Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beer or Food

All of my life I've been skinny. Now, I know with that one statement some of you are hating me. I know some of you have struggled all your life with weight. Some of you have spent many years trying to love your body, and really, I'm no different. Let me fill you in on a secret, in case you didn't know, women of all sizes can be insecure about their bodies. But I digress, this story isn't about loving and appreciating your body. This story is about me and my body. I'm so selfish, jeesh. Me me me. You'd think this was my blog or something. Oh right.

So where was I, ah yes, all my life I've been skinny. Not just thin, but skinny. Skin and bones, some muscle very little fat. I remember regularly being the brunt of an older horse showing friend's joke. "Are those your legs or are you riding a chicken?" he would tease. My grandmother in-law would criticize me constantly for being skinny, accusing me of eating Iike a bird, and trying to force food on me. I'll have you know, I eat. This has never been an issue, which I will get to later. I was constantly asked in a mocking way, when will it all catch up with me, when will my metabolism slow down. My friends, I have an answer for you. And sadly, the answer is...drumroll More accurately, February 27th, 2013.

Up until now, I really could eat what I wanted. I remember when I was in middle school, nearly every day for months and months I would get off the school bus and walk with my friend to his dad's shop where I would proceed to eat a snickers bar and drink a glass bottle Pepsi. I'm not talking a mini snickers or a fun size. I'm talking an entire full size candy bar...almost every day. When I was teaching, I would eat three chocolate chip cookies and a pint of milk every night. Not every once in awhile, not every other night, but every freakin night. "I want some milk and cookies," Hatta would tease me, doing his very best Baby Girl from the Bernie Mac show impersonation. It was a running joke. I'm the kind of girl who can eat four glazed doughnuts in the time an average person eats one. One of the best days ever was when I discovered Swiss Cake rolls. Mmm, so good. Suffice it to say, I like food. Actually, I love food. Some days nothing is better than a carb loaded lunch of ramen noodles on a good crispy bread roll. I have to show restraint in the grocery store to not buy the family size box of frozen Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits. And I only show restraint because Hatta would kill me, apparently they are really bad for you. So tasty.

Which brings me to today, the day after I realized my metabolism is shot, I'm getting older, and can no longer eat whatever I want. Thirty two years was a good run. I enjoyed every single soft serve sundae I ate...did I mention during the summer in high school I worked at a ice cream parlor and ate a vanilla soft serve sundae with peanuts, hot fudge, whip cream, and five cherries just about every day I worked? I worked six days a week. Right, a very good run. But yesterday, going through my closet I discovered the vast majority of my pants no longer fit. I guess a winter wardrobe of yoga pants and leggings allowed me to live in denial. I knew I had gained a few pounds, I had no idea it had gotten this out of hand. Frankly, I was disgusted with myself.

With summer coming and all the exposed skin it brings with it, I knew the time for action was now. So I downloaded an app. Yup, a calorie counting app. It seems to me I did the same thing about this time last year. And I was in the best shape I'd been in since before Alice at the end of last summer, so this just has to work. The magic is obviously in the app! Today is day one of "magic app" and I'm a tiny bit concerned. I've recorded breakfast, snack, and lunch and according to the powers that be I have 645 calories left for today. How can I possibly have another snack and eat dinner, all the while allowing for enough calories in my budget for a post-bedtime beer? The beer in my fridge is 249 calories. I'm scared, people. Am I going to start to drinking Michelob Ultra (that is the beer they advertise as under 100 calories, right?) I hear about people giving up alcohol while they are on a diet, I always thought it was a myth. But I see why, it comes down to your priorities. Do you eat all three meals and two snacks or do you forgo food for good beer? What good does it do to look hot lounging poolside in your skimpy bikini if you can't even enjoy a cocktail while doing it? (Obviously, I don't lounge poolside very often, I have a needy child who insists I play mermaids or dive for toys. And I don't own a skimpy bikini, but it proves my point just the same.) I enjoy food and I enjoy good beer. And wine. And cocktails. Don't worry, I'm no more addicted to alcohol than I am food. Which brings me back to tonight's dilemma, eat a good dinner or drink a good beer? I'll let you know how it turns out. Either way, I'm sure it's gonna suck. Getting old blows.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ball of Emotion

Passion: A strong and barely controllable emotion.

Alice hit me today. She was mad at her swim teacher, so she hit me. That's logical, right? Alice is definitely a ball of passion that bounces around her world. Sometimes the passion is positive, sometimes it's not. Today has been a not kind of day.

"Alice has needed to work on using her words rather than her hands when she wants to assert herself with her friends. Alice can get very wound up if the activity level is high," said her teacher during our spring conference today.

This is my Alice. This is my world, reminding her to talk with her mouth not her hands, trying to help her establish self-control. We battle frequently when her passion becomes more than I can bear, positive or negative. Sometimes it's just too much. She plays with the very same energy she fights with. There is very little middle ground with her. She's in, all or nothing. Watch Alice tell you a story, watch the emotion flow through her body. It's the most adorable thing, she bounces around barely able to contain herself. She can hardly be still.

When the passion flows negative, look out. Her go to move is kill first, ask questions later. She rarely has enough control over her passion to think. The emotion fills her and her go to release is to scream or hit or kick or throw. When I think of this list of her reactions, two years ago I would have had to add biting and a year ago I would have included spitting. So I am reassured that in this never ending parenting saga, I am making progress. However, I fear I will always be struggling with Alice. I can not fathom things are going to get easier. Better, in regards to hitting, yes. But not easier. She is my artistic, inquisitive beautiful ball of emotion. And I love every ounce of her.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Challenge Myself

There are things that I've allowed myself to stray from. And I keep telling myself to get my shit together, I am in control, I can make the changes.

Except I don't.

I continue on doing less of the things that I value, less of the things that make me happy, less of the things that I enjoy. "Why?" you ask. I don't know, and I know too much. There are a lot of reasons why I am not doing. The reason doesn't matter to me.

I challenge myself.

Every week, for a week, I will challenge myself to do something specific every single day. No excuses. Not even legitimate ones. There are wasted minutes in everyone's life every day. No matter how busy you claim to be, everyone wastes a minute here or there. Everyone.

This week I'm a day behind, but I will forgive myself this one time. This week I get a pass, a one day pass. I created my first blog after months and months of reading other writer's blogs. I would read every single day for my own personal enjoyment. Somehow I've lost that. Case in point, and the inspiration for this post. Shit, I can credit this twitter exchange for the entire challenge. Please excuse the typos.

So that's it. For seven six days, I will read and comment on my favorite writers's blogs for fifteen minutes a day. According to Fly Lady, anyone can do something for fifteen minutes. If I don't get to them all, I will not worry about it. I will read and remember why I liked the darkside so much. The best writers read other writer's work. Not because they have to, rather they love it. They crave it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ellie Belly

I don't talk much about my pets. Which, in and of itself, is horrible. Before Alice, they were my children. Now they are the reason I vacuum. I have two cats and a dog. The cats I've had since I was 18 and the dog I acquired jointly with Hatta. I suppose it would be proper to say they are our pets, but in reality the dog goes where I go and the cats listen best when I call them.

Today I would like to talk about Ellie Belly. Some of you may remember a story I told back on the darkside of blogging. In said story, Ellie was stuck walking in circles, forced to walk to the left (or was it the right?) regardless of what was in her path, never able to rest. It turned out to be an ear infection, something that has plagued Ellie since as long as I can remember. If she was a toddler for sure the pediatrician would be mentioning tubes. But in Ellie's case it runs a little deeper.

Early on in Ellie's life, after many rounds of antibiotics and inacurate diagnoses, it was determined she had polyps deep in her ear. Two surgeries and thousands of dollars later, she was a happy cat. Finally for the first time in her life she wasn't on antibiotics. She was living the good life, until 2001 when she had her first seizure, followed by a few more in the weeks to come. We had her checked out by our vet and carried on. Not much thought was given to those seizures. They were merely another roadblock for Ellie to overcome, another bullet point in the list of reasons Ellie was my special needs cat.

Until last Sunday.

In one twenty four hour period Ellie had six seizures, four of them in two hours. The months leading up to Sunday Ellie had two serious ear infections and it seemed she never fully recovered from them. And, then the seizures started. One followed by four days seizure free, and then another with a few days without seizures, and then another. We knew it wasn't as simple as it was in 2001. Her appearance had changed and so had her demeanor. We knew it was finally time to visit the vet.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Seriously? Your cat had several seizures and you didn't take her to the vet?" Don't judge. We'd been there, done bills and seizure pamphlets to prove it. They discovered nothing in 2001. Speculated as likely to be a brain tumor. We've already invested hundreds and thousands of dollars attempting to give Ellie a good life. In all honesty, we knew we weren't going to pay this time to run the gauntlet of tests the vet would suggest to determine why Ellie was seizing. We just wanted Ellie to enjoy life or not have to suffer another moment. Putting a price tag on your pets well being is a difficult situation to be in, and frankly we weren't looking forward to it.

And then, there was Sunday.

I don't know if you've ever been unfortunate enough to witness an animal having a seizure, but it has to be the most helpless feeling. There is literally nothing you can do and it breaks your heart every agonizing second of it. You just want to pick up the flailing body and try to comfort the seizure away, knowing you can't you just watch...helpless and sad. And when the poor body is done twitching and shaking and spinning, it's still not over. There are after affects that last and linger for many minutes, where you sit trying to comfort an animal that's still not in this realm, still gone to this world. Try experiencing that four times in two hours. And during the last three seizures Ellie urinated, spinning and shaking her body throughout her urine. Poor Alice was there to witness a few of the seizures, her feelings of fear neglected in the moment when the safety of Ellie was more pressing. It has been a very difficult time.

Sweet Ellie was taken Sunday night to the animal ER where they allowed her to rest comfortably on Valium. She spent several nights at the vets, they ran extensive blood tests and determined she's blind (hopefully temporary) but healthy. Again, most likely a brain tumor. She's now permanently on daily anti seizure medication and hasn't had a seizure since. It seems, after a few rocky days at home adjusting to the narcotics, she's resembling her old happy self again. In fact, just today I found her on the dining table attempting to wreak havoc on my Valentine's flowers.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Busy, Busy

Life has been busy. Granted, life is always busy, but recently it's been the kind of busy I can't set aside for a later day. Life has been requiring my complete attention. Today I will post a few snapshots to help serve as reminders to myself of posts I have floating in my head, In case they get lost up there. Also proof to you fine readers, I haven't been neglecting my blog because I've been slacking off.

Oops, how'd that one get in there? I'm ordinarily not the kind of girl to post a pic like that.


New stories are coming. Soon....I hope.