thing".

'Cause it's supposed to be hard. We're supposed to suffer to solve this problem. Only a few of us deserve to make it, the ones that deserve to live because they make the personal sacrifice while the rest of us that can't do it on our own die.

Isn't that what they always told me?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Busy Bee

Man, what a weekend!

Last Friday started bright and early, cause I had to have work squared away by noon because The Boy's 2nd grade class was having "Fall Centers", which is a complete ripoff . . . in MY day, we had Halloween carnivals with scary houses and good candy, and it was the highlight of the year. "Fall Centers" means that during the last 1/2 hour of the school day, everyone gets to glue together a foam turkey and make a candy corn-bedazzled picture frame and . . . well, that's pretty much it.

BUT . . . I was determined to sneak the devil in by bringing in treat bags full of scary bat rings, and rubber bats, and glow in the dark skeletons, and GOOD candy. An hour later, I emerged, glue-covered with a happy boy and my girl, headed to the house to get ready for the trick and/or treating festivities to begin.

Full of Halloween spirit, we costumed up (even my tiny Chihuahua, LilBit, had a witch costume) and we headed to the mall. Hub, ever the pragmatist, mentioned something in passing about LilBit and the mall, but I was too hopped up to pay much attention. We entered the mall and began our parade down the hallways, earning oohs and ahhs for our costumes, and squeals of delight for our tiny pet. All was good until I was approached by mall security for some type of breach, and among a chorus of "Booooooooooo!"s, I was unceremoniously escorted out of the mall by the mall police.

That dampened our spirits a bit, but Hub was kind enough to kiss my cheek and not say "I told you so", and the boy lent his support by bellowing "This place blows!" on the way out the door. Ahh, my family.

On to bigger and better . . .

We had never "Trunk or Treat"ed before, but since our neighborhood is sort of devoid of the Halloween spirit, we thought we'd give it a whirl. My girl and I had bought a metric ton of good candy at the Kroger the night before (Midnight Madness sale - $1.65 per bag for the GOOD stuff, plus a full order of groceries for less than $200, score!) so we were loaded. I had no idea how to pull off a Trunk or Treat, so I just packed things that I would use at home, and we all piled into my Element and headed out (LilBit, too).


20 minutes later, our little vehicle was properly "trunked" and delighted fellow Trunkers oooohed and ahhhhed, saying that I must certainly be a "Trunking" veteran, which caused a deep blush of pride (luckily, my witch hat had a black veil that blocked most of it). We saw witches, and ghosts, and Star Wars characters, and fairies, and superheroes, and . . . and . . .and . . .all KIND of stuff.

It was getting chilly and really dark, and the Trunk or Treat was winding down, so we headed home, each kid with at least 5 lbs of candy to show for their efforts.When we pulled into our neighborhood, we saw some kids listlessly walking our street, so I hightailed it in to set up my Trunk props and threw on the front lights, and I was rewarded by visits from 10-15 kids, so that was cool.

Saturday was spent in pursuit of electric blankets (it's getting cold down here!) Hub and I have different core temperatures these days, and I can't seem to stay warm, so I had the idea that an electrified heat source might be just the answer, and keep the heating bill reasonable. So, the kids were good as gold as we schlepped all over town, through Bed Bath and Beyond and Linens n Things and other places looking for a decent deal. Everyone was up for lunch at Golden Corral, and a flash of my "surgery card" got me a nice little discount, since I'm still eating Lilliputian-sized meals.

The kids had evening plans, so we were able to slide away and get a low carb Smoothie King concoction and laugh at "Zack and Miri" at the AMC late Saturday night. Funny and horrible, just my style!

Sunday was a whirlwind of activity: we gutted and regorganized the Black Hole known as the laundry room, sorted clothing and came up with 5 or 6 bags for donation and hauled those to Goodwill, scored my electric blankets (damn, I love Big Lots - $40 for blankets that were $90 everywhere else, PLUS I found a bullet mixer to make my OWN Smoothie King smoothies, and it works like a charm, even on on the whole frozen strawberries, the bane of my regular blender's existence), cleaned all 3 bedrooms (dusting and vacuuming too), washed all the linens. blankets and covers, got Weenie into her Doxie Cart for some physical therapy and exercise, planned our intinerary for our Disney World trip in 3 weeks, and we changed out all the Halloween to Thanksgiving.

I laid down last night feeling great and commented to Hub that there is no way in hell I could have done all this 3 months ago.

It feels fantastic.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Shameless plug

So . . . the Boy has volunteered to jump rope to raise money for the American Heart Association. He thought it was important to try to raise money, since both his GrandDad and Mac (his OTHER grandfather) both have severe heart disease.

He's a good egg.

He has a website for online donations, if you are so inclined. The Boy would be tickled pink, and he'd jump his little fat feet off for you.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Goin' to Carolina . . .

Because I like surprises, I tend to leave my iTunes on shuffle. It's like receiving little presents all day long, because you never know what's going to be served up.

First thing this morning, James Taylor's "Going To Carolina In My Mind" cued up, and I immediately thought of Russell, like I always do when I hear that tune.

Russ really loved going to the mountains, especially the Great Smoky Mtns. Russ loved life. He loved his wife, and his son and his family. He was a happy person, one of those people that just seemed to enjoy his life which, as it turns out, was shorter than anyone would have ever guessed.
Actually, I've been thinking alot about Russ lately. He was on my mind as I stepped through the processes to have my surgery. He was on my mind when I was in the hospital, wondering what the outcome would be, and he was a fairly constant presence when things weren't going well and it seemed a little touch and go.

It's been more than 5 years since he died, and I still marvel at his strength as he faced death. He was the age I am now, with a child the same age as my daughter now, and he faced the end with dignity and calmness and even a sense of humor.

I can remember when he first got sick. We assumed it would pass, like you always do. I remember it took all of us a long time to accept that he really had ALS and he was dying, and each of us did that in our own time.

Dark and silent late last night
I think I might have heard the highway calling
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Signs that might be omens say I'm going, going
I'm goin' to Carolina in my mind

I watched as his abilities deteriorated, and as he lost the ability to walk or stand or speak or move, he spent more and more time in his bed or motorized chair; it had buttons on the headrest to go forward and turn. He retained the ability to blink his eyes, partially move one foot, and he could still "speak", although it was more like lip-reading. Outside of the limited facial movements, he was completely paralyzed, but was still 100% lucid and aware. That was the most heartbreaking to me.

But damn if he wasn't brave and cheerful. It was an amazing thing to watch him joke with us and see him raise his eyebrows at his wife. His life had flipped on a dime, his future was blown to bits and fragments, his finances were a wreck, and he was dying a slow agonizing death, but he still found pleasure, despite all of that.

Not only was he brave and cheerful, Russ spent his last days helping others. He endured studies, tests, anything that might help doctors. He used a laptop throughout his illness to communicate. Even in the late stages, when he had lost all ability to move anything more than one toe on his left foot, he had a rollerball mouse attached to the footboard of his bed and used the laptop to "chat" with visitors that weren't able to read his lips. He was the most motivated person I knew, and he seemed to have endless hope and enthusiasm.

There ain't no doubt in no one's mind
That love's the finest thing around
Whisper something soft and kind
And hey babe the sky's on fire, I'm dyin'
Ain't I goin' to Carolina in my mind . . .

He had ALS for far, far longer than most patients, which could be considered a blessing or a curse. I remember sitting by his bedside at the hosptital when we were asked to come visit, watching him as he slowly, slowly used the rollerball to type me a message.

this might be it for me

It was just he and I there. Everyone else was outside the hospital room, sobbing, and it was just he and I in that room, chatting about his death.

"Are you ready?" I asked, looking him in the eye. He blinked once - that meant yes. Then he blinked twice - no.

more

"You want more time." Blink

"Is there anything that you want to do, anyone that you still want to see?" Blink blink

"Just more time, right?" Blink

In the end, he chose the day and the time that his life would end, he allowed his family and friends to gather and say their goodbyes to him as he was heavily sedated to block the pain and his ability to fight against having his ventilator turned off so he could slip away:

With a holy host of others standing around me
Still I'm on the dark side of the moon
And it seems like it goes on like this forever
You must forgive me if I'm
Gone to Carolina in my mind . . . .

I've been thinking alot about what he would do if he could see me today. What he would say to me about having a chance at a new life, at regaining my health, at starting over and doing things differently.

Actually, I already know what he would say. He wouldn't cast blame, and he wouldn't scold for the opportunities lost. He'd celebrate the now, and probably make some plans for a weekend trip to the Smokies.

I want to live well in his memory, and enjoy what I can, in his honor. I'm going to try.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hey! Let me tell you about my kids! Part 2

Piece of good news #2 came to us via the US Mail last week. My sweet girl is attending public school virtually, via the Georgia Virtual Academy. We made this decision after struggling through public school last year.

(sigh) Public school. You know what? I think it's fine for the median, but if you have a kid that performs outside of the median, for better or for worse, in any fashion, you have a constant struggle on your hands.

Talk about struggle: My girl is a trooper. She has endured more than 11 years of public school education, and she is only 13. The system sucked her in at 2, because she was disabled, and it pretty much spit BOTH of us out last year, when I had finally grown weary of fighting for her rights, and for services that she is entitled to.

So, we looked at some options, and GVA seemed like a great one.

I had no idea what a good move it was going to be.

Miss Rachael has wonderful virtual teachers, and incredible curriculum at her fingertips. She has me to help her anytime she needs me, and she has the flexibility to do things in her time, her way.

She has absolutely excelled.

GVA administers tests just like the brick and mortar schools do, so I have been able to compare apples to apples, as far as her performance goes.

I was elated to receive her first test scores back last week. She scored ABOVE average for reading AND math. She has written papers that have received high marks, and every day, she completes online lessons with scores of 100%.

My kids - I am so happy for them both.

Yea us!

Hey! Let me tell you about my kids! Part 1

I am so proud today I could bust!

I was called to a meeting at The Boy's school to discuss his progress with reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. The meeting was called primarily because his teacher last year recommended additional reading instruction.

See, last year was rough. The Boy's teacher was VERY pregnant when we went to Sneak A Peek, so I knew she wouldn't be around for most of the school year, and I was right. She took an early medical leave and an extended maternity leave, leaving my kid with a revolving door of substitute teachers (of varying quality.)

1st grade is a HUGE year. Little people learn alot that year. Well, they learn alot when they have stability and trust in their teacher. My kid had neither, so by year's end, he hadn't progressed as much with his reading as the school thought he should have.

Now, luckily for The Boy, he was born with a brain that naturally takes to math, so he didn't have THAT challenge, like alot of the other kids in his class did.

Fast forward to today. School has been in session for about 6 weeks now, and tests were readministered to get The Boy qualified for the extra help. Except, when they tested him, his test results were surprising. Amazing, really.

He is reading ABOVE grade level now, and his reading grades are very nearly as high as his incredibly high math grades.

There were several of us in the meeting (teachers, counselors, special ed coordinators) and they were each taken aback with his scores and all asked the same thing: "What did you do?"

I wish I had something great to tell them, but the truth is that The Boy spent alot of the summer riding his bike, swimming, and playing computer games and the Wii. Somewhere in there, his reading brain kicked into overdrive.

Hub swears that The Boy was able to read last year, too, but that he likely didn't test well because he didn't like the revolving door of teachers.

Whatever. I am ecstatic, and so proud of him. I mean, I have known he was a MATH genius from birth, but now, he's a reading rock star too!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hell with it, I'm in

Last summer, at an outdoor concert, a gaggle of purple-clad (and more than slightly tipsy) older women sitting near descended upon me to chatter and oooh and ahh over my chihuahua, LilBit. They were flamboyant and uninhibited, dancing with abandon, and with each other and with men that were DECADES younger than they were. I chuckled to myself, recognizing this troupe as part of the Red Hat Society. One of the women there enthusiastically approached me about joining (you have to be 50 to be a Red Hat . . . thanks alot, Drunk Lady), but then she saw the horror on my face and assured me that she knew I wasn't 50 (nice save, Sousearella) and that I would be a "junior member" and therefore, a Pink Hat.

I swore to myself that the day I became an ANYTHING hat was the day that I resigned myself to wearing polyester mumus and carrying vodka in a Pepto Bismol bottle in my purse. I would have hit full Elizabeth Taylor mode. Hell, I've already got the pocket dog and gaudy jewelry.

Yesterday, I received a "special invitation" from the "Queen" of the North Georgia Red Hat Society via MySpace, again, asking for my participation.

It seems to be a fate that awaits me. Still reluctant and bitter, I visited the site and read this:


When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple
with a red hat that doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
and satin candles, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired
and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
and run my stick along the public railings
and make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
and pick the flowers in other people's gardens
and learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
and eat three pounds of sausages at a go
or only bread and pickles for a week
and hoard pens and pencils and beer nuts and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
and pay our rent and not swear in the street
and set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

That sounds reasonable, I guess. Now I just gotta find a pink hat for me (and a really tiny one for LilBit.)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Reality check

Sometimes clarity occurs in the strangest places. For me, clarity presented itself in the middle of the Goodwill today.

Day to day, it's been hard for me to tell much difference in my body since my surgery. Even though I step on the scale and see change, I don't SEE it when I look in the mirror. I guess that's why I flipped out so badly when I didn't see any change on the scale for several days. It has been the only concrete evidence that I have had to let me know that I am getting better. That, and being able to stop my medications.

Until today.

I had cleared out alot of the largest clothes from my closet before my surgery, so I haven't really had the experience of purchasing clothes and noticing the sizes.

Again, until today.

TODAY . . . I picked out a few sweaters and pants to tide me over. I picked them out based on the size I thought I would wear. Before surgery, I was a size 26/28, and when I got home from the hospital, I was wearing a few 22/24 items. Today, I found MORE 22/24 things to wear for now, and I wishfully picked out a few tops in size 14/16, and some nice winter weight pants in size 16. My intention was to keep these "small" pieces for cooler weather, thinking I might wear them in January or February.

I decided to try on the clothing that I picked out for "right now" to make sure that I hadn't chosen things that were too small, and I was shocked to see that the first piece swallowed me. I thought "Hmm, well, that's just one blouse, it's probably just cut really large," and I proceeded to try on more things I had picked.

They ALL swallowed me. Every damn one.

It started to dawn on me . . . the clothing wasn't mislabeled. It wasn't "cut big". I was smaller. LOTS smaller. Like . . . 6 to 8 sizes smaller.

I took a risk and tried on the "small" 14/16 items.

And they fit.

They freaking fit.

Damn. It was unbelieveable.

Standing in that dressing room, it dawned on me that I am smaller than I was in the entirety of my 30s, and most of my 20s. I finally realized that my body is responding, and I am getting thin.

Me. Thin.

I thought about that for awhile, standing in front of that mirror. I thought about the years and years and years that I had wished for, begged for, hoped for this day.

For all those times that I lost 20 pounds and gained it right back, for every diet I blew, every promise I made to myself and broke, every dress I loved and bought hoping to "get into" it, for every one of those dresses that I donated to charity when I never got close, for every time I felt like a failure, for every time I endured the embarassment of being told about the latest diet, or sitting through a "heart to heart" with doctors that warned me of the bleak future that awaited me as an obese person, for every nightmare that I have had of dying and leaving my children behind, for every thing I have ever NOT done because I was too fat, for every time I was convinced that my body was broken, for every time I felt "less than" because I was fat, and every time that I felt ashamed of my body . . . this is a sweet, sweet victory.

A moment of clarity. I'm finally winning.

Finally.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Public Service Announcement

The views expressed in this blog earlier were the rantings of a madwoman.

Rest assured that she has been properly medicated, sedated, and gently shown to her nice, quiet rubber room.

That is all. We will now return to your regularly scheduled program.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Angry Monkey

Man, I am mad today.

I scared my poor friend Lauren to death this morning. We were chatting, and I was telling her that I was SURE that I had done something to negate my entire surgery. I've been watching the scale for 10 DAYS with no change. Not an ounce of change.

None. Nada. Zero.

Nobody stalls out this early. 3 months down the line, maybe 6, you see a slowdown, but most of the people that I have encountered or read about or followed online have steady progress for at LEAST the first two months.

And here I am, dead in the water after 3 measly weeks.

I told Lauren that I am nearly convinced that I will be the one person that this won't work for, that somehow my body has already morphed and adapted to the tiny pouch, and will be able to maintain status quo with the reduced rations.

That I allowed my insides to be Ginsu-ed for a meager 29 pound loss. That I could count 5 abdominal scars and a small weight loss as my consolation for a lifetime of eating food out of ramikens, food the consistency of Teletubby Custard for the rest of my life.

I went on to say that I envisioned that my body will continue to spite me, growing bigger despite my (and modern medicine's) best efforts. That I will be one of those unfortunates that has to have a wall removed from my home to accomodate a trip to the emergency room one day, hauled out by a forklift. Maybe Discovery will do a show on me, and people will gasp when they hear that I actually had gastric bypass in 2008.

Yeah, it's been a rough week.

I am so damn tired. I don't feel well. I still don't feel like I am recovered. Maybe a month is too soon to feel well, but it feels like the world expects me to be healed and over it, already. Next crisis, please. But I'm NOT ready, and I'm NOT able to get over it.

I'm trying. I'm eating the goop. I'm trying to stay active. I'm too tired to walk for a half hour a day. I'm supposed to, but I'm too busy ignoring my side pain and staying in an upright position to strap on my shoes and go for a daily constitutional. 5, 10 minutes, and I am done. I sat outside at our yardsale on Saturday for a few hours, and I had to take a 2 hour nap to recover. When you need a nap to rest from SITTING, you got issues, sister.

Issues that starts with I that rhymes with Pie that spells "you'll never have that again, lardass"

Check back with me tomorrow. I have this wierd laughing and crying thing happening, which I hope will go away before I begin to scare the children.

I'm sore, and I'm upset and I'm scared that this isn't going to get me where I need to be.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary to me!

Aww, my new little tummy is one month old today. They grow up so quickly, don't they? Gitchy gitchy goo!

Seems like just yesterday, it was overwhelmed by broth and jello, and today, just look at it! It loves the small order of pintos and cheese from Taco Bell, and grits with margarine, and mashed potatoes, and vegetable soup.

Bless its heart, its even bravely tried little bits of chicken salad and scrambled egg. Isn't it so cute when they blurp everything back up! Awww . . . . .

Anyway, yeah, its been a month to the day since I underwent the knife, and the official tally is 37 pounds lost since beginning my presurgery diet, and 29 pounds since the day of the procedure.

Not bad . . . not bad at all.

Strangely enough, I have found myself becoming impatient this past week when I detected a stall in my weight loss. I have been trolling the gastric bypass message boards, and I keep reading that 30 lbs the first month is great, and that everyone sees a stall for a few days here and there, but I can't help but feel a little panic . . . I mean, what if this is it? What if all the sacrifice got me a 30 lb loss, and now my body is digging in its heels?

Crazy talk, I know, but consider the source.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where's Fall?

I've been trying to plan a day trip to go see the fall leaves in North Georgia. I started thinking about this last month, and thought for sure that I would have gone and returned by now.

We've got nothing.

Where in the hell is Fall? I don't think I am senile . . . I seem to remember seeing fall leaves by the end of September. Oh, Al Gore, I never cared about global warming until it started messing with my fall leaves trip!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Go Scrappers!

Once again, The Boy is playing baseball, much to my delight. I am the first to admit that I probably enjoy Little League baseball games more than the kids do. The whole experience is a thrill . . . seeing your kid play, cheering the team, feeling your chest swell with pride when your kid smacks the ball, holding your breath when they slide for third.

It's a rush.

This past Saturday, my boy attended Little League with a potentially sidelining injury. A few days before, he had fallen on his wrist as the teams were switching in between innings, and despite ice and Motrin, he was still in alot of pain.

Despite the pain, he decided to get his uniform on and go to the game, thinking he could at least sit with the team. His coach worked him out carefully, giving him just a few practice swings in the batting cages. The Boy made the executive decision that he could play, and so he did.

I am proud to say that the Scrappers pulled off a stunning victory of 15-12. You have never seen a bleacherful of parents more proud or excited than this bunch was.






To our surprise and delight, The Boy was rewarded for his team spirit and contributions (1 double, 2 singles) by being awarded the game ball! Oh, happy day!






The whole hoopla ended at Dairy Queen. Cones all around, courtesy of the coach (notice that his mohawk recovered in the car on the ride over to the DQ.)




Go Scrappers!

A day of firsts . . .

Zippety do dah . . . it's been a great day.

First of all, I woke this morning pain free after a BIG no-no yesterday. Weenie the Wonderdog is home from the hospital, but she still has little to no strength in her back half, so she tends to just lose control of her back legs. She also seems to want to be at my feet constantly, so when I went downstairs to work yesterday, I thought I had been careful to shut the door leading to the basement stairs. Evidently, I didn't shut it tight enough, because Weenie nudged it open and attempted to come downstairs to sleep on my feet. She made it about 3 steps, then lost her strength, and when I discovered her, she was perched and whining. What to do, what to do? She weighs 35 lbs, and my doctor warned me not to lift more than 10 lbs for the first 8 weeks after surgery.

At first, I thought that she might be able to make it back up on her own, but she had worn herself out trying. Then I thought she might allow my daughter to pick her up, but a growl and a little snap in my daughter's direction answered that. Finally, I thought about using a towel underneath her like a sling, and my daughter and I lifted her that way up each of the stairs. I thought that had distributed her weight enough not to hurt me, but I was mistaken. I was in some pain when we finally got her upstairs, and I was pacnicking, thinking I had ruptured something. I laid down for a couple of hours, and gingerly pressed on all the areas that I thought might have been hurt, but after the rest, I seemed better.

This morning, I felt fine, so I think I escaped without any injury. Wish I could say the same for Miss Weenie. I think we will have to get her a set of wheels if she is going to be able to stay with us - the doctor said she has at least 2 herniated disks in her back, and others look dicey. Poor girl . . . the part of her that is Daschund can't support the weight of the part of her that is a MUCH bigger dog, evidently. I wouldn't mind her rolling around the house at all, as long as she is not in any pain, but the alternative is a $5,000+ back surgery with no guarantees, and as much as I love her, I can't make that level of financial sacrifice from my family's budget for a pet, especially when there are no guaratees that she will benefit.

So, time will tell on that.

Other good things today . . . I added cooked veggies to my repertoire! Oh, how I have missed you green beans! You, too, pintos! At lunch today, I visited a restaurant that has a veggie buffet and I placed the tiniest of spoonfuls of veggies on my plate, carefully sampling and chewing each one, savoring the flavor and remaining hopeful that everything would be ok. My month-old tummy growled in happiness as I sampled the chicken and dumplings broth (no chicken or dumplings, just the broth-y goodness), a half-dozen or so green beans and an equal number of pinto beans. I completed the deliciousness with a few bites of mashed potatoes and gravy, and it was perfect. Not too much, no pain, no stomachache.

This Wednesday will be one month since my surgery. It's gone by really quickly. With nearly 40 lbs gone, I am beginning to notice changes in the way my clothes fit, and the way my back feels, and the way I feel inside my skin. I'm pretty happy already . . . it's hard to imagine what the next few months will hold. I have to keep reminding myself that this time, I will be successful. This time, I will be able to reach my goal. This time, I will get healthier and stay that way.

It's still pretty unbelieveable.

Friday, September 26, 2008

For the record . . .

I've been meaning to create a SkinnyR chart . . . here tiz. It doesn't seem to work right, though. It shows the pounds lost, but not the starting and current weight.

I'll keep working on it.


Get your own graph at skinnyr

Monday, September 22, 2008

The first 20 . . . or 28

I'll have my 2 week followup with the surgeon this Wednesday. I've been faithfully keeping my little log book, slowly walking the neighborhood, and eating my eensy teensy meals.

It's hard to know where to start counting the losses. Do I reference my weight when I started the presurgery diet? The day of surgery? I guess that's up to me, but since the day of surgery, I've lost 20 lbs. and since the beginning of the presurgery diet, I've lost 28.

I feel the most difference in my hands, oddly enough.

The recuperation has been uneventful, for the most part. I've had a few instances of fatigue and a few stabs of side pain, but nothing that a short nap didn't cure, so I feel lucky.

I've grown pretty fond of my little cups of oatmeal and grits. Taking baby bites is interesting. I've justified it in my mind by picturing my stomach as a newborn (which it is, I guess).

The most interesting part is . . . whatever make the hunger sensation happen is evidently gone. It's miraculous, really. Last night, I was surrounded by Chinese food, and it didn't phase me.

That in itself is a miracle.

I haven't really taken any pictures; I'm not sure why. I guess I don't see much difference yet, and taking pictures seems like something you do to mark real change. I might be sorry later that I didn't take more pictures, but for whatever reason, I don't feel like having any made.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The skinny . . . .

(heh) well, not ME.

Not yet, anyway.

BUT, I did promise to come back and give an accounting of the whole surgery thing, so for those of you that are squeamish or easily bored, this will be an easy skip for you. Come back in a week or so, and this posting will likely be off the main page, and we can all pretend it was never here.

For the diehards, here's how it went down:

Wednesday, September 10
We check into the surgical waiting area. The kids are along (they insisted), GameBoys and video player in tow. I feel surprisingly calm. The Boy had asked me on the way in if I was scared, and I was able to say with total honesty I wasn't. I had a sense of peace. I was ready.

Fast forward to 10:30 am or so. I am enduring the third attempt to have an IV placed in my hand (hard to see veins in my chub, I guess). An angelic, very experienced nurse finally placed it quickly and before I knew it, soothing drugs were coursing through my veins. From there, I glided into the operating room. I was still coherent enough to crack to the surgeon that the LAST time I was wheeled into the operating room in this hospital, I woke up with a 10 lb bouncing baby boy, and would that be my fate this time? Even drugged, it was nice to hear some chuckles. As soon as I was laying flat, a mask was placed over my face . . . .

. . . . and my eyes opened to a dark post-op care room. I woke up and was able to make out several beeping machines, several nurses, and several gurneys. I remember being VERY dry and thirsty, but not much else. I must have dozed off, because the next thing I knew I was in a regular room, with Hub and the kids and my sister around me, chatting about . . . something.

The big push after that kind of surgery is to wake up and GET up. Walking around happens very quickly, and wards off a host of problems, and I knew going in that I would be asked to get up. I remember sitting up, being surprised at the lack of any pain, and walking the halls, but it was all very dreamy. It was much later that evening before I was really aware of much of anything. Nurses seemed to glide in and out, taking my temperature, taking blood, measuring, monitoring . . .

The next day, the halls were busy with walking patients and visiting families. I didn't feel quite as strong as I had the previous day, but I managed to get up a few times, each time with a wash of nausea that wouldn't go away. The nurses brought drinks, tempted me with popsicles, but nothing appealed. As the afternoon progressed into the evening, that initial nausea worsened, and things started to deteriorate pretty quickly. I vaguely remember being in the bathroom, and holding a large basin in front of my face, while sitting gingerly on the toilet.

Blood was pouring out of both ends.

I will say this: Throwing up (what appeared to me to be) a gallon of blood is shocking, but I felt SO MUCH better afterward. The relief was soon overtaken by the faint notion in my head that something probably wasn't right, and that was confirmed by the flurry of nurses that came in and out to see me and my predicament.

Let me say this . . . my surgeon was wonderful. He was there. He was there when things were going well, and he was there when things WEREN'T going well. He took the time to explain to me that in my particular case, I had bled profusely during the procedure, that basically everything that was touched bled. Certainly a bad side effect of my diabetes, but also a side effect of being a fair skinned person, evidently. Even though things weren't going as well as expected, I never felt that I was in real danger.

The blood transfusions began that day, and I had 4 in all. Amazing how much better you feel after that.

Once that issue was resolved, I started to make gains. I could walk the halls. I could eat popsicles and take my medication. I could shower.

I could come home.

I've been home for 4 days now, and I've felt good each day. I'm following the doctor's instructions to the letter, and watching the scale with slack-jawed amazement (from my intial visit with the doc to today, 24 lbs are off my frame.)

Even though we had a few rough spots, I'm still glad I did it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finally home . . .

Well, I had my first full day at home yesterday. I was in the hospital longer than I'd planned to be, and longer than the doctor had planned for me to be.

Some complications, but all seems to be well now.

When I am less tired, I'll fill in the details.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Blastoff!

It's finally time . . . I'll be checking into the hospital in the morning.

Thanks for all the well-wishes - see ya soon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

T-8 days . . . .

Time is flying.

I had intended to document the days leading up to my surgery, just for my own benefit. I wanted to be able to look back and remember what I was thinking about, since I figure I will begin to refer to instances in my life as B.G. (before gastric) and A.G (after gastric). I might be overestimating the effect this is going to have, but it feels like it will be a monumental change.

Guess we'll see.

So far, I haven't been nervous or anxious at all. I haven't struggled with staying on a low-carb plan - that's been really easy.

No second thoughts, no regrets. Just ready for it to happen.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Presurgery - Day 2

So . . . this feels familiar.

I'm on Atkins again, but this time, its to shrink my liver for surgery. My doctor requires 2 weeks of low carbing in preparation for the procedure. Evidently, carbs make the liver "fatty" and firm, and it needs to be small and flexible to be moved aside and lifted to accomodate the bypass.

Surprisingly, I haven't had any cravings for restricted stuff. Normally, I'd be tempted, but not this time. It feels like I am able to stick to the plan, because I am moving toward something that is finally going to work for me.

I can't recall how many times I have lost 30 or 40 pounds. I really can't - that's how many times I have done it. It's a vicious cycle: lose the weight, feel better, plateau or bounce, and gain it back, plus some. Not that I think that the surgery is magic, but it will be a HUGE help for me to keep moving toward my goal weight and not fight so hard.

I'm so tired of fighting.

Getting the surgery feels like winning and losing at the same time. I feel like I finally won because it was so hard to get to this place. It was hard to find the right doctors, it was hard to get approval, it was hard to wait, it was hard to be denied over and over. At the same time, I feel like I lost because I couldn't do it on my own, because I have to resort to major surgery to attain a normal weight and regain my health.

Thin in a year. It still amazes me to even consider that.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Finally . . .

My bariatric surgery is scheduled for September 10.

I'm kind of stunned, really.

I've thought about/pursued/fought for/filed appeals for this surgery for more than 10 years now. Funny how easy it has been this time around. The insurance company didn't bat an eye, and I've been able to easily extract myself from work long enough to have the surgery and recuperate.

I'm saying my goodbyes to alot of things . . . my favorite foods, my back pain, my big clothes, my cabinet full of medications, my lethargy, my relucatance to move around, my hesitation to engage in exercise, my unconscious eating, all of it.

I think I'm ready, but then again, its hard to know what to expect. I've read stories, talked with others, read MORE stories, but I think it's kind of like being pregnant. You can hear all about it, but the only way you can KNOW what it's like is to actually BE pregnant. Kind of like that, I'm sure.

The kids are excited for me. They keep talking about what we'll be able to do next year, and it dawned on me that my weight has not only stopped ME from being active, it has stopped them, too. I guess generational obesity really is genetic and environmental. I'm hoping that my recovery from obesity will give me the energy and strength to instill a love of movement and exercise in my kids that I have never had.

We have big plans: water parks next summer. Travel. Skating. Bowling. Riding our bikes at the park. Riding rollercoasters at Six Flags. Things that I haven't been able to do.

Some people would probably view bariatric surgery as being hauled off to the gallows, never enjoying anything again. I'm just the opposite . . . I'm looking forward to escaping this prison and being set free.

42 years old. It's about time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Freebie

Attention KMart shoppers:

Get your ass to KMart quick and buy 3 packs of Reese's pieces.

Why, you ask?

Well, because, my friend, upon purchase of 3 packs of ET's preferred candy, KMart will give you a free ticket to Batman!

Why are you still here?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Going under the knife

I met with a bariatric surgeon yesterday. He seemed very serious and professional. His opinion was that I would do well because I am "not THAT old, not THAT big and not THAT sick." Silver tongued devil.

I left there with an oddly calm feeling. This is the first time I have gotten this far.

I've considered the surgery for years, but each time I attempted to move forward, something happened to stop the progression. Pregnancy, unemployment, lapse in insurance, or insurance plans that didn't cover it.

This time, everything seems to be clear sailing. Guess this is the time.

I've already gotten approval from my general doc. The surgeon has approved me. I've scheduled my appt with the dietician for this coming Monday, and all that's left is letting the psych guy into the depths of my crazy head. Once that's done, the surgeon's office will mail everything to the insurance co and schedule the surgery date.

I'm getting my gallbladder out at the same time. I wonder if Hub will ask the doctor for the stones for a keepsake. He has his kidney stone tucked away in a drawer, with my wisdom teeth and all the kid's baby teeth.

Don't ask me.

It's probably good that I waited until a year or so after my diabetes diagnosis. I've been saying my painful goodbyes to food for well over a year now. I've also gotten a taste of what its like to have to live every day of my life on handfuls of meds - something my doctor assures me will end if I have the surgery and lose the weight.

If all goes well, I will be much smaller by the time we take the kids to Disney World this Thanksgiving. How fitting . . . I'll be spending the most food-centered holiday doing something active and fun!

I'm hoping that is going to be a big sign of things to come.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drug deal

Couponing is a serious game, folks. The more you do it, the more you get into it.

Everyone knows how to use coupons to get a few cents off groceries, but there are alot more ways to save, and I am searching them all out. I stumbled upon a pretty good one recently.

Unfortunately for me, I have to take medication. Lots of it. Up until very recently, my monthly drug bill was $200+ (and that is AFTER insurance covers their part.)

God bless Walmart for starting the $4 generic program. I don't get my meds there, but lots of OTHER places honor their prices now. After converting several of my meds to generic, I cut my monthly outlay to less than $100 (some of my stuff is still name brand).

But it gets sweeter.

There's a war going on around here for customer retention. All of the drug stores that DON'T have the $4 program in place are sending out coupons that give you $20 and $30 gift cards for every prescription that you transfer to their store.

The BIG secret is . . . every store honors every OTHER store's coupon.

What does that mean for me? Well . . . it means that I had my dr send my prescriptions to my grocery store (Kroger). Kroger has the $4 plan in place. I happen to have 5 Rite Aid coupons that give me $30 store credit for every transferred prescription. Kroger honors these, so when I pick up my prescriptions this month, I'll get $150 worth of groceries free.

And NEXT month, I'll go to Rite Aid with my empty Kroger prescription bottles, transfer my meds there, use 5 MORE Rite Aid coupons at Rite Aid and get $150 worth of Rite Aid stuff free, AND I'll make them price match the $4 drug program.

Of course, I'll use the gift cards I get to buy items that I have coupons for . . . so that's even MORE free money.

Don't hate the player . . . hate the game.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ahh . . . the ol' "Brown Box" treatment, ay?

Well, this past weekend found me hip-deep in my precious daughter's room, wading through immeasurable and unimaginable junk, crap, clothes, toys, dolls, MORE crap, and various and sundry flotsam and jetsam.

In other words, it was Spring Cleaning time.

Along with the challenges my daughter already faces with her (slight, but ability-affecting) brain injury, my daughter has also inherited my penchant for hoarding. She struggles mightily with throwing things away . . . ANYTHING at all. To her, everything has value, even things that are obviously trash to anyone else (things like boxes that toys or dolls or shoes are packaged in, or pretty tissue paper, or school papers that have been long-ago graded and returned to her.)

Her love of Hello Kitty is legend. At any given time, her room appears to be the aftermath of a bomb that has gone off right in the middle of the Sanrio factory. She has an equal love for Cabbage Patch dolls, Build-A-Bear animals, American Girl dolls (even the knockoffs), and Webkins. I admit that I have played a hand in this . . . no one enjoys a trip to Build-A-Bear more than I.

I saw tears of worry begin to well up in her eyes the minute I announced to her that we were going to clean her room. She equates "clean" with "give her dolls away", and she usually dissolves into a complete meltdown.

I had to clean it, but I hate (HATE) upsetting her. She is such a sweet child, and so attached to her things. But . . . drastic times call for drastic measures.

Rather than do what I usually do (bitch, shovel, argue with her over each thing that I think is expendable), I switched things up a bit. Taking a cue from "Clean Sweep", I entered her room with several large, brown packing boxes and with NO discretion at all, I swept up armfuls of crap and dumped the offending stuff into these boxes, with absolutely no rhyme or reason. I continued in this fashion until there was nothing left in her room except the furniture and curtains. Every surface was clean, and I could see her purple carpet for the first time in months. We ended up with better than 9 boxes full out in the hall.

I decided that one of the biggest challenges in her room was storage space, so I ordered 2 large white bookshelves, each about 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide, giving the room an additional 60 feet of shelving space. Who knew what a transformation and miracle this would bring about . . .

Once the new shelves were in place, and the bed was nicely made and the floor was vacuumed, I had my daughter begin the arduous process of visiting the boxes out in the hall and bringing items in that she absolutely wanted to keep. Of course, this ended up being mostly her dolls, which were arranged by kind on the new shelves. Even I was flabbergasted to see just how many she had. She had no idea that her collection was as vast as it is.

When she was done, every inch of the 60 feet of shelving was full. Every . . . single . . . . inch. There were also lots of leftover junk in the hall that she didn't bother to rescue, filling 2 large black garbage bags and 2 big brown boxes. The good part was that it seemed absolutely painless to her to leave all of that behind. Choosing what to keep turned out to be much easier for her than choosing what to give up.

We cycled her clothing through the laundry and sorted the clean items into her drawers, and paired her shoes in her now-clean closet. I bought her some lavender scented room freshener, and fluffed her curtains and pillows.

The transformation was amazing.

With all of the clutter gone, my girl's eyes and attention seem to be able to focus on the things that she really loves. She has spent more time in her room in the last few days than she has spent in the last several months. She can now recline in her purple butterfly chair, talk on her Hello Kitty phone, line up her Cabbage Patches on her bed for new ponytails, and dress and redress her American Girl dolls in endless outfits (we made a doll closet too).

Even the boy finds his way in there, although he says he doesn't like all the "girly" stuff in there, he does admire the cleanliness and organization.

His room is next. I've already ordered a new dresser and nightstand for him.

I'll post some pictures soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Coupons


Since the last post, I have been trying to get back into the swing of couponing. I used to be a master at couponing, but I sort of fell out of the habit.

Time to fall back in.

My hero, Yard Sale Queen, inspires me quite a bit. I love reading about her finds and her deals.

My huge grocery bills also inspire me. Since the kids are home this summer, they and their little friends attack my kitchen daily like a band of locusts, so keeping the cabinets and fridge stocked is an ongoing challenge.

This past week, I did something I haven't done in awhile. I visited The CouponClippers site and ordered some coupons based on the sale papers this past week (I prefer to do that than buy a local Sunday paper for $2.00 that I don't read and only get a coupon or two that I need.) My coupons came in the mail on Thursday, and today I trekked out to the three stores that I based the coupon choices on (CVS, Kroger and Publix are near each other, all within 2 miles of the house, so they were the logical choices, considering that gas is ALSO sky high.)
Here's the tally:

Store 1: CVS
This week, CVS was running good sales on Neutrogena (Buy 1, get one 1/2 off) and Nexcare Bandages ($2.99 sale/reg $4.29). My kids go through bandaids to the tune of a box a week in the summer, and I go through Neutrogena lipgloss, lotion and blush to the tune of a tube of each every couple weeks (usually run $7 - $10 per product).

Since I had ordered coupons from The CouponClippers that took $6 off the 4 Neutrogena products, and coupons that took $2 off the 2 packs of Nexcare bandages:
Total: $44.93
Total spent $25.44
Total saved $19.49 (approx 45% savings)



Store 2: Kroger
Note: I took my kid with me this time, and I guess he helped ward off the creepies, because I was NOT accosted at all.

Kroger had some awesome 10 fo $10 deals this week, and other random sales (Chef Boyardee, Fruit Gushers, Cheerios, deli ham, etc.) I had coupons for all the sales, and some were doubled. The total is kind of misleading, because some of the things I bought in the bakery were reduced to 99 cents, and the savings doesn't appear on the register receipt.
Total spent: $54.91
Total saved: $29.59 (40% savings)

Store 3: Publix
Publix kind of screwed me. Unlike CVS and Kroger, who start their new sales every Sunday, Publix has a midweek sale switchup, so the coupons I ordered based on their ad in last Sunday's paper were no longer in effect, but I was still able to use a few and get some deals. Plus, they had a few cartsful of cereal marked to $2 a box, and it was the kind the kids eat, so that was cool.

Total: 70.66
Total spent: 41.83
Savings: 27.93 (right at 40% savings again)



Not bad. Some of the products also have little rebates that go into the kids' UPromise account (anywhere from 5% - 10% is deposited into the account to be used for college money). And Kroger gives me 10 cents off each gallon of gas with my Kroger card, so that's a little more saved there, too.
So . . . screw you, high gas and grocery prices!
Oh, and I paid $4.47 cents for the coupons I ordered, but I have some left, so I may be able to recoup some of that.

So . . . looks like I have to work harder next week to break the 40% savings threshold. I want to be one of those women that walk out with a cartful of crap and a register receipt as long as my arm and hand over $5.

I'll get there.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Belt Tightening/Freak Magnet

A twofer for you:

After a shocking trip to the Kroger this past week, I now realize that its time to start couponing again. Damn near everything has gone up (this is probably not news to any of you, but I'm just commenting here for posterity). When oranges are 70 cents each, things are rough.

What's strange, though, is that restaurants aren't getting any more expensive. If groceries keep going up, it will be just as cheap to go out as it is to stay in.

So, during my grocery excursion last week, I was perusing the cereal aisle, when I noticed an older couple coming my way. I excused myself as I pushed my cart to one side of the aisle, and they were all smiles and cheerily kept exclaiming "Oh, you aren't in the way! You are just fine!" etc etc, which was nice, I guess, but a bit of overkill. I was taken aback for a minute, then resumed my cereal search.

On the next aisle, the same couple approached me again, but this time, the husband approached me directly and began talking to me (my pet peeve - this shit happens to me ALOT in the grocery store.)

In an overly happy voice, he exclaimed "My, you look pretty today!" He went on to compliment my sundress, and my hair . . . which, again, was nice, I guess, but a bit of overkill. He appeared to be in his late 50s/early 60s, and other than saying these things to me, he was utterly unremarkable, otherwise. He could have been any random near-retirement middle management guy in any white collar company. His wife appeared to be the same age. She was quite small, and could have easily been either a kindergerten teacher or maybe a librarian.

I thanked him and pondered this, as he continued talking . . .

"My wife and I moved here just this past year. We've been trying to meet someone like you (like me, wtf? Fat? Redheaded? ) Where we used to live, we had a close circle of friends that we would invite over for private parties." At this point, he seemed to have a little glint in his eye, and the wife was staring at me, a fixed smile on her face, clutching the handle of her empty grocery cart. He didn't do the whole "nudge, nudge, wink wink" thing, but it was implied, right there next to the Hamburger Helper and Rice-A-Roni, the San Francisco treat.

It dawned on me . . . slowly. In equally slow motion, I think I wished them luck, I'm not sure, but I quickly got myself to another aisle.

Once I was home and safe, the first thing I thought was that no one would believe this story, because I often have creepy encounters at the grocery store. The second thing I thought was what I might have stamped on my forehead that attracted the creepy encounters. Still pondering that one. The third thing was . . . maybe they had a gimp in their basement that had died, and I was the right size for the zipper suit.

It did dawn on me that maybe they were into Amway, but that's just wishful thinking. I'm pretty sure I met myself some real-life swingers. Some saggy, elderly, real-life swingers.

That's what happens when they start airing shows about swinging on the basic networks. Assholes.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I know what I want for my birthday!


I don't think he eats much . . . maybe just leafy things.
And he is almost too cute to bear.
She gets to have one, why can't I?
I'd file his nails on his funny feet, and scratch his little ears, and give his lumpy nose endless Eskimo kisses, and buy him bags and bags of salad, and smooth his funny hedgehog-like hair.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Must . . . have . . . these


Kidrobot released a series of Adult Swim-inspired mini figures this month.

I MUST have the Squidbillies figures. There is no compromise here

Unfortunately, the figures are "blind packaged", so you don't know what you get until you buy the box, get it home, and open the little foil wrapper inside

Not that I don't like Robot Chicken, or Harvey Birdman, or Aqua Teen Hunger Force, its just that I don't love them as much as Earley Cuyler, or Grandma, or Lil or Rusty. And I don't want to buy a set of 25 of the things at $8 bucks a pop to guarantee that I get all of the Squidbillies

EBay black market . . . here I come. And I'm bringing my wallet.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day


and all that hippy-dippy stuff

I'm sort of earth-friendly, I guess

I have a compost pile, and, uh . . . I shop at thrift stores.

I work from a home office, so I guess that's earth friendly or something

I guess that's about it.

Climbing back on . . .

. . . the horse is something that I really tire of. Especially since I am deathly allergic to horses.

Even metaphorical ones.

I seem to endlessly climb on and fall off . . . and over the years, it has become tougher and tougher to pull myself up, dust myself off, and muster the courage and energy to get ready to climb on again.

2008 has been a tough year. I'd like to say something positive, like . . . "2008 has helped me reprioritize," or "2008 has taught me humility and patience."

The truth is . . . 2008 has made me want to pack my shit and start driving. I thought about that when I was laying in a hospital bed last month. That's when I realized that I wasn't even well enough to run away.

That was a stunning reality - it burned right through the morphine drip.

Besides, I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. I have small people that rely on me like you rely on the lights to come on when you flip the switch. You don't hope the light will come on when you flip that switch . . . you don't even think about it. Of COURSE it will come on - it always does, right? Well, I have prided myself on being that reliable light for my little people and despite my self-absorbed wallowing, I will continue to do that.

It's harder these days, I have to admit. It's harder to get up in the morning. It's harder to face that needle every day that reminds me that my body is dysfunctional. It's hard to look at the row of medications that I pop every day, lined up like soldiers, ready to help me battle a silent enemy.

Despite all of those hindrances, I still haven't been able to tame the beast that keeps making me sicker. I still eat the wrong things. I still don't exercise. I have to make these changes, but sometimes my cravings get the better of me. Most of the time, my lethargy and pain keep me from doing anything except sitting. Sometimes it hurts to move.

But I have to. I have promises to keep . . . and miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy 80th Birthday, Mr. Rogers

I am resurrecting this post in honor of what would be Mr. Rogers' 80th birthday.

For some of you, this will be a repeat.

But I think it bears repeating.



It's You I Like
Fred M. Rogers

It's you I like,
It's not the things you wear,
It's not the way you do your hair--
But it's you I like


The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you--
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys--

They're just beside you.

But it's you I like--
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.

I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you I like, It's you yourself,
It's you, it's you I like.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I got a great present for my birthday from my husband. Proof positive that this man knows me inside and out. I received an audio book "The World According to Mr. Rogers: Important Things To Remember".

I have never really been all that open about how I felt about Mr. Rogers. Mostly because everyone made fun of him, and because I watched his show years after I was too old to watch, and because the production values were somewhat cheesy. For me, none of that mattered. Fred Rogers soothed my soul.

I read a quote from him that went something like: "The older I get, the more convinced I am that the space between communicating human beings can be hallowed ground.” For most kids, Mr. Rogers was silly, and had very little impact on their lives. If you ever wondered why that show lasted as long as it did, it is because that show was for me, and kids like me.

Even though I enjoyed the puppets, and the trolley, and the entire Land of Make Believe, the real draw for me was the man himself. Fred Rogers provided a window into a life that I had no concept of . . . one where a grown man was kind, and gentle, and loving and understanding.




The early 70s was a very very tough time for my family. I was the last kid, born years after my brothers and sister, and my house was chaotic, to say the least. I learned firsthand what violence was, what drug abuse looked like, what abuse felt like, and how scary being left alone felt. Finances were stretched too thin, and patience was stretched too thin.

I knew every nook and cranny of our house. I knew where to hide when I heard my dad's key in the lock, and I heard the begging cries and earsplitting screams of my brothers and sister when they were beaten by his belt, day after day, when he returned home from another day of debt, and pressure, and pending financial ruin that he could do nothing to stop. He was a bully, and he was crazy, and for some reason, he had some kind of moral objection to beating a baby, but no problems whipping the others. They were older, and they were sacrificed for me, and I could do nothing but run and hide, heart in my throat, and cover my ears and rock and cry until silence signaled that it was over, again. There was nothing that protected me from this horror, nothing except my hiding places and Mr. Rogers.

Mr. Rogers was the voice of calm and reason for me back then. Every day after first grade, I was the first one home to a dark house. There was NO money for daycare, my mom worked all the time, and luckily for all involved, I was a kid that could be trusted to be left alone for hours at a time, and so I was. I remember staying very still and quiet during those hours, wondering if there were monsters in our basement, and wishing that someone, anyone would come home soon, and dreading that at the same time.

I can't tell you how comforting it was to watch Mr. Rogers. Seeing him coming in and singing, smiling at me and telling me that he was glad to see me meant the world to me. Having him explain the world to me through Picture Picture and his gentle, unhurried words was like balm on my scared, tiny soul, and I loved him dearly. I never understood why there were men like my dad, and I never believed there were men any different until I found Mr. Rogers.

After I grew up, I learned a little more about Mr. Rogers. It didn't surprise me to learn that he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his commitment to the well-being of children, that he made over 900 shows or that he had been awarded more than 40 honorary degrees. He was an extraordinary man disguised as a very humble, fragile, quiet person.




Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003. I was 37, married, with two children of my own, and I cried like a baby. My grandparents had all passed long before I was born, but I can't imagine that losing a grandfather could have been more painful than that was. Explaining my reaction to my husband was nearly impossible, and seeing the look of pain on his face was heartbreaking.

It pleases me to no end that my kids love Mr. Rogers. We watch him together and I am able to experience him all over again through their eyes. Fortunately for them, his kindness is nothing out of the ordinary. And I am proud of that.



I love you, Mr. Rogers.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Channeling the Soul . . . David Soul

So . . . life is funny.

Anyone that has been married for as long as I have (soon to be 13) might be able to relate to this. There comes a time when you re-evaluate things . . . try to see where your priorities are versus your partner's. You try to see if you two are even looking at the same book anymore, nevermind whether or not you are on the same page. You try to figure out if you are both rowing in the same direction, or if your boat is just spinning in the water, or maybe even sinking.

That has been happening here.

As you might imagine, this led to many long talks, some civil, some not-so-civil. Everything was on the table: divorce, trial separation, sharing living space as parenting partners only, counseling and staying together. About as fun as a broken back.

Funny enough, just about the time we were reaching some pretty final agreements, my sugar went through the roof (no idea why) and my back went out. And when I say it "went out", I mean WAY out.

Picture this: After my shower last Wednesday morning, I was stepping into my PANTIES, for God's sake, and a lightning bolt seared through my spine, taking me immediately to the ground, breathless with pain. For the next 2 hours, I crawled, naked, through my house, dragging my useless lower half with me in a vain search for a telephone I could reach.

By the time Hub came hustling in the door, I had been on the floor for 3 hours, 3 dogs nervously sitting around me. He calmly assessed the situation, dressed me, and called 911. He then sat with me through the following days of bedrest, hospitalization, pain, transport home, and aftercare. He even bit his tongue as I slept, drugged, through his ENTIRE birthday.

As I sit typing this, I am resting here at home, waiting for my very very dicey, bulgy lower back disc to calm down enough to attempt therapy.

This morning, it sort of seems like the worst of the back issue is behind me (ha ha). After being off work for so many days, Hub has returned to work. Today is the first day since last Wednesday I have been able to get out of bed and bathe and dress myself completely. I wisely decided to sit on a bench before attempting the high wire act known as "putting on my panties". Yea, me!

So, as I was sudsing up this morning, I ruefully decided that life had shown me really quickly that maybe I need my partner way more than I thought I did. Maybe there was more left here than we thought there was. Maybe one more chance is warranted. Maybe this had happened for a reason, to give us both a chance to slow down and reconsider things.

As often happens, music started running through my head as I lathered up my hair.

Forgive me, David Soul.

Don't give up on us, baby
Lord knows we've come this far
Can't we stay the way we are?
The angel and the dreamer
Who sometimes plays a fool
Don't give up on us, I know
We can still come through . . .


(followed, of course, by my NEW verse)
Wash my ass with that loofah
Because I can't reach there
I can't put on my own underwear
I'm pretty much a slug now
and I depend on you . . .
But don't give up on us, I think
I can still blow you . . . .

Romantic, huh?

Editorial note: After reading this, Hub commented that he thought I was glad he was still here just because I was hurt, and as soon as I was better, I would be unhappy again.

Hmm. Fair enough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

50 Questions: A Sex MeMe

A friend that is MUCH cooler than me gave me this challenge. OK, Coolio . . . THIS'll teach you to forward racy bulletins to crazy old women!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


Here you go, a survey that is meant to draw you out into the open where all of your friends can see you. If this survey gets you laid, then good for you. Sex is fun and nothing to be ashamed of. Great sex is even better. Opening up can lead to better sex..........be brave, be proud and think beautiful thoughts.............go!!!!!!

50. Have you ever had a threesome?
Three words: Me, Hostess, Twinkies.

49. Was it fun?
It was absolutely delicious

48. When did it happen?
Usually while I am watching my "stories"

47. Was it planned or was it spontaneous?
I hardly think I can declare "spontaneous" when I drove to the Kroger and paid with a check.

46. Describe your perfect threesome?
I think I did.

45. What is the freakiest thing you've ever been a part of?
Well, one time, I switched it up with some really dark Ho Hos.

44. If you've never had a threesome and you'd like to, what kind would it be?
Please refer to Question 1.

43. Have you ever been filmed while having sex?
Yes, but who knew that the Monster Plantation at Six Flags had hidden cameras? Certainly not me . . . or Uuter, the foreign exchange student.

42. Would you want to be?
Actually, I would probably refuse on the grounds that it would steal my soul, but really, I just wouldn't want to see a wide angle high definition shot of my ass.

41. What are you the most skilled at in bed?
Sleeping through puking kids and barking dogs

40. What do you suck at? No pun intended!!!
Sticking to salads.

39. Do you swallow?
Ever met a fat girl that didn't?

38. What about anal?
Well, I mean, I am partial to certain brands (cough cough Hostess), but I wouldn't call it ANAL. Obsessive, maybe.

37. Name someone you've never had sex with but would say yes if they asked......................i triple dog dare you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tom Jones, baby!

36. Do you shave your pubic hair?
I actually prefer pincurls, but the bobby pins are really ouchy to sleep on!

35. Do you get off easily?
Every time I drive past the Sonic.

34. How old were you when you lost your virginity?
8. I went to Farrell's Ice Cream parlor at Cumberland Mall, and they marched out this huge Ice Cream zoo, with 30 scoops of goodness, and I have been hooked like a smack addict ever since.

33. Do you think musicians are sexy or trouble?
I think they are generally delightful. I also think they secretly are trolls, since several have lived under my house in my basement.

32. Ever made out with someone of the same sex ?
Some girl thought I was putting the moves on her once, but she just had some hot fudge on her lower lip.

31. What is your absolute favorite position?
Next in line at Brusters Ice Cream!

30. Do you think listening to someone have sex is a turn on?
I think listening to someone have LUNCH is a turnon.

29. Describe your most embarrasing sexual moment?
I remember once, my husband came up behind me, bent me over, roughly pulled down my pants and ravaged me. It was hot, but I'm not sure it was worth forfeiting our Golden Corral priviledges over (the manager said I bent the salad bar.)

28. How quick do you decide if you'd sleep with someone?
How long does it take to cover yourself in sanding sugar?

27. Are you glad a survey like this finally presented itself?
Well, sure, but I am not all that certain that everyone ELSE will be, after reading this.

26. What is the oldest person you've ever slept with?
87. My great aunt, Big Edna, shared my room when she came to visit. She would hit EVERYONE with her cane, except me. She gave ME candy.

25. And the youngest?
Newborn . . .as soon as I brought my dumplings home from the hospital, they slept with me.

24. Do you love oral sex?
Eating an oatmeal cream pie IS oral sex.

23. If you could have sex with a movie star tonight, who would it be?
Willy Wonka . . but the Oompa Loompas scare the hell out of me.

22. Do you look at porn on the internet?
Yes. http://www.russelstover.com/

21. What is your favorite kind of porn?
this is getting really predictable, now.

20. Do you incorporate sex toys on a regular basis?
Is a spork considered a toy?

19. Does your lover do something you don't like? cmon, now is the time to tell 'em
Well . . . . he DOES bogart the whipped cream can, sometimes

18. Have you ever sent nude photos to someone?
Yes, on a bet. He lost.

17. If someone offered you money to do a nude photo shoot, would you?
If they are paying in Girl Scout cookies, well . . . maybe, but I'd probably not be able to be a scout leader after that.

16. On the opposite sex, what body part do you give the most attention?
The fingers. They are usually the part holding the cookies

15. Do you bite?
Not if they hold their palms out flat, and just put the cookie there

14. Spanking.....your thoughts?
Sure, whatever . . . they gotta stay busy while I'm finishing up the Do-Si-Does

13. When is the last time you had amazing sex?
Last week. My husband approached me, and I was amazed he wanted to.

12. When is the last time you had horrible sex?
That was back in my dating days . . . some fucktard brought me fat-free Lorna Doones.

11. Define great sex.......
Me and Tom Jones swimming in a vat of Jelly Bellys.

10. Define horrible sex...........
Me and Ghandi having pillow talk over a shared pita.

9. Has any of these things ever come into play in your sex life? A bruise, blood, pee, a twin, rain, spit, tears, a home made implement.
This reads more like a qualifier question to go on Springer.

8. What part of your naked body is completely off limits?
I'd prefer to never be poked in the eye.

7. Does your body make noises when having sex?
My body is a symphony.

6. Have you ever spoked these words during sex "Fuck me harder"
Close. "Pass the jelly"

5. Sexually, what have you never experienced?
Well, that Springer question probably covers most of it.

4. Do you want to?
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. No.

3. Do you want people to read this?
Sure. Everyone needs a chuckle, right?

2. We all masturbate but do you ever watch yourself in a mirror?
Well, I used to, but that snotty prissy prettyboy at the Macy's cosmetics counter said that they were for "customers only".

1. And last but not least and the one question that most of you will puss out on.................Would you have sex with the person that posted this?
As lovely as she is . . . I would be more inclined to split a cupcake with her.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Weekend Spree

Nope, not a killing spree, unless you count my checkbook. It was a shopping spree . . . a rarity for me, but since the entire house was bare of any semblance of food and my daughter's ankles and belly were beginning to show from her recent growth spurt, it was time to take out all the stops.


I'm not sure when this happened, but my girl, who measured a modest 5'2 in Sept 07, is now nearly 5'8. It's a source of delight for her to take any opportunity to "measure up" to me and giggle, since she is beginning to tower over her mom. That's a pretty cool thing for a 12 year old to be able to do, actually. I usually play it off, telling her that her tennis shoes are taller than my sandals, or that I can always get taller with more hair teasing, but even I have had to relent this past month or so that she is definitely taller than me. I just wonder how tall she WILL be. It will be fun to watch.

With all of this growing, she has become more choosy and aware of her clothing. Never one to want "hoochie" clothing, she shies away from scanty things, but she dearly loves tights and skirts, so that was the order of the day. Like her mom, Miss Rachael loves a bargain, and she and I traipsed into Goodwill and found 6 Papagallo and Liz Claiborne skirts that seemed to have never been worn, in beautiful colors, for $4 each. New (tall) tights, spring skirts, and plenty of flat shoes (in the next size up) were soon in our possession to get her pretty self ready for spring. She was so excited, she actually got up early this morning and dressed up for school. I wish I had had a camera handy. Hell, I wish I had had lucidity handy, for that matter. I do remember, groggily, that she looked lovely.

Once we had her squared away, she and I moved on to the next order of business . . . feeding the creatures.

Now that we have 3 dogs, we have to provide adequate sustenance for them. The little chihuahua girls have a bit of a tough time with dry food, so we found little packets of gravy and soft meat squares (Pedigree Little Champions) that they love very much. Weenie the Wonder Dog loves them, too, so what it boils down to is that we use 2 packets a day (the little girls split one) along with a sprinkle of dry Science Diet. All of that equals expensive . . . the packets are about 79 cents each, and the dry dog food is 10 bucks a bag. Doing some quick math, I figured that we are spending $65 - $70 a month just on their food, not to mention their heartworm meds, and flea drops (and adorable clothing, another requirement).

ANYWAY . . . not much chance of the dry food getting cheaper, it is what it is. BUT . . . I found a deal on the same packets at the local Big Lots; they were nearly half of the petstore price already . . . and for some reason, Big Lots was having a Customer Appreciation sale this weekend that took an additional 20% off whatever you bought . . . . so Miss Rachael and I did some vigilante shopping at 2 locations.

2 hours later, we were driving home a heavily laden car, with enough dog food packets to last my creatures 6 months (that's a lotta packets, considering we use 60 a month). It worked out to about 34 cents each. Not bad. They are all stacked nicely on a storage shelf in my garage, each with expirations late into next year (I checked).
Let's see . . .what else did we get? Just some odds and ends, mostly, some nice new walking collars and leashes for the creatures, some nice snacks for the kids and their friends, who are ALWAYS starving when they get home, and refills on all of the shampoos, soaps, etc.

And one of the BEST deals I found was on Pilot Dr. Grip pens. I use these pens at trivia every week, and when I could find them, they were 8-9 bucks apiece. For no discernible reason, I have been unable to find them anywhere. Good ol Big Lots had them for 3 bucks apiece, and I got one in every color!




I love that damn place.






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