Thursday, December 31, 2009

Baby, Its Cold Outside

BRRRRRR – I am telling you, I am tired of being COLD! And as well insulated as I am, if I am cold, then it is COLD! I am cold at home, cold at work; the only place that I am warm is in bed, under a super-snugly blanket my mom bought me! But, it’s really hard to make any money if you stay home from work just to stay under a snugly blanket. Drat it all. I also find it hard to get any work done at the office because I have an awesome little space heater that keeps me warm, and I don’t want to get up and leave my desk because of it! The office floor plan here is all open space with just turn-of-the-century wall radiators for heat. Seriously, they all have to be at least 80 years old – very pretty, to be sure, but not super efficient at heating all this vast open space. The copier is over by the windows, which are drafty, and I just don’t want to get up!! At least it is supposed to be 40 by Saturday; that will bring out the shorts and T-shirts for most people around here!

The count down to the move is now officially beginning with the New Year. I am so excited about going back to the West Coast; I wish I was going tomorrow. Mom has been off work since Christmas – her office closes between Christmas and New Year’s – so she has been staying out at Sissy’s place. They have gotten started on cleaning out what is to be my room and have made great progress so far. They got a whole bunch of paint swatches to test out; I would like my room to have an Asian/spa-like feel to it so we are leaning towards a nice, sage-y green color or perhaps something in the mocha latte spectrum. I have been trying to find pictures online of Asian-inspired d├ęcor but have actually been having trouble! I keep getting furniture websites, but I want to see fully decorated rooms. I am hoping to be able to buy my dream bed – a platform style that doesn’t need a box spring and sits just an inch or so off the floor. I already have several art prints that Sissy bought for me a few years ago that are Japanese, and the few pieces of furniture that I am bringing with me are dark wood, so I think they will all fit in well.

I keep thinking of all the fun things we can all do together once I am back there; trips to the bead stores, marathon garage sale shopping with mom, taking the back roads to the Coast. I have a wish list on the Powell Book Store website (a super awesome book store in downtown Portland: www.powells.com ) and have been adding books on different walks that you can take around the city. I won’t be very close to Portland like I have been in the past – Onalaska is about 80 miles north of Portland – but I hope that my life there will allow me the flexibility of going there whenever I would like. I am looking forward to the SHOPPING!!! Even grocery shopping will be better. I longed for Montana to get a Trader Joe’s out here, but I don’t think it will happen in my lifetime. Sissy and I are really going to focus on getting healthy and losing weight; she has been doing pretty well in that regard without my help, but I know I will do a lot better with her help!

The goal is to get started packing this weekend since I have a three day weekend to work with. I know that probably sounds odd, but if you knew me and my professional outlook on procrastination… I am going to start with packing up all the stuff that needs to go into storage, sorting out the stuff that can go into a massive garage sale this Spring and stuff that can be thrown out or donated. I don’t want this move to go like my move from Missoula to Billings – my mom having to come out and help me pack up my entire two bedroom apartment in four days!! THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN! I was so embarrassed by that! The move caught me a bit off guard, but I was mostly just completely overwhelmed by the whole process. Not this time.

So, please send me all the calm packing vibes you can to help me get going on this massive project. The goal date for the move is the first week of July, but it’s not written in stone by any means. It could be April for all I know. And as far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better!!

TTFN.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Did Ya Miss Me?

I haven’t been blogging** lately because I haven’t really felt like it, and sometimes I feel like all I will be doing is whining anyway and who wants to read THAT? So, here are a few things that have been going on:

1. I am so sick of hearing about Tiger Woods and his errant clubs. Does anyone really care? I mean, REALLY care? Why is this national news? Isn’t there enough real news going on to keep the media busy? Apparently not. Move on already. Sheesh.

2. We lost one of our favorite guys at work last month because he failed a random drug test. We were devastated. My company has a zero tolerance policy (which I whole-heartedly support) and he knew the minute that he got called up for it that he was going to fail it. We all wanted to hug him and break our foot off in his ass at the same time. How could he be so stupid?? Especially after he constantly told anyone who would listen that he was violently opposed to drugs. Methinks he protested too much.

3. I am still working on the bankruptcy thing; the only thing holding it up is the fact that cannot find my 2008 tax returns anywhere!! ERRRGGG.

4. I have firmly decided that the move back to the west coast is on. Unless I meet the man of my dreams or win the lottery, nothing is going to stand in the way. I told my boss and co-workers and broke the news to Ollie; everyone took it very well. They are all bummed that I am leaving (no threats of hari kari or quitting) but all are very happy for me as it is quite obvious how excited I am about being reunited with my family. I have been on my own in Montana for 10 years; I accomplished a few things and learned many more things about myself and I consider that a success. Now I just have to get the money saved up to rent the truck, etc. I have July 1 as a target date. We shall see how it goes. The plan as it stands now is to start packing away stuff that I plan on keeping but moving into storage; list some stuff on eBay with the hopes of making a little money towards the move and getting rid of some stuff I don’t need anymore; decide what goes to my new home at Karen’s and what goes to storage. I plan to have a big garage sale, probably in May, to help get rid of even more stuff. It’s amazing how much crap you accumulate – even when you’re single! Until you are confronted with the task of moving all of it, you don’t have a clue how much you’ve got. My goal is to do it all by myself without Mom having to come out at the last minute and save my bacon. Wish me luck!!

5. Still trying to lose weight. Have managed only to gain a little more. I don’t understand why I just can’t get motivated to do it, and it is SO FRUSTRATING. I have posted really horrible “before” pictures on my other blog, and if they aren’t Biggest Loser material, then I don’t know what is. Everything hurts nowadays – back, ankles, hips – getting out of bed in the morning is sheer agony these days. Shouldn’t that be motivation enough? Besides the fact that I am now diabetic because of my weight? What will it take to get this big ass in gear? Dunno, but I will continue to work on it.

Well, that’s it for now. TTFN!

** too funny; spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word “blogging”; when you click on it for options, it lists: bogging, logging, flogging, clogging, and slogging. For some reason, I find that immensely funny.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It seems so odd to me that, at 42 years of age, I am just now beginning to learn about myself: who I am, what I believe in, what I have not been allowing my self to feel, etc. Why does it take a professional to help me figure this all out? Because I haven’t been able to do it on my own, that’s why.

At my last therapy session, I learned about something called Learned Helplessness. Yep – it was a new concept to me too; you can actually learn to be helpless. And I am not talking about the damsel that is always being tied to the railroad tracks (although she could probably use counseling as well – why does she always wind up with men that tie her to train tracks? But I digress…). This is my kind of helpless; the paralyzing can’t make a decision because I am afraid to move ahead with my life kind of helpless.

This was an actual study performed years ago by leading psychologists. Two dogs were placed in two cages, side by side. Each cage was identical with a metal floor and a lever inside. At random times, the floors of both cages were simultaneously shocked with electricity (**see note below) for an uncomfortable length of time. As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of hopping and dancing around being done by the subjects as they tried to escape the shocks coming from the floor. During the course of said hopping about, dog A accidentally tripped his lever, stopping the flow of current to both cages. In short order, dog A learned that tripping this lever would always stop the scary and painful waves radiating from the floor and would immediately hit it whenever they started. Dog B, however, never learned this lesson – even though he also had a lever and it would also stop the shocks to both cages - and eventually he just gave in to depression and just lay there and endured the pain and fear, never trying to avoid it or stop it, just waiting for it to end.

Guess which dog I am?

This was a real eye opener for me. That is basically a blue print for how I live my life. I just sit still, waiting for the pain and the fear, never knowing why it comes or what to do about it when it does. Therefore, I am paralyzed with fear of living on the whole. I have just been sitting still on the sidelines of life, dealing with the depression by not dealing with it, just waiting for it all to end.

And speaking of dog illustrations, my therapist has me write essays about my feelings on certain subjects. She had me write about what I gain from staying overweight, and what I will sacrifice by loosing it. I will put that essay on my other blog if you want to check it out. But at one point I was describing my relationship with food by using the illustration of a mistreated dog; no matter how much I abuse food – ignore it, talk bad about it, kick it to the curb, neglect it – it is always there for me, waiting to be loved, wanting to please. My therapist read that part, paused to look me dead in the eye, then re-read the section substituting “I” for “it”. I was really saying how no matter how much I am ignored, talked bad about, kicked to the curb and neglected, I am always there – waiting to be loved, wanting to please, waiting, waiting, waiting to be thrown some scrap of kindness and affection, some sort of confirmation that I exist and am worthy. I burst into tears and cried and cried; it still hits me hard as I write this and the tears well up again because it is true.

I live my whole life scared to move about in it because I am afraid I will say or do something that will offend someone, somewhere. If I say this thing, will I offend someone? If I do this thing, will my family loose respect for me? That would probably be appropriate if I was planning murder or a bank robbery, or if I planned to perform sexual favors for the entire city of New York. But these are just simple everyday things that I am thinking about. When I am waiting to make a turn into traffic, I often wonder if the driver of the car behind me is angry because I am taking too long. I have entire conversations with this person in my head about how I am just trying to be careful and that I can’t go because there are too many cars coming, etc. I find that I am constantly exhausted by this line of thinking; it affects me everywhere! At work, in the grocery store, driving on the road, talking to my friends, family, strangers. Everywhere I go and everything I do is affected by this. And it isn’t just because of my weight. I think my weight is a symptom of all the other stuff, but it just adds to the CRAZY mix. I could be packaged – for enough servings of Crazy for the whole family, just add water and stir!

So I am starting to implement some new ways into my life. It is hard to turn down the crazy and look for the lever in my cage, but I am pretty sure that I know where it is now. I just have to have the strength to reach for it. It is up to me and within my power to change this, and I am determined to do it.

**NOTE: in spite of the last paragraph, I have to submit to the crazy and add this little note. In case you are wondering, no – it does not make me happy that animals are experimented on that way. I do feel it is cruel. But – having said that – I didn’t do the experiment nor did I ask for it to be done. But it is done and there is nothing I can do about it now. So chill out.

TTFN.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Just trying to hang in there

Well, I managed to sell one of my bracelets below; I sold the one with the matching earrings! Yay! Now, if only I could sell the rest of my stuff. Oh well.

It has been colder than HECK here! Normally we are in the mid 60's at this time of year; two weeks ago it was 83; for the last week and a half we can barely break 30. We've even had a couple of inches of snow!

I decided to add another blog that will mostly deal with my weight loss journey. You can find it here, and I also added it to the right side of this blog. It will have my food journals, track my weight loss, before/after pictures, etc.

Otherwise, nothing much new going on.

TTFN.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bracelets

Not feeling so hot this weekend; had a migraine yesterday. I was able to go see my therapist, but the migraine struck in the middle of our session, so I just came home and went to bed. Today I am just taking it easy and watching football.

Here are some bracelets I made and have just listed in my eBay store; I made them a few weeks ago and just now was able to clean off my computer desk enough to get to the scanner!
Please to enjoy:

TTFN!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Never give up on the day…

Wednesday night was a bad night; I had a binge episode and the rest of the night was one huge pity party blowout, complete with the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth. It was spectacular in its patheticness (is that a real word?). It left its mark on me the next morning as the depression was oozing from my pores and was painfully obvious to anyone who happened to glance in my general direction. I had a really hard time keeping my composure throughout the day, and my lunch hour was spent in tears, weeping, and screaming in agony at the cosmos in general. I’m sure you get the general idea.

I had been writing my post throughout the day as I usually do, trying to capture the helplessness that I had felt the night before. It was full of accusations and finger pointing, past regrets, and general “poor me” crap and “if only” scenarios. Even in my profoundly depressed state of mind, I thought it was waaaaaaay to depressing to post! Even though I write honestly, the main goal is to be encouraging at the same time; that post would not have served any purpose at all.

My point in all of this is: sometimes good things still happen, and you don’t really realize it. Now, a few of these things that happened are nothing truly outstanding in the scheme of life. But, when you group them all together and stand back and look at the entire collection as a whole, it really changed how I felt. I didn’t really even notice them at the time they were happening, but when the BIG good thing happened at the end of the day, it made it easier to see them. Kinda like one of those pictures that are all dots, and you finally focus your eyes just right and the picture that was there all along POPS out right at you!

  • I was cleaning out a really old email box for an email address that I don’t even use anymore and found a recent email advertising a sequel to my all-time favorite computer game: Zuma. I had been hoping for the last several months that eventually a sequel would be made. The email was from MSN games and said that it was $19.99 to purchase, plus I would get a 40% off coupon for the next game I purchased. When I got home and went online to purchase the game, it was actually only $14.95!
  • I was looking at one of my favorite online cross-stitch websites and discovered that one of the patterns I had been eyeballing was on sale – 50% off! I bought it.
  • My bankruptcy attorney called me; he had gotten together, in person, with the debt management gal and decided that he would handle my bankruptcy. He kept referring to the collection agency that is not being co-operative as “those bastards over there”. Instead of charging me his standard $1800 fee, he is only charging me $500 (after first saying he would do it for $600) and he is letting me make payments to him, AND he is not going to wait until I pay him in full to file. This will stop the judgment the collection agency filed, and instead of getting their money paid in full over time, they will now get squat.
  • When I got home from work, I found my Nordic walking poles that I was sure had been stolen out of my Rodeo because I couldn’t find them. I had unloaded them from the opposite side of the truck than I normally do, and they were leaning into the corner where I couldn’t see them. I had almost bought a new pair off of eBay the other day, but they didn’t have the correct height.
  • I remembered to grab my checkbook and book of stamps so I could actually MAIL my rent today, on time (instead of driving across town to my icky landlord's home to drop it off).

So, when I got up today, I said – today will be an AWESOME day. Because look how bad yesterday started out, but look how good it ended!

TTFN.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Over the shoulder boulder holder FAIL

It’s interesting what makes you happy and excited, and by the same turn can utterly disappoint you. I ordered a new bra and was so excited to get it. I am really hard on them as my lady boulders are quite, um, large. And HEAVY. It’s hard to find one that fits me comfortably, they are expensive at my size, and they are basically an all around pain in the butt to deal with. I think that they should make putting your bra on everyday an Olympic event. I am a shoe in for gold in the heavyweight division: Greco Roman wrestling style. But, I digress. This new one I ordered looked so comfortable and supportive, and not S&M scary looking either. I was waiting on pins and needles for it to come. It came yesterday. I always have stuff shipped to work so that I don’t worry about it being scuttled away off of my front door step (imagine the shock the thief would receive upon opening this prize!!). So I had to wait all day until I got home to open the package; holy pup tents, Batman! It was HUGE. I mean, seriously, even for me who expects it, it was HUGE. I excitedly whipped off my upper stuff and tried it on. Well, tried to try it on. It just didn’t fit. Extreme disappointment washed over me like a flood. Then I felt extremely stupid; I felt like the world was ending, but it was just a stupid bra that didn’t fit! Get a grip!!! I made a couple of adjustments to it and tried to wear it to work today, but it just looks awful and doesn’t feel much better. Intelligently, I had grabbed my normal one on my way out the door and stuffed it in my bag. I changed when I got to work. Tonight I will dig out the return label that came with it and send it back, and will reorder my standard ugly one. Dang!! Heavy sigh…..

Mooving on…

I have been trying to pay more attention to my eating habits. I keep waffling between being really gung-ho and apathetic about it. It is frustrating me to no end. I am trying to finish my book but when I got sick I kinda got thrown off track and am off my game a little. I am working on getting back into it. I still eat out, but not as often; and when I do I pay attention to how I am feeling – emotionally and hunger-wise – and I find I am able to order less food and be just as happy (if not happier). Take yesterday for example: I have been bringing my lunch for the last several days, but today I had to run errands during lunch so I stopped at Taco Bell. I would normally order 2-3 tacos, one burrito, and a caramel apple empanada (oooooooo, those are SO GOOD!!!) with a small drink. I always over ate and was miserable for the rest of the afternoon, not to mention the acid reflux I would have to battle down. Yesterday I ordered one burrito, an order of cinnamon twists and a small drink that I promptly left in the Rodeo and forgot to bring into the building with me when I got back to work. I was perfectly fine with that amount of food, not hungry after I ate and was satisfied all afternoon. I learned that instead of ingesting 1070-1120 calories, 47-54 grams of fat, and 104-114 grams of carbs and feeling like crap, I could ingest 620 calories, 24 grams of fat and 77 carbs and be satisfied. Now, are the lower numbers good? No, they are just lower than what I had been ingesting; they are still bad, but better than before. There are other choices that I could have made that probably would have resulted in much lower numbers and a higher quantity of food, but I am not that quick in the drive-thru line.

I also took myself out to dinner last night. All I could think about all day long was the stupid shrimp and cream cheese wonton appetizers at Montana Jack’s. I knew that if I tried to stifle that craving, I would end up eating everything in the house just to try to distract myself, so I caved. I ordered a half order of them = four little packets of heaven. I then ordered my usual BBQ chicken wrap sandwich with fries. I ate the sandwich but didn’t touch one single fry. I should have just had the appetizer and went home, but no, I feel guilty about doing that. WHY?? Why would I feel guilty about going to a restaurant and only ordering a little bit of food? Something to work on to be sure. I also ordered a piece of cheesecake, but got it to go. I was very satisfied and not at all hungry, but I wanted that stupid cheesecake.

I told you all of that just to tell you this: the cheesecake is still in my fridge, untouched. Even after the bra disappointment, and having to talk to the debt reduction service people about my problem with the collection agency, I never ate the cheesecake. I never even had the desire to eat it.

I will take my victories where I can get them.

TTFN.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A difficult decision, rather easily made...

Well, I am making plans for the future; next summer, to be more specific. I have decided that I have had my fill of independence here in Montana. I miss my family so much!! The little ones are growing up without knowing me, and it kills me. My mother is not getting any younger, and I don’t think that it is fair that my sister will bear the entire burden of caring for her if something happens to her. She plans to retire and move in with Sissy, and thus poor Sissy will be under continuous fire without relief. Les is almost the same age as Mom, so the upcoming years would be difficult for her on her own. Besides, I love my Mom and Sissy, and I want to be near them both. I yearn for their company – even though my mom usually drives me insane. Sissy and Les have always told me that if I wanted to, I was welcome to move in with them; they have a very nice four bedroom home on five acres out in Onalaska, WA, waaaaaaaay out in the North 40 Boonies. Seriously, they can’t even get cable out there. The country lands are beautiful; they can see Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams from their front property on a clear day and the skies are so full of stars at night that it is unbelievable. Les is very excited and wants me to move out there ASAP. Sissy sends me text messages every day, asking me if I am all packed up yet.

I will miss my wonderful Montana, but going “home” doesn’t mean I can’t come back here someday. Sissy and I have always wanted to go into business together; perhaps now we will be able to do it! We have always toyed with opening a “modified” restaurant; like a place that only serves breakfast and boxed lunches; or a place that only does dessert, etc. She and I are both into photography and she has taken many beautiful photos of the local area, and I keep trying to get her to make calendars and sell them at some of the local stores in the area. She is afraid to do the marketing, but I’m not! So maybe I can help her do that too.

I am a seriously compulsive list maker, so now I am making lists up the wazoo! What to put into storage and what to sell, what to sell at a garage sale and what to list on eBay, etc. We haven’t told my Mom yet because she will drive me nuts, calling me everyday – or several times a day – asking when I’m coming, what my plans are, trying to be helpful but just coming across as bat-poop crazy, etc. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know the answer to either question. I sure won’t be planning on moving before next spring. No one in their right mind would try to drive a U-Haul truck over the five mountain passes between Billings and Onalaska after October and before May. The odds for nasty driving conditions just don’t make it worth it! I really don’t want to be sitting on the side of I-90, on a mountain pass, in horizontal snow and below zero temps. No thanks. I am trying to decide if I want to store my stuff here or there; I can’t decide if I should store my piano or try to find a place for it at Sissy’s. I think I want to get rid of as much bedroom stuff as I can, and maybe I can buy the platform bed I have always wanted at the local IKEA. They have one in Portland, and they also have one in Renton, WA; so I have two stores to choose from! My bedroom has a kind of Asian flair, but I have never been able to really carry it off with the sleigh bed…

So, have you been enjoying the new season of TV shows? I have a few early favs: Community – I absolutely ADORE Joel McHale, he reminds me of Jeremy so much and he just kills me (if Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes ever grew up and because a human being, he would look like Joel McHale); Modern Family – I really like this one, and I am kind of partial to sitcoms that are filmed in “mockumentary” style, so you know I am a faithful watcher of The Office, and this season will be no different. Last night was the premiere of Flash Forward; I thought it was really well done, and this is the first drama series in a long time that I think I might actually keep watching after the pilot! I have been enjoying Glee, but I am a survivor of marching band (and band camp) in high school, so it’s pretty much a given that I can relate to the characters on the show. The Big Bang Theory is back for another season, and I am so glad!! I purchased the first season on DVD and hope to get the second season soon. Of course new seasons of Family Guy make me happy, and I can’t wait to see if The Cleveland Show will be any good. I am anticipating V and Brothers; both look good, although Brothers is being slammed by critics before it has even aired. And then there is the fabulous So You Think You Can Dance, The Biggest Loser, and all of the NFL Football I can stand (this will be the first year I have EVER cheered for the Minnesota Vikings – I love you, Brett! And for the first time in about 25 years, there is a team I hate more than the Oakland Traitors Raiders: the Philadelphia Eagles. Any team that kicks off a good, hard working guy to let a convicted felon play on their team for obscene amounts of money deserves to go 0-12 for the rest of their franchise life. Pffft.).

TTFN.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Got Cramps?

Well, as you can see, I have managed to get my weight down a little; and it makes me happy to see the number go in that general direction. Unfortunately, I am doing it the hard way – gastroenteritis. Very, very painful. To those of you out there that have suffered from this, my heart goes out to you. This is the illness I suffered from almost a year ago that caused my diabetes to be uncovered. There isn’t a whole lot that can be done for you; you just have to suffer through it until it has decided you have been punished enough and moves on. I lost two days of work this week and wasn’t sure if I would make it all day today or not. Seems like I will survive. I have some trouble standing upright, and if I move around too much the pains come back with a vengenance. Fortunately, it’s been a quiet day; not a lot of trips out to the warehouse or to the copier. I have lost about six pounds since last week – the hard way. Also, two days being completely horizontal and drinking lots of fluids have reduced my ankles and feet to normal again. YAY.

Even though I watch The Biggest Loser religiously every season, I was pretty sure I would not be watching this season (SPOILER ALERT – I will be talking about this week’s episode, so if you’ve TIVO’D it but not watched it, you may want to skip this part). There is so much yelling at the contestants by the trainers and I just can’t stand it. That, and even though they are monitored by doctors, etc. it still isn’t a very realistic way to lose weight. The contestants are put on a very low calorie/fat diet and they work out in the gym for 6-8 hours a day. I don’t even like to do things that feel GOOD for 6-8 hours a day! Of course, that is the only way they can get such dramatic results in such a short period of time; I seriously doubt that networks think we would follow these people for the 2-3 years it would normally take for these people to loose these amounts of weight. I know I would certainly get bored with it. And if I managed to be accepted onto the show, would I go? You bet your sweet bippy I would. Anyhoo I caved in last night and watched it. I was actually really glad that I did. This is the dreaded second week; the week where people lose only 1-2 lbs or actually gain, despite eating nothing and then working out until they barf up what they did eat. It’s called metabolism shock; drop 15 lbs in seven days and your body goes into WTF mode and hangs on to all the fat and calories it can with all the strength it can muster. It’s normal, and it’s incredibly frustrating. So the challenge this week was: if the group can lose a total of 150 lbs, there would be NO ELIMINATION. No one would go home! BUT, and the buts are big on this show (sorry, couldn’t resist), if the goal was not met, two people would be sent packing. The contestants were very positive and were sure they could pull it off. They went on their merry ways and started working hard. The next day, when the trainers found out, they absolutely glowed with negativity. Now, I understand that they are worried and don’t want the contestants to hype themselves up over something they could not accomplish. But what pissed me off is that the trainers were sure that they could not accomplish it. The contestants were obviously very dejected when they saw the trainers attitudes about this challenge. But they persevered. As a group they met with that celebrity chef that ambushes you in the super market and goes home with you to cook a nice meal; the blonde with the Aussie accent. He gave them a nice seminar on nutrition, etc., and at the end there was a quiz. If, as a group, they got 5 out of the 8 questions correct, they got a 15lb advantage at the weigh in; reducing their group goal from 150lbs to 135lbs. They got them right with only missing two. Hurrah! Then they did their group physical challenge which was walking from raft to raft in a baseball diamond shaped course; the “bases” separated by decreasingly wide balance beams that they had to walk on. They had to get from the home platform to the first raft, or base, as a group; they could not continue on to the next one until everyone had gotten on the first base, and so on. As soon as one person fell in the water the challenge was over. The prize for making it to the first base was another 5lb advantage at the weigh in; second base was an additional 5 lbs; third base was calls home for everyone; and the last prize for getting back to the home raft was an additional 10 lbs advantage at the weigh in. It was really tough, but everyone helped one another and they made it all the way around!! There were tears, high fives and hugs all around. It was awesome to watch. At the actual weigh in, the trainers were there complete in black leather biker jackets and long faces to match. They knew there was no way they would make the new goal of 105lbs as a group. This seemed to be confirmed with the pink team went first; Amanda only lost 4lbs and her partner lost 6. However, this was the only team that had both partners in single digits; Julio, who was the group pariah after his partner got sent home last week, proved his worth by losing an astonishing 19lbs all by himself! The orange team, with Shay who is the heaviest woman at about 450lbs, hadn’t weighed in yet and the group had already exceeded the goal weight, and everyone was safe; after they weighed in, it turns out that they beat the original goal weight by 5lbs – the group lost an incredible 155 lbs!!! I was so happy to see those stupid negative smirks get wiped off the trainers faces! This group proved that the week 2 of death could be defeated. HA! Take THAT!!! And I was so happy that not only did they actually meet the original challenge, they exceeded it. It was awesome, and not just a little encouraging. Will I be watching next week? Yeah, probably.

TTFN.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh, global warming, you nasty booger…

Man, it’s been HOT here the last few weeks. We have been in the mid to upper 90’s for the last several weeks which is pretty unusual around here. We are normally in the low 70’s around this time of year; we will probably drop from the 90’s to the 50’s in a three week span – that happens here a lot. Montana’s weather motto is: If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes; it will change.

So, since it’s been so warm, I still have not been exercising. I have a lot of trouble regulating my body temperature (and it’s worse when I am heavy, better when I am thin) and because I do not sweat, I overheat really easily. I overheat just walking around large warehouse-style stores like Wal-Mart or Costco; places where it is not evenly cool all over. My face turns the color of a ripe eggplant and feels like it is cooking from the inside out. I really do want to walk, but I just can’t do it for more than two or three minutes in 90° heat. I try to motivate myself to put on an exercise DVD and just turn the fan on high and aim it dead on me, but I am so out of shape that they are too much for me; I wind up sitting on the couch watching them like a movie. LAME! The mind is willing, but the body says to shut the hell up and siddown.

I know if just move even a little bit that it will help to rev up my metabolism. The goal for this weekend is to leave the TV off until the Montana State football game comes on, put on the dance tunes and clean house like crazy. As I have stated in earlier posts, I HATE to clean house; but the other night I made a clean spot in my kitchen and I have been dying to expand it, and usually when I put the dance club CDs on, I get happy feet and get a lot done before I even realize it. Yay! Please send me all of your house cleaning/happy feet vibes. Thank you.

And now, since I have done nothing lately but bitch and whine, here are some nice vacation pictures for you as a reward for being so patient. These pictures were taken in August, after The Luau, on the Oregon Coast. Mom, Sissy, Hannah and Bruiser the weiner dog drove out to Tillamook; then we drove south through Lincoln City, taking a respite and having some lunch in Boiler Bay. Then we continued on down to Yachats where we stayed overnight at the Fireside Motel. It was GREAT!! I booked the room off of the internet, and we were not disappointed. When they said “water front room”, they were not kidding. We had a deck that faced the water that was only about 50 yards away. We had a great time, and so did Bruiser.

Please to enjoy.
Boiler Bay
Boiler Bay
A friendly seagull at Boiler BayOur very first view from our room, Yachats
Bruiser on guard on the deck!Mom and Sissy enjoying the view while on their walk
Mom, Sissy, and me playing tourist!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

CRAP...

So, I was just sitting there last night, quietly minding my own business, playing a game of Big Kahuna 2 and watching the newest installment of So You Think You Can Dance, when the doorbell rings. I answered the door and was promptly served papers by a collection agency, suing me for the $6k I owe them. I am currently making payments to them through a debit reduction agency. You can imagine my dismay. I made a conscience effort not to completely freak out and run screaming into the streets; I also made a conscience effort not to turn my living room into a circus of flying breakable objects. However, my efforts at making a conscience decision not to eat were over-ruled and the pizza man soon came calling, complete with two crunchy chocolate lava cakes. Crap.

This morning my feet and ankles were much less swollen and I was pleased, as were my feet and ankles. I decided to step onto the scale, just for giggles to get an idea of where I am these days. Not the greatest decision. It said 330.8; my officially highest weight of my lifetime. I felt like a senator, screaming “YOU LIE!!” at my scale. It did not change the ugly, ugly facts. Crap.

I am now currently at work, waiting for the debt reduction service to call me back to explain why I am being sued.

UPDATE: Well, the debt reduction service just call me back, and crap has now turned to…well, you know…the stuff that hits fans and that creeks are made out of. With corn and great big chunks of me in it. Apparently, the collection agency never agreed to the payment offer that the debt reduction place told them I would be making. I did not know this. I thought they accepted it and every thing was honkey dorey. I felt so good because I was getting my debt paid off and was fulfilling my responsibility as an adult and paying back money that I legitimately owe. Yeah, well, surprise to me. The debit gal said to write the court a letter, explaining the situation and as for a trial. A trial? Seriously? I don’t want to go to trial!! For once I actually don’t feel like eating; I feel like barfing. Repeatedly. Until I die. I swear, I think that all my problems will finally be solved approximately two weeks after my death; I will finally be at the weight I have always wanted to be, and all my bill collectors will finally stop hounding me for money.

I called Sissy from the warehouse on my cell phone, crying my head off. She was very sympathetic and calming, which is exactly why I called her! She thought that maybe I should call the bankruptcy lawyer back that I was working with before I decided to go the debit reduction route. I hate to declare bankruptcy, but I can’t have them garnish my wages if the judge rules for the collection agency, which the debt reduction gal is pretty sure he will. Must…not…use…F-word… After hanging up with her I sat on the dock and wept and felt sorry for myself for a little while, then got it together and came back into the office. I had waiting for me an email from the warehouse foreman that had witnessed my melt down, offering his empathy and listening ear. What a sweetheart. He told me he currently has five judgments against him, and is being garnished monthly for about $850. Oh. Suddenly I feel slightly idiotic, but it still doesn’t change the fact that I have to get this taken care of, and it doesn’t really change my anxiety level that much. I am terrified that if my landlord somehow finds out, he will evict me. He sees this kind of thing as a huge flaw in character, and when I signed my lease, it was on his list of things that he will boot someone’s butt to the curb for. But, this is just a sign of my anxiety – catastrophe predictions. There is no way he can find out unless I tell him, and deep down I know that. Right? Right. Of course, Harriett is trying to use this against me in typical Nazi bitch style. So far, I am able to smother her with my psychological pillow, and she isn’t squirming too much. That will come later this evening after work when I am home with no distractions to keep me from listening to her. I will just have to deal with that when it happens.

CRAP.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It’s hard to get back into the swing of things…

Since my vacation in August, I have been out of whack. Since I got back from my vacation last week, I am super out of whack! I am completely unproductive at work; I just can’t get my head into what I need to do, and I just want to sit and play on the Internet all day. I am soooo burned out by this job; 14 years of pushing papers around and fixing other people’s stupid mistakes all day is culminating into one, big, gigantic SCREAM that I am sure is going to let loose at some extremely inappropriate time. I am grateful to have a job, let me make that perfectly clear. Now, having said that, I just don’t want this particular job anymore. I really want to work from home because for me, it would be just be, well, awesome. No commute (not that driving seven miles to work every day can actually be considered a “commute”; more like an inconvenience at best); I can actually eat my meals at home at a time when I am actually hungry – not just because it is “lunch time” or whatever; I can sleep in a little later; maybe I could actually do something that is fulfilling or creative or both. I really want to get the scoping training done; Sis and I are still working on the financial aspect of that and it’s hard. She and Les sold one of their pick up trucks for $1700 cash – and they weren’t even trying to sell it! – but then Sis’s car broke down and she was crushed to have to use the money to pay for it. But that’s life, isn’t it? You get a windfall just in time for crisis. Sis was really upset that we weren’t able to start taking classes with that money, but I tried to get her to see how great it was that they had the money on hand to fix her car. Otherwise, they would have been up the proverbial creek without the required paddle, or even a boat to float in for that matter. She lives waaaaaaay out yonder where carpooling, etc. is not an option; nor is taking the bus or hitching a ride with a friend. They live way out in the country, and there is no way to get around anywhere if you don’t have a running vehicle; let alone drive 105 miles one way to work three days a week. Yes, such is her life. I just want to be able to do computer work from home, work on my novel (yes, yes, be quiet), make my jewelry and greeting cards, and be happy. That’s all!

So, in addition to sitting around daydreaming about all of that while I am supposed to be working, I have not been working on my weight either. As some of you may have noticed, that little gauge at the top of my blog has not moved. If I was honest, it would have moved – back the wrong way unfortunately. I haven’t been reading my book, though I have been talking about it to Sis and my therapist a lot, and I have been meditating on what I have learned so far. I just need to get back into it so that I can keep learning and start applying! My feet and ankles are big, swollen water balloons. They look like someone filled medical exam gloves with water and attached them to where my feet should be; my toes look like little sausages sticking out. Not real flattering. Or comfortable for that matter. This is due to lack of moving my fat butt and not drinking enough water. So I am increasing my water intake during the day and that seems to be helping a little bit; I just need to GET MOVING – preferably manually, not by vehicle. I walked around (stalked) the new Bed, Bath & Beyond that just opened down town yesterday, but it didn’t really help. Stalking kitchen gadgets isn’t the same as strolling down the sidewalk, and it actually just made the swelling worse. If I get brave enough, maybe I will post a picture of my poor swollen little piggies. Maybe if I poke them with a pin, water will spray out (like that episode of Will & Grace with the water bra in the art gallery).

TTFN.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Um...Hi!

You know, a lot of us bloggers figure that no one except close friends and family members ever look at or read our blogs; at least, that is definitely how I always felt. I know now that there are a few people that have been regularly reading my blog, and some of you have left me comments, which I cannot tell you how much I appreciate! So, I am pretty sure most of you can imagine my sincere surprise when I logged into my blog and found that my counter had gone from 247 to 11,905!! Holy crap!!! Well, I just wanted to say…uh…welcome…to all the people that are now stopping by to check out my blog. It’s very humbling, to say the least!

I think that my sudden rise in popularity must come from something that I did back on the 3rd; I didn’t write about it yet because I wasn’t sure how it would pan out, and then I went back to Sissy’s for another week on the 5th and so didn’t have time to write about it before I left. Sorry. Here’s the scoop:

I was checking my email one morning before I left for work (something I never do) and found an email from someone I didn’t know, and the subject line was the name of my blog. Uh, OK. I wonder what this is about. Imagine my surprise when I read this:

I work for the company that is producing Mutual of Omaha’s official sponsor of the aha moment campaign – visit www.ahamoment.com <http://www.ahamoment.com/> to see what an aha moment is and the great real stories we have collected so far. Associated to that, we have a 34-foot Airstream mobile film studio that is traveling the US on a 25-city tour to capture the country’s aha moments. We are headed to Billings this Wednesday, September 2nd & Thursday, September 3rd, and would love to invite you to share a defining moment in your life – large or small. I came across your blog and thought you would have a great story to share! You would just have to step into the Airstream studio for a few minutes and tell your story on film, which would be posted to www.ahamoment.com. We would love to have you if you are interested! We will be parked at the Yellowstone Art Museum (401 N 27th Street) Wednesday, September 2nd (Noon to 8pm) and Thursday, September 3rd (10am to 8pm). Let me know as soon as possible and I can reserve some time for you, thanks!

Uh, please excuse me a moment while I pick myself up off the floor. Seriously? ME? I was sure that this came to me in error somehow, that there was another blog out there with the same name as mine, and they really meant this email to go that THAT person. I don’t have anything that interesting to say, do I? That would be Harriet shooting off her stupid mouth (see blog entry below). I didn’t respond to the email right away, mostly because I was in shock, but also because I only had seven minutes to make the 20+ minute drive to work and I still didn’t have my shoes or pants on yet. I wanted to talk to Sissy about it, but with the hour time difference (earlier where she is) I didn’t want to call and wake her up. She seriously deserves her sleep. So I sent her an email from work that just said “CALL ME” repeatedly; I figured she wouldn’t be able to resist that! I was right! She called me by 10am, by which time I figure I had lost at least 15 lbs by fidgeting and sweating. I told her about the email and she was really excited for me. I had pretty much made up my mind to do it (why wouldn’t I?) and she agreed and was super encouraging (“be sure to put makeup on and wear that blue shirt you wore to the luau!!” Very sage advice indeed). I emailed M of O back and set up an appointment for that Thursday after work.

I went down to the Art Museum and did my thing. Everyone was super nice and made me feel as at ease as they could; when you are hyper-conscious about your weight, usually the last thing you want to do is to go ON CAMERA AND TALK ABOUT IT! But I did. I actually had a nice time too. I had Friday and all of the rest of the following week off; Sissy called me in a tax panic and begged me to come back out to her place, so I left on Saturday (I’ll blog about that fun trip later). On Thursday, I checked my email from her house because they said that they would send me a link to my “aha moment” on their website when they had it finished. Nothing. I checked the website for my “aha moment”. Nothing. There were other things posted about their stop in Billings, but my moment wasn’t there. Harriet raised her ugly head, telling me that I wasn’t good enough; they had hated me, hated my blog, I screwed it all up, they were disappointed in me, they made a mistake. For a few minutes I was profoundly depressed, buying into the crap spewing forth from Harriet’s mouth, accepting it as gospel as usual. Then I took a deep breath and told Harriet, “My life is not any different than it was before this. If they didn’t like it, oh well. It is what it is. Only Sissy knew about it anyway, so no real harm done.” She didn’t know how to react to that (HA!) and shut up. I pulled myself up from the computer chair and went about my business of living my life. If I had checked back a few hours later, I would have seen the email that they sent with the link to my story. I saw it on Sunday after I got home and was checking my email; I suddenly was very happy. Insert mental image of me flipping the bird to Harriet with both hands and feet (which is really hard to do – you try to see if you can get your middle toe to stick up on its own!). I still have not been able to watch my video or anything; I don’t have the right version of Flash loaded and am still working on that. I will post a link to it as soon as I figure out how to do that as well.

So, welcome to all of you; and thank you for checking me out. Please drop me a comment if you wish; I would love to hear from you. My deepest hope is that someone out there that is going through this same journey on a parallel path that needs to know they are not alone finds this blog. I hope that we can share a laugh, a tear, or an aha moment. And even if you aren’t on a similar journey, I still hope you enjoy my ramblings and pictures, etc.

TTFN.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I’m learning and making some progress…

OMG – where has this book been all of my life? Apparently just lying in wait, waiting for me to be in the right place to go searching for it. As I read, I sometimes wonder where I would be now if I had read this book a year ago; five years ago; 10 years ago! But, it doesn’t do any good to wonder, so I stop. I have already put into play a few of the key points I have learned so far, and I feel good. Uh, really pretty good, in fact. I have actually managed to eat at one of my “user” restaurants, eat only half of what I would have normally eaten, took the other half home and didn’t even eat it at all (as opposed to eating it in the car in my driveway after the five minute drive home, or perhaps an hour or so later while watching TV in bed). I can’t tell you the last time I have done that. I usually waddle from the restaurant, wanting to throw up or in physical pain in my gut because I have stuffed so much food into my stomach that it hurts to contort myself into my driver’s seat and hook my seatbelt. I am often out of breath after I eat, probably because my stomach is so packed with food that it is filling my chest cavity and inhibiting my lungs from working properly. Sad picture, isn’t it? Well, it’s the truth. I also managed to order pizza yesterday without any anger or frustration or self-loathing involved, although there was some boredom. However, instead of ordering a 16” extra-large with two chocolate lava cakes for dessert, I ordered one 10” with a soda. I found that even this ridiculously tiny (in my eyes) pizza filled my stomach to capacity – which I thought only a large pizza could do. I was full by the time I ate half, but had to finish it because the voice in my head said I had to (that is Harriet; more on that later), but otherwise would have been happy to stop right then. Who knew? I did; I just chose to ignore. Silly girl.

I am now on page 79 (of 265) of Shrink Yourself and have learned a lot of very eye opening stuff. For those of you who follow this blog who do not have problems with food (or perhaps just think that you don’t), I still highly recommend this book. Some people do have problems with abusing food, but don’t have trouble with their weight. This book can still help you to change your feelings and relationship with food. I promise – no one is paying me to say that I really recommend reading it. Look for it at your local public library if you don’t want to purchase it. I was going to let Sissy read mine when I finished it, but I have a feeling I’m not going to want to let it go.

I have learned that I have feeling phobias. I never would have thought that was true! I have lots of feelings, and thought that because I considered myself an “emotional” person, that meant that I was in touch with them, albeit in perhaps a not-so-healthy way. As humans, we are “meaning-hungry creatures. We make everything mean something.” That is me to a “T”. If someone doesn’t return my voice mail or email, then they are mad at me or I have done something wrong or they just don’t care about me (even though I know none of these things are true). These misinterpretations make simple feelings feel like more than they really are. There are also things called “Catastrophe Predictions”. You can probably figure out what those are; it’s like snow in Oregon. It’s not the snow itself that is scary to people, it’s the worst-case scenario predictions that people come up with that scare them. Schools are closed, Trail Blazer games get cancelled, and people leave work at 2pm to get home before the roads get bad. All for a few flakes of snow. I liked one of the sentences in one of the paragraphs under this heading: “When you come to the place where you’re feeling powerless for just a moment, you believe on some level that eating is the only option you really have to make yourself feel better, and that otherwise that moment will become an eternity.” Welcome to my life. However, I have learned that I use food to push away negative feelings that I don’t want to deal with. I use food as an over-the-counter tranquilizer. When I am bingeing, I feel content and secure. I am not thinking about anything else – this is called the trance. It is a very appropriate way to describe how I feel when I binge; I am not thinking about the horrible day I had, or how much I hate my job or how lonely I am, all I am thinking about is how delicious the food tastes and how quickly it will be gone. I have now learned that I “have to remember that you need to master the feeling phobia and food trance in order to understand the deeper issues that make you feel powerless.”

Anyway, I have learned something about my conscience. I always thought that your conscience was your guide, and it is. However, there is more than one kind of conscience, and one of mine – called the critical conscience - is a real sick Nazi bitch. She uses every opportunity to get me down, kick me repeatedly and viciously while I am down, and then uses every tactic to keep me down if I show any sign of trying to get back up. She tells me I am worthless, stupid, fat, ugly, unlovable, unforgivable, and will never attain any goal I set for myself; she loves to see me as a helpless, lonely, and hopeless victim. See? I told you she was a bitch. The worst part? I believe her. Utterly and completely. Why???

The book recommends giving your self-critical voice a name, like Harriet. “Even though you’re an intelligent, self-contained, functioning adult, Harriet has a lot of power.” Sometimes the critical voice is just background noise, but sometimes it’s like she is screaming through a bull horn, and I feel like others can hear her, and they agree with her. There have been times when I am in the grocery store, wavering between what I want to eat and what I know I should eat, and her voice is so loud and confusing that I leave the store in tears, half full shopping cart (or an empty one) stranded in an aisle. I have sat in restaurants full of people and families, trying to keep it together while she pokes me in my broken ribs (from some earlier assault) with her Nazi stiletto pointed toe black leather boots, telling me how I will never, ever have anyone in my life and I will always be alone and unloved. She is the one that tells me that I must keep eating, even when I can feel that I am full (and sometimes in physical pain), because there are starving children in (insert impoverished country of your choice here), or because it will be a waste of money if I don't. I am powerless to tell her to shut the hell up, mostly because she was a nameless, faceless captor of my psyche. Well, no more. Her name is Harriet – or whatever I tell her her name is – and the fact that I have now taken her down a peg by naming her gives me some power! You may scoff, but it actually works. Now when I hear her start to go to town on me, I can say SHUT THE HELL UP, HARRIET!! I sometimes say it out loud. And you know what? She does. I think that sometimes I can even hear her sputtering and looking for some sort of response, but by then I have moved on and left her in the dust, kicking at air. HA! Take that.

Well, this is getting wordy, so I will leave you with this for now. I will write again later to give you more updates on how I am doing with this. Nothing much else in life is happening right now. But maybe that will change too.

TTFN.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I feel better now...

OK, I am feeling better than I was when I wrote my last post; but I had to wait until today to feel good enough to actually post something.

After reading the sage advise I found in that book, I could not help but feel...overwhelmed. Panicky. Totally and completely freaked out. Which was probably why it was a good thing that I read it. This is probably how people feel when they are hit with an intervention for their drug or alcohol abuse. It is everything that you know to be true, right, and sound; but it is everything that you don't want to hear. I know that I am an emotional eater, and my mom has been telling me for YEARS that I should stay away from flour and wheat (something else Mom was right about. Dammit!). When I was a child, she said that my head and hair smelled weird, but when she took me off of wheat it was normal. And I remember the hellish times when she took me off of the wheat products - it was horrible!! But I was a kid then, and other kids tend to make fun of you when you have a sandwich in your lunch with no bread, and other "weird" "health food" "freak of nature" type foods in your Charlie Brown lunchbox (maybe it was the lunchbox that was the problem?). I am an adult now, and I fully understand that life is unfair, and sometimes you have to suck it up and do things that are unpleasant for your own good. No one will laugh at my lunches now (and I am sure that no longer carrying around the Charlie Brown lunchbox will help that as well) so there should be no issues. Right? RIGHT??? Well... The problem is that everything I like to eat has sugar, flour or wheat products in it (yeah, and that is why you are FAT!) (Can someone please shut this voice up? Thank you.) and if I eliminate all of them, then I will have nothing to eat at all and my life will be joyless and empty.

Oh...wait...right.

My life is already joyless and empty because I hate myself for allowing my weight to be so out of control. That's right. I forgot.

But the more I thought about what I should do the angrier I got. On top of the panic I felt by the anticipation of having to cut all the foods that I love and cannot live without, I was feeling put out with someone I care about, I had a crappy day at work, and since I have been home from vacation I have been so homesick that I am "this close" to calling U-Haul to rent a truck and move back to Oregon. All of that just accumulated until I was feeling TRAPPED BY EVERYTHING - people, employment, finances, all of it and I just wanted to SCREAM!!! I threw the mail all over the living room and stomped around a little bit. Then I sat at my computer, pulled up the Domino's website, and angrily ordered a medium deep dish pizza and two lava cakes (omg - they are the DEVIL). Oh, and a Coke Zero. Lord knows I don't want to add any extra calories to this love fest if I don't have too! (It is soooo ironic; when I was a teenager I worked for a deli owned by the parents of a school friend of mine [the Stovepipe Deli, Livermore, CA] with a bunch of my other friends from school. We used to laugh when overweight people came in, ordered the biggest and fattiest sandwiches we made along with a Diet Coke. We thought it was the dumbest thing we ever saw. Karma's a bitch.) When it arrived, I ate all of it in about a 20 minute time span. Oh man, do I need help. And the worst part of this behavior is that I know it's bad, I know that I am punishing myself for other people's behavior towards me, but I still can't stop myself. It makes me feel helpless and hopeless.

Late last night, after the guilt and the pain had subsided some, I picked up my other new book that I bought before I left for vacation and started to read it. I wish I had read it FIRST. (Please see the right hand column for info.) The first book was very good and extremely important for me to read, but it was very cut and dry, no funny business, and cut straight to the heart of the matter in a rather un-empathetic and clinical way. This new book is written by a therapist instead of a clinical doctor, and it appeals to me very much. One of the paragraphs in the introduction, under the header of "How Does the Book Work?", really spoke to me and the work I am trying to do on myself: Once I began to explore the question of powerlessness as related to weight, I realized that powerlessness over the urge to eat was simply a superficial layer of powerlessness. It actually covered up for five other ways that people felt powerless in their lives. People feel powerless when they doubt themselves, when they feel frustrated, when they feel vulnerable or unsafe, when they feel rebellious or angry, and when they feel empty. Yep. That sentence should have been followed by an 8x10 glossy of me. That is EXACTLY why I ate that pizza last night. I felt powerless, frustrated, angry and empty. Four out of five. Some days it's all five, and some days it's all five plus eleven more. Sometimes it's only one of those reasons, but just one is enough to send me running for food. Well, not running exactly. But you get the idea.

I look forward to reading the rest of this book, hopefully over the weekend. I will keep you posted (no blog pun intended) on my progress. I hope that, if there is just one person out there that reads this blog and suffers from food addiction like I do, you will find that you are not alone and perhaps you can start your own road to recovery too. Life is too short to suffer like this, and suffering like this will only make it shorter.

Until later, TTFN.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I want to be well. I want to recover from this disease I have of food addiction. The time is right, let's do it. Felt positive yet very apprehensive as I finished reading my book on food addiction today, because now i have the knowledge to do what i need to do, but i am scared to fail. Needed to go to the grocery store on my way home for baking soda as my refrigerator smells like there is a decomposing horse in it. I remember from my reading that to succeed and start my road to recovery I will need to eliminate all sugar, flour and wheat from what I eat. She (the author) recommends glowingly Paul Newman's Own line of salad dressings. I decide to check them out while in the store to see what yummy concoctions he has in store for me. Bottle after bottle, flavor after flavor I turn eagerly, then with growing apprehension, to the list of ingredients. Bottle after bottle, flavor after flavor, sugar. sugar. sugar. sugar. Even the bloody oil and vinegar has stupid bloody sugar in it. Not one of the salad dressings could be in my home. What the hell was this author talking about??? Oh yeah. The book was written in 1993. Apparently Mr. Newman succumbed to the screaming food addicts in the world and added sugar to his salad dressings since then.

Suddenly, everything in the store seemed off limits. I became extremely overwhelmed as item after item that i grabbed randomly from the shelves seemed to scream I HAVE SUGAR IN ME - YOU CAN NEVER EAT ME! Tears began to well up in my eyes as i immediately began the cycle of self-pity and self-loathing that haunts my every waking minute as i try to deal with food. I managed to keep it together while paying for my baking soda and chicken wings, but burst into tears when i hit the parking lot. People pretended not to see the sobbing 325 lb 5'2" bleached blond obviously psychopathic blob wobbling her way to her vehicle. I cried all the way to my empty home with the smelly fridge. I felt like a recovering drug addict forced to find the small scraps of sobriety among aisle after aisle, row after row, shelf upon shelf upon shelf of crack pipes. I know you think i am being ridiculous, a drama queen; but i assure you this is my life. If you don't have a problem with it then you cannot understand it. You are not addicted to something you MUST ingest every single day of your life, several times a day in fact, in order to live.

When i got home i was tempted to just leave the truck running as i closed the garage door.

But i didn't.

And i will live to try again tomorrow.

TTFN.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I WILL NOT PANIC…

So, I am reading one of my new books that I ordered before I went on vacation – Food Addiction, The Body Knows – and I am trying to retain a positive attitude. What I really want to do is to run screaming into the streets, “I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO EAT NORMALLY AGAIN! I WILL NEVER BE WELL!!!” Ahem. I know this is not true, or even accurate, but SHEESH. This gal is taking forever to get to the positive part of the book!! Basically, in a nut shell so to speak, the culprits are sugar and wheat. Cut out processed foods, sugar, flour and all things made with these things and you can recover. And that leaves me basically…what? Beef jerky and water? I know it isn’t really that severe; but as my logical brain (yes, I do have one, shut up) reads and absorbs this information, my emotional brain is screaming BUT THAT IS ALL THE FOODS YOU LOVE!! YOU WILL NEVER GET TO EAT ANYTHING YOU LIKE EVER AGAIN!!! And that actually may not be too terribly far from the truth, actually. Basically, it’s like being addicted to drugs or alcohol; once you abstain and go into recovery, you can never go back to having “just a little cocaine/heroin/bourbon every once in a while”. Just the smallest portion of what you are addicted to causes relapse and continuing addiction, and then you have to start the recovery process all over again. I have to choose how I want to live my life or how I want to continue slowly killing myself. I don’t want to die, I want to LIVE; and not EXIST like I am doing and have been doing for the last 25 years, but truly and completely LIVE.

Sigh…it’s going to be hard. REALLY hard. But the book makes a lot of sense, and I know that everything worth having is worth working REALLY hard for. 25 years of abuse is going to take a lot of time to undo. And I really do want to.

But, can’t I just take a pill for it? No? Ok…sigh…

I thought it was rather ironic that as I sat in the parking lot of my favorite Mexican restaurant, reading about food addiction as I prepared to go in and spend a little quality time with one of my “dealers”, I was crying because just reading about the things that feed my addiction made me WANT TO EAT THEM. Will I be strong enough to learn about my addiction and how to recover without shooting myself in the foot? We shall see.

Maybe I should pitch my story to TLC or A&E; aren’t weight loss and addiction shows all the rage right now? They could have both all rolled into one, and maybe I could earn some money for school (since I am not willing to have a ton of kids and pimp them out for the world to gawk at). What do you think? And do you know someone I could call?

TTFN.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back from vacation...sigh...

Well, I made it back. It was really, REALLY, hard this time to come home. It's always hard, but it was especially hard this time.

I had an awesome time at the party; little worries and concerns that I had myself all worked up about (like the inevitable question: When are you going to get married?) never came up. I adore my family; there were ex-spouses and ex-in laws in abundance, but everyone gets along - and not in that fake plastic way either where you can still smell the tension in the air, and all it would take is a small spark to set everything off. Nope, everyone is genuinely happy to see one another and had a great time celebrating Jeremy and Erika's 10th wedding anniversary. It. Was. AWESOME. Jeremy's cousin Amber put together a fabulous Hawaiian Luau party that was beyond our wildest expectations. She should do parties for a living! She had fresh orchids EVERYWHERE, and authentic leis for Jeremy and Erika, which you can see below in this portrait I took on site:
Don't they look great? Such a hot couple.

Sis and I made cupcakes up the wazoo - vanilla with pink vanilla butter cream frosting, chocolate with sinfully rich chocolate butter cream frosting, Mimosa (orange juice and champagne) cupcakes with champagne frosting - and Sis also made a Pink Champagne cake. Amber was having a chocolate Kahlua cake and a Pina Colada cake made, but the guy making them backed out at the last minute. Jerk. Oh well - we got cakes from Costco which were fabulous and decorated them with the left over orchids, etc. There were BBQ meatballs, Teriyaki soba noodles, fruit salad and a ton of other food - all of it was home made and fabulous. Jeremy's sisters and Amber also hired real hula dancers to perform!

I was able to take lots of family pictures for all sides of the family attending; I set up a small portable portrait "studio" and invited any and all to have pictures taken. It was really great to feel like I was contributing something; it was especially poignant as Amber's father was recently diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease - or ALS - and we don't know when we would have had a better opportunity to get group pictures with him.

Here is one of my three gorgeous kids (OK, Sis's gorgeous kids):

From left to right: Reanna, Jeremy, Alisha.

Here is a group photo of Mom, Sis, and all of the family generated just through the two of them!

From left to right, back row: Brock Palmer, Zac Brown, Jeremy Seals, Kyrell Seals. Middle row: Alisha Palmer, Reanna Brown, Shirley Hotchkiss, Karen Buckman, Erika Seals. Front row: Hannah Morris, Taelynn Palmer, Emily Brown, Alexander Brown, Kieran Seals, Kaya Seals.

I even allowed Reanna to take a picture of me with Mom and Sis:

I think my mom looks awesome for being 73, having two children over 40, three grandchildren over 30, and seven great-grandchildren!

Well, I think that is all for now; it's 10pm and I have to go back to work tomorrow. Sigh. I will blog about my vacation in stages so I don't bore anyone to tears!

TTFN.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I think I'm starting to figure it out...

I have an addiction problem. My drug of choice may come as a surprise to some, but probably not to others. It is…food.

Food addiction is a real, clinical, factual addiction. It has all of the same triggers and deep rooted emotional causes as heroin, cocaine, and other drug addictions and alcoholism. It is just not very widely diagnosed as such because we are dealing with, well FOOD – something every person on this planet ingests, even children - not drugs or alcohol where abuse can be much more obvious and they are not consumed by every person on the planet.

Many people feel that saying you can be addicted to food is preposterous. “That is like saying you are addicted to water, or air!” Yes, it may sound ridiculous, and it may just sound like an excuse for why I am morbidly obese. And it is easy for people who do not have a problem with food or addictive behavior to say, “Just eat less and take some exercise. That is all you need to do.” Well, that may be all YOU need to do, but that does not work for me. It is like telling a heroin addict to just stop doing heroin. Um, yeah; that doesn’t really work for most people. Some people may say, “It can’t be an addiction. You can’t overdose and die from food!” Wanna bet? What do you think morbid or super morbid obesity is? It is a case of constant overdosing. No, we don’t die immediately like you might with drugs; it is a slightly slower process. However, massive strokes and heart attacks can occur following binge eating. And they can occur at anytime for anyone that is obese.

I have been paying particular attention to my eating patterns over the last several weeks, trying understand just what the heck is wrong with me; why can’t I just STOP EATING?? I made mental notes and talked about them with my therapist this weekend. She agrees with my “armchair diagnosis”; I have all the patterns of someone with addictive and somewhat obsessive behavior. I also have many of the emotional earmarks from childhood and early adulthood that can lead to this type of behavior later in life.

I want to make it perfectly clear from the outset that I had a very happy and healthy childhood. I was never physically or sexually abused in any way. I loved my parents very much and they loved me; I didn’t even have any sibling rivalry to deal with as my sister has been my best friend literally from birth – she even physically saved my life on at least one occasion. So what exactly were my problems then? I will say that I lived in a very restricted home. My mom was very over-protective to the point of being smothering, while my father was the one who would finally step in and make her back off. My mom and I did have major issues over my eating habits. I was a very picky eater; I hated vegetables or anything resembling them, and I didn’t like to try anything new. I vividly remember sitting at the dinner table, in the dark, until bedtime because there was uneaten or untried food still left on my plate. This was usually a weekly occurrence. My therapist identified that type of controlling behavior as a cornerstone to building an eating disorder. (I was very disturbed to hear her say that, as I had once used that same controlling method on one of my nieces when she refused to eat fish sticks one night. I even copied my mother’s behavior in going so far as to serve them to her for breakfast the following morning, so of course she then went to school that day without breakfast. Alisha – I am so sorry.) I also remember a particular episode involving peas. I had been given vitamins in pill form from an early age, so I had no trouble swallowing things whole. I hated peas with a vengeance, and one night had the brilliant idea of just swallowing them down with a glass of milk. It was the perfect solution! I didn’t have to taste them, and mom would be satisfied that I ate them. When she discovered what I was doing, she insisted that I “chew them up!” I tried faking her out by putting them in the center of my mouth and making chewing motions; this didn’t work because she could hear my teeth clacking together. I pleaded with her, asking her what difference did it make whether they were whole or chewed? But, once again, it was a control issue, and so I sat in the dark until bedtime again with a plate of cold peas. One time even my dear father got in on the act. Sweet potatoes are my nemesis; ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you that I cannot even be in the house when they are being cooked. You could put a million dollars in front of me and tell me all I had to do to earn it was eat one forkful of sweet potato, and I would not be able to do it. Now on the other hand, pumpkin pie is one my most treasured treats (I think some of you may know where I am going with this). In trying to get me to eat some sweet potato pie, my father told me it was pumpkin pie. (insert sound of chirping crickets here) As a child, my father was a saint in my eyes and could never do any wrong; however, to this day I have never forgiven him for that.

So, you may be reading this and be thinking, “Big deal. So your mom made you eat vegetables that you didn’t like, and your dad pulled the oldest trick in the book. You poor baby. People live in other countries without food and you are whining about being made to eat.” I understand your reasoning, but you are missing the real point. Food was being used in these circumstances as a way to control my behavior. As a result, family meals for me became very trying and stressful. I felt I was always walking a fine line between making my mother very angry at me, which resulted in my father being very angry with my mother. I was always afraid of what might be on my plate that I wouldn’t like, and how I was going to deal with the situation.

The only time I really felt any freedom from the stress of eating as a family is when we went out to a restaurant for dinner. There I was usually free to choose my own food, and if there was anything I didn’t like I was free to leave it on my plate as my mother would never risk a confrontation in public. I would get some accusing glares from her which threatened severe discipline once we got home, but it was still worth it to me.

Hmmm…even as I write these things, I feel I understand myself a little better. I will write more in my next entry, as this one is getting pretty long.

TTFN.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Heather and Ollie drive the Beartooth Hwy


Last Sunday Ollie and I took a lovely drive on the Beartooth Hwy. It is about 75 south of Billings, through Red Lodge and into Wyoming. The summit is 10,980' and change - 400' below the tip of Mt. Hood in Oregon. The drive is breathtakingly gorgeous from both directions, and the air is soooooooo clean - I wish I could bottle it up and take it home. There were lots of motorcycles on the highway; it's very popular with large groups and individuals alike. We stopped about 3/4 of the way up the pass at an overlook to take a few pictures and use the potties. Please to enjoy:The little chipmunk was so cute, and it wasn't until I was focusing on him that I realized he was eating...a fly. Yep, wings and legs were just spinning off in every direction while he nibbled on him. Therapy anyone? We continued on down the other side of the pass and headed towards Cooke City. We couldn't afford to go into Yellowstone Park, so we found a cool little turn out called Flume Trail about five minutes outside of Cooke City and turned around there. Here are a few pics from that spot:Lots of people had their four-legged family members along with them to enjoy the day; I loved this doggie's daisy bandana, so I had to get a snap of it (and her owner's particularly nice hiney managed to sneak it's way in there too - oops!). As we drove out of the parking area, the owner of the cute rear...err...uh...doggie waved to us as Ollie and I blushed, smiled, and waved back like idiots. On our way back onto the highway, we spotted this waterfall - the first picture is how it looked from the road, then there is a close up on it:
We had such a nice day. The mosquitos were HORRIBLE as they are that time of year (so I found out afterwards while talking with a co-worker) and Ollie and I looked like we had the chicken pox the next day with all the bites. We stopped at the Top Of The World Store and I was standing in line to use the potty with nine other people, and each of us had our very own cloud of not less than 30 mosquitos swarming around us. West Nile Virus anyone?

We then arrived back in Red Lodge and went to the candy store (shut up). We then cruised around town so that Ollie could snap some pictures of this quaint old mountain town to send home her to family. We spotted what promised to be an extra bad action rock and gem store and got out to investigate. Well, I should say Ollie got out - my door was locked and refused to UNlock. I was locked into my own vehicle. And not like in that funny Family Guy episode where Peter locked himself inside the car; this was complete brain freeze and feeling totally helpless. So I managed to get Ollie's attention and asked her to try to unlock my door from the outside with the key - no dice. Must...not...curse...out...loud...in...front...of...Ollie.

Once we arrived back at Ollie's place, I realized that I had no idea how I was going to get out! You see, I am only 5'2"; the Rodeo has bucket seats, a center console, a stick shift and an emergency brake all between me and the passenger's seat. I have not waited 42 years to have sex only to lose my virginity to the emergency brake while trying to lift my 300+ lb carcass into the next seat in order to get out of the freaking truck!!! So, since Ollie's driveway is on a steep angle, I parked on the street. We laid the passenger seat all the way back, slid my driver's seat all the way back and laid it flat, left the emergency brake off, and I climbed/scrambled/crawled into the passenger seat and out the passenger side door. Awesome! We figured that the temporary block that is holding my non-working electric window up shook loose and was now blocking the lock and there was nothing I could do but wait until Monday to have it fixed. Neat.

Monday morning arrived as did I at work - now having crawled in and out of my crippled rig five times. A guy came and fixed it, and I was walking on air; elated at the thought of not having to get in and out the hard way anymore. Whew!! Lunch came and went - no problems. After work I went to the grocery store, went to get out, and - you guessed it - was locked in AGAIN. Must...not...even...think...of...using...the...f-word. I flew back downtown to the glass shop and called them from the curb only to be told that there was nothing they could do about it until the following morning. MUST...NOT...REPEATEDLY...YELL...THE...F-WORD...AT...THE...TOP...OF...MY...LUNGS.
The following morning the same guy came and picked up the truck and took it back to the shop. It turns out that the temporary window block is fine; it's the locking mechanism that has now fallen apart. Sigh...one more seemingly minor thing that I cannot afford to fix. I was so depressed; not because of the lock not working but because of what it represented. One more thing going wrong and no money to fix it. The glass shop guy recommended that I not lock the door anymore and I should be fine. Wow - really Sherlock? The only problem with that is the fact that we all live in a society - even in Billings, Montana - where some people have a tendency to remove things from your unlocked vehicle that do not belong to them. Hence, the use of DOOR LOCKS YOU MORON. Oh well. It could be worse. I just wish it was better.

TTFN.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Still here...

Thanks to everyone who left me uplifting comments (Laurie - thank you so much!!) and sent me messages via email and Facebook. They meant a lot to me, and I cherish each and every one of them.

I am doing somewhat better these days; I believe a pinpoint of light is appearing at one end of the tunnel and I am choosing to believe it is not a train, plane or helicopter. I dropped off my first payment to a debt reduction service to help me get my $8000+ in medical bills (and a few other bills) paid off. One down, 32 more to go. It actally felt good and made me feel happy to give over this hard earned money to strangers in charge of my bills (who knew?). The goal now is to not incur any more. Do you hear that kidneys? NO MORE STONES!!
Yep, those are my kidney stones that cost me $32,000 to get rid of. Not a pleasant experience on any level.



One of my dreams is to work from home. I have wanted to work from home for about the last 10 years or so; Sissy has worked from home and really wants to do it again. Les will need to retire next year, but they will still need a decent income to sustain them. Sissy and I have found what we feel is the answer for us; the problem is attaining it. We found a skill that we want to train for, but the schooling itself is about $2500 and then the software we would have to purchase in order to pursue this skill as a living is another $2000. Yeah, we both just have a stray $5k laying around just waiting for this! There are no grants or anything out there to help us out - trust us, we've looked. I have even written to someone that runs one of the schools and asked them about it, and they didn't know of any financial assistance either.



So, we have decided to sell a bunch of stuff on eBay. I have my own store which has been sitting empty for the last six months (and that I continue to pay for, brilliant), so we have decided to put it to good use. I make greeting cards and jewelry, so I will be listing those along with books, DVDs and CDs that I don't need. Sissy will have some of the same, along with nice clothing, jewelry, shoes, and nice knick knacks and collectables. Please check out my store here.



Well, not much more news for right now; I just wanted to let everyone know that I am OK and I'm hanging in there.



TTFN.