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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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One of the benefits of staying up far too late on a Saturday night is that I get to read PostSecret before I go to bed. I also have all my October book reviews and posts for Quirky Girls written and scheduled. And I am sitting here with Wayne’s World on television while I write this post.

Rob Lowe is such a gorgeous man, and he plays the slimiest sleazeball in Wayne’s World. Like if he touched me, I’d have to go take a shower. Ugh.

So here’s what’s been happening lately:

Scout has chronic kidney failure. We’d hoped it was acute, which could mean that he could still have a nice long life. However, he’s not doing well. He won’t eat. I have to force feed either baby food or Ensure several times a day. Every now and then when I present him with a plate, he’ll eat a few bites, maybe a few tablespoons, which gets me all happy until the next time when he just turns away from it. His breath is just horrendous–it’s his body putting out phosphorus, which has something to do with the kidney failure.  We’re giving him all the medicines the vet has prescribed, and he has to have fluids via IV every day. He sleeps a lot, and is very lethargic, but he’s still his sweet lovable self.

Emmylou, on the other hand, has grown like a weed. Where Scout has lost about half of his body weight, Emmylou has doubled. She’s healthy, active, energetic, sweet, lovable, playful–she’s just a joy to be around. And she’s been so sweet with Scout. She knows he doesn’t have the energy and strength to play with her, so she has backed off of the rough-and-tumble play they used to enjoy. But they’ll be curled up, butt to butt, on the sofa or in their dog bed, sleeping soundly together.  She also enjoys sitting out on our patio, so while I’m home during daylight hours, I leave the patio door propped open so she can go in and out as she pleases.

I’ve been ill this week. I didn’t go to work on Wednesday because I had been vomiting Tuesday night and much of the day Wednesday. I went in for two memorable hours on Thursday, leaving after I had to vomit into my trash can at my desk because I didn’t have time to get down the hall to the restroom. Fortunately, I sit in BFE, and no one at all sits anywhere near me, so I didn’t feel bad about leaving my trash can. There honestly wasn’t much time to think about it, frankly. Today’s Saturday–well, Sunday, technically–and I made it through the day without vomiting once! Yay!

I got my hair done today. I’d had the appointment scheduled since the last time I got it done, and was a little nervous, not knowing if I would be able to make it without having to sprint to the restroom. Fortunately, as I say, I made it. I did get a little queasy on the way home, but I chalk that up to not having had solid food since Monday. I ate a little bit, and it definitely made the queasy go away.  And my hair looks fabulous! I love my hairstylist.

I also lost a nice bit of weight this week. Granted, it’s not the ideal way to lose weight, but hey, I’ll take what I can get! 🙂  I’m hopeful that tomorrow morning when I get back on the scale, because I obsessively weigh myself every morning, I’ll have broken into my next little weight goal. I set 10-pound goals for myself, and I’ve been stuck in this 10 pound range for what seems like forever.

My stomach just rumbled quite loudly. Which reminds me of the day I was out walking with Emmylou, and I farted.  It was just a little squeaky fart, but she looked at me with this startled expression on her face. It was very cute.

Speaking of cute, here’s a gratuitous photo of Emmylou looking her cute best:

 

Isn’t she adorable? She was looking at me, and her ears were perked up, and she just sat there until I got my camera phone aimed and captured.

Scout has trouble getting up onto the bed like he used to, so for the first few days that Joe was out of town, I slept on the couch so he could be with me, sleeping in his little Scout bed. But Friday morning I woke up twisted into knots because both dogs had gotten onto the couch with me. I went to the pet store and picked up a set of steps so that he can walk up onto the bed. So last night I slept in the bedroom. He wouldn’t take the steps, which made me sad, because at home he used to run up the steps onto the bed all t he time, but I just picked him up and put him in bed. Emmylou hopped up; I lay down and held the covers up so they could snuggle underneath, and we all went to sleep.  Scout got down and went into the living room at some point, because that’s where he was when I woke up.  Right now he’s sleeping in his bed and Emmylou is sleeping on the couch, and I’m sitting in the armchair listening to the rain.

That’s right, I said rain!!!!!!!  I love autumn, and the first few rains of the season just make my heart happy. It’s like all the dust and heat and ennui of the summer get washed away, and I perk up and have energy again. So yay for the rain!

Amethyst had been planning to come to dinner Friday night, but I was still sick enough that we had to reschedule for next Friday night. I’m hoping that Joe’s in town, so that Amethyst and I can go out to a movie or something after dinner.  I feel guilty if I leave Scout alone for too long right now. It’s already to the point that if I can’t tell that he’s breathing, I shake him frantically until I wake him up. Of course, then I feel guilty for waking him up. Guilt. It’s what I do best.

Kidding. Sort of.

Anyway, I’m going to eat a couple of crackers to tame the monster in my stomach, and try to get some sleep. Tomorrow I’ve got to do all the housework I let slide while I’ve been sick this week.

Alice Cooper is singing “Feed My Frankenstein.” I love Alice Cooper. I love the Ramones. My Ramone’s music–well, all my music, really–is on the hard drive from my last laptop, which was in my bedroom when our house caught fire. It wasn’t in my bedroom the last time I was in there going through things, so I’m desperately hoping that the Mooring Co. took it as part of the things they’re going to restore. So just for future reference, when iTunes asks you if you want to back up your music, um, do it. Otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where you have a new laptop and you never moved it over from your old one, and you don’t have any of your music. (And I do have CD’s, but they are also, presumably, at the Mooring Co getting cleaned and restored. So I’m kinda hosed in the music front.)

I don’t know if it’s a side effect of the disease, or the drugs he’s taking, but Scout gets the most disgustingly stinky gas. It comes in waves. It just waved, and I’m gagging.

How’s this for a chain-of-thought post? At least I haven’t been on Ambien for years, so when I decide to blog at 2:20 a.m., it’s at least spelled correctly and has coherent sentences, even if they’re rambly.

Love to you all! Party on!

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Changin’

No, not diapers–don’t have any kids.  Clothes? Well, I tend to change those pretty frequently. At least daily, if not more often.

My mind? Heck yeah! I reserve the right to disagree with anything I have said in the past, or will say in the future. I’m always learning, and that’s how I like it.

I have definitely done a lot of changing over the past year, so if you’re like me and obsessively read people’s blog archives (ahem, Forever in Hell–honest, I’m not a stalker. I just like what you have to say.), just know that I’m not necessarily the person I was when I wrote some of these past entries. And I’m happy about that. Some things I’ve said and done in the past to try to fit in I now find cringeworthy. I actually thought about going back and deleting some things, and I may yet do that for certain posts, anyway. But except for that whole trying to fit in thing, I think I’ve been pretty honest here, and I plan to keep it that way.

That’s all. You may now return to your regularly scheduled life.

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All things must come to an end, and so, alas, does this lovely month of summer camp. Calliope, thank you for doing this. I hope you’ll make it an annual tradition.

Day 31 – What advice would you give someone who is just  starting a blog today?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShHKaVKN

Just do it!  You may find that you want to have several different blogs for different purposes. I have this one, obvs, and I have one where Izzy and I write private letters to someone in our family, and I have the honour of being one of the Quirky Girls, and then I have an anonymous blog where I feel free, because of the anonymous nature of it, to share things I don’t feel free to share with most of my family and friends.

Play around with different names before you pick a title for your blog.

Build your blogroll well and wisely–there are some blogs that you’ll want to read their entire archives, but then you’re done. There are other bloggers that you’ll feel an affinity for, and you’ll want to add those to your blogroll so you can check them out.

When people link to you, if you’re comfortable with it, show them the courtesy of linking back to them.

If you’ve got time, try to respond to the comments people leave for you.  But if you don’t have time, don’t feel guilty about it. Life is busy and crazy.  But know that you’ll get more comments if you’re able to respond to them. And if you leave comments on other people’s blogs, you’ll find that they’ll begin leaving more comments on yours.

If you get an offer to have a post or your entire blog sponsored, think hard about it. I once got an offer for $25 to link to someone’s website in one of my posts. I felt fine with that, and got a cute vegan handbag with the money. (No, I’m not still vegan, haven’t been for a while, but am moving back toward the vegetarian direction.)  But if having that sponsorship will make you feel you have to self-edit, decide whether it’s worth it. It may not be. If your primary objective in blogging is to get paid for it, fine. But if your primary objective in blogging is to have open expression, then having sponsored posts/blogs may not be right for you.

 

 

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Day 30 – What is/are the most memorable questions or reactions  you’ve gotten in regards to being a blogger?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1ShGh0HeU

I haven’t really gotten a lot of memorable questions or reactions, but I’ve seen some of the crazy searches that bring people to my blog.  Without stopping to check right now, the one that immediately comes to mind for its bizarreness is “Melanie Lynskey farts.”

Which, as I probably said before, I’m sure she does, but everyone does.

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Day 21– What names would you NEVER name a child or pet? What  name do you wish you had been named? Do you like the name of your blog?

Read more:  31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1Sh3vWUhc

Well, I’d never name a child or pet Lemuel, or Bertha, or Pilot Inspektor or Mowgli. But I blush to admit that there are plenty of names I so totally would name a child or pet.

Quadruplets? John, Paul, George & Ringo. Or for girls, Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

Triplets? Manny, Moe & Jack. Or Larry, Moe, and Curly.

A bunch of girls? Charlotte, Emily, and Anne, and their brother would be Branwell. Oh gosh that boy would hate me forever, wouldn’t he?  And if they had another sister instead of a brother, her name would be Jane.

I’ve always wanted to have a dog named Peeve, so I could refer to my pet Peeve.

I’m guessing there’s a reason the universe decided I should remain childless…..

And oddly enough, when I’m naming characters in anything I’m writing, their names are, sadly, normal, with the proviso that their names usually have a meaning that fits their personality. Not always, though. Sometimes the characters just tell me their names, and I roll with it. It does no good to argue with your characters. They always win.

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When I was a kid, I wanted to be Mary Virginia Claire instead of Virginia Lee. By the time I decided to change my name, I no longer wanted to be Mary Virginia Claire, so I became Faith. And I’m very happy with my name, thank you very much.

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My blog name isn’t particularly inspired, although I’m very fond of the name I came up with for another blog I keep anonymously. That is a very clever name, and I’m proud of myself for coming up with it.

 

 

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Day 19 – How do you (and your partner if applicable) feel about PDA? Does your husband/wife/partner know that you blog and if so are they involved?

Read more: 31 Days of Blog Juice at Creating Motherhood http://creatingmotherhood.com/2011/06/28/summer-camp/#ixzz1SYk889sd

I’m not all that crazy about PDA.  I think intimacy is a private thing, and I like to keep it that way. Of course, when I was a teenager, the concept of PDA was beyond me. I wanted to make out whenever and wherever I felt like it, and it didn’t bother me one whit if people around me were annoyed. Frankly, I couldn’t have cared less what anyone else thought.  Good thing I grew up, then. 🙂

My husband does know I blog, and I’ve never heard him say one thing or another about it. I don’t think he reads it, which is fine.  He gets onto me every now and then about the time I spend blogging and/or on Facebook, but it’s actually a very insignificant amount of time, so I let his complaints roll over me unless he gets too ornery, in which case I get pissed off.

 

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