Picking Up My Jaw Off the Floor

I didn’t (and still don’t) intend on this blog becoming a health and diet journal, but honestly people… I have to tell you this stuff or I’ll explode. Bear with me.

The last post? The update? Well, those jeans were a size 12. I analyzed the way they fit and wondered, “can I get into a size smaller?”… because, frankly, I could pull the waistband out at least an inch. First I asked my younger daughter who is my height and I know smaller than I am if I could try on a pair of her jeans. She let me and again, they fit. Size 12. Okay. Now I was feeling brave. I am fitting into “regular” jeans. Not “fat girl” jeans. I know you women understand that statement… Men, if you don’t understand, as a female friend.

So, feeling buoyed up by the whole thing I talked daughter into going shopping with me for jeans. At a real store. Not a “fat girl” store. Risking it, I took some size 10’s into the dressing room at daughter’s encouragement. I put them on and my daughter started laughing at me from the next room as the expletives came out of my mouth. I was stunned. I didn’t have to lay on the floor… and I could breath… AND I felt like I just might be able to go to another size smaller.

You heard me. I did. I put on a size 8. A size EIGHT. These are not baggie jeans. I did not have to lay down to put them on. I could still breathe. I could sit down without cutting off my circulation. I could move. Stunned is not the word for how I felt. I have gone from a size 18 “fat girl”… to size 8 “real girl” jeans.

Do you know how long it has been since I could get into a size EIGHT? Years. Years and years. Before my kids were born. AND… the most bizarre thing is, I haven’t even gotten to what the charts and the doctors call my “ideal” healthy weight. I may have lost all I need to off my butt and legs, but my gut and arms still need more, so am hoping that’s where the rest comes off. To that effect, I have started lifting weights for my arms and doing sit-ups for my gut.

I gave all my other jeans away. I don’t want to go back. I’m actually having fun looking at this “new” body. Now if I can just keep working on the inside so I don’t sabotage myself, I have a great chance of making it stick. In the past when I have even made a start on a weight loss program, it seems like as soon as I start getting some off and I may be drawing a little bit of attention, then I panic and bulk right back up again – throwing myself back into my protective cocoon. This time? I feel much more confident in myself. I feel there is going to be a lasting change because I did it the right way and for the right reasons.

I’m looking forward to the next phase… and, yeah, I’m kinda proud of myself. That sounds conceited and all braggy (is that even a word?)… but damnit, I deserve it. Let the cheering commence!

A Little Further On *UPDATED*

Here we are, a little further on. Actually has been only half a month. Better, huh? Oh, shaddup all you daily posters…

So, now as my Facebook buddies have noted, I am at a plateau. Ugh. I hate those. The walks have gotten to 5 miles a day (I actually went 6 today, but don’t know if I’ll sustain that… just trying to jump-start and get over the hump.) I am officially 25 lbs lighter than when I started. I have gone from a size 18 to a size 14 (and not the stretchy ones) jeans. I ordered a size smaller which are to come any day now just to tease myself and see how close I really was to getting into them, but they are more for an inspiration that actually fit, I’m thinking, at this point in time. I only have one pair of the 14 non-stretchy-real-jeans and I am wearing them sparingly. I do a little weight lifting, but not too much yet and have cut out mostly all of the diet soda, sweets, white foods, etc… and am trying to eat better and drinking tons of water. I even got registered for my first “official” run (in my case, walk). It is only a baby one – a 5K (a little over 3 miles) but there was no way I was going to be able to do the big one the same day that is a half-marathon. It is the first week in June and I’ll not be anywhere near that by then… plus? I’m not sure I really want to go for that kind of a goal. I’m not one to be needing to actually run anywhere and I don’t need to be adding to my already fussy back problems by getting knee or other joint problems. I ache enough from the walking thank-you-very-much. (Yes, I do have good shoes.) I go back to the doctor the third week in April and we’ll see what he thinks of my blood sugar numbers and my blood pressure numbers and I’m going to be keeping my fingers crossed that all this hard work has paid off and I get a pass on the insulin threat and the blood pressure medication suggestion.


Now that I’ve bored you silly with all that health and wellness stuff… I can’t believe this weather! Yesterday was 80 degrees and beautiful. Today is to be as well, but windy (I can do without the wind). Unfortunately, work has picked up with the fields drying out and now I’m stuck in the office and can’t enjoy it as much as I’d like. I should be out doing something in my garden or walking outside instead of still on the treadmill. Guess it isn’t that warm at 4:30 a.m. when I’m walking anyway (and it is still dark), so the walking will stay inside for the time being. Still it would be fun to try it outside one of these days. Typical Iowa weather, it is going to change. Tomorrow. Temps dropping and a big rainstorm coming. Oh, well. I think we’ll all be ready for a break by then. Only bad thing is, son is supposed to start his official race season tomorrow night and it isn’t looking good… probably be rained out.

New developments in the family (again… still?). Now it appears as if daughter’s divorce is going through… after a brief month of “dating” and trying to see if they could work it out. Things blew up earlier this week so they called off the counseling session scheduled for tonight. I know this roller-coaster hasn’t been fun and I’m sure it has been even harder on her. Hope things level out now that a final decision has been made.

I think we’re all caught up now… again. Catch you in a bit.

*UPDATE* I can’t believe it!!! I ordered some new jeans in a smaller size and they came today. They FIT. I didn’t even have to lay on the bed to put them on! I am over the moon stunned. Seriously stunned. Whoo! That is 4 sizes, people. FOUR. YES!!! Okay, back to what you were doing…

What a Difference a Month Makes

A month. A whole month. I suck at blogging these days. So much for the “every day” thing. However, I must say I’ve done a few things right since I’ve not been blogging…

Around mid-January I decided I’d let my diabetes have free run long enough and I was going to try and reign it in again. Oh, I’d been taking my medicine, and hadn’t gone totally hog wild with the food, but fall and Christmas kicked my ass in the numbers. I wasn’t checking often because I knew the cookies and candy and rich foods I was eating was probably going to reflect badly … so, denial became my best friend. I forced myself onto the scale and at a (surprisingly NOT all-time high) weight of 205 I decided to take charge of this body and get my butt in gear. I don’t want this blog to become a diet / health blog, but I may refer to my milestones from time to time, just ’cause, yannow… it IS still my blog.

So I started watching what I ate. I started faithfully recording my blood sugar numbers daily. I started to move this couch potato body by walking. I started on January 15.

As of today, March 15, I have lost 20 pounds, 3 pant sizes, and am walking 2 miles a day… trying to work up to a 5K donut run taking place on April 10th. (That’s about 3 miles. Yeah, I had to ask too). I probably won’t actually be “running”, but hey… I’m glad just to be walking that far. Right now? I have another 30 pounds to go to reach my “ideal” weight by the powers that be. I have to go back to the doctor in April and after he threatened to put me on insulin if I didn’t get my numbers in shape, I’m hoping that my progress will be good enough by then to keep me off the insulin. A bonus would be if I could avoid blood pressure medicine (another possibility at the moment), and maybe even cut back on the medicines I’m already on. That may be asking for too much as I’ve been diabetic for about 20 years and the damage may be too far gone. I’m just thinking the better weight, better health, has got to help – in whatever way possible. I mean, it can’t hurt, can it?

So… that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m still hoping to get over to see you all more often and hoping to get here myself a little more regularly, but right now? I seem to be keeping kind of busy “offline”…

Happy Self-Love Day 2010

Thanks to Hilly for the graphic and the thought behind this.

The idea is to post something about yourself that you love and to open it up to comments as to what others love about you as well. To people who have known me for any time at all it should be apparent this is a difficult post. I have spent years trying to learn to love myself… any part of myself. I don’t accept compliments well, I don’t see myself as others do, and I have spent most of my life trying to block out the voices in my head that were put there from the first, oh, say, twenty years.

Since I have to pick one thing I’m going to go with…my sense of humor. I like that I can generally find something funny in most things in life. I admit it is a dark kind of humor (think “Dexter”) but I like to think it isn’t hurtful. I try to laugh WITH you, not AT you…

Having said that… whatcha got for me? Anything? C’mon. I can take it.


I am tired of winter. Never thought I’d ever hear myself say that one.

Winter, specifically this time of the year, has become my favorite over the past ten years or so. Since I started working in a farm-related business who has their busiest season in the fall, just like our family farm. Then we get into multiple birthdays around Christmas and New Years, the holidays themselves, and it all translates into stress. The farm has year-end book-keeping to do, and tax stuff has to be compiled and given to the preparer in January, early February, because farmers don’t have until April 15th to file taxes. Ours are due March 1.

I generally hold my breath until after mid-February and let out a big sigh when the bookwork is done, the holidays are done, the birthdays are done, and there are no outside tasks with a yard or garden – except to make sure the bird feeders are full and occasionally the sidewalk and porch gets a swipe with the shovel or broom. It becomes my down time. My time to curl in front of the fireplace and settle in with some intense World of Warcraft playing or messing around with some Facebook games. It is notoriously a time to cook up a pot of vegetable stew or chicken and noodles and get a pan of brownies in the oven and some bread baking in the machine. The smells and homey warmth of winter.

This winter my patterns have been shifted and I am unsteady and unsettled. I am not sleeping well. I am dreaming like the moon is full… and the moon hasn’t been full for quite some time. I am making a super-human attempt to be good about my diabetes and as such have adjusted my diet to be ‘healthy’… so the heavy starches and sugars and general yumminess of the typical winter fare has been given up. The snow has been oppressive. In winters past I looked forward to huge storms and not needing to go anywhere. I could sit at home by the fireplace, cozy in the knowledge that all the kids lived where they could get where they needed to be and if I really, really had to go somewhere that Hubs’ and the snowplow truck would be able to get me there.

This winter I worry about my mother, forty miles away and yet it seems like a million… the snow and ice prohibiting trips through the countryside where the winds are blowing the almost every few days snowstorms into drifts and black-ice patches that I am not equipped to handle. She’s doing fine… neighbor kids are walking the dog and scooping the walk and she’s still able to make short trips for groceries and to get to the senior center for some socialization. I worry about my daughters. One of who has to go into school and work and the other who has to not only get herself to work, but her son to and from school in another town. She wants to keep things as constant for him as she can, so she’s been driving him daily… and putting up with her ex-husband’s phobias about not being able to drive him to school now after he has had three car accidents this winter. So she has extra driving to go get her son from her ex’s when he spends the night there, several nights a week, then drive him to school and reverse the process after work.

The shop where my Hubs’ works on his equipment which is located at his mom’s had enough of the winter snows too. The roof caved in. In early December the roof started sagging so badly that Hubs wasn’t even able to open the large doors to get in and out and they were propping up what they could as best they could. Insurance covered it, but it just recently was repaired and it was a couple of months that the shop couldn’t be used. Not a good situation. Every day they predicted snow or ice the question was raised if this was going to be the final straw that was going to bring the roof down all-together.

The eastern coast has been hit with 3 foot snows… and the west coast has been hit with major rains causing mudslides. Here in the midwest we have had ice storms, snow, high winds causing white-outs and blizzard conditions. Power lines have come down making for outages – in some cases, for days. We’ve been lucky so far. When our power went out it was only for a day and we have a generator that ran the essentials. I feel for those who lost power and didn’t have such amenities. Right now we have about 18″ on the ground and just had a 10″ snow come through on Monday. The snow piles on the side of the gravel road are three times the height of my car… and we have another 5″ storm expected this weekend. The latest long-term forecast I heard said we are in a pattern that is going to continue for a few more weeks. A few more weeks.

I’m done. I give. If that’s what Old Man Winter was waiting for? He won.

Finding My Footing Pt2

I was stunned. Sitting in the backseat, trying to absorb what I’d just been told. My younger daughter had been downstairs and not aware of anything going on upstairs until she heard the screaming through the heat vents… coming upstairs she realized there were pills all over the counter as well as my sharpest knife. All eldest daughter could repeat was “call mom!” urgently between crying and yelling in anguish. I tried to talk to her from the back seat, trying to get through to her… trying to understand how she could go from okay one day to this. No warning.

When we got to the Emergency Room I helped her inside. She was beginning to get a bit woozy and they quickly rolled up a wheelchair and took her away for treatment.

Younger daughter and I sat and waited, quietly rehashing what had happened. Trying to see what we’d missed. The piece we’d not seen that had brought us here once more. I sent a text to my hubs to let him know and got back two words. “Oh shit.”

After a couple of hours of waiting they let us go back to see her. They’d given her charcoal and her mouth was black with smudges on her nose and cheeks. It made her look like a little orphan waif laying on the bed. I tenderly cleaned off her face and she started crying again. We talked about everything and anything and it all came back to the same thing… the divorce. She was to meet her husband later in the week to file the papers to start the divorce proceedings and it suddenly became very real to her. They had been seperated for months, but until those papers were filed she thought she had a chance, maybe, to work it out with him. It didn’t seem to matter that she had a son who still needed her very badly “He’ll be with his dad and then they can travel like his dad wants to”… She didn’t seem to care that she was still young and beautiful and had so much life ahead of her to look forward to… “I can’t, it hurts too much. How will I ever be able to trust that someone loves me again? I thought HE was the one.”… It wasn’t in her to understand that she wasn’t alone and that she wouldn’t be homeless or starve to death and that she’d have people who loved her and would care for her as long as she needed… “I will never be able to live on my own. I’m not going to ever be able to afford it.” Everything that I said was flung back at me with anger and negativity. I asked her why the knife… “Because this time I meant it. This time was going to be the time I did this right.”

They moved her up to a room on a medical floor so she could be kept supervised for a few hours.They wanted to make sure she didn’t injure her kidneys or liver… or any other physical part. They had a “sitter” who would stay with her all the time. It was that, or they were going to move her to the ICU where they could watch her all the time. They wanted to make sure she didn’t try and harm herself further. We went with her and made sure she got settled in. By this time she was pretty sleepy and we let her sleep, talking to the intake nurse who was trying to get all her medical history. The questions rang so familar… things I’d answered hundreds of times when the kids were little and had to go to the doctor. I felt I was dealing with a child, not a 30-some year old woman.

Then came the question, “Has she been under any stress in the past year?”.

Oh, my. I looked at my younger daughter and we both laughed with awkward nervous laughter. “Where do I begin?”. The depressions, the ECT treatments last summer, the marriage troubles, the separation, the moving out of her house and having it foreclosed on, the bankruptcy, the moving into our house, the having to put her two cats up for adoption, the going back to work after being off for nine months, the 12 year old son who is getting teenage hormones and is giving her grief about where he wants to live and who he wants to live with and how he isn’t ‘comfortable’ living with us, her off-again-on-again relationship with her husband and trying to find other friends after so many years of being isolated… I mean, pick any one of them and they’re a nightmare.

I used to think eldest daughter was the most level headed and competent of all my children. I used to feel she was old before her time when she was young. Part of that I think is my fault for thinking that probably at too young of an age. I asked a lot of her growing up. I put a lot of responsibility on her that I probably shouldn’t have and wish now that I hadn’t. I see now that in some ways she may have suffered for that, just as I suffered from my own parents’ mistakes.

I wish with all my heart I could believe her when she tells me she has promised, for her son’s sake, that she will never do this again. I wish I could know that the next time she is hurting so badly that she will stop and call someone – anyone – and stop. I’m hoping that the support group her therapist is trying to find for her will be a successful match and she’ll find people there who can help her through this. People who have the right things to say and do and who maybe have some strategies to get her through these hard times. I hope she knows she always has us, her family, there for her – but I also know that sometimes it can be us who are the problem. Just as new roommates need to learn to live with each other, her coming home to live has created some turmoil and territorial issues that my OCS (only child syndrome for those of you who haven’t read me before) can bring on. I’m learning to live with another person added to the mix and I keep telling her it isn’t just her, but myself and how I deal with things in life in general… such as, not being a morning person and being snappy when I am stressed…

I tell her… she doesn’t know what the future may bring. I certainly didn’t expect my life to end up how it did! I was the city kid who was never getting married, never having kids… and now on my second marriage (30+ years) and four kids and married to a farmer living in the country? Well, you could have blown me over with a feather if someone had shown me that crystal ball years ago! I tell her all things are possible – that all is not lost. BUT… that she has to be breathing for it to happen.

I just keep telling her the most important thing of all… that I love her, that we love her. I hope she’s listening.

Finding My Footing

What a week it has been.

Last Saturday I spent the day with my mother and my eldest daughter. It was a relatively good day… as good as a day spent trying to make out what is being said in a noisy, crowded Olive Garden with a mother who isn’t wearing her hearing aids and an unwillingness to shout. Later after lunch my daughter was saying she wasn’t feeling well and thought she might be coming down with Hubs’ cold he’d been fighting for a couple of weeks.

When we got back to mom’s, she went to lay down as I tackled mom’s bookwork… ending in me having a massive headache, shoulder pain, and a craving for alchohol.

When we got home I unwound a bit online and my daughter went to lay down. I thought she was feeling a bit better but didn’t realize all that she had running through her mind.

Sunday younger daughter and myself decided to do a movie marathon… something we like to do from time to time. We had originally decided on one movie I wanted to see and another one late in the day that Hubs’ wanted to see. We were going to join up with him later for that. Well, I talked to elder daughter and she wasn’t interested in seeing either movie, plus she was still feeling a bit under the weather. After a brief discussion with younger daughter we decided there was another movie she wanted to see as well so we were going to go to it when Hubs’ piped up and said he’d be interested in tagging along. Well, alrighty then!

As it turned out, by the time we’d watched the first two he didn’t want to go see “his” choice after all, so we came home. Elder daughter was still being quiet and I thought she was still feeling ill.

The next morning I heard her up very early showering and when I got around I found out she’d gone back to bed. Said she’d called in sick. I went in to work and about 10:30 am got a phone call from my younger daughter. “Come home. Now. Amanda needs you.”

I drove way faster than I should have been, considering the driving conditions, and flew into the open garage… my mind racing with any number of possibliities as to what was going on. I raced inside not noticing my daughters were already sitting in younger daughter’s vehicle. I hopped in and asked “What happened?”… to be told she’d taken pills. Too many pills. We were on the way to the ER.

…to be continued…

Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug. *

It has now been one year. One year since Dad passed away, quietly, while the hospice women cleaned and cared for him. We were at home, at Mom’s, and getting ready to go to see him. Mom was still in bed when I got the call. I was able to tell her, hug her, hold her, and not cry. I still have not cried. A year and I have not shed a tear for my father.

He was a hard man in so many ways. I have tried to be in his shoes and look through his eyes often. He lost his first wife after a long battle with polio at a very young age and was left with a three-year-old daughter who was the spitting image of his dead bride. Who, though she didn’t know it growing up, was told later that she even had her mother’s mannerisms. Could this be the crisis that hardened his heart? That caused him to withdraw into alchohol and anger? To make him so over-protective that he made his home a prison for his daughter and his second wife?

The public man was a very different man. He was boisterous and bold. Laughing and joking. The life of the party. If you were in a restaurant with him, he was rarely at the table. You would find him in the kitchen, talking to the head chef, the manager, and flirting with all the waitresses.

He was proud of his Irish heritage and St. Patrick’s Day was “his” holiday. He was known for taking off work two days – one to celebrate, one to recouperate. He would go to the local Irish pub and spend the day drinking, joking, laughing, and pinching pretty girls on the backside. His dream was to one day go to the ‘homeland’ and see it all. He never made it… time and life got in the way.

I’m a middle-aged mom of four now. I have a grandchild, a bunch of grand-critters, and a man who has spent three decades with me. I have a life that now revolves around trips to see my mother. To visit, to help out with small chores that she can’t do on her own, to try and give her some company and support. I see the changes in her this year. In many ways she is stronger – not having to follow what rules my father dictated. She is lonely and misses him, I know, and I’m sure she has shed many a tear for him. Me? I still can’t.

I wonder sometimes if I am too harsh a judge. Too unforgiving. I hope he is at peace now. I hope someday to know that for sure. Guess that time will come soon enough. It sure seems to go by quicker all the time… I can’t believe it has really been a year.

Peace be with you, Dad.

*John Lithgow

New Year’s 2010

I remember being a kid watching “2001 A Space Odyssey” and thinking how far away that was in the future. Now we’ve gone far beyond and are entering a new decade. I look back and the past year and so many things have happened that changed the course of my life. My father dying, my daughter having more ECT treatments… then separating from her husband and she and her son moving in with us. It has been a busy year that flew by so fast and I barely have any blog posts to show for it. That disturbs me more than it should.

I’ve decided to set myself some goals this year. Call them resolutions, if you must. I find that a bit overwhelming. Just the fact that resolution has such a bad connotation to it… I mean, seriously, how many people really keep their resolutions? Whereas if you refer to them as goals, it sounds much more obtainable. Perhaps that is all in my own mind, but that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

So I’ve heard the best way to keep goals is to make them public. To share them with family and friends. Guess what? If you’re reading this, you probably qualify. Here goes:
– I’m going to take better care of my health, specifically my diabetes.
– Directly related to the above, I’m going to eat healthier.
– I’m going to exercise more. No, I’m not going to be unrealistic and say something silly like “daily”… because, well, you’d just know I’d be lying. However, when you are as much of a couch potato as I am, “more” isn’t too hard to do.
– I’m going to try and clean out some of my “nests”. I am by no means a hoarder. Watching that show has made me cringe, however, and realize that it wouldn’t be fun for my family to have to clean out some areas of my home were I to be unable to do it. They’ll thank me later.
– I’m going to write. Daily. Yes. You heard it here. Daily. There, I said it again. Doesn’t mean I’m going to be blogging daily, but if I’m ever going to meet my goal of writing a book someday before I die, I’d better get busy. Soon.
– I’m going to start my Christmas shopping early. This does not mean December 1. (Although that would beat this year…) I would like to have it done before we get busy with the harvest. This includes wrapping. Okay, family… stop laughing. Now.
– I would like to re-connect with some of my friends. Real life friends. I’ve been a bad friend and know it. I only hope it isn’t too late.
– I would like to refrain from cutting my hair off every time I get a wild hair… no pun intended. It is never going to grow out if I keep doing that. I know that.
– I am not going to wait until the last minute to have the bookwork caught up for the tax man. Bad Sue. Causes stress that is totally unnecessary. Totally.
– I’m going to take a little time to be grateful for all I have. I would like to think I’ve gotten better at this through the years, but I never want to forget it. I have it good. I have much good fortune that many people do not. I don’t want take those things for granted.

Okay… on that note, keep in mind… I never intend to even start most of these goals until Monday. That would be next Monday.

Happy New Year!