Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Dad,

You would have been 80 years old today.  I keep trying to picture what you would be like now, as a little old man.  I imagine you with your grandkids, trying to talk them into clipping your disgusting toenails, or asking them to go catch gophers in your yard- anything to make them laugh. 

It may surprise you to know that I think of you all the time.  In the ten years since you've been gone, I bet I've thought of you every day.  I have trouble talking about you sometimes without getting a lump in my throat. 

I've told your grandkids all my stories about their Papa.  They've heard about the fact that you let me believe you were an Indian until I was well into adulthood, and how I always believed you had served in Korea, when in fact you were stationed in Oklahoma at a desk job (by the way, I think you passed your fondness for lying to children on to your daughter.  I had Evan believing that we hoped he'd be a dwarf.  I told him we'd prayed throughout my pregnancy that he'd be one.  An odd lie to tell, I know, but one that would've been right up your alley). 

They've also heard about that time you introduced their Nana to someone and said she washed dishes for a living, even though she was a Vice President.  They love that one.  Hahaha- Do you remember how mad she was over that?  Good times.  

They know that every time I went with you to Dixon's Chili (which is still the best place to eat on Earth), you would say, "You can have all the crackers you want here.  As many as you can eat."  When we go to Dixon's now (which is rare- I'd give anything for some of their chili right now), we sit at the table where you often sat, and we pass around the cracker basket in your honor.  Someone will say, "All the crackers you can eat!"  And we laugh.  I always have to blink my eyes really fast so the tears don't fall out. 

I'm always recalling how much you loved the boys and how they loved their Papa.  Your little buddy, Alex, is a man now. And he's a good man. He's smart, hard-working, and handsome. Mike and Evan are awesome, good-looking young men, too. They both plan to go into the Service, which I know would make you proud. They all remember how you'd let them run around in your garden and smash the watermelons that were rotten. Tucker has grown into a great kid with a heart of gold. I wish you could have had more time with him. Now, he'd talk your leg off.  You would probably say something like, "Garsh...  You can talk just like your mom."  But then you would let him go on and on, acting interested in everything he said, I'm sure.

I have a picture on the wall of you holding baby Olivia, shortly before you died.  You'd be amazed to see her now.  She's almost 11 and the sweetest little girl.  She has such a big, beautiful heart.

Dad, I've added two more children to the bunch since you died.  We adopted both of them and I often wish you could have been around to share our excitement over their arrivals.  I think you would have been one of the few people to be happy for us and I know you would have loved these kids so much.  You now have five gorgeous grandsons, and two beautiful granddaughters, from our bunch, who would have easily wrapped you around their little fingers. 

Bri never got to know you, but she would absolutely be a Papa's girl.  She loves to laugh, and I know you'd be egging her on, trying to get her to giggle.  Our newest addition, Sam, would be the apple of your eye.  You'd get a kick out of watching all the funny little things he does.  He reminds me of you in a lot of ways- his big brown eyes, some of his facial expressions, and his headful of dark hair, just like yours.  His middle name is Robert, after you, Dad.

I know you'd be so proud of them all and I wonder sometimes if you would be proud of me. 

I often think of that last day together, just you and me.  I knew I'd have to leave you soon to start the long drive back home and I kept hoping I'd be able to have a conversation with you.  My heart told me it would be my last chance.  You would hardly speak.  If you tried, it was a garbled whisper.  You could barely stay awake.   I remember asking if you were scared.  You looked up at me and answered with one small nod of your head.  I could see by the look in your eyes that not only were you afraid, but also that no one had bothered to ask you about it before that moment.  You almost looked relieved that I asked.  I think maybe you wanted someone to talk about what was happening to you.

You looked at me with the eyes of a terrified child and in that moment, you were no longer the uninvolved, alcoholic father I spent my youth blaming for everything wrong in my life and the source of so many painful and embarrassing memories.  I ran my fingers through your hair and said, "I love you, Daddy."  I couldn't recall the last time I'd called you Daddy or said I loved you.  Did I ever? 

I asked you if you'd like to pray.  Remember that?  You nodded again and one tear rolled from your eye into your hair.  I took your hand and you held onto mine so hard.  I was surprised you had that much strength, but you did.  As I prayed aloud for you and with you, your eyes were closed and I thought you'd drifted back to sleep, but at the end of the prayer you said "Amen" in a loud, clear voice.  It was the last thing I ever heard you say.    

I think of the day of your funeral.  I don't know if you could see me, but if so, I imagine you being shocked.  I hadn't expected to cry that much.  I don't know where all that emotion came from, but I wasn't prepared for it and I couldn't stop.  I think the thing that hit me so hard that day, Dad, was the feeling that I hadn't had enough time.  I felt as if I'd barely gotten to know you; I'd barely scratched the surface of who you were.   

I don't remember ever being Daddy's little girl.  I don't remember you ever acting interested in me as a child.  I don't remember you ever saying you were proud of me or "I love you." 

Now, looking back, I see clues that you loved me.  Like the night I was put in the hospital for five long months at age 14.  I was scared to death.  I didn't want to be there.  I was led away by a nurse and heard the big heavy door shut behind me.  I turned to look over my shoulder and I saw your face in the tiny, square window.  Your eyes were filled with tears.  That was your "I love you."  You didn't want to leave me there.  I was too angry with you at the time to notice that or care. 

I grew to truly love and appreciate you by watching you love my children.  I was finally seeing your heart.  I think that was the biggest and best gift you ever gave me, Dad- you loved my babies... and you let them know it. 

Growing up, I never really felt like I'd had a father, but my babies had a wonderful Papa, and through them, I saw sides of you I'd never known were there.  I realized, by watching you with them and seeing your love for them, that you had probably always loved me, too- I'd just never seen or felt it.  I believe now that you did the best you could, Dad.  I think maybe you loved me the best you knew how, at the time. 

I think of all the times, as a grown woman, you'd insist on giving me twenty dollars for gas money to drive back home after a visit, even though I'd always tell you I didn't need it.  That was an "I love you."  Now, I miss those twenties.  They were always covered with creases from the way you'd fold them into tiny squares and stash them in that secret pocket in your wallet so mom wouldn't snatch them.  I wish I would have saved one of those because I've often told the kids about Papa's folded, hidden twenties.

It took most of my life to get to the good part of having a dad.  And then it was taken away so quickly.  I wish I'd had just a little longer.  I wish I could hear you laugh again.  I wish you were here to make me laugh again.  I could really use it right now.

And can you believe Mom is dating a guy with an earring? I mean, seriously...  I can see the look on your face about that, with the rolling eyes and everything, and I'm sitting here laughing all by myself.  He's good to her, though, and I know you'd like that part. You'd probably sit and have a beer with him.

I love you, Daddy.  And I miss you.  I really do.  Happy birthday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another Sam Post

Sammy, Part 1
Thanks for the input on Sam's rash.  Several of you suggested I talk to Laurie.  I'm sure she would know- I feel a little weird though, since I really don't know her.  Asking doctors I don't know for their opinions, seems... I dunno.  Tacky, maybe?  Impolite?   Don't they kind of frown upon such things?  I did check her blog for contact information (since, you know, I'm all about the tacky and impolite) but didn't see an email.  Am I blind? 

Anyway, Sam's better for now.  His elbow is still driving him nuts.  I get him snookered up on Benadryl at night, so we he can sleep.  Hydrocortisone still bothers him.  He acts like it burns, although the patches are healing well and no longer look as swollen or inflamed.

I emailed all the pics I took to his doctor, who is forwarding them on to the doctor at CMH.  That doctor is going to make an effort to make sure he gets in sooner next time this happens, so they can do some scrapings.

Sammy, Part 2
This part is for Sam (and his mother's failing memory), although you're welcome to eavesdrop.  We'll call this part:
"What I Like About You"
Sammy, these are just a few of the things you're doing lately (at 28 mos) that make me fall more in love with you every day:
  • The way you count...  I love listening to you count!  Juan, Two, Fee, Foh, Fibe, Sick, Sebben, Eackt, Nine, Ten, Ewebben, Telb, Furtee, Fohtee, Fawtee, Nightee (I don't know what happens to 16,17,18 and 20).  And watching you try to fingerspell the numbers is one of the cutest things ever!  You try so hard to get it right.
  • There is a female in our family who has a butterfly tattoo on the back of her hip.  You've seen it.  You love it (God help us).  And apparently, you think butterflies just come standard on everyone, because you will spin in circles, like a dog chasing his tail, trying to catch a glimpse of your own butterfly tattoo.  If I ask what you're doing, you say, "Buttfwy.  Butt."  Loosely translated, I'm thinking this means, "Mom, I'm looking for the butterfly on my butt.  Obviously."  I'm sorry, honey- you don't have one.
  • Our bedtime routine:  We sing 39 songs.  I say, "Okay, now it's night-night time.  You need to stop singing and close your eyes."  You sweetly say, "Uhhhh... noooo.  I can't."  You squeeze your eyes shut for 3 seconds.  You sing 2 more songs while I try to feign sleep.  I whisper a reminder, "Shhhh. Nighty-nights.  Go to sleep...  I love you."  You whisper, "No, fanx you...  I yawz (love) you." Forty-two minutes later, you are asleep.
  • When we ask you to point at different colors, i.e.: "Show me something purple... Show me something green," you will always point to something in the room of that color.  But when we ask you to show us something brown, you point to your own leg.
  • You love to draw sunshines with smiley faces, snowmen and letters. 
  • Your love of music... You are the most musical little guy I've ever seen. And you can really carry a tune, too. I've never seen such a young kid sing or hum so well. You are fascinated by music videos (we watch your favorites every night on my computer), Guitar Hero, Just Dance, iPods, cell phones- anything musical. You do the most awesome dances, too. If the guys are playing Guitar Hero, you will do these cool little moves, where you strike a pose and freeze (kind of like fat Elvis in Vegas). It's hilarious! You will often grab two spatulas to use as drum sticks, or strum one as your guitar. You ROCK, dude!
  • Like any other two-year-old, you like to say "No!" and "Stop it!"  But, unlike many two-year-olds, you still mind your manners.  If I'm tickling you, or trying to talk to you while one of your favorite commercials is on, or otherwise being obnoxious and ruining your day, you don't demand that I "Stop it, Mama!"  You say, "Stop it, Mama, please?"
  • Sometimes, you'll say, "Yous uh good boy, Mama."  Thank you, Sam-Sam.  I think you're a good boy, too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Skin problems


I know some of you with IA kids have had to deal with some odd skin disorders.  We're going through that with Sam, now, too.  I'm posting some pics below, hoping you've seen this before and can tell me what it is.  Any and all input is appreciated.

From the time we brought Sammy home, he'd get these bumps that look exactly like large mosquito bites.  He'd scratch them, they'd scab, then heal, leaving a scar.  In the beginning (the first 2-3 times this happened), there were only two or three bumps.  Honestly, we assumed they were mosquito bites at first.  Then winter came.  No mosquitos.  Yet, he still broke out.  He breaks out every 4-5 months, or so.  Each time it happens, it gets a little worse.  Now, instead of a few bumps, he's covered.  The break-outs don't last long.  Only a few days.

We just had a large batch of bumps show up on Thursday morning.  Sam was miserable.  Scratching, crying...  It's awful.  I took him to the Ped. on Friday morning (it was the soonest they could see him).  She has no idea what it is.  One of her partners suggested flea bites, which almost made me foam at the mouth and run, cursing, down their hallway.  I might be an idiot, but don't insult my intelligence.  I think I'd know if my home was so infested with fleas that my baby is being eaten alive.  If fleas were that bad in our house, why would the bumps heal after a few days?  Wouldn't the sores be constant?  Do fleas take breaks?  And why wouldn't the rest of the family get bitten, as well?  Stupid. 

Anyway...  The Ped. scheduled him to see a specialist at Children's Mercy, to get some samples of it, but Chilren's Mercy couldn't see him until tomorrow (Wed, 24th).  His bumps were almost completely gone yesterday (Mon, 21st), leaving only a red spot, like a scar, where the bumps were.  He still has a couple scabs left, too, from the ones he picked at.  So, the Dr. said to cancel the appt. at CMH, since they'd have nothing to test.

I cancelled, but I'm left feeling so frustrated.  How can I help him, if the outbreaks are so short, that they heal before the specialist can see them?  (Another local dermatologist wasn't even willing to look at him until August.  AUGUST!  How can I predict whether or not he'll have it in August?)

I sent a message to a doctor in the RMI who was a great help to us while we were there, asking if she knows of anything that may be unique to the Marshall Islands, like a parasite, or something, that I could tell my doctor here about.  Unfortunately, I think there may have been a bit of a communication barrier, because she apparently thought I was wanting her to diagnose him, without seeing him.  So...  That was a bust.

Here's what they look like. These photos were taken Friday, after his Dr.'s appt.  With this recent outbreak, he had some large patches of little bumps, instead of just sparse, large, red bumps, as well as some on his fingers, which has never happened before.




If you recognize this, or have any ideas, I'd be grateful!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Will you do me a quick favor?

I'm doing a little survey and if you give me just a moment of your time, you could be eligible to win... 

Uh...  I didn't think this one through far enough, I guess.  I forgot to think of a prize.  BUT- if you give me just a moment of your time, I can promise that no salesmen will call or visit.  How's that? 

I'd like to know what you spend each month on groceries and household supplies (like toilet paper, toothpaste, Windex, etc.- all the things you rely on to keep the family running oh-so-smoothly every day). 

Even if you never comment, I hope you'll play along this time.  Crawl on up outta that hole and let us know you're alive.  You have nothing to lose.  Nothing to win, either- but definitely nothing to lose.  And no salesmen will call or visit. 

Leave me a comment with:
  1. The amount of your average monthly bill
  2. The size of your family
  3. Your approximate location  (And don't freak out.  I know some of my blogger friends try to be very careful about guarding personal details.  It doesn't have to be a specific location- keep it vague, "The Northeast," "Southwest U.S.," "Canada." Comment anonymously, if you'd rather, so nobody knows it's 'You.'   Besides, even if you say where you are, no salesmen will call or visit)
If you're feeling chatty, I'd also be interested to know:
  1. Do you do all of your shopping at one store for convenience, or do you go to several to get the best prices?
  2. Do you use coupons?  If so, how much do you think they save you each month?
  3. Would you like a salesman to call or visit?  ...Would you change your mind if I said he's good-looking?
Come on, guys...  You can do it.  It will take you ten seconds.  Maybe 30, if you're a crappy typist.  Please?  Pleeeeease?  I assure you, no salesmen will call or visit.

This is for no other reason than to satisfy my own curiosity.  I've been talking with local friends and family about grocery expenses and it just sparked my interest.  I always feel like I spend SO MUCH at the store, but I wonder what my bill would look like compared to ones from other parts of the country. 
I watched that show about people who spend all their time finding coupons and searching for good deals.  Have you seen it?  These folks are seriously hardcore savers, which is awesome, but it seems to take over their lives (Olivia watched it with me and she is now inundating me with coupons, trying to help- bless her heart- only some of her coupons are for things like $5.00 off at Garfield's restaurants...  Um...  Do poor people go out to eat?  I think not.  I had to ask where she was finding all these coupons, since we no longer take the newspaper.  I didn't get a complete answer.  She just "found them."  I suppose I should go around the neighborhood, asking if anyone is missing their newspapers...).  I feel like whenever I do use coupons, I actually end up buying things I wouldn't normally buy, or sometimes a more expensive brand vs. a cheaper store brand, which I think, is exactly what 'they' want me to do.  You know how 'they' are.

Thanks (!!!) for the input on the last post (about diet/health).  I was honestly surprised that anyone commented or emailed at all.  It was so long, I wasn't expecting you to finish the dumb thing, let alone want to comment. 

I got a couple helpful emails linking the sore armpits with the fevers.  I feel stupid (more so than usual, I mean) to admit it, but that hadn't occurred to me.  I was looking at the armpit thing as just another random nuisance.  Now, I totally see there could be a connection.  Duh.  As soon as our sitch improves, I'm hoping to get into a (different) doctor.  Thanks!

Also...  I can't be positive, but I'm fairly certain my hair is falling out (again/still).  Has nothing to do with anything.  Just tossing it out there to let you know how my day is going.  Is there anything sexier than a fat gal with no hair?   Don't hate me because I'm beautiful, guys.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's GO time... (exceedingly loooonnng post)

I've been planning to give an update on my stupid health issues for over a month now, but when I stumbled upon this old post, written a little over a year ago, I didn't want to put off writing this any longer.  And it's probably going to be a long one (even longer than my usual), so don't say I didn't warn you.  In fact, I almost split it into two (or three) posts.  If you have no interest in my health, and only come here to hear me say something funny, or extremely stupid and/or personally embarrassing, do yourself a favor and skip this one.

I was humiliated and ashamed of myself as I read last year's post about all the changes I was pledging to make the day before my 43rd birthday.  Needless to say, those changes never happened.  Any weight that I lost was minimal, and quickly regained as soon as I returned to my old, familiar eating habits.  In fact, of the 40 pounds I lost 3-4 years ago, I have now gained back... 40 pounds.  It was gradual; I'd gain 10 lbs here or there, then lose 5, then gain 15, but now it's all back, just the same.   I am now the fattest I've ever been.  Again.  And it shows. 

My Chaz Bono chin/neck appears to be on the verge of giving birth.  I've
decided to name my chin/neck, since she has become such a prominent member of the family.  You see her before you see the rest of me, so it felt rude (and impossible) to keep ignoring her.  She is now Laverne.  I bought Laverne a lovely scarf, but she doesn't like it.  It's itchy.  Naming my chin/neck caused my gigantic arse to become jealous, so it had to have a name, too.  Since my backside is so large, I felt that each side needed a name of her own.  So, now...  The left cheek is Mary Kate, and the right is Ashley (and are you thinking, "Oh, gross," right now about this pic?  It's okay if you are.  You can say it.  Gag if you want to.  That's not me.  Did you think it was me?  Seriously?  Not quite.  Not yet).

Anyway, I still have the same health problems I blogged about in that old post, along with one that I've been keeping a secret from almost everyone.  Only a few friends (and of course, my immediate family) (oh, and the people my husband has told, "so they can pray for me," even though I asked him not to say anything) know about it. 

The "big secret" will be of no interest to my friends in Bloggerville.  It will only matter to those who know me- those who've been kept in the dark about it- or who've been basically lied to every time I told you I'm fine.  If you fall into that group, I'm sorry.  I'm nowhere close to fine. 

Supposedly, I have Fibromyalgia.  I haven't even decided yet if I believe Fibro exists (which is not to say that I think people are lying about their pain.  I don't.  I believe it has become a very popular catch-all diagnosis in recent years when a doctor doesn't know what else is wrong with a patient, to the point that some people are being misdiagnosed with Fibro when they actually have something else). 

Actually, the onset of my "illness" and all the continuing symptoms line up most closely with Lyme disease, from what I've determined through my own research since all this started.  Here's what happened... 

(If you want to shorten this post, and couldn't care less about Fibromyalgia or how I got "sick," skip all the blue type and jump to the end)

Several years ago, I started running a fever and feeling achy, like the flu was coming on...  Only it never did.  I had a solid week to ten days of high fevers and feeling really tired and out of it (but no other flu or cold symptoms, like coughing or congestion, nausea, etc.).  And when I say tired, I mean laying down to take a little nap, then sleeping for the next 18 hours.  This happened several times throughout that week (Thank God Darrell was home at that time to help with the kids, at least).  It was weird.  But, again, we thought I was coming down with something, so it wasn't that weird.  The aches kept getting worse, but finally the fever stopped.  I expected to get better, but the aches and fatigue continued.

After a couple weeks of that, I went to the doctor.  He asked me if I'd had a tick bite and/or a rash when I first got sick, and I said 'No.'  This ruled out Lyme, as far as he was concerned.  But...  Wouldn't it be possible to get a tick bite and a rash in a place you wouldn't necessarily see?  Especially if you're, um, large-ish, like myself?  Now, several years after the fact, I wish the Dr. would've just tested me for Lyme anyway.  He thought it sounded more like Leukemia and tested me for that, as well as for Lupus.  Both were 'negative,' so he said Fibro was the best fit. 

I have never heard or read of another case of Fibromyalgia that initially presented itself with fever.  Plus, I continue to have bouts of unexplained fever.  In fact, I've been running a fever every day for the last three weeks.  Whenever this happens, I hate it.  I always feel like I'm just about to get sick, but never do. 

During the time of waiting to see what was wrong with me, I also started to notice that, as the fatigue became worse and I was feeling more tired, I was actually sleeping less.  It's as if those 10-18 hour "naps" in the beginning were God's way of prepping me to never sleep again.

I don't know what the heck it is, but I do know that I am in pain, to some extent, almost all the time.  Often intense pain.  It does go through 'cycles' (for lack of a better term) where it gets better or worse, but some part of me is always hurting.  The cycles of pain do not seem to follow the cycles of fever, either.  There is no absolute pattern to any of it. 

Right now, as I write this, the bones and muscles all around my collarbones and in my pelvic/hip areas feel like I've been beat to crap in a bad car accident.  I've had times when it's hard to walk, hard to lift my own baby, hard to get myself in and out of the tub or the car.  Oftentimes, weakness comes with the pain, and you can see me visibly shake as I try to lift a glass.  It's ridiculous.  To watch me walk around during these times, you would think I was 40 years older than I am. 

Because of that, I have become a hermit of sorts, even avoiding phone conversations (especially with my mom, who probably thinks I'm a horrible daughter for not keeping in touch as I should.  Sorry, Mom).  The kids always say I have a "pain voice" and they can hear it when I'm hurting.  It took them a while to learn the difference between my pain voice and my angry voice- lol, but now they can hear me say "hi" and know immediately that I'm in pain.  And it's just hard to make small talk or focus on a conversation when you're in pain.  When I'm hurting the worst, I will avoid you like the plague.  I won't go to church, or the store, or any other place.  I'm like an old cat, who will slink off to a closet to die alone (speaking of which...  I just realized I haven't seen Mama Kitty since yesterday...  Hmmm).

The long and short of it is that Fibro has added about twenty years to the way I feel and the way I function.  My "Quality of Life" sucks.  I'm lost in a constant brain fog (pain distracts you from everything else).  I'm slow.  I'm unproductive.  I'm...  pitiful. 
Aside from the pain, the most frustrating aspect of this is the extreme fatigue.  I am tired all the time (but can't sleep, which is also apparently a normal part of Fibro) and always feel worn out, as if I've just been through a rigorous work-out. 

And guess what?  When people see a big woman who says she's tired and is having trouble getting out of a chair, you know what they think?  They think "LAZY!"  "LARD*SS!"  They think, "Maybe you should put down the cake, honey."  That's what they think.  You can see it in a person's face, sometimes...  you know, when they're judging you and making assumptions about who you are based on your weight.  I hate that part of it, too.

I'm no longer on any pharmaceuticals for it.  I tried several (for years) and they didn't work.  I think this lends more evidence to the idea that I have something other than Fibro, but what do I know?  I'm not the one with the degree on my wall.  I'm just the one in pain.  And currently, I'm the one in pain with no health insurance, so there won't be any further testing or prescriptions in my near future.

In addition to the Fibromyalgia-or-whatever-it-is, I still have uncontrolled Diabetes (the fat chick kind, Type 2- not the "born with it" kind), high blood pressure, ridiculously high cholesterol, HORRIBLE insomnia (and have I mentioned I can't sleep?) a bad thyroid, and a hormone imbalance that drives me up the wall ( PCOS- Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome).  And, as long as I'm listing ailments, I've had a new, weird thing going on...  In the past 8 months or so, my armpits have started hurting, too.  What the heck is that?  I have no idea whether or not that's part of Fibro, or Lyme, or any other thing, but it seems like a strange area to be hurting.  It's even painful to shave or put on deodorant.  As if the rest wasn't enough, huh?  Well, I've always had to be a little unusual.  I guess my pits are no different.  I'm a mystery, wrapped in a pancake. 

Wow.  This is a lot of rambling.  Look at all these words!  Are you even still here?  Am I flipping talking to myself again?

It's a little late to make a long story short, but basically...  It's time to take the bull by the you-know-whats and do something.  I don't know what.  But something.  If I don't change my ways, I'm going to die.  I don't mean that to sound all melodramatic, like I'm dying today, or anything...  I just mean I can't reasonably expect to be around for my children's children if I'm going to continue choosing to ignore my health (or at least the parts of my health that I can control, anyway).

I can't do anything about the constant pain or fatigue.  I'm stuck, there.  And the point of mentioning it in this post, is not so that I can whine and complain.  This is not a "poor me" thing.  This is about me being fed up with all the things in life that are beyond my control, and wanting more than ever to get control over the few things I'm able.  I know my weight is to blame for some of this. And some of this is to blame for my weight.  And really, the only thing I have a real shot at controlling is my weight.  And by controlling my weight, maybe I can have a little control over the diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure, and just maaaaybe, my life expectancy (not that I truly think I can control how long I'll live, but you know what I mean...  I'd like to add a few years if possible).  I'm hoping I can find the strength to knock down this one huge domino in my life, and then that domino will... well, you know how dominoes work.

As far as getting the weight issue taken care of...  I just don't know how to do it.  I know that I'm not going on another diet.  I'm more interested in learning how to eat better, healthier, and more organically, than I am in following some restrictive plan that will leave me feeling deprived and only yield short-term results.

I just want to live a healthier life and feel better.   That sounds like it should be easy.  Why isn't it easy?  Am I really asking for too much?

If you read Looking For George, I'm looking into a lot of the same things Elaine is interested in (bio-identical hormones, etc.) trying to live as naturally and healthfully (??? Healthfully?  Is that a word?) as possible without a reliance on pharmaceuticals.  I'm trying to find more natural ways to manage pain and insomnia effectively (which I haven't yet) and trying to figure out a healthier diet for myself and my family.  That's where I'm struggling the most.  I've told you guys before that I don't know the first thing about eating (or cooking) healthy food. 

I'm very confused right now about what exactly qualifies as healthy and what doesn't.  A lot of "lite" or sugar-free products, like yogurt, for example, contain Aspartame and/or lots of other chemicals.  So is it really better to give up the calories, but eat the chemicals?  OR should I be looking for more natural, unprocessed products that may have a higher calorie count, but contain less "crap?"

I may or may not blog about my little Journey to Health, and my progress (if there is any).  I haven't decided yet.  If I'm successful, will it even matter to anyone but me?  Does anyone have the slightest interest in hearing that one of my fat rolls shrunk by 1/8 of an inch?  And if I'm not successful (again), do I really want my failure recorded here, staring back at me for all eternity, in black and white?  If I do blog about it, maybe it will help keep me accountable?  Or maybe it will just help me lose the 2 readers I still have...  I don't know. 

I certainly will not blog my starting weight, but my goal is to lose 75 pounds, and give Laverne, Mary Kate, and Ashley their walking papers.   I want to be running around outside with Sammy this Summer.  I want to get some type of activity into every day.  This will be very hard to stick with on my "bad pain days," but I hope to do something, even if it's only walking around the block.

I may blog more about my plan, once I know what my plan is going to be.  Right now, I'm confused.  And frustrated.  And feeling like the odds are against me before I even start.  But...  I still have a tiny bit of hope, too.  I feel a change is coming.  And it's just got to be a good one, right?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

To begin with...

Okay.  The "boy" I wrote about in the last post?  I had a couple people (including my mom) email me privately to mention how young he looked.  Way to make me feel old, friends and neighbors.  People, please...  That dude is in his 30's.  Like, only 12-13 years younger than me.  Big whoop.  That's not even a Demi/Ashton age difference.  I think my rockstar may even be married and have a kid or two. 

I also do not believe that an occasional glance at the opposite sex is wrong.  I tell my husband this all the time.  He is free to glance at Halle, JLo, or Brooklyn Decker.  Who wouldn't?  Besides...
1.  If Mormons can glance, I figure, so can I (and I happen to know for a fact that Mormons glance.  I won't say how I know, or mention any particular Mormon by name... *cough, lookingforgeorge, cough*). 

2.  Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." 

I have thought about some abs that are truly lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy, so that's 5 out of 8.  And I always give God all the glory and thanks for the beauty of His creation.  So...  there you go.

I have a very strict policy:  I only look if they are 21 and older.  It's my personal code of honor.

Okay, that's a lie.  But, if they're under 21, I just take a brief glance at the abs and move on.  Really.  Okay, brief-ish.  But I don't give the face time to become engraved in my mind.  That's what separates the Normals, like me, from the Pervs.  Just a peek at the abs.  And pecs, maybe.  Okay, probably pecs, too.  

Oh, that reminds me of a funny story...  A few years ago, I was on one of my exercise kicks.  These come around approximately once a decade when I will buy whatever exercise program is currently being schlepped on some late-night infomercial.  I have so much optimism and motivation when I order... and then the box arrives. 

It gets put under my bed, usually unopened, until I can clear a good exercise space. 

I've never cleared a good exercise space.

Sooo...  a box of DVDs, with those big rubber band thingies, etc., was recently pulled out from under my bed by a curious 2 yr old, and a poster from inside the box was opened up and left lying on my floor (the poster, which I'm assuming was included for motivational purposes, has a ripped, tan man on one side and a woman who must have sold her soul to the devil- because her body is just too dang good- on the other).  The poster was lying with the man side facing up. 

Evan and I walk into the room.  Evan sees the naked, tan torso of a man.  The first thing he thinks of to say is, "Oh, Mom (all disappointed-sounding, like I'm 5 years old and just peed on my Easter dress)...  Tell me you didn't.  Please tell me that is not a Taylor Lautner poster."

How do you spell that little breathless noise you make when you're really exasperated?  Because that's the noise I want to spell right here ___________________. 

What is with you people?  Does everyone think I'm a perv?  Gee whiz.  You mention one kid's abs and one rockstar and the whole world goes nuts.

I'm offended.  Deeply hurt. 

Okay, not really.  I couldn't care less.  I ocassionally take notice of man-boys.  Deal.  I'm a fat, Chaz Bono-looking, dangly, old, wrinkly house frau, with no evidence of my once-hot former self.  It's not like the man-boys are looking back.

Onto other topics, shall we?  Before I either get depressed about my pathetic, desperate, wrinkled, be-Chazzed state, or get another email from Mom (kidding, Mom.  Love getting emails from you). 

How about a little Sammy Story to finish this post?

Sam loves Reese's.  LOVES them. 
But he can't say 'Reese's.'  He calls them 'Feces.'  It's so funny to watch him hop around when he spies the package, then hearing him say, "Feces, Mom?  Feces?  Feces!!! Mom?  MOM?!?  Yaaaayeeesss! FECES!" 
Today, I gave him a bite of a Feces and he said, "That's good, Sir!"  Hahaha.  Gosh, I love that boy.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The feeling has passed...

Do any of you guys like The Str*okes (and right now, my mother and both of my blog buddies named Elaine are saying, "What are The Str*okes?")? These are The Str*okes:

They're a band (which I'm guessing you could have gathered on your own). I think I like them because they remind me (a little) of some of the music I was listening to in the 80's, when I was young (you know... way back before cell phones, pc's and fire)- it's rock with a little new wave-ish thing going on, some punk, and a little bit of awesome, all mixed together (and before my mom asks me, "Why were you typing all those little stars in the middle of your words?" ...Mom, it's because I don't want some stoner kid, who is Googling for this band, to wind up at my blog by accident and then leave me weird and/or filth-riddled comments). 

Anyhoooo...  I'm sure you couldn't care less about my taste in music and it's really not the point of this post, anyway.

little lamby is the point of this post.  He's their singer, Julian (Jules).  He may, just possibly, have a tiny bit to do with why I like The Str*okes, if we're really telling the truth.  And don't I ususally tell a little more truth than you wanted to hear?  Why, yes.  Yes, I do. 

This little boy could recite transcripts from traffic court to music and I would listen (oh, don't be so shocked that fat, Christian, 44 y. o. moms/housewives still look at rockstars.  We do.  And we look at ones a lot younger than this kid... ;D... We are also a teensy bit fond of the abs on teenage werewolves, but that's a post for another day...  We take a quick peek.  We say, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." And we go on with our fascinating lives of laundry, snot wiping and grocery shopping, feeling completely content and fulfilled... : /...). 

I think he's pretty cute in that Bad Boy, Rocker, "I'm-going-to-'borrow'-$500-from-your-purse-while-you're-not-looking, to-buy-drugs-while-I'm-out-with-your-best-friend, then-break-up-with-you-right-after-I-use-your-place-to-take-a-shower-cuz-I-really-need-one" kind of way. You may not see the same thing I see (my daughter doesn't. She thinks he's icky.  She had the nerve to ask, "What is wrong with you, Mama?"  Oh, sweetie...  Many things.  So very many things), but I think he's cute. 

Anyway, The Str*okes were on S*NL and as I was watching, the most horrific realization washed over me.

My little lamby looks very much like Ray Romano (Everybody Loves Raymond), who is not my idea of sexxx-say. Granted, he's a much younger Ray, but Ray is in there somewhere, just the same.

Do you see it?  You gotta see it!  Look again.  Subtract 20 (okay, 25) yrs from Ray and add a wig...
See?  Studly

And...  Dudly

You do see it, right?  Tell me it's not just me.  I don't know how I went so long without noticing this before.  But alas, Julian is ruined for me now.  I'm sorry, Julian.  That's it.  Infatuation over.  Accept it, honey, and try to move on.  I will never look at you and see a bad boy rockstar again. 

Way to wreck it, Ray Romano. Thanks. 

At least I still have Colin Farrell.  He doesn't resemble some middle-aged whiny dufus, does he?  Nevermind.  I don't really want to know. 

Maybe Julian's resemblance to Ray is most obvious when seeing him in motion- something about his facial expressions as he sings... This is a clip from their S*NL performance, if you're curious. But, I'll warn you: If you listen to this, I'm pretty sure he slips a word in there, around the 3:59 mark, he shouldn't have been saying on network tv (not even on S*NL). I could be wrong, but I have Mom Ears that are super-sensitive to the EFF word, so I'm probably not. Even a hearing-impairment doesn't hinder the power of Mom Ears when it comes to picking a random EFF out of what is otherwise mostly garbled nonsense. Just skip the last 20 seconds or so if you don't go for the nastiness. I have a feeling you'll be turning it off long before then, anyway.

Just watch for a few seconds (on mute, if you want), then try to tell me this isn't a young, weed-smoking, possibly heroin-addicted Ray Romano:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Looking on the bright side...

As long as we remain in our current situation, I'm trying to "give thanks in all circumstances," so I have decided to list a few of my reasons to be grateful here:

Top Ten Reasons Why It's Awesome to Be Poverty-Stricken

10.  From what I've been able to determine from my own unscientific observations at my local Wal-mart, a lack of personal hygiene and poverty seem to sometimes go together.  From what I've witnessed, being poor gives me an excuse to stop worrying about hair, makeup, body odor, dental care and wearing a bra (this may sound a little catty and judgmental, but notice I said 'sometimes,' so as not to offend poor people with good hygiene, or non-poor people with bad hygiene, and in my defense... you haven't seen the lovely ladies who shop at my Wal-mart).

9.  I don't have to feel guilty for saying 'No' to kids who are selling ridiculously expensive crap for school fundraisers or charities.

8.  My sons have stopped asking to borrow gas money from me.

7.  If I can't afford groceries, I'll have no choice but to lose weight.  And...

6.  When I can afford groceries, I'll learn a new appreciation for yucky things I hate, like cheap, frozen pizza and the same old boring ham or peanut butter sandwiches.

5.  Winning!!!  (I don't know how this applies, but if Charlie Sheen can keep repeating it as his life falls apart, so can I)!!!

4.  Poverty has distracted me from constantly obsessing over my bad haircut.

3.  I won't have to call 911, like Paula Abdul, to make my boyfriend let me out of his car, because my boyfriend can't afford gas.

2.  I am being given opportunities to appreciate and admire the wonderful people I call my children, all over again.  If they're not praying with me or for me, they're trying to hand me a paycheck or a piggy bank, or they're offering to sell video games or other things to help out.  I'm often told we've raised great kids.  Chances are, they are great kids in spite of us, not because of us, but yes- they are great kids. 

1.  I am being reminded on a daily basis that God is bigger than all of this.  He doesn't need my money to help Him take care of us.  He does it anyway.  Just because He loves me.  He is good.  And I am thankful.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Of gratitude and sex dolls...

Instead of thanking you all in a comment on the last post, I wanted to say it here- in a post of its own- to make sure you would see it.  You have no idea how much your words of support and kindness meant to both of us.  I showed Darrell most of the comments last night, and he had tears in his eyes, just as I did (well, actually, I had tears running down my face).  We were both overwhelmed.  Thank you, guys.  You may not think you helped...  but you did. 

Once again, we are blown away by the fact that those loving, supportive comments came from friends we've never met. Funny, isn't it?   (We do have friends and relatives in our lives who are nice to us, too...  I don't mean to make it sound like we don't.  Ha! That wouldn't speak very highly of us, would it?  If our only friends and supporters were of the cyber variety?)

(...Oh. My. Goodness.  Speaking of having friends who aren't "in the flesh," did you guys see that episode of "Strange Addictions" where that creepy little dude had a life-sized silicone doll for a wife?  Have I already blogged about this?  I wouldn't be surprised if I'm repeating myself, as it made such an indelible impression.  I was... well, I don't know what I was, but it was like a mix of being shocked, horrified and nauseous.  Is there a word for that?  Shockiffauseous?  He talked to it, you guys.  He put it in a chair at the table and ate dinner with it.  He did, um, other things with it, too.  Oh, did you hear that?  Did you hear me gag just then?  I accidentally vomited in my mouth just a tiny bit.  I honestly had bad dreams after I saw that show.  And in my defense, I didn't watch it on purpose...  It was just "on" and before I knew it, I could not change the channel.  But, I digress...)

Back to the topic, which is neither sex dolls, nor the scary men who love them... We'll do an in-depth discussion of that another day, perhaps? 

(Oh, gosh.  I just realized I may have offended one of you who might possibly be the proud owner of your own little silicone friend.  If you own a, um, synthetic partner, dear friend, I'm sure yours is, um, very nice.  I was not referring to you, of course, when I used the words creepy, scary and unholy.  Oh, I didn't use the word unholy?  Of course I didn't.  Why would I?  What could possibly be unholy about knowing a doll in the Biblical sense?  I fully respect and tolerate that freaky little alternative lifestyle you've got going on there.  I am not repulsed by it at all.  Whoopsie, I just puked again, but that little bit of vomit was about something else.  Not you.)

Now, back on track.  For real this time...  Thank you! I love you guys.  Whether we've met or not, you've proven to be wonderful friends when I need them and I hope I will be the same for you.

In answer to some of your questions: 
Yes, I would be very willing to work from home.  In fact, I'd rather do that than get a night job elsewhere.  I haven't heard of any real options to do that around here, other than the phone sex trade... and that pesky little gag reflex of mine has probably ruined my shot at a lucrative career in that field.  If local friends hear of legal and non-gag inducing opportunities to work from home, please let me know!

Yes, we are in the process of contacting our creditors and letting them all know what's going on.  Some are more understanding than others.  Some of those people act as if I owe them personally.  Jerks.  Are they trained to make a bad situation feel even worse? 

One last thing before I go:  I just want to mention that something goofy is going on with my comments, or email address-  I'm not sure which.  But, I'm not always receiving your comments.  Sometimes, they're being sent to the junk folder and other times I don't get them at all and just happen to notice them here on the blog.  So...  if you ask me a question or otherwise expect to get a response to your comment (but don't), don't think I've blown you off! : ))