Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Year In Review

It's that time of year, folks.  Holiday time.  Christmas card time.  Christmas LETTER time.

Have you received a Christmas letter?  One touting all of the incredible achievements of a family?  It's kinda like receiving every uber-positive Facebook status from your uber-positive friend all at one time.  Georgie read us the Book of Revelation at age 3!  Sarah won the national science fair and is off to NASA this summer on an internship.  It's hard to remember that just last year at age 10, she was merely attending Harvard's Young Apprentice workshop on scholarship.  Steve and I are expecting our 3rd perfect child, so I'm so thankful he received his promotion at work that will allow for more than two 3-week vacations a year to Europe as it is just so important to spend time with family.  Kisses!

[You can see my face, right?  You don't have to ACTUALLY see it to envision it.]

Here's a REAL Christmas letter, folks.  From me to you.


2013 sucked ass.

Granted, the first 7 1/2 months were pretty cool.  I got my shit together, lost 55 lbs ... which would have been PERFECT had it not been for that annoying "again" that goes at the end of that statement.  Of course, without that "again", you should have had an intervention for me and/or put me in the hospital because I would've been under 100 lbs by now but ... I digress.  I got my shit together, got in shape slowly and surely, and by July, I was doing full push ups ... that's actual on-my-feet full freakin' push ups at the count of 49 in 2 minutes time.  Oh yeah.  I could totally kick your ass.

And I loved it.

And I wasn't even done yet.  I still had 15 lbs to go.  Not in some "need to be size zero" type of way.  I'm 5'3" (on a good tip-toe day).  I'm talking single digit clothes as a goal - not a rest stop.

August hit.  Still wonderful.  [Ooops ... sounding a bit like one of THOSE letters, right?  Let me fix that for you.]

Mid-August, I enjoyed an absolutely WONDERFULLY wicked weekend with good friends, enjoying a lake, campfire, food, and alcohol of all shapes and sizes.  I had a hat.  It was awesome.

The following week, I woke in the middle of the night with a pain.  A weird pain.  One of those ... what the hell is this because I've never felt it before ... pains.  I stupidly drove myself to the medi-center because I stupidly thought it was open 24/7.  I nearly wrecked on the way only to find it closed.  I sobbed in my car.  Such pain.  No position would get rid of it.  Nothing made it better.

Until it stopped.  Just stopped.  Okay.  Great, right?  I called my doctor anyway.  They wanted me to come in ... and my second attack began on my drive there.  I entered my doctor's office crying.  I'm such a wimp.  They took my blood, my vitals, did an EKG, and ordered a CT scan.  Enter liquid chalk diet.  Blech.

Late that afternoon, I got the call.  Hey, so ... yeah ... um ... no kidney stones but I'm a gonna have to have you pack a bag and go to the ER to have your appendix out.  It would be good if you could get there in the next hour, please.

[Again, imagine my look.]

It's fun to text your best gals, "So who is going to drive me to the ER because apparently I'm getting my appendix out today?" 

Side note:  Thanks to Monica for picking me up, driving me to the ER and screaming, "Oh MY GOD, look at her blood pressure" when I was hooked up to the machine.  It TOTALLY calmed me.  [Kidding - I'm thankful every day for friends like you.]

That was a Thursday.  The ER doctors didn't agree with whatever doctor read my CT scan so, by the time my oldest sister arrived, they took me for an ultra-sound and, gee, it was during the fourth attack of the day.  They seemed to last increasingly longer - the last was six hours long.  Hey, let's put you on a slab and push an object directly into the area that most hurts right now.  While your sister watches. 

Around 11:30 p.m., they put me in an actual room.  It would be another 1 1/2 days before they knocked me out and took out my gall bladder - not my appendix.  My second oldest sister arrived Friday and spent the night and, blessedly, I wasn't alone when they wheeled me into surgery. [Thanks, Linda! ] 

[Actually, thanks Monica, Glenda, Dad, Pam, Mom, Kim, Robin, Jacob, Tim, Sharon, Kurt, and Linda for stopping by for short and long visits.] 

I stupidly thought because I wasn't being slit open, I'd be back at work in a day or two.  Yeah, not so much little incisions as little stab wounds.  It took over a week.  Restrictions on weight lifting and any ab work (no push ups) but, hey, it could be worse.

How many times have you said those words in your life?  It could be worse.

It could be so so much more worse.


In early September, one of my closest friends told me that she had a cyst, a tumor, on her ovary and would have to have surgery.  Less than a week later, she called me crying to tell me that she had ovarian cancer. 

It could be so much worse.

That was September 13th.  I still have the texts following that phone call.

Over the next month, she would go from long blond to short Sharon Stone hair (and still look fabulous), submit herself to multiple tests, and, on October 14th, go under the knife.

It was supposed to be a hysterectomy with the possibility of colon re-sectioning during a debulking surgery (you learn so many new terms when learning about cancer).  Instead, she had the hysterectomy but they discovered, upon seeing her ovaries, that the cancer had metastasized TO the ovaries, not from them.  And they found more disease than had been visible on the scans.

She's over half-way done with chemotherapy now, her last cycle to take place on New Year's Eve.  Then she'll have another scan and hopefully another surgery (including the HIPEC "shake and bake" chemo at the end) and more chemotherapy after.

It could be so much worse.

I started out the year all proud about losing some weight and thinking of how much better I looked.  Laying out by the pool, partying with friends.  And then, in the course of a few months, life shakes you into perspective.

It shouts, HEY!!  DUMBASS!!  I can end you - like that.  *snap*

Like a drowsy drive, a distracted driver, a weak artery, a freak accident, a secret wicked disease.  Don't take me for granted.  Are you ready?  No?  Too bad because you might not have a choice.

I've gone through (okay, I'm still within) my pissed-off phase with God.  I've had the following discussion: 

"So ... omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient ... aka always there, all-powerful, all-knowing ... tell my why?  So we contemplate life?  You can't do that in an easier, less violent fashion?  Is that beyond You??  So we focus on You?  Who is vain, now, eh?    Because we aren't devoted enough?  What kind of egotistical, narcissistic Prick needs that?  There IS no valid answer why.  Oh, wait, is this one of those ... I don't have the capacity to understand the reason ... things?"


       "F&#* You."


So, yeah, that was 2013 so far. 

This is my friend and me last week:


Now, I expect I'll have many more years to torment her.  In fact, I challenge her to a Culver's eating contest in 2018 ... including the frozen custard ... oh yes ... including the frozen custard!

But, do me a favor anyway.  Take a few minutes and think about your last year. 

Now think about how you would feel if it WERE your LAST year.

What would you have done differently?  Would you have worked harder ... or would you have taken more time off?  Would you have played it safe?  Or would you have rolled the dice?  [Not literally ... Jesus ... don't get a gambling habit off of this.]  When was the last time that you told the people most important to you, just how much they mean to you?  When was the last time you thanked someone?  Sincerely .... thanked someone.

How many more times are you going to say, "Next year, ...."? 

                    How long are you going to keep that special bottle of wine?

I could get hit by a bus tomorrow.  What am I leaving behind? 

[Side note:  As a reminder to my sisters, Mom is NOT to pack away my bedside table.  *meaningful stare*  We've talked about this before.]

Mortality sucks.  Thinking about mortality sucks.

It's much better to think about life and stop putting things off.  Make 2014 the year that you stop putting things off until later.  Say what you need to say, do what you need to do, and keep the proper perspective in life ... because she can be a BITCH when she wants to remind us of it.



P.S.  Merry Christmas and a Happy 2014!  Cheers!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Difference in a Day

It does not escape my attention that in the course of 24-48 hours, I've gone from encouraging someone to be that smile for another, that kind word to make someone's day, to openly cackling at a stranger who called me evil.

I suppose the lesson to learn is that while I strive to be one, life often finds me failing.  Miserably.

I strive to be social.  But God, I loved having today completely to myself.  I cleaned (not something I generally enjoy but often cathartic).  I walked 500 miles ... okay, nearly six, and there was wine and beer in the middle but still ....  I finished a book (the end of the Sookie Stackhouse era).  I shopped.  I cooked for myself.  Watched what I wanted when I wanted.  I strive to be social but am, in my heart, a selfish hermitess.

I strive to be kind but, damn, people piss me off.  The title of this blog came from a long-standing greeting that I have with my siblings:  "Have I told you lately how much I hate people?"  I probably made the wise choice to end it after "lately", eh.  Again, selfish hermitess.

I strive to be good but find that our definitions of good (yes, plural, there are many definitions of good in our culture) vary to such a degree that I'll always disappoint one faction or another.  I'd love to live simply by my Dad's motto of "You can't worry about that shit" (where's that t-shirt), but I'm pretty sure if we coded Mom's DNA, we'd find the original strand, original group of genes that, combined, form the perfect storm of continual apology and "oye vey" chant.

I strive to be funny and ... yeah, I mostly succeed at that, at least in my own mind.

So I strive and I fail ... comically.

I can live with that.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Devil Inside

I was stopped earlier tonight at a red light, waiting to get onto the highway and head home.  Near my car was a man holding a sign.  Thinking of other things, I really didn't pay much attention until I realized that the man was pointing at me, at my car, and talking ... to himself, I guess. 

    Now ... this is the part of the story in which you probably think
I'll hear something that makes me pull out my wallet, right? 

My window was part way down.  As I directed my attention to the man to hear what he was saying, pointing at me, at my car, I hear - quite distinctly - that I am going to hell, that I have evil in my heart, that I am filled ... filled with the devil.  Over and over, the man was informing me that I am evil.  I have an evil heart.  So many variations but all essentially stating the same thing.  Evil-doer in our midst!

My reaction?  Well, friends and stalkers, my instant and spontaneous reaction probably earned me that direct connect downward. 

I laughed.  Loudly and heartily.  Hearing someone who knows nothing about me but that I drive a small blue toaster and listen to J.R.R. Tolkien during my commute - [oh, FINE, that probably earns me purgatory or something] - proclaim that I have the devil inside me made me guffaw. 

Cackle, even. 
And then I drove on. 
I don't know, perhaps the man says such things whenever someone comes to the light and doesn't look at him. It can't possibly make for a good business practice.  Does that ever convince someone to hand over $1, $5, $10?  Now, I know there are homeless people out there who need help but I also know there are people out there scamming others using that ruse and/or people simply looking for their next fix.  I can't tell the difference, therefore, I choose to help in other ways, in other places, instead of wondering if it was my $5 that covered the last pint or last rock that put someone in the ground or in a violent rage. 
So if you're reading this and judging me ...
 ....well, whatever, start mumbling that I'm evil and headed to hell.
And I'll keep chuckling.  Deal?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Nope, I haven't.

I haven't told you much lately.

I've been out of touch, off the "grid", lazy and mute.

My last post was August 2012.  What's happened since then?

I crashed and burned; that's what.

Crashed. Burned. Gained 20+ lbs above the already 40+ I was over "normal" weight.

So ... this is a purging.  A purging of my failure.  What can I say?  I'm tired of being silent about a slow increase, slow failure, slow delusion I used to cover the up 5 lbs but no one will notice.  Up 10 lbs but I love to eat.  Up 20 lbs but I love to drink.  Up and up and up ... I always had an excuse.  A rationalization.  A reason why it wasn't time yet.

Time for what?

Time for me to get my act the hell together.  Time to stop procrastinating.

I worked out harder than ever before last summer.  Boot camp, city classes, climbs up the 140+ stairs on Division.  I worked out ... and expanded.  I worked out ... and gained. 

And I broke.  That's the only way I can really describe it.  I broke.  I went off the deep end of dieting/eating/trying to be healthy.  Or, perhaps more correctly, I fell off the wagon.  'Cause let's not kid ourselves friends and stalkers ... I'm addicted to food.  I'm a foodaholic.  Sugaraholic.  Carbaholic.  What-the-hell-ever-aholic covers the 'holic I am.

When I continued to expand despite my 5:30 a.m. boot camp ... I broke.

I stopped exercising ... completely.

I stopped curbing what I ate ... completely.

Papa John's and I entered into an intimate relationship.  Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory became my friend.  I. Didn't. Care. Anymore.

And I packed on another 20 lbs by Christmas. 

I felt miserable.  Ashamed.  Hopeless even.

See ... I did this already.  I lost the weight already.  I got in shape already.  DAMMIT.  What the HELL am I doing back "here" again?  Buying bigger and bigger sizes.  Turning away from pictures.  Putting non-me pictures as my profile on Facebook (you know ... the important things).

I broke.

And, I'm ashamed to say, I waited until I am well on my way to "fixed" before I admitted it.

I went back to the program that helped me before (in 2006); I went back to Spectrum Health and opted for the strict 12 week to 18 week program.  From January 3rd for 12 weeks, I consumed 800-900 calories a day of mostly protein.  [Oh, yes, you "read" me correctly - 800-900 calories.]  Then I added in regular food again and am back to about 1200 calories day.

From January 3rd to now, I've lost 51 lbs.  About five months.

I've gone from a size of (one pair of dress pants) 18 to size 8-10.  A reset, if you will.

And now the real work begins.  What's that?  Haven't I already done the "real work"? 

Oh, hell no.

The REAL work is maintaining once I reach my goal weight.  The real work is finding the healthy balance of eating healthy and living well. 

After all ... I'm not getting any younger. 

[I had to stop and laugh a few minutes at that.]

So ... what did I do wrong the first time?  Am I destined to revisit this hell every 5-7 years?  That's both difficult and easy to answer at the same time. 

I stopped going.

I stopped going to group.

Does that sound like an addict's statement?  'Cause it should.

 I'm addicted.

I stopped going to my group meetings - Wednesday nights. 

Group meetings for fatties?  Whaaaat? 

Absolutely.  Group meetings in which we keep accountability.  We revisit information on nutrition, on exercise, on behavior modification.  Most importantly for me ... accountability.  I thought I had this covered.  I thought ... no problem, I know what I need to do.  Well ... that's true.  I know what I need to do BUT that doesn't mean I'll do it. 

So where am I now?  I'm down 51 lbs and am not yet where I want to be.  Where I KNOW I can be because I've been there before.  I'm still going to group even though I'm done with the main program.  I'm still journaling the calories I consume (alcohol is a bitch BTW). 

And I just signed up for boot camp again.

I have to face my fear that hard exercise will equal weight GAIN and inch EXPANSION.  I know now that I let myself eat way more than I should last summer because I was working out so hard.  My hormones were crazy (over 40 is a BIIIIITCH).  I didn't account for water retention and inflammation from sore muscles.  Oh, yeah ... I've thought A LOT about this.  And I know I need to face my fear. 

So, last night I started back with boot camp with the army assessment test.  [And I suck but it's okay 'cause I DID it.]

I'm back on track ... full steam ahead ... goal in mind.

Oh ... and another difference. 

I'm doing this for me.

I've no thought of getting in shape for a guy.  Even a fictional maybe guy.  Guys were SOOOOO pre-40.  I'm done with that.  Seriously.  Mr. Right would now have to be Mr. Incredibly-No-Fucking-Way-Right for it to 'cause me any pause.  No offense guys.

I'm just finally at that space in life where I have my home the way I like it.  My activities the way I like them.  My life the way I like it.  There's just no room for you.  [Evil laugh.]

This is ALL for me.

And that's perfect.


There it is - hello after 10 months.  I totally swear I didn't have a baby (although I've lost the equivalent of a 6 year old in weight).