Sunday, March 29, 2009

So, There We Were



I forgot my camera cable so I can't post photos until I get home of the awesome hotel rooms my husband arranged for Ana's overnight birthday party. I am having one of those days where I appreciate my husband and how much he does to make things run smoothly in my life...I guess I should tell him.

Nah.

Anyway, here I am. In a hotel, overnight, with four Tweens, who have, very remarkably, much higher volume and pitch than when the number is less. It's very interesting. I'm sure you are fascinated.

****************

Okay, so that's all the blogging I got done from the party. For some reason, I thought I'd have a lot of time on my hands, because I assumed the girls would be doing their own thing and not want me to be a part of it.

I was right about that part.

I was wrong about how much I would feel I needed to clandestinely supervise them while they were in the swimming pool, though. And not because they weren't all great swimmers--they were.

It was really because of how beautiful they were, with the long, lanky grace of wild colts. And how conscious I was of the responsibility of all that beauty being on my watch. Suddenly, every single male human I saw, with the exception of my husband, scared the bejesus out of me. I didn't really even want the girls swimming in the same POOL as boys.

Honestly, my reaction totally shocked me. It's like right then and there, I officially began to pay for everything I put my parents through as a teenager. Welcome to the rest of my life.

Y'all, this is not going to be pretty. And Ana's only ELEVEN.

I do think that everyone, with the exception of this worried Mama Bear, had a good time. And mercifully, the girls fell asleep at midnight.

After I doubled checked all the locks and stole all of their shoes, so did I.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy"

Got one of those Messages from the Universe yesterday. You now what I mean? I mean when the FSM himself sends you a little course correction because you're verging on becoming a big jerk? (Okay, this might not happen to everyone. YOU are probably NOT on the verge of becoming a big spoiled baby but, well, point that finger right at me. And then give some props to the FSM, who showed me in a very real way that I was about to need a tattoo on my forehead that said VARSITY LOSER.)

See, I was in a terrible mood on Monday. Seriously terrible. My older daughter Ana was home sick, my husband was out of town, my house was a mess and I had the beginnings of a sore throat. I sent the following little sentiment to my good friend MadMad, "I’m just trying to do my six million loads of laundry without putting my head in the oven. Which is electric and therefore not so useful as in instrument of destruction, anyway. Plus, it needs cleaning so I’ll just feel guilty about that, especially considering it’s self cleaning and I ran the self cleaning cycle but just need to wipe it out."

I swear, I just waited the day out, eager for the chance to go to bed and start again. I did laundry. I knitted. I fed my kids and made them pick up the seven million Barbies they had taken out. I put everyone to bed, took the trashcan down the hill, fed the animals and crawled into bed, disgusted with myself for wasting a day on this good earth and for letting my optimism creep into the red zone.

Then, yesterday, my alarm went off and I wandered downstairs and made coffee and checked my e-mail. My husband had sent me a link to this clip from Conan O'Brien. I can't embed it here so you'll actually have to click on it. But please do because the whole rest of my blog post today has to do with it. Go on, you can do it. It's only four minutes and it's FUNNY. (It has a little bleeped out language and an inelegant sentiment expressed right at the end but you know, it's worth it. I would not steer you wrong.)

Click here.


Did you click? Did you laugh?

Y'all, I've been giggling ever since. For example, I went to reboot my laundry and found that I'd accidentally washed a packet of Gu that was in my husband's cycling jersey and it had exploded all over the wash. I was starting to stomp my tiny feet about my cute husband (who, hello, exercises hard so he STAYS cute) and how inconsiderate that he can't empty his pockets when it struck me how ridiculous I was being. I mean, what did I have to do now--go beat an entire load of clothes against rocks in the river to get them clean? Um, no. All I had to do was add some detergent and press a button. Whooooo...I'm suffering now.

So, then I tackled my kitchen. Dudes, I actually had to LOAD DISHES INTO THE DISHWASHER AND PRESS "ON." Honestly. the things I do in the name of good housekeeping.

It occurred to me that I had come down to a nicely warmed house, courtesy of my programmable thermostat which clicks on thirty minutes before my alarm goes off, and raises the temperature so that I don't even need SHOES. I never even think about that--I'm not splitting wood every day or shoveling coal to heat my house. Just pressing a button.

Everything is amazing and I'm such an INGRATE! I take medicine for an illness that would have killed me a hundred years ago (hypothyroidism.) I had two amazing children via c-section because I don't dilate --I would have died in childbirth a hundred years ago. I complain about driving to Queens to see my foot doctor when he's restored my mobility to me and it's not like I'm WALKING to his office or riding a horse or something.


Everything's amazing and I have totally lost my perspective!

So, all day yesterday, I spent being thankful for the many inventions and time saving devices and just flat out cool things that I am so privileged to have in my life. My mom had a successful hip replacement operation and I get to talk to her on the telephone. I received some books from Amazon.com --y'all, books were delivered to my doorstep! My kids took baths in lovely warm water that I didn't have to heat on the stove. I petted my Edward kitty, whom we only have because he has a micro-chip inside of him that led him back to us after a six week furlough. My kids and I did a video conference with my traveling husband across the Internet --got to see his face-- and it was FREE.

We live in the most amazing times. Everything is AMAZING!

And the thing about all this great stuff is that it doesn't take away from the small things that remain timeless sources of happiness--like the perfect stitch on a sock or the way my kids smell after their baths. It's awesomeness heaped on awesomeness.

Everything is AMAZING. And I, for one, am so grateful!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Fun Never Stops

The past month has been a debacle for the Cooper family in terms of health.

Ongoing Plagues:

Ear infections: 4
Flu viruses: 3
Strep throat: 1
Colds: 4

Rounds of antibiotics: five plus one round of Tamiflu

We are only four people and the only thing I'VE had is a cold so you can imagine how sick everyone else has been. Jane has now missed so much school that I am worried I will have to sue the district to get them to promote her into 3rd grade. Ana currently has influenza AND strep throat. She is so sick --and she's my kid who is NEVER sick. She's probably only been on antibiotics ten times in her life and three of those have been in the past month. It's ridiculous.

And then we have the things that can't be so easily categorized. Because, well, of COURSE we do.

Barb's Foot: Which became mysteriously inflamed and resulted in yet another shot into her sinus tarsi cavity just this morning. I now offer to pick up bagels on my way to see my podiatrist in Queen. Every. Single. Saturday.

Scout's Bizarre Psychotic Break: Our completely neurotic cow dog Scout suffered an injury about six weeks ago. His leg has since healed but it has left him a complete emotional cripple. He's afraid of everything. We have to carry him outside. Coop has taken him running twice and dealt with crying for the first leg of the jaunt, which I'm sure makes people think we are sacrificing animals in our back yard. He loves it once he gets moving, though. Or we think he does because he's started watching Coop in happy anticipation. From his bed in the corner, from which he will not move because it is just too freaking scary out in the real world of, say, the kitchen. Dudes, I think we're going to have to look into putting him of doggy Prozac. (Please GOD, don't let the side effects of it be uncontrolled urination. Because you can just imagine what happens whenever we have to pick him up to carry him outside, right? I'm learning to change into old clothes first. Wish I was a quicker learner.)

Anyway, things continue to wax sick and stupid here at Chez Cooper. I am officially ready for Spring to arrive and for us all to get out of this house.

In other news, I have gotten divorced. Oh, no, not from my beloved Coop. I've left the South Beach Diet. You can read about it here (and the comments feature has been fixed. Not that I'm begging for comments or anything.) (Much.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Poor Little One

Today, I picked up Ana from school and she mentioned she had a headache. She asked if she could just lie down for a while until the guests for her party arrived.

Hm.

I took her temperature.

101 degrees.

The long-anticipated hotel birthday extravaganza has been rescheduled for next weekend. The hotel was gracious enough to allow us to simply reschedule, despite the fact that my husband had gone earlier in the day and checked in. The guests were grateful not to have been exposed to the 'flu and agreed to try again next Friday.

But the birthday girl? Heartbroken.

And sick as a dog.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And Now, A Little (Love Thursday) Panic

Tomorrow, I am taking my daughter Ana, newly 11, and four of her friends to an overnight at a hotel. My husband and our younger daughter Jane (8) will join us for swimming in the evening and then he'll bring her home and it will just be me. With five Tweens for whom I am responsible.

Y'all, I don't even LIKE children.


Okay, okay, that's a big lie. I'm just panicking. I DO actually like children a lot, especially the birthday girl in this little scenario. I like her so much, in fact, that just now, I completely lost my mind and made her dessert sushi at her request.

To make dessert sushi, (an idea I totally stole from here) you make a batch of Rice Krispie Treats:



and then you press them out onto a greased cookie sheet.

You place gummi worms on the Rice Krispie treat mixture horizontally and roll the treats over the worms.

I had problems with my Rice Krispie mixture falling apart and what worked best for me was to press the heck out of it. Then you cut it into slices and wrap the little slices with fruit froot roll-ups.

Then, for a change of pace, you can make some little eggs of Rice Krispie stuff and wrap them a different way.

If you work diligently, you'll end up with a tray that looks like this:

I was going to make some "wasabi" out of white chocolate tinted green but then decided I was getting too obsessive and I shouldn't spend hours on something that really wouldn't matter to anyone.

(Right.)

(Sigh.)

But anyway, back to my panic. I have assembled some really awesome spa bags for the girls with bath pillows and nail polish and facial scrubs and all kinds of other cool girly pampering stuff and I have stuff for them to eat. I figure everyone will meet at our house and we'll have pizza and then I'll drive them all to the hotel. We'll swim. We'll come back to the room for cake and presents and then...

And then...um...then we'll...

Well, I don't know WHAT we'll do.

Send help and/or room service if you haven't heard from me by Sunday.

Monday, March 16, 2009

New Post

I have a new post up on the Getting Healthy blog. It's a little ditty on the South Beach Diet, Barb Style. Click here to go there if you would like to hear me whine even more about my diet.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Live Smurf Walking ON TREADMILL

I think this video of my inaugural walk on the treadmill after two plus years away says it all.



I hear crying is very aerobic.

Y'all, if you can, go take a race walk around your kitchen and yell, "YAHOO!" on my behalf. I just can't put into words what this means to me. After extensive foot reconstruction and two years of pain with every step, THIS is what I've been working toward.

I ended up walking for 18:17 which my treadmill said was one mile. Our treadmill doesn't measure quite right but since it's the only measure I have, I'm going with that. And I didn't use an I-Pod or a movie or any other distraction. I just walked along, beaming. I swear, I lit up the whole freaking basement with my smile.

I'm feeling very lucky and so grateful for my good doctors.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Some Good With Some Bad

I went to Queens to pick up my new orthotics yesterday. I was so anxious, I couldn't sleep the night before, which is an indication of how excited I am to finally have an answer, and an END, to my chronic pain. One thing I didn't even remotely consider, though, is that something would be wrong with the orthotics. But that's what happened. The orthotics are too narrow in the toe so it's kind of like wearing flip-flops where your toes hang off the edge. The orthotics have to be sent back. My doctor sent me home with them to try walking around to see if anything else needed adjusting and I think he may also have to tune up the mechanism in the orthotic itself. My plan is to travel back to Queens tomorrow morning and turn the orthotics back in and get taped for the coming week.

I will admit to you all that I was just flattened when the orthotics didn't work like magic on the first try. (I know I said that I wasn't pinning too much hope on them but...I lied.) After I'd had a snack, I realized that my whole situation has changed drastically from the days of despair I was feeling back in early February. I have tasted living pain free and I know I can get back there again. It's totally different than when I thought chronic pain was simply my lot in life. If I have to tape my foot every day for the rest of my life to be a functioning, active adult again, so be it.

So, I'll keep ya posted.

Today marks my first official weigh-in on the South Beach Diet and I lost four pounds in the first week. The first phase of the diet is pretty restrictive, no bread, fruit, or other starchy grains. No alcohol (I KNOW!). The goal of it is to break you free from your dependence on processed, high fat, sugary foods.

I didn't actually maim anyone or commit any other felonies, and now I'm over the worst of the cravings and hunger. I didn't cheat ONCE. (For me, once I cheat on a diet, it's like the thin edge of the wedge...then, the next time I can justify a little more cheating, etc. until I'm not even following the diet. I really want to take back my body so I seem to have some added discipline this time. I even stopped taking Flintstones vitamins because of the sugar!) This marks the first time since some time in the eighties when I have gone on a diet and stuck to it for more than...well, um, half a day. (Hey! Weight Watchers Online! I want my six million dollars back!)

Honestly, it was an AWESOME exercise in looking at how my eating had evolved (or DEvolved, I guess) into grabbing a slice of bread or a handful of chips instead of planning a nutritious meal for myself. Dudes, I don't know when I started treating myself like a total aside but that's certainly what I've been doing. When you're eating the half-eaten bagel that your daughter didn't finish as your own breakfast, you are officially an afterthought.

And it was really good for me to feel so strong and healthy and resolute --it made me proud of myself that I could serve everyone in the family Ana's birthday cake and not feel like I was entitled to a piece. Because you know what I'm entitled to? I am entitled to feel good again in my skin. So, even though there were a good four days there when I hated everyone in the whole world and was using some language (in my head) that I didn't even know I KNEW, at the end of this first week, I find that I like MYSELF a little bit better. Go me!

(A big thank you to my friends Tiffany and Gerri, who actually encouraged me to vent to them, and obsess to them and to act, in general, like the spastic, OCD, crazy person I am. Tiff did tactfully add me to the contributors on her blog devoted to getting healthy in an effort to spare my regular readers from all this kvetching. Isn't she nice?)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Day My Life Changed Forever


Dear Ana,

Today you turn eleven years old. This birthday feels like a huge milestone for me, as your birthdays have every year before and will every year to come. Each year, your birthday makes my heart grow (like the Grinch), in ways I never could have imagined it would. As you celebrate your birthday, I also celebrate the wonderful daughter you are and the amazing person you have become over the last eleven years.

I thought I might try to capture you as you are in this moment so that no matter what happens in the future, you'll always have something to read to remember how much I love and admire you and hold out every hope for you. How proud I am to be your mother. How blessed I feel every time I look at you.

Things I love about you:

  • The way you're not a morning person and you still have a gorgeous little half smile for me when I come to wake you up.

  • Your amazing sense of humor and the fact that you use it to diffuse tense situations, like, hypothetically speaking, when I threaten to go nuts over some small thing.

  • The way you love things so fully, with all of your heart. (Thomas is a lucky, lucky kitty.)

  • That serious, intent, assessing gaze of yours.

  • That your first instinct is always of kindness, even with your little sister. (But, Ana? It's okay to give IN to that first instinct occasionally with regard to Jane. No points will be deducted. Just...you know... sayin'.)

  • That you are the most ticklish person I've ever known.

  • Your amazing brain. You haven't been challenged at school this year --a fact your father and I have lost sleep over --but still you show me all the time how big that brain of yours is. I like watching you memorize things faster than I can even read them. I love that you read the four Twilight books in four days. I can't wait until you stop phoning it in at school and we get to see what that engine can really do.

  • Your long hands and fingers and the way you play piano.

  • That you are incapable of hurrying but insist that you are going as fast as you can. (I can't help it. I makes me laugh. And exasperates me to no end. But mostly, it makes me laugh.)

  • The way you keep a little candy stash in your nightstand, just in case of emergencies. (You show remarkable restraint regarding it, so just forget that I know about it. So will I.)

  • Your laughing eyes.

  • Your sense of style and how it's not dependent on what anyone else is wearing.

  • The fact that you quote my book to me all the time. I know, I know...I feel a little sheepish mentioning it. But it's such a gift to me that you read what I write and you internalize it. It helps me to think that you understand the intent behind my imperfect parenting.

  • The fact that you still ask me to read to you, occasionally.

  • That when you love something, you want to collect it and take it to your room and make it a little house. (Okay, I love this trait of yours for what it says about you but we are going to have to figure out a way to contain your collections because your room is FULL. FULL, I say.)

  • That you are happy in your own skin --enough to be silly, enough to poke gentle fun at yourself, enough to stand by what you want and believe, regardless of outside pressure.

I don't know, it's hard to sum up a person in a few words. Since the very beginning, you have been the calmest, most serene and innately wise person I've ever met. And right now, with you so poised on the runway of young adulthood--so beautiful, smart, kind and strong --my heart does a funny little jump whenever I see you.

Happy Birthday, my love. Thank you for being my daughter.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sadistic Massage for Everyone!

Thank you all so much for loving my mommy. She came through the hip replacement surgery very well and I even got to talk to her for a few minutes yesterday. (And may I just say if the South Beach Diet came with the kind of drugs my mom is on, the whole experience would be a LOT more pleasant. Or maybe it wouldn't but who would care?)

Today I went to a 2.5 hours of neuromuscular therapy, which is basically, a really sadistic form of massage apparently combining a tiny bit of Swedish massage and a fist-fight plus a few sharp implements.

It's unbelievable. Because it hurt-- oh my gosh, it really did -- but she got movement out of my foot that I haven't seen since before my surgery in March of 2007. Y'all, I can do FOOT CIRCLES. I didn't know that was even possible, given the three screws in my foot. She used this wooden implement thing that I told her I was going to kidnap and take home and set on fire but that thing has some sort of MAGIC in it. And then she pointed out all these other areas of my body that have been affected by the rigidity of my foot and that was quite the eye-opener. (And more pummeling.)

Naturally, I now think that EVERYONE should go for neuromuscular therapy. I felt TALLER walking out of there. The therapist said she could tell from my posture and alignment that I get migraines. "I can help you with that," she said and she was dead confident.

I'm going to be going to her weekly until we get some of the kinks out of this old body and I retrain my muscles to walk like a normal person. I think it's the missing piece to my treatment. Like now we've found the structural cause of my pain and we have one piece in place for treating the bones and now we have to build up the soft tissue that supports the bones and correct all the funky alignment I've developed while trying to compensate for the pain I had just walking.

Of course, it's not covered by insurance, so that might cut into the idea I have that we should all have someone take a look at our alignment. But yowsa, it was truly amazing. If I can figure out a better way to describe it, I'll let you know.

So, the thing about my massage therapist is that she lives with chronic pain. She has Fibromyalgia AND MS, and while she has bad days, she is actively continuing her search to find ways to live BETTER and with less pain. Just like my friend Laurie. Just like the Pasta Queen. What continues to surprise me is how many people live in chronic pain and are managing it because there just aren't any answers for them. I feel like I should do something on their behalf, having now had a pretty good schooling in the shades of chronic pain.

Because what this experience has taught me more than anything else is that suffering in silence is not the answer, and there are a lot of people out there doing just that.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday, Monday

This is a momentous week at Casa Cooper. Lots of big doings.

For starters, even as I write this, my mother is having hip replacement surgery in Dallas. It's her second hip replacement so it's not entirely terrifying but any surgery like this is fraught with danger and so my heart is splitting time between New York and Dallas. The girls and I are planning to send her a little something every day, starting today since she will be home from the hospital on Thursday. (Ah, the caring, nurturing side of insurance that allows such an EXTENDED stay in the hospital after such a major ordeal. Yeah, NOT. I'm telling you, there is a special place in hell for the people who make those insurance rules.) I'm thinking about yarn and photographs but I'd love suggestions if you have them.

For seconds, Friday will mark our New York Anniversary. On March 13th, 2008, Coop and I loaded up four animals and flew to Newark, rented a van and brought everyone (except our children who were in Dallas with my mom) home. I had promised myself that I would reserve judgment on our new state (the state of New York, that is, not my MENTAL state) until we'd been here a year. Now I'm not sure even THAT is fair since, for me, the last 12 months have been a Big Life Lesson in living with chronic pain. It's colored everything, you know? I don't have many friends here and I think it's because dealing with the pain, plus the resulting depression, have led me to give in to my hermit impulses. The weird thing about being shy, at least for me, is that while my first instinct is to make a little cocoon for myself and just stay there, I'm really happier when I've got some good girlfriends with whom to pal around. It's starting to happen, but I think it's slower than if I had been healthy and un-depressed over our first year here in New York.

Bigger even than both of those things is Ana's Birthday, which falls on Wednesday and, for the first time in her life, it will not be during Spring Break. She'll be eleven. She already got a new bicycle (because my husband is too little to have his own money and access to a bike store) and we're going to use some points to take her and three of her friends to a hotel overnight where we will swim and paint our nails and put on silly facial masks and tell ghost stories and maybe play cards. (Actually, I don't really know what we will be doing because I haven't figured that out yet.)

And then, of course, I pick up my new orthotics on Thursday. I am pinning a lot of hope on those things and some of you have expressed concern that perhaps I'm pinning TOO MUCH hope of them. It's true. I'm very hopeful that I'm going to get them and then a walk around the block will not be out of the question. But even if they don't work, I had several weeks there without any pain due to the taping of my foot so I KNOW something can be done. It makes such a huge difference when you know there is some relief to be had. You can bear anything if you know there is an end in sight.

I'll be keeping y'all posted on all counts,
Barb

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Some Dieting, Some Knitting, Some Boredom

(If you do not care about my diet or my knitting, you should just skip this whole post because it's not so entertaining even for people who are interested.) (Although, if you want to scroll down, there's a good picture of my cute husband at the bottom.)

I promised not to make this a weight loss blog, didn't I?

I meant it, I really did. I know y'all are much more interested in my knitting --speaking of which, look at this picture of Edward modeling the present I knitted for my friend Two-N-Anna. (As always, click to embiggen.) I think it may be the best thing I've knitted so far, but we knitters always think that. (Because I know some of you really DO come here for the knitting: that's Manos del Uruguay silk blend in 3106 Autumn. The pattern is something that's been going around my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) and I don't know to whom I should attribute it. BUT, I will tell you that it's fairly easy and also, that it doesn't look good in every colorway. I was so enamored of the colorway 3120 Oliveway, that I bought it and immediately cast on a second scarf and it looked like what happened the time that my ridiculous cowdog Scout ate an entire skein of Noro Kureyon and then had the world's largest furball EVER. (Sorry, was that too much information? Too much of a visual? I'm sorry. I'm dieting and cranky. Please forgive me.))

Here's another picture of the scarf in progress. If you would like the pattern, e-mail me and I'll send it to you.

The fun thing about the scarf is that my mom was here and she knitted the same one in a different colorway for a friend of HERS. And it was sort of magical and wonderful to have a little knit-along with my mother. I think she liked it, too because we're going to do it again. I can't seem to convince her to try socks but we have found a project to knit together over the distance anyway. She's having a second hip replacement on Monday and while she's recovering, we're both going to knit blankets. We found this yarn we love (another Manos, this one a variegated brown from the Clasica line) and are working on what patterns we will do. Mom is going to do big squares and sew them together. I thought I'd try knitting the whole thing at once but I am about to rip mine out for the third time now because I haven't quite gotten exactly what I want yet.

But that's okay because I have lots of time to knit because I'm not, you know, having any other fun. Not drinking wine. Not eating chocolate, or anything else with sugar in it. Not eating bread.

About the South Beach Diet and why I chose it: I chose the SB diet because it's a healthy diet (a lot of people lump it in with Atkin's but it is not the same) and it works with my particular dieting style. I don't have to weigh or measure anything as long as I stick to the food list (at least these first two weeks) and that's a good thing for me. Food isn't so much my problem, anyway --except that I would sell my soul for freshly baked goods --it's more the lack of exercise that's caused my weight gain. I hope to begin to remedy that as soon as I get my orthotics on Thursday.

(Would you all mind just looking upward and saying a fervent prayer to the FSM (or your pasta deity of choice) that the orthotics work and I can go for a walk or work in my garden or...well, GET OFF THIS COUCH soon?)

At any rate, I think it's working because after two whole (interminable) days, I already have less of a belly. Maybe.

Plus it feels good to be doing something and to be exercising my discipline that has lain fallow for at least the past Year of Pain. I feel energized by this new resolve of mine--on Friday, I actually submitted some writing for publication! (Not to a PAYING publication or anything, but still.)

My husband, who does not believe in dieting, has managed not to say a single negative word about my latest endeavor and indeed, went to the grocery store and stocked up for me. I love a man who can both hold his tongue AND navigate the grocery store on a Saturday. Dude ROCKS.

He does believe in discipline, though, as evidenced by this photo of him about to set out on his bike ride yesterday. Dude rocks HARD. (Plus, it doesn't hurt that he looks so good in Spandex.)
The snow seems to be finally melting away from the last snow storm, which was a bit much, even for me.

Friday, March 06, 2009

So Far, No (Real) Casualties

(Unless you count my dignity. No big loss.)

Okay, then, I've been on the South Beach Diet for three hours and forty one minutes and yes, I do have quite the headache, thank you. Do you know why? Because black coffee with Splenda tastes like BASS. You know what I'm sayin'? I think you do.

To the guy behind me in the drop-off lane at Ana's school: Listen, BrotherMucker, I drive a Honda Odyssey with electronic doors. If I try to close the door after I've put the car into drive, the door will not close AND an alarm sounds that is so annoying it makes me want to get out of the car with a baseball bat and bash the snit out of anything within earshot. So if you can't wait the twenty-bucking-seconds it takes for my car door to close before I drive forward and out of your way AND you insist on honking at me, THAT WILL BE YOU.

(All this homicidal rage must be burning a few calories, don't you think?)

Want to see what I had for breakfast? I KNOW YOU WILL SAY YES.

(I actually ate two of them but I only have one shot glass to use as an egg cup.) (I just amused myself for at least three whole minutes trying to come up with a name for a drink that looked like this, served in a shot glass.) (I've lost my mind, clearly.)

And just now I ate this:

I bought it yesterday for Ana, because she loves (incredibly overpriced) orange bell peppers (and her birthday IS next week) but I hadn't read the South Beach Diet book yet and didn't realize that the carrots I bought for myself were forbidden.

What kind of smothertucking diet outlaws CARROTS? I ask you.

I ask you again, shaking my head.

ANSWER ME!

A BAD diet. A bad, bad, horrible diet, that's what kind.

So why am I doing it, you ask?

Because the shortest distance between me and my favorite skinny jeans is apparently through PRISON.

What's for lunch?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tapping Into My Jeans

While I was just hanging out, suffering through this cold, I got interested in this blog called PastaQueen.com. The Pasta Queen, aka Jennette Fulda, is a young woman who once weighed 372 pounds and lost literally half of herself over two-plus-some-change years. I read her entire archives because I got sort of invested in her. I like her writing voice. I like her approach to everything from weight-loss to life. I like that she's a smart woman. And now I'm concerned about her because she's had a headache for over a year. The same headache. For more than one year.

Which is chronic pain, right? I know a little something about that but dudes, I think hers is worse. I mean, I could get off of my foot and almost stop the pain. What do you do with a chronic headache?

(Confession: I sent her an idea to explore in trying to find a cure for her headache even though she basically threatens to file a restraining order on people who keep suggesting stuff. But I hadn't heard anyone suggest this (and she's compiled quite a list of the things that people have suggested) so I sent her a note telling her about how poor eye-hand coordination, plus slow reading, plus headaches sometimes equals a visual tracking issue (like where your eyes don't move at the same speed or focus at the same speed, for example) and can sometimes be remedied by vision therapy. Vision therapy is something that hasn't made it into the mainstream here in the US but in other countries, there has been a lot of research and acceptance of the practice. So I sent her that idea and I'm sure she hates me now and has blocked my IP address from ever contacting her again.)

Anyway, I digress. (Imagine!) Basically, every challenge that has been set before the Pasta Queen, I can sort of relate to on a smaller scale. She has a dysfunctional relationship with food (check), she has strange feet (check--I might have her trumped in this instance), she has weight to lose (check), she deals with chronic pain (check --although I am hoping that might soon be nearing an end. My orthotics can be picked up next week!), she can't keep Kashi Go Lean cereal in the house (check), she uses the word "y'all"--we could be twins. Except that I'm old enough to be her mother. And she's single. And mathy. And tall.

BUT ANYWAY, I'm rooting for her.

Plus, she made me think. I went looking for "motivation" to start my diet an I found this. Which made me, um, feel incredibly stupid and smack my head hard like a V-8 commercial. I mean, how common sense is it to say, "dude, motivation may or may not come. What you need is DISCIPLINE."?

Oh.

I just honestly never thought of that before. I seriously thought that I would be hit by a bolt of energy thus revealing to me that it is TIME TO START MY COMEBACK and you wouldn't have been able to drag me off of the exercise equipment.

Um, I don't think it's going to happen.

Get off the couch, Barb and DO SOMETHING. Use that German discipline for something besides keeping up with the laundry. The motivation will take care of itself. Find the DISCIPLINE you need to go forward.

So, the Pasta Queen has this great picture of herself on the cover of her book (I KNOW, a blogger who got a book deal! We could be twins except...well... Sigh.) standing in one leg of her fat pants.

I am WEARING my fat pants.

But see these jeans? These jeans are my all time favorite jeans ever. Size 8, J. Crew, button fly. I bought them when Coop and I were dating and dudes, if jeans could talk, these jeans could write an entire BOOK of fun memories and falling in love and feeling at home in my skin. (How much do you want to bet that my JEANS get a book deal before I do?) I loved them so much that I couldn't get rid of them, even when we packed up our entire house and moved to New York and I got rid of darn near everything else.

Oddly enough, I remember the last time I wore them. It was my 35th birthday party. Two days later I found out I was pregnant with Jane and I never got in shape enough to wear them again.

Well, I just turned 44. I would like to wear them again for my 45th birthday party.

This may not be feasible or realistic but that's my goal. I can always adjust as I get closer to the day. I think I have about 30 pounds to lose and an entire body of muscle to rediscover. Seriously, I'm not sure even my fingers have any muscle tone. I've been on the couch for most of two years.

So, we'll see. I've already started the food reduction plan, but I will probably follow some sort of plan like Jennette did when I start my official exercise program next week, upon receipt of my orthotics. I promise not to turn this blog into a weight-loss blog but I WILL post updates periodically if y'all are interested. Maybe I'll back date them or something.

I'm off to do some sit-ups!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ski Pants and Vaporizers

Brace yourselves: I have been too sick to blog.

I KNOW! I didn't think that was possible either but there ya go.

I blogged a lot to you all in my head but I still haven't refined my mechanism for Telepathic Blogging so y'all probably didn't get those transmissions. There was some good stuff there. I'll try to recreate over the next few days. I wish I was a better note taker. I just found a scrap of paper on which I have written, "What's with all the hvelswiffin?" I'm sure that would have been a hilarious blog post, written under the influence of cold medicine and all, but darn if I know what I was talking about.

As, well, not an aside, really, but just an extraneous whine: why is it that when I get a cold here in New York, it ends up being the Mucus Producing Scourge of Death and Fatigue and Dry Skin for Days on End? Seriously, are there no SNIFFLES in New York? Must every cold threaten to send one of my lungs flying out through my nose?

In addition to this new development where I cough so hard that I have to sit down, exhausted, while brushing my hair, the other news on the Cooper front is that we had more than a foot of snow on Sunday. Schools were even closed on Monday! We were so primed for fun--only not really because we were all so sick. Coop has also been sick with a cold-- one so invasive that he ended up with an ear infection and on antibiotics. That means three of the four Coopers were on antibiotics at the same time for ear infections! Dudes, you can't BUY that kind of glamour!

Anyway, I hope to return with ever-so-witty musings about, well, SOMETHING very soon. Meanwhile, I leave you with a picture that epitomizes what really happens when Texans move to New York.


"Y'all kin have yer blizzard but we air still grillin' steaks, dammit." All hail Steak Night!