Saturday, October 15, 2011

Yes, I was THAT parent!

Lord, help me, I was that parent today.

So, I already shared that I am coaching my kids soccer team at the YMCA. Not because I have some inner desire to spread my version of this sport with the youth of the world, but because if no one volunteered, there would be no team. So I did. I had pretty much no clue what I was doing, but I did it.

My team - they are precious, truly precious, but very young and most had never played soccer at all ever. I have 5 yr olds in the team (how? I am not sure as this group is 6-8 yr olds, but whatever, the more the merrier, right?). So practices and games are more an exercise in keeping them from staring at their shoelaces, much less actually playing soccer.

Fine - we have had fun, we have played hard, we have played fair. Fast forward to today- now, you know you are in trouble when your little kids start to panic when they hear that we are playing this other team - let's call them.... The little Pele(s). Why? Because 4 pf the six kids are clearly brothers or close cousins who live eat and breath soccer. I have never - NEVER - seen anything like it. Foot work and plays that professionals would envy. It was amazing to watch - until it got ugly. Slam after slam, goal after goal, they fed off their victories like wild animals - each goal firing them up even more and the plays would get faster, uglier, harder and more dangerous. By the half - 4 of my 8 kids were in tears, from injuries due to unsportsman-like throws, kicks, or trips and just sheer frustration of never getting the chance to be anywhere near the ball.

At that point, I had it. I was done. I took a deep breath, walked right to the middle of the mob like parents and family of the other team. I confronted the other teams 6'4" coach and smiled my, I am gonna look like I am trying to be positive and thoughtful smile and not make a scene:

" Look, they are amazing, there is no doubt, but my kids are crying -CRYING!!! This is the YMCA - this is not a competitive playoff based league. People come here so their kids - ALL the kids- have fun. I am not asking you to throw the game, but come on - can ya move them around - pull some out for breaks? Change positions? Please - work with us here."

The coach kind of smirked at me like, sucks to be losers, I can't help that, and then the families all started talkiing around me in Spanish and laughing, like, can you believe this woman?

So I frustratingly smiled and turned right to the biggest culprits and said - "come on- please, let's not do this! Let's think of all the kids."

One mom just smiled irritatingly and said, "Oh, no, I didn't say anything," but then started smack talking in Spanish with her family,

At this point Mike walks up from across the field, saying in his thick Brooklyn bouncer accent- "Is there a problem?" to me. To which I said in the other team's direction - "No, we are good.... I think, we are good, right?" to the other parents.

Now, I will give props to the coach, he tried - but the parents of the little Pele(s) continued to egg the other kids on, and not much changed with them.

But things did change with us - I walked over to my team, huddled them up and gave them the speech I give them every practice and game. " when you are out on that field, I want you to have FUN, I want you to play FAIR, and I want you to work as a team. Just because they are playing harder and faster doesn't mean you don't get to play - that is not just their ball - you get in there and you attack that ball and take it away!!!"

And they did - but we didn't score a damn point. The other team killed us. But the second half, my kids played hard and I was proud of them.

The good news is, we don't have to play them again the rest of the season.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Stage 1 & 2 Post Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

To read my story from the beginning start here , then here then here.

Stage one post procedure is 3 days of clear liquids, every 15 minutes, 1 ounce. It was just a matter of doing it. There is no desire whatsoever to eat or drink. You just do it. And when you don’t want to do it – you have loved ones near by who remind you – it has been 15 minutes – do it. I will admit, I probably only got 3 out of 4 ounces each hour and rather than drinking all 1 ounce at one time, I sipped it for the entire 15 minutes – so it was like small trickles of fluid non stop. I preferred warm broth to cold or room temperature fluids like crystal light or water. I also had popsicles – those helped a lot when I needed some consistency in my mouth. As I talk about the stages – one of the hardest things I experienced was not chewing. I have no idea why. I am sure it was psychological, but I missed chewing and having texture in my mouth – popsicles where great in this area.

I spent most of my time in a recliner in my room. Lying down was uncomfortable and I had a lot of reflux issues. I just had this constant burning when I lay down, so I did not lie down very often. At night, I would start off in the bed, but by the middle of the night, I was up and sleeping in the chair. My husband raised my side of the mattress by folding a blanket and stuffing it under the mattress. That and a bunch of pillows around me helped, but I never really got a full night’s sleep for a while. Chewable tums/Mylanta etc became my best friend, until I started Zegrid – but that is much further in the story. In these early phases, I just suffered through it for the greater good.

Stage two, full liquids, started on Monday. This is where you add the protein drinks and you alternate 2ounces of fluid for the first two 15 minutes, then 2 ounces of protein shake for the next two 15 minute cycles. Trouble, Trouble. I could not tolerate the protein drinks. It almost instantly made me gag and throw up. I even tried heavy duty, more bang for your buck protein drinks and those were even worse. There was something about the synthetic protein that I just could not handle. It was very frustrating. I had no problems with these tyoes of drinks before surgery, but now, my body was just not cooperating. I tried to approach it very academically. My mother bought me the small plastic throw away containers (ya know, the one you make jello shots with?) and they were perfect 2 ounce containers. I would make my shakes in the morning, measure them out, and then store them in the fridge for all day. I had a chart to check off my success like stars on the kids’ chore list. I started each day out with a positive attitude and a plan. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this….I can’t do this……NO – YOU-CAN-DO-THIS!! … I can’t.

Cream if wheat became my savior. It was basically the only thing with a good source of nutrition that I could tolerate. I made it with real butter and honey to help add to the calories – sounds counter productive to what I was trying to accomplish, but I was barely getting 300-400 calories a day at this point – and that was with the real butter and honey. But it was something. Fluids, cream of wheat and cream soups – this became my life until day 14.

Wednesday (Post op day 6) – My dark day in the desert:
Wednesday was my darkest, ugliest day in this process. It was my first day alone. Mike had gone back to work, kids were at school. I cried and cried and cried. It had been almost two weeks without food, I was tired, and I was weak from surgery and no nutrition. I did not want to eat and I was being forced to drink something that made me even sicker. This was my torture, this was my purgatory. I was watching Eat Pray Love for the first time and all I could see was a woman trying to find herself, making mistakes, and nauseatingly overeating. I remember thinking – this is my penance for bad mistakes. The Chinese water torture of forcing fluids and shakes only to feel worse is my punishment for years of too many calories and poor choices. I was facing (for the first time) a situation where I did not want to eat but had too.

Oh yeah – and the worst part – I wasn’t losing weight. My body had gone into starvation mode. Because my pre-surgery weight loss was so significant, and I was not getting in enough nutrition for several days now – my body was refusing to give it up. I was searching forums regarding the surgery so much that when my cursor hit the search bar, it preloaded with a long list that always ended with post sleeve gastrectomy surgery:
Weight loss day 4 post sleeve gastrectomy
Protein drinks post sleeve gastrectomy
Why can’t I tolerate protein post sleeve gastrectomy
Did I make the wrong decision post sleeve gastrectomy?

This is when my mother started the now ever present lesson in this entire process. Give yourself a break. Did you hear that, Becky? Give your self a break. Your body is not a mathematical genius. Your body does not follow the rules. It will catch up with itself and the weight will come off – but you have to give yourself a break and know it is going to happen – not in your time, but it will happen.

On Friday, I had my 1 week post op appointment. I told my doctor about my issues with the protein and he told me he wasn’t all that worried about me getting a perfect score on my protein drink chart. He was more worried about keeping me hydrated. He also said my surgery was basically text book perfect – and it was tight – very tight – so he was not surprised with the volume issues.

By the following Monday, I was determined not to be a sick person. I decided I was going to go do the shopping while the kids were at school – maybe even hit the gym and walk on the treadmill. Bahahahaha – what a joke – I got winded by the time I made it to the back of the store. I kept pushing, and by the time I had a cart full of groceries, I truly felt like I was going to pass out. I called my husband weepy and he said, just leave the cart and go home, he was around the corner and he would meet me there. I was stubborn and said no – I couldn’t abandon the cart when I was so close, to just have to do it all over again another day. I checked out, humbly asked for help from the store to get me to the car and loaded then I drove home. Mike was there – he made me some soup and told me to go lay down.

So – I started to give myself a break at this point. I acknowledged that I was going to have to chill out and ride this out. I knew things would change when I got to stage three pureed food (read baby food). I knew I would be able to get more protein/nourishment at that point and I would have more energy – but until then, I couldn’t beat myself up because I could not run a marathon.

Next blog – Baby Food – Baby Steps.

Friday, October 07, 2011

My Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) Surgery:

To read my story from the beginning start here , then here.

So…. phone call, emotional breakdown, now what?

I had a small window of opportunity to have this procedure done. I was grateful for the opportunity to work on another show for Tamarie Cooper this summer at the Catastrophic Theatre, but that meant I had to have my surgery early enough for me to recover and be ready for rehearsals – and not just walking around saying lines rehearsals, but dancing, singing, high energy rehearsals. Otherwise, I was going to delay the surgery until September after the show closed. I called the doctor’s office up and I poured the honey on thick begging and pleading to see if we could make the MD’s schedule work. We did. We scheduled – May 5th – Happy Cinco de Mayo to me!

Pre-op appointment: 1 week before surgery:
I was giddy excited. My mother came with me to ask all the questions and hear for herself. The nurse practitioner came in and told me that starting that day, I was on a liquid diet until surgery. 3-4 cans of a diet supplemental drink and clear liquids (broth, popsicles, etc). Before I left the MD office, I had what was called a light scan – it is probably the most uncomfortable, vulnerable thing I have ever done. I had to strip down to nothing, go into a booth and have a machine scan me from every direction taking measurements that where then plotted to give me a 3D image of myself with perfect dimensions. Not only do you feel vulnerable because you are naked in strange place, but then you have to actually look at a 3D scan of yourself and all the ugly parts that you can’t see in the mirror! All I kept thinking was, “Please, God, don’t let their be a fire, please, GOD – DON’T LET THERE BE A FIRE!!!”

Now – I wasn’t prepared for an immediate cut off of my food – so I have to admit – I had one final meal right after we left the MD office. I knew that I was going to be saying goodbye to my raw vegetables for awhile, so I decided my last meal would be raw feast at a salad bar – odd I know, but it really was what I craved and was most sad about losing. But after that – nothing but slim fast and the broth of my progresso light soups. I was continuing my workout schedule which was about 5 times a week, but at one point I was pounding away on the elliptical when I got really light headed and almost passed out. I called my mother and she said – nope, sorry – that’s it for you – you are not getting enough calories in to burn the way you are at the gym. Time to slow down.

May 5, 2011 – Surgery Day:
Damn, I was so nervous. I have had surgery before, many times. But this time there was no illness or uncomfortable situation related to it. In the past, I was always in need of the surgery and it resulted in comfort on the other end. Not this time. This time I was walking into the hospital a healthy person with no pain or misery. I got there and it took forever to get me in the pre-op area. Nothing worse than sitting in the waiting room pretending to watch the Today show, and all I could think of over and over was “Call my name… call my name… call my name….”
We finally got back to the pre-op area and started the process of getting into the gown, IVs, and the final weigh in pre-surgery. At this point I had lost 30 lbs – 10 in the past week alone on the liquid diet. I had several moments of – “Wait, what am I doing – I am doing this without the surgery – wait wait wait –maybe I don’t need this….” But there was no time to turn back now. My doctor came in and looked at my torso to plan out how he wanted to perform the surgery, and then I went to another holding area.

That is where I met Rebecca – my pre-op nurse… NO… my little pre-op angel with my final sign of encouragement. I was so nervous at this point I had the shakes. She walked up and asked if I had any questions. I smiled nervously and said “No – just waiting for the anesthesiologist for my Cinco de Mayo cocktail to get this party started!” She laughed and said, “Well, I can answer any questions you might have about this, I know what you are going through!”
Wait – what?
I have had this surgery
You?!?! ( I did mention above that she was my “little” pre-op angel)
Yep – a year ago.
No way!
Yes way! I usually have a pic with me to show people because you would never know.
Well – then no – I have no question other than when do we get started?!

They wheeled me into a huge operating room and moments later I was out.

I really do not remember much from the rest of the day, I understand that the surgery was a couple of hours and routine. I remember being wheeled to my room, transferring to the new bed, and I remember my mother and sister in the room (Mike had gone home to get the kids). I never opened my eyes. I just laid there in this sort of awake, sort of asleep state. And I will not lie – I was miserable. The gas they pump into your system so they can maneuver the equipment is miserable. Painful and constant. I know I had to get up and walk, and I did – but it took finding all my will power and determination from the bottom of my feet to do it. I was very nauseated, threw up, peed all over myself – all the fun things no one likes to talk about. I didn’t want to lay down, I didn’t want to walk, I didn’t want to do anything. I do remember that Mike was supposed to bring the kids, but I just couldn’t find the “mommy is all right” lie to face them, so they stayed home. I did not have any incision pain because my surgery was done entirely though my belly button. I did have pain inside because you can imagine there was a lot that was stretched and moved to make way for the equipment and the maneuvering it takes to remove 85% of your stomach through one tiny hole.

The next day was my swallow study to confirm there were no leaks in the stomach. It would be the first thing I had swallowed in over 36 hours. I was weak and still very nauseated. They gave me the nasty 1 ounce fluid contrast to drink so they could do the first scan – it was aweful – it felt like I had already filled to overflowing with just one ounce of liquid. Time for scan two – another ounce – I swallowed – they walked out of the room and I stood there by myself trying to not pass out, when I couldn’t tolerate the second ounce and threw it up. Right about here is where I realized that this was gonna suck – a lot – for awhile.
I go back to the room. My floor nurse, who was also an angel – came in and said my scans were perfect so it was time to start drinking – 1 ounce every 15 minutes. F*&^ity- f%#k-f(*&k-F*&K!! I don’t want to put anything in my mouth AT ALL – and now I was going to have to do it every 15 minutes. Big Girl panties on – sip – not an ounce, but a sip. I know I did not get a full ounce, and not every 15 minutes, but I did as much as I could before I would get exhausted and just had to take a break. You read that right – exhausted from drinking an ounce of fluid.
I threw up a lot the first few days, but I managed to keep truckin’ along. By the end of day 2 post op, I was given the option to go home and I was ready. The next day was Mother’s Day, I knew there was nothing more to do but lay there, walk, and drink, and I could do that at home. So late Saturday night, we packed up and headed home.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

My first steps to VSG surgery

So right before the surgery, I made the big disclosure that I was having the surgery. I didn't go into much detail at the time, so now I want to spend a little more time talking about each phase.

First, I want to talk about the decision to choose surgery and the steps leading up to it.

I was soooo against surgery at first. In my work, I see first hand the train wrecks for the patients that have complications related to this surgery. So I saw the bad, and it was ugly, and I did not want to put myself into that type of situation. Without getting too graphic, there are patients that don’t heal well and develop fistulas – which are basically open wounds inside your body that make their way to the surface and you end up with a draining wound and usually it is long process to heal completely. But the truth is, it is very rare – very, very rare – and because we are specialists in this type of condition, we usually see all the bad.

But then came a moment of inspiration – and his name is Greg Stanley. I was so proud of him and his decision and his results that I could not deny this was an option I needed to look into. Immediately after the first time I saw him after surgery, I checked my insurance to see if it would cover it, and of course, the answer was no. So I waited. I waited and waited until the next year, when my husband’s insurance changed, and I tried again. I looked into whether it was covered at all and how much it would cost me.

Success!! It would be covered. Buuuuuttttt – only at 50% and IF I qualified. Crap. Another brick wall in my mind. After the initial pout, I thought about it. How would this work? How could I MAKE it work? This is where my current work experience came into play. I remembered that my deductible was $500 and my out of pocket is $5000. So the MOST I would ever pay is $5000 total. I sat with my husband and we figured it out. We figured out how we could save the money and make it happen.

Now – I want to side step a little here and fast forward to the end. How it worked for me was that they only thing that was covered at 50% was the surgeon himself. Everything else, the hospital, the labs, anesthesiologists, etc were all covered as they normally would be which was usually 80-100%. So it turned out that all I paid out of pocket was a little less that $3000. I say this because, for those of you who want to research this on you own – it may be worth trying to figure out how each PART of the process pays out. I do not know this answer and it varies insurance to insurance and policy to policy. It may be worth it to you to find out if the surgeon isn’t covered for the actual procedure, but the hospital, etc are covered – you may be able to work that out.

Okay – back to the beginning. I know it will be covered, I know I can afford it. Now what? At the end of January, I went to my PCP because I had a nasty head cold and at the end of my exam, I went there – what do I do? Where should I go? Who do you recommend? She agreed it is a great option and gave me names, but they were just names. So I texted Greg – rather get a name from someone who can speak from experience. He texted immediately and I called immediately. They wouldn’t give me an appointment until I attended a seminar. Guess what, they were having a seminar that night – like in 3 hours – fine – sign me up.
Okay – most of you who know me know, I am not a kumbaya kind of girl – I am not into group therapy. I am terribly private and prefer to deal with things one on one and then talk about it publicly later. So I dreaded the idea of going to this seminar. I did not want to sit in a room of fat people listening to skinny people tell me how not to be fat. But, I put my big girl panties on (no pun intended) and headed to the seminar.
There was paperwork to fill out, general info, insurance info, etc and then the doctor spoke. With the little research I had done, I walked into this meeting thinking all I wanted was a lap band. Quick, easy, little down time – POOF! Skinny Becky! Well, I am really glad I went to the seminar and I am really glad I had an open mind to listen to what the doctor had to say. He was very thorough, explained all the possible surgeries, pros and cons of each, and I walked away with a lot of information and a lot to think of before my first appointment.
For me and my insurance, I had a 4 month process to go through before I could be approved for surgery. Again – everyone’s situation is different, some less, some more. During that 4 month process I had monthly weight maintenance appointments where I talked with someone about my weight loss plans, goals and actions. I had an appointment with a dietitian who explained how to prepare for the surgery and what life would be like in the stages after surgery and how my life would change forever. I also had an appointment with a psychologist to make sure I was sane enough to have the surgery. I often questioned my sanity during the pre-process thinking – what? Are you crazy? You are going to voluntarily ask someone to remove 85% of your stomach?!?! What the hell are you thinking?!?!?!
During those 4 months, I worked hard. I exercised, I dieted, and I made major changes. I was sure that I was not going to win this game and eventually the result would be that insurance denied me and I was going to have to lose weight on my own. I just knew that this was a lottery ticket, and I don’t win lotteries. I went through the motions, but it was VERY hard to have a positive outlook. I had to prepare myself for the fact that it may not happen and I could not put all my eggs in that basket. If it did work out – then great – I was just that much further ahead. I would be healthier and more prepared for the major surgery.
Then the call – it was approved. I hung up the phone and I cried and cried and cried. I won this lottery. I was excited and scared. I was excited that this could actually be coming true and I was scared because now I realized the severity and finality of the decision I was now making. I was going to permanently alter my body in hopes that the body I got back would be a healthier one.

Next blog – the surgery…..

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

5 Months Post Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery

So - here I am - 5 months to the date of my surgery - 90lbs lighter than when I started this adventure in January. It blows my mind. I have not caught up with myself at all. I find myself pulling clothes that I have had for YEARS - you know the "when I lose weight" clothes and I am finding that I have missed my window of opportunity to wear them. They just fall off me.
The clothes I am wearing now are mostly re-sale. I have bought a couple of prime items because they looked so good on that I could not pass up the chance to have them. But I am quickly realizing that even those items will be in the repertoire only a short time as the weight continues to come off.
I am hoping to spend the next few posts catching up on this experience and documenting it here. This has been such an amazing experience that I want to try to capture as much as I can for future reference. I also want to do it because there is very little out there to read/research regarding others' experiences and I know how frustrating it is to search for hours hoping someone is experiencing the same issues around the same time you are experiencing them. There are forums, but those just seem to be small re-caps and a bunch of positive reinforcement, which is great, but there is not much there regarding the good the bad and the ugly of this process.

SO - wow - serious wow - and more to come very soon, I promise.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The word is “Thank you”

I was driving into work this morning, in the usual traffic, and I came across a woman in her massive SUV trying to turn left across three lanes. Now first – why this woman was choosing to turn here was beyond me – this is the same traffic that is here every single day. You know this is a feudal attempt. You know that you really need to travel 100 more feet and turn at the light. But no – she chose to sit there, huffing and irritated because she could not cross the street. Well, I stopped, and so did the nice car to my right. We cleared the path for her to turn. She then whips across the lanes like she was the one who spotted the opening and better cut us off before her window of opportunity closes. I am sure the dramatic screech of her car was terribly unnecessary, but definitely added to the drama. Within seconds she was off in a puff of smoke like a cowboy tearing off on the range.

Was there a nod of acknowledgement?

Was there a wave of thanks?

Of course not – why should there be? Why should she snap out of the comfort of her shell and realize that not only was there a small moment to be thankful for, but that moment was due to the kindness of strangers.

Manners – what has happened to manners? What has happened to being aware of those around you? Aware of their needs or aware of the fact that they, in some small way, are trying to help you with your needs? Holding a door open, making eye contact, and God forbid, smiling?

Ironically this is one thing that I really miss about New York. Awhile ago Myth busters did a show trying to confirm the old wives’ tale about a bull in a china shop. What they discovered was that the bull was graceful and aware and not one piece of china was touched. They maneuvered their way through aisles of glass and china with the ease and grace of a dancer. New York, too, has fallen prey to an untrue old wives’ tale. There is this belief that in the hustle and bustle of the city, no one cares, no one is nice. You are a one man island amongst millions of one man islands. But that is not true. I think because you are forced into such a public situation with people, you have no choice but to be aware of them. You have to walk in pace with the energy of those around you. Otherwise nothing would get done and you would go no where.

I think a major problem that mobile urban cities have is that people are so consumed with their own energies that they have no idea what is going on around them. People are not forced to be public. People go from their home, to their car, to their parking spot, to their office. People take the same drive day after day. People have their routes timed down to the traffic light cycles. And when anything occurs to interrupt that very static cycle, the impression is that the world is out to get them.

The world is not out to get you. No one is out to get you. In fact, I believe that most people want to help. I believe that most people want to make eye contact, smile and hold the door open when your hands are full. I think most people want to connect to each other.

I know I do. And I know a lot of people around me who do – so THANK YOU. Thank you for what you have done in the past and thank you for what you for what you will do in the future.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Go see this show

Last night I had the privilege to sit in a very intimate theatre and witness really great theatre. It was one of those rare occurrences where the show, the space, the director, the performers all come together in perfect unison and you realize you are witnessing something very special.

I walked into this performance knowing very little, but I had heard and read a lot of praise. I tried not to let that bias my experience. I hate going into a show that has been hyped, only to be disappointed that the hype didn't match the performance. I also tried to open my mind as two of the three performers are friends, dear friends, and the third is someone I have known/seen for many years. When you know people, it tends to cloud your experience because you find yourself seeing your friend, not the performance. Well, that was not the case here -actually quite the opposite. From the first moments the actors take the stage I realized - wait - this is different - I don't think I have ever seen this "character" before. There is an incredibly artful poetry and prose in which the play was written that all of a sudden you realize you have been swept up on this magical ride, wandering lyrically through the story and it is so comforting. It is so subtle that you don't even realize you are being sung to - words that are gently rocking you like a hammock.
But this show was not just roses and babies - the subjects get ugly - and hard - and then beautiful - and then miserable - and then so touching your face is wet from uncontrollable weeping. It is one of those shows where you think you are going in a certain direction, but you are focusing so hard on the conversation that you don't even realize they took a left turn awhile back and you are now in a totally different place than you thought you would be - but that is okay - because this place is awesome!!!

And it stays with you - there are waves of recognition that keep coming the more you think of the show. Like just now - I went to the website to grab the promotional pic to post here and when I looked - I started weeping again - "Oh, my gosh - it is all there - I didn't even see it before - but now I see it - it is all there in that beautiful picture!" What an amazing gift... to continue to get that warm fuzzy feeling for something the more you think about it. Most times you walk out of an experience on the high of the performance and it starts to fade from there. This one has grown for me.

"There Is A Happiness That Morning Is" - at the Catastrophic Theatre's micro theatre - directed by Jason Nodler, performed beautifully by Amy Bruce, Troy Schulze, and Kyle Sturdivant. Click here to get to the website to buy your tickets and I really hope you do!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Because I said I would

I am kicking this day's ass!!! This incredibly glorious first day of October, and I laid it flat on the mat, sucked every ounce of life out of it and earned my night's sleep tonight!

I started it at 5:40 - yes, you read that right, 5:40 ...AM.... on a Saturday. Took my mom to the airport, came home, cleaned the pool, got the kids ready for soccer, coached my little Pele(s) as they bent it like Beckham and I cheered every "GOOOAAALLLL!" with just as much enthusiasm as the infamous announcer (whose name I have no clue). Then it was shopping, lunch, shopping, more shopping, coming home to do some Martha Stewarting for our Halloween decorations, only to realize I needed to go back out again to do more shopping in order to accomplish my crafty projects for the evening, crafting, dinner, crafting some more and now.... Blogging....again... two days in a row!!!!


I am so sorry - I am falling asleep while typing ...wait... Perhaps I didn't kick this day's ass.. Perhaps it kicked mine....

But that is okay, because it is Fall!!!! It was a beautiful day! I accomplished a lot, had a damn good time with my hubby and boys, and I am now looking forward to the roller coaster of events that started today and will end right as January begins. This is my *GO* time. This is the time I wait for all year. I freaking LOVE IT!!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011


So on a completely unrelated whim, I had to come here today to look at something that I need for another project. It was then that I realized, not only have I not blogged for crap lately, but it is actually my blog-iversary. 7 years ago today I started this personal diary of sorts. And I am soooo damn mad at myself because this past year I have been the absolute worst about blogging, when in truth, sooooo much has happened to change, well, everything that this is the time I should have been blogging the most!!!

Part of the struggle has been that I have been so damn busy living life, I haven't had a lot of time to write about it, a good thing, I know. The other part is this ridiculous fight I have with myself. I keep thinking - I should sooo blog about this, and then the devil/angel dance on my shoulders starts:

It has been so long - why blog now?
Because this is important, you will want to remember this!
Really - if it is important - you will remember. Besides - you have already left so much out - it won't make sense.
Oh, you're right...
I know I am...
Let's just go to bed...

Well - not today - nope! Today is the blog-iversary and I say to hell with you devil on my shoulder! I am going to randomly blog today. And I am also going to make promises that I am fairly certain I cannot keep - like -

I am going to start blogging regulary again!
WAIT!! I am going to top that...
(Yeah, right)
I might actually start VLOGGING some times!!!

Oh... and I am also going to write the disclaimer that the above may all go down the tubes and you may not see another word typed here until 2012.... I am hoping not - but I am gonna give it the old college try.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Psst ... I have a secret...

So a big deal is about to happen – for me – a really big deal. I have decided to have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. I have been planning, prepping, and praying for months. I was approved through my insurance and my surgery will be this Thursday, May 5th.

I am excited, terrified, cautious, happy, sad, shamed, proud….etc etc. It was a terribly hard decision to come to, but after almost 2 years, I am finally at peace with this decision. It is what is best for me.

Two years ago, I knew things needed to change – in a serious life changing way. At first I was very shallow about it. I was serious, but I would rather become famous and audition for The Biggest Loser, rather than do the hard day to day, deep soul searching changes. By the time it was clear that Biggest Loser was not calling, I knew this was going to have to be done with my own sweat and tears.

My husband and I made major changes – joined the YMCA, everything was changed to whole wheat and lean turkey – fresh vegetables and fruits – more subway less McDonald’s. It was slow, but steady – and yes – the weight was coming off, but so frustratingly slow that it was hard to maintain the momentum. I knew I could maintain a healthy lifestyle – but the restrictive getting the weight off phase was terribly slow and unsuccessful. That was when I started looking into possible weight loss surgery. At first, it was a deal breaker, because last year, our insurance would not cover it. But Jan 1st, new policy, new opportunity, new me.

I decided not to share because, even though I was going through the extensive process for insurance approval – I was certain I was not going to get approved. Yes – I am over weight – but I had no other health issues. No diabetes, no hypertension, no sleep apnea – nothing. I am a healthy plus size person – if that is such a thing. But I knew, if I don’t make these changes now– it would only be a matter of time.

Well – I was approved. I cried when I hung up the phone after receiving the news. Tiffanie (who has known all along) said – ya know, you are going to have to say something! I said, I know – it is not like I am trying to be Star Jones about this, but I am certainly not going to be Carnie Wilson and invite a webcam into the operating room!

So there you have it – three more days – Happy Cinco de Mayo to me!!

Friday, April 01, 2011


Well, this is post #600. I just realized it as I was logging in right now. Man that is a lot of entries. Not that I have been entering much lately... I am lucky to get 1 a month...maybe. And I miss it. I really do. But there are only so many hours in the day, and every day just seems to be getting shorter, yet packed with more and more to do.

The truth is, life is pretty good right now. And that may be a reason why I come here less and less. I tend to gravitate here when things are confusing or pissy to help me process and release. It makes for good therapy. I was thinking to myself in the car the other day ( my only alone time, sometimes) - wow... life isn't terribly crappy right now. I don't hate going to work everyday. I don't dread the overwhelming-ness of daily chores. I am not burdening myself with unwanted time stealing projects. Though crazy and chaotic at times, it is MY crazy chaos, methodically chosen by ME, not dumped upon me. That is pretty damn cool.

So here we are in my birthday month, once again. For the 36th time. ( I guess the 37th time if you count the year of my actual birth for all you detail nit pickers, out there!) and I would like to take a moment to appreciate the journey thus far, acknowledge the gifts of the present, and look forward to the future path.

Dear Childhood - I was always too old for my own good. Never really allowed myself to just be. Over thought everything. Worried more than I should. Not able to see myself in the mirror the way others saw me.
Dear Teens - You were pretty cool, but I was so excited to "grow" up I didn't appreciate you as much as I should have.
Dear College Years - Wow... you f(&%ing rocked. I made some of the deepest, longest lasting friendships here. I made terrible mistakes, glorious recoveries, and had a damn good time doing it. You were game changing years... thanks.
Dear Twenties - You took me out on many ledges and taught me many lessons. You gave me the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. I do not regret one choice, but I cannot say that I would love to live you again.
Dear Thirties - you have bit me in the ass. You snuck up on me, threw mud in my face, then tossed me on that spinning playground merry-go-round, only it wasn't as fun as when I was 8. I just got dizzy, overwhelmed, confused and ended up with a headache. But the good news is, you gave me the maturity to choose to get off the merry-go-round. You gave me wisdom to make choices and say, hey - for the record - no one said you HAD TO STAY on the merry-go-round. If you don't like it, or you don't want it - change your mind. And then I did. And so now we are cool again.

Now that I am sliding down the back side of thirty, heading towards that proverbial "Hill", I gotta say, things are pretty manageable. And quite frankly, I am looking forward to the view on top of that hill.

Alright... enough existential bull s(&*% for this April Fool's morning... gotta get some work done!!

Happy Spring, everyone!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mommy note

Because this is the closet thing I have to a baby book.....

Ben... First

That is all.

Allright... A little detail... Your tooth had already come in it's entirety, and still that little booger held strong. You got off the bus today and it was perpendicular to the otter teeth, so I suggested that you get a paper towel, stand in front of the mirror, and PULL!

So you did.

And you had the most excited bloody smile!

Kinda zombie like.

You asked to go to bed early. You hoped the tooth fairy would bring you enough money to buy a drum set.

You are now upstairs trying to go to sleep, asking your brother how much he got the first time.

We are sitting downstairs hoping you go to sleep before we do as not to kill the fantasy so early in your childhood!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I have a ledge, & I am not afraid to use it!

I am stuck between Dr. Phil's proverbial rock and hard place. Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?

I am fairly certain that if you have seen me in the past few months you have heard me go nearly apoplectic discussing the insane situation that is my children's school bus routes. The absolutely ridiculous three stooges-esque comedy routine surrounding the simple task of picking my children up and delivering them home from school. It started with no buses at all, moved to drivers who didn't know the route therefore delivering my children 30 minutes late to school, to taking over an hour to return my children home, because my son finally recognized the streets and guided the bus driver to our house.

I screamed, I yelled, I emailed, I threatened contacting the media. The last threat finally worked and I received a call from the director of the transportation department. Since then, I have had the privilege of having direct access to him to scream.

The last fight I had with this department was related to a substitute bus driver seeing my husband outside with our children and yet choosing to NOT stop because we were not at the designated spot. Now, my husband did not even realize she had passed them up because she was a sub (ie different bus) and since my children go to 2 different schools on 2 different routes and many buses pass our house going to several different routes, it never occurred to him to throw himself in front of the bus to force her to stop, or at least slow down as she ran over the "speed bump" of his body.

So we fast forward to this morning.....first day back after a long holiday break. I was just finishing my early morning jig to "and mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again..." when I hear the breaks of the bus and I see....New bus driver, new bus..... Mother-f&$/?!$&!?!!! He hovers and starts to break near the designated spot, sees us waiting 20 feet away and pulls in front of our house. I ask the driver who he is and where he is going, because being a sub, I am not sure if he is here for Max or Ben. Ben. Fine. Great. " uhm, ma'm, we are not allowed to pick up kids in front of their house." yes, yes you can, yes you have, yes you will. " uhm, no...." and he gestures to another man standing inside the bus.... He introduces himself as the safety coordinator. Hello, Mr. Safety coordinator, I am pissed off mom, so nice to meet you...but yes you can pick my son up here and you will pick my son up here. "no, ma'm"..... Look, I am gonna try and keep calm, as I do not wish to scare the small children on this bus, but I have discussed this many many many many times with your director... I have his direct line and he has mine.... So when HE calls me to tell me that things have changed, I will scream at him, but for now.... You will drop him off here this afternoon .....Have a Great day!!!

Fast forward to the afternoon.

He pulls up (in front of the house) and hands me a cute little hot pink sticky note with a name and a number. "Ma'm If you will just call this person, he will explain why I have to stop at the designated spot." Is this person the director of the transportation department? " uhm, no ma'm...." Didn't I already tell you this morning that I have already called the director and discussed this very issue with all the bus drivers before you? " uhm, ma'm I can only do what I am told....." well, I am not sure who the person on this sticky note is, but I am fairly certain he is lower on the totem pole than the director, cause I scream all the way to the top when I am mad, and now I am mad.... " uhm, if you could just call...." the director, yes... Yes I am calling him right now....and I let the doors close, pull my cell phone before he leaves and start to dial the speed dial, yes speed dial.

New secretary answers the phone.... Hi..... you will get to know me very well.....I would like to talk with (director).... he will know who I am. You can remind him, I am the mother who has had to repeatedly call to have the same conversation. I am the mother who calls the media whe she doesn't get a return call. I am the mother who will be waiting anxiously for the call back explaining that once again, he has solved the problem.

" uhm, okay, I will give him the message...."


I then go inside to start my email... 'cause.... well.... when you can't get your frustration out over the phone, email is the next best thing.

I start to forward all the emails I have had back and forth with this gentleman including my scanned diagrams of the streets around me, marking the designated spot and bus routes in coordinating colors.... Yeah... Crazy batshit kind of stuff.

So here I am stewing.... simmering....boiling. My mother says, let it go. Just go to the damn designated spot.

But I can't. I just can't.

Let me explain.... This is a so called safety issue. According to them, it is safer for my 6 year old child to stand in the street of a stranger's home, 30 feet away. A house that has no sidewalks. A street with a blind curve and cars racing in and out of the busy entrance to our neighborhood with clocked speeds of up to 40 miles per hour ( I know this thanks to those handy dandy radar signs that the police park out on our street.) It is safer for my child - and only my child as there are no other children picked up in this part of the neighborhood- to wait here at this safe designated spot, rather then 20 feet away - one intersection and one freaking house away - in his own driveway. A driveway that is merely 10 seconds further on the route in regards to the bus driver putting his foot on the break pedal.

So here I am on the ledge.... No returned phone call or email later.... Trying to meditate on the forest, but I can only micro manage and criticize the trees.

So I ask this simple question again.... Do I want to be right? Or do I want to put this bullshit behind me and be happy......



Sunday, January 02, 2011

What you all were supposed to get in the Christmas Card!

I am fully accepting my lame status when it comes to this years Christmas Cards. I had incredibly grand plans to annoy and bore you all to death with a family letter and a cute family pic, but I could never seem to get my act together!

So here is the letter you were supposed to get:

Happy holidays to you all!

It has been quite a year for our family. 2010 started off with great news that Mike was named the 2009 Employee of the Year for his branch. An honor that included an all expense trip to Universal Studios in Orlando. Well, we couldn't let him go alone! We surprised the boys with a "treasure map hunt" that ended in the our new mini van and a sign that said we were going to Disney World. The boys were beside themselves! My mother and I drove the boys while Mike flew ahead of us and spent his first few days of the trip doing work stuff.... Ya know, hanging by the pool and riding roller coasters with fellow employees of the year from across the country. We all had a great time!

It was a big year for Benjamin as well. Ben started kindergarten in the Fall. He was so excited to be going to big kid school, that he refused to allow us to take him to school the first day. He demanded that he ride the bus, something he has wanted to do since the first day his big brother gloriously ascended those magic stairs to the big yellow bus! Ben is doing great, he is literally head shoulders taller than the rest of his friends, but I guess that is to be expected....look at his daddy!

Max continues to amaze us in his dual language program at school. I have even caught him speaking to me in Spanish when he doesn't want his brother or his daddy to know what we are talking about! He is growing like a weed and we have finally started losing those baby teeth! We were hoping for an "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" solo, but as of this letter we only have one open spot and another terribly wiggly one, just begging to come out!

As for me, we had some really big changes at work that kept me busy all year. From moving the office to changing our systems to a web based program, there were a lot of long nights and weekends. Mike and the boys were very supportive and I cannot thank them enough!

Wishing you all an amazing New Year!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

This is how we rang in the New Year!

It was a big night last night at our houesehold. The boys made it to their first New Year's Eve toast! We had a rather lazy day around the house, but once we started going we didn't stop.
We had a quick visit with Tiffanie and her kids, headed to dinner and a movie, followed with grocery shopping (woo hoo, par-tee-time!) Once we got home we had a little family ping pong tourney. While playing a round with Ben, I hear chaos and clanking coming from the kitchen. Max has taken the Christmas gifts he got from Oma Linda and Opa Jim and started setting up his kitchen show. The next thing you know, he was setting the "stage", making his title "opening" and rehearsing with his brother. I thought great, fun, have a good time. The next thing you know Max is saying, "Well, mommy, you have to video it!" So I sit down and pretend to be video-taping the whole thing and Max demands - "No, mommy, FOR REAL!!!"

So for your viewing pleasure, I present - Max's Cooking show!!