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Friday, December 23, 2011

Is it 5:00 PM yet?

I hate working on days like this where I just want the clock to speed up so I can hurry and get on with things.  My office-mate is already off for HER holidays (and she's coming back the day after me too-not that I'm keeping track or anything).  How can it only be 10:30 AM?  Ugh!

I really love Christmas, but I think it might be making me a little crazy.  How's that, you ask?  Well, here's the deal.  In my mind the Christmas season has come and gone and I haven't had the chance to enjoy it yet.  I've been too busy working.  I wanted to take it easy, but work got busier and busier.  Yes, I've done some Christmas stuff, but it doesn't really feel like Christmas when I'm sitting in my office.  So it will all be over in just a few hours and I feel like I haven't had a chance to enjoy it yet.  It hasn't even happened and I think I've already missed it.

See!  I told you.  Crazy.

I wonder how many other things in life I do this with.  I know it happens every time I take a vacation.  I spend the whole week thinking that I wish I had more time, that I don't want to go back to work, that I have so much I should be doing and that I need more free time.  How much of my life do I treat as if it has already happened because I'm afraid of missing it?

Part of my complaint is legitimate.  I do work a lot.  I know I'm lucky to have a job (two of them actually).  Although my kids' dad is in the picture, I am the one who does the lion's share of the childcare.  My fella, their dad, is working quite sporadically right now.  His employment has been tenuous for a long time.  He didn't work at all in 2010.  At one point this year he had three jobs, but was still only working about 25 hours a week and that only lasted a month or so.  It drives me crazy to go off to work day after day when I know that my "partner" isn't putting in the same effort.  Right now he is teaching himself to make cheese.  Fucking cheese!  I don't have enough free time to pluck my eyebrows and he's making CHEESE!

I didn't intend this post to turn into a rant about that.  Ignore the previous paragraph.  All I wanted to say was that I am somewhat justified in feeling a little resentful about spending all my waking hours working, but that doesn't explain why I am already feeling the post-holiday melancholia set in on December 23rd!

Is it because I know that nothing ever really lives up to the hype?  Christmas, no matter how wonderful, is still just a day like any other.

And you want to know what else?  Losing all the weight is the same thing.

Do you fantasize about how life will be when you finally lose the weight?  I know I sure did.  Of course I knew intellectually that losing weight wouldn't make life perfect, but I didn't really think about how difficult it would sometimes be to maintain the weight loss.  I should have since I have lost weight before and always gained it back and then some, but I guess I thought it would be easier after surgery.

And the fact is that it is easier sometimes, but sometimes it is quite hard and I just want to throw up my hands and eat peppermint bark and sugar cookies like I used to.  I used to be able to eat and I wouldn't even think.  Eating was a way of tuning out all the thoughts.  For the few minutes that I spent putting food in my mouth, I could permit myself to have as much as I wanted.  I could pretend there were no consequences.  I sometimes still overeat unplanned things, but it just isn't the same.

I feel fat.   I thought those days were over.  A couple of weeks ago I looked at myself in the mirror and I like what I saw.  Now I feel like my pants are cutting into my skin.  I gained two pounds.  I have been careful with my food since I saw the two pound gain on the scale.  I weighed myself again and I was up another pound!  I think it is because I am ovulating, but what if I really gained even more?  Ugh!  I hoped to never see 170 on the scale again and there it was.  In truth I deserved the two pound gain.  I was eating between meals and not being careful with food choices at all, but I thought after a week of carefully logging my food, I'd see a loss.  Probably not the whole two pounds, but some of it.  So I feel fat and suddenly I'm afraid of re-gaining all the weight.  I feel like it isn't within my control at all, which of course is absurd, but there you go.

Did I really think that once I hit goal I would effortlessly maintain the loss for the rest of my life?  Worse, did I think I'd then be able to eat whatever I wanted without worrying about re-gaining the weight?

I don't know.

So I'm watching the clock.  It is 11:05 AM now.  I'm wishing to be somewhere else, wishing I wasn't working.   I'll be on vacation next week.  I will have to work a bit, but I hope to get some R&R time too.  I wanted to have some R&R time with food, I guess.  I didn't want to feel all freaked out about food going into the holiday.  I wanted to feel confident and self-assured like I normally do so I can make good food choices and have a little guilt-free splurge here and there. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Answering MandaPanda's question

MandaPanda wrote a thought-provoking post today asking the question,

Have YOU made the mental changes necessary for long term success?
I'm nearly two years post-op.  I've been at goal for over a year.  I've lost 115 lbs.  I think maintenance is more difficult than losing weight was, at least for me.  So how do I answer MandaPanda's question?
Dear Lord I sincerely hope I have changed!  I used to be pretty nuts about food.  I thought about eating all the time - what I was eating, what I should be eating, what I shouldn't be eating, what I wanted to be eating.  When I wasn't thinking about food, I was thinking about my weight.  If I happened to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, my first thought as my foot hit the carpet was, "I am so fat.  I need to lose weight.".  I tried all sorts of diets, exercise programs, binging and purging, Overeaters Anonymous, binging and starving, binging and binging.  I read self-help books and diet books.  I saw several therapists and talked and talked and talked about it. I took medication.  I went through eating disorder out-patient treatment.  I felt out of control with food.  Although I was generally fairly happy, I was miserable when it came to food/weight issues.  I felt helpless, hopeless.  I was certain that I would end up weighing 500 lbs if I let myself eat the way I wanted. 

I don't feel like that now.  I don't think I'll end up fat.  I seldom want to overeat.  Sometimes I want to make less-than stellar food choices and in truth sometimes I do make less-than stellar food choices, but I don't beat myself up about it.  I don't feel out of control.  It isn't all black and white anymore.  I'm not "fat" and my food choices aren't "bad".  Sometimes I chose foods that lack nutritional content, but it isn't a reflection of my value as human being as it once was.  My brain changed when I had surgery.  I don't know how or why, but it did and I'm so grateful!
I think I knew that having surgery was doing something about the problem so I could quit beating myself up.  Even when I was still overweight, I knew I was losing weight and I felt confident that I could keep it up.  I think one of the reasons that I was successful was that I refused to think of it as a temporary diet.  I made choices and continue to make choices that I believe I can sustain throughout my life.  I don't do typical "diet" sort of behaviors like weighing and measuring my food.  I only log my food when I am struggling and want to get back on track.  I eat "normal" foods like full-fat dairy products.  I avoid sugar-free, fat-free foods like the plague.  My Lap-band keeps my portions reasonable.  As long as I eat at mealtimes and avoid snacking, my weight stays the same.  I exercise every day, but in a very moderate sort of way.  

So yes, I do think I've changed or am changing enough to continue being successful.  I recently noticed I was eating more than normal - snacking, eating unplanned desserts.  Instead of it turning into a December-long binge, I start logging my food.  Amazing how that simple action can change how I feel!  It's tools like these that make me confident that I can do it into the future!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Re-heating my lunch..

Do you do that?  Heat your lunch over and over  as it grows cold?  And I don't really eat all that slowly.  I just take "breaks" while I wait for the food to go down.

I'm sitting at my desk wishing I wasn't at work today.  I'll be on vacation between Christmas and New Years.  I've done pretty much everything I need to do for the rest of the month.

Do you know what I did a little bit ago?  I booked a hotel for five nights in Disneyland next summer!  I sure hope I can save enough money between now and then 'cuz I just paid for a hotel room IN ADVANCE!  I get an extra paycheck twice a year and this happens to be one of the months when that happens so I bit the bullet and made our Disneyland trip that we've been talking about official.  Crap!

Those of you who have read my blog for awhile know that I work a full-time job and also have my own small property management company.  I've had two clients for a few years and I just added another property.  The owner of that property has another house we might add too.  Plus I've done some free-lance stuff.  I also have talked to a few other people that could turn into more accounts.  Yeah me!  I had an email this morning on another house we might be able to manage.  Damn, I'd sure like to just work for myself and not have to keep working for someone else.  Someday!

On the Lap-band note, I am writing a food diary.  I don't usually log my food.  I lost 115 lbs. without logging my food most of the time.  I've maintained for a year without logging most of the time, BUT I feel like I need to.  I've been snacking more than usual.  I see something that looks good and I just eat it without a thought.  Then I feel a little ashamed of myself.  I've also gained about two pounds so I'm hoping that a little tune-up before Christmas is just what I need to get back on track and survive the holidays.  I'm also trying to drink more water.  It is so cold that my water consumption has slowed quite a bit.  I've probably been drinking about 50 ounces a day.  In warmer weather, I'd easily drink 100 ounces.  So now I'm drinking more and I get a bunch more exercise running to the bathroom all damn day!

Anyhoozle - I guess that's about it!  Happy Thursday! 

Monday, December 12, 2011


I love Christmas.  I really do.  This is my favorite time of the year.  I love the music.  I love the decorations.  I love buying gifts.  I love getting together with my family.  I love that people make an attempt to ebrace the spirit of the season. 

There's 13 days until Christmas and I just want to throw on the brakes!  I have worked so much in the last few weeks.  I am afraid Christmas will be here and gone before I get a chance to actually enjoy myself. 

And truth be told I am taking today to feel a little sorry for myself.  Tomorrow I will tell myself to knock it off and quit bellyacheing.  Tomorrow I will be grateful for all that I have - healthy kids, a good job, presents under the tree, but today I'm peeling some sour grapes. 

I'm not getting a Christmas bonus even though our company is making plenty of money.  It is all being funneled to an expensive construction project.  I know many people don't even have jobs, let alone Christmas bonuses.  Tomorrow I'll go back to feeling grateful, but today I am pissed off that I am working my ass off and not getting a Christmas bonus. 

I've already bitched about my former tenant.  I decided to send her a portion of her deposit.  I charged for the cleaning and lawn care she should have done, but I didn't charge for her breaking the lease.  I just wasn't up to the fight.  I'll still probably get hauled into court over it so I'm listing it in my litany of complaints.  Tomorrow I'll be grateful that the crazy bitch is gone.  Today I am sulky and resentful.

My car's brakes are making a God-awful noise.  I was actually planning on doing some car maintenance this month since we'll be taking two driving trips after Christmas, but I wasn't really planning on a brake job.  Tomorrow I'll be grateful to have a reliable car, but today I am pissed about the crappy timing.

I have spent too much money on Christmas and I'm not done shopping yet.  I set a budget every year and I save all year to have enough money for gifts.  I should have stuck within the budget.  Tomorrow I will be grateful that I had money for gifts, but today I'm feling broke.

I think that's it for now.  I'm sure tomorrow I'll think of something else, but of course I'll be feeling so grateful then that I won't want to go there. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not a great day

I completely lost my head today.  Last May I had a new tenant move into my duplex.  I live in one half and the other side is a rental.  My fella really didn't want me to rent to this lady.  She was on Section 8 (a rent subsidy) and social security disability.  He felt like she was a typical welfare mom.  Of course these are all reasons that would be highly illegal if I were to chose not to rent to her.  Well, not the Section 8 voucher.  I have no obligation to rent to someone on Section 8, but I've always had good luck with the program in the past since they help out with any issues that come up and the rent payment is guaranteed.

When I was talking with the Section 8 coordinator she essentially told me not to rent to this lady.  She wouldn't say why.  I tried really hard to disapprove the application, but her references were good and her credit was good.  She met the criteria.  Frankly I was afraid to turn her down because she is African American and I didn't want to be accused of discrimination.  Let me be clear that I don't give a shit about race.  I was, however, very concerned that her Section 8 worker was telling me to screen her very carefully, but wouldn't say why.  So I screened her carefully and there were no issues with her application.

So she moved in.  She was mostly a good tenant.  She was away most of the summer.  Really my only complaint was that her boyfriend would come and stay for one to two weeks every other week or so and he has a really, really loud voice.  So loud that I could hear him whenever he spoke.  I've never really heard any of my previous tenants and I didn't hear the woman.  Just Loud Boyfriend. 

In September my tenant had a huge fight with Loud Boyfriend.  I didn't say anything.  Loud Boyfriend was there for most of September (which is a huge no-no on Section 8).  I didn't say anything.  In October I went away for the weekend and when I came home, my fella told me that there had been another fight and that he'd called the police.  My daughters corroborated the story.

So I issued a disturbance notice and told her she needed to submit a rental application for Loud Boyfriend since he had exceeded his guest status.  I met with my tenant and she complained (as she had previously) that my fella doesn't like her, he's a jerk, blah, blah.  I replied that she still needed to refrain from having fights and needed to register Loud Boyfriend if she wanted him to stay with her.

She came back a week or so later and was really upset that my fella doesn't like her and that he'd called the police.  She'd already confirmed that the fights had actually occurred, but she was so upset that he'd called the police.  She was afraid that I didn't like her or that her kids were too loud.  I assured her everything was fine so long as she took care of the problems and didn't continue having unauthorized people staying with her.  She came back a few days later and wanted me to agree to terminate her lease.

I was torn.  I really wanted her to move out and I knew that she would leave when her lease was up because her oldest son had moved out so Section 8 wouldn't let her stay in a three bedroom.  But the timing was totally crappy.  If my apartment was vacant, I would have to pay the mortgage without the rent payment and would potentially have costs to get the place ready for a new tenant.  This doesn't make for a very happy Christmas.  I finally decided to let her go, but I reminded her that her lease has an early termination penalty of one extra month's rent and so she may not get her security deposit back.  Her response was, "Why can't people ever think of me and my family?  Why do people only think of themselves?"  Barf.

So she moved out yesterday.  She left the place pretty clean, but she didn't mow the lawn or pick up her cigarette butts.  She didn't clean the oven or wipe out the cabinets and drawers.  It wasn't horrible, but it did take us six hours to clean up.  She also showed up at my office today to ask about getting her deposit back.  I told her I would mail her an accounting within 30 days.  I told her I was having it cleaned and there would be some charges.  I said I didn't know if I would charge her the lease termination fee since I didn't know what my costs would be yet.

And basically I lost my head.  I didn't keep my cool.  She accused my fella of being a racist.  She said she was going to sue me.  I was shaking so hard and yelling at her that she left it filthy and that because of her attitude I was going to charge the lease penalty and she'd be getting a big fat bill.

Not my best moment.  I'm still upset.  And I don't think I was wrong.  I really think she is just someone who plays the system and who works all these programs to get whatever she can.  When she doesn't get what she wants, then she's being discriminated against according to her. 


Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Last year on December 8th (which I realize is tomorrow but whatever), I hit my weight loss goal of losing 100 lbs. (45.4 kg.). 

Except I actually didn't.  I expected to.  I thought I would.  I wrote several posts in anticipation of my Wednesday weigh in and then when I got on the scale, I was shy by a few ounces.

So what the hell, I put up the goal posts anyway.  The following week, I actually did hit goal.  A year later, I'm about 15 lbs. lighter than my original goal. 

December 2009 - 280 lbs.

December 2010 - 180 lbs.

Now - 165 lbs.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Finish Line

I did a 5K on Thanksgiving morning, followed by swimming at the local swim park.  My niece, sister, and daughters and I have done this two years in a row as a good way to do something healthy on a traditional food holiday.  I'm not a runner; I walked the 5K, but it was still a good, healthy start to the holiday season.

This race, like all others, has a starting line and a finish line.  But I've come to realize that no matter how far I've come with weight loss and maintenance, there will never be a finish line.  I will always have to run this race.

I bring it up because I've really been struggling the last couple weeks.  I've had a "don't give a shit" attitude about food choices about 25% of the time.  The rest of the time, I've done fine, but it is inconsistent.  My exercise has been good, but since I work out outside and it is really cold, I haven't had much enthusiasm about it.  I'm still doing it, though.  The worst part has been how I feel in my head.  I was convinced that I've gained weight (I haven't) and I couldn't make myself get on the scale.  I looked in the mirror and thought I looked bigger.  I obsessed about how my pants fit, certain that they were tight. 

Hitting our weight loss goals doesn't mean we're done.  I know that's pretty obvious, but somehow I am able to go along pretty well for a good long time and then it hits me that I'll never be done.  I've been at goal for a year, but I will always struggle.  Weight issues are a part of who I am.  In some ways, it would be easier if we could just cross the finish line and be done, but there is a lot of personal growth that happens in the struggle.  I've heard recovering alcoholics say  that they are grateful for their alcoholism.  They appreciate that this flaw has made them a better person.  I think in times like this, I can see what they mean.

                                                        At the starting line with my youngest.
                                                     Ready to swim after the race!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, the Marney letter

I'm sure many of you have seen this before, but for those who have not, Enjoy!

From: Marney
As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.
Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.
All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.
HJB—Dinner wine
The Mike Byron Family
1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don’t feel like you a have to feed an army.
2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don’t care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).
3. Toppings for the ice cream.
4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.
The Bob Byron Family
1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.
2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).
The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family
1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).
The Michelle Bobble Family
1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.
2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon
3. Proscuitto pin wheel – please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.
4. A pie knife
The June Davis Family
1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.
2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay
The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)
1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.
2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.
Looking forward to the 28th!!

I hope this letter from crazy Marney helps you to keep perspective on your own crazy relatives!