Friday, December 29, 2006

Old Year's Resolution...

The new weight (143.5 lbs) is accurate! Whoo hooo!

Yeah. That would be some 5.5 pounds under goal weight (which I have officially maintained for 13 months)... but if you have read up on ye olde archives, you will find my constant ponderizing on the ultimate goal weight--and the likelihood of its being under 140.

Some of you might point out that it took me 5 months to lose 39 pounds and over a year to lose the next 5... and you would be right.

Some of you might point out that I have hardly paid attention to the whole fitness/weight thing over the course of 2006... and you would be right.

Some of you might point out that this news is hardly news since I didn't step on a scale for months and when I did some 3 pounds had magically disappeared... and you would be right.

But that would mean that there are at least 3 people reading this blog... and since there are crickets in the comments box, I gotta assume that ain't the case.

So, as I am, evidently, writing for future blog readers who will, undoubtedly, be clamoring to know just how I did this losing-of-three-pounds-without-trying magic, here goes...

I kept eating radically reasonable amounts of food and exercised when I could squeeze it in between grad school and home school and trips to see my out-of-town boy (read: a total of about 10 times in the past month).

Oh, and I didn't do the holiday eating thing. So what if there are piles of chocolate covered somethings everywhere?? I am not hungry so I am not eating it! I did have a cookie or two and an still working on a quart of egg nog*, but I honestly haven't been tempted to overeat.

Sound too good to be true? A couple of years ago, I would have been stormin' the comments with all sorts of whatevers... but it--eat less, move more--works... The catch?? You have to figure out why you are eating more and moving less before it will actually click and stick. My eating was motivated by a stress and depression. Funny, once I spent the 5 years and $15k on therapy, losing some 50 pounds was easy.

Here's to all the folks who will be starting a new diet for the new year. I am oh, so rooting for you! I remember how impossible losing the weight seemed when I got going, and how amazing it felt to get to goal...

I wish I could blog that feeling.

*Oh my! My sis is a coffee goddess, and taught me the merits of using egg nog in lieu of milk/cream. It is equally outrageous in iced coffee and hot coffee. I am so going to mourn the end of egg nog this year.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oh, son, I am so, so sorry...

From the press release announcing the passage of the “Combating Autism Act”:

“This bill is a federal declaration of war on the epidemic of autism,” said Jon Shestack, co-founder of Cure Autism Now. “It creates a congressionally mandated roadmap for a federal assault on autism, including requirements for strategic planning, budget transparency, Congressional oversight, and a substantial role for parents of children with autism in the federal decision-making process.”

“By passing this landmark single-disease legislation, the House has recognized the daily plight of the thousands of families struggling every day with autism, and has once and for all acknowledged autism as a national healthcare crisis,” said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks and chairman and CEO of NBC Universal.


The name of the act alone sent me into a rage but this???

“war on the epidemic of autism”????

“assault on autism”????

“daily plight”????

“families struggling”????

“once and for all acknowledged autism as a national healthcare crisis”????

All of this packed into TWO sentences!!! Oh. My. GOD!!!

And this stuff was said by family members of children with autism… not professionals or lobbyists.

These people are declaring war on my son!!! And their own children… they just don’t get it, do they??


I just want to go on the record saying that while I am all for finding accommodations that help folks participate in the world, offering medical treatment to those who need it, finding new ways to teach folks, and the like--I am *not* cool with using the same language we apply to terrorists and drug lords for legislation regarding our children!

Since when do we wage war on children?

It is not okay to forget that my children are just that--children.

The language we use is important! How often do children with diagnoses hear that there is "something wrong with them"?? How many times can they hear that without believing it?

Unfortunately, other people believe it, too. So, for the record, there is nothing "wrong" with my children. They are not the cause of some "daily plight" in my life. We get along just fine, thankyouverymuch.

I know that there are plenty of folks ready to heap ashes on my head for thinking this way. They will point to their children and say, "Look at my child! He bangs his head! He drools! He spreads poop on the walls! He has behaviors! You just don't understand!!"

I do understand. I have seen it all. I have lived it all. And still I refuse to blame my children and lay the burden of my lack of happiness at their feet. I will not "wage war" on them. I will love them and care for them and fight for them and educate them and tell them over and over that they are awesome.

And I will declare war on anyone who suggests I do otherwise.

Monday, November 06, 2006

She's So Cool...

Yeah, I know. I am mystifyingly cool.

No kidding.

I can do grad school, homeschool, raise two kids, balance a checkbook, date real men, drive a car, stay at goal weight, and elliptical train for an entire hour without passing out.

Then, I start my heady yeah-I-just-ran-to-nowhere-for-an-entire-hour-without-passing-out walk back to the locker room only to get my headphone cord tangled up with my towel and my sweatshirt and manage to bang my Zen into my nose and draw blood.

And then one of those real men has to tell me that I have blood running down my face, 'cause I am too cool to notice it all on my own.

Now, you know just how impressive I really am.

Oh, and the run-just-prior-to-my-public-humiliation is in the books (126/200) along with another one (run not humiliation) this weekend (127/200) plus an amazing, leaf-crunching (I love fall!!), 5-mile hike (128/200).

I. Am. So. Cool. Don't you wish you could be like me?

Stop laughing. It isn't funny.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Welcome Back Old Friend...

It is no secret that I haven't been the best about going to the gym since I hit goal weight/got the divorce. Frankly, I have probably worked out an average of once a month over the past year--give or take. I have stayed pretty active--who wouldn't with two kids--but there's nothing like a good hour-long run to nowhere to get the juices flowin'.

I just couldn't put my brain around taking my kids to the gym. That is, until the guy I am seeing* asked me "How are you feeling?" and I said, "Okay." and he said, "Just okay? Maybe you outta get back to the gym." Yeah--he said it just like that--out of the blue and with no warning that his question was loaded. And I thought, "Yikes! He's right. And I really can't claim any good reason for not going."

My kids were with their dad Monday night--which eliminated all excuses for not going. So, bright and early yesterday mornin' I dug out the sports bra, laced up the shoes and headed out.

I fully expected to fall on my face after about 15 minutes. A year is a long time to barely work out and expect to have any stamina. You may recall that my first workout of the MegaChallenge was a 700 stride 7 minute affair. Imagine my surprise when I pulled out an hour-long 9500 stride (that's nearly 6 miles!) run on my elliptical buddy (124/200).


And it felt amazingly fantastic!!!

So, having broken the mental barrier, I got up a second batch of gumption and packed the kids up for their first return trip to the gym in over 2 years. Images of screaming childcare workers chased me the entire way there, but I shook them off and kept driving.

I signed them in--fully expecting the staff to say, "Oh no! We remember your kids! They poop their pants to get out of here. We'll be calling for you in moments. Don't bother, lady!" When no one said anything, I took off for the elliptical machine telling myself, "If you can just get a sweat--it doesn't have to be a full workout--you can walk out of here happy."

Great news! I got an entire hour-long run in! 10,000 strides of sweaty bliss (125/200). I got to listen to my favorite sweat-inducing songs on the Zen I bought when I hit goal weight. Yeah, I finally got a 40 gig (I think it is gig--for all I know it is nano or terrabytes) MP3 player and have used it about a dozen times--after 2 years of only 30 songs to choose from you would think the musical options alone would have gotten me to the gym more.

My girlfriend who was MegaChallenging with me is also back on the wagon. Cool, no?? So, the MegaChallenge is back on! I know! I know! It was supposed to be 200 workouts in a year--but no one said that I couldn't take a year-long hiatus in the middle of it.

Shut up!

It is my blog and my challenge and I make the rules.

It's good to be the queen!

*Don't ask. That's all you are getting for now.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Grad School is Hard...

But not for the reasons you might think.

When you think school, what do you think about? I'd bet tuition and books are pretty high on that list.

Well, not to the folks in my "Learning Team." Oh no! Books are optional! Yeah!

I am struggling for the words to express my complete dismay at the lack of responsibility, preparation, and readiness for school exhibited by the folks I am supposed to study with for the next 18 months.

Okay, to catch you up--my grad school program has a very large team component. We are grouped with three of our classmates into a "Learning Team" for the duration of the program. The team is required to do projects and presentations every week. It is a major part of my grade and my life. It is supposed to create a support system and synergize learning.

Well, it ain't cutting it.

Of the four of us, two of them don't have books 8 weeks into school--the third got hers late. One of them is planning a wedding and travels constantly, another can't put a sentence together (subject-verb-period--how hard is it??) and doesn't know the word "volunteer", and the third can't keep a promise to save her life.

"Oh, I can do that! I'll bring that! I'll write that!"

and then nothing.


And I am supposed to feel sorry for her because she meant to get to it.

I am such a bitch.

But after spending every weekend pathologically checking email for signs of her work only to be perpetually disappointed, and then spending every Monday scrambling to create whatever it is that she is responsible for, I am over it. The final straw came when she made some snide remark about my giving too much information to her for a project she has to do--and when I called her on it, she did her Famous Flip and denied saying it.

So, I had a Come to Jesus Meeting with Ms Flip. She heard me. She cried. She promised to do better. And then she decided to give me the silent treatment instead. (I told you she couldn't keep a promise!!)

Mr Skate is another frustration entirely. He has yet to step up and offer to do anything. Literally. If we have 4 segments of an assignment he will wait until everyone takes a part and then just sits there. I have said things like, "So, what are you going to be doing?" or "Which part do you intend to cover?" to give him the opportunity to jump on board. I end up having to assign stuff to him. And then comes the clincher.

He can't actually do it.

Given a bulleted summary of an article and the task of turning it into a 3-paragraph write-up, he actually randomized the points, removed all the apostrophes, misspelled "morale" as "moral" 3 times, quoted things that weren't quotes and removed quotes from items that were, added words that had no relevance to the subject, and sent it to me "finalized and ready to print." It seemed moot to point out that nothing was cited, and that APA has a manual to help with that.

The wedding-planner girl isn't so bad. As a matter of fact, she is pretty on-the-ball. She works hard to keep up her end, which I appreciate. The downside is that she is a solid B student--and I haven't made a B in 15 years. So, we have different goals. Her opening salvo was to make fun of me and to invalidate my entire life when she was assigned to introduce me to the class. Nice, huh? She is an ESTJ and I am an ENFP--which basically means we are outgoing opposites of one another. I am touchy-feely; she is all business. It can be a good thing--in a yin/yang kind of way--if we don't kill one another.

I am not responsible for these people. I shouldn't be carrying them through school. Yeah, my degree is in Human Resource Development--but I didn't bargain for having to start out implementing a major intervention. I mean, that's supposed to be the final project not the opening move!

Send chocolate.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Year of Magical Thinking...

With apologies to Joan Didion* for stealing her title, I am doing that thing. You know the thing I mean? Where you do the "year ago today" thing and look back and think about what you were doing a year ago and sort of relive last year while living this year and feel like you are in two places at once.

It fucks with my head.

Magical thinking.

See, magical thinking is based in patterns. We think we see patterns where there aren't patterns or create patterns where we want them to be. So, if I really want to believe something, I will start looking for proof and--as if by magic--I find it!

It might be my thinking if I wait to have children until my mother did (at least 24 years old) then it isn't an "accident" and my children will be welcome and approved.

It might be my thinking that if I have always fallen in love in the fall and it is now fall that--wha la!--I should be running into Mr Right (Now) at any moment.

It might even be that if I could turn back the clock to those moments before the events that sent me reeling toward right now occurred that I could, somehow, avert them.

It doesn't matter that my mom was divorced within 4 years of giving birth. (I didn't follow the logic past the "approval" to see if the pattern held, I would be a single mom shortly.)

It doesn't matter that the reason I have always fallen in love in the fall is because that is when you go back to school and hook up with a new guy. (Yeah, I am back in school--but all of the guys are either married or gay which makes them somewhat unsuitable for my love interest.)

It doesn't even matter that I can't turn the clock back and even if I could that I couldn't change anything except--perhaps--the day it all finally blew apart. (The wasband's temper was hardly within my control.)

I am still doing it. Magical thinking. Looking for the pattern. Trying to find control when, frankly, I have none.

There is a time for looking back. It helps to understand what got you where you are. But at some point, you have to point forward. I am working toward the balance between reflection and action.

Driving home tonight I was absolutely terrified for about 20 seconds. Why? I realized that I was on the road with my little kids and no one expected me at the other end. I could vanish from the earth and it would be at least 12 hours before anyone noticed. I felt completely disconnected. It was an acute attack of the larger unease I have been feeling the last few days. Generally, I am a pretty upbeat, expecting-the-best kinda girl. The last few days have found me worried about everything--money, health, death, school, friends, love, car, and so on--and unable to accomplish much of anything.

I think it is the Magical Thinking pushing me in this direction. As scary things happen to the people around me, I can't help but wonder if I am on a bad-luck stretch of the highway. I am looking for the clues that my turn to get sideswiped is comin'. Enough already.

I need a good night's sleep. I need to make a list of the stuff that I need to accomplish. I need to pat myself on the back for successfully navigating one of the hardest years of my life--while managing to graduate from school, homeschool two children, and stay at goal weight.

I can do this--whatever this might be. And I don't have to resort to magic.

*OMG if you haven't read this book, go now and find it! It seems trite to use words like "breathtaking" and "perfect" but The Year of Magical Thinking is both. I read it in two sittings and am going back to read it again. It is one of those books that sets you to making lists of people who need copies. I feel like I should write Joan Didion a thank you note for opening up her soul. But that seems even more trite than saying her book is "perfect."

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Life and Death...

It is such a fine, fine line between here and there. Two of my very favorite people have been dancing on that line for the last bit. One is hanging on with every ounce of her being. One just teetered over the edge.

I'll start with the still living. Gammy--as my kids call her--was out of my life for 21 years in spite of being one of the kindest people I have ever encountered. I got to reconnect with her this summer when I reintroduced myself to my paternal clan--and we are very early in the rebuilding stages. She went in for "routine"* surgery last week, was sent home the next day, and should have been fine. But she wasn't. I'll spare you the details, but she has been through 3 additional surgeries and tons of trauma (she needed some 6 pints of blood and 4 pints of plasma on Sunday alone!!) and is--amazingly--alive.

How close?? How close did I come to never seeing her again? My sisters and dad are almost speechless with fear and exhaustion and I feel like I am watching the whole thing through binoculars. It is impossible to describe the feeling of being so tightly emotionally bound to people you barely know. I want to gather them in and nurture them--but I don't even know them well enough to have a clue what they would consider nurturing! I am just praying that I get the chance to learn. I almost didn't.

Tracey's mom, Noreen, was one of those women who just gave--and not the leftovers--she gave her best. When I married the wasband, Tracey and her brother were both in the wedding. Now, Tracey is an incredibly talented artist--with style in surplus--who did all sorts of wonders for my wedding. But, as a bridesmaid, isn't that part of the job?

But her mom? Her mom didn't get an official title in the production, but she sure should have. She made Tracey's dress, drove a 15 passenger van full of guests across 3 states (and earned the nickname "Maria Andretti") , assisted with the video, posed for pictures, offered sound advice, entertained the hotel staff, managed to smile the whole time, and then returned that van load safely home.

I can't even look at the pictures right now. It reminds me that I have let some people slip away. I sort of lost some of them in the divorce. I got "too busy" to keep up with others. I missed the opportunity to reconnect with others.

Yeah, I believe in an afterlife--and all the solace that provides--but I am still very, very sad for those of us who will miss her amazing ability to be so casual about what a big deal she was. I am very, very sad that she got away without a goodbye. I had plenty of warning. She fought cancer for a very long time. I thought about calling, sending a card, sending flowers. I thought. I didn't. I let her get away. Shame on me.

*I have always corrected anyone who called surgery "routine." It is routine only for the medical personnel involved. I know there are folks who have lots of surgeries--but I doubt even they consider turning off their bodies, having them sliced open, having things rearranged and removed, sewing the whole package back up, and then waking up to round-the-clock vitals checks as a "routine" part of their day.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Missed their target...

I just got a catalog from Jessica London in my mailbox. The cover features a size-6 model wearing a pretty periwinkle shirt/shell set. Having never heard of this company, imagine my surprise to discover that they cater to women who wear sizes 14W-34W.

I say, "cater" but what I should say is that they sell clothing to this group of women--they cater to the misguided illusion that women who wear plus sizes need to be deluded into thinking that they will suddenly shrink to a size 6 upon donning the outfits.

There is not a single model in the entire catalog with a BMI over 20. Gah!!

I don't wear plus sizes anymore, so I can't buy anything from this company--and if I were wearing plus sizes, I wouldn't know from the cover or inside shots that they carry them!

How is this considered "good" marketing?

I am hoping it isn't--or that it doesn't continue to be.

Things gotta change.

A Year Ago...

Anniversaries are pretty cool. Usually. I am a sentimental girl who thrives on marking time and remembering when. So, it should come as very little surprise that I am sort of "celebrating" a very odd anniversary.

Get to it, woman! What anniversary?

The anniversary of the major blow up event that led to my eventual divorce and rebirth as--well as me.

Sure, I made strides toward the newish me. I started the weight loss MegaChallenge thing. I went back to school. I got great haircuts and color. But it wasn't until I did the heave-ho to the marriage that I actually felt like I was making progress.

I haven't been very forthcoming with the events leading up to my divorce. It isn't shame so much as not wanting to be a dirty-laundry-airing someone. I guess being raised Southern has a stronger hold that I would like to admit. I mean, geez, it wasn't until last year that I could say out loud that I might need to lose a few (read: 50) pounds!

At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeonly marriage-basher, I just have to say, "If you hate your marriage, get the hell out of it!" If it is sucking the life out of you what are you doing sitting there making up excuses to stay?

Perhaps this is a message to the me of 2-4-8-12 years ago who thought she could work hard enough to make it all okay. Perhaps it is a message to my stuck friends who are miserable and keep hanging on. Perhaps it is totally misguided, but if I had only had the courage to walk when I first figured out that my marriage was a bust I might have saved myself and my children a whole lot of pain, grief, and therapy.

The great news? I am out of there!

Deep breath.

I am so happy to be on the other side! If I had known how precious life would be without that constant gnawing, I'd have done it so much sooner! Life has been so, so, so sweet.

Sure, there are still days when nothing seems to go right. Car parts still break. Kids still get sick. Computers still crash. The difference is that I start out with the emotional energy to deal with those every day stresses without the chronic downer of an unhappy, abusive, controlling, spiteful spouse to suck me dry before I even get started.

Yeah, I know that everyone acts in their own time. I am hardly one to point fingers--I procrastinate better than anyone I know! I wanted to make sure I had exhausted all possible options for saving the marriage before I left. Unfortunately, I almost lost my life in the process.

No, I didn't plan on getting a divorce when I stood in front of God and everybody in that parade float of a dress. Thank God I was able to change my plans before I met Him face to face--and that I get this whole new shot at figuring out what I want in life and going for it!

So, it has been a year since I figured out that if I didn't end my marriage that I would likely end up dead. I am alive! Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Brain fog rolls in...

Have you ever really wanted to blog but had so few firing brain cells that you just couldn't make an entry make sense to save your traffic??


Well, lemme fill you in on what it is like. I have opened the Blogger word processor no less than 15 times in the past week and started typing. I get about 5 paragraphs into it and go back and re-read what is there. I shake my head in utter dismay because it is completely unintelligible. I close the browser window and assure Blogger that, yes, I really do want to navigate away from the page without saving my changes.


It isn't that I don't have any news. I do! I saw 145 lbs on the scale on Sunday. I went to the gym on Saturday. (Sure it was closed when I got there, but I actually laced up my shoes! That has to count for something, no??) I could tell you all sorts of stories about my wacko family--including that my mom and step-dad moved an hour away without ever officially telling me that they had bought a new house. I could even update you on my grad school progress. (Did you know that textbooks no longer come with covers? They are still over $100, but they are all paperback. I could rant for hours on this alone!)

So what, you ask, seems to be the problem?

Allergy med head.


I don't know why my immune system takes such strong offense to the change of seasons, but let the temperature adjust by 10 degrees and I am practically incapacitated for 2 weeks. I am allergic to just about every plant and animal on the globe. My allergist actually took pictures of my scratch tests--the reactions were so strong that my whole body looked like one big, swollen mosquito bite. Oh, and lucky me, I am one of the 3% (not a scientifically-based statistic. Go look it up if you want to know. I can't be bothered in my state.) of the population that reacts to allergy shots by getting worse. Tack on a metabolism that runs through meds in half the normal time, and you have a recipe for allergy med head.

So, forgive me if I am somewhat unaccounted for as fall arrives. I am wandering around bleary-eyed.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Swimwear Shopping or How I Faced the Dragon...

I last bought a swimsuit in February 2005. I weighed in the 190 pound range, and everything I tried on looked like what it was: a rather snug garment doing its level best to hold in all of the lumpy parts without splitting a seam. After trying on no less than three billion suits, I finally found one that I could tolerate. I have to admit that it did a pretty decent job of snugging in the bulges and holding up the flab and I wore it faithfully to pools and gym spas for over a year.

I don’t know when I noticed how large it was. Probably around the time it got warm enough to put on a swimsuit—so, June? But then life exploded and I just lived with it because, quite frankly, I would rather pluck nose hairs—even strangers’ nose hairs—than try on those latex sausage casings. That is, I used to prefer all sorts of tortures over facing the three way mirror in my almost-nakedness. But how was I to know that even this trauma could be reduced to a memory??

Labor Day is officially the best day—price wise—to purchase swimwear. Everything is 75% off and the racks still have loads of options. Any other year of my life, the following paragraph would be filled with how much I hate swimsuit shopping. Not this year. I will say that it took my very best friend practically dragging me to the mall to even get me started in the direction of replacing my trusty casing. He is a very, very patient man, (he would have to be to be my best friend after the couple of years I have had, no?) but even he was getting tired of hearing me bitch about how huge my suit was and how un-pretty I felt in it.

So we went shopping. He asked my size—in past years that would have been met with an “oh—I don’t know—um—huge??”—and I said, out loud, “Let’s start with 12s and then we can adjust.” He proceeded to pull one of every—and I do mean every—size 12 possibility off of the 20 rounders. When he had a good arm load, he handed them to me and shoved me toward the dressing room saying, “I’ll keep digging; you get started.” And so he did and I did. Out of those first 30 suits, 25 were just wrong—cut, color, fabric, or bra just didn’t do anything for me—but the other 5 were definite possibilities. When I found a suit that I was feeling pretty good about —sit down—I walked out of the dressing room and asked how it looked. Each time, I would bring an armload of non-contenders and he would replace them with his latest finds.

We finally narrowed it down to 3 that did all the stuff I wanted. (Made me look incredible, supported my post-pregnancy and weight-loss self, and covered my ass—there is nothing worse than a bulgy, saggy, up-the-butt suit.) I wanted 2 suits (75% off!!) and we decided on 2 of the three just before we noticed an adorable suit on a mannequin (I have never been the size of a suit on a mannequin!!) and said, “I might as well give it a shot.” It fit perfectly, I look fantastic in it, and long story longer I walked out of there with 2 terrific suits that I cannot wait to wear in public!

So, yes, weight-loss groupies, even the dreaded swimsuit phobia can be a thing of the past. I feel invincible!! Well, except for that little gall bladder thing that sent me rushing to the hospital last Thursday, but that is for another post.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Can't Fix It...

Yeah, I know there is a typo in my previous entry. I saw it as soon as I clicked, "post." Unfortunately, I haven't made the decision to convert to the new Google Blogger irrevocable version so editing the post has proven to be a formatting nightmare. Just suffice it to say that I have lost plenty of time trying to make it better. I am off to slay another dragonfly.

My friend (as in bridesmaid--though I doubt she puts that on her resume--and godparent to my child), Tracey, has landed herself a year-long teaching gig in Japan. Swing by and say, "Hello" or "Konichiwa" if you are one of those intrepid speakers of foreign languages. I'm not. But I like to pretend I am and pepper foreign words into my every day speech. Between that and my penchant for saying "grad school" every 7 minutes, I am a pretentious cuss to be around. Yeah, can't fix that, either.

What can I fix? A mean grilled mozzarella cheese sandwich on whole wheat with--oh my universe--Penzey's Sandwich Sprinkle on it. I don't make a dime off of the stuff, so it is with pure heart that I say, "How did I ever live without this???"

(Warning: do not try to substitute said sandwich for phase 1 of your gastro-bypass diet. Dreaming of said sandwich is perfectly acceptable, though.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Little Progress at Lightning Speed...

The days are just whizzing by. I don’t know what happened to August. When I was finishing up my BS degree in June it felt like I had all the time in the world before school started again. Well, all that time is a memory, and a vague one at that.

My first course in grad school (I try to drop “grad school” into every conversation) is a survey course on HRD (Human Resource Development for those of you with a life) in which we are going to complete a career assessment and create an HRD career plan (sounds like such fun—seriously—and three is about my parenthetical limit for one sentence so I am going to put a period and start fresh now). Most of my undergrad coursework was about getting hours behind me. Yeah, I enjoyed school (sick, I know) but I didn’t get to take many classes which turned my crank. Every course without exception in my grad school (there it is again) program is so up my alley that I get all giddy from reading it (sick, I know).

So, career thoughts and life thoughts are swirling about. I am a life-coach-literature junkie so I have done the whole dreaming, visioning, planning, first steps thing before. Thing is that all that stuff about every day being a fresh start and people creating their own luck and folks manifesting what they need happens to be true. It sounds like so much claptrap, but I have experienced the phenomenon of calling what I need to me enough to know it to be spot on. Combining concrete planning tools with the belief that we *can* be and have whatever we want in our lives makes for some pretty exciting stuff!

Some people call it prayer—ask and ye shall receive—some call it magic, voodoo, universal supply, good karma, what comes around goes around. It doesn’t seem to matter how you label it—you just gotta accept it and remember the availability of it. One of the barriers to my bliss as a single mom is access to childcare. I love, love, love my kids but I’d like some time to do un-kid stuff from time to time. Basically, being the sole provider of all things to my children all day every day (and nights, too!) is leaving me low on energy and enthusiasm. So, I wrote an email to my best friend expressing this need.

The one thing I can do to alleviate this feeling of entrapment (which is what it is) is to locate excellent, dependable, flexible childcare options. It is vial to my mental health to know that I can schedule breaks without having to ask the wasband or my mother as both are no longer options for support.

I need (hear this universe) someone who can come to my house for evening events--like school--who is able to provide their own transportation. I need someone who is available on weekend days. I need someone who is available for overnights (either here or at their place.) And I need each of these options to be very reasonably priced--or some form of financial support to cover it.

So there. It is within my power to get the time away that I need in order to be fully available when I am with my children.

I clicked the send button and headed off to a new homeschool activity with these self-same children. Skip ahead a couple of hours into this activity and not only did I find a sitter, I found 3 teens who can come to my house almost anytime (they homeschool and are flexible time-wise), a family willing to let me drop my kids off pretty much whenever (“There is always someone here…”), and leads on a couple of other options. I am still following up on the details, but—c’mon—you gotta admit that the whole timing thing was pretty awesome!

Fitness? Yeah, well. I packed a moving truck in 100 degree heat. Does that count?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Blogger Google confusion...

Okay, so I head over to the Blogger homepage to sign in and update my screaming fan and it does this weird Google sign in thing and asks me to switch and tells me I can't go back and something about a beta (isn't that a fish??) and I am so completely confused!

Deep Breath...

What I signed on to report is that I have no appetite.

Yes, I am complaining!

It isn't like I am only a little hungry and eating a little food. I am absolutely food averse this week. Yes, I put lots of my favorite foods in the fridge--lots of green leafies and cheeses and salty snacks and even (gasp) a carton of snow cream--and nothing looks, smells, tastes appealing to me. I am pretty much living on slim f@st and cashews. (I don't drink it for the "diet" but because it is cheaper than Ensure and keeps me alive when I get like this.)

The food aversion is related to my (withheld from public consumption) diagnosis which is kicking my butt right now. The problem is that when I relapse I am weak and don't feel like eating. When I don't eat, I get weaker and am less likely to want to go fix something to eat. I end up in an ugly spiral leading to lower and lower energy and altogether unacceptable quality of life.

It seems utterly ridiculous to be posting my frustration with *not* being hungry on a semi-fitness related blog. But good nutrition is the cornerstone of my health plan. When I eat like shit I feel like shit--and that goes for too few calories just as much as it does for too many.

So, my goal for tomorrow is to eat at least 1000 calories and to get outside in the sunshine for a walk. I need my strength back so that I can sort out this incredibly important and irreversible Blogger Google sign in beta switch thing.

Monday, August 14, 2006

On the downward slope...

I woke up to a new low weight. Everyone extend a warm welcome to 146.5 lbs. After 9 months of bouncing between 147 and 150 (my maintenance range) it is pretty cool to find that I still have the ability to lose weight.

Now, if fretting could be considered exercise I'd have all 200 of my sessions done in days. Stewing is my new favorite pastime. I picked it up about a month ago and I would really like to get back to my centered, happy personality. Hopefully soon...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It looks good on paper...

I had to come up with a 300 word essay explaining why I want a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development. Y'all know that I rarely have trouble blah-blahing out 300 words but this was hard! I mean, I have thought and planned and read and researched all sorts of degree programs and came to the conclusion that this was the one for me. How to explain that to an admissions committee proved incredibly difficult.

So, here's what I came up with after 3 months of fretting. Keep your fingers crossed that it is compelling enough to get me into the program--and that the program is as advertised.

I see every person, organization, and event as an occasion for development. I am happiest when brainstorming strategy with a group of colleagues, envisioning opportunities with an individual, or designing approaches for getting the best outcomes in a challenging situation.

Completing the Master's Degree in Human Resource Development would add numerous skills to my resume while opening doors in the training/facilitating/coaching field--a realm in which I thrive. Specifically, I am looking forward to the components of the program which will prepare me for formal consultant relationships, including learning to assess organizational needs, applying adult learning theory and instructional design principles, and improving my team communication skills.

Graduate school will also "legitimize" the skill set and abilities I already have. Over the past several years I have been a featured speaker at local and statewide group meetings on a variety of subjects, including diversity sensitivity, disability-related issues, self-determination, person-centered planning, problem solving and realizing one’s dreams and potential. I make myself available as a volunteer graphic facilitator to assist organizations and individuals in defining and planning short and long-term strategies and achieving useful, realistic outcomes. Adept at conflict resolution, I have mediated countless technical, political, and interpersonal difficulties among individuals from diverse backgrounds. On a more informal basis, friends and colleagues routinely seek me out for guidance in their personal journeys toward fulfillment in their daily lives.

I am interested in participating in this program because the extensive coursework and hands-on research component will directly apply to the type of work I plan to pursue. Of course, from a more practical perspective, my hope is that this degree will give me the ability to be financially self-sufficient, while setting an example of a capable and accomplished woman for my daughter and son.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Oh yeah! It is a fitness blog...

Don't think that just because I haven't been working out consistently and tracking every morsel of food via fitday that I am not on top of that portion of my life. I am closing in on 9 months (count 'em) at goal weight. I know it drove Allan (where the hell is he?? Oh wait! He's back!) nuts that I managed to lose weight with what amounted to wishful thinking, caloric awareness (not restriction), and a handful of trips to the gym.

Call me tenacious (or, like the wasband, evil incarnate) but once I get my head wrapped around an idea I don't let go easily. 'Sprobably why I was married for so long. The thing is that it takes me a really long time to get my head wrapped around anything. I think and I research and I plot and I fret and then -- it would appear -- all of the sudden I leap into action and head full steam toward my new goal. From the outside it must resemble a snail suddenly taking off like a rocket.

I am back in pre-contemplation about re-starting my downward trend in weight. I would still like to get below 140 as there are a few lumpy spots that I would like to eliminate. Dressed no one is the wiser, but I know it is there. That 11 pound lifetime gain thing is in my head, too. I weighed 129 in college (the first time through) and getting under 140 would put me in that 11 pound gain range.

My struggle? Finding time to do the gym thang with my kids. They do not do well in the childcare at my gym... I am sure there is an early post about it. Suffice it to say, that I worked up more of a sweat running back and forth between the nursery and the bathroom than I ever did on the elliptical machines. Perhaps it is time to revisit that option, though. They are a year older... hmmmmm.

In the meantime, I am working up one stinky sweat cleaning out the garage. Of course, I picked the hottest stretch of one of the hottest summers to go at it. But when I make up my mind to do something...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

She has such a great personality...

I have taken the MBTI about a zillion times and it always comes out the same. It still fascinates me to no end, so I took another online version tonight and came up with the write up below.

From what I understand, folks with ENFP personalities do best with other folks with ENFP personalities. So, assuming that the 3% of the population that has this personality type is split 50-50 male to female, I have exactly 1.5% of the population to choose from should I care to reconnect romantically. Subtracting the married/gay/child/inmate populations (all fine people, but not on my list of romantic possibilities) I am probably down to one guy. I just hope he lives near by.

ENFP - The Champion

You scored 100% I to E, 0% N to S, 4% F to T, and 84% J to P!

Your type is known as the Champion type, which is part of the larger group called idealists. Nothing occurs that does not have some deep and ethical significance in your eyes. You see life as an exciting drama. You are very charismatic, yet tend to be too harsh on yourself for not being as genuine as you think you should be. 3% of the population shares your type.

As a romantic partner, you need to talk about what is going on in your life. You are a strong supporter for your partner's efforts to grow and change and be happy. You need to feel that same support from your partner. Expressive, optimistic, and curious, you are eager to enjoy new experiences with your partner, whom you wish to be your confidant and soul mate, as well as play mate. You are uncomfortable sharing negative emotion, though, and tend to withdraw from confrontation and process your feelings privately. You feel most loved when your partner appreciates your creativity, accepts your uniqueness, and sees you as the compassionate person you are. You need to hear your partner tell you how much you mean to them and would love if they did thoughtful spontaneous things to demonstrate it.

Your group summary: idealists (NF)

Your type summary: ENFP

Oh the things you find...

I have known for a very long time that my wasband's family is a little--well, they are a little off. Don't get me wrong, my family is about as whacky as they come, but poor wubby was blessed with the king kamaya-maya of whacky families.

So, as I was digging in the garage, I came across a batch of pictures with a note attached. The pictures were your typical growing-up-a-boy-scout fare. The note was less so.

Hi son,

Am cleaning out a few drawers looking for something and came across these and you were not fatt (sic), clumsey, stupid, dump (sic), ugly, or a jerk!

Love to All,

Gee thanks, Mom! You really know how to pump a guy up.

Is it any wonder he struggles to put one foot in front of the other? With that kind of "support" it is actually amazing that he manages to get out of bed at all. I worked like crazy for 12+ years to convince him that he is a valuable, precious, intelligent, capable someone but there was no competing with the tapes of his mom's voice he hears at every turn.

Sad. So very, very sad.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Dig down deep...

I started that project. The big one. The one I have been dreading for about 5 years and officially procrastinating since Thanksgiving. No. I didn't start a new exercise/diet/teeth whitening campaign. Are you ready for it?

I started cleaning out the garage.

See, my wasband (bless his heart*) is a pathological pack rat. He keeps everything. You know all those plastic cups that get dropped at ball games? Well, he takes them home. Hundreds of them. He goes through trash piles. He lives for garage sales. He accepts anyone’s toss offs. He. Collects. Everything.

Over the years he managed to completely fill up our two car garage, our crawl space, and our attic with his “collections.” And, you know, I didn’t really get worked up about it—really—until he moved out and left it all here!!

So we started that back and forth thing. When are you going to get this stuff? Later. Well, can I just box it up and bring it to you? Nope—I don’t want anyone to mess with my stuff.

Now, I know why.

Cleaning out the garage is like an archeological dig. Here is the layer from the car sales and NASCAR epoch. If you dig a little deeper you will discover the insurance sales and football era. Further still and you hit the financial analyst and baseball period.

It is sort of like opening a tomb. It feels like I am encroaching on sacred ground. Only instead of golden statues and dazzling emeralds, I am discovering ketchup bottles and broken glass.

As I shovel (sometimes literally) through all of this stuff, I can’t help but feel like I am mining the remnants of our relationship. There is a lot of garbage in there that makes it really hard to find the lovely parts. Perhaps, given time and lots of trash bags** I will be able to find a couple of nuggets to remind me of the pieces of our marriage that worked well. It is sweet to have a touchstone or two, but the rest has to go.

*As a southern woman, by invoking the phrase “bless his heart” I am officially declaring that I am not bashing him, but merely pointing out some odd quirk and that you should in no way take my comments as catty or ::gasp:: gossip.

** Not to worry all you pack rats out there, the bags are going to my wasband’s storage unit… not to the dump. I am determined to get this stuff out of my space, but it is his issue to deal with what ultimately happens to it all.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Yeah, I used to blog...

I know. Yeah. It has been a really, really, really long time without a post.

I could give you the 400 really, really, really good reasons for my absence.

But you wouldn't think any more (or less) of me if you knew what was up.

So, I will just say that I am still at goal weight.

I work out sometimes.

I finished my degree in June.

I saw my daddy, step mom, two sisters, grandmother, uncles, aunt, great aunts, great uncles, and cousins for the first time in 21 years.

I am starting grad school in a couple of weeks.

My wasband's new pet name for me is "evil incarnate."

I had an alarm installed.

I graduated from therapy.

Did I mention that I have been a little busy?

I knew you would understand.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Because I am funny that way...

"So, how did you spend your Sunday?"

Well, frankly, I did laundry. Loads and loads of laundry. Count 'em: 8 loads. Plus a trip to the Laundromat to wash my feather bed. Yeah, it took about 3 hours to get it dry.

I am declaring the rest of this week a laundry-free zone. You could say that I am giving laundry up for lint.


But then my naysayers will scream, "It is spelled Lent, and it isn't funny!"

But I think it is.

So there. ;)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

So it has been a month...

since my last post. Sorry to those folks who actually like to hear from me. I do appreciate the comments and support - and kick myself when I let so much time slip without writing. But then I remember that guilt and shame should not be my motivators and I let it go. Way. Too. Long. Bad habits die hard.

Yeah, I am still not back in the swing of blogging - funny how things that you couldn't go a day without doing end up on the back burner. That goes for working out, too. However, I can happily/proudly/smugly report that I made it to the gym 8 times in the past month and am officially at 85/200. Yes, you could point out that there was a time when I would work out that much in a week. You could also point out that I have been sitting at 147 pounds since November. But that is when I would point out that this is my blog and I decide what is woot worthy. So there! ;)

I have sort of half-heartedly decided that I would like to get down under 140 pounds. Nothing official, mind you. Just one of those, "It would be sort of cool if I weighed less than 140 pounds." I do realize that this is the same kind of thinking that went on the entire time I was gaining the forty-some-odd pounds that I have already lost. There is something to be said for being content. I don't know that the same can be said for being complacent. I also don't know which category fits.

The great news? I am so happy. Truly happy. Whistle while you work happy. Honestly. Yeah, it is tough raising my kids without a second set of hands nearby, but it is infinitely easier than attempting it with my heart tied behind my back. Life is so good.

Oh, and on the clutter front: there has been vast improvement in my house over the past couple of months. I have whole rooms that are (and stay) clean. Sure, the kids make messes. Yeah, there is lots more to clear away. But I have actually cleaned out closets that I hadn't opened since we moved here 6 years ago. It feels wonderful to toss stuff in the garbage. Really. Cleaning out the house is a bunch like losing the weight. It feels so overwhelming when you start seriously thinking about it, and halfway through you wonder what you have gotten yourself into, but when you get to the end you feel great all over. It is so worth it. Now, from what I understand, maintenance is the hard part...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Not Dead, Yet...

Any of you who have spent very long in blogland know that folks tend to blog in cycles. That is, unless they are much more disciplined that I am. But, folks like me tend to do lots of things in cycles - and when they are interesting, and nothing else is pressing, and well - anyway.

So, I did manage to make it to the gym. Twice! Of course, two gym trips in 4 months hardly feels like much to report. It may make a little difference to know that they happened in the same week. No? Does it help to know that I walked my ass off in Washington, DC and am still sore from sleeping on an air mattress for a week? No??

Damn, y'all are a tough crowd.

Of course, it is probably stretching to say, "y'all" - which implies that more than one person is reading this blog. Humor me.

Okay, so the official count of workouts is 77/200. I have moved more than that. Really.

I have moved mountains. I have moved my ex-husband out of my house. I have moved through another semester of school. (18 weeks left in my bachelor's program. Master's program starts in the fall. I am such a schooley.) However, I have not managed to conquer that 200 workout thing - but I still have time. Like 4 months. Yikes! 123 workouts in 4 months? Can you say, "Psycho Gym Attendance"?? Even *I* can't imagine going to the gym every single day.

So, I will go to concerts instead. Yeah. Keith Urban and Train are both on my calendar. Keith because one of my girlfriends is all about him. Train because Brandon went to camp with me when we were kids. (See how I said that?? Like he should be name-dropping my name instead of the other way around??) I have been meaning to send a fanboy email to him for months, but just never got around to it until today. After dropping $185 on concert tickets, I felt the need to reconnect. We'll see if he remembers where he came from.

Ahem. I think I just choked on my presumptuousness.

So, perhaps I will stick with being a disability groupie (You rock, Bob Kafka!!) I am way too (old/shy/afraid) to chase down rock stars.

Oh, and thanks for not giving up on the MegaChallenge, Jen.