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Archive for December, 2013

Changes

At my heaviest, I was straining to stay in a size 24/3X.  I will confess to having bought a couple of size 26 items just because they felt a little less constricting, but the 24’s fit fairly acceptably.

Today I wore a pair of size 14 jeans from Old Navy and a size XL shirt from Target. I probably didn’t look as cute as I felt, but I felt dang cute!

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A Whinge

This may actually be more of a temper tantrum than a whinge, and I apologise. You really don’t need to read this, not nearly as much as I need to write it and then drop it. So feel free to completely ignore this post and come back another day when I don’t need to whinge or complain or bitch or piss and moan, or whatever you want to call it.

My job is very high pressure, and I normally work a lot of overtime.  I’ve been off for the last almost 3 weeks because of the surgery. I was scheduled to go back yesterday, but ended up delaying it until today due to the ice storm. That, by the way, was a smart decision–there was still enough ice that my commute was very unpleasant both this morning and this evening.

Now granted that my team has been understaffed for a very long time, hence the overtime. And granted that everyone on my team has more than enough to do, even though there are a couple of people who prefer to piddle the day away in chitchat and pm’ing their friends instead of actually, oh, I don’t know, working. So when I went out for the surgery, I did so knowing that it was not likely that a lot of my accounts would be handled in my absence. That doesn’t mean that I was thrilled when I returned this morning to find a really messy queue. That was bad enough. What really chapped my hide was having to stop trying to get caught up on my own queue to do some work for a couple of people who were NOT out on leave for surgery. One of them I quite like, and I think she’ll do an okay job once we’re fully staffed. The other is one of the ones who prefers to do anything but work, and I just wanted to bitch slap her.  

I am not kidding when I tell you that I was this close to getting up and walking out the door today. My love for my job evaporated a while ago, and I’ve just been hanging on because one must work, and until I can find someone to pay me to sit around in my jammies and write and read all day, this is as good a job as any and better than many. But today was just a wretchedly bad day. 

I have a new team lead, and haven’t gotten to spend enough time with her to get a feel for her yet.  I think she’s a nice enough person, but so far I’m not too impressed. I was infuriated today to be pulled off my work after having been out for nearly 3 weeks to do some work to help out the people who have been there, and who didn’t do much of anything to help me while I was out of the office. Not only that, the work in my queue is still sitting there, still with my name on it, and I’m still responsible for it. I can’t work overtime right now, per doctor’s orders, so I’ve got to figure out how to stay on top of it.  I wanted to talk to my team lead about it today, but I was not in control of myself and felt it wiser to say nothing at the time. 

If this makes me sound like someone who doesn’t like helping other people, then I’m not giving you an accurate impression. I am normally happy to help out when help is needed. When co-workers have been out on vacation or sick, I do what I can. There was one week this past summer where I put in 73 hours in order to clean up a former co-worker’s queue while he was out on vacation. I consider myself a team player, and try to treat my co-workers with the same consideration I would appreciate receiving. My frustration was not in being asked to help out someone who needed a hand. It was that I felt that I was barely treading water, and being asked to stop treading water so that I could help out someone who was at least standing on the dock. Does that even make sense?

I was also frustrated and a bit hurt because no one on my team acknowledged my birthday. They knew before I left that my birthday was the day before I was due to return from leave. I didn’t expect a cake or anything, in view of the situation with the surgery and all, but at least a greeting would have been pleasant. I like to bake cakes or bring in treats for people’s birthdays, and I decorate their desk, and bring a card. So to have my birthday completely ignored hurt my feelings.

I’m really ready to move on to a different position, but honestly and truly, I just want out. I have got to find a way to make a living doing something that lifts me up instead of bringing me down, something that is energizing and joyful instead of enervating and depressing.

Any ideas?

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The Pithy Grapefruit

I like puns. I like fart jokes. I like potty humour. Not very classy of me, or maybe it is (in a “The Lady Is a Tramp” sort of way?), but there you have it. 

So there was a joke I read somewhere when I was a kid that just struck me as the funniest thing in the world, at least until I got a little older and read “The Miller’s Tale,” and I wanted to share it with my family.  I’d get 2/3’s or 3/4’ths of the way through the joke, and exploded into giggles and snorts and red-faced attempts to blurt my way past the punch line. Never did make it. 

I hate to think of people growing older without ever hearing the story of the pithy grapefruit, so here it is. Enjoy. (The story, not the pithy grapefruit, because ugh.)

This couple had been married for a long dang time, and all the husband did was nitpick about everything. Finally the wife had had enough. She decided she was going to prepare him the absolute perfect breakfast. Fresh eggs, crisp bacon slices, sliced tomatoes, ruby grapefruit halves that she even took the time to section so they wouldn’t squirt him in his wretched eyes, coffee cake, doughnuts, muffins, waffles–everything that she could think of. He sat down to that magnificent feast, and started off with the cold grapefruit. He took one bite, made a face, shoved the plate away and said, “This grapefruit is pithy.” His wife said, “Well, dear, I hated to pith in it, but you know how you hate dry grapefruit.”

And yes, I giggled and snickered whilst typing it out. 

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Mandela

I remember when I was much younger, and quite ignorant on many matters, seeing the words “Free Nelson Mandela” scrawled on a wall near a university. I wondered who Nelson Mandela was, and why he needed to be freed.

Today he truly has been freed, and the world is missing a truly great man. What he accomplished in his 95 years is mind-boggling. He was wise and wonderful. He will be missed.

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squee

I had a hair appointment this morning. When I got to the salon, I saw that the Avenue next door was closing, so after my hair was done I wandered into Avenue. Not to buy clothes–most are too big for me now–but to see if they had any cute bags or shoes or boots that needed to go home with me. Alas (well, not for my bank account), there were only a few bags, none of which met my needs. And none of the shoes met my needs. I was chatting with one of the employees there, and she said that she had wondered why I was there, because I obviously don’t fit in the plus sizes. Squee!!!  Don’t get me wrong–I still have quite a lot of weight to lose, but hearing that from a total stranger really made me happy.

 

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I hate to come back and say, well, I’m returning to blogging, because I might not. And for all I know, no one particularly cares. And yet, there it is. I’m here today. I’m alive.  I was a bit shocked to see that I haven’t posted since February 2013, although when I think about it logically, it makes perfect sense. I’ve been working crazy insane hours and trying to write a book, losing weight (over 50 pounds lost in 2013), and had surgery a couple of weeks ago.

But I really need the emotional release I always get when I blog, so maybe I can get back into the routine.

So here’s where I am today, December 4th, 2013.

I turn 50 on Sunday.  I personally think it’s cool, and kinda funny, because I so don’t feel 50. Frankly, after the weight loss I’ve achieved this year, I feel younger than ever. 50 going on 14? 13? I’m still a young adolescent boy at heart, and probably always will be.

I had some complications with my lap band crop up this summer, including a ruptured hiatal hernia and a massive food blockage that had me so messed up I was literally eating about 10 bites of food a day.  That’s actually NOT why I lost weight. My weight loss stalled out right then, as I presume my body was trying to hang on to what it had until I was able to start eating.  So two weeks ago, after jumping through all the insurance hoops, I had revision surgery. They removed the lap band, fixed the adhesions, repaired the hernia, did a liver biopsy to test for fatty liver disease, and converted me to a gastric sleeve.  I’m 2 weeks post surgery, and am down 12 pounds in the past 3 weeks. No complaints there. Well, about the weight loss part, anyway. I’m extremely unhappy due to the fact that I can’t eat anything solid for another week.  The first week post-surgery I subsisted on clear liquids, mainly Isopure protein drinks (most of which tasted quite unpleasant) and low sodium broths, with plenty of zero calorie Vitamin Water or Sobe water. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, I got to go to full liquids. This means I can have Atkins shakes (thanks be to goodness), protein powder shakes blended with skim milk (blech), and lowfat cream soups with all the solid bits strained out.  I find that if I get the lowfat Cheddar cheese soup and blend it with skim milk and some chicken broth, it’s pretty tasty.  I don’t have a huge sweet tooth, so it’s a fantastic change from all the sweet shakes and drinks.

I go back to work on Monday, December 9th, but will not be working overtime until I’m back on a full solids diet. That means it’ll probably be January before the OT kicks in again. I’m hopeful that we’ll actually get fully staffed (a promise that’s been being made for months, but has yet to materialize) and I won’t have to keep working such long hours.

I’m hard at work on The Great American Novel (ha!), and have made remarkable progress. I was hopeful I’d get a lot done while I was on leave, but I’ve actually spent most of my time sleeping, internetting (is that a word? it is now!), watching movies and Dr. Oz (I do like Dr. Oz), and making sure I get at least half an hour of activity in every day.

So, weight loss. How’d I do it? Weight Watchers. I know, I know. I keep coming back to it. But you know what? It freakin’ works, if you do it! One of the benefits Ally provides is a contracted lower rate for the monthly pass, and then on top of that, they pay half of it. So I’ve been paying $17 a month instead of more than $40. We’ve also been fortunate enough to have meetings at work as well, although we may have lost that as of the end of November, as we were having trouble getting enough regularly attending members to keep it active. If we have lost our at work meetings, then I will continue to go to meetings at the center near my house. I vastly prefer the work meetings–no time out of my schedule, no travel, and a small group of people that I know well and like well–but the meetings are one of the most important reasons Weight Watchers works, in my opinion.

People think–and I was one of them, pre lap band–that bariatric surgery is a magic key. I mean, I knew it wasn’t, but definitely thought it made it easier than it did.  But what I learned is that it’s still a head game. I had to learn how to manage my feelings and emotions instead of stuffing them, something I still struggle with. Joe thinks I’m the wicked witch of the west 90% of the time, and I am sorry about that.  So bariatric surgery was a tool, and a very helpful one. Weight Watchers is a tool, and a very helpful one.  Exercise is a tool, and a very helpful one. Writing/journaling/talking/all the other things I do to cope are tools.  And they all work together.  I’m very pleased to report that as of this morning, I weighed 214.0 pounds in my birthday suit. I weighed 272 when I started Weight Watchers in the spring. So almost 60 pounds, but as I say, the last 12 pounds are due directly to the surgery and the liquid diet I’ve had to follow as part of the healing process. The weight loss will slow down once I start eating again, but it’s all good.

I am no longer wearing plus size clothing. Every now and then I start to automatically veer to that section in the stores when I go shopping, but as I start rifling through the racks, it quickly becomes obvious that everything’s too big.  I live in leggings (size XL) and Old Navy jeans (tried on the size 14 boyfriend skinnies I got pre-surgery, and they freaking fit!). My shirts are now ladies XL, and I’ve even been able to get into an occasional oversized L. I went to Stein Mart this morning to use my birthday coupon (20% off one item), and tried on 6 tops. Three looked incredible, one looked so-so, and two looked awful. I bought two of the three incredible ones, and the kind cashier gave me 25% off one in addition to my birthday coupon off the other one. But they were all ladies XL, and they all fit. One of the ones I bought looked so good it blew me away.  I cannot tell you how much more self confidence I have, and how much more I enjoy shopping for clothes.

Faith, 6 days post-op. I actually look better than this photo suggests--the camera cut me off at the fattest part of my belly. Typical. lol

Faith, 6 days post-op. I actually look better than this photo suggests–the camera cut me off at the fattest part of my belly. Typical. lol

Post-op instructions include walking at least half an hour a day, building up to an hour a day. Six weeks post surgery, I will be able to work up to more strenuous activity. I’ve decided to do the Couch-to-5K program. I bought the app and loaded it onto my iPhone.  Definitely looking forward to it. I’m also going to get a bike helmet and start riding my totes awesome bike around.  I’ve been pinning some at-home routines to help with some muscle building.

I don’t think we had adopted Elvis when I last posted. Elvis is a puggle (pug-beagle mix, we think) with an overbite that gives him a very pronounced sneer, hence the name. He is a big old sweetie pie, and he is definitely a boobies man.  I cracked a rib a few months ago, and woke up one morning to find him sound asleep across my body, his head resting blissfully on my right breast over the cracked rib. Little putz. Emmylou is well and healthy and happy, and she and Elvis get along beautifully.

Elvis Presley Stencel-butt

Elvis Presley Stencel-butt and Emmylou Wriggle-butt

And that’s probably a pretty thorough update from me. Hope you’re all well and happy!

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