Random Thoughts of a Disordered Mind


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2011: The Year in Review

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written here; interactive chat with friends has been more appealing than writing a blog post these days.  But I’m feeling delinquent and out of touch, especially with those of you I only see in blog-land.  Rather than try to catch up, here’s a sum up of 2011:

Year of Surgeries:

  • Surgery #1 on March 2:  elective plastic surgery to remove hanging belly skin and upper arm lifts.  I was out of work for 3 weeks and took another 4-5 before I was really feeling good.  The arms look amazing and I relished wearing sleeveless tops this summer.  However, I also had complications – abscesses along the lower suture line, and the discovery of a serious infection in my lapband port area.  The surgery wasn’t connected to the lapband at all, but the moved belly button was less than 2 inches from the port and, well, things happen.
  • Surgery # 2 on August 2:  removal of the infection, surrounding tissue, and the lapband port.  I had an open wound that is still not 100% healed up, tho it’s not a problem.  I ended up missing work time due to daily nurses for wound care.  Necessary but annoying.
  • Surgery #3 on Nov. 22:  Lapband port revision, aka putting in a new port to replace the one that was removed during the infection surgery.  Went extremely well and I’m now starting the process of getting fills to complete

Exercise:

This did not go well in 2011.  All the surgeries didn’t help, as my ability to exercise was limited for long chunks of time.  My personal trainer moved to a different gym 45 minutes away, which is just not convenient for me.  Rather than switch to a new trainer, I’ve decided to let it go for a year, save the money, and work on my own.  I know it’s not the best solution but for now, it’s my choice.  And $110/month adds up nicely.  I still have my gym membership, mind you – just gave up the training.

Weight:

I’ve been eating off-plan since the March surgery.  Major abdominal surgery will do that to you, especially with the fear of having to throw up under those conditions, but I continued to maintain the loss until my surgery in August, which removed all lapband restrictions.  They’re still not back and I can really see the difference.   I can and will improve my eating choices but this has really shown me how much it helps to have the band in place.  I have weight to lose again, and it WILL happen.

Family:

I visited my parents and brother and sister-in-law in October.  Everyone is doing well and staying busy.  My niece/goddaughter got engaged this year and is getting married next summer.  In Houston, in July.  Can we say hot?  Her brother, Football Nephew, is now a member of the Washington Redskins, and was promoted to the active 53-man roster from the practice squad two weeks ago.  We’re so very proud and happy for him.

Tessie and I celebrated our four-year anniversary last month, and I love her more every day.  She was a wonderful therapy cat when I was home recovering, and sticks close unless I’m vacuuming.

Home:

I’m moving!  Not far, just to a different building in my same complex.  I love where I am but will be happy to move to the 55+ building (most residents are retired so I will be the young one) where rent is almost $200 cheaper and I’ll have a walk-in shower, which my knee will love.  It’s the same layout as what I have now, but flipped and a tiny bit smaller – but still over 1100 square feet, so what’s not to like?  I’ll be on the second floor in the SW corner in an elevator building.  Yayyyy!

I move on Jan. 27th so am applying a Peter Walsh approach to looking at my stuff before packing.  Stuff is going to Goodwill or the trash so I can just pack up everything that’s left.

Work:

I’ve completed a full year in my current position, and love what I’m doing, aside from the concern of how to be sure there’s work for my staff on a consistent basis.  Preferably that doesn’t involve too much of my time to dream it up, document, train, produce “work from” lists, and then do clean up.

In July, I celebrated a wonderful annual meeting educational program for my national professional association, after months of work, worries, and details as chair of the program committee.  I also turned down the chance to run as vice-chair/chair-elect of one of our special interest sections.  I’m ready for the next generation to move up and am happy NOT to be in charge of anything.

Have a happy and healthy 2012.  Do the necessary things, but also do what brings you joy.


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Christmas Then and Now

Two years ago I spent Christmas with my family in Texas.  I weighed in at 312 lbs and was sad and not in a good place with my body or my weight.  This year I went again, weighing 182.2 lbs and oh, what a difference!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone I saw told me how beautiful I was, asked me how I did it, didn’t I feel wonderful, was it hard, what could I eat, etc.  And I found I had a hard time knowing what/how to respond, other than to say “thank you.”

I’m in a good place now, a stable place.  I’m proud of my accomplishments, because they are considerable and have been life-changing.  I’ve lost 130 lbs and enjoy shopping for clothes and finding things that both fit and flatter.  My belly and upper arms are annoying because of all the extra skin, but I’m having medically necessary plastic surgery in March to have those areas trimmed (at last I think we’re doing the arms; it depends on insurance).

Back in 2008 I said: “I don’t want to diet. I want to eat sensibly in moderation, to enjoy a variety of food, to ease the stress on my knees, to be comfortable in my body and with myself.  That may be mutually exclusive.  All I can do is try and take things one small step at a time.”

That pretty much describes where I am now.  Emotionally I’m in a very calm place.  I haven’t really found the weight loss to be hard this time, not since I heard the “click” that said “It’s time now” and took it one step at a time.


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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I’m in between trips and scrambling like mad not to fry in our current heat wave.  It was hot in Texas, but somehow it’s worse here which is just not right.  Thank heavens for AC!

The Texas trip was originally supposed to be to attend my nephew’s wedding, but it morphed into a family gathering at my brother’s ranch (140 acres in the middle of nowhere between my parents’ house and my brother’s place in Houston). They have very photogenic cows 🙂

My mom’s sister was there from California, nephew Rob from Massachusetts, and me from Connecticut.  Rob didn’t stay long, heading west to spend the weekend with his brother (the former groom) and friends going to a baseball game and country western concert.  My youngest niece ran a triathlon that weekend (I can’t imagine doing it in that Texas heat!) but my goddaughter (above) came from Lubbock for the weekend.  We celebrated our June/July birthdays together with carrot cake 🙂

Everyone flipped over my new look and I realized while I was there that I’ve almost lost my mother in terms of weight.  She weighs 115 lbs and I’ve lost 110 – which really is a whole person.  Puts things into very clear perspective.

I had a great time but was glad to come home (as was Tessie).  But I’ve been scrambling again because I leave on Friday for my national conference in Denver.  I have several meetings to facilitate so I have agendas and prep to finish, plus catch up on my paid job.

My conference wardrobe was all thought out, including a few dresses that looked good and were cool and comfy.  Except I’ve realized that all of them – ALL of them – are too big. Great problem but a bad time to figure it out, since the stores are starting to stock fall clothing (just after July 4th, go figure) and only have very picked over summer things.  I did get a few tops today that I can wear with black pants that will work.  I’ll find out soon enough.

I found it pretty easy to eat while in Texas.  My mom generously stocked up on some Greek yogurt, berries, chicken, and guacamole, and there were plenty of good options for me at the ranch.  Mostly people were interested in my choices and asked a lot of questions about the band and how it worked.  It was good practice for going out with more people; I’ve been reading menus for Denver and practicing restaurant eating, at least in my mind.  We’ll see how it goes!

I’ll try to check in from Denver but am not at all sure when I’ll have free time to write.  My time is pretty scripted.  But I’ll check in and at least keep up with y’all even if I can’t write until I’m back.  Stay out of trouble!


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On Vacation on a Quiet Monday

Here I sit on a quiet Monday morning, Sipping coffee with my wet hair wrapped up in a Turbie-twist (these things are awesome and have freed me from that heavy towel wrapped around my head that kept falling off).  I’m on vacation for the next 10 days and love days when I don’t have a race from task to task to keep on a work-day schedule.  Of course, Tessie is there to remind me that, “yo mama, give me crunchies” comes early whether I think I can sleep in or not.

Today’s agenda is finding a swim cap (hoping that drug stores have them because I don’t want one of those racing caps that squeeze your brains out), getting my hair colored and cut, going to the gym for an hour pool workout with my personal trainer (hence the need for a swim cap with newly colored hair).  My outside stuff finishes up with a fresh pedicure.  Then it’s time to actually think about what to pack because tomorrow morning I head to Texas for a week’s visit with my family.

Left to my own devices I wouldn’t go to Texas at the end of June.  Do you know how hot it is there??  I am a New England girl now and don’t have a high tolerance for heat.  Plus I’m shifting sizes again so who knows what will fit and be appropriate for the weather.  The trip was originally timed so I could go to my nephew’s wedding next weekend, but it was called off and the engagement ended (by the bride) so there is no wedding.  But my aunt and I had non-refundable tickets, and we hadn’t seen the Texas fam in quite a while, so we’re making this a mini-family reunion.

Lapband update – my doctor told me he did NOT think I needed a fill, especially with two trips coming up.  He reminded me that as I get smaller, the weight will come off more slowly, and that 5 lbs a month is a good rate.  I’ve now lost 108 lbs and am 3 lbs away from breaking 200 for the first time in over 30 years.  Believe me, I’ll keep you posted on that.

Since I’m going away for a week, naturally I needed to clean this weekend.  Ever since I spent a summer as a hotel maid, I’ve hated cleaning.  I know how to do it, I just hate doing it and procrastinate amazingly well.  Yesterday, though, I vacuumed up enough cat hair to make a kitten for Tessie to play with, scrubbed the bathroom, cleaned the stove and sink, and did 3 loads of laundry.  I still have to dust and finish cleaning the kitchen.  I always forget how much nicer it looks after I do this.  Maybe I should do it more often 🙂


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Snow for Winter

Today is the Winter Solstice, the first day of winter.  It’s not unusual for us to already have snow by now but honestly, Mother Nature, you outdid yourself this time.  My area only got about a foot of snow, though other places in the state ranged from 0-26″ — but at least we are prepared for snow here.  We know how to drive, we have adequate plows and sanders, people understand you go out and shovel as soon as the snow stops if not several times while it’s happening, just to get it gone ASAP to make for safer walking and driving.

The DC area, and my friends in Virginia (waves to Lori) took a wallop with this storm, which hit at such a terrible time for those shopping and/or traveling for the holidays.  Frances had her flight cancelled and rescheduled for today after a 3 hour wait on hold.  Thousands of travelers will end up stranded because, as we all know, snow and airport closures in one part of the country have a domino effect everywhere.

Last year it was my turn, spending 3 days to go from CT to TX after not one but two storms that came one day apart.  I told my family then that I loved them but that I wasn’t going to do that again this year.  I meant it, and I’m keeping my word – and happy to do so.   I love my family a lot but in these days of overcrowded stressed skies, why push it?

So I’m thrilled that this year I  have family up near me and I’ll have company for Christmas — my football-playing nephew who gets only Christmas Day off.  It’s his first time to not be with his family in Texas and I know he was homesick for family over Thanksgiving.  Weather permitting (and it’s definitely a factor in any plans), he’ll drive down on Christmas Eve after they finish team meetings and spend the night with me.  I have the inflatable bed and a tree and will be cooking him a home-cooked meal, even if I won’t be able to eat most of it.

It’s funny the things that people really miss and that make them feel at home.  We’re having a crockpot turkey breast, my mom’s sweet potato casserole with oranges, his mom’s cornbread dressing, and by request, green bean casserole.  He offered to help me make it so it would be easier, obviously not knowing it’s one of the world’s easiest dishes.  Dessert will be a pumpkin ice cream pie, also a kind of family tradition.  I’m also making a sour cream coffee cake for breakfast (his) and for him to take back with him to share with his roommate.  He couldn’t believe I knew how to make Grandma’s coffee cake, though I pointed out to him I’d been making it longer than he’s been alive.

What’s ironic is that I don’t think I’ll be able to eat much of anything.  I’m going to the doctor for a fill in my lapband today, which means a day or two of liquids only, followed by mushies, and only then by soft foods.  I’ve had some instances of stuck food or just the sensation of it, and frankly am not that interested in eating solid anything.  So the appointment comes at a good time to check in, make sure I know what I’m supposed to be doing instead of making something up out of a lack of direction.

I had a nice visit to NYC last week to spend part of a day with Our Frances.  We did our traditional visit to Chinatown for Qi Dong massages (omg, they are to die for if your body is tied in knots), followed by walking around and being lured into a backroom to check out knock off purses.  Honestly, what’s a trip to Chinatown without knock off purses?  We each bought one 🙂  Then it was on to Little Italy for lunch (a bowl of minestrone for me) and quick subway hop to the Union Square Christmas Fair.  I love going but a lot of the booths look the same now that I’ve been several times.  It’s still fun to be outside listening to Christmas music and being part of the crowds checking out the booths.

I hope you and yours are safe and warm today, not stranded by the side of the road in a snowbank or without power in frigid weather.  I hope you either can stay home or have safe passage on roads to get where you’re going.  Remember – it’s winter now!


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My Nephew Will Play Pro Ball!

I iz Reddy to Play Nao CoachLast weekend was the NFL Draft, where 32 players worked there way through 7 rounds of selections to tap players to join their professional football teams. I even watched some of it, not that it meant a whole lot since I didn’t know any of the players and the only team I knew anything about was the Patriots.

My nephew, my awesome college football playing nephew, was realistic about his prospects going into the draft.  Because of his injuries, he didn’t expect to be drafted – but thought he had a good chance to be picked as an undrafted free agent.

He was right – and signed with the New York Jets last night, a few hours after the draft ended.  He flies to NY later this week.  Of course, there’s no guarantee that he’ll make the final roster, but he’s taken this whole journey one step at a time and will carry that focus and determination into training camp.

I’m thrilled for him and pinching myself that someone I know – am related to! – will be one of those players I watch on TV.   Way to go, Rob!


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On my way

ElfThe sun is out, I’m checked into my flight, the house is clean (okay, cat fur is vacuumed up), and I’m packed.  Of course, I still have to get dressed but I’m delaying as long as possible since I prefer being comfy in a robe and slippers.  The dishwasher is running one last load that I can empty out before leaving.

Because I’m going to visit family, I know I can find shampoo, hair dryers, lotions and the like so don’t need to bring those with me.  Thanks to weather.com, I know that temps will mostly be in the 60-70 range, which means no heavy sweaters.  Usually I overpack and bring almost everything I can fit into in hopes some of it will work.  This time I’m being more realistic and as a result, the suitcase actually is a bit roomy.  Yayyy.

The trick is that it’s about 16 degrees here right now, and I need to bundle up and wear snow boots and stuff to get to my car through the frozen concrete snow piles with black ice on top.  I’m a little worried about getting more than one thing at a time to the car while keeping my balance, so will bring the car to the building instead and hope no one else needs to get by (the plowed section isn’t very wide).  When I get to Hartford, I’ll change from boots to clogs and leave the boots behind.  I know I won’t need them in Houston and refuse to go through security wearing boots!

I’ll check in when I can but know I’ll be busy with family and activities almost non-stop while in Houston.  Know that I cherish my blogging friends and wish you all the best for a Merry Christmas / Happy Hannukah / Blessed Yule.  Enjoy yourself, wherever you are and however you choose to spend the season.

Ho Ho Ho!