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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12/31/08 The Fat Lady Has Sung!

Goodbye 2008! It’s fading fast and the fat lady WILL sing tonight…this fat lady that is. It’s sooooo over! I have bigger and better plans for 2009 so I’m welcoming it in with style. My sister (#3 out of the 5 of us) called and canceled their trip here today from Ohio because she’s sick, so I’m a little down. My kids were all so looking forward to them coming. They have four boys similar in ages to my kids so they’ve grown up together and are great friends. We love having family for New Years. We even had all 16 (all but my oldest sister and her gang- too far) to our house for the Millenium for a slumber party…great fun! Anyway, we took the kids to a movie this afternoon ('Benjamin Buttons') and now we’re getting ready to party. I helped DD get ready for ‘Plan B’ and she just left with the boyfriend for Pittsburgh in her skinny red party dress. DS1 has to work for awhile (restaurant server).

Over the years, DH and I have done it all…parties, clubs, but when the kids were little we mostly stayed home or had neighbor parties. If you’ve been following my life at all you won’t be surprised to hear I had an evil New Year’s plan. I went around the house in the afternoon and turned all the clocks ahead two hours. It was great…we counted down with the kids until midnight and celebrated the whole shebang; party hats, noise makers, party poppers with confetti…it was fun. Of course, my neighbors probably thought we were crazy banging pans on our front porch at 10:00pm, but the kids were so happy they were able to stay awake until the New Year (well, sort of), and we had a peaceful hour or so after they went to bed to ring in the New Year. This went on WAY more years than we even hoped it would…then one fine year my oldest (DD) heard about the “ball drop” from someone at school…darn that TV…foiled again! I’ve since confessed to my evil plan, and the kids think it’s hilarious (well, sort of).

So now I’m all dolled up with nowhere to go (well we were invited to a neighbor party, so not quite)…but it’s OK…I’ve got my party hat on and party poppers ready to go…we’re ringing in this New Year in style…the fat lady is singing tonight…she’s going DOWN in 2009! Happy New Year all!

"Auld Lang Syne" (times gone by)

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ?

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?


CHORUS:

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,

we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

12/30/08 Mamma Mia!

Today was DD and my ‘Chick Flick’ day (now that my house is temporarily no longer a 'Boys Club'). It was topped off by watching ‘Mamma Mia’, which I've been looking forward to since seeing the show downtown. We were singing and dancing until DS2 decided to see what was going on and promptly announced “James Bond can’t sing a lick!” “He sounds worse than Dad trying to sing!” Short pause here…DH NEVER sings…OK, I’ve heard him sing maybe 6x EVER…he knows the words to exactly ONE song…an upbeat little fraternity song ditty he had to learn in order to survive Hell Week…I swear he couldn’t make it through ‘Happy Birthday’ to save his life…He’s one of the smartest people I know; loves music; has a stack of his favorite CD’s in his car, but he can’t remember the words to anything…No, I don’t get this as my brain isn’t wired that way and neither are any of my childrens…I used to sing with them every day since they were babies to/from my work and their daycare across the street…45 min. drive each way, minimum…I'd put the cassette in and 'Hippopotomus Rock’ was the one we would crank up and those kiddie car seats would be rocking side to side in the back seat…So DS2 saying this was significant…and he was right…James Bond…not so great a singer…Meryl Streep either actually…but that didn’t stop us from participating in the next song…it’s one of the things DD and I have in common our love of music and dance…and singing at the top of our lungs…badly…I didn’t say we sing well, but that doesn’t stop us (and no, Abba wasn't ever my favorite either, but this was too fun)…sing it with me…
Now add your best disco moves…

You are the dancing queen
Young and sweet
Only seventeen
Dancing queen
Feel the beat from the tambourine
You can dance
You can jive
Having the time of your life
See that girl
Watch that scene
Diggin' the dancing queen

Monday, December 29, 2008

12/29/08 It looks like someone threw up ornaments on our tree!

Kids say the darndest things…wasn’t that Art Linkletter’s show? I’ve been ‘waxing nostalgic’ here over all the holiday traditions and reminiscing over stories from holidays past in many of my blogs lately and today's no exception. As my DD and I were standing in the foyer today looking at the huge tree she began pointing out some of her favorite ornaments from years past. What a lovely moment we were having as once again we fondly remembered stories that went with each ornament, the giver, the funny story behind it, or why it had special meaning. Then she turns to me with a smile and says “Mom, it looks like someone threw up ornaments on our tree!”…I laughed and said “What does that mean?” “Well, most people have a tree that has a theme or something that ties it all together.” she continued “You need another tree or something; there’s SO MANY ornaments.” I gave this some thought…Well, I have some things that tie it together; the dried baby’s breath that looks like snow, the huge bow at the top with ribbons cascading down and all the little bows, the red candles clipped to the branch ends and there are those popcorn strings we strung so many years ago and still use. Then I thought about other trees…I have a neighbor who has a beautiful tree with nothing but Hallmark ornaments she’s collected for years, and another neighbor with matching balls that are color coordinated to her room decorating. I do have that tiny kitchen tool tree on my counter, and DH has his collection of nothing but wooden Steinbach German ornaments on his skinny tree in the Family Room, but she’s right…our huge fresh-cut tree is packed full with so many ornaments of all shapes and themes. I make ornaments out of everything. There’s the gods-eye made with sticks and multi-colored yarn that I made when I was at Girl Scout Camp one summer and the tiny red license plate with DH's name that used to hang from the seat of his very first bicycle. There’s the favorite bunny pacifier holder that was always pinned to my DS2’s shirt and the pink sparkly barrette that DD bought me at her Secret Santa shop at school one year. There are the little baubles we picked up in each of the countries at EPCOT and something from every other family trip we’ve been on. Of course there are all the ornaments we’ve made or bought for each other over the years. Yes, my tree is just like my house and its many collections…I explained to her it does have a theme…memories…and lots of them.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27, 2008

12/27/08 It's a Wonderful Life!

Like I said, Christmas was wonderful…so I’ll warn you what’s to follow is all that “It’s a Wonderful Life” stuff. I’d like to say everyday around here is like that, but you already know it’s not, so I’ll just dwell on this one very special day…actually, it wasn’t even an entire day of bliss as we all didn’t get enough sleep so we were all getting a little crabby by the time we went to bed, but let’s just pretend and say it was a whole wonderful day. We’d stayed up playing board games with the kids until almost midnight on Christmas Eve, so everyone slept in a little (not long enough, like I said). We got started with cutting the stair ribbon and finding the pickle ornament (see blog here). We opened the gifts one by one and took a break midway for breakfast. The kids had fun with our “Thanks for the Memories” gifts and we had a lot of laughs over them (although DS1 guessed he’d be getting a piece of the car). DD got lots of new work clothes, which she loved, since she’s graduating in Spring (and we’re all saying prayers that in this economy she’ll still be able to find her dream job, or at least A job). I spent about 2 weeks on eBay buying new items for her, so I was able to get a lot of great brands (it’s all about the brand names, especially when you’re 21) and stretch the budget. DS1 got a lot of college room gear and PennState apparel (so he can fully participate in the stadium ‘white outs') for his new home next fall; once again “WE ARE…”!! DS2 got some toys, clothes (since he informed us this year he’s tired of only hand-me-downs) and lots of guitar accessories. When they thought it was over and we’d cleaned up, I sent one of the kids to the basement fridge to get some milk. We had each of their big gifts, a Santa gift (like DS2 guitar amp…yes, we’re nuts…it’s SO loud), sitting out unwrapped in the basement that they happened upon as a surprise.

It wasn’t the “stuff” but the special moments I’ll remember most. It’s so nice just celebrating with our family now (we used to always travel to grandparents, which was great fun, but way more stressful for the parents) as you can really savor the experience (One of my neighbors came to borrow an ingredient for baking about mid-day and she looked as frazzled as I used to with her house full of company…she must have said three times how nice it was for me just to be celebrating with my family and how much she wanted to do just that. Poor thing, I gave her an extra hug as she left…I’ve been there). It’s nice to see my teens thanking and hugging each other. The kids really put a lot of thought into their gifts this year and I love to watch their faces as they gave their gifts and watched the person open them. My DD ordered some really unique items online that fit everyone’s interests perfectly. She said there’s online sites where you can put in people’s interests and it brings up gift suggestions from lots of shops. I guess she thinks my hobby is drinking LOL. She ordered a special frame for me that fits rows of wine corks that she glued in to make a cork board (I had a big bowl of them sitting on the bar in the basement…and it was 8 years worth of corks, I swear!).

Dinner was wonderful. Everyone pitched in and we had the whole turkey and stuffing dinner. The kids got into a whole discussion about how nice the dining room is, especially with all the decorations (Who ARE these kids?). I about fell out of my chair…it was enjoyable for me to listen to them go on and on, as we don’t eat in their often, but I really try to make it special at Christmas. My MIL gave me her old Christmas china last year (since I’m such a Christmas nut) and I received some serving pieces this year so it was all laid out on a shiny gold tablecloth. I painted above the wainscoting a deep red and we had the chandelier dimmed and candles going everywhere with gold and red ornaments and glass bead garlands sparkling everywhere. But again, WHO ARE THESE KIDS that they would even notice the dinner, let alone the room their eating it in?

As we finally fell into bed, even DH who isn’t sappy or sentimental in the least, commented on those special moments. Now that our youngest is 13 and officially a teen, I thought some of the ‘kid’ magic would go out of Christmas. But it’s a different kind of Christmas and a different magic now. Each of our ‘teens’ is transforming into their own person, an adult, and it’s a wonderful and magical thing to see that happen.

Friday, December 26, 2008

12/26/08 It's the Thought that Counts!

My Christmas was great and I hope yours was too (or whatever holiday you’ve been/are celebrating)! Today is our "Jammie Day" playing games and staying in jammies as late as you want. I’ve got so many wonderful new memories and more insights about the role of food in my life, but I thought today I’d share my Christmas Eve. That’s the night we exchanged ornaments with each other. Poor DH! I know he feels such pressure to get just the right ornament for me as he knows what a Christmas nut I am. I think he feels more pressure for this little gift each year than any other and I’ll admit I probably add to that pressure since I am so sentimental about my ornaments and put so much thought into this tradition. It’s the only gift we all exchange on Christmas Eve so all eyes are on the ornaments. I started the exchange by giving out the ones I’ve told you about already (see my 11/19/08 blog “Inspiration in Skinny Photos” here) …the snowglobes with photos and another photo ornament each. They had a laugh over the photos I chose…my DD even noticed that the photo of me was a great one and she commented on how nice I looked (skinny honey, the word is skinny)…and then I gave out several Disneyland Paris ones from our trip in May… I even had Mickey head glass ones that I personalized myself with their names/year and the DLP logo. I also gave DH some wooden German Steinbach ornaments (he grew up on an Army base in Germany so he has a small tree full of them). The kids gave me some beautiful ones they handmade that I’ll treasure. Then I opened mine from DH…it’s PERFECT…it relates to something I collect (old kitchen tools) and I have a little tree that sits on the end of my kitchen counter that it will be perfect on…he told me he spent months on eBay trying to get this one before he finally did.

The only problem? He gave me the same ornament two years ago. No, I didn’t tell him...and I thought I kept a poker face as I thanked him profusely, but he asked if I already had it…I think he guessed when he saw the kid's faces. It’s already hanging at the top of my kitchen tree and the kids see it every day as they sometimes eat at the counter. Poor guy, I felt so bad for him! I kept telling him how perfect it was and how much I appreciated the thought, but I couldn’t console him…I tried reminding him how stressed out we’ve both been and how many things I’ve forgotten lately, but he was sooooo disappointed. I then thought about my “ace in the hole” (my mistake) and was hoping that would make him feel better.

Remember my blog about my DD’s nativity set (see my 12/17/08 blog “I Believe in Santa” here)? Well, what I didn’t tell you then is that baby Jesus was the only thing missing from the set when she received it (who knows why). My Mom had bought her a lovely new replacement Jesus many years ago, but you could instantly tell it didn’t go with the original set (even with the pink light shining on him)…made of different materials and especially the scale. Baby Jesus was just a little bit too large for the rest of the set. This year I made it my mission to find the right replacement. The entire set, or individual pieces rarely comes up on eBay, but I kept my eyes peeled. I watched a few sets go by for over a hundred dollars (remember, this set was an antique). Then I finally found one in really bad shape with the stable and a few broken sheep, but low and behold…a baby Jesus I recognized him instantly from my Mom’s set. I sent emails back and forth with the seller several times making sure he was in good shape and explaining why I was so interested in just the baby Jesus. Well she wouldn’t sell or mail JUST him, fair enough, I’d have to pay for the whole stable, broken sheep and all. I won and paid way more than I wanted to, but I felt I’d never get another chance like this. It arrived and baby Jesus was in great shape. He was still wired down to a bundle of glued together straw under him for his cradle.

So, back to this point in our Christmas Eve…I now suggested we do our annual ceremonial placement of baby Jesus in the manger (see 12/6/08 "Traditions..." blog here). I asked whose turn it was to carry him in (hoping it was my DD), but DS1 said it was his turn, so I showed him where baby Jesus was hidden. We sang ‘Silent Night’ as DS1 placed him and at the end of the song my DD looks at him and says… “Hey, that’s not my baby Jesus?” “I know.” I said smiling. “I wanted to surprise you with the right replacement one and after a year of looking I finally found him on eBay.” Then the laughter begins… “He’s HUGE!” they all shout at once (my DD is crying with laughter at this point). Yep, I had to explain I bought him not even thinking that an antique set might have had different scaled sets so I asked the seller about everything but his size. Baby Jesus is as big as Mary...maybe bigger...he's HUGE! Even DH was laughing now…I hope he sees EVERYONE makes mistakes and it’s really the thought that counts.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/24/08 Twas the Night Before Christmas...

I’ve finished all the baking…yes, I know…Me? Baking?...yes, I told you all about my baking disasters here, but just because I like to get creative, that doesn’t mean I can’t follow a recipe. I even made my Mom’s famous “Teacher’s Pet” apple coffee cake for Christmas morning…so moist and yummy! The table is already set complete with Christmas crackers. I’m getting ready to cut up the three loaves of bread so it can dry overnight for my sage stuffing that goes in the turkey. If I’m feeling good about the cooking then all is well in the world (since we all know what a great cook I am…hee hee)!

My youngest and I have been tracking Santa in 3D on Google Earth/Norad…see how far I’ve come this year with technology! Right now Santa is over Ile de la Possession… ‘Possession’? That’s appropriate for Santa bringing new possessions…ha ha! Had to look this place up…FYI…it’s a small island that’s part of the Crozet Islands archipelago in the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean. “The island itself is very small, and features such memorable locations as Mount Mischief, the Jules Verne Mountains, the Moby Dick River, and the Lac Perdu (Lost Lake), which flows out to sea via the River Styx!” See…we’re tracking Santa and learning geography all at once!

Boy that Santa moves fast…good thing he’s got Rudolph leading the way tonight as we’re having a horrible rainstorm here. All that snow we’ve had since early fall and now no snow for Christmas…ahh well. We’re putting another log on the fire…time for a hot spiced cider! Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!

12/23/08 ...and the children were nestled all snug in their beds.

I’ve collapsed into the recliner…for the moment. We’ve finished the shopping, the wrapping, and most of the baking. We held our annual “Poltergeist Feast”…let me explain, one year over Christmas break we made a huge Chinese meal which involves all of us chopping side by side and production line wrapping egg rolls and lots of wok cooking..well, the original “Poltergeist” movie just happened to be playing on TV that year. Ever since then my DD has insisted this become a Christmas break tradition complete with watching “Poltergeist” (really weird I know…can you tell my kids love traditions?). My DD and I even had time to make a few extra ornaments for our exchange tomorrow as we watched “White Christmas”. Let me just say here, it’s nice to have another girl in the house who appreciates a great old musical…I’ve been in this “boys club” for too long. Shhhh don’t tell…DD and I have secretly conspired to hit the Redbox over break for all the ‘chick flicks’ I’ve been waiting to see. Seven layer bars are now in the oven and my Fab 4 are playing Sequence (I’m sitting this one out as it’s a team game, but I’m up for Trivial Pursuit next). It’s nice to have everyone home. I’m starting to realize that we may not have too many of these years left with just our gang, so I’m trying to appreciate it all the more now. Happy Holidays all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12/22/08 I'm Making a List, I'm Checking it Twice...

I’m not ready for Christmas; OK I've admitted it. Every year I say I’m going to get it done early so I can just enjoy it…and every year I’m running around like one of Santa’s elves with his bum on fire. Thank goodness we have one of those school systems that’s screwed up (their idea of Spring Break is a long weekend) and the boys are still in school through tomorrow-half day. We picked DD up from college yesterday and she spent most of the day at two different Dr.’s appointments. I think she has about five more to go before the break is over. DH (took off all week) and I spent the day taking DH's car in to get fixed (again) and then we wrapped presents. It’s quite a production actually. You know me, I have a huge list of all the presents we’ve bought (on a spreadsheet of course). My system is all about equality and fairness. When I’m gone, my kids will be able to say many things about me (all wonderful I'm sure), but I will have no regrets about being fair. I figure it out to within a dollar of each other, and we wrap the exact same amount of presents for each kid. Santa even brings the same number of gifts and the same amount in each stocking. Of course this means wrapping several items together for some kids and it’s quite a mathematical problem (and my kids say they’ll never use algebra again). All I can say is I’m glad I only have three kids or my head would explode! We’re only half-way through the ‘big wrap’ so we’ll have to move double-time tonight and tomorrow. So I’m off to get busy before... ‘Santa Claus is coming to town!’

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12/21/08 The Price of Beauty

It’s the wee hours of the morning and I was reminded of this incident as I completed my now-weekly ritual. Since I’m on the path of turning half a century soon, and you all now know that not much embarrasses me, I thought I’d share another thing that’s so special about being 49 ½. Hairs start growing on your body in places it never did before. No, really! I looked in the mirror one day and saw a hair growing out of my chin…AHHHH! Then, in a few months I noticed I was starting to get a few whiskers over my upper lip….DOUBLE AHHHH! Call me lucky; my dark haired youngest sister says she’s had this problem for years, but being a natural blonde (probably more like natural gray now, but I’m never finding out!) I’ve apparently been blessed to avoid this up until now (I don’t feel blessed). I’m blaming this all on the one month I tried hormone replacement therapy this year…estrogen I get, but doesn’t testosterone make boys go into puberty=facial hair? The hot flashes are way easier to deal with than boy puberty! Anyway, I sought advice from everyone and this is what I got; bleach (they’re already blonde), pluck (they come back thicker), wax (I’ve yet to brave this with my legs even), or hair remover…OK, that doesn’t sound SO bad? So off to the store I went.

Now I have to preface this next part by telling you I have VERY sensitive skin. My neck turns red every time I’ve gotten my hair colored or permed. I have the kind of skin you can write your name on (or whatever else you please) and it will show up. So do I listen to the part on the box where it tells you to do a test patch…HECK NO! I’m almost half a century…I’m wise…I don’t read directions…except the part that tells you the max time to leave it on…8 min.? Well, this is a BIG problem…a few more minutes couldn’t hurt, so I set the time for 10 min. It’s a little bottle of cream and the lid has a built in brush…this is a piece of cake…just like nail polish right? I brush it on my face in the offending areas…the directions say to lay it on thickly (OK, I read a little more of the directions) so I keep brushing. It now looks like I got into the canned frosting in a big way.

After a few minutes I realized that I should have brushed more carefully…you would never know I have an Art Ed degree. My lips are now on fire where I ‘colored outside the lines’. So I ran to get a cold wet cloth (sounds good right?) to try and wipe it off my lips. Oww! I’ve now succeeded in smearing it on every part of my lips…note: wet cloth does not work…now I’m jumping up and down…Oww, Oww! Tissues…where are the tissues?....Ahhh…that’s better…lips are still burning a little, and they’re starting to swell, but the fire is out. A few more minutes pass and now my face is on fire! Beauty hurts though right? I tough it out…Oww, Oww, Oww! Can’t…take it…any…longer! Quick, what did it say? Rinse? Wipe off? Who knows? Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww! I pretty much stick the lower half of my face under the sink while I’m wildly wiping it with a tissue in one hand and a washcloth in the other. What the #%!# is this stuff, rubber cement? After 10 min. of rinsing and wiping I finally realize it’s off…it’s just my skin that’s still on fire! I run downstairs for some ice and after about 20 min. with a cold compress I decide to take a look. OK, you know when you kiss a guy whose got really bad beard stubble…nope, that’s not it…let me start again…you know when you put red lipstick on, but you totally miss your lips? That pretty much describes my face…oh, now add Angelina Jolie’s lips…on fire! But my skin is now as smooth and hair free as a baby’s behind!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

12/20/08 Physical; Bring a Copy

It sucks to be 49 ½, especially when you’re obese. So today I thought I’d recant my fall physical…as that sums it up. I remember my yearly physicals up until about 10 years ago I never had ANYTHING to complain about. After that my strategy soon became; pick the two most important issues and focus on them with the PCP. This year DH insisted I make a list…how sad is that, I have a LIST! DH gave me the lecture about how YOU don’t know what is related…give THEM all the info. and let THEM decide what’s important (can you tell his dad is a Dr?). This wasn’t my style…I’m not a complainer (I know, I get it all out here) but I typed up my list (I’m a little OCD) of about 6 or 7 things and off I went. I should mention here that this was the visit this fall that I also decided to ask about the LAP-BAND for the first time.

I was a little nervous about my “list” as I sat waiting on the beloved crinkly paper on the exam table…I SWEAR they make it extra noisy just to make you more nervous. In walks a kid who could have been my son. OK, NOT my usual Dr.! He explains he’s an intern and would be doing my initial exam and then the Dr. would be in. Poor kid, this was NOT to be his day. I started into my list…and he’d ask me a few questions as I went along…then I forgot where I was, so I paused to actually go get out my type written list…BIG MISTAKE…his face got more flushed than mine (and I think I need to add rosacea to my list) and I SWEAR his teenage acne was breaking out as I spoke. I tried to add a little humor saying my DH made me make a list because I was falling apart and needed a tune up…no smile, no laughter…just looked more frightened…OK then…on we went. I made it through to the end with a few raised eyebrows…I’m pretty sure my face was actually on fire at this point. So right about now I’m feeling like he must think I’m a hypochondriac or worse yet…what’s that thing people have when they want medical attention…munchausens? The LAST think I want is attention about all my health problems.

Dear gawd, now he’s trying to recap my list and I suddenly realize he hasn’t taken down a single note. He’s about on number 4 on my list when his memory fails…I toyed with the idea of just handing him my list, but then I remember he’s not a writer…do I dare suggest he write it down…I think not, he’s flustered enough. It’s like watching one of my kids practicing for speech class at school…I want to yell “Where are your index cards?” He tries reciting my list about 3 more times unsuccessfully (I'm starting to get a almost 50 year old hot flash and may go nuclear any minute) when we hear a knock at the door. It’s my regular Dr. “Are you about done it there?”…Panic forms on the poor interns face. He’s frozen in fear, he opens his mouth but nothing comes out. I shout… “Oh, sorry Dr. ____, I’m keeping him tied up with my big list of problems…ha, ha…we’re almost done!” Relief flows back into the intern’s face. Loooong pause, then he finds new strength and says “What issues are the biggest problems that you would like us to focus on today?” OK, good boy, you may make a good Dr. yet…now we’re getting somewhere…I picked my “big 2” as always and recited back the details…off he went to get the Dr.

In they came and he recited my “big 2” perfectly…I did eventually get in the rest of my “list” as if I’d just remembered them…my intern looked on gratefully. It went smoothly…I even got a phone number of a LAP-BAND surgeon from them even though I’m “…obese but not that heavy and you’re not a metabolic nightmare yet, but you can look into it if you want”. Did I not just spend the last hour giving you my “list” of reasons why I need this? All is well…I had my surgeon’s phone number and my intern may not drop out of medical school, just yet. I think schools need to issue pens with all those medical books. Just wait until he sees my list at my 50 yr. old physical...next time I'll bring a copy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

12/19/08 Consult Rescheduled >:-(

I just got a call from the surgeon’s office. I thought it was their insurance expert FINALLY calling me back. I started off with “Thanks for calling me back!” Then I get “Thanks? You might not want to thank me yet…I have to reschedule your appointment.” #@%& (in my head) are you kidding me??! DH was off for the holiday and set to go with me on Dec. 23. I had all my questions ready to go. I was SO HAPPY that this would be done right before Christmas…a nice little present for me. At first she tried to put me off until Feb…not happening. Now it’s on Jan. 13th at noon, so who knows if DH can make it or not. I’m depressed…I know, that’s life. Many people don’t get to see their surgeon until that point anyway (half-way through 6 mo. diet). I’m still bummed…OK, upside-pity party time, join me…time to open that wine early tonight (maybe a lovely fruit martini even)…now that I’ve really got something to whine about! Who's joining me?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

12/18/08 Jury Duty

This year DH and I were both called to jury duty. I was thinking about this yesterday as I sat in the hospital waiting room without DH (for a procedure DS2 was having)…he was on jury duty- Juror #12 (Last one picked)…as DS2 put it “Leaving me in my time of need!” (funny boy). I’d been called to duty three times before in other cities but I was always traveling for work and no one could take my place, so work always wrote me a note to get me out of it…sweet relief to be honest. But now I’m home, not working, no excuse…I wasn’t sure what I thought about that…I’m pretty patriotic…I can’t make it through 3 lines of “The Star Spangled Banner” without tearing up…I always call my Dad and thank him a on Veteran’s Day…I planned a day in Normandy with a private guide when we took the family to Paris…heck I even rented every Normandy movie ever made and we had Tuesday movie nights with the kids for months in preparation for our trip. So I know it’s my civic duty, but I was dreading this. Maybe I’ve gotten cynical in my almost half-century of life, but I’ve become one of those “don’t have much faith in our judicial system” people. It’s probably all those real court room cases that are on TV these days…so I’ll blame the media for my newfound knowledge of how the judicial system doesn’t always work. Two words come to mind O.J., or is that one bad word? I see people that get off on loop holes and it makes me angry…especially when children are the victims. I’m a pretty tolerant person; I’ve forgiven some pretty serious wrongs in my life especially when the forgiveness is earned…in fact those that know me would say I’m a kind, never-hurt-someone’s-feelings-let-alone-a-fly-on-their-head person. So I don’t like that I’ve gotten to this point, but if someone I loved were harmed by another, I think I would be very tempted to take justice into my own hands. I’m not so sure I would “trust the system”, but maybe, just maybe...now I would give it a chance.

You see I spent a day on Jury Duty…Jury Selection to be exact. I dressed nicely and got there early. I think I was hoping that then I’d be first to be interviewed and I could just tell them that I have no faith in their silly system and they’d let me go home…hey, I look nice, I would have time now to go window shopping at that fancy new boutique strip mall I’ve been dying to see. So 150 of us packed into a tight chairs-in-rows-room. After an hour and a half of getting to know my neighbors the judge finally came in and told us that 6 of the 8 cases just settled. Then they started to call names and assign them numbers and I soon caught on to the fact that it didn’t matter that I came early. I watched as 50 people left the room never to be seen again and I was pissed they didn’t pick me…what’s wrong with me? Eventually I let the slight go (forgiving remember) and I settled into my oh-so-comfy-NOT stacking chair with a good book. Lunch break we were released and then all us “losers” came back for round two. Another hour and a half and they started calling names again…44, 45, 46…Yeah me…juror number 47! We get to the courtroom and I won’t bore you with all the details, but only the first 12 + 2 alternates are THE jurors for the case unless they get dismissed. The judge is patient and informative and then starts the “Game Show” of “Eliminate the Jurors”! Round 1: “Raise your hand if you know anyone involved in this case.”…hand raised, they bring the sweet old man-juror #3 up and we all hear him proudly describe to the judge how he has known one of the lawyers since he was a little boy…good friends with his dad even…whispers between them…he waddles back with his cane towards us as the judge yells to him “Don’t get too comfortable”…more quick whispers…and before he can sit down… “Juror #3 is dismissed!” He looked startled, then crushed…I felt for him. We all moved up one seat, and more importantly one number. Well, a million more questions and 5 more dismissals and we were done…I was up to being Juror #41…no where NEAR even being asked a question. I was exasperated by then…it’s late afternoon, my bum was sore from sitting in hard court-house chairs all day and they didn’t even need me!

Then the judge said something that I’ll always remember….It was a long impromptu talk about the importance of serving and our coming today…yadda, yadda, yadda...and then she said “God forbid you ever find yourself or someone you love in court (on either side), wouldn’t you want the best people to be there to sit on your jury?” Something about that rang true to me. So yesterday instead of cursing the judicial system for making DH miss his son’s hospital visit…I did what I always do... especially when it’s earned…I forgave them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12/17/08 I Believe in Santa!

I’m in need of a good uplifting story today, so I thought I’d tell one. It’s my very favorite Christmas story so hang in there with me. When we were first starting out we didn’t have much but we tried to make the holidays special. The kids always wrote their letters to Santa well in advance and we always let them ask Santa for 3 wishes (thus giving us a clue what they wanted and limiting them at the same time). We reinforced how important this decision was and that they had to chose carefully because children only got to send one letter per year (Santa is busy after all). So the kids always fretted for weeks before deciding. This always involved hours of “test driving” in the toy store, circling items in ads, and paying more attention to the toy commercials then the cartoons on Saturday mornings (Remember when cartoons were on Saturdays only? No?…I’m aging myself). This was always particularly hard for my DD…choosing between many things you want has always been hard for her. Just go clothes shopping with her sometime…after a few hours on the bench in the fitting room you’ll know what I mean. When my oldest (DD) was about 5 she had a particularly hard time choosing that year. She finally sent off her letter to Santa and we were set. We bought our presents, wrapped them all up, and loaded them in the car.

We used to take turns traveling to each set of Grandparents every other year and that year was my parent’s turn. My Dad has been “playing Santa” since I was a baby and he has always done an awesome job! I remember sitting in my grandparent’s house with all my cousins and hearing Santa’s bells and then seeing his face coming through the snow toward their big picture window…I thought my heart was going to burst with excitement! We each took a turn on Santa’s lap to whisper our wishes into his ear and he always had candy canes to give out. We’d sing him our best Christmas carols and then wave to him from the window as his sleigh-bells slowly faded away. I swear I could hear the reindeer on the roof! I was wonderful…up until the year that my cousin whispered in my ear who Santa really was and I burst out in tears (my Mom had to rush me to the bedroom before I traumatized all the other cousins). Sorry, back to the story…

So this was one of those wonderful Christmas’ at my parent’s home now and there was Santa in their window. I thought my DD was going to die of excitement. It was finally her turn on Santa’s lap and he asked her what she wanted for Christmas…we’d been practicing this with her for weeks…she could rattle off those 3 wishes like nobody’s business…so cameras and camcorders blazing we waited for her reply…I knew her well…no whispers in Santa’s ear like the shy kids…I knew she’d list them loud and proud…a pause…then she thoughtfully looks at her grandparent’s mantle points to it and says “I want a manger just like Oma's (Grandma’s) only I want a PINK light in mine.” WHAT’S THIS???!!! WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 3 WISHES WE’D BEEN PRACTICING FOR A MONTH??? Well Santa must have seen the surprise in my face because he promptly asked “Well, what other things do you want Santa to bring you?” “That’s all Santa…that’s all I want.” she says matter-of-factly and she wouldn’t budge. You’d have to know my DD to understand this…this was NOT one of those spur of the moment decision that kids make just because they can’t think of what else to say…oh NO…she had obviously given this a lot of thought. She’s one of those kids whom other people, from the age of about 2, have been telling me that she’s a kid who’s going to get what she wants out of life…she’s bright, precocious, outgoing, likable, adventurous, is always the life of the party, loves attention, and can smooth talk the pants off anyone. The manger my mother puts on her mantle every year is a beautiful antique one with 14 figures and animals. It’s from Italy, an old one from about 1920, with a yellow light in it (with a fabric covered cord that will probably cause a fire some day) and it was given to them by my father’s parents. The kids all love it because every year (I told you this story in my “Traditions” blog) on Christmas Eve a child gets chosen to carry in baby Jesus to place in the manger while we all hold candles and sing “Silent Night”. My DD loved having her turn to do this. OK…now what’s a parent to do? It’s Christmas Eve and no stores are open to look for a manger even if we wanted to. What could we do? We spent Christmas Eve assembling the kitchen set she’d asked for and said a prayer that she’d love it.

Christmas morning dawns and the cousins arrive. Santa always wraps all his presents in plain Red and Green paper…except each child’s big gift which is left unwrapped. We let the kids come into the family room and my DD ran right to her kitchen set with squeals of delight…all was well and I breathed a sigh of relief. We start the “great unwrapping” with Opa (Grandpa) handing out gifts one at a time. A few presents into it my DD gets a red gift box from Santa that I didn’t recognize, but sometimes the grandparents do that. She opens the box and screams with delight….she starts to jump up and down pointing and can hardly breath! It’s a manger set…identical to Oma’s…and yes, it has a big pink light in it. I look at the box…then I look at the mantle…double-take…I check again…yep, Oma’s manger is still there, yellow light and all. It’s a Christmas miracle! I start bawling and saying “I believe in Santa!!...and Christmas miracles!!” At this point I see my middle sister in tears laughing and crying with me. Pretty soon we’re all laughing and crying. I later find out that my Grandparents had originally bought two identical manger sets…they’d given one set to my parents and one to my father’s brother and his wife (my aunt). My Aunt had passed the manger on to my sister (her Goddaughter). Long story short…my sister already had a manger set so she’d never put it out…it had been down her basement for years…waiting for it’s moment…all she had to do was switch out a big pink bulb from my parents Christmas tree for the yellow one!

The manger set now adorns my mantle every year (until my DD gets a home of her own)…and yes, everyone who sees it curiously asks about the big pink light so I have to tell the story (it does kind of make the crèche look like a brothel…but I love the pink light)…and I still believe in Santa!

Monday, December 15, 2008

12/15/08 Glimmer of Hope

Yesterday-
I hesitate to share much about my kids here, except the good stuff. So lest you think I have the “Leave it to Beaver” family, you can be assured I don’t. We all have our issues don’t we? With 3 kids between 13 and 21, let’s just say we’re majorly going through those “teenage funk” years. My middle one, DS, is 18 and has been in that distant teenage funk for awhile now. When he's not working or doing homework, he can usually be found in the basement- his cave of video games from which he rarely emerges (except under protests from Mom)...He's turning into one of those cave fish...pale skin and I swear his eyes are bulging from sitting in the dark playing video games. Some days I curse the person who invented them and wish they'd spend eternity in video game hell...yep, I'd tape that guys eyes open and make him watch that first video game for eternity...what was it? Oh yeah...PONG...even better (think about it)! This weekend he brought up a board game from the basement for us all to play and I about fell out of my shoes...DH and I looked at eachother in disbelief…WHO IS THIS CHILD??!!…Can I keep him…no, really…I’m NOT giving him back! I'm calling it my Christmas miracle!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

12/14/08 To "Diet" or not to "Diet"...

Well, I’ve been thinking about starting to track my calories on one of those food tracking sites. I’ve been reading that so many here do this…heck some of them even track their food and every calorie they burn exercising and just walking around. So I’m thinking, I’m committed…I can do WHATEVER it takes to make sure I’ll be successful with the Lap Band…I’m not afraid of working hard…heck, I just bought a fancy pedometer. They want me to track every calorie…I can do that, I’ve done it before…I’ve done WW, Atkins, and Alli among others. I’ve tracked calories before. I was very successful at all those diet plans…I’m the expert dieter…I can stick to a diet like nobody’s business…I can even lose mega pounds on a diet, it’s just the keeping it off that I have trouble with. I’m as anal as they come…I love lists and spreadsheets. I never much enjoyed the time it takes to track every calorie, but if that’s going to help me then I’m all for it!

Except, the thing is I’m not sure I want to go down that path again. I guess it smells too much like a “diet” to me. And aren’t the mottos here “Diets don’t work” and “If you do the same thing you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten”. When I first started looking into the Lap Band it looked like the miracle I’d been searching for forever…Eat healthy, but mostly regular foods, just a lot less of them and the best part…you won’t be starving all the time. But after perusing this site more, I’ve found there’s a LOT of talk about dieting after the LB…even some of the diets I’ve been on before. I’m not saying that doesn’t or won’t work; different things work for different people…I’m just not sure it’s right for me yet. It just seems counterintuitive to me. The reasons I’ve always gained weight back is because yes, I felt like I was starving, but also because I got tired of not being able to eat normally. I hated thinking about food 24/7, planning and cooking special meals separate from my family, and tracking everything…it’s just not a normal relationship with food and isn’t that what I’m trying to change?

OK, before you say “Well, it doesn’t sound like you’re willing to do the work it’s going to take to make the Lap Band work, maybe you’re not ready for it”. I’ve seen those posts where someone thinks the LB is going to do the work for them…I get it, I know it’s going to be hard work. I get that I’ll be on a very strict pre-op and post-op diet, and I get that I’ll be giving up some foods forever, drinking protein shakes when needed, and yes even cooking some different meals from my family on occasion. I see the benefit in tracking my calories at the beginning year of having the Lap Band or later when I’m not getting the results I want or when the Dr. needs me to track them. I’m willing to work hard to change my eating habits, and choose healthy things-high protein. Maybe it’s a matter of semantics, but I don’t call that a diet, I’d rather think of it as a lifestyle change…and somehow counting every calorie for the rest of my life doesn’t sound like anything but a diet. I also remember that when tracking calories it made me think about food more…obsessing over it in a different way. Maybe I’m overly optimistic about this, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to eventually work past the head hunger and that I’ll get to the point where I have a normal relationship with food…not obsessing over it with stuffing my face or with a “diet”. Or…maybe I’ll need the accountability that tracking food helps with...I don't know.

Honestly, I’m not certain where I stand on this yet, I may be tracking every calorie in a few weeks. I guess it will be one of those things I’ll have to figure out as I go along. I'm sure the answer is different for everyone.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12/13/08 Dashing through the Doctors...

Last night:
I feel like all I’ve done is go to the Doctors/Dentist this month! My youngest came home from school today with a high fever and a sore throat…then he vomited on the carpet…then the kitchen floor (yes, I'm not an idiot...I had already given him a big barf bowl, why he didn't take it with him as he ran to the bathroom, I don't know) so into the bathtub and a call to the nurse for advice and an appointment in the morning. He’s resting now, so I just sat down to look at my calendar and put in his appointment (yes, you know me well…my very-anal-color-coded-by-person-calendar…I’d be lost without it). I counted up 18 Dr./Dental appointments for the kids and me this month…and the only 2 Lap Band ones were my PCP visit and my upcoming my surgeon consult. Who knows how many visits DH has, he keeps his own calendar. So take out Christmas holidays and what is that…more than one appointment every weekday! Boy, it sounds like we are an unhealthy bunch…and the rest of the family are all skinny as rails! I won’t share my families medical issues- just mine, but let’s say we’ve already reached our family prescription deductible. Oh well, all those waiting rooms have given me time to actually read the book I started this summer…halfway now…I never find time to read anymore. I guess it’s also a good prep to for all those LB appointments I’ll have next year! Oh, he’s awake…got to go push the fluids…

Today:
After 6 more “vomit session” and me steam cleaning the carpet DS finally fell asleep last night…fever still raging. He was all better this morning but we kept our Dr. appointment anyway so they could do the strep test. So we went “dashing through the snow” again today (our Doctors office was closed, but the satellite was open) Rapid test negative…here’s hoping the longer one is too. He’s got 2 exploratory procedures coming up this Wed. (no surgery, nothing serious) so I’m hoping he’s well for them. That's life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

12/12/08 Glamour Shots...(and "Telling Others")

Nope, no “Afters” or even “Befores”. Remember?...I know I told you!? I went back to the Urologist yesterday (See my “12/5/08 Urodynamics” blog…if you want to sing a wacky Christmas Jingle with me) for my “Glamour Shots” (Yee Old Tiny Camera up the gazoo photos). I wonder if I can get a copy for my fridge? After all that (again) my Urologist comes in and says they didn’t find any problems from the original surgery so he’s going to send me to a Specialist (Specialist? I thought you WERE a specialist!). Oh, and he gave me a reassuring “Don’t worry…you won’t be leaking the rest of your life.”…what am I, a faucet? Sigh. I seem to always be the “exception” or have the weirdest medical things happen to me that the Doctors can’t/take forever to figure out. Just ONE example of many; 2 years ago during 3 months of a TERRIBLE no-sleep literally-can’t-leave-the-house-because-I cough-so-hard-I-vomit constant cough, it took 5 Doctors and 2 Specialist and about 5 different diagnosis of everything from hand-foot-mouth disease to small pulmonary embolisms for me to finally get a “we think you have adult onset asthma…that was aggravated by…”…who knows? The good new is, none of my problems have been terrible things that I know so many have to deal with…Hey, if the worst thing that happens to me is peeing every time I laugh, which my youngest just told me I do way to often (the laughing, not the peeing, although that's true too), then I’ve got a lot to be thankful for! Asthma for me is like being obese and the many comorbidities it causes…you just get tired of it, tired of not feeling healthy.

I think one of my first questions for the new “Specialist” will be “Is there a chance this could improve with weight loss?” I asked my Urologist that (after also telling him I was getting the LB) and he said “Not for you! That only happens with people that are huge-morbidly obese…You’re not that overweight!” Yeah…us low BMIers hear that from anyone we tell (I’ve only told 3 Doctors and 3 Nurses and ALL of them have used those same 4 words…You’re not that overweight! To which my immediate reply is always “I’m 100 pounds overweight!” I was surprised how that just came out the first time and how defensive I felt about wanting to get the Lap Band. Some of them came around and eventually said positive things once they saw I was serious about it, but it was a weird conversation even with these medical “strangers”. I felt like I had to give a list of what a failure I’ve been at weight loss and all the terrible things I’ve let happen to my body because of that in defense of wanting the LB. What negativity…not me. It reinforced my decision not to tell anyone but DH (and of course the WHOLE WORLD here). So come on World…get behind me on this (just don’t make me laugh).

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In response to a comment on having to justify WLS:

Yeah...no one ever asks you to justify it when you tell them you're going on a diet (would those same medical professionals I told have said the same thing if I told them I was starting Weight Watchers? I think not)...why do we have to justify WLS?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12/11/08 WANTED- Shoe Fairy

Since I’ve been rummaging the closet for pants the last few days, it got me thinking about shoes. Pre-kids I was a size 7 1/2-8 and now I’m an 8 1/2W-9W. I always thought that I gained sizes because of pregnancies and because of that ol’ “your feet spread as you get older” thing…you know…the same thing that makes you buy uglier and uglier shoes the older and fatter you get. When I worked and was thinner, I wore beautiful heels every day…stilettos some days even, but now I’ve got those stay-at-home-soccer-mom-who’s-let-herself-go shoes. You know the ones…almost always plain black…flats or a low huge chunky heel (who could balance on stilettos at my weight?)…sometimes an ugly square toed boot…tried those beautiful long pointy-toe ones…you know “witches boots” but I about killed myself tripping over those beautiful pointy-toes (yep, obese & balance aren’t a good mix). So anyway…I’ve been reading that people lost shoe sizes as they lost weight…seriously? This is good news indeed! Pretty shoes again…seriously?!!!

Uh-oh…no, I mean UH-OH!!! I gave all my old ones/sizes to charity!!!!…Used shoes you say? Who would want those, you say? Well, my “collection” wasn’t just any old used shoes! My MIL worked for years (no longer) at a fancy boutique shoe store and twice a year when the seasons changed, I, and my SIL, were the recipients of the “shoe fairy” (usually got 3-6 pr. at a time). She was able to buy the out-of-season shoes for next to nothing for us…and these weren’t just any shoes, oh no!...these were “drool on yourself” “Carrie (Sex in the City) would be so jealous” shoes…all the best brands …some of them originally hundreds of dollars even “way-back-when” ...the kind that even made my short stubby almost-a-Wide feet look pretty…and I had so many…barely broken in! Now I’m no label snob at all…my daughter wants to turn me in to “What Not To Wear”…Shhh-do you think she’s noticed yet that I’ve only got 5 cruddy pants that fit (see “12/8/08 Pantless until June!” blog) I ask you, WHO wants to clothes shop when they’re fat?..Ahh the shoe-fairy...I can’t BELIEVE what a great deal it was…and now I can’t BELIEVE I gave them all new homes and I may be that size again! I didn’t even give/save any for my daughter that I could steal back…her feet are longer and narrower…Dang my DH giving my daughter the long pretty skinny feet gene (He’s a 14B, she’s a 9-10Narrow)… even SHE cried when I sent the last batch away…I remember, she tried to play “Ugly Step-Sister”…you know…trying to cram her size 9.5 feet into my size 7.5 Cinderella shoes…but no go.

So I’m looking for a new Shoe Fairy…and hanging out the “Wanted” sign…after all, pretty shoes may be in my future!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

12/10/08 One Down, 5 To Go...Oh NO!

I had my first month’s weigh in with my PCP this morning. I came out 2 pounds lost (from my 'heavy clothing visit'), but at least I wasn’t water-logged/bladder bursting again so I could actually have a nice discussion and pay attention this time. My PCP visit went well and we discussed my building a support system (talked about online and the Healthwise Company support program I enrolled in). I’ve been having more trouble with my osteoarthritis in my lower back…not sure if it’s because I’ve just about eliminate the almost daily pain relievers since they started me on migraine medicine. I was afraid to start any pain relievers for my arthritis in fear of the migraines coming back (the arthritis is nothing compared to the migraines). She said it’s OK to start some Tylenol as needed, so we’ll see what happens. It’s also likely that I’m having more pain now that I’m exercising…my body saying “Exercise??!!! What’s that?!!” I’ve had some toe numbness on one side, so she’s having me get an x-ray just to be sure the discs are still OK.

I was so frustrated at the beginning of this process with learning I’d have to do the 6 mo. diet (Diet?!!! Been there, done that…if that worked I wouldn’t need a Lap Band!), but after spending some time researching the LB I began to think 6 mo. was a good thing. There’s so much to learn and to prepare for. For example, this month my “Education Task” with my PCP was doing research and putting together my questions for my surgeon consult coming up. I’m actually amazed that even after 3 different hospital seminars how many questions I still have. I’ve been thinking about this and it’s because this isn’t like most procedures. Heck, when I had my hysterectomy & bladder sling it was pretty much textbook, no choices, standard procedures, I knew what would happen (except the failing part). With this I still have a million questions not only because every surgeon requires different pre & post-op testing/care (let’s not even get into all the differences in fill schedules/procedures/amounts)…but even with the surgery there’s differences….ie. I have a choice of which type of LB and a choice of where my port goes…and look at all the other differences we hear about on LBT: 1 incision or 5?, catheter or not?, CO2 heated and removed or not?, overnight or out-patient?, on and on. So having 6 mo. to research and prepare isn’t all bad and I know now I’ll be more successful afterwards because of what I’ve learned…

My only problem is…I started researching this in summer so I’m ALREADY almost at 6 mo. of preparing/researching…yep, when I look at it, the past 6 mo’s. went fast, but these next 5-6 months are going to be longggggggg! Help me make the time go faster...tell me a story…....anyone have a good joke?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

12/9/08 How many sizes are in your closet?

OK, after noting my lack of pants that fit yesterday (see previous blog) it got me thinking about how many sizes I’ve kept over the years. I decided to go check (in hopes of being able to wear a few someday). We’ve moved seven times since we’ve been married (I was a bean pole then 5'9"/132#...I've lost an inch and gained a ton), and yep, I got rid of clothes every time we moved …and yeah, my college daughter has permanently borrowed some of my better skinny clothes…and yep, we give clothes to charity every year…so WHY do I still have so many sizes? OK, I’ve done the yo-yo thing for decades (obvious from my closet) and, let’s see, the lowest I’ve been in this decade was 160#, but even then, I wore a size 16 on a skinny day. So WHY do I still have size 10’s hanging in my closet??!!! I actually have at least one pair of every size between 10-2x (that’s 14 different sizes). OK, I try to buy “Longs” when I can find them, and they’re so hard to find I’ve had a hard time giving them up (saved mostly a few dress ones or jeans)…but GET REAL, size 10’s!?? Do you know how much DUST was on the top of that pants hangar? I’ve always carried my weight in my lower half…I think I was barely in a size 10 when I was 130#! So there’s my new end goal…I’ll even settle for a 10/12 with an elastic waistband…wow, doesn’t seem even possible! Well, at least my pants are all sorted by size now…next year I plan to start working my way down that rack!

Monday, December 8, 2008

12/8/08 Pantless until June!

I’m now at my highest weight ever by a few pounds. I HATE tight pants so I always buy a larger size, but I REFUSE to do that with the Lap Band in my future. I had a pair of jeans on with a belt this weekend (last notch) and they were hurting my waist yesterday…they felt like they were pinching me…well, I looked this morning and I actually have a little bruise where the belt buckle flipped up when I sat (probably my muffin top rolling them…lovely) and the buckle was jabbing me in the waist. As if being overweight isn’t painful enough…now I have to put up with “clothing pain”…geez! I wonder if “clothing pain” and bruising count as a comorbidity (hee-hee)?

I counted and I now have the following: 1 pr. Jeans, 1 pr. Dress pants, 3 pr. Elastic Sweat pants…so not even a week’s worth of pants! Thank God I’m at home and not working! I don’t think they expect me to lose much weight or a certain amount on my 6 mo. diet...So it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to wear other sizes in my closet any time soon. I don’t end my 6 mo. diet until May 10th, so it will probably be early June for my surgery. What the heck happens when it gets hot out this Spring…I don’t think I have any capris/shorts that would fit me now! Maybe I’ll lose weight on that pre-op diet everyone talks about? I’ll have to ask how many weeks that is, let’s see…maybe if it’s 4 weeks pre-op diet that would put me into April…let’s pray for a cool spring…and that my 5 pairs of pants don’t split/wear out by then! If you see a pantless lady walking around, it’s me…I REFUSE to buy a larger size!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12/7/08 Thanks...for the Memories

NOTE ***Read the last paragraph at least for my favorite kid story this year…it still makes me laugh!

“Thanks for the Memories” gifts. My Dad started this tradition way back. He would wrap up little crazy things that were funny or embarrassing. They are always preceded by a funny story that makes everyone wonder what’s in the box and you never know who’s going to get one. My favorite one was the year I’ve received a box of run-over mangled gas caps. Back when I was a teen, long before they had locking ones or gas doors with handy cap holders on them I lost 3 of Dad’s at the gas station by leaving them on top of the car where you’d put them while you pumped the gas (where else would you put them?). So one year Dad went to our local gas station where they had a whole box of them that other people had left (see, I wasn’t the only one) and yep, I gotem’ all! We’ve all started this now…

This year I’ve got some good ones ready for my kids. My oldest, my daughter, will be getting a lovely mug we found with Betrix Potter’s “Mrs. Tiggy Winkle” on it. When she was just one we lived for a few months with my in-laws when we were looking for a home after our move. We all loved reading her stories. One day out from the boxed book series came “Mrs. Tiggy Winkle” and she freaked out! I have to admit, she’s one scary looking beady-eyed hedgehog (Google her if you want a scare). For many years, we’d say “Mrs. Tiggy Winkle” and she would imitate Mrs. TW and wrinkle up her nose and make a scary face. She wouldn’t go near the bookshelf at the Grandparents house until we showed her the book and put it up high. Her Grandparents love reminding her of that story. So now she’ll be getting a little reminder (we’re cruel parents, I know)!

My oldest son will be getting what’s left of our old OSU front car plate as he had to buy a new one, along with a new front-end on our car (actually just the deductable). Yep, he got in his first fender bender this year (no one hurt, low speed, bumped the SUV in front of him and the SUV won big time-hardly a scratch on theirs…RANT-I ask you why oh why can’t all bumpers line up at the same level? What’s the point if they don’t?). Yep, we’re really cruel parents! It’s a good lesson when your first accident is a little one though…I hope it’s made him much more cautious; I think so.

My youngest boy-13 will be getting music, specifically Guns and Roses “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”. He got his first guitar (electric) for his birthday in July (Santa is bringing him a bigger practice amp…are we crazy or what? The one it came with was really bad though.). We were so busy this summer that we couldn’t start lessons until September. Well, he was so anxious to start that he got on YouTube one day and by watching, tried to teach himself the long intro to the song above. After a month of listening to him trying to pluck it out…before we knew it he had it down and at the right tempo even. Google the music video on YouTube…it’s fast…and he’s never played a guitar…brass in the school band for a few years (band concert at school last Fri. night-very nice), but no strings. September comes and I take him for his first lesson at the music store (he’s nervous, but excited) and we meet the teacher…nice young guy who graduated in Music from Berkeley and they go into one of the lesson rooms while I wait. Half-hour is up and they come out…huge smiles…I asked his teacher how it went and he starts laughing…OK, I’m thinking what happened?...my son is shy, but super funny…uh oh, what did he do?....the teacher tells me “We began with how to hold the guitar, then we started the beginner book…and it was great that he’s played an instrument at school because I could skip some of the real basics like timing, notes, etc.”...then he starts laughing again….he says “We had a few minutes left of our lesson time so I played a little for your son to inspire him and showed him that soon he’ll be strumming and then I played him part of a great picking song.”…hysterical laughter now… “Well, I finished and your son looks up at me and just gives me a grin” (he’s got an INFAMOUS sneaky grin) “Then he looks down at his guitar and without a word plays the same thing I just played perfectly!” ….what song did the teacher pick…you got it…fate steps in….what are the odds…the ONLY song my son knows…intro to “Sweet Child ‘O Mine”!! The teacher says… “Boy was I amazed!...now, if he could have done that with 2 songs…ha-ha!” (I’ll bet he thought he had a prodigy) We were in tears laughing (guess you had to be there). Ten lessons later and he’s perfectly playing “Stairway to Heaven” (except the big wild solo part). Looks like I’ll soon be a “Band_Groupie” in more than one way…hold those lighters up (oops, I guess it's cell phones now...some groupie I am)!!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12/6/08 Traditions...What's in Your Shoes?

I love traditions. They tie us to our families our faiths our origins and our holidays. Our parents passed some on to us and we’ve started some of our own…some are just little things, others are lengthy productions, some are from our heritage, some I’m sure most households do, and some I know are just our families. As I’m bringing up all the Christmas bins I’m reminded of all the little things we do each and every year to make this season special.

Always getting our live tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving; Advent calendars; St. Nicholas Day-kids setting their shoes outside their door Dec. 5 for little gifts from St. Nick the next morning (TODAY!..A northern Europe tradition); finding different ways to give to others in need-working at a soup kitchen, Toys-For-Tots, adopting a family; making our favorite Christmas cookies and a gingerbread house while wearing our elf hats with ears; Ornament exchanges with each family and with each other on Christmas Eve; singing “Silent Night” holding candles on Christmas Eve as one child gets the honor of placing Baby Jesus in the manger that sits on the mantle; leaving cookies and milk for Santa and a vegetable-usuallly a carrot for the reindeer; tying a ribbon at the top of the stairs and one of the children gets to cut the ribbon when it’s time to come down-a fire going and music playing; the kids rushing to the tree to see who can find the pickle ornament (from Germany) first that Santa has hidden on the tree because that child gets to open the first present; always opening the stockings first; Santa’s gifts always appear in plain green and red paper with large elvish writing of names on the fronts and there’s always one gift for each child that sits out unwrapped; cooking everyone’s favorites for Christmas dinner and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus before our dessert; and finally come the Christmas crackers that contain tissue party hats and little trinkets and dumb jokes that always get us laughing; taking each child’s photo on the couch with their new toys; the day after Christmas is always “jammie day” where we stay in our jammies and play games all day, Oh and we all have fun giving hilarious “Thanks for the Memories” gifts, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s blog…my favorite/funniest kid story this year!…stay tuned...hee-hee

What are your holiday traditions??

Friday, December 5, 2008

12/5/08 Urodynamics

Sounds like a new exercise program…or maybe a high-tech company name?…Oh NO….look closer…Uro…nope, not the currency in Europe…uro as in Urologist! Taking my cue from a fellow blogger (‘cause I can’t just write this out, it will sound too horrific)…Sing it with me, to the tune of “Jingle Bells”…

Went to the Urologist
Wires out the gazoo
Catheter up the front
And up the rear-end too!

They fill up your big bladder
You feel like you’re gonna blow
They ask you to cough, and then they say “Tell me when you’ve got to go.”

Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right NOW!
Im’ gonna pee on your floor and then you’ll need a towel! Oww!
Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right NOW!
Im’ gonna pee on your floor and then you’ll need a towel!

Yeah… “Oh what fun” (not) I had this morning…Three years ago, after putting up with stress incontinence for years (three kids did me in) I had surgery (only one I’ve ever had) with both a bladder sling and a hysterectomy in hopes of correcting this issue. Although initial results were good, it slowly failed and over the next year I was back to where I started. Well, it’s taken me awhile to go back to my Dr., but in this year of “getting me healthier” I decided to see what they could do. I met with my Urologist last month…if you remember my “I peed my pants” blog…he said “You’re the first patient I’ve had where this failed…you’ll have to leave by the back door so you don’t scare my other patient!” Ha-ha…I would have laughed, but then I might PEE MYSELF! Now don’t I feel special! So today I started the testing process again…not much embarrasses me (I know, obviously) but “Urodynamics” testing is a treat…I think you’ve got the picture from my song, but picture standing on a towel and holding a million tubes and wires (coming from all points nether-regions) throughout the testing…cough…bear down…’nuff said. Next week I get to go through the “scoping” process again…yay me…photos! I’ve had some other issues over the past few years with other failed treatments and I know that’s got me more nervous about the Lap Band process…I’m feeling a little jinxed…like if something can go wrong or fail, it’s going to happen to me! But I’m an eternal optimist (as DH says) and my cup is always half-full (or in the case of this morning 1.7 liters…yes, they measure...eeeww)…so here’s to the LB! Bring it on the testing!

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In response to a comment stating that WL helps incontinence:

Hadn't heard that-82%...wow! I asked my Urologist if this could be part of the cause of my "fail" and he said "no way...they sometimes see that with extremely obese people, but that wouldn't effect me". I "only" have max 100# to lose...Good to hear the Lap Band may help this also!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

12/4/08 Fa la-la-la-la...

The tree is up…it smells like Christmas in the house! We have a tradition of buying our tree every Sunday after Thanksgiving. We got a fresh 11’ one from a Zeilenople tree farm lot this year. No, it's not bent over..it sits in our 2 story foyer at the corner of the staircase and we have a glass paned front door (unusual I know-that’s me, but it fits our farmhouse style/porch house). My neighbors always comment they love watching our tree get decorated a little more each day as they drive by (maybe I'll make them come help next year). It’s my favorite holiday. I’m kind of a Christmas nut…holiday nut actually…rusty antiques nut…Disney nut…OK, I’ll save my many obsessions for another blog. Let me just say I’ve got 5 large shelving units and about 40 something (don't tell DH) BIG bins (was boxes, now plastic… remember the floods I mentioned with the washing machine yesterday…let’s just say the laundry room is above the Christmas shelves...yes, I cried...Oh, BTW, Art came yesterday and with a laugh, 5 min. and a $25 check I'm back in the laundry business)…I just can't throw anything away-did you know you can keep popcorn strings for at least 10 years...yep, I'm on my second set now-strung with wooden cranberry beads every now and then. I store them in old coffee cans...they smell a tiny bit funny when you first get them out every year, but no mold...they just yellow a little, but they're a perfect buttered popcorn color...I know, only I would think to even try saving popcorn (hey, they're a lot of work and my kids bloody finger tips)!! So many bins of Christmas stuff now waiting to go up (an infliction that was passed down from my Mother). I swear I didn't buy much of it...more than half of it is all the kids things (they have as much Christmas stuff as all their other stuff), so it’s not as bad as it sounds…it will be going with them one day…but for now we display it all! Our families (they’re the spoilers) have been building up their displays since they were born so it’s all their fault…the boys huge double-layer train board…one has a Disney train, rides and monorail, the other Ertl farm sets and models he built and painted w/western train…my DD’s Christmas dollhouse that one of my sisters and my brother (still can’t believe my brother did this) sanded and glued together for 4 solid weekends before one Christmas…I so enjoy watching my kids put their own displays up each year as they remember who gave them what…they always turn out a little different and they still get new little things each year. I have a whole bins of Christmas plush animals, toys, and books they got from Grandparents and of course every handmade ornament they’ve ever made…and not just the ones from school…being an ex Art teacher, I’ve made a LOT with them over the years…we still exchange ornaments with both sides of the family every year, so the kids already have ornaments aplenty for their future tree. We've got the outside lighted garlands and wreaths on every window up already. Today I’m putting away the fall decorations…tonight we put the lights on the tree…tomorrow I pile the ornaments by person on the dining room table and then each person starts putting their own on the tree…I can hardly wait for the memories… “remember this one…who/when…” Fa la-la-la-la

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12/3/08 Stiff Underwear

It’s not what you think…although I’m not sure what you’re thinking…the dryer broke yesterday. Doesn’t it know I have mounds of laundry to do? Doesn’t it know we, five "we’s" actually, just returned from not one, but two Thanksgiving week trips; Ohio and Philly…I have suitcases full of dirty laundry! Doesn’t it remember putting all my laundry on hold so my DD, home from college could do all her mounds of laundry before we left? My poor dryer…it’s old…it’s moved houses with us…it no longer remembers anything…it has, as my children say to me when I forget something, it has “old-timers”. I put in a white load this morning…all was well with Ms. Washer…after all, she was repaired (yet again, after another flood) recently. But when I went to close Mr., Dryer, the tiny piece of metal that sticks out (maybe that’s why it’s a Mr.) to tell it the door is shut broke off (ouch, sorry Mr.). Of course the dryer won’t run without knowing the door is shut…I tried to tell it, yes the door is shut…I even tried to push a paper clip in the hole where the metal came from…no luck…but maybe I WAS lucky…I didn’t think to unplug Mr. Dryer before I shoved a paper clip into that hole…HEY, it’s 220V, I could have been electrocuted!!

I called DH, and he called his new best friend Art-the-repair-man. Let me go back…A few years back when the appliances started to fail, we called the company for a repair person…we got a $295 bill for a $12 fuse and <10 min. repair. So the next time one failed DH decided he was going to try his hand at appliance repair. Do you know there are online sites where you “diagnose” the problem and then buy their parts and follow the online instructions. Sounds like those medical sites doesn’t it…Oh, how my Dr. loves when I go there…diagnose yourself…very scary business….you end up thinking your have all kinds of horrible things…but I’ve digressed…anyhoooo…DH confidently tried his hand at the diagnosis and the repair…twice, actually…he admitted defeat only when he had no clean underwear left. In marches the local repair man, Art (no expensive company men for us anymore). Nice old guy…and he loves my old washer and dryer “don’t makem’ like that anymore! Those new ones have a computer board…$500 for the smallest problem…can’t fix just a part on those!” Don’t tell DH, but I ratted him out to Art, just in case he’d done more damage…after Art was done laughing he replaced my $12 fuse, charged me $50 for the house-call and gave me his card with strict instructions not to let my DH touch the machines. He’s been back every 3-6 months since then and DH usually hurries home to meet him…DH, who fancies himself the ultimate handyman (actually he’s very handy…most of the time) loves to chat it up with anyone who touches anything on our house.

So today he called his best bud Art. I get a frantic call back from DH saying I have to meet Art at a local gas station in just a few minutes…he’s booked solid today…so he’s giving us the part…no time to explain. I rush to the gas station where Art meets me with a smile… “No charge for the little part!”…tell me there aren’t honest repairmen in the world anymore! I smile and wish him a happy holiday and tell him I’m sure we’ll be seeing him soon (unfortunately)…he rushes off shouting out the truck window “It’s an easy repair, but tell your DH to call me tomorrow if he has any problems!” Problems? What problems…of course…why else would we be getting the part…why wasn’t I thinking…he’s put DH in charge of the repair!!!! I’m thinking as I drive home…doesn’t Art remember how he met us…doesn’t he remember my story of the two failed repairs…has DH schmoosed him into thinking he can handle this? Now I’m getting nervous…after all, I have MOUNDS of laundry…the natives are getting restless…last pairs of clean underwear! DH gets home tonight beaming in anticipation… “Where’s the part?”… “On top of the dryer.”…I’m trying to be supportive… “Whoops!” I hear from the laundry room…my heart beats faster…whoops?...he busted something else already??… “I guess I didn’t explain the problem/part very well…he gave me the actual latch for the door…the wrong part!” I guess we’ll be seeing old Art soon (maybe he’ll learn his lesson this time). My wet whites load is now out of the dryer hanging all over the house…at least we have clean underwear this time…even if it’s stiff!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

12/2/08 Consult Scheduled!

OK, since my seminar I’ve been putting off calling to schedule my consult with the surgeon. I found it interesting that my Hospital leaves it in your hands to call them to schedule if you are interested and you can see the surgeon as soon as you want to. The other two hospitals I went to say they’ll call you to let you know if you are “accepted” into the program or not, and you can’t consult with the surgeon until a certain point in their programs. So I could see the surgeon right away…nice, right? So why was I putting it off? I think I felt like I wouldn’t get many of these visits unless there was a reason for more (maybe just one, not sure), so I wanted to have all my questions in line (I’m anal about researching things). I kept saying “I’ll call tomorrow”.

As we are literally walking out the door to leave for Philly for the Thanksgiving holiday the phone rings. My DH says (trying to mumble) “It’s the hospital, for you.” Mind you, I’ve decided not to tell anyone but DH and here were my 3 children standing in the kitchen, ready to get in the car. I think my oldest, DD home from college, may now suspect something since I left info. up on my computer and she used it to check her emails (and I over reacted when I saw her on it). I don’t really mind that she knows, I just don’t want her to be disappointed in me if I don’t succeed. So I turn bright red in front of the kids and grab the phone. “You attended our seminar about a month ago and we were wondering if you were interested in setting up a consult appointment with the surgeon?” Now I’m grabbing my calendar and running to the other room. He had an opening Dec. 23, which at first pass sounded awful because I know I’ll be busy with Christmas prep, but after a second I realized it’s also a day DH is off so he can go with me. If he’s my only support then I guess it’s good he knows what to expect after. Plus he was traveling and didn’t make that seminar, so it will be a chance for him to meet the Dr. So…Consult scheduled…now back to my list of questions for the surgeon (why am I so nervous about this?)!

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In response to a comment about my being nervous:
You're right...I think it's similar to that "head hunger" everyone talks about...I'm finding there's so much "head" stuff I need to change my thoughts about...putting myself first, learning how hard this will be, coming to grips with it being forever...(I could never stay on all my other diets forever, even after I lost big amounts), but starting to believe I can do this...you're right...whole nother ballgame!

Monday, December 1, 2008

12/1/08 We Are.....!!!

It was the day before Thanksgiving and we’re packing up the car to go to Philly to my SIL/In-laws. We’re trying to get out the door by lunchtime because we know how bad the PA Turnpike gets this day. Side note: You pay a toll to take your life into your (white knuckled) hands to tailgate at 65 mph; leave more then two car-lengths and someone darts in front of you (no turn signal, no smile, no wave…Happy Holidays to you too!), causing you to slam on the brakes and wonder if the car tailgating you will soon be in your backseat! Back to the story…I finally got my three teens (DD is now 21 actually) out of bed and packing up their final items around 10am (this is early for some of them…teens!). My middle one (DS-18) comes up from the basement beaming. PAUSE right there! This alone is a holiday miracle…he’s going through that moody-teen-ask-your-teenager-now-while-they-still-know-everything phase…so moments of “beaming” are a rare commodity! He announces “I got accepted into the Engineering school at Penn State main campus!!! Whoo-Hoo!!”(insert us jumping up and down here). Those of you that know PSU, know what a feat it is to get accepted to main campus your Freshman year (most go to a satellite their first 2 years). He’s a very smart kid (National Honor Society), but isn’t the best test taker (psyches himself out). He took a course and studied for the SAT, 2 hours almost every day for months, and then took it several times. He thought he wanted to go to Ohio State “OH”… “IO”!!! (DH and my alma-mater), but he missed the out-of-state scholarship by a mere 10 points on the SAT, so it was just too expensive to go there…He was crushed,but I kept telling him things happen for a reason. Since then we’ve been waiting for the acceptance letters online everyday, so this was welcome news indeed! He is totally thrilled (and we are too! He deserves this after all that hard work!...dilemma...who will we root for at the PSU-OSU game next year?)! One of his best friends that he played on the soccer team and ref’d with got accepted as well (also engineering) so they’re making plans to room together. My niece is a junior there now, so she was thrilled when we got to her home for Thanksgiving and he told her. The chant around our house now is… “WE ARE” … “PENN STATE”!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

11/25/08 Saying Goodbye

We’re off tomorrow for the holiday to DH’s family. I’ve been finding myself saying goodbye to certain foods already (does anyone else do that?)…strange since I’m still 6 mo. from the band. It’s mainly those items I don’t get often, like this past weekend at my parent’s house we were celebrating early Christmas…I found myself relishing Mom’s homemade pumpkin roll and her strawberry salad (she only makes once a year). Now I’m already looking forward to, and mourning the future loss of, the stuffing and pumpkin pie on Thursday. I know I’ll get tastes of things in the future, but it’s like saying goodbye to a good friend (OK, maybe a friend you thought was a good friend, but was really stabbing you in the back…I see it’s time to start that mindset change). HAPPY THANKSGIVING ALL!

Monday, November 24, 2008

11/24/08 Told You So

We had a good weekend back home with my family (once we got through the snow). It’s nice having my daughter home from college for the holiday. DH took my two oldest to the football game and I went shopping with the girls. We celebrated early Christmas Saturday night.

My sister sent me some hilarious video’s of elves dancing to Christmas music with my families faces on the elves. Anyway I’d forwarded it to my sister-in-law (the true “foodie”; she can cook) and asked her yet AGAIN what I could bring for Thanksgiving (read blog "Why I won't be asked to bring dessert..."). Her response “Just bring yourselves on Turkey Day!”. I told you so…

Thursday, November 20, 2008

11/20/08 OK, that wasn’t so bad

I got my first call from my “Healthwise” coach today. (In case you haven’t read…it’s a third party co. that DH's company hires to coach those with “issues” like mine on the health survey form we have to fill out for insurance). I had to answer all those embarrassing questions first…height, weight,…after that it doesn’t matter right? Anyhoo…we start into diet and I tell her about the Lap Band and the 6 mo. diet I’m on with my PCP. Didn’t say anything about the LB, but she loved the diet plan…start at 1600 cal. And step down 100 ea. month. She was so supportive and encouraging. Everything I said was immediately given positive reinforcement. I was feeling myself relax…like a day at the spa (or what I imagine it to be like since I’ve never been to one). We talked a little about my exercise habits, etc., then we set some goals for next month’s call. She’s all about reinforcing what the PCP is doing with me. I suggested adding 10 min. to my exercise routine, she suggested 5 min….it’s all about small changes she said and being able to easily make them. More supportive discussion…la, la, la…I’m feeling like I just got a massage (or what I imagine a massage to be like, since I’ve never had one). We set a date for next month…la, la, la…OK, that wasn’t so bad!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

11/19/08 Inspiration in Skinny Photos

So I’m making my Christmas ornaments today. I know, I know, for all of you out there in the work world you’re saying “Rough Life BG!”. I worked for a long time, so I’m there with you…and yes, I do appreciate rare days like today…snowflakes falling…holiday music playing…and I’m hot gluing ornaments (Hey, I’ve got the dishwasher and laundry going and I could get BURNED by the glue gun…it’s tough work I tell you!). (I should be packing us up for our two different trips to our families next week as DH is traveling all this week, but I'm not.)

Actually, I copped out this year, big time…I’m using a kit (shhhh)…blasphemy for an ex Art Teacher…I just didn’t find any inspiration this year. Understand, these ornaments/or decorations (exchange with family and my gifts for neighbors/friends) are a lot of pressure for me every year…it’s my “Martha” moment; lots of pressure. I always create original ideas and go to great lengths to make something unique each year and now the bar is set very high for beautiful handmade gifts…antique bobbins made into a candle stick with ribbons braided through the holes and tin punched trees ontop with the candle; Hand painted plates with potpourri and candles; beautiful hanging “Kissing Balls” with mistletoe, fancy ribbons and bells; a set of wine charms with beads and different clay Christmas characters glazed and shining…see, pressure. I ponder this all year and gather the perfect supplies…I’ve spent weeks on them some years, even finished making them in the summer sometimes…not this year…no time, NO inspiration. Luckily I bought several ornament kits about 6 six years back and have kept them in my craft closet…just in case…NO WAY would I need them. But there I was last night digging them out of the closet. They are little clear round ornaments that are water filled and have different types of glitter (a snowglobe, you know). They actually have 2 halves and you twist them open and add 2 back-to-back photos and close them back up. I’m adding all kinds of ribbon and doodads to the top, but no way to disguise these as "not a kit"…I know they’re lame…no "Martha" this year...I can feel the disappointment now. I was going through all my photos yesterday trying to find 2 photos (and the right size) of each person. I was struck by how few photos there are of me, but I also was struck by the ups and downs of my weight battle…160 lbs. (for the millionth time) just years ago…I remember I didn’t feel very skinny then at all…but there was the photo…no double chin…no belly. I have a hard time seeing myself as I am, at any weight, even now…I don’t feel like I look that fat, but I know I am. So this year I found my inspiration in my skinny photos…inspiration for my journey here. Too bad that doesn’t translate well into an ornament…but now I’m making one just for me…with my skinny photos...

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In response to a comment I got agreeing with not seeing me as I am:

Me too, me too! I think it's like listening to yourself on the answering machine...I just don't see/hear myself like I am. Maybe if I did I would have started this sooner. I've always remembered DH's grandmother at age 92 sitting in her wheelchair saying to my daughter "You know, I still see myself and feel inside like I did when I was 20!" Maybe that image of us at our best is what freezes in our minds...time now for the NEW best us!

Monday, November 17, 2008

11/17/08 So Why Am I Insulted?

I got this call and the lady explains it’s about the health surveys we had to fill out for our insurance about a year ago. I’m thinking, OK maybe me going to the info. seminar at the hospitals triggered something since I filled in insurance info. on their form? Then she goes on to tell me my health survey tells them “You’re at risk for several things” (very nebulous…that word “things” )and “Would you like to sign up for our free program?” At this point I’m trying to confirm this is not some phone scam---free program (yeah right), but I don’t want to piss the woman off either…heck I don’t know if it’s someone who works at my DH's company even (I’m thinking...do they have health people in HR there?). “Could you tell me more about what this program is exactly?” I ask. After dancing back and forth a few times (now I’m really wondering if it’s a scam) she finally offers up some details “Someone will call you with regular phone appointments and they can help you with your issues….” ISSUES? I have ISSUES?? I don’t respond as I’m thinking this and so after a long pause she timidly says “…things like exercise and diet”. The magic word DIET. She thinks I need to go on a DIET? I’m insulted! My mind is racing… Who is this stranger telling me I need to go on a DIET? I don’t know what to do now…so again, I blurt…(I’m really stressing now—so spoken at 100 miles per hour…) “Well I’m working with my PCP and have started a diet and exercise program…I’m going to get the LAP-BAND®…and I’m not sure how your diet and exercise would fit in with that?” I'm nice, but inside I’m so insulted. But wait…now it’s sinking in…I’m realizing it’s not a scam…if she wanted money, she certainly wouldn’t be insulting me like this, would she?!!! Uh, oh. She’s legit. Better be nice. She says “Well, they can help you with things like stress even.” STRESS? WHAT STRESS?!!! She must have detected the stress in my voice…I’m thinking…Go to your happy place, deep breath… “Uh, stress, OK, fine.” I say. “Someone will call you in a week to get started.” and she explains it's a service the co. pays for through insurance...we say our goodbyes. I hang up and I’m thinking why do I feel so insulted…then I realize….NO ONE has ever told me I need to go on a diet…not in my entire life…it was always my idea to go on a diet...it was like someone calling me fat to my face for the first time ever! Wow! Reality check!! OK, she didn't make up the numbers I put on the health questionaire...I welcome the help…diet, exercise, stress even…bring it on! I get it, I AM fat, I know that!...but I ask myself again...So why am I insulted?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

11/16/08 Why I won’t be asked to bring dessert this Thanksgiving

I can’t cook…sure I can follow a recipe, when I want to…but I’m WAY too creative for that (my gift is art). I have delusions that I’m a “foodie”…but only if you’re describing someone who loves good food. The problem is I’ve never taken the time to really learn and now I just don’t want to (you’ll see why). I’ll blame this primarily on my mother (I've learned as my kids have gotten older that you can always trace your faults back to your mom). She had 5 kids, 4 girls and she never taught us how to cook…didn’t want us in the kitchen actually (who can really blame her with 5 kids and a household to manage). Ohhhh my mom’s a great cook…wonderful meals every night, appetizers even, on Sunday nights. Sure we made fun of her serving us cow’s tongue with raisin sauce once (what did you think kids would say about a giant curved tongue with raisins stuck all over it…I still swear it had taste buds…we were ROTFL)…I think we made her cry. She would only break her form on the rare occasion she and Dad went out…frozen potpie night.

When I got to high school I had taken home ec. so I was allowed to try. I decided baking suited me well and I was good at it; even tackled filled éclairs once. So I branched out…I started adding my own spin to recipes…big mistake…my first memorable one was Jell-O with raisin bran cereal in it…let’s just say the raisins did fine…it was the flakes that were memorable. I got married and continued the adventure. Once I was given the task of bringing the cake to a holiday. I had a box of candy canes. Candy canes…buttercream icing…what could be better together I ask you? I crushed them into chips and added them to the icing. Let me inform you…candy cane chips in icing turn into mainly gross wet slimy goo with sticky centers that get stuck in your teeth (kinda like the Jell-O flakes). By now I was developing a reputation in the family.

Another holiday I was tasked again with a baked good. I decided on apple pie...I was going to show them all this time! I researched recipes and found the best homemade crust and apple filling recipe I could find. I bought my apples from the local orchard even. Now, how to dress it up…I found a photo in a cook book of a BEAUTIFUL looking apple pie! It had a lattice top with fluted edges…I’m and art ed. Major…I can sculpt like nobody’s business! There was even a tiny apple with leaves all made out of crust sitting in the middle…oooo. I was going to need to make a lot of crust for all that! The photo of the pie was a beautiful golden brown and it was shiny! I researched that glaze. I made my pie…I had so much crust my woven lattice (pinked edges- my addition) top crust was almost solid…I couldn’t even see the apples down in there, but I knew it would be delicious…it was glazed so many times it shined and the tiny apple in the center looked almost real.

I entered my parents house to ooos and ahhhs…I beamed. We finished the holiday meal and now it was time for the pie. My mom brought it to the table to serve and I couldn’t wait. She started to slice into it…what’s this…it’s too hard (maybe this is like pottery I’ve made…too much glaze?)? No worries, Mom smiles nothing phases her, and she goes to the kitchen for a big serrated knife. After a great deal of sawing she finally breaks through…I’m now hearing sniggers all around me. She lifts the first piece and I see it…the filling is sitting nicely on the bottom crust, but as she turns it sideways there’s a giant space between the filling and the top crust, which is so thick with all my lattice that it’s still hanging in the air like a triangular diving board! Full laughter now. Let’s just say I went home with almost all the pie (my mom had a backup dessert…she’s learning).

Now here’s the worst part…I threw the beloved pie into the trash can behind our apartment, wanting to forget it forever. Trash day came and went, almost a week went by and DH came home one night beckoning me to come out back. Just a few feet beyond where the trashcans are is the drive by which many in the apartments use to park. What was that in the drive?…damn those trash men for spilling…yep, there it was…my beloved top crust still looking perfect, still so shiny…didn’t it rain yesterday? I left it there.Since then my DH, has embellished the story (and to think I married him for his sense or humor). The story now goes, and he swears it's true, the next day it had tire tracks going over it that didn’t even break the tiny apple with leaves on top. Of course I have to hear about every failed recipe each holiday (I’ve only shared three here, but they have much more ammo). I’ve offered to bring something for Thanksgiving this year…I’m still waiting for the call back.

...I'm starting to collect post op recipes now.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

11/15/08 Putting Myself First

CLIFF NOTES: I started off to write a somewhat funny note about one of my teens who had a rant last night, and somehow ended up on the shrinks couch below. I’ve been feeling kind of melancholy since my good news and happy day Thurs. and I couldn’t figure out why. Apparently, I’m feeling guilty for putting myself first by going through this process. Hey at least it saved me an hour at the pre-op psych visit…tee hee. Don’t bother reading unless you’re there too… (Back to myself now, thank you.) -BG (I'm saving the rest just to remind myself of this.)
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It seems just yesterday I had a job I loved at a Fortune 500, and was on the fast track up the ladder with a very bright future ahead. But I was traveling all the time and my (2 then) kids were in daycare for LONG days. I could only involve them in things that were only on the weekends (try telling your 5 yr. old daughter she can’t take gymnastics classes on Tuesday’s after school with her friend). DH was gone many night’s working hard on his Master’s part-time for 8 years at night, and his job also required a little travel, so we were mainly a “Weekend Family”. It only got harder and harder as the kids got older (I thought they needed your time most as little kids-BIG “wrong”). I couldn’t find that elusive “Super Mom” balance between work and family and we needed a change (I so admire those of you who can do it all- some of my sisters included).

I was pregnant with my third when DH was offered a promotion to a sales position back to my home town where a lot of my family still was. I didn’t hesitate one second…It was a happy change for us all. We moved and we were now able to afford it, so I stopped working. If I’m being honest it was a hard transition going from the “fast track” to “homemaker”. With a new baby, and DH now traveling I’d go days without seeing an adult. Also, it’s kind of like being fat…people stereotype you...and with the move, no one knew I had had a career…I found people suddenly treating me like I didn’t have a brain…the topics of conversation in my life suddenly changed. Even I was guilty of this at first …I’d been friends with neighbors for years before I’d asked anything other than about life as a Mom. There were lawyers, nurses, teachers, all kinds of “formers”. And yes, those who’d never had a job also had lives outside their families…wow I was guilty of not thinking homemakers have a brain too…there were volunteers for great organizations, those that had hobbies like mine, brilliant women! Anyway, I had to keep busy so I volunteered for everything; was the Girl Scout Leader, the “Homeroom Mom” for all three of them every year (for as long as they’d let me-about middle school), and I was a former art teacher, so the schools used my talents for all kinds of things and I was there with my youngest in tow most days. I helped start a “play group” in my neighborhood for Moms/little ones. I immediately signed my two older ones for so many things they’d been asking to do. We all appreciated our new life. That first summer, I counted 14 “legs” in the car one day with the baby zigzagging the older ones around town…not good either…

We found a balance and the kid’s all were able to dabble in many thing and they each found their gifts/niche. We’ve since moved again (I designed our current home with the help of an architect software program, not a huge house, but it meets our family needs perfectly!) and the kids are now older; two teens and one is 21 (I can’t believe I’ll be down to one at home next year). I’ve certainly never been bored at home as I’ve always been busy. My youngest, 13, still needs the most time from Mom but my “job” at home has evolved more and more into time devoted to major home reno. projects; tiling, painting, sewing curtains, finished the basement/bath (I’ll never mud drywall again), built a pond with waterfall, designed and built a finished clubhouse for the kids, etc. (with help from DH & the kids). I love tackling learning something I’ve never done so I’m pretty handy, and I feel good that I’ve saved us tons of money doing all this myself (even my neighbor friends who are at home sometimes tell me I make them look bad). As a homemaker, I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that you can only get those pats on the back from your family mainly, and they get used to your capabilities, so the pats don’t always come as often. Gone are the work days when a job well done meant you had whole teams of people singing your praises…and forget getting a promotion!

I haven’t regretted anything…but with my youngest turning 13 I’m suddenly finding I no longer have that little kid in the house who thinks you know everything and glows at every little thing you do…and you’re the hardest working mom on Earth. Getting through these teen years is just difficult some days, and I knew it would be. Some days they act like/tell me I have no clue. My sister gave me a magnet that says “Ask your Teenager now while they still know everything!”, and yep, I still have a brain. It’s funny, my kids hardly remember me working and they’re wonderful kids, hard workers, not spoiled, but as teens often do, they don’t always appreciate the sacrifices you’ve made in your life for them. They don't like it when I have to said “no” (I’m the disciplinarian and DH is the softie…he’s still working on it), but I know they love me and they do show it/say so. They unknowingly say hurtful things like “I wonder why you don’t have a job?” like their friend’s mom. There’s some days I want to scream “What do you mean I don’t have a job…who’s raising you? Don’t you know I gave up working for our happiness? Do they realize how different things would be for them even now if I was working?…Don’t they remember…” Of course they don’t. I’m happy with my life…I’ve got a wonderful family and a great life, and again, I don’t regret anything…but some days-TEENS! I get glimmers of hope that they’ll get this someday…my daughter’s about ready to graduate college and she’s coming out of that teen funk; she’s starting to ask me about things that let me know she gets it.

Reading this over I’m sounding so negative, and that’s not me at all…I’m a  giving person who gives out of love, not looking for appreciation; the typical nurturer – family first. *Lightbulb* I just realized this week when I saw this Lap Band thing was probably going to be a reality I was feeling guilty that I was putting myself before my family. I felt guilty I was taking time to do this just for me. That’s probably at least part of the reason I’ve let myself get to this state of health, never putting me first. Writing this was helpful for me to realize the whole family will benefit from seeing me work hard, and yes, just for me! (even if only my DH knows about the LB)…I realize the one thing I’ve yet to be able to balance in my life was sometimes putting myself first.
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