Napoleon Dynamite And Me

Film poster for Napoleon Dynamite - Copyright ...

Film poster for Napoleon Dynamite – Copyright 2004, Fox Searchlight Pictures (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My stomach is full, round, bloated, I’m about to burst and I haven’t even eaten anything today. It’s the day BEFORE Thanksgiving and I’m getting worried about my eating capacity. I haven’t even eaten yet because I feel so full. I look five, fine, six months pregnant and statistically I can guarantee you that is just not possible. No way, no how. I’m sure being concerned about my beached whale body isn’t helping either.

I’m lying on my stomach on my bed and I feel the tension and the huge, inflated balloon, that flabby orb that once was my flat stomach three days ago. I only ate one slice of pizza for dinner last night. ( I have to admit it was really, really good.) So, I had a little extra tomato sauce, maybe a bite or two of a meatball, that should not have made me gain two pounds this morning.

The scale is my enemy and for all the naysayers who say ” don’t weigh yourself every day” sorry, no can do. Sure, I realize that there are variations but if I don’t go on the scale one day, all hell could break loose. I should know, it’s happened before more than a few times.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, my thoughts are just imagining the smells of  tomorrow. First, the turkey and stuffing in the oven. The sweet potato and apple casserole (with marshmallows) this year, the freshness and nobility of the salad to undo the damage of the mashed potatoes laden with butter, the rolls, warm, straight from the oven. My husband’s famous stuffing, the best I’ve ever had, and look forward to every single year: Hint: add sliced water chestnuts, chopped apples, raisins.One batch is soft, moist with gravy, the other is drier, great for a sandwich. Not to mention, cranberry sauce 3 ways, apple sauce, green bean vinaigrette.

I have dreamed my way to my favorite part, dessert:  chocolate on chocolate frosted cake, the strawberry-rhubarb pie, the apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream  or “à la mo-day” as we have said ever since we saw the classic cult movie “Napoleon Dynamite.” I have seen the move about ten times.

Later, leftover turkey sandwiches with mayo, yes, Hellman’s only. I’m fine about tomorrow, the problem is tonight. I’m starving, my husband is on call for the Volunteer Ambulance until seven pm, I’ve already had some fresh vegetables.  It is six pm, we are getting hungry, one more hour to go. Time passes so slowly when you want it to go quickly. I’m ordering now. We order too much.

The only thing deemed delicious by the family is take out Asian fusion food from the local store a few blocks away. Yes, I know that there’s fat and sodium and grease. But, it is the best way for us to stretch our stomach even more for tomorrow. Can’t wait.

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Are You Even Aware, Do You Care? (ChronicBabe Blog Carnival)

woman

Image by Alessandro Vannucci via Flickr

Dear Doctors,

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day is May 12, but I bet mostly people who suffer from this debilitating illness know that.  There are people, fellow doctors even, who still think this is all in our heads. That IS the most insulting thing of all. Do you think we would choose this way of life? On purpose? Do you think that we would want to feel pain in every muscle and joint in our bodies for the fun of it? Maybe we just want attention, is that what you think? Do you know that I was diagnosed with two chronic illnesses within a matter of months and that menopause was the catalyst? Did you know that it was menopause that turned my body inside out and sideways, plumped up my lower belly and shattered my metabolism?  Do you know I eat less than the average child but I don’t lose weight and walking around the block twice is considered a work out?

I am going tomorrow to my third Rheumatologist to see what he has to say. He’s local, convenient and since I have had such different points of view from previous doctors I’d like to add yet another opinion to my massively, confused, Fibro Fog memory. That is if I can remember what we talk about which is as likely to happen as Christmas in July. I will try though, I will write things down, I will do intensive listening. I want to hear what you have to say. I wonder if you realize that a Fibromyalgia patient making an appointment to see you is not simple at all? It isn’t, we have to get there too and that is always a work in progress.

Did you know I saw a famous Rheumatologist for years, only to find out later, that the strong, immunosuppressant medications he prescribed could have destroyed me? That the medications he prescribed for me in his fancy office with his “Best Doctor Awards” on his walls, are only supposed to be used to protect a vital, organ? I didn’t know that either until another Doctor, actually two, told me.

Awareness is not just acknowledging a disease or many diseases; it is also imperative to take the accompanying emotional distress that it brings too. It’s no longer just me, it’s me and my shadow. We bring baggage, physical and emotional because many of us have dealt with this elusive, enigma of a disease for many years. Please, bear with us.

Even if you mean the best, you might not want to say “I know how you feel” because unless you are a patient, you don’t.  You can’t walk in my aching shoes, the soles of my feet are rigid, hurt and are on fire, right to the top of my head that aches at times with horrendous headaches, pounding me like turbulent waves on stoic rocks.  Are you aware, Doctors, that when some of  you treat us chronic patients like drug seeking  heroin addicts you demean us? You take away any sense of self-respect that we once had in the past? We know you try to help us but please understand how we feel. We feel pain, we just want some relief, once in a while when we need it the most. Try and understand that, we’re not looking for a quick high or to be comatose on life-altering drugs. We just want to be able to breathe without pain for a short time, ONLY, when we need it the most.

I’ll leave you with one thought. We know you try to help make us feel better. Just remember a moment of compassion, a light hand on our shoulder, an extra second of your smile means a lot, especially when we feel we have so little. If your son or daughter had the same disease and our same symptoms, would you treat him or her any differently? If you have to think about it, please consider treating us, like you would them.

Thank you very much for your time.

If I Could Invent Anything

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“Eat, Pray, Love” Or Don’t Love In My Case

I’m a book kind of girl. I read a lot of books, buy a lot of books, borrow and lend a lot of books. That’s why I always say to myself, once you’ve read the book, DO NOT see the movie. I say it, I mean it, I don’t listen to myself and I regret it. So, in my opinion the title of this movie should be “Eat, Pray, Don’t Love. That’s how I felt after seeing “Eat, Pray, Love” based on the book by Elizabeth Gilbert. WHY didn’t I listen to myself?  Because I think I know myself better than I really do; and I am usually wrong. So, once again, I am saying visualize on your own, don’t see the movie afterwards, it ruins the images you have.

The movie started with Julia Roberts’  luminous face, all toothy grin and natural beauty. She’s a great actress but a little too showy, too pretty and shiny for this movie.  Light softly silhouettes her face, there is beautiful scenery which of course showcases again the light of Julia’s pretty face. She’s beautiful even when she is supposed to be an emotional wreck. I wanted more authenticity instead of Julia Roberts playing Pretty Woman Now Middle-Aged. It was Julia Roberts on Julia Roberts, in just about every scene.

Another thing for us real women; if i had gone to Italy for a month of carbs and conversation I would have gained 30 lbs. and would have worn sweat pants instead of the teeny-tiny jeans she was wearing before and after in the film. If you are going to love your pizza, and your pasta, your wine, bread etc. keep it real. Most women don’t giggle lying down in a fitting room buying only the tiniest of jeans. Yes, we’ve all done the zipper trick  at home, on our beds, alone, but most of us would show we have gained weight, which is how real life is. Embrace your body? Not with those size 0 or 2 or 4 jeans, not even close.

The other incredibly annoying thing about the movie, which I found totally inappropriate, was the sound track. As soon as I heard the first song, my mouth was wide open, aghast. I’m sure the songs themselves will be hits but they just didn’t belong to the movie. Did Elizabeth Gilbert hear those songs in her mind? Somehow, I doubt it.

Pretty woman, you’re still pretty, and beautiful  but you’re amazingly privileged in the movie. I know a lot of people who go through marital troubles and they don’t get paid a nice salary for taking off time and traveling abroad. I understand the chaos you went through, I ‘m just not buying Julia Roberts feeling it.

Fat Fits

OUCH!  My pants are killing me and they are digging into my stomach and causing major red welts. WHO put them in the dryer for so long??! It is obvious that they shrank to a smaller size. Who hasn’t asked the very same question or said those very same words? When you are in your twenties or early thirties, five, even ten pounds are not that hard to lose. You skip some desserts, eat a few more salads with dressing on the side, you’re pretty much back to where you were. Not really a big deal although it probably seems like it when it happens. After all, you have nothing to compare it to. You can moan or groan and be a size 6 or 8 or 12 or 22 and still feel conspicuous. You can lie (as most of us have done) and say it’s “water weight,” “I’m bloated” or “just too much salt in that French onion soup (regardless of the mountain of gooey, stringy cheese on top).”  It’s all very plausible and they basically mean the very same thing. It’s not fun but it is fairly easy.

Now,  we are married and pregnant and you ARE eating for two! Thank goodness I had my children in my early thirties because now I hear that you are only supposed to gain about eight pounds for your entire pregnancy. Eight pounds? I probably gained that in between office visits when I was pregnant.  I didn’t crave pickles and ice cream much to my husband’s disappointment; he wanted me to wake him up in the middle of the night with cravings for chocolate ice cream with butterscotch syrup. I just wanted to sleep without peeing every hour on the hour.   With my son I craved Chinese food, French rolls from Dunkin’ Donuts with grape jelly (no butter) and bologna and orange American cheese sandwiches on white bread with butter; chocolate milk was the beverage of choice. After all, the baby and I needed calcium.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, a  mere twelve months after my son was born, we thought she would be Greek because all I ever wanted were Greek salads with extra feta cheese, all the time. It sounds healthy but it really wasn’t. The Italian (I know, right?) place I got it from gave giant-sized portions with about two pounds of salty feta cheese along with their deliciously creamy home-made dressing; extra dressing on the side, please.  It was a salad, and, in my befuddled brain, that meant healthy. It was also served with a lot of bread.  In addition, since I was pregnant in the summer, Carvel’s vanilla cones, dipped in multi-colored sprinkles were a must or extra thick, creamy French vanilla milkshakes to quell the nausea (if there was nausea), of course. Again, we needed even more calcium.  All that vanilla and my second child, my daughter, loves only chocolate. It figures.

Losing baby weight from two pregnancies in a row is a joke and besides, those pregnancy pants are so darn comfortable. Skip ahead a few years, okay, more than a few, and you’re fifty. You’ve gone through peri-menopause, menopause and post menopause and every single thing in and on  your body changes and you pretty much fall apart. The three pounds you used to be able to lose in two days? Gone.  You have gained weight by NOT changing your diet at all and you’ve developed a large kangaroo pouch for which there is no joey. Your fat is redistributed and your clothes don’t fit the same anymore. Your waist has all but (speaking of the butt, the butt reinvents itself and is its country), your hips take on Titanic proportions and you can’t even begin to describe your upper legs as thighs. They are more like battleships and the more you walk around, the more they shift and fight each other and no one ever wins; there are no survivors.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure things out and you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to put the pieces together; you are older now, middle- aged, middle- aged plus, or old and your body, in a sense, is breaking down. To put it clearly, after a certain age, you really do start falling apart.  I find this happening more to women than men but that could be because we just talk about it more. That is, women talk to women about these kinds of things ad nauseum.  This is not a discussion they are having with their boyfriends or lovers or G-d forbid, their husbands.  If we don’t speak about it, it must not be true.

The years go by, the numbers go up. You try to exercise but the numbers stay the same. If the numbers go up, it’s definitely muscle mass. It’s so damn cold outside how can we exercise? It is way too icy to walk and heaven forbid slip, you don’t want a broken ankle especially because your bones are more brittle now too.  You have the elliptical machine that you could use but with the foot/heel problems you have had your orthopedist strongly recommends you NOT use it because of the trauma to your already torn ligament. Of course there’s indoor swimming, which even if you had the ridiculous amount of money they charge at the gym, the thought of swimming indoors and going back outside to the freezing cold with wet hair is less than desirable. Don’t you get an instant cold that way? That could lead to the flu, swine, regular or all-purpose.

What can you do?  You either fight like hell and become a person who is relentless in starving and maintaining the lowest calorie account imaginable.  You can eat a moderate amount and not forsake all the things you love.  Or, you can eat as much as you want, when you want and just buy bigger clothes.  There are a few options in between and we can justify whichever one we want.  Basically,  fat is a relative thing. Health is a whole other article.  Do what’s right and what’s comfortable for you and don’t let anyone, ANYONE judge you. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want to lose the extra ten or……if I easily could. But, the fact is, I’ve tried and I’ve tried again. Being 53 I just don’t care that much about what other people think of me. I know who I am and I’m the same woman inside no matter what the label says; let us be comfortable in our own skin, inside and out.

Mother and Daughter Wars

Last night I had another angry dream about my mother. We were  in Israel and supposed to be coming home. I remember my kids were with us as well. I was both daughter to my mother and mother to my children.  My mother decided she wasn’t coming home, she was abandoning us (me) and staying in Israel to be with her boyfriend. I believe she said something like “I never wanted this to begin with.” I begged her to come home with us, I sobbed,  I pleaded. She stood her ground and wouldn’t budge. I remember her crying in the dream as she walked in the opposite direction, but ultimately, she stood her ground and stayed. She had planned trips with her boyfriend. Until the very end of my dream and continuing as I gradually woke up, I was in a state of total disbelief. I’ve had this dream about 3 or 4 times a week for about two months.

My relationship with my mother now is definitely uneven, up and down, intense and cool. My mother and my sister are very similar people but I was always closer to my dad. He understood me, he made things better, he was more diplomatic; he was my warm and loving parent. He died 8 years ago. I feel that whatever I do for my mother is not good enough. Even though I TRY much harder to please her (visits, dinners, lunches, grandchildren…) than my sister,  it never feels like it’s good  enough.  My mother and I  are so different that it gets in the way. It gets in the way that with every thoughtless comment and(self-perceived)  dig she makes. When I am this angry it makes me  want to see her less. She drains me, she hurts me, the one time she came to see me when I was on bed rest with my leg, she arrived demanding a sandwich from my husband.  There was no pot of chicken soup in her hands or even a few bagels, not even a cookie. She came, demanded a sandwich and then, complaining about the stairs, went upstairs and said hello to me, after she was fed. In her defense, she is a diabetic, in my defense, I just wanted to see her first.

Several days ago I returned home from a very important Dr. visit in the city with my Guru Dr, as I refer to him. He was so pleased with my progress that I was beaming. He said the first time he saw me I definitely “grabbed his attention because I was so sick.” Then, the first visit after, I had improved a little bit. This visit he exclaimed “You Look Great.”  I felt better, I looked better, I had lost ten pounds and I was absolutely thrilled.  As a daughter, the first thing you want to do is call your mom and tell her  the good news and so I did. She listened and then said”Now I’m going to ask you a question that you won’t like”  to which I replied “do you have to” and she said “yes I do, I have to.” Sigh. Groan. She asked the following: What did the Dr. say about your weight gain? ‘Huh? What? I just told you he was thrilled with me?!  She then replied “but what did he say about your weight gain?”Telling her, again,, that I had indeed lost  ten pounds did not mollify her. She wanted to know about the total weight gain… I gave up.  I was hurt, I was disgusted. And, of course she pulled the weight button, goes off like an alarm every time.

A common theme in our relationship has always been about my being overweight, chubby, FAT. I was very thin as a child and she used to carry Nestle’s Quik all around the world trying to fatten me up. Boy, has that changed.  Ever since I was about 10 and  she left the NY Times Magazine on the kitchen table open to “Overweight Camps For Girls”it has been a big problem (try and forget THAT!)  Of course, when I starved myself to 121 pounds (that lasted about 5 minutes) she was nagging me to gain weight. Is there anyone who wouldn’t need Psychotherapy after this?  Not that it helped….

I summoned the courage to have the “talk” with her. It was heated, we both feel we can do no good for the other person. But then we listened…I told her how I felt, she told me how she felt. It wasn’t that different after all. She needed attention and she really needed advice. She did not know, honestly did not know, what mothering meant. She had grown up without a real mother, just a twisted, nasty, dishonest stepmother.

I told her what I needed, she told me she understood. She also told me that she doesn’t say personal things to make me feel bad, she just means it as a fact. Yes, I do take things way too personally. We agreed.

Today, she came over with bagels and cream cheese for lunch. She said hello to the dog,and told her outloud “I want to see Laurie”  and walked upstairs. The first thing she did was say hello to me, her brown eyes twinkling. I love this woman who looked so cute and fashionable in her little blue outfit. I will always love her;she is a part of me that will be with me always. I want to make her happy, I want her to know how much I love her and I do.  I just can’t promise to always agree with her. But that’s ok, as long as we keep on talking it through and leaving our hearts all the way open.