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Archive for the ‘The Weirdness of Me’ Category

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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For years and years and years and years and years, my favourite colour was purple. No ifs, ands, or buts. Purple. Purple, purple, purple. When I was a kid I wanted a purple bedroom, but my mother refused, saying it would be too dark. Piffle. I didn’t care. I wanted a purple bedroom. 

I wanted purple hair, so in my 40s I got purple streaks in my hair. It made me happy.  I have a lovely purple amethyst cluster sitting on my desk. I have plenty of purple shirts.

And then all of a sudden something happened, and I realised my favourite colour is no longer purple. It’s red. Rich, vibrant, energetic red. I’ve been buying red and black jewelry, red and black shirts, red and black accessories for the living/dining/kitchen area of my home. Red fills me with excitement.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love purple. It’s just moved back a notch.  I wonder if the change has anything to do with all the changes I’ve been making in my life. Whatever the reason, I have been rejoicing and glorying in red.

This morning I remembered the Color Quiz and decided to take it.  Here are my results. What say you?

Your Existing Situation

Needs excitement and constant stimulation. Willingly participates in activities that are thrilling and offer adventure.

Your Stress Sources

“Needs to meet people who have the same high principals and values as herself, but finds the need unfulfilled. her need to feel dominate and superior leaves her feeling isolated and does not allow for her to give freely of herself. She would like to surrender and let go, but sees that as a weakness she must not give in to. Holding back will allow her to stand out for the crowd and earn a higher status, recognized by others as unique and important.”

Your Restrained Characteristics

Current events leave her feeling forced into compromise in order to avoid being cut off from affection or future cooperation.

Giving more than she is getting back and feels misunderstood and unappreciated. Feels she is being forced into compromising and even her close relationships leave her feeling emotionally distant.

“Believes her hopes and dreams are realistic, but needs reassurance from others. Has strict standards when looking for a partner and wants guarantees that she will not be disappointed or lose.”

Current events leave her feeling forced into compromise in order to avoid being cut off from affection or future cooperation.

 

Your Desired Objective

“If motivated, she will easily and quickly learn new skills. Is very intense person who seeks excitement and sexual stimulation. Wants others to see her as an exciting and interesting person, who is also charming and can easily influence others. Uses her charm to increase her chances of success and gain other people’s trust.”

Your Actual Problem

“Impressed by unique and one of a kind things, and by people with exceptional personalities. Tries to takes the characteristics she likes in other people and apply it to herself as well as coming across as a unique individual.”

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  1. Pour the contents of the bag onto a napkin or into a dish or a plate or something.
  2. Separate them by colour.
  3. Line them up in neat little rows, the top row being the colour that has the most M&M’s and the bottom row being the colour that has the fewest M&M’s.
  4. Eat them, two at a time, from bottom to top.
  5. If you are left with a single M&M in any given row, leave it there.
  6. If you have multiple colours with the same number of M&M’s, eat them according to which colour you like better (e.g. brown before yellow because I like yellow better).
  7. Then when you have only one M&M left in each colour, pair them up and eat them two at a time.
  8. If you have one solitary M&M left at the end of this process, throw it away.

 

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Sometimes I’m just sitting at my desk working, and an uncontrollable urge comes over me. I have to make noise. Any noise. Well, any noise with my mouth. Whistling doesn’t cut it during those urges. It probably sounds like a toddler babbling, or someone who has consumed a serious amount of mind-altering substances expounding on the universe. Or maybe someone speaking in tongues. I don’t know. I just hope the urge never overtakes me when one of the bigwigs is near my desk.

 

belarhgk;fst jfdkl ghuigopopop ghgne ksd jkla jgkasl!

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I’m a little OCD. Not to the point that I wash my hands 25 times in a row to make sure they’re really clean (and please know I’m not mocking anyone who does have it that seriously).  But, as I say, I’m a little OCD.  I have my little rituals and get physically uncomfortable when my rituals are interrupted.

Like when I go to the  Tar.get by my home. There’s a specific way I have to go through the store.  If I must, I can go in, buy the one thing I need, and leave. Not often, though. Normally I go in the door by the grocery side, get a cart, walk through the store to the electronics side. I look at the DVD’s that are on the end caps. Then I go down the aisle between the electronics side and the office supplies etc. side. Then I go up the other side of the office supplies etc. side. Then I go through the section where they have the dollar stuff. Then I look at all the handbags, scarves, wallets. Then I look at pajamas. Then I walk past the jewelry section, and down that aisle (which is clothing on the left and housewares on the right. And I walk up the next aisle, through the seasonal section, down that aisle, and then I do the grocery shopping, which means I go up and down every aisle. And then I go back across the front of the store. If my favourite checker is there, I’ll go stand in his line. Otherwise I just go to any old line and check out.

It’s awful. It’s stressy.

When I go to a restaurant, I have to sit on a certain side of the table/booth. It distresses me when I have to sit on the other side.

I have a great sister.  When we were out on Friday, I had to walk through Hobby Lobby a certain way. And when we went to lunch, I had to sit on the right side of the table. And when we went to Target, I had to walk through it my special way.  She’s kind and patient with me.  I really appreciate that.  Thank you, Izzybella!!!!!!!

 

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As a kid, I believed in the scientific method, without even knowing that’s what it was called or what it meant.

And I was also extremely curious about the world around me. (Phobia against serpents, insects, spiders, and rodents, but we’re not going there. In fact, I hope I never have to go there.)

For example, my parents taught me this little rhyme:

I eat my peas with honey; I’ve done it all my life. It makes the peas taste funny, but it keeps them on the knife.

Well, let me tell you: (a) it definitely makes the peas taste funny. In fact, they tasted downright disgusting. (b) It absolutely does NOT keep them on the knife. And that’s all I’m saying about that one.

So when they started running those commercials where the kid goes up to an owl and asks how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop and the owl licks it twice, then crunches it, and says “Three”, I decided I wanted to find out for reals.  I armed myself with a tootsie pop, some paper, and a pencil, and I made a tick mark for every lick I took. I noted how many licks it took to get the center exposed in the first little spot, and then noted how many more it took to get the entire center exposed, with no hard candy left.

Then I sent it to the Tootsie Pop company. Bastards didn’t even write me back, and they kept running that damned commercial.

Effers.

(My substitute boss brought me some Tootsie Pops, and I’m sucking on one right now. I think they taste good, but I still get pissed off every time I think of the hours spent finding out just how many licks it did take.)

 

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We had a fire drill today at work. I knew it was coming. They sent us emails telling us exactly what time it would start, where to go, what to do.  No big deal, right?

Today we were also asked to wear red, white, and blue in honour of those who lost their lives and loved ones on 9/11/01, and we all stood for a minute of silence at 9:11 this morning.  I was very moved, and felt for that minute that I was a part of something much greater, and it was a good feeling.

And then I sat down and went back to work, trying to get as much done as I could before the fire drill.  My heart started pounding a little faster, and I obsessively kept checking to make sure I had my handbag and everything I needed inside it. The ubiquitous they said we shouldn’t stop to grab our things. Well, having recently been through a fire where I didn’t grab my handbag made me determined that it, at least, was going out the door with me.

The alarm still managed to startle me when it went off, but I got my handbag, went out the door, and walked to the far end of the parking lot, where I plopped my backside on the grass and realized I was in the middle of a full-fledged anxiety attack.  It was about 2 hours, long after I was back at my desk and working, before my heart rate finally slowed to normal.

It’s been a really rough day. 

The vet said that Scout’s levels have improved somewhat, but not enough for him to be able to come home yet. So they’re continuing to flood him with fluids in the hopes that the kidney failure was because he got into something toxic, and that he can recover as much as possible. But if it is chronic kidney failure, his kidneys are (as of about 8:30 this morning) working at only 30%, which is not good.  We’re continuing to pray, of course. The thought of losing him is just not to be tolerated right now.

And as I sat to write this post, my heart rate sped up again, and I’m feeling not my best. I’m glad it’s Friday. I need a good weekend, and I need my little Scout boy to heal.

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This: I got the dang root canal started yesterday.  Dr. W. got me good and numbed, so I only felt a very little pain just a couple of times.  And it took hours for the numb to wear off, although the pain in the tooth started while the rest of my face was still so numb that I was drooling.  Last night was unpleasant, to say the least. I made scrambled eggs and toast for dinner (my smaller tummy ate a little egg and half a piece of toast), and I will confess to splurging on a slice of carrot cake, although I won’t be doing that again. I have to go back in a week or so so that they can make sure all of the infection is completely gone, and then he’ll finish it.  I bought the pilot episode for the Stargate series, so I put that on last night to try to take my mind off the misery.  Joe looked at me, and wanted to know if I was eating too much.  I said no, and asked why he thought that.  Apparently in my lack of comfort, I was kicking back and letting it all hang out.  And when I’m letting it all hang out, I resemble Buddha. So I guess I had that going on last night in addition to the pain in my mouth.

That: I was dreaming last night that in the course of 5 or 10 minutes, I ate all of the icing, the filling, and the top layer of a layer cake. Is it because I felt guilty over the slice of carrot cake I had last night? Because trust me when I tell you there is no way I could eat more than a smallish piece of cake, much less an entire layer and a gallon of frosting. And speaking of frosting, in the dream I commented to myself that I’d have been better off buying a can of frosting and eating it. Not only that, but in the dream I remember looking at all of the cakes, and almost picking up a small cake, but then bought the full size layer cake. Cuh-razy, no?

The Other: I’m wearing a dress today. I never wear dresses to work, and for good reason–our dress code is business casual, with emphasis on the casual. But I think my jeggings are in the wash, and the jeans I wore yesterday are so baggy they are having trouble staying up, and I got a really cute new dress so I figured what the hey.  Well, I always used to wear dresses that hit mid-shin, and this one is about knee-length. It’s a faux wrap dress, with shirring across the front, that makes me look as if I have a figure. I like that. And with Catherine making it acceptable once more to wear nylons, my legs look better than if I were going bare-legged. Which I wouldn’t, because my legs are white, white, white. I mean glow-in-the-dark white. White. Ghostly white. Pale, in fact, beyond the pale. Got it? Okay.  I’m also wearing a pair of heels I bought at Payless because all of my lovely gorgeous sexy heels are at the house and I haven’t been permitted yet to remove them, and don’t know if I will. So I’m feeling rather self conscious today. Every time I get up to go to the restroom or the break room for ice, I am vividly aware of my high heels and bare (except for nylons) legs. Honestly–I couldn’t tell you the last time I wore a dress this short. Maybe I was 12 or 13? It’s been a while. So I’ve got legs. And they’re rather shapely, despite being far larger than I want them to be. 

So there you have it. This, that, and the other (which is what my mom always said when we were out running errands when I was a kid, unless she said we were going hither, thither, and yon.  My mom is a wee titch poetic.)

You may now return to your regularly scheduled day. I hope it’s a good one.

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It is absolutely possible to be both insanely busy and terribly bored at the same time. 

I know this first-hand because I’m engaged in a long task that keeps me very busy, but it doesn’t really have to engage my brain. So I’m bored. And busy.

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

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Up until last night, apparently I was just so completely exhausted that I don’t remember dreaming at all.  I don’t mind that.

Yesterday afternoon, when Joe got back to our hotel room, he brought a file box full of things he’d found in our guest room in the closet. Obviously I missed it when I was trying to get all of the personal papers out of there.  So I went through it last night and had a shredder party. One of the things in the box was a paper I’d written about Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, and it was a fine paper, too, I might add. (Pride compels me to admit that if I were writing that paper today, it would be much better.)

So in my dreams I was back at university, and there was a fire. No one believed me when I was trying to get people out of the building, and the exterior of the building looked just fine. Nonetheless, there was a fire.  And it destroyed a lot of things.

As I recount the dream, it sounds so, I don’t know, banal? But the dreaming was terrifying. Not fun. Not fun one little bit.

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