Carry On Tuesday – Only In Our Dreams

Eating Shiva

Eating Shiva (Photo credit: Mirror | imaging reality)

I felt virtuous when I sat, eating an open-faced veggie burger, with stone ground mustard and drinking ice water. I don’t feel the same way now. It’s three hours later and my son is having a barbecue for his friends. He came running up the stairs with a freshly charred hamburger on a bun dripping with ketchup and a slice of cheese slithering on top, shining with grease. I did not hesitate, I ate it  in one minute and I’m paying the price, in fullness and actual physical pain. I can’t lie; I have enjoyed it immensely along with the toasted marshmallow he brought up too. I know this game very well.

It started at birth with me, a six-week premature baby having to stay in the hospital until I gained enough weight to be able to come home. After that, my mother overcompensated and then I went full speed to fat or what they used to call “chubby.” I can pretend to eat healthy food now (most of the time) but I know that I will always be the fat, round, girl, that I have always been.

My mother could never figure out why I never wanted to go shopping when I was a child and a teenager, how could she not know? I was a very slim child only from age five to six until she decided to fatten me up, relentlessly, wherever we went. The Nestle’s Quik was at my side, spooned generously into my milk at every meal, like a religion.

Last year, I gained forty pounds when our house was demolished by termites and carpenter ants and we had to stay in a hotel, in one room, three of us and our dog, our disappointment and our dreams, dashed. My husband was also on medical leave for a snapped Achilles tendon, our sixteen year-old daughter cooped in one room with us while our house was built again from bare walls. That’s when you know who your real friends are, because it is at their house you are sharing a meal, they are asking you in and treating you like family, it saved our souls and sanity.

The only comfort in our lives was that our son was away in college was missing the trauma we were living through, and FOOD. We ate out at restaurants, two or three times a day. It was clear we were not eating healthfully, we were eating to comfort ourselves, dessert for lunch and for dinner every single day and night. French fries with your sandwich? Yes please. The only decision to make was what flavor milk shake we wanted, vanilla, strawberry or chocolate. Candy bars, cookies and crackers were stored in our hotel room like paper cups.

Piles of cakes and pies, white tendrils of coconut smiled down at us from its vanilla perch. Chocolate mousse cake winked at us from its place on the revolving cake display, cheesecake with strawberries, we denied ourselves nothing. Deep, deep down I knew what was happening though I chose to deny it; only in our dreams did I believe that we were not feeding our depression. When times were easier, better, we would deal with it. Then, we couldn’t cope with one more detail, one more restriction.

In three and a half months we moved back into our completely disorderly yellow house. For months we didn’t know where anything was. There are still boxes missing, items that some day we hope to find. I started taking responsibility for my unhealthy body. I worried about my heart, I started slowly and decided to eat more vegetables and less red meat. In the end, I lost forty pounds with another five to ten to go. I drink ice water with lemon instead of soda. I try not to have dessert but lately I have been craving something sweet. It’s a slippery slope; I have to be very careful.

I know I am the same chubby girl I was when I was little. I will always be that child in my mind and body; I will always be the last girl picked for any team sport, the fat kid, the ugly, stupid child. I don’t measure up, why should I be able to do something when my parents always said I wouldn’t be able to do it?

As we get older we make our own choices, we slip away from the past and make up our own rules, our own belief system, we cherish different qualities than those that we were taught. I taught my own children that they can do anything they want and they can do it well. Whatever they want to do they should do it with pride. There is nothing that they can’t do, nothing they can’t succeed at; in my heart, I love and like these two people. When they were young, if I was fearful for them, I hid it, because they had the right to experience life through their own feelings and not become unnerved because of mine. That, is what parenthood should be about. This was my gift to them; the gift of freedom, freedom to choose, but most of all, freedom to believe in themselves, knowing, always knowing, that I believed in them too.

“What Music Do You Work Out To?”

Simon and Garfunkel Mrs Robinson UK EP

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Non-Work Out Music?  Sure.

Oh, be serious, not EVERYONE works out. I am not speaking just for myself but on behalf of some friends of mine…..well, we don’t work out at all. We walk. I can’t honestly say this is a work-out though it is well-intentioned but speed walkers we are not. We stroll, we talk, we share and we don’t listen to music but to each other. It’s our time to be with each other, when the wind is a gentle breeze, when the sun is not intense and when it is not cold out. Are we particular when we want to walk outside? You bet! Besides, I am the most particular since I have a chronic pain disease called Fibromyalgia and usually I have to conquer my aches and pains to even get out the door. It isn’t easy.

If I was to walk alone or use the treadmill ( LOL) the songs I would listen to would be “Story” by Sarah Ramirez (from Grey’s Anatomy), a 1980’s song by the group, Red, whose name I have forgotten entirely and possibly anything upbeat from the Beatles, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Simon and Garfunkel and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I am stuck in the 1970’s with my taste in music and when CD’s were not born yet and I listened to records, over and over again. Unfortunately, my chubby body is still stuck in the seventies as well! The best thing about being in your fifties, is image matters less and quality of life matters much, much more. Enjoy your life, whether you work out or not.

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The Incredible Shrinking Sensa Lady

Cover to The Giving Tree, depicting the tree g...

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Every time I see the commercial for the  incredible shrinking “Sensa” lady on my computer I get agitated. I am like a 5-year-old child that wants to growl. I am Max of Where The Wild Things Are. I am a roaring lioness protecting her young. This stupid Sensa lady appears every day, first she is full-size (and there is nothing wrong with that) and then she diminishes on my computer to become a very skinny (too skinny) cartoon shadow of herself. The commercial comes on practically every time I turn on my computer and I want her to go away. Or gain weight. Or, most importantly, be happy with who she is without shrinking to a skeleton. I want to see her eating chocolate truffles, and fettuccine alfredo with garlic bread dripping with mozzarella cheese. I want to see her with a date, a lover, a friend, a husband, anyone. It’s time for “Single Shrinking Sensa Lady” to hit the road.

I googled “Sensa” and all I could find out is that it is something you sprinkle on food and, allegedly, you feel full faster, but don’t quote me. If it works for you, that’s fine. I am not judging the product because I don’t know it. (maybe I’m judging just a teeny tiny bit?) I’m sure you would get the same results without using the sprinkles and just using a smaller plate!   Brand recognition? Sensa, you win!  I recognize the product each and every time, but it doesn’t in any way make me want to buy the product, it just makes me groan out loud and roll my eyes. Wouldn’t that be negative brand recognition?

As one gets older your body changes naturally. There is not much you can do about it and really, why stress about it so  much. Try to be healthy but don’t hit yourself over the head if you have a slice of warm apple pie.  Life is short, enjoy it. As that great movie with America Ferrara says”Real Women Have Curves.” I’m happy with myself, you can be too. Feel beautiful for who you are not what you weigh. Weight gain, weight loss, isn’t it time we get over it already? Be comfortable in your own skin, be healthy, eat whatever you want in moderation and take a walk; maybe even try to walk a little more every day. Do what you can.

I am no Jillian Michaels (and  heaven forbid, I don’t want to be.) I don’t think people need abs like cement bricks nor do I think they have to be tortured if they don’t lose enough weight in a week (I know it’s a television show called The Biggest Loser, but still……)  Jillian, please stop screaming so much. People are trying as hard as they can; if I was at “The Ranch” your screaming would make me gain weight for the emotional stress you were putting me through. How about a nicer, softer Jillian..oh wait, his name is Bob. Tone it down a little, no tone it down a lot (and I don’t mean in a weight loss way).  Yell at me, bitch, just try. I am comfortable with my body and myself. I am not skinny, I’m closer to chubby, ok, full disclosure; I AM chubby and I am fine with it. Enjoy life, think things through, have dessert, have a big heart and give back to others. Read and reread The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Success is not always measured in pounds, it’s also measured in pride.

Laurie’s Down on her Luck aka Hibernation

Day one of my blog. I’m a 53 year old married woman and mom, I have two teenagers in High School and an almost 8 year old dog, named Callie. Yesterday, which should be the beginning of my woeful journey actually is not. Yesterday was just another installment of Laurie’s Down on her Luck. That started a long time ago. Probably since the age of 50 when menopause struck. Yes, Struck. It didn’t start or end, it interrupted the life as I had known it. Hot flashes, hysteria, sweats, irritability, tears? NO problem. Thanks to the almighty Prozac which I have been on for 5 years for serious worrying problems. Is it safe to call it the OCD of worrying? That was me. Prozac helped me with a quite easy journey into menopause and out. I had no complaints. I also had no clue what would start after that.

A seemingly easy menopause, not care free but not suffering like many of my friends. However, it attacked my body ferociously, like the way I attack Funfetti cupcakes with vanilla frosting. You understand.

Men-o-pause (and who came up with THAT name) kick-started a revolution on my body or perhaps more accurately To my body that is still not well. I write to you after a year and a half (and still going) with various illnesses, ailments and psychological trauma.

I was a fairly common place looking female, curly brown hair, funky pink glasses, green eyes ( my best feature). 5’4 inches, still looked good in a pair of jeans, v-neck long cotton Tee and reliable sneakers or clogs (if I wanted to dress up.) Not a hippie but certainly no fashion plate either.
My family and I live in this tony little town up on a hill where we half belong and half don’t. I am not a super mom, I don’t have a nanny, I stayed home with my kids, we lived on one salary, and had a tiny house in a sweet section of our neighborhood. The children played in the streets together, bicycles (with helmets), scooters, Razors (who didn’t buy their kid a stupid Razor?). Mayberry RFD meets The Cleavers. You get it.

When mansion moms came to visit they always described our house as “cozy”, “sweet” and “so great that you have neighbors right next to you on both sides!!!!” All of us in the neighborhood knew we were in the poor section of town but we didn’t really care. Much.
My son was in second grade when he brought home a “friend” from school. My son had just gotten new, Ikea blue furniture and he was thrilled. His so called bastard “friend” had taken one look at my son’s modest room and said to him: “wow, I knew your house was gonna be bad but I didn’t imagine anything THIS bad.” My son’s upset face lingers in my mind, yes, I do hold a grudge and I will forever hate this boy.
I truly do still hate this brat and I regret not calling his mother, but rumor had it she was a major bitch, one that I didn’t want to tangle with. I shouldn’t have listened.I should have called, my mistake entirely. That was then. This is now. I still hate him and i hate her and any living relatives that they may have.

I digress.

After going through menopause and yes, I did buy Christiane Northrups The Meaning of Menopause (what meaning?) it did very little for me and for my sister. We referred to the book as “The Bible” sharing it amongst the two of us (I paid)

The illnesses that followed:

During a routine check-up my internist (The Ice Princess) found that my thyroid level was underactive. YAHOO, I screamed, FABULOUS, I chortled. I finally inherited the thyroid disease that both my sister and mom had. I had been hoping for this for years. Does the term “be careful what you wish for” sound familiar? I had imagined myself eating DD jelly doughnuts (get that I have a sweet tooth?), mayo packed tuna (only white, never light) sandwiches with chips or fries on the side, sipping a vanilla-chocolate-strawberry (pick one or all) milkshake while shedding pounds. Never happened.

To make a long story short, my thyroid did not make me lose ANY weight but made me feel achy, tired, brain-fogged and wretched for months.
My “Ice Princess Dr.” left me weeping in the examining room while she brusquely left the room saying and I quote” There’s nothing left for me to do, nothing is wrong.” (I really DO NEED to find a new internist). She referred me to an angry looking Rheumatologist “in the group” who took one look at me and said “did anyone ever tell you, you had scoliosis? WHAT? It had been discovered that I didn’t have just any ordinary thyroid disease but one called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an auto- immune disease. The Rheumatologist, said I was fine, didn’t have arthritis and “oh by the way did you know that once you have an auto-immune disease you leave yourself WIDE open to getting other auto-immune illnesses? Gee thanks, troll, I hadn’t known that. Those were her loving farewell words. continue tomorrow!!!

Day 2 Halloween aka Boo (Hoo) Day
To wrap up the past, which is still by and large, the present, here’s what happens next: Ice Princess was revisited once or twice more, NOTHING “she can do…blah blah blah” eventually found a lovely Rheumatologist at another medical center. She was lovely and I referred to her always as “the lovely .Dr..Jane Doe”. She diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia (FIBRO what?) after pressing on all my pressure points and me screaming my head off. She said: ” i believe you have been misdiagnosed.” I am sure you have Fibromyalgia. YEAH, a diagnosis!!!! That was a great find, only bad part: NO CURE. “But we manage it” she said and I will make you much better. I believed, oh yes, I did believe.
And she did try, she added Cymbalta and this or that, we played chem warfare, her not wanting to call my shrink, my shrink, certainly, not wanting to stoop so low as to call Her. Great. For months I believed, but the pain, fatigue in all my muscles and joints, in every inch of my chubby body still HURT. I was a 95 year old living in practically a 95 year old’s body. I was weak, I was tired, I felt like I had the flu, every day, every hour…..this went on for months. Went back to Dr. Lovely and she said “this is all I can do, I can do nothing more.” Time to (as my first infertility Dr. called it,” to bring in the big guns.”

I had heard about Dr. GS from my sister, her friend Elizabeth and my sister’s husband’s friend too. To me, it sounded like he was the wizard of Oz. Really. I was actually intimidated to meet him and while his bedside manner was something to be desired (or I just didn’t like to hear the truth) he said that Fibromyalgia was a lazy diagnosis. (This being a little awkward since Dr. Lovely had trained under the new Dr. Guru.) His recommendation: treat the underlying disease which is the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Treat the auto immune disease by taking: Plaquannel, Methotrexate (made me sick as a dog) eliminating some of my meds, adding even more. It was hard to know WHAT I was feeling anymore but he made me chart my course, every day..on a scale of 1-10, what was I? ! Being in “deep shit” as my dear friend and honorable aunt called it, 10 being: energetic tob e doing the macarena on a cruise ship for hours. OK, my metaphors but you get the drift. Ha Ha, the drift, get it, cruise, drift, oh never mind I love to amuse MYSELF with my own jokes, something my husband and my kids DO NOT APPRECIATE. I don’t care. If I think something is funny, I will howl and they will not extinguish what funny bone laughter I still have left in my body. Spirit was high around this time thinking that Dr. G was, indeed, a genius.However, I still hold against him that he sent a letter to the Ice Princess and every Dr. I had ever known referring to me as a 52 year old OVERWEIGHT female. OK, I know it was true but it sounded horrid. I mean really. My cholesterol was also sky high and he said no insurance company would ever cover me in this unhealthy state. Ouch. I had to have a heart check up (enter The Cardiologist) and started on a cholesterol lowering pill. Add ANOTHER Pill why don’t you? Been there, done that. Dr. Guru also suggested, several tlmes,) that I start on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) that , it just so happens, his “significant other” believed in it and was an expert on it and she was a gynecologist, specializing in It. I will not go, I will not see, I will not put all those chemicals ln me.” I chanted this every chance I could. After 3 more months of feeling crappy, I did go in, I did see her, I did, I did, but I will not let her talk me into it. “NOTHING SHORT OF A MIRACLE WILL GET ME TO TRY THIS” I BOASTED. But I went in anyway, asking G-d and my deceased father (who I miss so much) for guidance and insight. The HRT Dr. walked in, i sat in THE Defiant pose, ready to challenge every single thing she was going to suggest–I was prepared, in advance. Five minutes of formal talk, me on guard, giving her the evil stare, she stops for a minute. “Where did you grow up” she asked. I told her. Her face freezes over, (like it had been botoxed to look like a toaster but I knew it hadn’t, it was just SO SUDDEN……she leans back in her Dr. chair (btw, NOT a good idea to take your shoes off during a consultation when your patients can see your icky stockings) and said, “do you have an older sister? Huh? WHAT?? Now it was my turn to freeze and I said cautiously……”yes….why?” At which point she leans forward and her voice, which had been a monotone monologue turns into one of great childhood delight and absolute exuberant… “I’m Susie Shapiro (not her real name) and I grew up with you, I was great friends with your sister” and so she was. This was a teenager I remember being in our childhood apartment, this was someone I KNEW. My prayer, my only condition of considering HRT had been answered. Thank you Dad, Thank you G-d. Squirt me up!!! And it was then that I started HRT because I believe in things happening for a reason, that there are NO coincidences. I said nothing short of a miracle would get me to take HRT. Asked and answered. I began the next day.

November 1, 2009
IT’S MOMMY’S CHEESE SAUCE
My teenagers do not remember that I was the one who made their very own home-made (ok Kraft slices) cheese sauce. They called it Daddy’s cheese sauce the other day. He copied me. They think it was him and they don’t “remember” me making it. This is what I don’t want:
the kids to only remember me being sick, tired, broken bones, fibromyalgia, hashimotos….you get the drift. I made sure to tell them that I had created the delish dish but even my husband doesn’t remember MY invention. This stinks. To appease me, my husband said “ok, I’ll put on your gravestone “She created the cheese sauce.” I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I am continuing to try and breathe deeply and have gone from hibernation in status to “getting centered.” For dinner I had brown rice, vegies and a hard boiled egg, usually served with Tamari sauce but we only had soy. I’m still on my back and go only to the bathroom. I know that this is the answer, that THIS, is what Oprah has been talking about. You get knocked on the head once, you should pay attention. I’ve been knocked down, run over, hemoraged and am in traction…..but I FINALLY know, I need to change my eating habits and other slovenly ways. Am only eating “clean foods” now and trying to drink water. I will never like that but at least I am doing it. “You are what you eat?” for once…good. Haven’t looked at the Halloween candy,
although my daughter put my very favorite (yum, Whoppers)in my bed stand table. I plan to throw it away, on the other hand, I could leave it awhile and see what happens.

I can’t DO moderation,(yeah, yeah Bob Green, I know, I know) I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. Oh, and what’s up with the “Good Life” products? I’ve been buying them faithfully and all of a sudden I hear that they are NOT all that healthy? HOW ARE WE, THE PEOPLE, SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE IN ANYTHING OR KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE IN? I rest my case –I really would have been a great lawyer.

So, back to me trying to be Zen-like or just a little not me-like:
Still not talking on the phone which is surprisingly calm and lovely. Mom came to visit today and my sister is coming on Wednesday, that’s it for visitors. Waited till at night to write in this, but at least I did do it.
Haven’t taken any daily medications for today but it’s ok, I can miss a day. My stomach feels a little funny, don’t know if it’s just rocking and rolling from the excitement of healthy food or if it’s begging me for a PB & J sandwich with a glass of milk. Not yet. I hobbled to the shower this morning and it felt good to stand (?) under the hot water. Can’t exercise but can’t say I am not thrilled with that. Being able to WALK without pain will be my goal. To sleep a good night’s sleep (I hate these extra hour/fewer hour days) never could quite get the concept of “losing or gaining” an hour. But that’s just me. Anyone else unclear on the concept? Don’t be ashamed we should stand together with great pride!

November 2, 2009
Torn, (ligament) bruised. Broken (spirit) maybe I’ve turned a corner, or at least turned to the side. Centering Myself. Getting rid of the old
the past, the bad, unhealthy habits, food, no exercise, too much worry. Replace Fear with Faith. (thanks R.C.) A new beginning?
I love not talking on the phone or emailing just to email. Still love tv and movies, not gonna lie. Food is no longer the main focus of my world. I do
believe that G-D has been telling me all these thighs(HA Freudian slip) things for almost 2 years. I’m starting to get it. Only starting but it’s better than nothing. I’m even going to ask my husband for help with this computer stuff. I HATE asking for help, getting embarrassed and feeling foolish but I have to do it. I’m taking a small leap (ok, pinkie toe step–pinkie toe, the only didget that is still normal, and putting myself out there. I feel nauseous. I decide not to care. Gulp. Over to my husband…..