Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Avoiding the Ugly Truth

I started this blog to be completely honest with myself, to lay it all out on the table so I can see it in front of me and learn how to deal with it. Well, I haven't been lately. I've regressed a little into familiar unhealthy habits where my eating gets out of control and I try to ignore it. I had a few good days last week and then came Friday. Friday is my new weigh-in day. I hadn't stepped on the scale for a few weeks, so I was expecting a pretty good weight loss. I had had a couple of good weeks and thought I'd see a difference. Well, when I got on the scale I only saw a difference of 0.8 lbs. Not the number I was expecting and it bothered me more than I realized. Do you know how frustrating it is to think you're doing well at something only to find out that you're not? It knocked me off my feet, emotionally. I tried holding it together as best I could, but Saturday night after an evening trick-or-treating with the niece and nephews, I hit a low point. I stopped by the grocery store (I really did need to pick-up a few things), but my resistance to buying bad stuff was non-existent. I bought bean dip, artichoke dip, macaroni salad, potato salad and a bag of Reese Peanut Butter candy. All that and the pizza and cookie dough I bought Friday night was what I ate Friday through Monday. I guess one good thing was that I didn't eat it all in one sitting. In all reality it didn't make me feel better. Food doesn't seem to fill the void as well as it once did. I guess that's a good thing. I was hoping that the void would go away so I wouldn't use food to fill it. I never really thought of the void sticking around. But I guess I was looking at the void as representing one thing and once dealt with, that one thing would no longer be an issue in my life. Hence, the void would disappear. But I don't think the void is one thing. I think it comes and goes, depending on what is going on in my life. I may have had bigger issues stemming from past history, skeletons in my closet, baggage, however you want to look at it. Those things were probably the beginnings of my emotional eating and food issues. But I've dealt with those things, threw away the skeletons, unpacked the baggage if you will. So that void, the one I've been filling since childhood is gone. But others have opened up. I guess I will always have some void or another that needs to be filled. I just need to figure out how to fill it in a healthy way rather than the way I've known since I was young. OK... lists of void fillers. A topic for another day.

So that was a bizarre peek into my psyche. Scary, isn't it. But surprisingly, it helped to ramble on like that. I kind of understand it all a little bit better and isn't that the point of all this?

Anyway... back to my original topic. I'm very frustrated right now. I've eaten so many calories over the last few days and I'm feeling a bit under the weather right now so I'm not up to exercising like crazy. I just feel defeated and that I'll never be able to do this. The logical side of my brain is trying to reassure me that this is not true, and while on some level I know it isn't, I'm sure not feeling it. I definitely ate healthier today. So that's an improvement from the last few days. I guess I'm just feeling... well... panicked. For some reason I feel like I'm running out of time, like if I don't lose weight now and fast that I'm going to miss out on some really important thing in my life. To be perfectly honest, I feel like if I don't lose weight, then I'll never get married. And if I don't do it soon, well let's face it. My biological clock is ticking. OK. I think that's enough honesty for one evening. I'm really freaking myself out and what I need to do is not look at the whole big picture. Just take one day at a time and right now its 11:10pm on Tuesday, November 3, 2009. Today I had a grapefruit and scrambled egg whites with vegetables and cheese for breakfast, chocolate chip cookie dough for lunch (remnants of Friday nights food fest) and lasagna and fresh organic spinach for dinner. All in all, that's pretty good for me, especially how the past few days have gone. Its late and its been a few hours since I last ate. My stomach is rumbling, so I think I'll go make some hot chocolate and then go to bed. Sounds like a great way to end the day. Good night.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

My California niece and nephews
(minus one little baseball player).

Zachary was a baseball.
He was just pretty much in a daze all night.

Dominic was a lego. He fell and couldn't get up.

My Utah nephew, Hazen. I didn't get to spend Halloween with him, but his parents posted some pictures of this adorable little fireman.

This kid makes the best faces!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Every Little Thing Counts

I've been trying to get back in the grove of things since I got back from vacation. It's hard to snap back into the routine of things, especially when your normal routine isn't that normal. But I did want to pat myself on the back for a couple successful moments.

Night time is usually the hardest time for me. I just want to munch and munch and munch and munch. It kills me sometimes. Actually, my night time munching is probably what is killing me losing weight. But last week I had a few good nights. Tuesday night I was feeling that uncontrollable urge to eat and I was fighting it. Have you ever had an internal war with yourself? It's exhausting. I have them all the time! Tuesday night I was feeling myself lose the battle, which if you think about it, if I'm fighting with myself, I can't really lose, can I? Either way I win. OK... so not the point. Anyway, you get what I mean. So back to Tuesday night. I went into the kitchen and looked around, but nothing was speaking to me. Good thing! I didn't want to eat, but that urge is indescribable. I really can't explain it. It almost has a life of its own and sometimes I really do feel powerless against it. But that night I decided to grab a Fiber One bar and head to bed. When I got in bed, the urge to eat had subsided and I didn't even eat the Fiber One bar. YEAH!!!

Wednesday night I was living it all over again. I did have 2 Fiber One bars, but that was it. No 4th meal, no never ending snacking, no binging. Just 2 Fiber One bars and that was that. Now if I could overcome that uncontrollable urge like that everyday, we'd be in business! Slowly but surely, right?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back in the Saddle Again

Well, I'm back at the keyboard again. Part of my reason for not blogging recently is simply being on vacation with little to no internet access. Plus, I was on vacation to visit a friend, not to blog. But even if I hadn't been on vacation, I still probably wouldn't have written. I've been avoiding it, although not completely conciously. If anyone had asked me, I woudn't have admitted it mainly because I didn't realize that's what I was doing at the time. I started this new focus of my blog for me, to help me learn how to do this for myself. But I let the negative opinions of others affect me and shake my confidence. I just needed to remember that I'm doing this for me and not for anyone else. I do appreciate all the support and the positive and uplifting comments. But I don't want to be one of those hypocritical people who only allows positive feedback. So I welcome any and all comments... the good, the bad and the ugly. But I have a new resolve. I know me. I know what I'm feeling and why. I know where I'm at and where I want to go. I don't have to accept every opinion that is shared. I will remember that they are just that... opinions and won't necessarily be true or right. But who knows. There may be something in them that will help me improve. And for all the stupid, rude and inane things that may or may not be said, well, if you share your opinion with me, then I will most certainly share mine with you... the good, the bad and the ugly!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Note to Self

I've had kind of a rough week, as is evident in my lack of posts. And it wasn't until tonight that I realized why. Have you ever just felt off center and you can't pinpoint why, but you can't seem to pull it together? And then everything, including the small stuff, just feels so overwhelming you can't seem to make even the simplest of decisions? Well, that was my week and as hard as I tried I couldn't seem to get back on track with eating healthy, exercising and studying for the GRE. Those 3 things were supposed to be my main focus during this time of unemployment and the more time that goes by the more panicked and frustrated I get because I don't feel I'm at where I want to be at with any of those things. And the more I think about it all, the more frustrated and panicked I get thinking about how much of my future relies on what I can accomplish now and it just continues to snow ball. Last night I was thinking about all this when I realized/remembered that this is something I do quite often and is something I'm trying to overcome. I felt a sense of relief when I realized/remembered this. Instead of focusing on the whole picture, I will focus on today, taking it day by day, hour by hour. Can't eat the whole elephant at once.

I'd like to say a few things that have been weighing heavily on my mind this week, mostly for myself and maybe for a reader or two of my blog. I'm writing about my weight loss journey for myself. Perhaps my experiences will help someone else out there, maybe not. But my purpose is to help me through the next phase of my journey. This will be a life long pursuit. I'm not expecting to lose weight and be done with it. I'm not expecting to reach a "finish line". What I am expecting to do is to face each individual roadblock, accept it and learn how to get over it. Some roadblocks may take a considerable amount of time to deal with. Some I may come face to face with more than once. For me, most of my roadblocks are emotional. I'm sure most people don't get it. But that doesn't matter. I know what I've been through. I know what I've already overcome. I know that I am ready to begin the journey to permanent, life long changes. I know I will succeed. I have already succeeded in the past at losing weight. But it's not just about losing pounds and my past is proof of that. I reached hurdles that I wasn't ready to cross and ended up taking a few steps back. Haha... OK, maybe huge tumbles down the cliff backwards. But that's OK. It's all part of life, learning and moving forward. In writing about the difficult moments, I'm not making excuses for my mistakes or expecting sympathy. This blog is proof of that. I'm admitting that I'm not perfect, that I make mistakes. By writing about it I lay it out before me, to look at it and deal with it. Most of the time I'm surprised at what I see. It quantifies it for me and puts it into perspective. It helps me to figure out why I keep making the same mistakes over and over. And hopefully it will help so the next time I hit the same road block I will be aware of what's happening and I will be able to overcome it instead of give in.
There is so much more I wanted to write. But it's late and I'm exhausted and rather than try to hash it all out right now, I'm going to go to bed and write more at another time. And like my friend Kirsten said, tomorrow is a new day and I'll make a fresh start.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Week in Review

Ooops! It's been a week since I've blogged. I'm sure there are some who may be wondering if I've given up. No, I haven't. But I will admit that I've fallen off the bandwagon a few times. I've even thought about not writing about it... forgeting about it... pretending that it never happened. But that is the very reason why I started writing about this all in the first place. Avoiding the slip ups or the "negative" is not helpful. Laying it all out there and facing it head on is what I need to do to "make the weak things become strong". Some people may think that writing about the stumbles and falls is just focusing on the negative. But it's not. By writing it all down I'm saying, yes, I had a low point, I gave in and this is what I did. I admit it. Not only to anyone who reads my blog, but most importantly, to myself. And it's OK. I'm OK. I'm not a failure, and anyone who thinks I am can SUCK IT!!! Then I pick myself up and move on. Will I stumble and fall again. Most definitely. But guess what?!?! I'm not perfect. (Shock! Gasp! "NO!") And here's another one... NEITHER ARE YOU!!! As far as I remember there's only ever been one perfect person on this earth and he lived nearly 2000 years ago.

OK, I digress. Here are a couple of successes I had over the last week. Friday night I drove down to my sister, Brenda's, apartment for dinner. Our brother, Brian, and his family met us down there. After dinner I left to go home with the intention of stopping at the grocery store. But as I drove that all too familiar feeling of desperation for food came over me. I wanted a big slice of carrot cake from Safeway or chocolate or Taco Bell. I knew that if I stopped at the grocery store that I would get the carrot cake, probably some chocolate to go along with it and anything else that struck my fancy at that moment. And then I'd be mad at myself for buying all that stuff, so I'd decide to bag it all, go through the Taco Bell drive-thru and then go home and proceed to eat most of it if not all. I really did need to get some groceries, but I knew I could not stop. So I just drove straight home. Once I got home I ate a Fiber One bar and I was good. I was so relieved and pretty freakin' proud of myself.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Stumble, A Win and an Epiphany

So, after I blogged last night I tried going to sleep and even though I was tired I couldn't fall asleep. I kept tossing and turning. To add insult to injury I was getting hungry since it had been so long since I'd last eaten and I was still awake. And then came the war in my head. You know that war where one side of your conscious says, "yes, just do it" and the other side says, "no, don't do it". That war in my head went on for a while and I have to admit that I caved. I totally forgot my plan of attack. I really frustrate myself sometimes. I won't go into all the gory details, but I will say that it involved pie crust dough and whipped cream. I finally did get to sleep and slept well. But I woke feeling really crappy about myself. But then came...

Wednesdays are my weigh in days. After a horrible night last night I really did not want to weigh in, but I'm in this for the long haul and I want to make permanent life long changes. So I sucked it up and got on the scale and guess what!?!? I lost 3 lbs last week. Can you believe it? After all the mess ups over the last week, I still had positive results. YEAH!!! I was on cloud nine. I hit the ground running and decided, it's a new day with a new beginning. I had a great day. I ate healthy food and proportionate meals. I exercised and did strength training as well and I accomplished a few tasks on my "To Do" list that never seems to go away, which is where my epiphany comes in. (Oh, and I'm not going to say exactly what I weigh just yet. Still not ready for that kind of humiliation.)

I have this never ending "To Do" list that has started to weigh me down. No pun intended. But I really want to take advantage of this time of unemployment and focus on getting my health in order and making life changes and new healthy habits. I need to make that a priority or I'll never accomplish it. And then I realized that whenever I'm outside doing yard work, which is the majority of things on my "To Do" list, I work up quite a sweat and get my heart rate going pretty good. This could be my exercise. I still need to supplement it with swimming and bicycling for example. So that's what I did today. I worked a total of 3 hours outside in the backyard today. There is still so much more that needs to be done, but I was able to cross a few off the list today and count it as exercise. All in all, a pretty good day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Simple Decision

It's so frustrating! How can I go from doing so great in the morning to completely blowing it by the late afternoon? Just one simple decision. I went to the dentist this afternoon for my regular cleaning. While I was there the thought to get Wienerschnitzel for dinner came into my mind and it didn't leave. Last night my roommate grabbed some on her way home from work and the thought sounded good. Some may wonder why Wienerschnitzel, but I do like hot dogs and yes, I know what they are made of, but it doesn't bother me.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but I bought more than what one person would normally eat and I ate it all over the course of the evening. This is embarrassing and pretty hard for me to see it written down in front of me, but I'm going to do it. I keep track of what I eat on The Biggest Loser Club online and it calculates the calories for me. I entered every morsel of what I ate today. Scary!!! But it does help to see exactly how many calories, etc. I took in today. Trust me. I was shocked. I think if I had known before I went through the drive through I may not have gone. But now I know and it's not pretty. So full disclosure, right? That's what set out here to do. OK, here's the nasty truth: 2 Angus Beef Chili Cheese dogs, 1 Chili Cheese Fry, 1 Large Fry and 1 Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Freeze. And here's what my daily totals are: calories: 4,653 -- carbs: 578 -- fat: 225 -- protein: 148 -- fiber: 107 -- sodium: 8,184. It's no wonder I'm morbidly obese.

So I'm making a goal and I'm putting it out there. I will not go through the drive through. See, the drive through is so easy. I don't have to get out of the car and it's quick. So no more drive throughs. If I have to eat fast food, you know, like when I'm traveling, then I'll park and get out of the car. It will deter me from going through the drive through as often as I do. OH MY WORD!!!!!! I just looked at my budget/ledger and saw how much I've spent this month on fast food alone. This is so sad and embarrassing. I've spent $157.00 on fast food... drive throughs alone. I am mortified and ashamed. And I didn't even go swimming this morning.

OK. Well now I'm aware. Instead of just keeping track of all these things separately I am putting it all together and the picture isn't pretty. Time to paint a new picture.

The Uncontrolable Urge

It hit me again last night. That uncontrollable urge to just eat. It was bout 12:30am. I started getting ready for bed at 11:30pm and that's early believe it or not. My goal was to be in bed by midnight. I have a whole story about getting to bed, but that will have to wait for another blog entry. Anyway, I got into bed and decided to read for a little bit. I was about ready to fall asleep when I remembered that my swimsuit needed to be hung up to dry. The thought of putting on a wet swimsuit in the morning to go swimming was not appealing at all. So I drug myself out of bed and hung it up, used the bathroom and then it hit... the overwhelming urge to eat something. By this time I was wide awake and food was all I could think about. SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Where did this come from? Looking back I really should have journalled. Journalling usually helps me figure what I'm really feeling at the time. I just sit down with pen and paper and purge EVERYTHING. It's actually quite surprising what comes out. But last night I was so afraid that if I left my room I'd eat and I really didn't want to. I forced myself to go back to bed and I knelt down and prayed. It really wasn't a coherent prayer. I just kind of knelt there letting my mind wander until I felt tired again. So I climbed into bed hoping sleep would overcome me. But no, it didn't. I couldn't get the desire to eat something out of my head. And what I wanted to eat was not good. If I could have made a batch of brownies, I would have. Or a huge plate of nachos. What else was going through my head? Oh, I had the thought of going to McDonald's because the drive through is open 24 hours and getting a few hamburgers and fries.

This tossing and turning lasted a while until I finally got up. I went to the kitchen, filled up my water bottle, grabbed 4 Fiber One bars and went to my laptop to watch a couple of TV shows online. I figured if I was going to eat something, a Fiber One bar wasn't as bad as a whole pan of brownies, etc. One Fiber One bar has 140 Calories, 4g fat, 90mg sodium, 29g carbs, 9g fiber and 2g protein. Definitely better than a McDonald's run. But I was still frustrated with myself. I don't get this mind numbing urge that overcomes me sometimes. Ha! "Sometimes"? I don't think a day goes by when I don't feel it at least once.

OK, so what can I learn from this? I don't want to be hard on myself because I'll just get depressed and probably go eat more. Let's look at the positive. OK. 1.) I didn't make brownies or nachos and I didn't go to McDonald's. YEAH!!! Pat on the back. 2.) I did turn to prayer first. And who knows, maybe the prayer helped me choose the Fiber One bars instead. This is a process right? 3.) I'm acknowledging what happened, writing it down and creating a plan of attack for the next time because, let's face it, there definitely will be a next time.

OK. Plan of attack. I think the praying helped, so next time step 1 is to pray. Step 2 is to journal. I need to figure out why I get these overwhelming urges to eat. There's probably an emotional reason behind them and once I figure out what it is, I can fix it. Step 3... if the urge doesn't go away, then I'll make a salad or a fruit smoothie instead. Or cut up some fresh fruits and veggies or have only 1 Fiber One bar instead of 4. :-)

Hmm... OK. I think I'm good. I'm ready for the day and I feel at peace with last night and a little defiant. BRING IT ON!!!! I WILL CONQUER THIS!!!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Abigail!!!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! This is my beautiful niece, Abby, and she turned 2 today. I wish I could be there on your birthday, Abby. But know that I love you and hope the best for you in your life.

A Personal Win!!!

OK. I don't want to spend all my time blogging about the negative parts of losing weight. Yes, it is a struggle and I've broken it down into taking it not a day at a time but an hour at a time. And last night was no exception. My neighbors work for Safeway and get a lot of product for free. They just don't have the freezer space for all of it and my parent's being the good Mormons they are have a huge freezer in their garage for food storage. So my neighbors store some of the food in our freezer and come and get it when they need to. They do share with us, quite a bit actually and they have said that we are free to whatever they have stored in the freezer. There is frozen chocolate chip cookie dough in there right now. I'll admit it. I've dug into that in the past few months and it wasn't pretty. I've never eaten a whole package in one sitting, but I have downed half a package in one sitting before. Well, last night I was craving something and remembered that there is still some cookie dough in the freezer. I sat in the living room debating over eating it for at least a half an hour. In the end I went and got it and brought it in. But before I sat down to eat it I had a change of mind. I put it back and had grabbed a Fiber One granola bar and glass of chocolate milk instead. FAR FEWER CALORIES!!! And it hit the spot. I was good. And I felt great!!! And this morning I went swimming, so it's been a great 24hours.

As for the food I ate today... not too bad. I started out good, following TBL meal plan for the most part. But by dinner time I followed my own plan, which as history will show is not as healthy as TBL meal plan. But I will give myself a pat on the back for not over-doing it at dinner. AND... I'VE KEPT TRACK OF EVERYTHING I'VE EATEN TODAY!!! That is huge in and of itself. I can do this.

I have to admit that I am a little surprised by my calorie intake for today. Here's the breakdown:
Recommended Actual
Calories: 2,000 2,801
Carbs: 240g 315g
Fat: 70g 114g
Protein: 120g 147g
Fiber: 44g 48g
Sodium: 3,425mg 5,577mg

Doesn't look that great when you look at it side by side. But sadly, this is better than most days. OK. I won't be depressed. This is a process and I'm taking the first steps by writing it all down and being 100% completely honest with myself. Awareness is the first step, right?

Well, I feel like ending a pretty good day on a good note. I'm going to go ride my bike and watch one of my favorite Monday night shows - "The Big Bang Theory". Very funny. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it.

I can't end this entry without saying thank you to everyone for their support and encouragement. It makes it so much easier to do this knowing I have all of you behind me. Thank you and I love you.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

So Far... Not So Good

SERIOUSLY!?!?!? Not even one day! Yet. OK. Keep the positive in mind. No, I did not go swimming this morning. But yes, I did get plenty of sleep. No, I haven't followed the TBL meal plan for today like I had planned, but I am at least writing down everything that I have eaten. OK. Not a total loss. But yet so very frustrating. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, but I'm so good at that. I'm just afraid of saying, "Oh, it's OK. Tomorrow is another day. Just start fresh then." That's what got me into this mess in the first place. Oh, I'll start tomorrow, or next week or January 1st as my New Year's Resolution. If that worked I wouldn't be in this position right now. Aaaaahhhhhh!!!! And then there's the age old advice of "just do it" in the first place and then I wouldn't be upset at myself and planning to start over tomorrow... AGAIN! Well, if that was so easy than I wouldn't have a weight problem now, would I?

Now, normally this is where I would say "SCREW IT!!!" and go get some really naughty food and plop in front of the TV for the rest of the night and eat. But I'm not going to do it. As much as I really want to... (whine, whine, whine) and I REALLY want to... I'm not going to give up. I'm still going to keep track of everything I eat today. I'm not going to pig out tonight. I'll have a sensible dinner, which means I'll keep the calories low, the fiber up and include A LOT of veggies and instead of sitting down with everything in front of me and eating until I'm full (which I do A LOT), I'll fix a plate with appropriate portion sizes and put the rest away. AND... I'm going to go ride my bicycle right now. Who cares if there are other things to do. I need to start taking care of myself.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Real Me

This is my blog, right? I can write whatever I want on here, right? I'm not asking these questions of anyone who is reading my blog, but of myself. And not to literally ask myself, but to build up the courage to use my blog for something quite personal. But it's time. It's my time and this is what I have to do.

You know how they say that to lose weight it's easier if you have a buddy to do it along with you? Well, I've tried that before, but it only works as long as I am honest with myself and with those I've chosen to be my "buddy". Well, to be perfectly honest, I haven't been. I start out with great intentions and then I slip. Everybody slips at times, right? Yes, but I have a tendency to be extremely hard on myself. So when I slip I allow it to become a cataclysmic event and I fall hard, which leads to depression and A LOT... and I mean A LOT... of eating, which just leads to gaining more weight, a new resolve to lose it, an attempt at a new diet plan, short term success, a struggle, the slip, the cataclysmic fall and depression all over again. My weight loss cycle. Actually, for anyone out there who needs to gain weight, which I really struggle with wrapping my head around, this is a great way to gain it. Try to lose it! Hahahaha!!! OK, back to my plan.

I am going to lay it all out on the table. I'm going to open myself up, make myself vulnerable and be completely, 100% honest with myself and everyone out there. I am going to document all the humiliating, gory details. Why? Well, to be perfectly honest, I use food to fill a void and most of the time that void is loneliness. There are times... many times, when I feel completely alone with no one to talk to, no one who really understands how I feel, no one to turn to for comfort. Other times I use food to deal with boredom, stress, worry, sadness... the list is endless. Usually, instead of facing the emotions I'm feeling and figuring out what they are and why I'm feeling them, I eat. And as much as I want to say I've changed, which I have made some changes, I still have a long way to go.

I have become a master of disguise, manipulation and deceit. So instead of continuing in those unhealthy patterns I've decided to use my blog to help me overcome some of the destructive habits I have formed in my life. Man, this is going to be embarrassing. But I think it's what I need to do.

To start off I need to say that I am not looking for someone to solve my problems for me. Trust me. I know what I need to do to lose weight. I just struggle with the execution of it. This is my problem and I need to fix it. But I know I can't do it alone. I need the strength, guidance and love of my Heavenly Father. And I need the love and support of my family and friends. I don't need anyone to tell me what I'm doing wrong. I already know. I just need love and support and occasionally, when I ask for it, some words of advice. So here it goes.

WEIGHT - I'm not going to share the exact number. I don't think I can do that just yet. But it's bad. If you watch The Biggest Loser I can tell you that I weigh less than the heaviest woman on Season 8 and more than the heaviest woman on Season 7. But that's as close as I get to publicizing it just now. I do keep track and I weigh myself weekly. Recently that number has started to creep up again. Depressing.

EXERCISE - I have plenty of gadgets at home so I don't really need to join a gym. I have 20 or more DVDs. I have all The Biggest Loser books, several low calorie/light cookbooks, a treadmill, a bike on a trainer and a community lap pool. A few weeks ago I did a couple of TBL (The Biggest Loser) DVDs but my knees were killing me by the end of them. I need to do something that is less strenuous on my knees for a while. Swimming is the ultimate exercise, but it's so humiliating going in public in a swim suit. But thanks so some late night instant messaging with my mom, I plucked up the courage to go one morning and I did it!!! I forgot how much I love swimming. It felt so good to get in the pool and do laps. I am so out of shape so it is VERY slow going right now. But when I go I go for an hour. Last week I went on Thursday and Friday. Thursday I did 42 laps in the 25 meter pool in an hour. Friday I did 54 and didn't feel that much more tired than I did on Thursday. But I haven't gone at all this week. I've found excuses not to go. But I'm committing to myself to go tomorrow morning. I've also started riding my bike again, which I really haven't done in a very long time. When I got on it for the first time in months, I almost couldn't get on. I felt very uncoordinated. And once on I was so afraid I was going to break it. I also couldn't ride for very long. I'd ride for a minute or so and rest for a minute, then ride, then rest. How sad and pathetic is that? But I played that cat and mouse game for 30 minutes. I did it 2 days last week, but haven't ridden it this week. It also hurts my arms and shoulders to hold myself up for that long. (See what I mean. This is quite humiliating.)

FOOD - So you want to know what I've eaten today? It's quite tragic. For breakfast I had milk and cookies... literally. And for lunch I had tuna and tortilla chips. Healthy? Hardly, especially since I think I ate at least 8 cookies and they were the big Costco kind. I didn't eat very many chips or that much tuna, but only because I got interrupted by a phone call. By the time I got off the phone I had my head collected and just put the food away. But at this very moment I just want to eat. Probably mostly since I am putting this all out there for the world to stomp on and making myself very vulnerable. I think I'm really just thirsty since I really haven't had anything to drink since the milk at breakfast. OK, I'm going to go get some water right now before I eat ANYTHING.

I hope this isn't a horrible mistake. I just feel that if I can be accountable to someone... or everyone for that matter then I may make life long changes once and for all. Trying to hide it, acting like there isn't a problem and keeping it to myself just hasn't worked at all over the years. So here I am. All of me. The real me. No more hiding. No more pretending. Just me.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Stars are Bright

I'm on the next leg of my trip. "Next leg?" you may be wondering. Yes, when I started out on this little road trip, I didn't have a set plan. The only thing I really knew for sure was that I was going to spend about a week with my sister in Weiser, Idaho. I had thought I might make a trip east to the Idaho Falls area to visit more family and friends. Well, plans solidified and I made the road trip to Swan Valley, a small little town about 45 minutes north east of Idaho Falls, to visit my friend, Chenoa and her family. It was about 9:00pm when I rolled into town, so I haven't seen much of it, but from what I understand, there isn't much to see. I'll get to see it in daylight tomorrow. But the drive in was great. Outside Idaho Falls the terrain changes. There are hills and mountains, valleys, rivers and creeks. It's actually quite beautiful. I am pleasantly surprised and now I can't wait to see it in the daylight.

But the most impressive thing so far is the night sky. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I don't get a complete view of the heavens. There are just too many city lights. But out here where the only lights are from the few scattered homes, it's pitch black and the stars are beautiful. I forget how many there really are and how bright they are. I love living near a large city like San Francisco, but there sure are some impressive advantages to living in the country.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My Glimpse into Motherhood

This year my brother and my sister-in-law celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary. Congrats to Brian and Tammy!!! I thought this was an important milestone that they should be able to celebrate sans children. So I offered my babysitting services so that he could whisk his lovely wife off to a romantic getaway... whatever. It's my brother. That's about as far as I'm willing to go on the road of romantic thoughts.

At the time when I offered to take the kids for a few days, I assumed it would be a weekend and that my sister, Brenda, would come up and we'd do it together. That was the plan... initially. But my brother decided to take time off work and go in the middle of the week during the summer when the kids didn't have school. Fine for me. I was recently laid off and have all the time in the world. But my sister? She had already planned this awesome trip to Australia (camping in the outback and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef) and couldn't take any more time off especially only a few days before the scheduled trip. So I got to babysit all 4 kids by myself, ages 14 months to 8 years. No problem, right? I'm the oldest of 5 kids, babysat for years during Junior High and High School and already absolutely love spending time with my niece and nephews. Boy was I in for a rude awakening.

Don't get me wrong. I love them so much and had a great time. But my eyes were definitely opened to a minute portion of what it must be like to be a mom. Benjamin is an early riser. Therefore, I was an early riser. I had gotten quite used to sleeping in since I lost my job, so getting up early again was a little tiring. Then came breakfast... and the complaints. Inevitably there was one who didn't like what had been made. The first lunch I became a short order cook and made everyone a separate meal. Learned my lesson. No wonder my mom said when we were kids that if we didn't like what was served, then we went hungry.

After breakfast (and every meal for that matter) came washing the littlest ones, getting everyone dressed, diapers changed, etc. Then I had to clean up breakfast and do the dishes to keep the kitchen in some working order. By that time the morning was half over and I was still in my pajamas. I can't remember if I showered that morning. It is all kind of a blur. I think I definitely got dressed, though. But not every day. I think the 2nd day I stayed in my PJ's all day long. It was just easier.

Then there was the matter of entertainment. Their attention wouldn't last too long on one thing and they always seemed to need my help with one thing or another. I had to take advantage of the short moments when their attention was absorbed by an activity. Then lunch time would roll around and the whole meal cycle would begin again. Post meal was more play time and they couldn't do it without me apparently. Ahhh... but nap time was my sweet haven. It was quiet time for all of them, regardless if they slept or not. They just had to lay in bed for a while. They usually fell asleep, but occasionally one or more would remain awake. That was when I had to cut my quiet time short because they could only remain quiet in bed for so long. But heaven have mercy if the one of the younger ones didn't take a nap. By 6:30/7:00 the holy terror emerged and the rest of the night I was merely in survival mode until bed time.

It always seemed to take me a long time to get them ready for bed. Four kids and me and of course none of them "want" to go to bed. By the time I got them all dressed, diapers changed, stories read and ushered upstairs and finally into a bed, I was exhausted. But the house was a disaster zone, so instead of sitting and watching TV, which is what I usually do at night to unwind, I was picking up toys, doing dishes and getting the house in some order ready for disaster to strike the next day.

At the end of the first night I had this thought, "And I really want this (to be a mom)?" I'm 36, single and no kids and I have always wanted to be a mother. But this night I actually questioned that desire. I kept thinking that I got nothing done during the day. I had a list of things I needed to do, but there was no time or energy for that matter. I was exhausted by the end of the day. And I finally got it. Occasionally I will talk to siblings or friends that are married with children and listen to them as they share with me their frustrations of being a mom. I would sometime hear how they sometimes felt that they were not contributing anything to the world nor were they doing anything worth while in their lives. I would tell them about my dull, boring working life with the not-so-interesting business trips and hear them say how exciting my life was. I didn't think so. Meanwhile I thought their lives were full of meaning and purpose by simply being mothers, raising Heavenly Father's children. But after this short experience watching my niece and nephews for 3 days, I finally understood. So to all you mothers out there, I can not express the amount of respect I have for you and all that you do each day. And for my own mother, I love you and am so eternally grateful for you.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Morning at the Mechanics

I had to take my car in for her 15,000 mile maintenance the other morning. I took a book to read while I waited, but sometimes people watching is much more interesting and that morning was no exception. There were quite a few proud Ford owners waiting in the dealership's customer lounge for their cars. As I sat there I noticed a few things. Maybe this is not that interesting for anyone else, but as it is my blog and you are choosing to read it, then you'll just have to endure today's entry.

The first thing I noticed is the different characteristics shown by the different generations of customers. Mr. 20-something had his Starbucks in hand while sitting at one of the computers provided for customer use, surfing the Internet. Mr. Mid-life-crisis looked like he was taking time off work, whether for vacation or just to bring his car in, I don't know. Either way, he seemed to be enjoying his time off, lounging on the leather sofa in his polo shirt, khaki shorts and tennis shoes, watching TV and glancing at a golf magazine he found among all the other Sports Illustrated and car magazines provided to entertain waiting customers. Then there was Grandpa who looked obviously used to sitting and staring off into no where, patiently waiting for his car, drinking stale coffee from a cheap Styrofoam cup provided by the dealership in the customer waiting area. Watching them it was interesting to see that if I had to describe to a blind person what each of these individuals was doing, they would be able to tell generally how old they are. These 3 weren't the only one's waiting, but all the others fit into one of these three categories.

As I was observing this I noticed something that I had never really thought about before. I was the only woman. There was another girl there, but she was only about 9 or 10 and came in with her dad. Now, I'm not about to spout off some women's lib gibberish or anything like that. I just thought it was interesting. I am a single woman and have always been. If there is something that needs to be done I do it. I have to. There isn't anyone else to do it with or do it for me. Quite often if not most of the time I wish there was. It gets lonely sometimes. Plus, sometimes it is just frustrating to have to make all the decisions on my own all the time. But I do have to admit that there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that I can do it all on my own.

But back to my observation. Is it common knowledge that when in a relationship, the men take care of the cars? Or is it something that each couple makes a conscious decision about who will take care of the cars? Are there women out there who do it themselves and whose husbands/boyfriends/significant others (whatever) don't mind or prefer it that way? Or are there couples out there who each have a car and take care of theirs themselves? Why am I asking this, you may ask? Just curious. Does it matter? No, not really. It was just something I noticed that morning and wondered about. I've heard about couples where this very thing is a problem... wives taking care of the cars and husbands feeling obsolete.

So if you haven't noticed, I sometimes have these odd things come to my mind that I wonder about. This time I just thought I'd blog about it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

3 Degrees of Separation

My mom sent me an email recently that I found quite interesting. This is my one lone, distant connection with a superstar... Michael Jackson. Before I relate the story that was passed along to me I have to say that despite the great musical talent he had, I find it very disturbing that the society we live in found the passing of Michael Jackson more news worthy than the changes President Obama is trying to make for our nation. I'm not sure there isn't a soul who can't tell you where they were when they heard that MJ died. But how many people can tell you about Obama's energy bill or his universal health care plan? The man was a disturbed pedophile and I find it morally repugnant that he has been so revered. Don't get me wrong. He was somebody's son, brother, father or friend and their loss is great. I just feel there are more important things going on in this world than a musician who should have been put in jail. OK, OK. I'll get off my soap box. This is just my opinion so if anyone reads this blog and is offended by what I had to say on the matter, oh well. This is my blog and I am entitled to my opinions.

Anyway, apparently I have a second cousin who who knew MJ and with his passing was reminded of his brief encounters with the superstar. My second cousin's name is Kel. I don't believe I've ever met him, nor do I ever remember meeting his father, my mother's cousin. But I do have fond memories of his grandmother, my mother's Aunt Gladys. We used to visit her during the summers when we went to visit my grandparent's. I just remember her kindness and how much she enjoyed our visits. She has since passed away.

So, my 2nd cousin, Kel, went to college in Ohio and spent his summers with his mother in Southern California. He was athletic all his life beginning with little league when he was an all-star short stop. He is about the same age as Michael Jackson as he will be celebrating his 52nd birthday this year. So please enjoy Kel's story about his encounter with Michael Jackson.

"The unfortunate passing of Michael Jackson makes me recall my brief encounters with the superstar. During one of my summers home in California, we'd play lots of basketball. Driving into the gym parking lot, someone mentioned, 'the Jacksons are here; that's their green Rolls'. Sure enough, they were in there playing ball and we ended up playing four or five games together. Michael and I were paired up against each other and had some tough games. The Jackson 5 were terrific athletes and like all good Indiana boys, b-ball was their game. Michael was a strongpoint guard with good hands and, as he displayed with his dance moves, he had incredibly quick feet. He was also a very good leaper and although always on the thin side, he could bang around when going for a rebound. He had a better than average shot, but made the most of his shooting talent because he could leap over most defenders under 6'3". After the first couple of games, though, I realized he had a distinctive rhythm in his shot and by the latter games, I could time it right and blocked a few of his shots (back in the day, I, too, was a better than average leaper and did some high jump, long jump, & triple jump when I ran track & field).

"Several weeks later when I was at the gym, the Jacksons came in again to play ball. This time, when teams were being picked, Jermaine selected me over brother Michael, which made him mad. Mike demanded to know why, to which Jermaine said that I'd played him really tough a few weeks back and that I was as good or better of a player than he was. As one might guess, both Michael and I had to bring our A-game against each other since it had now spun into a semi-feud with a public figure. Maybe this was what was in Jermaine's mind all along. We squared off again one more time a few weeks later before I headed back to Ohio in August.

"Fast forward several years and I am working the night shift in an ER in Encino. This big burly white guy comes stumbling through the lobby door. He looks like he'd been wrestling with a mountain lion because he was all bloody and scratched up. As he got closer, we could see all of these human bite marks on the guy and he was escorted by Marlon Jackson. We got the guy over to a gurney and they started to clean him up. Marlon told us they had just gotten back to the Encino family compound aftersome awards show where Michael (now the world's most popular entertainer) had been honored. There were 3 or 4 dozen fans, mostly teenage girls, at the gate of their home. Michael somehow exited the limo on the side that the fans were on, not the door where his bodyguards were expecting him to get out. As the crowd surged towards him, this bodyguard pushed his way through and got in-between the fans and shoved Michael back into the car. The crowd was literally ravenous and went ape on this poor guy.

"As Marlon is telling us what happened, he kept looking over at me. He also said that Michael was outside in the car and was really upset at what had happened and since the ER wasn't too busy, he wanted to bring his brother in for a few minutes to see the bodyguard was OK then he'd drive Michael home and come back to pick up the bodyguard. Then, after staring a me, Marlon asked where he knew me from. I told him it was playing basketball at the Newbury Park Community Center back when they lived in Westlake Village. Then Marlon remembered and told me, 'Michael is still mad at you. Every so often, he keeps peppering Jermaine as to why he chose you over him in those pick-up games.' I said that was four or five years ago. Marlon said his brother is upset over tonight's incident and seeing me would add insult to injury. So, as he brought Michael into the ER, I quietly slipped out the back hallway and made myself scarce until after he left."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

My Cinderella Moment

I survived my first week of unemployment... barely. Despite what some people may think, I worked hard at my job, even during the slow periods when things were quiet. Granted, the last few weeks I didn't have much to do since the new management took my projects away from me one by one. But I always managed to find something to occupy my time. So when I woke up the morning of July 10th with no laptop, no email and no phone I felt helpless in a way with nothing to do. So I took back control of the situation and made a list of chores to keep me busy and help me feel productive and useful. And believe me, there is plenty to do around this house and yard to keep me busy. Monday I found myself scrubbing my bathroom from top to bottom and vacuuming and dusting all the nooks and crannies of my bedroom. Tuesday I worked in the yard until the heat became almost unbearable. Then I moved inside and continued with the laundry and scrubbing down the kitchen. Wednesday I tackled the kitchen and dinning room floors. I swept and vacuumed until every speck of dirt and dust was gone. By then the manic need for complete spotlessness had settled in and I pulled out the buckets, the sponges and scrubbers, the towels and gloves and got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed and cleaned those floors until they looked brand spanking new. Three and a half hours later my knees were red and raw, my back and elbows ached, I was exhausted and dripping with sweat. But the kitchen and dinning room floors are so clean you could eat off them. I felt like Cinderella, minus the talking mice and chirping birds. Oh, and the handsome prince who sweeps me off my feet.

Needless to say, Thursday I woke up with a new plan for my days of unemployment. I'm going to sleep in and relax. I'm going to go to the movies and have lunch with friends. I will still make a list of things I'd like to accomplish each day, but my lists will be much shorter and a little less ambitious, but still allow me to feel productive at the end of the day. The guilty feeling of having so much free time is passing. I think I could get used to this forced vacation of mine!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Have you heard of Susan Boyle?

So I was talking to my mom the other day on Skype and she asked if I had seen the video on Youtube of Susan Boyle. I had never even heard of Susan Boyle. She said I had to check it out. She said that it was a video of this woman trying out on a British talent show with Simon Cowell, the infamous American Idol judge, and all his glory. I was sure I knew what the video was going to be about, poor woman. I watched it and loved it, so I thought I'd share. If you haven't heard about Susan Boyle yet, you're in for a treat. Hopefully I can get this to work.

OK. So I couldn't get embeded code to upload the video to my blog, but here is the URL to the Youtube video. I'd love to read about your reactions to the video.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Wanted: A Rich Sugar Daddy or a Winning Lottery Ticket

I am really struggling lately with the desire to work. This doesn't mean that I want to sit on my lazy butt all day and do nothing. It just simply means that I don't really care to be employed anymore... at least not at my particular job. My colleague LOVES, LOVES, LOVES his job and can't wait to get to work in the morning. I don't get this. I don't find our job particularly fulfilling. And as for being eager to get to work in the morning... I wait until the last possible minute to get out of bed and start getting ready. I know that if I don't leave the house by a certain time I run the risk of not getting parking at the BART station. And most mornings when I do leave on time I'm hoping for a full parking lot earlier than normal or major delays either on the freeway or on BART. How sad is that?

A big part of my waining desire for a career is the uncertainty of whether or not I will be employed in a month and what my current job responsibilities are. We are in the middle of a corporate merger, I being an employee of the stronger company who bought out the weaker company. So you'd think I would have job security, right? Wrong. The powers that be are having to merge 2 very large companies, similar in size and function. So many of the jobs are duplicated. My department is still trying to figure out how many full time positions it will have now that we have merged. For budget reasons, and for functionality reasons (meaning we don't need that many people to do what we do), we won't be able to keep everyone from both companies.

First they had to decide who would be the director of our department. Well, you'd think they'd keep the current director (my boss) since he has been doing the job for several years and works for the surviving company. Nope. They "displaced" him. He found out the day before his prostate cancer surgery that upon his return from surgery he would have to interview for his own job. Ten days after his surgery (he did not take medical leave) he returned to work and interviewed for his job only to find out 2 weeks later that they would be letting him go.

Now I wait. Wait for my new boss to decide who she's going to keep on her new team. I've already had to send her my resume. She was out here (she and her entire team are located on the other side of the country!!!) to meet me and I basically had a job interview with her as she went over my resume and proceeded to tell me that she has 2 people on her team that do what I do for her. Nice. So does that mean she doesn't need me? Why keep me, someone whom she doesn't know when she can keep people she's worked with for several years? The only thing I have in my corner right now is that I am the only one on the West Coast that can do my job. That is unless she has someone who is willing to relocate.

But now I'm faced with the question, do I want to work for the "new team"? I need a job. This economy is not a good one to be out of work. I could go back to school, but in what? I have so many interests how do I pick one? I feel like an 18 year old again trying to decide what to major in in college. The only difference is it's a masters degree that I'm trying to decide and I'm almost twice the age of an 18 year old. I almost wish I would get laid off so I wouldn't have to make that decision. And even if I do get hired for the new team, I still plan on going back to school in the near future (as soon as I decide what to study). So how fair is that to someone on my team who will get laid off? How fair would it be for me to stay and my colleague who LOVES, LOVES, LOVES his job to be let go? It would be different if I want to make a career out of this and stay in this field, but it doesn't excite me. I'm good at it, but I don't necessarily enjoy it. I don't hate it, but I don't really care about it either.

If only I could find a rich sugar daddy or a winning lottery ticket, then all my financial worries would be taken care of and I could take the time to find out what it is that I would truly enjoy doing for a living.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Long and Overdue...

I realize it's been quite some time since my last entry. I guess I've felt that not much has happened recently. But as I reflect I realize that's not entirely true.
My sister, Brenda, and I drove to the Boise, Idaho area to visit our sister Jennifer and her family since we were orphans this year. (Our parents are currently serving a mission in Paraguay and won't be home for another year.) The drive up was fine. No problems with the weather. The drive home on the other hand is a different story. It was snowing when we left Jennifer's house. About 15 minutes out we decided to stop and put the chains on. I thought I knew how to do it but it wasn't going so well. I had the general idea right, but I'd never actually done it. It's not that easy. We drove that way for the next 5 hours but only went 120 miles. It was quite the adventure.
We had a great time with Jennifer's family. The kids are adorable. Abigail is just too cute for words with big beautiful eyes and the most gorgeous smile. Jacob is growing up so fast and I can actually understand him when he talks now. Granted I have to really be paying attention because he changes subjects so quickly, but he's a riot. We took him sledding at the nearby school that had a decent sized hill. He was not afraid and as soon as the sled was set down in front of him he jumped right on and sped down the hill. The coming back up proved a little more daunting to him. It was quite icy and he would end up on his stomach saying, "Help me, help me!" And we'd tell him that he was almost there and that he could make it and he'd cry back, "I can't, I can't!" And we just sat at the top laughing. I'm sure it's going to give him a complex, but I couldn't help it. It was so funny. Most of the time he made it back up on his own.

"Help me, Help me!"

Jacob, the Daredevil.

Beautiful Abigail

The Lee sisters
Don't hate us because we're beautiful!!!

I will write more later to update everyone with what's been going on since Christmas. But right now I want to go workout on the treadmill. I have a goal to do it everyday this week. Who knows what will happen next week, but I'm just concentrating on this week.